alt.binaries.multimedia is a newsgroup on the ever-popular USENET system, the purpose of which is now more or less to illegally distribute TV Shows.

Because there are seperate newsgroups for movies (alt.binaries.vcd and alt.binaries.movies being two popular examples], music (alt.binaries.sounds.mp3), software, and, pr0n (, alt.binaries.multimedia is now a dumping ground for anything that is or has ever been shown on the small screen. With sometimes no more than a few hour's turnaround, episodes for your favorite TV shows will be posted (in RAR-archive format) soon after they're aired, and sometimes even beforehand. Not only can you find current TV shows, but there are often reposts and floods of past shows, specials, DVD Rips of shows popular enough to be released on the medium, special events, and so on. One can find anything from a Ken Burns documentary to last week's Smallville.

Recent technological developments have made things even better for ABM users. yENC encoding means faster uupload]s and downloads, as posts are more compressed than ever. The creation of the PAR system, or parity archive, means that the days of reposts are numbered. If a post was incomplete (say, 2 files out of 30 were corrupt), then you need only download two .p## files (i.e. *.p01, *.p02, etc) along with the matching parity file (*.par), and run them through a PAR program (I stand by SmartPar myself). Once finished, you have the files you were missing, and you don't have to request a repost.

To conclude, this newsgroup is a great resource for TV fans. Although the legality of the content may be shady, alt.binaries.multimedia is the perfect resource for a fan who wants an archive, or for a college student who lives in a Simon's Rock College. Be warned, though, you will need the following:

  • A Fast Connection (cable modem/dsl or better)
  • A paid USENET provider (Giganews, Roadrunner, etc
  • A program that can decode multipart posts (Forte Agent)
  • Harddrive Space (An hour-long TV show can take up as much as 700MB if you decide to use SVCD. Not only do you need space to download the RAR files, but to extract the video from the files)
  • Patience
Once you have all of these things, there's nothing left to do but sit back, download, extract, and enjoy.