I'm probably not alone with my frustrations here, so let me outline my dilemma and see what you think. It's not a "shall I get Sky TV?" dilemma as that particular avenue isn't open to me. This is different.
I pay Virgin Media and, indirectly, Sky, a considerable amount of money for TV services every year. I am prepared to do this as I want access to a wide range of movies and TV shows and enjoy live sports coverage as a high definition experience.
I am also a terrible hypocrite when it comes to copyright piracy: I abhor the sellers of pirated movie DVDs who haunt the local supermarket carparks on a Saturday afternoon and would no sooner copy a pirate CD than I would shoplift one from HMV. But I think nothing of loaning my CDs and DVDs to friends, or recording a DVD from broadcast TV and giving it to a friend to watch. So I'm a hypocrite. Who isn't?
But I now find myself going a step further: downloading US TV series is something I am reluctantly doing (Boardwalk Empire) and considering further (with Treme, the forthcoming Game of Thrones, series of Mad Men and whatever else Sky secures on its exclusive Sky Atlantic) because the content providers offer me no legal alternative. Boardwalk is not on iTunes or disc, nor is there an HBO online service I can subscribe to in the UK, nor is Sky offering Atlantic to other platforms at an affordable price.
So if I want to see these series there is no alternative, and the temptation is too great, and I'm even prepared to watch a sub-HD quality recording to see the TV I want to see (a 500mb hour ain't HD, no matter what the source and label says).
I would much, much rather watch is legitimately but I have no choice but to turn to the darker side of BT downloads, and, until the programme makers and broadcast companies wake up and realise that their profits can only be short-term whilst they seemingly inadvertently encourage such activity, I'm not alone I'm sure.