Thank you, Korea!
20 Dec 2003
I have a new favorite piece of software, and the Republic of Korea to thank for it. It’s called NPC TV. The technology isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it provides me with a very welcome breath of fresh air here in China. You see, NPC TV lets you view live digital broadcasts from countries all over the world, in one easy application. It’s really quite amazing. Here is a list of countries with broadcasts currently on NPC TV (and the numbers of channels offered):
Korea (62), USA (63), UK (12), Canada (9), Australia (5), Netherlands (11), Italy (15), Japan (17), China (28), Brazil (9), France (5), Germany (7), Spain (18), Russia (5), Turkey (11), Thailand (10)
The quality of the video feeds varies greatly. Some channels don’t work at all, others work great (even at my less-than-speedy DSL connection speed). Some are so good that they look great even in fullscreen mode. (NOTE: In a few cases, Realplayer is required.)
A warning about the USA channels though — there’s no CNN, no ESPN, no Comedy Central, no MTV. In fact, they seem to be mostly religious channels. There seem to be a good number of public access channels and there are several C-Spans. There are several Home Shopping channels. My favorite American channel is “Fighting TV – the first 24 hour extreme fighting television network online.” It’s a really fast connection, and looks great even at fullscreen.
The UK offers BBC World (yes, BBC World, and it works great even in China!) and Bloomberg. Bloomberg is actually available through several countries’ feeds.
Australia’s the Basement is pretty cool.
France offers a bunch of channels with French people talking all snooty-like in French.
I tuned into one German music channel, and I got Ja Rule. (No, not in German!)
If you like Japanese music, you can get lots of it in Japan’s channels. Great quality too, I was watching it for a while last night. There are also several Japanese news feeds.
I’m not sure if any of Russia’s feeds actually work. They haven’t yet for me.
Oh yeah, there’s also radio (BBC News, anyone?) and Korean flash animations.
Anyway, if you’re one of those rare individuals interested in the world outside your immediate environs, you gotta check out this program! It grants new validity to the concept “anything I need to know about the outside world I can learn on TV” by combining it with its new relative, “anything I need to know about the outside world I can learn online.”
Of course, the program isn’t perfect. It’s not even a full release. As far as I know, it hasn’t gotten any attention yet (in English) online. When I search for “npctv” or “npc tv” all I get are Korean sites and a few sites about the National Press Club. The developer is Npcsoft. You’re not likely to find the homepage very useful, however, unless you’re Korean.
I got the program through a Korean classmate. Before you run off to the Npcsoft site, let me just say that I thought I’d be nice and host it here. So download it! Oh, and don’t link to that file elsewhere, because it’s not gonna work if you do.
Now remember, the program is made for Koreans, and although they can be very nice people, they tend to use Korean in their software, which makes it a bit harder to use for the rest of us. It’s still easy to use, but when it asks you if you want to update through a string of garbage characters, it’s a good idea to click on YES.