Zattoo – Real TV On Your PC

The PC is becoming ever more ubiquitous – as well as games, you can receive radio channels, listen toZattoo Logo various types of music, watch DVDs or other movie files, upload, download, share and do all sorts of other things. Television, though, has always seemed a little trickier – at the very least you need a TV card of some description.

We have a main TV in the house, but with 4 people and differing requirements, scheduling time to watch can be difficult. Especially when one half of the household only want to watch at particular times. Watching on the PC or laptop is, of course, possible. But because I don’t watch more than one or two hours per week, even the relatively low cost of TV tuners for the PC is more than I want to pay. The BBC iPlayer goes some way to resolving the problem, but maybe I want to watch the programme when it’s on rather than after it’s finished.

Zattoo solves that problem – for me. It’s a free to download program which uses peer to peer sharing to stream channels over the internet. Sign up, give far fewer details than most other services, download the program and install it and you’re good to go. It uses Adobe Flash to handle the viewing, but otherwise is pretty self contained. There are a number of channels available for it – in the UK this means the 5 terrestrial channels and a number of satellite/cable only channels, effectively all the Freeview ones.

At the moment it’s limited to the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Spain but there are plans to expand the service to other countries. The quality is very clear (I ‘m on wireless so encounter some artifacting) on wired internet, though I wouldn’t suggest using it on dial up. In theory, the more people who sign up, the better the quality and speed. You can view in a small window, in a full size window or go to full screen without losing quality. You can run it on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac and on Linux (there are .deb files, .rpm files and a tarball available).  It should be noted that, in the UK at least, this is a fully legal service.

Earlier today I watched a very relaxing program on watercolours (click to enlarge):

Art Show on Zattoo

I will be following this application as it continues to grow and, hopefully, it will encompass the rest of the programming available on UK TV.

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Posted on 18 May, 2008, in Computer Stuff, Films, Stupidities and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. now thats what i have been looking for and needing. everytime i wanna watch a NBA game or soccer game theres always someone else hogging the TV. If this works, i will be 1 happy man! ill even get to see some baseball games! @_@

  2. Glad you find the post useful. 🙂

  3. very useful pose thanksss

  4. wow!great! thank’s for the post.

  5. Hmmm I will have to try. It seems everyone of these free internet tv things only shows me a bunch of channels I would never watch (even if they were the last tv shows on earth) So if it does work you are the best.

  6. I agree, but with Zattoo you get the terrestrial and some satellite channels. It’s effectively the freeview stuff on your PC.

  7. That is interesting I am going to have to look into this

  8. Sounds good and interesting!

  9. i coulda used this during all the NBA playoff games that i missed! >_<

  10. Free, you say? Now I’m interested! Watching TV on my PC is actually a lot easier than using a real TV, ha ha.

  11. Zattoo is a great program, one of the best out there.
    Stable streams with good picture quality.
    Here in Denmark I get the usual danish channels and some swedish and german too.
    Just for fun i cheated a little and used an UK proxy and was able to watch BBC and ITV. Though i have these channels already by satellite dish.
    I can really recommend Zattoo!
    Its sad to see many previous streaming programs shutdown.

  12. i just want it to watch swiss tv.. is that possible?

  13. hopefully it will work for most channels… and i wonder if u can access them from yer smart phone. that would be cool.

  14. How does this compare with that new box that NetFlix is offering? Or streaming it right through to the Xbox which they will also be offering?

    lisa@Gourmet Food Gift Basketss last blog post..70’s Decade Box Gift Basket – Classic 70’s Candy

  15. It sounds like this isn’t in the US yet? Does anyone know if it is coming here?

    connor@UB Funkeys’s last blog post..U.B. Funkeys – Vroom

  16. Well, according to this entry on the Zattoo blog: http://zattoo.com/en/blog/2007/10/and-heres-ann-arbor-celebrating-big-moment , there is an office in Ann Arbor. My guess though is that the licencing issues are a nightmare. They can probably licence, quite easily, US shows for US viewers, but to do the same for people in each European country and then to licence each channel in Europe for the US is a legal minefield. They are planning it/working on it, so I would suggest subscribing to the blog.

  17. I got a TV player on my computer and for certain reason it broke. Not sure if the program is missing a file but another alternative would just be fine.

  18. I think this is a great program. Best options to use.

  19. I’ve had very good experience with these web based programs when it comes to watching sports over the internet. You can find just about any game in any sport and the quality is usually good.

    • Absolutely. In a way, it shows how slow the mainstream television makers are to get with the internet. They all, now, have limited viewing of shows but no archive. You can’t dip back into a series you enjoyed and see the odd episode you missed without either buying the box set or downloading it illegally.

      Programs like Zattoo make it easier for the viewers to see the shows they want to watch when they are on, but we need some way to legally watch the back catalogues.

  20. Actually if we think of the computer as a work tool, then TV is not really a must have in my computer so as to make my life better. Sorry but this is my opinion.

    • I agree. On my work PC I don’t have any TV watching capability at all. My home computer however is a different matter….

  21. it´s true, main stream television have lost the boat for the moment, every tv in the world should have their internet channel and a pay per view content already in place…instead…

  22. I purchased a Satellite TV for PC a few months ago. Technically, it worked OK.

    The problem was that only a few channels were streaming live. It was basically Al Jazeera you could get. The movies would not work. Most of the main news channels were canned recordings.

    Does Zatoo offer many real live channels to watch? I would be interested in sports and news.

    • It depends on where you are in the world. In the UK we get the terrestrial channels and some satellite/cable channels. All I can say is go to the site and see what’s on offer.

  23. Really nice post. I use to capture video streaming with ffmpeg for those who doesn’t know that free program on linux but it works on windows too. FOr those who might be interested by this program: http://www.ffmpeg.org/

  24. Do you have to sign up for a TV service or it's 100% free? Would it be real TV or 80% of advertising? Good questions hah?

  25. The new Pc's including a TV sofware really make people think if Flat TV's are necesary or not.

  26. Even I have a same issue at home because everyone wants to watch their own channel. Zatto looks like a good site and It would be fun to watch TV on the computer.

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