SeeSaw is a combination of already popular online TV services from BBC, C4 and FIVE. I believe this idea to have a great amount of potential when it comes to attracting visitors. With some good publicity and strong marketing, I’m pretty sure people would be swayed towards it for the simple reason that everything is in one place.
Given the choice, I think everyone would prefer it all to be on one site rather than having to flick between separate services from each channel – which was one of the driving forces behind the Kangaroo online TV service which got cancelled before launch, SeeSaw is what has been created from the ashes of that service.
But that’s just an idea, a principle, a basis to build upon. The real question is, how have they executed it? Well, after testing the site for a while over the past couple of days since it’s public release (after previously having tested out the SeeSaw TV Online beta), I have found the site to be an interesting addition to the UK online streaming TV landscape.
The major criticism I have of the service, is the quality of the video itself. Many people these days use media centre PC’s in their living room from which they can access services such as this. I tested the service on a 19” 1400×900 monitor and found the quality to be somewhat grainy and overall quite poor.
I can’t imagine watching it through a large 40” (or larger) Samsung LED HDTV or something similar. With the world moving on and on in terms of high resolution, high definition TV, and with the introduction of BBC HD and others coming hopefully later this year, I am somewhat surprised to find such poor quality. Although there are 3 options to choose from; low, medium or high quality, I feel that the high option isn’t quite a fair description, but nevermind, let’s move onto the positives!
I have to give SeeSaw credit as the website itself is brilliant. The layout is clear and extremely simple to navigate. You can find all of your favourite shows (as long as they are available) within a few clicks. Couple this with some nice graphics and impressive presentation, I feel that they have successfully provided a simple, yet attractive site.
In addition to this, there is a nice feature which allows you to dim the portion of the screen not in use to watch the video when viewing it in windowed mode. Obviously you can switch to full screen if you like too. All of these features can be accessed via some discreet yet clearly labelled buttons within the player itself.
Another aspect to the site that pleased me was the access to entire seasons of shows which is an improvement over BBC’s service which only really offers recently aired episodes. For example, I managed to easily find access to an entire season of Waterloo Road. That’s what I call proper catch up TV, so on the content front, SeeSaw are definitely doing well, hopefully they’ll do better than Joost which recently ended up being sold and doesn’t seem to have got that far, but then they were one of the pioneers of online TV and perhaps struggled because of it.
Overall, I believe the idea certainly has potential. I would love to see this service take off and perhaps expand bringing in more channels and even more variety. A couple of other additions they could make are desktop and mobile apps, most notable an iPhone app would be very welcome and on a smaller screen make up for the picture quality issue I mentioned earlier.
I’m convinced the SeeSaw TV online streaming service could become more successful with the addition of mobile online TV functionality, but until then remains a welcome addition to the options open to us here in the UK and hopefully this will help spur on more UK streaming TV development.