Explore global television with TVNations

There are plenty of TV stations all across the world that stream at least some of their content online. And a quick Google search will deliver plenty of interesting possibilities. Or you could just install TVNations, a tiny tool which makes many of them directly available from your Windows desktop.

Like many similar applications, the program organizes its channels by both genre and location. So you can click Movies, Music or News in the left-hand pane to find offerings of a particular type, for instance, or just choose your preferred location in the right-hand pane to see everything from that country.

While the selection at first seems to be reasonable, it didn’t take long before we spotted problems. On browsing the UK, for instance, we found listings for “BBC Click” and “BBC Newsnight”, which are both specific programs -- not entire channels. And when we chose Newsnight (which as you’ll guess from the name is a news program) TVNations managed to find and play an old edition, not something that will help anyone at all.

The playback interface isn’t exactly impressive, either. You can pause and resume playback, adjust or mute the volume and view a program full-screen or in a window, but that’s about it. If you’re hoping to tweak color, brightness or contrast then you’re going to be disappointed.

And of course you need to be realistic about what you’re going to see. There are plenty of movie channels here, for example, but don’t expect them to be playing modern blockbusters. When we checked they were mostly running ancient, obscure Westerns, and that’s not unusual.

Still, TVNations does include plenty of real channels, which actually do work. The program is also portable, being contained in a single 84KB executable, so it’s very convenient. And we did find it genuinely useful for catching up on the news (with the exception of the Newsnight issue), as it includes a host of links to news programs and channels from all around the world. So if you’ve not found a web TV aggregator you like FreeTube, say, then take a look at TVNations: it’s basic, but comes with lots of links and its portability means you can use the program on any convenient PC.

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