Changes in technology over the past few decades have influenced the way many people spend their leisure time. Now you no longer have to be in at a certain time to catch your favourite TV show: you can watch again, watch online or even download new episodes for a fee.

HD recorders and on-demand services mean we have greater access than ever before to a range of entertainment.

Online DVD rental and download sites mean you can access entertainment without even leaving the house.


Providers such as Apple and Netflix allow users to download the latest DVD releases for a small charge. Users can watch the films on their computers a limited number of times before they expire.

● What do you think are the advantages of these new ways of watching films and TV?

● Where does the money users pay for these services go to, do you think?

● Some sites offer the same services or downloads but for free. What problems might be associated with this?

● Who do you think loses out when money is not paid for film downloads?

There are many ways of accessing entertainment from home. A wealth of television channels showing a range of topics can be accessed by viewers, some for free, and some for a fee.

Public broadcasting - Cost Free?

What do you and your friends know about the following? Write down all you know about ‘free’ and ‘paid’ programming.


Examples of ‘free’ programming:
Examples of ‘paid’ programming:
Are public broadcast channels totally cost-free? Can you think of ‘hidden’ costs that might have to be paid
in order to watch these channels?

Can you identify any key differences between the content that is offered for ‘free’ and that which attracts a fee?
Why do you think certain channels, and certain content, cost viewers more?

Illegal downloads

How are ‘illegal’ download sites different from legal ones?
Do you know what might be ‘illegal’ about the material you can download? Is it easy to tell the difference
between legal and illegal sites?

Piracy on the internet can take a number of forms, and involves the making available online of copyright-protected works without obtaining permission from their owners.

Why might people choose to download films illegally rather than paying for them?
What disadvantages can you think of to watching illegal downloads compared to seeing a film at the cinema?

Collect as many ideas as possible from your class.

What do you think are the consequences of illegal downloads and file sharing – for those providing
the downloads, those watching them and the film industry?