Ivan Askwith has written an interesting article on how TV downloads will change the way TV works. As someone who has recently taken to the freedom a PVR allows for control and rescheduling of TV programmes I can certainly see what he's saying. I am also one of the people who bought Firefly on DVD, a series I never got to see on terrestrial TV and which was cancelled after the first series. Something like Firefly could happily have continued if TV downloads were available, hell, make the whole series subscription and they'd raise more than enough to release a second series, fans were clamoring for it, it was only the TV execs who didn't see it.
I rarely watch TV when it's broadcast, not that I watch a vast amount of TV anymore, so downloads make perfect sense to me. You could either run it as a download only series, broadcast it and allow downloads a day or so later, have longer cuts, alternative stories, you could have alternative soundtracks with crew commentary, the possibilities are endless. TV companies could make money from their old shows by allowing them to be downloaded. We need never see a TV advert again. Although they could offer free downloads if we promise to sit through 10 minutes of adverts, which the advertisers would need to be top dollar for.
It also brings in the possibility of something on a much larger scale. Take hit series Lost, it features a lot of different characters who all have their time in the limelight and their impact on the plot. What if you had a series of episodes that allowed you to focus on one particular character all the way through, follow their entire story? Instead of having 20 episodes in total you could have 20 episodes per person, in a show with 10 people you're talking about 200 episodes. Audiences get a more in-depth look at the characters, writers get more time to develop them and TV companies make even more money, everyone's a winner.