I’ve been checking out the new Livestation online television service and it’s pretty impressive. Very similar to the Zattoo service we reported on earlier, and also in beta. The main difference is that this one is based on the Microsoft Silverlight platform, which makes it an interesting technology experiment. So far it looks pretty good. The video quality is reasonable, although it’s not that hard to serve good quality video when it’s based mostly around news channels (which is all that’s available on the beta) and the full screen does go a bit soft which is par for the course it seems.
As the above screen grab shows there’s not a lot to choose between the video quality or interface of the two services, but I’d really need to see fast moving footage like a movie or football match to identify any differences in detail. They both load reasonably quickly, which is also important if you want to deliver a good consumer experience.
These new live television services are interesting really, since all they’re doing is pushing conventional broadcast material to your desktop down the net pipe. There’s no recording, pause or any other fancy controls, which makes it a little old fashioned in this day of do anything PVRs. So who’s the target market and will they pay (if that’s the business model)? Hmm… For now, it looks as though these limited test services are making headway with delivering decent quality video down broadband pipes, so all we need is to see more content and more users.
Depending on the data rate of each individual channel, Livestation may consume up to 0.5Mbps of upstream and downstream capacity while it is viewed. At other times, when the player is idle, it may use a small amount of capacity to keep in contact with the Livestation network. This is limited to 64kbps.