Say Goodbye to Joost and Bablegum, here comes Zattoo

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 8, 2007
Updated • Feb 29, 2016
Music and Video

My participation in both the Joost and Bablegum beta phase has taught me several things about those social TV over Internet clients: they do add interactivity to the TV experience.

Users can chat about a TV show they are viewing at that moment or rate shows for instance. Both TV clients have one big disadvantage though that weighs much more than the new interactivity. Joost and Bablegum stream pre-recorded tv shows only, at least in this stage. There is absolutely no live content and the content that is currently offered is considered by many as B-Movie content.

Update: Both Joost and Bablegum are no longer available while Zattoo is alive and kicking. The service is available in six countries now, and users from those countries can download a desktop client to tune in, or a mobile app instead offering the same functionality.

Zattoo is available as a free offering that provides free ad-driven access to TV channels, and a subscription version that does away with the advertisement, and provides access to HD channels as well.

Users may furthermore subscribe to channel packages, for instance foreign language channels.

Zattoo Review

This is a different and probably the better working method for now to stream TV content over the Internet. Zattoo is a European company which already has more than 300000 subscribers to their service and will soon become available in many European countries including Germany, Great Britain and France.

I was able to test an international version of Zattoo which allowed me to stream all TV programs currently available.

Those are the same TV stations that can be seen in Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Switzerland using a regular TV. Some of the stations that are currently available include: BBC Prime and World, Canale 5, France 2-5, ARD and ZDF and Rai Une to Tre.

Image quality of the shows is excellent, it takes a few seconds until all artifacts disappear but from that moment on it looks great. It is possible to watch the shows in fullscreen with a slightly better image quality than Joost or Bablegum offer at the moment.

Zattoo is currently preparing launches in major European countries and if they will be successful they intend to expand to the American market as well.

I personally think that Zattoo is far more complete at this stage than Joost and Bablegum are. You can actually see live TV which includes for instance sports events like Champions League, the Olympics and Formula 1. It is also a great assistance in learning new languages. What could be better to learn French than to listen to French television?

Image quality is far superior to other known p2p Internet clients such as TVU Player. Watchout Joost, Bablegum - here comes Zattoo.

Update: While Zattoo is still available, it has not really expanded into other countries in Europe or the world, and even moved out of France and Italy. The countries that were added are Spain, Denmark and Luxembourg.

If you live in these countries currently, or have access to a VPN with exit nodes in those countries, you can tune in and use Zattoo to watch live TV.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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