Free high quality streaming of movies and TV-shows

Update: Easy-TV.org is not providing premium content anymore. And according to some reports the site is full of malware. So I have removed the links to this site.

Borat streaming

On this (link removed) page you can stream huge amounts of TV shows and Movies in very high quality (not compared to HD, but compared to other streaming services I have tried). TV-Shows on this page and Movies on this page. You have to install the DivX web plugin to make it work.

And, while you’re having fun – here’s another page with links to free premium content. Not the same quality, but lots of streams.

It’s the good old question of availability. If the content providers refuse to make their content available where people want it someone else will make it available. It will be interesting to see how long easy-TV.org last…

(Thanks, Lars Frelsøy)

Free high quality streaming of movies and TV-shows

Peer to peer set top box

Nuvio
AHT international are working on a series of set top boxes that includes both peer to peer streaming and downloading. It’s an interesting concept. Taking the price and hassle of a computer away from what you need to access content on the internet.

Nuviotv
They’re building boxes that run Tribler P2P software. In addition to this they are releasing the software for regular computers as well. You can download a beta of the Nuvio.tv software to have a look. The NuvioOne set top box will let you browse huge amounts of internet streaming channels.

NuvioOne
Some quick tech specs for the NuvioOne:

Embedded CPU with RISC core and integrated I/O and video decoder functions
Memory 32bits DDR2-333 64MB
Flash 32MB
Video Memory 64MB
Video Hardware Decoders for MPEG2, MPEG4 H.264, Microsoft VC1
Video Resolution up to 1920×1080 Video
Scaling and Picture in Picture
SCART with R/G/B, CVBS, Audio L/R
HDMI for high definition output (HDTV)
S/PDIF output in optical
Ethernet RJ45
USB 2.0
Infra Red Remote Control (keyboard optional)
Windows Media DRM
External power supply
Cables Scart, AC Power Cord

Without local storage you can only view streaming channels. But you can add external USB drives or an internal SATA drive to the box. Letting you have the box running and pulling content of the internet.

In addition to existing content they aim to include both premium content from production companies and will also let you start your own channel:

Your very own TV station

So you have your own blog? Nice, but why stop there? The NUVIO ONE allows you to broadcast in up to HDTV quality to all other NUVIO ONE worldwide. But that is not a limitation, the NUVIO ONE software client will also become available for a wide range of settop-boxes, Windows, Macintosh and Linux PCs.

Lots of big words, it will be interesting to see if they can deliver. I have given the Nuvio.TV software a quick run on my laptop. At this point I was able to watch huge amounts of mostly low quality internet streaming channels. And access local content on my computer. The P2P streaming open Tribler’s P2P streaming module, so that part seems like it is not really incorporated yet. Still, the Nuvio.TV software is already a very remote control- and TV-friendly frontend for internet streaming channels and local content.

NuvioTV Local

There’s something here that reminds me of the LamaBox. I really don’t know what happened to that one…

Ron Van Herk
Ron Van Herk, the CEO of AHT International showing one of the prototypes they are working on. This one is a complete set top box that is going to give you peer-to-peer streaming on your TV for 99 euro.

These are interesting technologies and might some day give you all that internet content without the price and time needed to keep a PC running…

Peer to peer set top box

All the TV you would ever want – on the internet

Traditional broadcasting has a huge advantage compared to internet streaming. The fact that you don’t have to care about how many people turn on their TV sets. When they start broadcasting the superbowl or popular content like the eurovision song contest in Europe more than 100 million people turn on and look at it. And still it’s no problem. That doesn’t overload the broadcasting systems.

With regular internet streaming that’s a problem. The load on your servers will increase with the amount of people tuning in to watch the stream. That system is completely useless if you want to serve 100 million people. That’s why the network operators are working on a system called multicast. A system that will allow more broadcast like streaming. Problem is that you need to replace a lot of hardware in the network to enable multicast. The transition to a multicast enabeled network takes time.

Acually, too much time. At least for the clever programmers out there that want high quality streaming now! They want a system that won’t break the server if it gets popular.

And it’s here already. It has been here for a while. Welcome peer-to-peer streaming. Simplified: Napster, Kazaa, BitTorrent and eMule, but for streaming instead of download. A system that gets stronger and gives you better quality as more and more people tune in. The more popular a stream is, the better it will be.

The most user friendly right now

As mentioned, it has been here for a while. But it has only been available for quite advanced users. For the last couple of months I have been playing around with a solution that is pretty user friendly and straight forward. Time to write something about it. TVUPlayer is an application that will give you a long list of TV channels that you can watch on your computer, or media center. It’s not 100% remote control friendly yet, and I haven’t seen a Windows Media Center Edition plugin but I guess it’s just a question of time before you’ll see frontends for peer-to-peer streaming in the different media center solutions out there. Here you can read a full review of TVUPlayer: TVUPlayer Review | Get potentially any TV Channel over the internet for free

TVUPlayer

And because TVUPlayer works so well I decided to install it on my Media Center Box and have a look at it on my 37 inch LCD. It is not at all as good as a proper digital broadcast, but not too bad. Absolutely an alternative if I want to reach some channels that my cable provider lack or a specific event that I want to follow but don’t want to pay for months of some kind of package.

