Get Free TV Online At FilmOn.com
Written by Alan Monday, 15 November 2010 08:00
A while back we took a look at ivi.tv. Now there’s a similar service called FilmOn which is doing, essentially, the same thing. While ivi.tv rebroadcasts the New York and Seattle markets, FilmOn is doing the same for the Los Angeles market (although I noticed a little while ago that 2 LA channels are also now on ivi.tv).
For purposes of reviewing this I am putting aside those pesky legal questions surrounding rebroadcast. It will, eventually, be up to a court to interpret the laws regarding retransmission.
There are some some major differences that separate FilmOn from ivi. First, FilmOn does not require you to download their software. You can watch all of their channels right in your web browser.
FilmOn does not offer a paid premium service as ivi does. That’s not a huge deal. ivi doesn’t give you any extra channels for your money, but it does give you DVR service, which is nice. So a cheap premium service is a nice option if it offers something worth paying for.
FilmOn also doesn’t have a guide service, which is very disappointing. There’s also no full-screen option which I found to be very close to a deal-breaker.
On the plus side FilmOn is compatible with mobiles devices such as iPad, Blackberry, and Android. So, you can visit their website with your mobile browser and watch TV.
As for the PC part of the service there is a free download for their HDi Player. The website says of this:
…deliver HDi transmissions at 500 kbps. HDi is high-resolution non-buffering video broadcast, which can be viewed on the PCs, mobile phones and TVs, across traditional broadband connections and 2G and 3G connections.
Once downloaded, it’s quite a nice player. It opens fast, provides “full-screen” capability, a channel menu, and other options.
For both the web and HDi Player versions FilmOn provides a clear, stutter-free picture that, at the least, rivals standard-def TV. Having the web version is a nice feature. It’s even better since it doesn’t require any type of account setup. The HDi Player adds some much needed functionality, mainly full-screen, and also requires no user account. The lack of premium services such as a DVR is frustrating, but hopefully will be addressed in the future. The lack of guide data is the biggest shortcoming.
The picture on FilmOn seems to be better than ivi though. And the bottom line is that you can really use both on your HTPC. Depending on the outcome of the lawsuits they may or may not be around in the future, but for now they are great alternative to cable and satellite.