This is a post about Internet TV, and in particular streaming live TV. So therefore it’s not a post about:
It’s also not about streaming TV inside apps on Android or other smartphones, which is a post in itself.
There are basically two types of URL, ones that you can get to inside a browser and will launch inside a window on a webpage. A good source of these (there’s hundreds of channels) is at Lyngsat-Stream, and the other uses a streaming protocol and they can be viewed in Windows Media Player or a multimedia player like the Open Source UMPlayer, or inside some settop boxes like the Ultrapluses. Increasingly in the near future they’ll be viewable inside Smart-TVs. They are in protocols like rtmp or mms.
It’s not perfect, and sometimes they’ll skip, and sometimes the audio gets out of sync with the video, and they cost a lot of bandwidth, so if you or someone else uses your internet connection for something else at the same time (such as browsing or downloading a podcast on iTunes) then the TV viewing gets affected, but when it works properly its pretty cool. Double clicking on the UMPlayer window on my second (widescreen) monitor and I can get up to HD quality full screen TV, depending on the stream.
I take it some of the sources multicasting TV are legit and known to the broadcaster or are the broadcaster themselves, and others are opportunistic. Therefore the URLs aren’t obviously guaranteed to work from one day to the next (and as I write this the RTE and France 24 ones aren’t working). Set them up in the channel editor built into UMPlayer, like this:
You’ve got to wonder how long the local broadcasters are going to hold onto their current business model, when they are going to have to compete with TV from all around the world. Only rubbish bandwidth to the home is going to keep their businesses alive. And integrating streaming TV in with episode guides and being able to record for later viewing is a bit beyond the current state of things, things are only going to improve.
Here’s a very small selection of the hundreds, if not thousands of streams, in English that can be found:
West TV is a community channel from Perth, WA. http://wtvperth.com.au/watch
Similarly Triangle TV from Auckland, http://www.ecasttv.co.nz/channel_detail.php?program_id=&channel_id=190
Times Now for news from India at http://live.indiatimes.com/default.cms?timesnow=1
Try Chinese News in English with CNC World at http://www.cncworld.tv/live/
TV from Kenya in English: http://www.citizentv.co.ke/live
This one requires installing Silverlight. Its the University of Washington: http://www.uwtv.org/simulcast/
As well as the URLs in the Channel Editor graphic above some other interesting streams include:
Britain’s ITV1 at rtmp://rtsp-02.g-box.tv/live/itv1_8261.sdp
Obviously there is heaps and heaps of stuff out there. You’ve just got to go look.
If you find any interesting streams let me (and others) know by putting a comment on this post.