Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 5 TV Time Shifting Technologies

Torrents, Peer Sharing & Consequences

Lastly, illegal file-sharing remains a prominent part of Internet/television integration. Through peer-sharing networks, online video clip sites and torrents (peer-to-peer file sharing), it's possible to download copies of media files without paying for them at all.

The risk of viruses, spyware and other computer threats is high with these options since you're dealing with criminals, and you run the risk of being targeted for legal action by the studios in question, as well as having your Internet account shut down for illegal activity.

This activity increases the burden on studios -- already complaining about the loss of ad revenue to time shifting -- which means more technological backlash. Embedded programming like digital rights management (DRM) makes it harder to share things you love, even legally. The prices for episodes of your favorite shows on iTunes increase to make up for revenue lost to crime.

Worst of all, the loss of measureable viewers means your favorite show's chances of getting cancelled are higher. In avoiding all payment for your media, you're contributing to its downfall. While other time-shifted consumers may pay through ad-supported or subscription services, illegal downloaders are stealing money from the very creators, actors and musicians whose work they claim to enjoy.

For more great information, check out the links on the next page.

More to Explore