It started with an email and continued with pictures, music and video. Yes, the Internet comprises them all. But we are not satisfied with getting yesterday's news. We all want real time connections and live shows to watch. Thanks to Internet TV, this and even more is now possible. What could be more? Take a look at Joost
and you'll catch my drift.
With the increasing speeds of the Internet, getting access to the millions of radio and TV stations is a cinch. In the past, you needed TV cards and cable TV or antenna in order to watch the desired show. However, the Internet and software developers have provided other pleasant surprises and supplied softwares to view the shows with. TV cards are definitely obsolete now and the shows are streamed online from server to server until the end-user.
Free Internet TV has been on the market for some time now and the number of users just keeps on growing. The application has two prices in order to suit your needs. You can opt for the silver subscription ($19.95) which gives you full access to all TV stations and updates for one year, or choose the $29.95 one time gold subscription.
The trial version's limitations do not affect testing the software for a period of 14 days. However, you will feel somewhat bothered by the 5-minute play restriction while watching the shows. Every 5 minutes, the TV program will be interrupted for you to be reminded of using the trial version of the software.
The interface is extremely easy to use and there are no extra settings to take care of. No video or audio adjustments, no fine-tuning for the TV channel, nothing.
Simply choose from one of the 1600 TV channels available and double click it. To make the most of the application you should have installed on the computer both Windows Media Player and Real Media Player. Some of the channels may not work otherwise.
In File menu, there are the Preferences options that cover the general configuration of the application and security issues. Security is simply applying a password to launching the software so that only authorized persons can use it (comes in handy if your children are using the computer and you do not want them to have full access to the TV channels).
The channels are displayed in the right hand side of the application window and are grouped alphabetically by countries. The downside is that you have a huge list of channels and finding a certain one manually is quite out of hand. Fortunately, Free Internet TV has an automatic search function allowing you to filter the channels by country or by genre.
Changing the looks of the application window is possible due to the 9 skins included in the software. I would not advise going online for more themes, as when I tried that my antivirus yelled like a maniac alerting me of malware.
In the right hand corner of the application window, there is the Preview window. This way you can get a hint at the quality of the transmission if you can't guess it from the kilobyte speed appended for each TV channel. The advantage of this window is that it is not subject to the 5-minute watch limitation.
Going fullscreen without any channel playing results in the software displaying a message saying "Catastrophic failure". That is pretty funny, as there is no catastrophe on the way so no need to worry.
The list of channels is impressive. There are 1600 from all over the globe and I have not encountered one that would not play. Of course, the quality depends entirely on the stream speed so if you find channels displaying improperly that is not the fault of the application.
To get a clue on the channels, it's enough to say that for the UK there are about 70 channels, among which BBC (News, Business, Click, Weather, Panorama Parliament etc.), for USA there are ABC News, Baseball Channel, C-SPAN, ESPN etc. (no FOX or NBC unfortunately).The Good
The impressive list of channels should definitely sound appealing enough. And not all of them are crap. Even for smaller countries, there are pretty interesting channels (if only I understood a thing or two).
It needs absolutely no configuration and it is extremely easy to use. All you have to set is what the application should show when it launches and the security.
Favorites section for the channels is also available and you can add as many TV channels as you want right there.The Bad
On Vista, there were some troubles. Sliding the volume up in the Preview window is not done with ease and the same is available for resizing the application window.
The 5-minute interruption is quite a nag, but there is nothing you can do about it, except from buying the application.The Truth
Great channels and quite many. There are aspects to take care of, like that "Catastrophic failure" message or making it easier for the user to move up and down (you need a good grip on the volume slider and it usually works fine if you press twice on it).
Considering that there are free applications providing the same services and even more, I would say that the price is not quite justifiable, but that's just me. You have 14 days to try it for yourselves and decide.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: