Wednesday, 9 April 2008

How To Watch Torchwood

Thanks to the BBC's iPlayer service, the unmissable is now unmissable™. It's not always that simple, though, so here, based on my experience last week, is a guide to using the new service:
  1. Set Torchwood to series record on your hard-disk TV recorder set-top-box. Use the BBC Three broadcast; it's almost a full week ahead, after all. This will suffice for almost the entire series.
  2. You will have to remember to record the last two episodes manually, as these have randomly moved to a different day (presumably to get them out of the way before Doctor Who started up again) and the finale is not on BBC Three because this would be making life too easy for us. In any case, the series is now on two channels, on two days, at two times, with gaps of anywhere up to two weeks between episodes, so the series record feature can't be trusted with this.
  3. Make sure you are not discouraged by the fact that the penultimate episode was a thoroughly missable (oddly, Firefox's spellchecker objects to "missable" but not to "unmissable") affair or the fact that the antipenultimate was shit. The finale is actually pretty good.
  4. If you miss the finale, and the series record feature didn't work, you can download it from iPlayer. Go to the TV Replay menu on your HDR box and select "Torchwood".
  5. Torchwood may, for no apparent reason, be absent from this menu. If this is the case then (a) you will have to use a PC, and (b) the associated episode of Torchwood Declassified is probably there.
  6. Fire up your laptop. Go to the iPlayer website. Browse to Torchwood and click "download". The file should register as 500MB. Do not click "stream", as we want to watch this later, elsewhere, offline, as downloads permit us to do.
  7. You are told that you must download some software. Do so.
  8. You are told that you must restart Firefox. Do so.
  9. You are told that you must update Media Player. Do so.
  10. Browse to Torchwood again and click "download" again. Wait for a pleasingly short amount of time, partly because the file now registers as 250MB.
  11. Shut down the laptop using hibernate mode to save time, and take it to your chosen viewing location. In my case, the train.
  12. Reboot the laptop. The iPlayer software has crashed, so you'll need to restart that.
  13. Browse to Torchwood, and click "play".
  14. You will be told that you must download a license to play this file and cannot watch it without an internet connection. Start mentally composing an angry blog post.
  15. Return home, safe in the knowledge that Torchwood is repeated on Tuesday evening.
  16. Turn on the TV at the appointed time.
  17. You will see a documentary about various inept conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Not-Actually-A-Princess Diana, which has replaced Torchwood at the last minute despite very obviously having taken quite a long time to research and make, because of the BBC's insipid obsession with showing every damn thing they have at the most 'relevant' moment possible, without considering at all how convenient or useful that is to anyone.
Nice job, BBC. You've made the unmissable very nearly unwatchable.

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