Online viewing for the time poor

ZARA BAXTER
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013
The Guild

ON THE WEB: Characters from the The Guild, a series about a group of gamers who play an online game called The Game.

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OPINION: You might already know about New Zealand television channels that have on-demand viewing online.

Some well-known examples include TVNZ Ondemand, TV3's online service and for MySky subscribers, Sky TV on demand.

On-demand TV lets you watch shows you might have missed online, in your own time, usually for a short period after they are shown on TV. There are on-demand shows for almost all free-to-air TV channels - a quick search using Google or Bing for your favourite channel and "on demand" will locate it.

TV-style content is not limited to television channels, though. Some American soap operas have just been moved online - All My Children and One Life to Live - and there's a growing number of programmes that are developed and viewed online.

One success story is The Guild, which is a series about a group of gamers who play an online game called The Game. Each episode is only five minutes, but it is now in its sixth season. You can find them at watchtheguild.com, or on the "Geek and Sundry" channel on YouTube.

The Guild may have started out as a self-funded series, but other series have been sponsored. Google's $100 million Original Content Initiative helped to fund entire channels, such as Wigs. Wigs features women-centred drama series and includes some big-name actresses such as America Ferrara and Julia Stiles. There are shows and channels to suit all sorts of viewers, from cars to comedy. You can see the full list of YouTube Original Channels here.

If you're a fan of anime, another site may be of interest - it's called Crunchyroll. This site - also available on Xbox, PSN and iOS - arose out of the desire for subtitled Japanese series. Many fans used to subtitle the shows themselves and then upload the subtitled versions on to the internet. Rather than try to stop this copyright infringement, the creators of the anime series went one better. They did a deal whereby the anime series produced their own subtitles and uploaded each episode to Crunchyroll. Often, episodes appear within an hour of having been aired on Japanese TV. You can watch Crunchyroll for free if you're willing to watch adverts, or pay $6.95 a month for unlimited viewing.

Got an online series you want to recommend? Drop me a line - zara@pcworld.co.nz.

BUYING A PRINTER

At the PC World test centre, we're just testing affordable printers. Our results, measuring print speed and quality, will be out next month. But if you're in the market for a printer right now, here are a few tips and tricks on how to choose.

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Inkjet or laser?

Inkjet printers generally produce much better looking photo prints than laser printers, but the print cartridges can prove expensive if you don't use them regularly. Print cartridges can dry out and the print heads need to be aligned regularly, which uses ink. If you're an infrequent printer, or don't print photos, we'd suggest a laser printer instead.

Laser printers come in mono - black and white - or colour. Mono laser printers are a affordable option if you don't absolutely need colour printing. Laser toner is expensive, but lasts for much longer than inkjet ink does, and prints usually five to 10 times more pages per refill.

Single or multi-function?

You can choose between single-function printers or multifunction printers - those that combine a scanner, copier and printer into one device. Multifunction printers offer a lot of value if you'll use the extra components, while single-function printers are much less common unless you opt for a laser printer.

Networking, wi-fi

You can now get printers that print over wi-fi, or can be connected to your router - so you can share them with other computers in your home network.

Wireless printers are, in our experience, quite slow - it's better to use a networked printer for sharing if you can. However, many routers don't offer a printer connection. If you want the convenience of wi-fi over plugging the printer into multiple computers, you may find the slow printing speeds acceptable.

Print direct

Many printers allow you to plug in an SD Card, CompactFlash card or USB flash drive and print out documents or photos from there, rather than needing to connect via your PC. This can be very handy for photo printing, in particular.

Zara Baxter edits New Zealand PC World and has reviewed gadgets for 15 years.

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