Yeah, I just admitted in my last TV post that I use BitTorrent (along w/Netflix and iTunes) to download TV shows. My justification is that they're shows I could be taping off broadcast channels and cutting the commercials out of (or fast-forwarding through) myself, or getting on Netflix as a whole season, anyway.
But I'm also looking for better alternatives. I got excited recently about Joost.com, offering online TV free-of-charge. Then I tried it out, and found that their software doesn't run on Power Macs or Linux, which is all we're running these days. Harumph. Of course, Joost's downside is that they won't let you FF through the commercials, which unless the commercials are highly tuned to my interests, and much more brief than the 20-min-per-hour of broadcast, I'll just go back to Netflix, iTunes or BitTorrent anyway.
The other alternative I keep hearing about is the combo of a-la-carte cable/satellite and PVR. I keep hearing that regulations or something prevent it from happening, and the current FCC guy is in favor of it, but I'm not really holding my breath, or certain that it would bring me back to the fold, either.
Anyway, none of my current three options are optimal. iTunes costs too much per episode, Netflix essentially makes you wait a year to watch a whole season at once, and BitTorrent isn't seamless or automatic enough (plus, I hate almost all of the tracker sites). What I'd love is a $20/month, commercial free, (peer-to-peer is acceptable, I suppose), DRM-free, merging of Joost and iTunes.
(Footnote: Miro is an open source Joost, with an expanding offering, but without the forced commercials, not much in the way of big-network offerings. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on, maybe.)