Review: LiveStation (more live TV on your PC)

LiveStation, p2p video live TVSimilar to Zattoo (see our recent review), LiveStation utilizes peer-to-peer technology to deliverer live TV to a user’s PC. The software has been developed by UK startup, Skinkers, and is in-part based on technology licensed from Microsoft Research (who get a small amount of equity in return). But, perhaps most notably, the front-end for LiveStation is powered by Microsoft’s newly launched Flash-competitor, Silverlight.

LiveStation - more live TV on your PC

LiveStation is currently running as a limited Beta (PC-only) and after several weeks waiting, I was finally able to get a look-in earlier today.

LiveStation, Silverlight p2p SkinkersAs already mentioned, LiveStation is designed to stream live television over the net, meaning that it competes more with Zattoo, as apposed to other Internet TV startups such as Joost or Babelgum, both of whom offer an on-demand experience. It’s also clear — based on very limited content — that LiveStation is at the early stage of showcasing their technology rather than launching to the public. While I’m not privy to any on-going content negotiations, the only currently available channel is a test stream of the BBC’s News24.

See also: Video: Livestation demos live Internet TV on iPhone and iPod touch

LiveStation’s picture quality is good, but doesn’t quite cut it running at full-screen. Doing a side-by-side comparison with Zattoo and Joost, the later faired the best, with Zattoo also slightly better than LiveStation. This suggests to me that the application is more suited to being viewed in one window on your PC while you multi-task in another. On the upside, I experienced virtually no buffering whatsoever, and if there was any, it was masked by a short pre-roll advertisement. Additionally, sound quality was excellent.

LiveStation - more live TV on your PC

The UI for LiveStation is slick, making use of translucent overlays not dissimilar to Joost. If LiveStation is to be a showcase for Silverlight’s potential, it does a pretty good job.

LiveStation, p2p video live TV

Verdict

LiveStation’s emphasis on streaming of live rather than on-demand TV, keeps it from competing head-on with Joost and Babelgum (both of which are extremely well funded). However, as noted, others such as Zattoo are tackling the same problem as LiveStation. In the end, as ever, content will be king. And while we don’t yet know how many different Internet TV applications a user will welcome onto their desktop, it’s likely there’s room for at least one live and one on-demand offering.

(For a close look at LiveStation, check out this video demonstration.)

More last100 p2p Internet TV coverage

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

14 Responses to “Review: LiveStation (more live TV on your PC)”

  1. Mack D. Male says:

    Good initial review! I look forward to giving it a shot.

  2. wan says:

    watch tv

  3. Klian says:

    Well… I think that Microsoft wont release a Mac version :(

  4. Steve O'Hear says:

    @Klian

    There will be a Mac version eventually, from what I heard. The application is built on Microsoft’s Silverlight technology which runs on multiple platforms.

  5. Jose Lopez says:

    A free option is to watch myJose.TV

  6. Joe Connor says:

    Livestation is now available for Mac, both PowerPC and Intel processors. Works on OSX Tiger and Leopard. The Mac version does not use Silverlight.

    http://www.livestation.com/mac

    Enjoy

  7. Zattoo is not bad, I hope they will expand to users from other countries. But
    picture quality is everything this is why HDTV is sweeping the nation. Once Joost
    improves it’s picture quality I’ll jump on board.

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