ivi.TV Review

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ivi.TV Company: ivi
Platform: Windows, Mac and Linux

Windows System Requirements: 800 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, 16-Bit Sound Card, Video Card with 64 MB VRAM, Broadband Internet Connection, Windows XP SP2 or more recent operating system

The future of television is now. Well... to be completely honest, the future of television is in the future, following a long series of complex economic and legal battles. Until that time comes, ivi.TV has a simple, elegant and functional way of viewing television over an internet connection.

Kyle Ackerman

Just about anyone with an internet connection and a remote interest in television has wondered, can I shed this unbelievably expensive cable bill and just watch television on my computer? ivi.TV is a streaming television service that allows you to stream a variety of television channels for $5 per month.

The ivi.TV service allows users within the United States to stream the main network broadcasts from stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, along with a variety of stations streaming Spanish-language programming. If you're looking for an easy way to catch a program or sporting event, ivi.TV lets you do it from your desktop. With stations in multiple markets and time zones, ivi.TV even gives you multiple opportunities to catch a show.

In a lot of ways, ivi.TV is like returning to the old days of television before time-shifting of programming became a common luxury. You can watch any show, but only when it airs. If you pay an extra dollar per month, you gain a limited ability to pause and rewind, but that's extremely limited. The software doesn't support any sort of recording or time-shifting. You watch television programs when they're on, and that's it. Of course, while other internet services let you stream shows whenever you please, they often force you to wait a week or more for programming – ivi.TV lets you see it when it airs, including programs not posted online by their networks.

For ordinary programming, the interface is excellent. There is a well-integrated guide that makes it easy to find programming and change the channel to watch whatever catches your eye. It also does a great job of providing more detailed information on the current program. The quality is supposed to depend on download speed, but even with plenty of bandwidth and high-definition programming enabled, the image never approached the quality of an HD television signal.

Ultimately, ivi.TV is a great deal on a bare-bones product. For a minimal monthly fee, anyone can watch live television from their desktop. It's certainly worth the price, but that's all it is – live television, commercials and all. Personally, I'm surprised more content providers haven't signed on for ivi.TV. It's an inexpensive service that has internet television viewers watching commercials again, while tracking tons of viewership data. Unfortunately, without the ability to time-shift programs or watch more programming sources, it's hard to get excited about ivi.TV as anything other than a useful, if basic, utility.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on February 20, 2011 8:25 AM.

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