Today CBS pushed out a streaming video player for iPhones and touchy iPods, with smooth navigation of all the content available on TV.com, including for the first time impressive full-length episodes of some—but not most—shows.
I loaded it and clicked on a Star Trek Original Series episode ("Menagerie"). There I was show six 8-minute segments that constituted the whole episode, and it was playing within seconds over wi-fi. It was not so fast when it switched to cell service, which was inexplicably at EDGE, but at least there was a status bar indicating how much of the clip had loaded, and it did, after less than a minute, play just fine. (That said, I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on this if all you have is a first-gen iPhone with no local wi-fi network.) I did not notice any advertising during playback.
There are a massive number of shows from the CBS family of channels, including Showtime, the CW and even CNET TV—all those video reviews. You can create a feed with your favorite channels and shows, but it's actually pretty easy to get around if you don't have any preferences, thanks to a well designed interface.
The bummer for now is that though there are CSI, Gossip Girl and Trek full episodes, most shows aren't there yet. My guess is that it's just a matter of time before more come on board. Except Big Bang Theory, which apparently isn't down with the new tech. What I really want is Hulu, Netflix and Amazon VOD, but at some point, that's gonna start eating into Apple's iTunes revenue, and AT&T's data allowances. Viva la content revolution! [iTunes link via NYTimes]