"'Twas the week after Christmas and all through the nation, people asked why they paid for so many stations." MacTVision certainly wants you to ponder the same question, with the company's release of the eponymous MacTVision streaming video application that aims to be your one-stop shop for all your television needs.
MacTVision offers 2,600 "channels" of television, but that doesn't quite mean the same thing as it does on your cable box. The software instead aggregates streaming video from various web and Internet sources. For example, BBC Three and C-SPAN are on offer, as are South Park and The Daily Show, each of which receive its own "channel" moniker. MacTVision doesn't circumvent international restrictions on access, so while The Daily Show is available worldwide (just as it is on the Comedy Central website), don't expect to watch the Beeb unless you and your Internet connection live in the United Kingdom.
The software offers various features to help you navigate this ocean of video, including filtering options and favorites lists. Double-click the name of a show to see the available episodes, then double-click again to open an episode in a viewer window. This appears in a standard Web-browser video viewer—the video will appear at a small size inside the Web page until you use the video's onscreen controls to expand it.
The main upside of MacTVision is that for a one-time fee of $40, you get all the video that's fit to stream. The downsides? You're not getting anything here that you couldn't ferret out yourself using your Web browser. In other words, the cost of the software should be seen as a convenience fee rather than payment for a video service. Also, in a brief test on my older MacBook, the software was sluggish; your mileage may vary on newer hardware.
MacTVision offers a 30-day free trial, though, so it's easy to try out the software yourself to see if you enjoy its feature set. MacTVision requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and runs on both PowerPC and Intel Macs.