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Sat May 17, 2008 6:35 pm Reply and quote this post
The channel lineup on Zattoo is excellent, and unlike many others it’s all broadcast legally as well. It also supports mac, windows and linux. Live P2P television services do provide an alternative to on demandservices such as Joost. Live P2P television lets you watch channels youmay otherwise never have access to; the valueprovided is similar to the value many, many people get by downloadingAmerican television shows from Bit Torrent instead of waiting 6-12months to watch them locally. It’s another nail in the coffin forgeospecific broadcasting; when more and more people bypass traditionalbroadcast models, the old location based television model willeventually fail and we’ll all get to watch programs at close to thesame time worldwide.

The player itself (Mac, Windows and Linux) is incredibly simple,comprising of one window for the video stream, and a second listing theavailable channels. Clicking on each channel invokes a few seconds ofbuffering before the live stream begins playing. Other than that, youhave a volume control, a full-screen option, and a play/stop button.And that’s pretty much it.
In terms of picture quality, this isn’t quite on-par with regulardigital television, but isn’t far off either. With the window set atquarter size on my laptop, it was great, and at full-screen, stillperfectly watchable. Channel line-up varies per-country, but theversion I tested had all of the BBC’s channels, along with ITV1, MTV,Bloomberg, and European stations such as Canal and Eurosport.
Thedownside is — after initially launching in Switzerland where thecompany claims one in five broadband users subscribe to Zattoo — theservice is only additionally available in Spain and Denmark, with theUK currently in a public testing phase (though the company is working hard to launch elsewhere).That’s a pity for now, as Zattoo is a nice compliment to other InternetTV services. Despite the trend towards anytime and on-demand content,there’s still a place for ‘live’ TV, in particular with regards tosports events or breaking news. Another thing lost with on-demandtelevision is the communal viewing experience that often creates those‘water cooler’ moments the following day.
Zattoo’s business model is ad-supported. When a user first selects or switches channel, they are served up a 3-105 second advertisement (the time it usually takes for the stream tobuffer). The ads are also clickable, with links to get more information.

Zattoo is a proprietary peer-to-peer Internet Protocol Television system ("P2PTV") with current focus on European channels, licensed content, and Digital Rights Management. It is developed by researchers and programmers based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with corporate offices in San Francisco and Zurich. The player is based on H.264 (FFmpeg), and is Mac OS X, Linux, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista compatible. It needs a minimum downstream bandwidth of 500 kbit/s on the client side.
Zattoo was first tried out with Swiss free-to-air channels coinciding with the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Starting from 4 Swiss TV channels (SF 1, SF 2, TSR 1 and TSI 1), it now offers 60 free-to-air or free-to-view TV channels in Switzerland. According to the website, other channels will be added in the future.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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