Web TV Streaming

The end of February is fast approaching and I spent much of the month roaming the web discovering many new offerings. The BBC lauched its iplayer service at Christmas and I have on the odd occasion used it to catch up on a missed TV show. Given the choice however I like to keep a week ahead with some TV shows by watching the follow on episode on the extra digital channels. This can pose a problem for me as I tend to spend most of my evenings during the week in a Travelodge somewhere in the UK, sadly they don’t do BBC 3 and rarely anything more than 4 Terrestrial Channels. Now thats the background done with; on with the reason for this entry.

Towards the end of last week I noticed a trailer plugging the relaunch of BBC 3. Included as part of the relaunch was a Beta version of BBC3’s Live Arena, a flash based live stream of BBC 3 over the net. I had a quick try at home whilst grabbing a torrent of Zenwalk Linux. The performance seemed poor and the stream kept on buffering. Roll on to today, I am sitting in my Travelodge room and have just finished watching Torchwood on BBC 2. The post program announcements plug the fact the next episode is on BBC 3 causing me to remember the live stream. I decided to give it a shot and see if it worked any better.

The size of the streamed video is limited at the moment but is still a detailed image, there are some missing frames and this causes faces to suddenly change direction. On the whole the video was quite watchable. In a show with fewer cut shots and more panning shots the quality will be better (due to how the video is encoded). I was pleased with the result, the audio i had no problem at all with. I’m not sure of its surround capabilities but a good quality stereo signal was delivered. I was so impressed with the operation I continued to watch the following program too, just because I could.

I’d certainly recommend giving it a go if only to try it out. You could just end up like me using it when you are away from home and your set top box.

Matt, you are sad.