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Get a TV Show Season Pass

Earlier, I mentioned that you might not subscribe to cable or satellite TV service. Although for lots of people that idea sounds unthinkable, several of my friends prefer to get their television using the iTunes à la carte model.

But while you can buy episodes individually, it's easier and less expensive to purchase a show's Season Pass. For about $35 (depending on the show), you can download all episodes in a show's season—including ones that haven't yet aired. Each new episode appears on iTunes the day after it's broadcast.

To purchase a season pass, navigate to the show you want and click the Buy/Add Season Pass button. When a new episode appears, Apple sends an email notifying you that it's available. Choose Check for Purchases from the Store menu, or sign in to your account and click the Manage Passes button, to download the latest.

To bypass that step, go to the iTunes Preferences, click the Store tab, and enable "Automatically download prepurchased content." iTunes will regularly check to see if any new episodes are available for your shows and download them in the background.

Get a TV Show Multi–Pass

The Season Pass is good for shows with weekly episodes, but what if you want to catch every episode of a daily show, such as The Colbert Report? A Multi–Pass gives you the latest episode plus the next 15.

You also have the option to turn on auto–renewal, in which case your credit card will be charged for the next 16 episodes once you've reached the end of your previous Multi–Pass collection.

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