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[Review] TVzation 2.0

Posted By Ashraf On March 14, 2009 @ 2:34 AM In Giveaway of the Day Reviews | 3 Comments

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for March 14, 2009:

TVzation 2.0 [1]

Version reviewed:

2.0

Software description as per GOTD:

TVzation allows you to watch hundreds of free Internet TV channels on your PC. It is designed to be easy to use and to give you an elegant viewing experience. TVzation has visually rich and animated graphical user interfaces. If you are interested in breaking news, entertainment, learning languages or foreign cultures then this is a perfect choice for you. News, Sports, Music, Weather, Religion and more internet TV channels all over the world!

You should download and install the latest drivers for your video card:

  • If you have NVIDIA® video card, follow this link to download most recent video drivers.
  • If you have ATI® video card, follow this link to download most recent video drivers.

Ashraf’s Note:

If you are on a laptop do not download any drivers from AMD or NVIDIA. For laptops you can only use video card drivers given to you by your laptop manufacturer, i.e. Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. (bar the third party video driver ‘hack’ websites). We can get into technicalities all day (there are exceptions + things are starting to move in the other direction) but as a general rule, you cannnot get laptop video card drivers via AMD or NVIDIA. Check your manufacturer’s website for the latest driver – it is the safest bet.

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Very nice looking interface.
  • You can browse channels by category and/or by country.
  • You can create a channel favorite list.
  • Has a “Recently Viewed” list of channels.
  • Has built in controls for volume and screen size.
  • Has quiet a big list of channels to select from.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Your graphics chip must have OpenGL 2.0 support.
  • Scrolling through all the channels can be a pain – no “Search” tool.
  • Uses way too many computer resources; very bulky program.
  • You can’t scroll through the “Recent channels” list without a mouse wheel.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Features as Described” value=”10″}It has TV channels. What more is there to say?
{/for}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”7″}Generally this program is easy to use but the fact that you must manually scroll through all the lists gets very annoying (no search tool).
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”3″}Sometimes the channels work, sometimes they don’t. Also, this program is very computer resource intensive.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”5″}Being limited in channels when compared to free online solutions and having high computer requirements/resource use, I don’t see this program being useful to many people.
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”5″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect my overall rating/verdict of the program in which I considered all the features and free alternatives.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tdown]
{/rw_verdict} –>

Registration and installation went fine. Just run Setup.exe.

TVzation is a program that allows you to watch TV channels online. It is a fairly simple and straightforward program; however it is very intensive on computer resources. TVzation is merely a frontend that links to many different TV channels from the Internet: if you spend the time and look, you will find most, if not all, the TV channels available on TVzation for free to watch on the Internet.

Note: OpenGL 2.0 must be supported by your graphics chip and you must have the proper driver installed to enable it. OpenGL 2.0 actually is supported by even IGP (integrated graphic chips) so that is not a big deal. However if you have problems running this software:

  • XP Users: Right click on your desktop -> Properties -> Settings -> Advanced. See what graphics chip you have. You can usually recognize it by the brand name listed next to it, i.e. “Intel”, “Nvidia”, “ATI”, etc.
  • Vista Users: Right click on your desktop -> Properties -> Display Settings. See what graphics chip you have. You can usually recognize it by the brand name listed next to it, i.e. “Intel”, “Nvidia”, “ATI”, etc.

For example:

2009-03-14_022739 [2]

Once you know what graphics chip you have, google it. Lets say you had a Intel GMA X3100. You would type in something like “GMA X3100 OpenGL support” or “GMA X3100 OpenGL drivers”. Keep looking until you find an answer (for anyone wondering. GMA X3100 does support OpenGL 2.0).

Okay so when you first run TVzation, the program will update/download the database from the developer’s website:

2009-03-14_000824 [3]

My question here is what happens when the developer’s website is down? Will you not be able to use TVzation? I guess we will find out when/if that happens.

Once you get pass the database update screen, this is what TVzation looks like:

2009-03-14_000836 [4]

In the above screenshot you see boxes with question marks in them because I took that screenshot before I viewed any channels. The boxes are actually place holders for your recently viewed channels. So once you a view a channel, it will be placed in a blue box. As you view new channels, the older ones get replaced. All in all, TVzation will display your 11 most recently viewed TV channels in the screen that you see above.

To my surprise, I found out that you can only scroll (i.e. move from left to right) through the “Recent Channels” list with a mouse wheel. I tried click + dragging, I tried all the buttons on my keyboard – nothing worked besides my mouse wheel. However you can click on channels without having to scroll to them. The only problem is the very left and right ones are almost unclickable unless you scroll to them.

