There are plenty of sites where you can watch live television, and we’ve covered a whole lot of them here at MakeUseOf. A while back, Aibek posted a list of 7 sites where you could find TV shows and Mark covered the popular desktop app Livestation, where you can find just about any news channel you’d want. More recently, I reviewed a few more tools you can use to watch TV on your computer, and then of course there’s the popular Boxee option that Justin recently wrote about.
Now with all of those options to choose from, you would think that letting go of cable would be easy. The problem is that it’s hard to find a place to offers live programming from the most popular channels like MTV, HBO, Disney or SyFy. With all of that said, I think that our cable connection has finally come to an end, because I’ve finally discovered iTVMediaPlayer.
Live Television Streams Of Popular Networks
The first thing you’ll notice when you install the iTVMediaPlayer desktop app is the list of available Live TV channels. I really thought that there had to be some catch because up until now I’ve never been able to find an online resource that provides instant access to high-quality channels that you’d actually want to watch.
The top 300 or so channels on this guide include all of those that were holding me back from canceling my cable subscription. While I could probably access each of these by going straight to the source website or ordering a device like Boxee that does it for you – I really wanted something simpler and cheaper. An app I could install on my PC or laptop and just play those popular channels on the PC screen or on the TV via HDMI. That’s exactly what the iTV Media Player does.
There are ads throughout, both when you first launch the app as well as when you launch a channel. However, since programming is entirely free, I’m not complaining!
I did notice that the ads are especially annoying in the small screen mode. For example, here I’m testing out the Disney channel to make sure it really offers real, live Disney programming. You’ll notice the banner across the bottom.
Testing the MTV channel, I noticed the same ad in small-screen mode, but when I switched to full screen mode all ads disappear and you’re watching 100% clear and free cable television. I was honestly blown away.
I love the idea that without ordering any hardware or buying any subscriptions, I can watch all of my favorite premium network channels that the cable company usually charges me a premium to watch.
Another concern a lot of people have with switching to either satellite or Internet TV watching is that you lose access to local news and weather stations. With iTV, that’s not the case. If you click on the link at the bottom of the guide that reads “Over 2,600 other channels…” you’ll discover content from all around the world.
I dug through to my region of the United States and found several local TV stations, both recorded and live.
This content is fed in through wwiTV and features a lot more than just TV stations. If you get sick of watching plain vanilla cable programming, in this section you can check out things like educational or religious broadcasts, shopping networks and even live webcams from all across the world.
You can also do Internet searches from right inside the iTV Media Player and use the built-in browser to search the web. This comes in handy when you’re viewing the player over HDMI on your TV set because you can switch between television watching and Internet browsing at the click of a button.
Then, if you’re tired of watching TV and you’re in the mood for some music, just click on the “Radio & Music” tab at the left side of the iTV home page and you’ll see the iHeartRadio player that’s embedded into iTV. This embedded player lets you choose from hundreds of radio stations. To search for local ones, just type in your zip code. You can also find music videos by artist or song and watch full-length music videos for free.
iTV Media Player came along at just the right time, because I didn’t think I’d ever get up the nerve to call my cable company and cut the cord. But now, I’m finally taking the plunge and entering into the world of Internet TV programming, spoon-fed by the ease and convenience of iTV.
Have you ever used iTV? What do you think? Are there other resources where you like to watch TV online? Share your insight in the comments section below.