Online TV Services - Late 2010 Update - Final Thoughts

John Archer

By John Archer



Of potentially greater interest to typical UK users will be the last three new services: Accedo, AceTrax and Viewster.

AceTrax is familiar from its appearance on Panasonic’s VieraCast online TV platform, and essentially lets you rent or buy films on demand. If you buy one, it’s stored on a remote Internet ‘cloud’ so you can downstream and watch it whenever you wish.

Accedo turns out to be an online gaming service. At the time of writing six games were available, including Sudoku and Mahjong Fruit.

Last and quite possibly least we come to Viewster. This looks, um, promising at first, thanks to it supposedly offering a variety of film, TV series and erotic content to people who subscribe to it or cough up a pay-per-view fee.

However, while the monthly sub doesn’t look too damaging at £7, the content was bizarrely obscure. We like to think we know quite a bit about films and telly shows, but we hadn’t heard of a single one of the limited number of (doubtless straight to video) films and shows available via Viewster. Weird.

Final thoughts

The arrival of so much new content to online TV services at the end of 2010 surely highlights just how big this area of a TV’s performance will become in 2011.

It also shows that the TV you buy in January might be quite different by June in terms of it online functionality - without you having to pay a penny for the improvements. Turning on your TV every day might actually become an exciting experience, as you see what new features have been added. Well, maybe ‘exciting’ is stretching things, but you know where we’re coming from.

It’s a pity, though, that the quality and relevance of some of the content being provided really is questionable. There’s definitely a feeling with LG’s new NetCast efforts, for instance, that some of its stuff has only been included to ‘make up the numbers’. It’s just content for content’s sake.

Hopefully this will change in 2011, with manufacturers becoming brave enough to pick and choose their content better, ditching the pointless things and the stuff that just doesn’t work via a TV interface.

The reams of new content is also starting to make some of the interfaces being used for the online platforms seem seriously unwieldy. So we’re sure we’ll see some big changes in this area too through the course of the next 12 months.


December 28, 2010, 12:38 pm

As the owner of a Panasonic TV I have to look with envy at practically every other manufactures online content offering. Panasonic seem to be really weak in this area.


December 28, 2010, 5:01 pm

Where this will fail is that these companies are still thinking of their devices as TVs with some extra functionality grafted on. And it shows - slow, clunky UIs, terrible ergonomics (try doing anything quickly with the supplied remotes), poor software and next to no software updates and improvements people now expect.

They should really be providing just the panel and image processing technology and let others step in for the media provisioning and management.


December 28, 2010, 6:31 pm

Good article. I have been telling colleages at work, smart TVs are going to be the next big thing, just like smartphone. It will get more exciting when you start seeing Android, Meego and Apple iOS based products, with the same possiblities as on smartphones and an explosion of apps. The current range of 'connected TV' aren't smart enought IMO, I would compare them to feature phones...


December 28, 2010, 11:40 pm

Interesting but i think you've been a bit unfair leaving Samsung out of the list. We bought a Samsung UE32C6530 a couple of months ago and the internet@TV stuff is absolutely brilliant. The iplayer is a joy to use and supports HD streaming. And youtube, lovefilm, acetrax and are all genuinely useful and worth having.


December 29, 2010, 11:05 am

Thanks for this. It would be good to have a regular update of online content - say monthly or so.

On Sony content: The new BBC iPlayer is still only Beta and doesn't show HD content. This is odd since the iPlayer that comes with the Sony BDV players is not Beta, operates faster than the Bravia and does contain HD.

You don't mention Picasa which is new and works well. On the first visit you login to your Picasa web albums and it shows the first 36 albums as tiles - which meant a little Picasa maintenance for me since I had many more than 36 albums on the web. The quality is really excellent. It is the first photo app, including connecting a PC direct to the TV, (that I've seen) that makes my pics watchable on a big (46") screen. To maintain quality the app does not expand the photo to fill the screen which means you need to store your web albums at the higher resolution to fill the screen. Nice one Sony.

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