If you were up late Sunday night, into Monday morning, mug of cocoa in hand hoping to see the Brits triumph in the 81st annual Academy Awards you would have been disappointed.
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and five had no sign of live coverage.
With nothing to be found on digital terrestrial television or red button interactive, you needed Sky Movies Premiere/HD to watch live.
Even the camp and chaotic ‘Live from the Red Carpet’ was only available on E!, to satellite and cable viewers.
No chance to see, then, the critically acclaimed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ potentially winning ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, or Kate Winslet blub as she finally picks up her first Oscar.
Fans of Mickey Rourke, on the comeback trail for the wonderful ‘The Wrestler,’ would have to wait until the morning’s news bulletins, when any colourful acceptance speech would be shorn of anything blue.
Although coverage was being broadcast live across Europe on many free-to-air channels, without a steerable satellite dish, you needed to venture online to find the Oscars live and direct.
Despite some dead ends and ads for dubious PC only online TV players, a live feed was found in time to see the fun opening song and dance act from actor and host Hugh Jackman.
Watching hours of Hollywood back slapping live online through the night might have required dedication and a few comfy cushions to soften the view, but for those without premium pay-TV in the UK it was the only option.
Okay the live streaming wasn’t great, looking like a live YouTube, but the picture and sound was good enough to keep track of proceedings.
Without it, you might have missed Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple and co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, being thanked for his “cinematic safe-haven” that allows hit films like WALL·E to be made and deservedly win awards.
‘Slumdog Millionaire’ proved a hit at the 81st Annual Academy Awards.
Television rights dictate what we can watch online, the BBC’s iPlayer for instance is only available within the UK, while much of the content of say ABC, who broadcast the Oscars in the US, isn’t available over here.
It’s a pity as most TV online isn’t broadcast in high quality, so you wouldn’t want to capture the stream and burn it to disc for instance.
Broadcasting shows on the Web, free of regional restrictions, might actually help stem online piracy. Might many true fans be happy to simply watch a legal online broadcast while waiting for the DVD box-set to be released?
Ultimately ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and Kate Winslet proved worthy winners while Mickey Rourke heard only the 1,2,3 count as Sean Penn’s gay civil rights activist triumphed over the wrestler. The real losers, however, where the UK public denied a chance to see the big night live.