First Look: MyTVPal Player Streams HDTV over IP, Shows Potential

Matrixstream 1080p IPTV streaming has made it to the next level, now calling itself MyTVPal and offering a beta version of its software video player for free download. The company also promises to roll out the Matrixstream MX1020HD set-top box (pictured above) to accompany its H.264-based IPTV video service, vowing to eventually deliver 1080p video over an everyday "best effort" broadband connection.

For now, you can try out the beta version of the MyTVPal IMX player by filling in a bit of mildly intrusive registration information, downloading and installing it. We snagged the IMX player and took it for a spin, and grabbed a screen shot for you. What did we think of this new service?

Looking over the company's site, its video quality and the meager content is a bit like gazing at a genius newborn baby squalling and crying in its crib and pooping all over himself. The 720p clips are gloriously sharp and rich-looking even when scaled up full-screen on our 1920x1200 PC display, but are plagued by frustrating stoppage every 10 to 15 seconds, with the word "transmitting" superimposed on top (see graphic below).

First Look: MyTVPal Player Streams HDTV over IP, Shows Potential

It just couldn't keep up, and that was using our 7Mb premium broadband service here at the Midwest Test Facility. It's a tease to see high-quality video for a few seconds and have it suddenly taken away over and over. Aside from being a demo of great potential, it was unusable.

Then there's the paucity of offerings, the best of which are short clips, demos, trailers and musty old Beverly Hillbillies episodes. It's hardly an auspicious beginning as far as content is concerned. Matrixstream officials told us a few months ago they hope individuals and production entities will be signing up to distribute their content on this channel, but from what we can see, that hasn't happened yet.

Even with its halting playback and lack of content, this is still an impressive feat to see this H.264 video streaming onto a PC, serving up HDTV at better quality than we've ever seen over an Internet connection. It's a quick glance at the clarity of HDTV that will be coming down the pipes of the future. With a good fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connection and that upcoming setup box, this will be some disruptive technology. Meanwhile, you might want to try downloading the player and taking a look at this quality for yourself.

Download MyTVPal: Free High Definition TV Over the Internet [Matrixstream]