There has been a paradigm shift in television broadcasting during the week: on Wednesday 12 October 2005 Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the availability of top-rating episodes of popular television programs from the American ABC network for legal download from the company’s iTunes store.
The announcement came with the release of a new iPod, capable of storing and playing back video on its own screen or through a television set. More than 2,000 music videos, half a dozen Pixar animations, movie trailers and full seasons of Lost, Desperate Housewives and That’s So Raven, plus episodes of new shows like Night Stalker and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody can all be downloaded: legally and ad-free! New episodes are made available on the site the day after they are first broadcast on the network.
For copyright and other licensing reasons most of the downloads are only available in the US at the moment. Like the iTunes Music Store, no information is available of whether the service will ever be available in Australia. The announcement does, however, give us an insight in the future of television distribution where programs from all over the world will be available for viewing when it suits the viewer, not the local television station.