My apologies to the 99% of the audience that already knows this, but it is in my Master of the Obvious contract that I have to get the word out to that final 1% that haven’t heard yet. I should also mention before we get started that the US Version of Being Human pilot episode is available as a free download from iTunes right now…

If you missed this past Monday’s episode of Chuck, you can of course watch it directly from its NBC website for free. This is something more and more networks are doing, making their programing available on multiple platforms to build their audience, a process known as convergence in the industry; making any show available to watch any time on any device. So if you didn’t catch The Cape when it was broadcast over the airwaves, you could watch it from that web page, pull it up from the NBC Video On Demand folder from your cable companies set top box, or pull down one of several viewing Apps for your phone or tablet, and see it free. The links I used in this example are NBC, but all the networks are doing it now; if you can’t watch a program on the network web site directly, they probably house it over at Hulu, iTunes, or YouTube. If you wanted it for your permanent collection you have the option of purchasing many of them from a number of distributors for download, Amazon and Apple being the largest and best established operations.

Cable TV companies have also been rebuilding their networks for convergence, for the same reason; they want the largest audience for their products they can get. So they now also have webpages for watching shows and Apps you can download to make their programming portable for no additional cost. The links I included were for Comcast, but all the cable companies are doing it. I used my login and the hotel WiFi to my laptop while half way across the country to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and it worked great. The Comcast App allows you to control your cable boxes remotely, check your voicemail, and so forth, with being able to watch the videos on your phone or tablet coming shortly.

Just announced, the Anime Network starts their free simulcast of Infinite Stratos this Sunday at 8:30 PM CST. They are getting a bit of a late start, so this Sunday’s simulcast will be episode 3, but they will also post episodes 1 and 2 at the same time so you don’t miss anything. This one is Mecha combat comedy judging by the description.

I wanted to mention that Fractale is finally available for viewing! This twisted little show stars a boy with virtual parents, a girl in a world with mostly guys, a villein class of bad guys that show evil promise, and an escapee from deep in the past whom only the boy can protect. With only one episode to extrapolate from all of my conclusions may be wrong, but I am enjoying the way this is starting out.

UPDATE: Soapbox Mode On: Thanks to pirates, it now appears only the first episode of Fractale will be simulcast unless the illegal sites are shut down. According to Anime News Network, the Fractale Production Committee has forced Funimation to cease the simulcast until such time as the illegal streaming and file sharing sites are under control. The question that confuses me the most is what sense does it make to pirate something that you can watch for free, especially when doing so means you might make it no longer available for legal viewing, possibly for years until the DVDs come out? Which is not to say there are not serious issues of abuse in the other direction, as best personified by the companies that want to censure the internet, and claim they are trying to protect against piracy when they are really trying to destroy the structure of the internet because they cannot get oppressive and invasive anti-piracy laws passed. There is already a body of laws in place, a courtroom adversarial response structure that allows for due process when piracy is suspected. You don’t need to install spyware/virus sotware on peoples computers to delete files without the users permission, and you don’t need to break the router paths so the internet doesn’t work properly. This is the core of why we have a judicial system, to keep idiots from either side from destroying what we have spent decades building. Soapbox Mode Off

From Anime News Network, The Sacred Blacksmith and Vampire Knights are both newly launched programs you can watch online from the Fall 2010 season. After watching the first episode of each, I will be watching the Sacred Blacksmith to the end of its run.