If you’re like me, you’ve been searching for a way to cut the umbilical cord tying you down to your television provider. Look at it this way, unless you live in an area where over the air digital television comes in flawlessly, which is rather rare, you probably have premium cable or satellite television, either of which will set you back a hefty monthly sum.
Enter a service like iTV Media Player which claims to give you free premium television on your computer, television, tablet and even smartphone. Is this claim verifiable?
In a word, no. And you could probably stop reading right here and go shop for something else but me? I’ll keep writing.
To begin with, the main claim (the being free part) is not entirely true as you’re made to pay a ‘one time fee’ of 25$ for the software download and then, just as you think you have access to many bonafide television channels like HBO, Showtime or The Discovery Channel, you are made to download Adobe Flash Player, a software that I try to avoid like the plague because it’s basically an open buffet sign for malware and spyware to come feast on your computer. This is appalling considering that everyone’s favorite browser (Chrome) has its own version of Flash embedded into it and it works not only quite well, but doesn’t ever bother you with updates, as they run behind the scenes when needed.
But since you’ve just dished out 25$ on a ‘free’ software you decide to make a backup of your computer, then download and install Flash Player as requested and just then, you discover that all the 25$ software does is provide an aggregate of a bunch of websites that might stream free content, such as Discovery Channel’s site where you can surely watch for free some (but certainly not all) of their programming, on demand and with plenty of commercial adverts.
Other sites, such as Hulu, seem to only be good to provide you with the following prompt:
Sure, that’s easily circumvented by using a proxy or VPN service but then you’re not only acting unlawfully (in Canada, Australia and most of Europe) but also the increasingly more inaccurate ‘free’ part of iTV’s claim becomes even less accurate as for either a decent VPN or proxy service you’re made to pay between 5$~12$/month.
Keep in mind that iTV’s own advertisement makes the claim to give access to over 200.000 premium channels from all across the world. Premium? Really? I’ve painfully checked out the so called premium international channels, most of the UKs channels also end up dying with an “unavailable from outside the UK” prompt, but the ones that do work, are accessible through any Internet access by using anything web-enabled ranging from a Boxee Box, an old Pentium 2 PC or even one of those fancy Sony Web Alarm clocks.
Lastly I want to point out that the tablet and smartphone part of the sales pitch is also inaccurate as the main requirement for the platform to run (Flash player) is no longer supported on Android, and hasn’t been supported in iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch) since the late 2000s so that part doesn’t work either. Again, there is a workaround, for iOS there’s a Flash fix for jailbroken devices and on Android well, you could just use an old version of Android for a little while, until Flash is completely phased out in favor of HTML5.
Can I recommend this product? If it were truly free, as a third party repository of streaming television sites and on demand video, it might have had its worth. However, even at 10$ this would be overpriced as all it truly is, is a collection of Internet shortcuts gathered around a sad looking browser that integrates Flash.
Such a collection of shortcuts are available from any television forum, and in the cases of the forums, they are also usually free, and more reliable.
No. iTV. Just no. At 25$, you’re just ripping people off on false claims, smokes and mirrors.