To illustrate I fired up my Canon S2 IS and shot a quick video. You can watch it here, or download the WMV version. As you can see in the video, changing channels is not like zapping. It’s like waiting for 15 – 30 seconds…

http://flash.revver.com/player/1.0/player.swf

A couple of others

Another software that also is pretty user friendly and completely free is TVAnts. Mostly sports and mostly chinese. In general, this scene is dominated by sports and that seems reasonable. Sports is content that is best when it is enjoyed live. Personally I don’t care about sports, so I find TVUPlayer more interesting.

And if you find this interesting you should check out PPLive, PPStream, Sopcast, PPMate, Feidan and TvKoo as well. Here is a great page with download links and descriptions: Streamingstar. Over at AsiaPlate they have some good tutorials for setting up PPLive, PPStream, TVant, Sopcast, PCast, MySee, TVU and TvKoo.

TVAnts

The professional solutions

There are several companies that specialize in solutions to help content producers make peer-to-peer enhanced live streams. If you want to know more you can check out Octoshape, RawFlow and Abacast and Onion Networks.

Other interesting projects

Cybersky-IPTV is a product that was stopped, but are now back again. I haven’t had success when trying it, but it is under development and especially interesting because they cooperate with a media center solution called TVOON Media center. And, if you want to start broadcasting a peer-to-peer stream yourself Cybersky could be a good place to start. More on Cybersky: Peer-to-Peer Internet Television: Cybersky-TV

TVOON

And of course I have to mention the venice project. The guys behind KaaZaa and Skype are working on a peer-to-peer streaming solution…

Norwegian channels

And because 25% of my readers are Norwegian you might be interested in TvNoo. It only supports Internet Explorer and you might need to download a small file and upgrade your windows media player.

More recources

TVFree.org
Peercast
Afreeca

Paid and Subscription based services:
TV for us
Live online soccer
Free football
Footy live

Download of content

Subscribing and downloading of content is also evolving. Still better quality and no dropped frames because of network trouble. And for high definition content download is still the way to go. Check out Democracy Player and Videora. And of course the traditional BitTorrent clients. Azureus and BitComet are two good ones.

Thanks to Lars Frelsøy for valuable advice and huge amounts of info for this article!

All the TV you would ever want – on the internet

VIVIDAS – Amazing quality streaming

I haven’t had the time to go into this in detail, but was so impressed by my first little test that I just had to share it at once. Visit Vividas.com and click the Spider-man graphic to the right on the page. You might have to accept a small plugin to install on your computer and wait a couple of seconds.

When everything is up and running you’ll see full screen streaming video with a quality that is pretty amazing!

It would be interesting to know if this works on Mac and Linux as well. At least it played fine on my old laptop with Win XP and Firefox 2.0

Have fun.

VIVIDAS – Amazing quality streaming

Record your Pandora streaming radio

Pyrrha
With Pyrrha you can now record music from the streaming radio stations that you set up in Pandora.

Update:
You can still find the application here. (Thanks, Trevor)

The application gives you a simple interface where you log on to Pandora, select the channel you want to record and how long you want to record.

Pyrrha makes one 128 kbit MP3 of the recording and a playlist-file (PLS) with the correct song and artist names. Simple as that.

Have fun while it last.

Pyrrha used to have a page on their site with an explanation of the fact that it is legal to record your Pandora radio stations for personal use. For some reason this page has been removed. When I tried Pyrrha for the first time it was a trial, and Pyrrha had a page where you could purchase the full version.

Right now the information on the Pyrrha site is very limited and for me it seems like the version 1.0.1 of their application is a fully working free version.

Update:
I got this very good answer from Pyrrha:

Unfortunately after pursuing legal council it came to our attention that we could incur legal liability if we charged for this type of application. In light of this information we have decided to release the application for free to the community to enjoy. As a part of this release we also hope to obtain feedback from the Pandora.com user community with their reactions and thoughts on the legality and usefulness of such an application. If the community deems this type of application valuable we would encourage the community to email Pandora.com with their thoughts.

Additionally we are attempting to provide small improvements to the current application and will take into account your suggestions in regard to duration control and login credential saving. We are also looking for feedback from the community and would love submissions for feature enhancements. I must preface this however by the fact the we have chosen to not support the download of single mp3 files and consider this an abuse of the Pandora.com service.

We ultimately hope that our application will bring additional attention to the Pandora.com service and the experience it can provide users outside of the web browser. We will also attempt to reintroduce a legal disclaimer about the use of Pyrrha. One point to note is that we are attempting to distance ourselves from the moniker “podcast” because this could convey the distribution of copyright materials from the Pandora.com service which we obviously discourage.

Record your Pandora streaming radio

The celebrity oystercatcher

Oystercatcher
If you are an oystercatcher and decides to place your nest on top of the science building of the university of Bergen you are up for some fame. A pair of oystercachers has decided that this is a good idea. They have been there several years and the very scientific people at the university distributed the hatching through a web cam last year. New this year is high quality live video streaming.

Due to the very long days during the Norwegian summer you will get quite nice shots even late evenings and early mornings. The picture in this article is from 10:42 PM.

The students and the people working at the university are serious about this, so both the webcam snapshot quality and the video streaming are of very high quality.

The eggs are estimated to hatch in the end of May / beginning of June. You’ll have to be there frequently because the kids leave their nest after a couple of days.

Link to the main page with web cam and instructions for the live streaming (english).

Link to a Norwegian article about the show.

Link to the wikipedia entry for oystercatcher

The live streaming is available on all platforms through the free VLC media player. Both as multicast and as unicast.

Digg this story here.

(Thanks to my mother for pointing me to this. Yes, my retired mother! Is that cool or what?)

The celebrity oystercatcher