Television not all it claims to be

Aug 30, 2009
Tech

“https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-store/id299871806?mt=8″ app_id=”45299” target=”_blank”>Television. Too bad that claim isn’t true. There’s no live TV anywhere in sight, but for $2.99, the iPhone app from Makayama offers access to video podcasts and prerecorded content from 30 channels on demand, including major U.S., British, German, French and Australian stations. Quality feeds from HBO, ESPN, CNBC, MSNBC and other […]

“https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-store/id299871806?mt=8″ app_id=”45299” target=”_blank”>Television. Too bad that claim isn’t true.

There’s no live TV anywhere in sight, but for $2.99, the iPhone app from Makayama offers access to video podcasts and prerecorded content from 30 channels on demand, including major U.S., British, German, French and Australian stations.

Quality feeds from HBO, ESPN, CNBC, MSNBC and other popular networks are available, and their content is updated daily.

The problem? Less than half of the feeds in a recent test worked properly on a ridiculously fast Wi-Fi connection.

CNBC played, but not MSNBC. The ESPN feed gave a message that “This video format is not supported.” On the CNN channel, some pieces were slow loading while others loaded quickly and ran perfectly.

When the clips did run, they ran glitch-free, and the screen resolution was crystal clear. Still, the hit-and-miss access got a little maddening.

HBO promised some great content, including previews for fights such as the Floyd Mayweather/Juan Manual Marquez prefight. Alas, another message came on saying “This movie will not play.”

An Al Jazeera news video on the US health-care debate sounded like fascinating test material, but we got the same message.

Perhaps most importantly, the Television iPhone app doesn’t work on the 3G network, only Wi-Fi, which is a bit like designing a swimsuit that dissolves in water.

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Richard Sharp

Richard Sharp is a Chicago-based freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur whose writing about music, film, technology and global business has appeared in the Chicago Sun Times, USA Today, Village Voice Media newspapers, and more.

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