Internet TV Is Not Enough

key review info
application features
  • Attractive, intuitive and complete new design of program.
  • (10 more, see all...)

A lot of comfort came with increased Internet speeds. Lots of users are grateful for the investments in the infrastructure back in the 90s. Videos are all over the Internet and there are fewer and fewer websites that do not contain at least a small animation or video element.

Back in the days, you had to have a superior bandwidth for the privilege of viewing such pages in a reasonable amount of time. The high speeds nowadays make this almost a trifle. Video optimization for the Internet together with a good pipe led to a huge development of the web environment.

TV and radio could not stay out of this deal and built themselves a place on the web as well. Radio and TV have also benefited from Internet development and now you can watch your favorite show directly on your monitor. A little buffering at the beginning and on with the show.

Online Live TV sheds a new light on video streaming. The software combines the four basic channels via which entertainment is delivered to us: TV, radio and games. All three of them are incorporated into one single, easy to use tool. Its price is about $34 and the testing is hindered only by the fact that not all the TV channels are working. Other than this, there is also a 30 days trial period, but that is not going to affect the proper evaluation of the application.

The interface is nice and catchy. The dynamic menu displayed at the top of the video window betrays the features of the application. Unlike other Internet TV players out there, Online Live brings you a movies channel, a games section and can also be used as a video player for the local files. All of them are located in Media Guide mode of the software.

Unfortunately, some of the most precious features are disabled. That means that you can only peruse the information appended for each movie as the option is restricted in trial version. The same is available for TV channels like HBO or the Baseball channel or some of the advertised TV shows. But just to give you a tease, the software displays the poster for the show or movie and makes a brief description of the item.

The number of TV and radio channels is overwhelming: over 3600 free Internet TV stations with the possibility of adding some more. Among the entertainment elements available, there are cartoons, comedy videos, movie trailers, about 250 full movies from 2006 and 2007, music videos and online flash games.

Searching through this entire database would be infernal if it wasn't for the search tool incorporated in the application. The instrument is quite rudimentary as it does not provide you with any search criteria to choose from, but it does its job well and will display a list of results for you to select the one you want. However, when the query causes multiple results to be displayed, it is a bit difficult to elect the one you need as radios and TV channels are differentiated only by their icons.

As I said before, watching some of the stations is restricted in the trial version. But I managed to find some good ones that worked. The quality of the transmission is not dependent on the software. But if the majority of them are not streamed OK then this reflects on the quality of the application. And I must say that taking a peep at the Animal Planet channel left me a bit disappointed. As you can see from the screenshots, the resolution is small and the image seems quite clear, but when viewing in full screen mode the picture was blurry and poor.

Not all the stations are so, but you could say that there are quite a few of them. The promises are great, but if the free stations have poor quality, then what are the odds for the ones unavailable to have a better view? I guess you will have to take that chance if you are really into the application.

The same question applies for the movies (all of them are restricted) and if you come to think of it, a 20 minutes preview for all the items would have been a much better idea than restricting a great deal of them.

During our testing, the Local Media feature refused to comply to our wish of playing a simple AVI or MPEG file in the application, just to prove us that this capability indeed works. I could not find any "Open" button so trying a drag and drop operation was the next step. Needless to say that the result was the same. The last option available was to associate the AVI and MPG files with the application, but I gave up when this did not work either.

The parental control feature of the program is limited to blocking the adult content which is decided in advance by the developer. You have no say on this one. Wouldn't a password for the entire application have been better? Makes you wonder if the idea of adult content of the developer matches yours.

The options provided by Online TV Live permit you a little tweaking of the application to your benefit. Thus, you can provide the Internet connection speed yourself or let the software detect it for you. Also, the buffering time can also be changed to whatever value you consider (you should take into consideration the Internet speed, though). For best performance video acceleration, a slider should be dragged to the max and if you want to tune it some more, take a peek at the advanced settings.

If you are hiding behind a proxy, make sure you provide the necessary details in Network area. Otherwise, you may dismiss the application as non-working.

All in all, the software makes lots of promises, but only few of them have a solid base. From what I saw in the channel list there are some interesting stations there that deserve a try.

The Good

Lots of channels in the list (both TV and radio) plus a ton of other elements to kill your time with. Movies are also streamed to your desktop, and you can even download music videos.

The interface is nice and intuitive and it should not give you a hard time at all. The flexibility of the application allows you to add your own stations in the list.

The Bad

The software did not act like a regular video player despite all my efforts. Also, based on the quality of the available channels there is no proof that once the full version is bought the restricted stations will provide a better viewing. Not all of them have poor quality, but most of them do, and this reflects on the entire software.

The Search tool should definitely get some search criteria to choose from.

The Truth

I am just curious on the quality of the movies, as some of them are quite new and appealing. Anyway, bottom line is that the video player for loading local media is non-functional, there are many uncertainties regarding the image quality, and the price is too much.

On the other hand, some of the channels have a pretty good image quality, but they have nothing interesting to show. Free music videos sounds great until you take a look inside and see that there aren't too many videos available.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 5
features 3
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3

final rating 3
Editor's review