House of Cards: Netflix's Spacey series previewed in video

House of Cards is a streaming-only TV show -- is this the way telly is going? Learn more and hear from cast members in our video.

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House of Cards, the new TV show based on the classic BBC series of the same name, is two weeks away from landing on streaming service Netflix.

Every episode of the series, which stars Kevin Spacey, will be made available online simultaneously, and can only be viewed on Netflix. It's disruptive stuff, so hit play on the video above to learn more, and hear a few choice quotes from its creators and cast members.

To watch House of Cards, you'll need a Netflix subscription, which costs £6 per month, and a persistent Internet connection. That's the bad news, but the good news is that Netflix will be dumping all 13 hour-long episodes of the show onto its service at once, instead of pacing them out at a rate of one per week.

In other words, if you want to watch the whole first season in a day-long binge, you're free to do so -- you don't have to wait. It also goes live on the same day in the UK and US, as well as other countries, eliminating the frustrating wait Brits usually have to suffer for new telly.

The fact that Netflix outbid heavy-hitting networks AMC and HBO for the rights to the series is evidence that streaming services could soon be competing with established studios and TV channels on a regular basis.

Netflix is also fighting rival streaming service Lovefilm Instant, with a recent study revealing that both services are fighting for exclusivity , as hardly any TV shows and movies are available on both services. Netflix is already promising a second season of House of Cards, and also has exclusive rights to a new series of cult comedy Arrested Development , which will also have all its episodes available simultaneously.

Those episodes won't even need to be watched in order, as each instalment will show on-screen happenings from different perspectives.

The show's creator has described the bizarre format as a "very, very complex puzzle". That raises the prospect that in five years time not only will TV seasons be made available in their entirety online, but that some could use the medium to their advantage, ditching boring old beginning-to-end narratives in favour of something wholly more complex.

House of Cards is set to borrow heavily from the BBC original, which starred the late Ian Richardson as Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, who offers gleeful to-camera monologues that reveal his increasingly sinister motives as he blackmails and manipulates his way through Westminster. It's a tough act to follow, so it'll be fascinating to see whether Spacey and pals are up to the task.

Would you enjoy having immediate access to every episode of a series as soon as it was released, or is there an important social aspect to watching TV shows at the same time every week that we risk losing with online streaming? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

 

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