PC-TV Free Satellite TV Viewer sounds too good to be true for a reason

Skip this free "preview" of a potential rip-off.

PC-TV Free Satellite TV Viewer is a stripped-down program that supposedly offers a free preview of a for-pay online satellite TV service. Though the for-pay service claims more than 3,000 channels, this program is limited to 10 channels, with no ability to edit or change the selections. While some of the channels the freeware includes seem impressive -- such as ESPN, BBC News, and Bloomberg US -- others are less so. For instance, ABC 12 Minneapolis is great if you're in or from Minnesota; likewise FOX 8 New Orleans. But since we couldn't get any of the channels to load, it's hard for us to judge the quality of the "service," let alone the programming.

PC-TV Free Satellite TV Viewer is basically a media player with a fixed playlist. Aside from simplest control suite possible, the only button toggles a Full Screen view. Ten free channels are listed; the aforementioned ones plus NBC News Headlines, E-MUSIC, Just Movie Trailers, NBC 4 Los Angeles, and NASA TV. One by one, we clicked on each station. The program displayed Connecting and Ready messages in the player window, so we pressed the Play arrow. A Program Loading icon spun for a while, but nothing else happened. We moved down the list, one by one. The only video content we could raise was a BBC News page advising us to update our bookmarks, and a similar message (in Dutch) from Just Movie Trailers. Even the excellent NASA TV wouldn't load (hint: try NASA's site). Help file? Sure -- for Windows Media Player, not PC-TV Free.

It seems that PC-TV Free Satellite TV is mostly about enticing you into paying $50 in hope of getting "3,000+ channels" since this pitiful "preview" is little more than an advertisement. It doesn't even have the weirdly diverting public TV channels collected from around the world that similar "free Internet TV" programs offer. Of course, it should be obvious that all of the Web-based programming these "free previews" are previewing is already free; and just as obvious that premium content providers aren't giving their programming away behind their subscribers' backs. For free online TV, just browse.

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