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Hands on with TVUPlayer for iPad

15 September 2010 4,512 views 3 Comments

Are you learning French, Urdu, China, Egyptian Arabic? Have a hunger for news from China’s Jinan Province? How about Car 54 reruns? Spaghetti Westerns? You’ll want to have a longer look at this app.

TVUPlayer iPad (iTunes, $4.99, iPhone) is loaded with 1,000 channels of unique, mostly ersatz, programming and just plain stuff.

Right now I’m watching PBS streamed “live” on my iPad, the Electric Company, specifically. Not one of my favorites, but watching News Hour later without having to relocate to the living room will be nice.

How about a video of Spring Break chicks in bikinis on a beach set to drum breaks? It’s in there.

And, there are movies. That said, I just tuned into a demurely hot Syrian woman singing in Arabic. Haven’t a clue what she’s on about, but that’s OK, at least for the next 30 seconds.

Earlier I had the pleasure of Harrison Ford’s company as he bumbled his way through Hollywood Homicide (iTunes), the twist being that he was dubbed in Cantonese — another well-chosen half-minute of entertainment that still has me smiling.

An ersatz interface, too

What isn’t in there is much in the way of a user interface. You get eleven categories which open as lists — big long lists — of the available channels. There is search and you can favorite channels for quick viewing later, but those are the only tools available to parse all of those stations.

Since the demise of the BBC World Service on QuickTime — yeah, a long time ago — I’ve been (half-heartedly) looking for a video news service that I can just leave running all of the time. Although BBC News is listed among those available, just my luck, every attempt to actually watch resulted in a crash.

Interestingly, that’s the only thing that makes this app crash — it’s been quite stable for me.

Again, if you’re looking for regionally accented — not just Spanish, but a Bolivian tinted hue — news and information, then you really owe it to yourself to check out TVUPlayer. Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish (dozens of flavors), Hebrew, African languages, Kurdish, Korean, Russian, French (dozens of flavors), etc. programming is all available. From vodcasters to professional content of every variety, there’s a very good chance you’ll find something that you like if you just dig deep enough.

That said, my Taiwanese wife can watch the TVBS news and entertainment channels from home, so this app has already paid for itself, though I’m still hoping to watch BBC News.

For the time being, however, perhaps a few minutes of Kung Fu TV 2 or maybe the Nostalgia Grindhouse channel will sate me? Nah, I’m wanting the vegetative pleasures of BroccoliTV’s all ’80s music video channel (big hair rules)…

What’s your take?

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