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TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.

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Trial and Error



TVTonic Has Tons of Potential, but is Stuck On One Channel

November 15, 2006 2:48 PM

Given the massive amounts of video that small and large programmers are serving up on the Internet daily, it was only a matter of time before a new crew of sites emerged to help sort through the clutter. TVTonic is aiming to do that by sifting through podcasts and TV shows.

I go to the Web site and the first thing that pops out at me is a big green button that says “Get Started.” That seems clear enough, so I hit the button and it asks me to install TV Tonic. Right away, I think this will turn off half the visitors. Because who wants to install another program? A Web-based service would be much better.

But I soldier on. The installation only takes a few minutes and then a screen launches with an “Activate” button. I hit that and the next button says “Watch TV Tonic.”

Now, a page opens asking me which channels to add. I choose Looney Tunes, Rocketboom and Yoda Today HD. Maybe I’ll be more flexible if I downward face dog in hi-def.

Next I hit the task bar button to launch TV Tonic. An embedded player starts up with a preview show called “CineKids” playing before my channels. The video is short and I expect it to simply jump right into one of my channels when it’s done. But it doesn’t. “CineKids” keeps playing over and over and over again, even when I click on the buttons for “Looney Tunes” and “Rocketboom.” I shut it down and relaunch the program.

And the same thing happens.

This is really too bad because TVTonic looked like a cool way to watch Internet video in one spot.

Bummer for TVTonic. I’ll probably uninstall it now.

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Comments (5)

Hi Daisy,

As part of the team that develops TVTonic, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to try us out!

I'd like to address your concern about TVTonic getting stuck on that one video. Most likely, it seems, TVTonic was downloading a full-resolution episode from one of your subscribed channels. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, and the length of the show, this can take quite a few minutes. If you were to leave TVTonic installed for a while, and return, you'd find a plethora of videos to watch on demand.

Right now, TVTonic's focus is delivering super high quality video by "caching" the files on your local hard drive, but this means users have to wait a bit while the video downloads. Soon we'll be releasing a version that enables online videos to be watched as well.

I'm subscribing to your blog, and look forward to more posts about testing various new media solutions!

Sincerely,

André Sala
TVTonic Team
www.tvtonic.com

As a podcaster, I found it interesting that some of our views were coming from this service. I found the install process to be a drag and a turnoff as well, though it sounds as if they are addressing this. Also needed is a search function and a health category. A step in the right direction, but a baby one at that.

Jeremy:

I personally like a standalone program called Joost to TV Tonic. With Joost, you can watch tons of shows that are with basic television, to cable and satellite. What is even better is that it streams them, and there never seems to be any lag.
They're actually shows you want to watch too.

Check it out at
www.joost.com

mistyneila:

I installed TV Tonic and it worked well except for the fact that it completely deleted my Windows Media Player library. So I uninstalled tv Tonic and that did not fix the Windows Media Center problem. In fact, when I uninstalled it, my whole Windows Media Player went with it. I can't reinstall it because it came already installed on my Vista computer. I have looked at trying to get TV Troni back but can't even find the file or any reference to it on my computer. I am quite upset about this and don't know how to go about resolving this issue. Do you have a solution.

s:

after installing tv tonic i found that it was hard to figure out and made my computer lag badly
all other programs lag like crazy now whats worse is even after uninstalling it it seems to still be making my computer lag even afetr taking the normal steps for things like this. tv toic dont download it you will get lag!

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