We look at Fixplay, PLUS7, iView as well as video-on-demand offerings from Channel Ten and SBS
Selecting an episode to watch defaults to full-screen viewing. While there is no high-definition option, video quality from ABC iView is the best of the catch-up television services currently available. ABC iView uses Adobe's Flash platform.
Clicking on a series takes users to a list of available episodes. Don't rely on Fixplay to watch an entire series, though — most shows have only a limited number of episodes available, and they only stay online for a while after each one is broadcast on the free-to-air Channel Nine television network. Advertisement breaks are distributed throughout the show, with most 10 seconds in length.
While Ten doesn't have a dedicated Web site like Fixplay or iView, the [[xref: http://ten.com.au/watch-tv-episodes-online.htm|Full Episodes and Video page]] of the [[xref:http://www.ten.com.au|ten.com.au site]] has a list of popular shows to choose from. A high quality option is available but didn't noticeably change video playback during our tests.
The standard view when watching an episode on Fixplay is a windowed box with pop-up video controls. The service uses Microsoft's Silverlight framework rather than Adobe Flash and offers similar quality video to YouTube. A high-definition streaming video option is not available, but video does not display any blockiness or low-resolution artefacts.
While video defaults to a windowed viewing option it is easy to select full-screen mode with simple playback controls. Video quality is acceptable but not as clean and detailed as ABC's iView in our testing.
Episodes of several shows are available on PLUS7 for almost a month, while others last only a fortnight or less. Popular shows have the most recent three episodes available.
Yahoo!7's [[xref: http://au.tv.yahoo.com/plus7/|PLUS7]] video service was launched in late January and offers a range of content from the Channel Seven television network and licensed international content.
We found Ten's video to be the poorest quality of the catch-up TV services. You can still see all the action, but pixelation is noticeable.
[[artnid:270586|Some ISPs offer unmetered access to iView]], and it will [[artnid:342710|soon be available on Sony televisions and Blu-ray disc players]]. Most shows on the catch-up video service are available for a fortnight after being broadcast.
A playlist option allows the queuing of multiple videos — this feature comes in handy because Ten splits each television episode into several segments and inserts ads between them.
nineMSN's [[xref:http://www.fixplay.ninemsn.com.au|Fixplay]] is the [[artnid:342704|latest catch-up television service]] to be launched by Australia's free-to-air television networks. Running through a Web browser, it offers dozens of episodes from shows such as Gossip Girl and Underbelly as well as international content from the BBC.
Public broadcaster [[xref: http://www.sbs.com.au/|SBS]] is the least advanced of the free-to-air networks when it comes to streaming video on demand. Its main Web site has a link to watch episodes of SBS programs.
SBS's Web browser player opens in a pop-up window with a Flash interface. You probably won't find any of the content here being offered by other Australian networks — it is generally internationally sourced with a large proportion of foreign-language video. Bandwidth requirements can be lowered if necessary and a full-screen option is available. Become a fan of [[xref: http://www.facebook.com/GoodGearGuide|GoodGearGuide on Facebook]]Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to [[xref: http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/user/register| GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters| Register for GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters]]
Channel Ten uses a dedicated micro-site for its MasterChef episode listings. It uses the same Flash platform as the ten.com.au Full Episodes and Video library, but has cooking-themed ads in between program segments.
ABC's [[xref: http://www.abc.net.au/iview|iView]] [[artnid:255462|video-on-demand Web site]] has a huge library of local and international video content to choose from. It's constantly expanding and [[xref:http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/mediareleases/10443/doctor-who-lands-abc-iview-fans/|even premiered the new season of Doctor Who before it was broadcast on television]].
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