Now that you saw the shower of awards Emmys and Golden Globes heaped upon it, heard all the buzz from your friends and read about all the record-setting ratings, NOW you're curious about "Downton Abbey". Or, you loved the series and want to re-watch the seven episodes.
Except the season is over, and PBS doesn't rerun its shows ad infinitum (or ad nauseam, depending on your POV) the way HBO, Showtime and Starz do.
Well, you could spring for the Season 2 "Downton Abbey" Blu-ray box set for $50 ($25 on Amazon). Or you can download the PBS iPad app and see the whole second season – all the episodes for free. Not even any pledge drive interruptions.
Unfortunately, Season 1 of "Downton Abbey" isn't available on the free PBS app. But you can buy the original seven episodes on your iPad through iTunes for just $15, more than half the price of the Blu-ray box set, or watch it on Netflix, via its iPad app, if you're a subscriber.
And if you have Apple TV, you can wireless beam all the episodes from your iPad to your big screen HDTV and watch the series, and all the PBS content, the way everyone else did.
But wait, there's more
PBS is more than just the Grantham girls, the Crawleys, and the downstairs drama. Personally, I'm a huge fan of "American Experience" and "American Masters," and can't wait for the new season of "Sherlock" to begin in May – fortunately, three of last season's episodes can be seen on the app.
The app is cleanly laid out, although I would have liked text identification labels rather than icons down the left-hand side of the app: featured programming with access to previews and access to primetime episodes, a "what's on" calendar for the national PBS broadcasts as well as for your local PBS stations, a grid with access to all currently-airing programs, and a "favorites" section for quick access to your most often-watched programs (you can create a free account to access exclusive content and features by supplying your name and email address).
The PBS app doesn't need a pledge drive. After wallowing in all the wonderful free content, you'll want to hit the "Donate" button on the app voluntarily.