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The random endorsement: TV streamings apps like TvAnts

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A rather self-serving ENDORSEMENT for your reading misery today. I don’t know what I was doing last week, but records indicate I didn’t ENDORSE anything! At all! I don’t know how you all survived, or why Drudge didn’t put the siren up announcing my oversight, but here we are.

Right. So today I’m ENDORSING applications like TvAnts, TVU Player, PPMate and Sopcast. They’re all Windows apps, which, when properly configured (read: opened), allow you to watch streaming live TV. Nearest I can tell, it’s primarily used for sports that aren’t popular in the United States of America, meaning you’ll find plenty of soccer on there. Hence, my interest in it. In fact, if you’re in the mood to be completely annoyed, follow me on Twitter on Champions League days. There you’ll find plenty of mindless updates like “Fernando Torres~!” and “Ronaldo’s a wanker.” It’s all very classy and all very exciting.

So how exactly do these applications work, no one asks? I don’t know. Like, I don’t know how they work at all. I think they’re P2P-based? Sounds good to me! But that doesn’t answer the question of where these channels come from. Like, how am I able to watch GolTV on Saturdays to see FC Barcelona lose the plot? Is GolTV officially broadcasting on TVU Player? Is some kid in some town in some country hooking his cable box up to his computer, then placing the channel online for all of us jerks to watch? ::Shrugs shoulders::

How they work is irrelevant, or at lest I have just deemed it so. That’s the kind of power I wield here.

But at least let me tell you how I use them, and why I think they’re worth checking out.

First, many of these programs are developed in China. That probably means they’re incredibly illegal. No, not just illegal, but incredibly illegal. Mind the gap.

So you download the programs—they all do pretty much the same thing, but sometimes you’ll find that certain channels are only broadcast on certain programs, so your best bet is to collect ‘em all—and install ‘em. It should just be a matter of clicking “next->next->next->OK.” No restarting or anything required, which is amazing for Windows.

Now you need links. These programs usually are associated with their own protocol of sorts. I use the term “protocol” incorrectly, but I can’t think of any other way to phrase it. Remember in the early 2000s when you used eDonkey? You had to go to sites like ShareReactor to grab ed2k:// links. Same thing with these programs. Since I’m mainly, if not wholly, interested in watching soccer on channels I don’t have, I use this Web site, footballstreaming.info. Every match day you’ll find links to all the big games in a variety of languages for a variety of programs. GolTV, the cable channel that broadcasts La Liga (and Time Warner doesn’t carry), only seems to be available on TVU. Sometimes a game will only be available with commentary in a dead language like French, so you’ll either have to put up with it or not. How terribly eloquent: you’ll either have to put up with it or not. Shambolic.

The quality is, uh, acceptable. I’d say it’s right around the YouTube level. Don’t go expecting Hulu or anything on these applications because you’re in for a surprise if you do. But—but!—if you’re in the office or in class and don’t want to merely follow the Guardian’s text commentary (it’s actually quite good, in its defense) and have a Windows laptop or use Bootcamp or Parallels with your MacBook, give ‘em a try. I know you’ll have a great time!

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