Sometimes it seems technology is racing ahead so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up; other times, you find yourself shaking your head wondering why something that seems so simple isn’t easier or more prevalent or in some cases, available at all. The state of live television on computers falls into this last category. If we are online, shouldn’t we be able to watch anything that is on television, live, while it’s being shown on our television? We can watch all kinds of prerecorded stuff, both television and movies, so what’s the holdup with live stuff, and come to think of it if we’re already paying for a cable or satellite subscription, shouldn’t we be able to get our live shows from the same source, only over the Internet?
Sadly the answer is both yes and no; yes, because we want all that, but no, because the people that deliver live television aren’t willing to just send it free over the Internet; at least not yet.
Unfortunately there are these things called licensing and residuals; which is where television content producers get paid for the stuff they create and actors and producers get paid for broadcast and rebroadcast of content when it’s aired. It’s these issues that are standing in the way of live television shows on your computer; at least when it comes to delivering them over the Internet. Although, if you want them directly from your cable subscriber, that’s no problem. All you have to do is buy a television tuner for your computer, hook it up, then hook your television cable into it, load and configure the software that comes with your tuner, and presto, there you go, you have live television shows on your computer. Unfortunately, there is the issue of that awkward cable that is plugged into your tuner on your computer, which means forget about portable computing, or watching television on your computer anywhere except right there at home, because that’s where you TV cable connection is; just like the old days of broadband Internet access, before wireless technology saved us all.
There are of course exceptions, you can watch some football games live on the Internet, such as those that are on Sunday nights; and its free. All you have to do is go to the website that is broadcasting it, such as nbc.com. Also, there is ESPN360.com, a site that shows live sports programming; though the pickins are slim. And, sometimes a show will be simulcast on both television and the Internet, such as when a charity event is going on. And if you don’t mind paying extra, you can get most football games live on your computer via the Internet through DirectTV, a satellite company that will also send TV to your television.
But other than that, the landscape is pretty barren. So, what is the answer then, how do you get live television shows on your computer? It’s simple, all you have to do is ask your cable or satellite company to start sending it to you. If enough people do this, television content producers will come to believe there is a demand for it and they will work out the rights and contract issues and all that, and start delivering live television over the Internet, where you can get it whenever and wherever you are.