Tuned In

Calling London. And Sydney. And Copenhagen…

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Glen Levy over at Time Europe emailed me this morning with a tidbit: British television, he writes, has decided to begin the new season of Ugly Betty early, for fear of having its audience cut into by downloads. This reverses the usual practice of having American shows air overseas months, or even years, behind the U.S.

It also raises the bigger question of how technology has changed the viewing experience of fans of American TV in other countries. (Yes, I know other countries produce TV shows, too. You know us Yanks–it’s all about us.) I know Tuned In has commenters in Britain, Australia, Denmark and elsewhere–including a surprising contingent from Cork–so I put the question to you. How has your viewing experience of American TV changed? Do you (or can you) rely on downloads, legal or otherwise? Do you find more American programs airing closer to their U.S. airdates?

And how about spoilers? I have to admit, while I’m conscientious about putting spoiler alerts on morning-after reviews, I usually operate on the assumption that after a week or few, discussing old plot points is fair game. But for someone in a country where their favorite U.S. show is months behind its American run, the Internet must be a vast nightmare of spoilerage.

Glen, for instance, e-mails that he posted my final Sopranos review with one hand over his eyes, because the finale still has yet to run there. (My other editors usually read my copy this way too, but for other reasons.) What say you, world? Is TV-Internet convergence your friend or foe?