Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Justin.tv launched in 2007 as a life-casting venue for Justin Kan. Since then it's grown into a live streaming video and internet TV site. A vast majority of the service's content is user generated. It does have some illegal channels that broadcast mainstream TV shows and movies. The service has a history of lax enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In recent years, the service has fought to combat the amount of copyrighted material on its channels. If you find your favorite shows on the service, watch them quickly because there is no telling how long they will be on the site.
If you've ever seen the movie "The Truman Show," you have some idea what Justin.tv was like its early days. Justin Kan strapped a camera to his hat and broadcast his whole life via a live stream. Justin was the first known person to attempt this type of broadcast. The novelty of this idea led to the expansion of the site to a live streaming service similar to Ustream.
In the early days of service, Justin.tv was notorious for not filtering copyrighted materials. Users would simply upload TV shows from mainstream sources. This got Justin.tv in a lot of trouble with the law. The company signed a deal with Fox for use of its filtering service to eliminate much of the copyrighted material from its servers. However, it's only been intermediately effective. You can still find mainstream content on Justin.tv. The quality isn't great and it's anybody's guess as to how long it will remain online. Try Hulu or Netflix if you want to see these shows legally.
Legal issues aside, Justin.tv has more than 3,000 unique channels of streaming content. Amateurs and hobbyists helm a vast majority of these channels. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, finding quality content feels like a treasure hunt. Like a treasure hunt, you sometimes find a chest with a jewel in it. There are professional outfits that use Justin.tv to broadcast their content. These channels are mostly podcasts that use the service to stream their video feeds in real time. If that's the kind of content you're into, then Justin.tv is the service for you.
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The streaming quality on Justin.tv is hit and miss. The service has the ability to stream in HD; however, this quality is dependent on the ability of the channel owners to broadcast in that resolution. Many channel owners either don't have the equipment to stream in HD or they have chosen not to because streaming live HD video has the potential to slow their stream down. Because the live-chat feature depends on real-time streaming, a lagging stream is a death knell to many live podcasts. The current default aspect ratio of channels on Justin.tv is 468 x 353 pixels, which is far from HD.
If you're after mainstream movies and TV shows, you may find them on Justin.tv. Be warned that they are most likely an illegal pirate stream. Justin.tv excels at giving amateur and semiprofessional channels a venue to broadcast their content. If you look hard enough, you may find something you like.