In addition to displaying the “Recent Channels” you have buttons that will lead you to your favorites list or the whole channel list. If you click on “Favorites” you will see:

2009-03-14_014014 [5]

Just click on your favorite channel and hit play to start watching. If you are wondering how to add channels to the favorite list, you can only do that while watching a channel. I will show you a little later. BTW those are not my favorite channels…I just put them there for reviewing purposes :P

If you click on “Channels” you will be able to browse through all the channels available via this software:

2009-03-14_014319 [6]

As you can see, you can browse your channels by country, by category, or by both. Unfortunately, there is no “Search” tool with this program so you must manually scroll through all the lists. I feel sorry for the people that don’t have a mouse wheel – nothing but clicking on the little triangles or using my mouse wheel worked to scroll through the lists. The scrolling through was slow and painful I will tell you that. Anyway, the channels are displayed in the middle of your screen and you just select one and hit the “Play” button to start viewing it. If you see the following that means your channel is loading:

2009-03-14_014640 [7]

Some channels may never load. If a channel will load and the quality of that channel depends on the quality/reliably of the third party that is providing the feed for the channel. You see I tracked what this program was doing when playing channels and I found out that most (if not all) of the time all this program does is provide you with channels from third party source, i.e. channels you could watch for free if you searched for them. For example, as you see in the above screenshot, I am trying to watch “ABC 7 News Now”:

2009-03-14_015103 [8]

The channel is being displayed in TVzation. However, the channel is not being broadcast exclusively for TVzation. All TVzation is doing is showing me what I could view if I typed in mms://video.katvnewsnow.com/newsnow in my web browser (the channel would open up in Windows Media Player). Of course I have not tried all the channels so I can’t say for all of them, but so far all the channels I have tried are like this. Now I don’t know who is broadcasting the channels, such as “ABC 7 News Now”, but I do know that you can access them without ever downloading TVzation if you really wanted to view them (assuming you knew the correct URL). In more simple terms TVzation is just a program that has URLs of videos being broadcast on the Internet and provides them to you in a GUI fashion. Also, it is worth noting that not everyone around the world will receive the same quality feed of the same channel: how far you are geographically from the server that is broad casting the channel will add to or detract from your channel viewing experience.

Moving on, there are only a few more things I would like to point out about TVzation. When viewing a channel, you can add it to favorites by clicking on the heart located at the top left; you can make the channel full screen by clicking on the box located at the top right; you can control the volume via the dial in the bottom right; you can control the screen size of the channel (make it bigger or smaller) via the scroll bar at the bottom middle:

2009-03-14_020237 [9]

Also, do you notice the difference between the TV channels in this screenshot and one the right above it? With TVzation if you move your mouse over the program window while watching a channel, the channel will ‘darken’ and the options will appear. When you are idle or move tour mouse away from the program screen, the options will disappear and the movie will be focused upon.

Okay that is really all there is to know about how TVzation works. Now it is time to listen to my rant about TVzation. Is there really a need for such a “bling bling” software? Watching videos/TV on the computer is computer resource intensive enough – older computers have trouble keeping up. Why in the world did the developer have to make TVzation so graphically advanced? I mean yes it looks good, but is it practical? TVzation it self uses up a lot of computers resources; this just adds onto the load of a computer when viewing a channel. To put it into perspective, while watching “ABC 7 New Now”, TVzation is using ~45 MB of RAM and 45-55% CPU. Comparatively, when I play the same channel at the same resolution in Windows Media Player, WMP uses ~5-15% CPU and ~30MB of RAM. Get what I mean when I say the developer made TVzation way too bulky of a program?

That being said, I am giving TVzation a thumbs down. The fact that TVzation uses third party feeds did not surprise me at all, and frankly, I did list it as a con, but I really don’t care. The value of TVzation is supposed to be that it provides one central program for you to go to view TV channels; it really is not very important who is actually streaming/broadcasting the channels. However the fact that TVzation is so freaking bulky (it uses up a lot more computer resources then necessary) makes me really frown at this program. No way I recommend it when you can view the same channels online but place less load on your computer.

TVzation was tested on a laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

Note: I am not sure of the legal implications of viewing TV channels online from the following websites (i.e. I don’t know if it is legal or not). Use your own judgment/knowledge. I am merely informing you of links I know; you are responsible for what you watch/don’t watch. Also note that none of the following websites actually broadcast any of the channels themselves. Just like TVzation, they provide you channels via third party feeds.

wwiTV.com [10]

You can watch 3000+ TV channels from all around the world.

Medinalia.com [11]

Similar to wwiTV, on Medinalia you can watch many live TV channels (1.6k+) from all around the world. However you can also listen to radio channels on Medinalia.

Hulu.com [12]

This is the only website that  know is 100% legit. Hulu provides streams of TV shows and movies from networks such as NBC, FOX and more. It is only for USA subscribers.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}Big thumbs down for TVzation. I am not surprised the developer of TVzation does not broadcast all the channels himself but instead uses third party feeds available to the public on the Internet (that is just how it is done unless you are a big satellite or cable company). The problem is that the program is way too bulky to be used practically; it uses a lot more computer resources then necessary (see my numbers above). If you want to watch TV online, my suggestion would be to check out the three websites I listed above and then Google for other websites – you will find tons. However as I said, I am not sure of the legalities involved with watching certain TV channels online so use your best judgment; you are the only one responsible for what you watch/don’t watch. The only one I know for sure that is legit is Hulu.com.
{/rw_verdict2} –>


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URL to article: http://dottech.org/5420/review-tvzation-20/

URLs in this post:

[1] TVzation 2.0: http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/tvzation-20/

[2] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_022739.jpg

[3] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_000824.jpg

[4] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_000836.jpg

[5] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_014014.jpg

[6] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_014319.jpg

[7] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_014640.jpg

[8] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_015103.jpg

[9] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/2009-03-14_020237.jpg

[10] wwiTV.com: http://wwitv.com/portal.htm

[11] Medinalia.com: http://www.medinalia.com/

[12] Hulu.com: http://www.hulu.com/

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