Watch TV over Internet with Sopcast
Sopcast is a free multi-platform program that you can use to watch TV over the Internet by tuning into channels that other users of the software broadcast.
There were lately some rumors about TVU Player, the program that I use often to watch TV over the Internet. The website was not accessible and everything seemed to go down the hill. I decided to take some precautions and test other TV streaming programs to see if any reached the quality of the program.
Sopcast is an alternative. You can download the freeware from the developers website or use one of the mirror servers to do so. There is no visible difference in size or download speed so select what seems most appropriate to you.
Sopcast is not only available for the Microsoft Windows operating system but also for Mac and Linux desktop systems, and for Android.
Sopcast offers free TV streams over internet using P2P technology, the same that is used by file sharing products such as BitTorrent.
What this means is the following: users stream video feeds that other users of the application can tune in to. While that is a great decentralized feature, it also means that the quality and availability of the stream depends on the user running the channel and the number of users who joined it to watch its program.
When you start the program you have options to log in as an anonymous user, or with your account. I suggest you try out the program without registration first to see what it has to offer to you.
You should switch to the live channels tab after your log in as it displays all available channels to you right now. Not all channels may be available, and the most reliable ones appear to be Chinese channels that appear to be available around the clock.
Each channel is listed under a certain category, with its name, bandwidth, quality, and a unique channel ID.
A double-click on a channel opens a media player window that is attached to the channel browser. You can hide the channel browser once the stream starts playing, and also change the channels size with a click on the zoom out button. Keep in mind that the quality of the stream may not be good enough to play in a larger window though.
It usually takes a couple of seconds to load before the channel stream appears in the media player window. You may also notice small interruptions during the first minute of playback. That is normal however and should resolve automatically afterwards.
- The green number in the player window indicates the buffering status. 100 means that the stream is fully buffered which is a good sign that you won't run into any buffering issues. If the count drops, you may experience freezes and drops.
- Not all available channels are displayed in the channel browser. I suggest you search on the Internet for "Sopcast channels" to find websites that lists channels that you can tune in as well. Most let you do so with a single-click on the link.
- You can use a different media player if you do not want Windows Media Player to be used by the application. Just open the settings and select a different media player for the streams.
- Make sure you have the latest version of Sopcast installed. This can be especially helpful if playback is not smooth or if you cannot really open any channel that is offered by the application.
- If you are experiencing playback issues, make sure your firewall or security software is not blocking ports that Sopcast requires to stream contents to your PC.
- To copy links manually into Sopcast, simply paste them into the address part of the main application window. This can be useful if you cannot double-click them to get them to play in the program.
- You can try and play Sopcast streams in VLC Media Player. To do so select Media > Open Network Stream and paste the stream url into the network url field there.
- You can watch Sopcast streams without the Sopcast software. All you need for that is SopFilter which you can download from here.
- If you do not want to see loading ads while you are loading a channel do the following. Open the Sopcast folder on your system and delete the adv subfolder. I recommend you back it up before you do so to restore it if it is needed again.
The real strength of Sopcast is its decentralized nature. Every user of the software can run a server and stream contents. I highly suggest that you search for websites that list channels that are not listed in the program's official channel browser. This is especially helpful if you like to watch live sports on the Internet as the channels are usually only available for the time of the match.
Check out this post for a couple of options to get started.Advertisement