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Online video comes to the rescue

One of the new shows my wife and I are watching is Hawaii Five-0 on CBS. It's a fun cop show, and I have fond memories of watching the original back in the 1970s.

Because we have a 7-year-old, we record the show to watch later. On Sunday evening, a new, exciting episode of the show was broadcast right after the AFC Championship game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets. It involved a tsunami and crime (a perfect scenario for Hawaii). After our little one went to bed, we watched the show.

Digital video recorders are great, but they aren't always smart (at least not the one we use). Because the game ran a few minutes long, the DVR recorded the post-game interviews, which lasted about 15 minutes. Then we found out that the last segment of the show didn't record. What was going to happen? Did they get the bad guy? Would the governor of Hawaii find out about the missing $10 million? We wanted to know!

In the old days - meaning more than two years ago - we would have been hosed and would probably have needed to wait for a repeat of the episode to find out what happened. But these days, we have options, and my wife challenged my Internet abilities. I first turned to the CBS website because I recalled they put up full episodes of other shows after they have aired. Unfortunately, the show we wanted had not been posted yet.

So I turned to iTunes, figuring it would be worth $3 to find out the ending (though I didn't think it would download quickly enough for us to be able to watch it before we went to bed). No luck. And CBS isn't on hulu.com, so that wouldn't work.

I don't condone downloading illegally obtained content, so I didn't bother even looking at peer-to-peer or torrent sites.

Desperately, I returned to the CBS site, and the episode had appeared in the three or four minutes since I'd last been there. Even online, the shows have the commercials (hey, they deserve to make some money on the deal), so I needed to cycle through each one of those to reach the segment we wanted to watch. We set it for full screen and found out what happened before going to bed.

I am sure someone who spends even more time on the Internet than I do would have figured out a way to do this at least as quickly and elegantly, but I was rather pleased with the solution and enjoyed the challenge. And two days later, I am still kind of floored at how far web video has come and how well most of the national TV networks have embraced it.

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