There are a handful of P2P TV streaming apps out there but only a few available with interfaces in languages other than Chinese. These two monsters of the P2P TV streaming world offer exactly that with excellent streaming stability and good image quality to boot.
As a big soccer fan, I find myself naturally gravitating towards SopCast. Even though you can select 12 different languages for the interface, most of the channels are Asian but it’s these channels – such as Star Sports, ESPN Asia and CCTV5 – that broadcast most international soccer league matches. However, SopCast is for much more than just watching TV – it’s also for creating your own TV content, as embraced by its slogan “Deliver your media to the world!”. To do this, you need to complete a simple registration process on the SopCast website (if you just want to watch, you can log on as an anonymous user). To broadcast, you simply upload your video to one of their servers via an easy interface.
You can even create your own channel and share it with friends which takes it one step further than YouTube. One of the things I really like about SopCast is the fact that it opens initially with a simple list of channels organised by category such as Sport, Entertainment and Music. It’s only when you click on a channel that a small Windows Media window pops out to the right so you can watch it. This means that it’s very light on resources and doesn’t dominate your screen on startup. Unless you can read Chinese or Japanese, not many of the channels will make sense so many forums prefer to use the channel number to let you know which channel a particular program is on. One other great feature of Sopcast is the option to configure its ports meaning the program offers some of the fastest and most stable streaming out there.
And so to TVUPlayer which is far simpler, and most of the channel listings are in English. The number of channels available in TVUPlayer is limited to around 50, although it does include Star Sports and CCTV5 for soccer fans. The rest of the channels are a mix between major American networks, a few European channels and Asian channels. TVUPlayer has a more traditional interface which opens immediately in full screen mode.
There are very few controls to deal with – clicking ‘Refresh’ will update the channel list with new listings as they come online. To watch a channel, simply double click on it and streaming usually starts within ten seconds. You can switch to full-screen mode by double clicking on the image (as you can with SopCast too). The fact that you can’t broadcast your own content means that TVUPlayer is limited in comparison to SopCast. You also have no control over which ports it uses, although to be honest, I don’t notice much difference in either streaming stability or image quality.
One of the best things about TVUPlayer however is the fact that you can watch some of the big American channels such as FOX, ABC and Comedy Central. Therefore, for those just looking for content and English language programming, TVUPlayer wins hands down. However, if it’s sports you’re looking for or you’ve got your own broadcasting ambitions, you could do worse than SopCast.