Let’s be frank: most free internet TV apps are utter rubbish, little more than a front end to a collection of web links which either don’t work, or point to channels or shows which you’d never want to watch anyway.
One or two applications are a little more interesting, though. And ChrisTV Online! FREE, in particular, shows rather more ambition than most of its more basic competition.
Things don’t start too well, admittedly, with the program trying to add no less than three browser addons during its installation process (including a less-than-obvious option on the very final screen).
Launch ChrisTV Online! FREE, though, and you’re presented with a straightforward interface – a TV tuner sidebar, playing area and basic controls – which provides plenty of options to explore.
Click the OnlineTV tab, for instance, and you’ll find a lengthy list of channels which can be grouped in various ways: by country, genre, language, station type and more. Many of the more popular channels aren’t available in this free edition, unfortunately, but there are plenty of others available. And while, just occasionally we found a link which didn’t work, this was nothing like as common as problem as we’ve seen in similar tools.
This was just the start, though. ChrisTV Online! FREE can also help you browse Justin.tv and Veetle channels. These were easy to view – choose a category, double-click a channel and watch – and although resolution wasn’t always the highest, this did at least make for pause-free playback.
A “Movies” tab was a little more mixed. An “HD Movies” box was entirely empty, but a “High Quality Movies” option acted as a front end to a website where you can watch various movies online. (Largely pirated, though, so best avoided if you’re concerned about copyright issues or have the faintest interest in picture quality.)
And a “TV Shows” tab similarly provides easy access to a couple of websites where you can locate and view a wide range of big-name shows. In theory, anyway. We found playback typically froze every few seconds, making it largely unwatchable, but this might vary depending on your location and viewing time.
ChrisTV Online! FREE has plenty of frustrations, then, but it still delivers considerably more functionality than much of the competition. And if there’s nothing on your local TV right now, the program’s lengthy list of viewing options should keep you entertained for quite some time.