Disney’s free shows online are 16×9 Flash 8 format, compatible with both Mac and Windows platforms

“Walt Disney Co. said Monday that it would stream several hit ABC shows such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Alias’ for free over the Internet in the next two months, as the company tries to jump-start a new revenue stream for its content,” David B. Wilkerson reports for MarketWatch. “Disney said that episodes of ‘Desperate Housewives,’ ‘Lost,’ ‘Commander In Chief’ and the entire current season of ‘Alias’ will be available at its ABC.com Web site for free during May and June, as part of what it called an ‘experiment.'”

“This is the first time a broadcast network has made such programming available for free,” Wilkerson reports. “The shows will be streamed in a 16-by-9 widescreen format in Flash 8, which Disney says offers the ‘best video quality.’ The streams will be compatible with both the PC and Mac platforms. The programs, which will be available the morning after they air on ABC stations, can be rewound, fast-forwarded and paused, but will include commercials that cannot be skipped… With this latest plan, ABC also seems to be sidestepping cable operators, who are making a big bet on video-on-demand as an important part of their arsenal against satellite and phone companies. The network already makes certain programs available on Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Internet download service, where they can be downloaded to the iPod digital-media player.”

Full article here.

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Related article:
Disney to stream ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ for free with embedded ads – April 10, 2006


  1. I dunno about you guys, but no commercials is worth $2 to me ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> course I usually just tivo them and skip the worthless crap

  2. One article I read said that it was US-only, so as to respect already-contracted foreign distribution rights.

    Anne Sweeney, Disney VP, was quoted as saying this only works in the US because Disney is vertically-integrated for these shows; they own the production studio, broadcast channel, and web site.

  3. >> I bet the real reason for using Flash8 is because they think it’s better to ensure that the stream will not be copied or saved. <<

    Except by those with screen capture utilities, like Snapz, or other extraction tools.

  4. Eric the Flash format is all about the embedded commercials. If they used Quicktime i’m pretty sure they’d be skippable. I could be wrong about this, but most quicktime files can be hacked to play in the player so that the fast forward button can be used. The same is true for most WMA files.

    I like the use of Flash if only to insure cross platform compatibility. Windows Media 10 on websites drives me batty.

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