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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > TV, Home Theater & Audio > TV Show Online

TV Show Online Cost

How Much Does a TV Show Online Cost?

low costLow: Free with commercialsaverage costTypically: $2 an episode
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Several online services offer TV shows you can download to your PC. Some TV networks offer free downloads of the week's shows.

Typical costs:

  • Apple's iTunes[1] software allows users to download TV shows to their Mac or PC for $1.99 per episode. Popular shows include "Lost" and "The Office". Recommended system requirements: for PCs, Windows 2000 or above; for Macs, OS X 10.3.9 or above.
  • Amazon Unbox[2] offers TV show downloads for $1.99 and episode. Shows include "24"[3] and "CSI: Miami"[4] . Amazon Unbox is currently unavailable for Mac users. Recommended PC system requirements include Windows XP or above.
  • Cinema Now[5] offers TV show downloads for $1.99 an episode. These include newer programs such as "Bones" and "Prison Break". A few series, such as "Weeds" or "Arrested Development" are offered for free as a streaming video. On a PC, Cinema Now requires Windows XP or above.
  • MovieLink[6] offers a small collection of downloadable TV episodes for $1.99 per episode, mostly older and classic shows such as "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Gumby". Some mainstream titles such as "Dave Chappelle" and "The L-Word" are also available. Some purchased shows can be viewed on up to three PCs, but some limit playback to only one PC. On a PC, MovieLink requires Windows XP or above.
  • Walmart Video Downloads offer downloaded TV shows for $1.96 per episode. Popular offerings include "24"and "American Dad". Walmart Video TV shows are only available in Portable format, and can be played on PCs or laptops using Wal-Mart's video downloads manager or Windows Media Player. On a PC, Wal-Mart Video Downloads requires Windows XP or above.
Related articles: Movie Download, Online Video Rentals

What should be included:
  • You should be able to save purchased episode on your PC and watch it on one or several devices. You should also be able to burn your episode file to a DVD as backup, but you won't be able to watch the file on a DVD player.
Additional costs:
  • Internet access is required, and a high-speed connection is recommended.
  • Most services let you watch your downloaded show on a TV, however you'll need to connect your computer to your TV manually. For iTunes users, the Apple TV[7] provides easy connectivity between your computer and TV and costs around $299 from[8] .
  • For non-iTunes users, check your TV's user guide to find the correct type of device or cable you need to connect your TV to your PC. MovieLink[9] and Best Buy[10] can help you decide which cables you may need to purchase.
  • Most services let you download your show onto a portable player. For example, iTunes is compatible with the Apple iPod. A 30 GB iPod is $249 and an 80 GB iPod is $349 from[11] . Other PC-based movie download services (such as MovieLink) will work with certain Microsoft Windows Mobile powered Portable Media Center (PMC) devices, while Cinema Now, Amazon or Walmart will work with some Windows PlaysForSure[12] Portable Players.
  • Some PC-based TV show download services such as MovieLink let you watch your downloaded videos on your TV using your Xbox 360 game console. In addition to the Xbox 360, you will need an Xbox 360 Wireless Media Adapter (around $99.99), a PC running Windows XP or Vista, and a wired or wireless home network.
  • Amazon Unbox service lets you use your Series2 or Series 3 TiVo DVR to watch downloaded Unbox videos on your TV. An 80-hr Series2 TiVo is $99.99; a 180-hr Series3 TiVo is $199.99; and a 300-hr Series3 HD TiVo is $799.99. TiVo service is $16.95 a month.
  • Many networks let you watch recent episodes on their websites for free. NBC[13] offers full-length episodes of shows the day after for a limited time. Shows offered include: "30 Rock", "The Black Donnellys", and "Raines".
  • Fox offers full-length episodes in HD streaming video for a limited time on their Fox OnDemand site. Current shows include "24", "Prison Break" and "Bones".
  • ABC[14] offers recent full-episodes or recent shows in streaming video for a limited time, including "Brothers and Sisters", "Dancing with the Stars" and "Desperate Housewives".
  • CBS also offers full-length episodes of recent shows, and some older shows including "Survivor: Fiji", "How I Met Your Mother", and "The Unit".
Shopping for a tv show online:
  • If you recently missed an episode of a favorite show, go to the network's website first to see whether they offer the show for free. TV show offerings vary widely from service to service, so you may need to dig around to find the exact show, season, or episode you are seeking.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
<sigh>Back to $1.99 on Amazon Unbox
Amount: $1.99
Posted by: SG-Fan in San Jose, CA.Posted: October 24th, 2008 03:10AM
Store: Amazon UnboxShow: Stargate Atlantis
Well, for about half the 2007-2008, there was a nice run of **free** on Hulu for NBC shows, which includes USA and SciFi. But that ended this fall during the 2008-2009 season, so if I miss an episode and forget to record, I have to buy it on Amazon Unbox or Amazon. (Oddly, I slightly prefer the video on Amazon Unbox, although the purchasing experience is way easier and more intuitive on iTunes).
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