One constant complaint I hear is the lack of good television programming in China. Granted, all TV shows are in Chinese; but sometimes, the homesick expat could rather watch something other than Journey to the West to cheer up their mood! Some expats rely on purchasing shows over the internet, but the cost adds up over time, and as we all know, the download speed is far too slow. Others use devices like Slingboxes, but not all of us are tech-savvy enough to set up these gadgets. And, once again, the internet speed dictates whether we have an enjoyable or stuttering experience with Internet video.
What if I was to tell you that there is a way to watch a lot of the TV shows you enjoy here in China? What if these shows are all streamed from local servers in China, with great resolution and even subtitles? What if these shows were all free for you to watch? Would you be interested? I’m sure you would… this is what most of the mainland Chinese are doing right now.
For example, one of my favorite shows is “Big Bang Theory”. Open up your browser to the following webpage: http://tv.sohu.com/s2010/bigbang/. Immediately, you get a splash page showing not just the current season’s episode (season 5, episode 17), but also all the episodes of Big Bang for the past 5 seasons! Clicking through on any of the links brings up another window that streams the entire episode to your computer. If you wait a couple more seconds while the video stream initiates, you can start watching the latest episode of Big Bang, with both Chinese and English subtitles.
Deciphering the Chinese, it says that a new episode appears every Friday at 16:40, with Chinese subtitles. The page also states that it is part of the Warner Zone, and that it is part of Sohu’s TV Cinema offering. So, I think this is the way most local Chinese get their US TV fix. Why spend money at the local video store, when you can see everything online, and within days of the original broadcast in the US?
After enjoying Big Bang, I wondered if there were other shows available online at Sohu. If you go to http://tv.sohu.com, then click on 电视剧, (TV Series) then click through to 美剧, (US TV Series), you come upon the full list of what Sohu.com offers. Granted, I don’t care to watch all of them, but you can see Gossip Girl, Mad Men, Weeds and a couple other shows. Amazingly, the entire series is available online, and free! (You can directly click on http://so.tv.sohu.com/list_p12_p2_p3_u7f8e_u5267_p4-1_p5_p6_p70_p80_p9-1_p101_p11.html to get to this link as well.)
Dissatisfied, I wanted to see if other Chinese portals offered US Television as well. I went to Youku.com (the Chinese Youtube), and, following the process above, found the following link: http://tv.youku.com/us/index. Surprisingly, there were a lot more shows here, like Glee, Modern Family, Pretty Little Liars, and Revenge. All links were up-to-date with the latest of whatever was showing in the US, and once again, all are free. So, now, I can watch almost all the most recent shows days after they are broadcast in the US, at high speeds, and with almost no delay!
But, what about sports? The only sport I care about now is the NBA. Imagine my surprise when I found http://sports.sina.com.cn/nba. Click on NBA视频直播, and you can go watch NBA games streamed live over the internet. With Linsanity raging in my veins, I can finally curb my NBA addiction. Gut feel is that other sports are also available online too.
Have fun, I’ll be glued to my screen!
Learn more about our Techie Papa blogger Martin Leung here!
Image provided courtesy imagerymajestic at freedigitalimages.net