Review: ivi TV, live-streaming broadcast TV over the Internet

ivi TV logo

ivi TV logoivi TV, appropriately located at ivi.tv, is an up-and-coming Internet-based TV company and application that runs on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer. ivi TV has partnered with over 25 (and growing) broadcast channels to bring viewers a range of live content for a monthly fee of $4.99.

Here’s our review of ivi TV.

Installation

Installation and setup was straightforward – download the lightweight app, and run the setup. The application launches very quickly. With the exception of a few crashes, it ran smoothly and without other issues.

Interface and Options

The interface itself is not loaded with too many buttons and options; after all it’s just TV. Without referring to any help, I just clicked around until I figured out what did what – TV guide, volume, and settings for video quality, etc. There is also an option to pause and rewind the playback a la DVRs. DVR recording is an optional $0.99/month.

ivi is still a work in progress as there are numerous features that only pull up a box that says “coming soon”, features such as ‘favorites’, ‘history’, ‘saved’, ‘pay-per-view’, and ‘on-demand’.

Playback and Quality

Changing channels took less than 10 seconds, but it was not as immediate as you’ll find on your TV or cable/satellite system. I found the playback surprisingly smooth and clear. However, it’s not a guarantee. If your bandwidth drops for whatever reason, you’ll notice dropouts in the playback or the player may even resort to automatically dropping to a lower resolution/quality.

I was impressed at how well it scaled to go to a full-screen version, and on one of my 19″ monitors, it gave me quite a decently-size picture.

If you compare it to watching a YouTube video for example, the quality on that is consistent, whatever it may be, because YouTube isn’t streaming, whereas ivi is more akin to a live streaming event where you’re not usually going to go back if there was a drop in quality.

Conclusion

Sure it’s not traditional broadcast/cable TV, but at $4.99/month vs a cable bill that could easily run to $100 or more, it’s a bargain. The quality isn’t as good as a large-screen high-definition TV, or the size, but you do pay quite a lot more for those niceties. With the optional DVR service and the ability to save programs, ivi could also be a decent option for the programming that you can’t find on the Hulus and YouTubes of the world. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial at ivi.tv.

3 comments

  1. This is truly amazing! I had excellent quality, but I figured I'd ask about HD, their support said really soon, full 720p (they did say it will be a little extra). Great find and thank you very much for the tip! This was the missing piece for me to dump my cable television bill!

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