TV over Internet - Reviews of Software Packages
TV over broadband Internet (IPTV) is set to be the next 'big thing' in UK broadcasting, with the main TV broadcasters supplying "on demand" TV content to your TV or PC. This page takes a look at the various services that are available, or soon will be...
We're beginning to see a number of new services coming online that offer video-on-demand and TV programmes over the Internet using broadband - here are some of the offerings:
We've also heard of a couple of software applications that allow you to watch TV over a broadband Internet connection, with shows streamed from around the world. If you're keen to try, take a look at PCShowBuzz or NetSpan. Most of the TV channels available over broadband can be accessed without these software applications, so before buying, you may want to visit www.webtvlist.com for a list of stations freely available.
This software application can be downloaded for under £20, and provides access over broadband to over 1000 channels of worldwide TV. You don't need extra hardware, and there are no subscription costs.
Mini-review: We've now received a copy of the PCShowBuzz application for review. PCShowBuzz is essentially this is a manager for the playback of streaming video files over the Internet. You can select channels by country, genre, language or station type. As well as choosing from the pre-loaded channels for various countries around the world, you can add and modify channels to add addresses of any other streaming TV channel you're interested in.
The application itself is pretty usable - it's easy to navigate and seems pretty stable. It uses the PC's existing Internet connection to watch and streams, and also lets you schedule a recording, search for a channel, and view in full-screen mode.
Unfortunately, where the whole concept begins to break down, is with the actual TV content available. Although there are hundreds of items listed in the pre-populated content selector, we struggled to find any actual live streaming TV content... most of what we found consisted of prerecorded show extracts, some quite out-of-date. The quality of the video feeds also varied quite dramatically, and some were almost unwatchable. The version we reviewed, (v1.0 Build 109), offered 2233 different content channels, which was made up of: 54 general channels, 746 TV channels, 4 webcasts, 55 recorded channels and 1374 video clips.
To be fair to the software vendor, the problem with the content is nothing to do with the application itself, which performed well, but the amount of content available - it relies on combining whatever free streaming video content is available online, and presenting it in a usable format... if what's really available for free is as limited as it seems, then the promise of on-demand real-time TV viewing of stations from around the world... is a little way off yet.
Still, the app works well, and some of the available content does indeed give a flavour of what other countries are up to. Hopefully, as the quality of available online material increases, this could become a useful resource.
If you fancy giving PCShowBuzz a try, it's available for download from the following address: www.inklineglobal.com/products/tvo
- View TV - A selection of online streaming TV stations from around the world
- Internet TV Station Directory - Listings for Internet television channels from around the world.
- Webtvlist - a comprehensive list of online TV stations around the world
- On your PC - How to get TV and radio on your PC
- Internet TV - Pointers to online services