Open up a QuickTime Player window and imagine, just imagine (‘cause that’s about all you can do) that the QT Player is your window to every TV channel, every video, music video, or TV program you could think of. All of it downloadable and viewable on your Mac.
Well, that day will come. Maybe. Some day. Not yet.
Though the application came out last fall, I’m finally getting around to reviewing the $24 iTube for the Mac. Developer East Bay Technologies touts iTube as having 1,500 TV channels, and 2-million videos (don’t ask me what percent is P*O*R*N—it’s high).
What you get, assuming you’re on broadband or the office network, is a brushed aluminum window that looks a bit like QuickTime Player.
At the top is a Search field, similar to the Google field at the top of Safari. To the right is a drop down menu with various categories: Most Popular Stations, Daily/Weekly Broadcasts, Government, Music Video, Live Webcams, Religious, Talk/News, Entertainment, Science/Education.
iTube apparently uses plugins for videos and streams in QuickTime format, Windows Media format, and Real format. You can select stations and videos in all three, two, or just one, in a pop-out tray to the right of the window.
Other features include the ability to rate a selected “station” (I use that term loosely), add a station to your favorites, or connect to Usenet Flash (don’t bother).
In the middle of the iTube window is a screen which will hold the QuickTime (or Real or Windows Media) video. Below that are other options, such as Full Screen, Favorites, Start, and Stop.
iTube won’t require a PDF manual as the buttons are limited and self explanatory.
Now, down to the nitty gritty. Are there really 2-million P*O*R*N videos and 1,500 TV channels from all over the world?
I didn’t count them all but there’s plenty, for sure.
For example, the top pull-down menu is Most Popular Stations. 19 are listed, including the Adult Advisory from ITV Poland, BBC News from the UK, and 102.5 Radio Hitchannel from Italy.
Daily/Weekly Broadcasts has 82 statons. A bunch of BBC from all over, some stations from Canada, Greeze, Japan, Bosnia, Australia, Russia, Finland, and elsewhere.
Be warned that most channels are NOT in QuickTime. Real and Windows Media prevail in numbers.
I found 160 stations in the Government category. Surprisingly, some of these were interesting to watch, though my French is poor.
Live video web cams are always a treat and you’ll get your share with cams and streams from Singapore, Florida, Japan, Austria, NASA, including the notorious Vasalini’s ChickenCam: A live view of life in a chicken yard, by Nicky Vasalini.
Just wait until bandwidth increases and prices drop and home servers are the norm. “Hi, I’m Tera, and this is where I pee.”
There were 106 stations in the Music Video category, though not one was in QuickTime. Real rules on music videos. The selection is better on Apple’s iTunes Music Store in iTunes.
The Music/Entertainment category, as you’d expect, had the most stations with 447. They come from everywhere. Belgium, Florida, Greece, Italy, Japan, China, New York, Chile, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Aserbaijan, Turkey, Ireland, Libya, Latvia, and remarkably, the Dominican Republic. Go figure.
Religious stations are popular with 276 in the category. While it’s apparent that Christian stations dominate, there are plenty of Muslim stations, some from Korea and Japan and elsewhere.
Science/Education obviously has funding sufficient for servers and bandwidth and program development as the category had 170 TV stations (more video streams than “true TV stations”); a bunch of videos from NASA, University of Washington, and a few international locations.
The last TV/video category in the pull-down menu is Talk/News with 354 stations. Lots of BBC and Bloomberg, plenty of C-SPAN (you don’t see enough on cable TV?), a whole list of videos from IRIB, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
China, Thailand, Japan, Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Korean, Brazil, Russia, Hungary, Venezuela, Bosnia, and good old WAAY from Huntsville, Alabama show up on the list.
Oh, and AccuWeather, too.
In summary, iTube is very interesting, and a bit addictive, though turning it off and doing something actually productive wasn’t a challenge. The dearth of QuickTime videos was a surprise and a disappointment. Real’s quality was poor, at best. Windows Media is OK at higher bandwidth but no controls are provided.
Is iTube ready for “prime time?” Not really, though many “channels” are certainly interesting to view, and you will get a look at life on the tube that’s different than Desperate Housewives, MTV, or Spike.
QuickTime rules when it comes to MPEGs, though.
Searching for Internet videos was, uh, well, F*U*N. Do a simple search for TERA to see what’s there. I counted 147 videos. Quite a few are in the aforementioned QuickTime format (default viewer for MPEGs on my Mac).
Some of them, are, uh, quite revealing.
Click Here for a look at the few stars awarded on MacUpdate, and a download link. iTube crashed a couple of times during heavy use. The applications is at version 1.3, is simple to operate and worked OK, though the biggest disappointment is probably going to be the 1,500 TV channels, and lack of full-length TV shows or movies.
BitTorrent it’s not.