Sanity has arrived at our house again with the return of The Colbert Report and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. The 24-day break that they took lowered the quality quotient of TV programming by many points. Having them back again somehow makes one feel that there are at least some generous, well-informed and intelligent minds in charge of a part of the media circus.
So, how does the Australian viewer find the good programs that are being enjoyed in the US and the UK? There are perfectly legal ways to do so.
First, if you have a cable subscription then you will find Colbert (pictured) and Stewart on the Comedy Channel. For the majority of us who don’t want to give more than a grand a year to media tycoons there is another option: streaming.
You will need a broadband connection to stream. In our house it’s called an Apple TV and iTunes, as we are Apple computer owners. The Apple TV is a set-top box that you can buy for not much over a hundred dollars. It links to your computer. Then you pay show by show on your Itunes subscription, pretty much as one used to hire out dvd's from the local video store.
If you are of the PC persuasion, there are myriad options for you to ask about at your friendly computer store. The set-up is relatively simple, even if you have no handy adolescent techno-whizzes in your household; these days they write instructions that tend to be in plain language.
Once you are equipped with set-top box and iTunes account, you can subscribe to a vast range of single episodes or complete series of a wide range of shows. New US shows tend to come into your iTunes a week after they air in the States and you can also subscribe to Australian shows.
Another method is to use an iPad. You can screen the ABC’s iview catch-up directly from it to your TV once you have configured it. I believe there are similar options for PC tablet apps. So in the end you will mostly be able to select what you want to watch and when you want to watch it. - Juliette Hughes is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
How to escape network TV schedules