heroes.jpgThe season finale of Heroes aired last night in the States – something that I’ve been looking forward to for ages! Unfortunately, I’m in the UK and it feels like we’re caught up in one of Hiro’s weird time warps – we’re at least half a season behind at Episode 12 (Run), lagging in slo-mo…

There’s every opportunity for spoilers to appear just going into forums or by someone just mentioning it. Don’t you just hate it when people tell you the ending of a good story? La la la… I’m not listening!

I’m sure there’s a whole load of avid fans in the UK, carefully surfing, wanting to know what happens next but not too much to spoil the rest of the series! It’s a fine balancing act. Unless you have a good broadband connection and know where to look that is. :)

And, thankfully, I do.

A good friend turned me onto Heroes about 3 weeks ago. Seeing as I’d already missed about 9 episodes on the Sci-Fi channel, what could I do except what any right minded person seeking for information does these days – I turned to the Internet.

While I’m not about to get into the legalities or advocate the use of various software to obtain illicit copies of your favourite programme, I do find it strange that the television companies haven’t yet made full use of the wonderful medium that is the Internet.

After all, if some guy with video capturing software can manage to create a 40 minute, 624 x 352, 350MB DivX file, edit out the commercials *and* upload the file around 3 hours after a program has aired, then surely someone’s in TV land is missing a trick. Globally, there’s an huge audience that’s being missed. Even though most of the users grabbing these files are getting them for FREE, I’d be willing to bet that there’s definitely some of them out there that wouldn’t mind *paying* to access this content just to be up to date! So why aren’t the TV guys making the most of this untapped audience?

Broadband take-up is growing. People are becoming used to watching video online. A new generation is getting used to the idea of watching what they want, when they want it. Recently, Virgin Media (previously NTL/Telewest) started providing a On Demand package (<rant>: yes, I know – some of you guys around the world have had this type of service for ages but this is England and we like to *think* we’re cutting edge even though we’re serverly lagging behind due to our cable and phone infrastructure! I’m paying through the nose for 4MB connection, FFS – I could probably get 26MB for less in Sweden! </rant>).

File sharing, regardless of the clampdowns in recent years on popular sites like Napster and Kazaa, is still here in various forms. Sharing information, I believe, is something that has resulted as an evolutionary benefit to our species. The very notion of discovery and communicating is precisely the behaviour that has enabled us to get to the top of the food chain. It’s part of the 2% that means that we’re now out of our tree…

I mean, look at the astounding achievements that we, as a species, have managed: the internet; television; radio; newspapers; books; paintings; writing; mathematics; nuclear technology; cars, trains, planes and other modes of transport; cloning sheep; breast implants; Ikea furniture; guns & weapons of mass destruction… Okay, so some weren’t our best ideas – but it does show what we’re capable of when we put our minds to it, work as a group and share ideas. So why try to restrict something that’s inherently part of our being? It makes no sense.

I’m not advocating the use of Bittorrent (or Azureus – which happens to be very good) or even using Newsgroups for binary posts (remember these things? *sigh* I miss those days…) if you happen to have missed several episodes of your favourite TV program or to download entire albums for free. Just because the tools are there, does it mean you should use them? It’s a grey area that each individual has to decide for themselves (although I hear that Slyck.com is a good resource if you really want to get a good grounding in these things). Remember, if it’s freely available it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal.

But when did this ever stop someone lending a book to a friend. Or getting a group of mates round to watch a video? I’m sure Mrs X who works in the Anti-Piracy department doesn’t see the irony when she uses the office photocopier to make a couple of copies of some recipes to give to Her-Next-Door. But that’s just my take on things!

For those of you still lagging behind on your Heroes viewing, I offer this parody from YouTube that a friend sent me recently.

Useless powers? I can turn my thumb all the way round (might have to do a video to show you – it’s pretty gross). What useless power would I like to have? “The Power of Geometry”, so that I could improve my pool playing…

So, do I know How To Stop An Exploding man? Do I know about what happens at the beginning of Volume 2? Or even how you go about getting access to these things? Well… I can’t tell you that. On that score you’ll get nothing from me. Nothing. Zip. Zero.