Can it be true? A commercial network actually embracing the internet? For real?
Apparently it is, with Channel 9 letting viewers not only download free episodes of the second series to last year's hit show Underbelly, but also letting viewers distribute it online through file sharing portals like Bittorrent. If you don't believe me, check out the text from NineMSN's CatchUp TV section:
You can also copy and share each episode or even distribute the files via file-sharing applications, such as Bit Torrent. Each file is available from the date the episode was broadcast on TV and remains active until the end of the series.
But don't confuse this approach from Channel 9 as a lovey-dovey open to everyone decision - to watch the show online for free you'll need to download their Hiro video player from NineMSN, and each episode is only available from when it airs until the end of the season. At this stage we're unsure as to whether they'll stop letting you download the show at the end of the season, or if the files are programmed to stop playing back, but I guess we'll all find that out soon enough. And fans outside Australia - you'll need to look elsewhere - this is only available to people in Australia.
Alternatively, of course, the show is also available to download on iTunes for the usual $2.99 an episode, or $32.99 for the full season.
This is a pretty big change from last year's story where the show was being pirated left right and centre. Here's hoping more TV shows head online...