If you’ve already cut the cord with your cable company, or are thinking of doing so, then you may have rationalised the decision based on the growing availability of TV programmes streamed online by content providers. There’s a mass of programming available from the major networks, as well as aggregators like Hulu and Netflix – so much so that there’s always something available to watch. You just have to figure out how and where to watch it.
That’s actually a piece of work. Internet TV is hugely fragmented. Sure, the Hulus and Netflixes of the world do their best to collate it, but they only have the rights to so much – the networks themselves love to stream their programming on their own online services, which is fair enough. So, you’re jumping from website to website, service to service, RSS feed to video podcast (do people still use the word “vodcast”?) to find something you like. You spend more time browsing, and less time viewing and that’s not how TV works, right?
With TV, you have a guide, you flick up and down, you spot a re-run of Police Squad, and you’re set. Why can’t someone pull everything together into one guide, or help me do it for myself?
The answer, dear Niners, has arrived and it’s called SecondRun.tv.
SecondRun.tv is a plugin for Windows Media Center (just released in all-new v2.0 form) that pulls a huge variety of Internet TV programming into the familiar guide format, with channels listed down the left hand side of the screen and programming stretched out horizontally. The really cool thng about the plugin is that it aggregates programming from so many different sources – you want to add CBS’ online stream from the web? No problem. How about Hulu and Netflix channels? Covered. Okay, now try an RSS feed from Revision 3. Got that. Sources are colour-coded in the guide if you need to know where a channel comes from, but otherwise, SecondRun.tv is pretty much agnostic.
The plugin ships with a channel builder app which allows you to define the channels you wish to see and how they’re laid out. You can also submit and download channels from SecondRun.tv’s own channel repository, making it nice and easy to build a personal library of your favourite content. Want a 24/7 rotation of Spongebob Squarepants? Go build yourself a Spongebob channel, which plays episodes at random.
SecondRun.tv looks set to make cutting that cord a whole lot easier.