TCM has launched Watch TCM, an online viewing service available for free. This site is amazing! It’s a movie-lover’s dream!
There’s a big catch, though — to watch the films, you have to have “an active subscription from a TV Service Provider where you already receive TCM”. And that provider has to participate in the service. Right now, the biggest companies participating are Charter (yay! that’s mine!), Dish, Cox, Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and AT&T U-verse. No Time Warner, no Cablevision, no standard Comcast. (Although I’m told that with the similar app, HBO Go, people share passwords. The nerve!)
I can see why they’re restricting it that way, because they don’t want to lose the subscriber revenue from cable systems. If this was open to anyone, I would have no reason to keep paying for cable! As it is, it’s a wonderful solution to the problem of my DVR going out or having a recording interrupted, as happened to me during a late-night storm the other week.
I got logged in ok, on the first try, which was pretty impressive. TCM is providing two streams, an East and a West, which are three hours apart so there are always two “watch now” live programming choices. But you’re not limited to what they’re showing — films that have aired on the channel are available to watch on demand for a week after their airing. You can sort the listings by title, actor, director, or genre.
There’s a schedule page, covering two months of data, as well as functionality to add films and programming to your own watchlist and a search box to find movies to watch by film or actor. There are also iOS and Android apps that provide the same functionality, once logged in. I can see spending a lot of time with this.