Following an exceptionally poor bout of customer service from the local cable company, I gave up on all traditional premium television services for over a year, opting to use the Internet as my primary source of premium video content. While I don’t currently have any way to access HBO, Showtime, or the various cable network programming, I’m able to get all of the content I actually care about with minimal cost over my current Internet services fees. Sites like CinemaNow and Movielink provide all the movies on demand I could ever need. I use CTube! to find a large portion of the other broadcast content I watch, including international sporting events, music videos, live broadcasts from Iraq, and a whole host of independent broadcasts that make cable access look like amateur night at the local church (in Des Moines, virtually all cable access content is religious in nature).
CTube! currently boasts over 1500 channels, which is more content than I will ever watch. The most recent release includes a very cool search feature, which finds video content based on criteria you type in. For instance, if you want to find videos with Michael Moore appearing in them, type his name in the search and a long list of results will come back. Think of CTube! for video content. Be warned, some of the content available through CTube! is not suitable for children (and possibly not for adults either). If you prefer to avoid potentially offensive content, turn on the password protected filter and it all goes away. [Windows 98/Me/2000/XP $34.95]
Content streamed using CTube! is in Real, Windows Media, or Nullsoft Video (which is an AOL format) format. Sort content a variety of ways, including by genre and by quality of the stream. Unlike cable providers, CTube! requires no subscription fees. No additional hardware is required to use CTube!; all video plays using standard PC video cards. To quickly preview multiple stations, CTube! loads content in the background, providing a 30 second preview of each station in the scan. With a database of over 2 million videos and 1500 channels, there’s always something new to watch.