Click to Watch

Click to Watch

TV is making a slow, but steady move to the internet. It started with services like YouTube that allowed visitors to upload their own videos for public consumption. Then came HULU and similar services that allowed us to stream shows we wanted to see. Slowly, networks are starting to stream their content on their websites (such as BBC in Europe) and through their own apps (such as HBO Go) as well. I knew it wouldn’t be long before we started seeing online only channels as well. And it has started happening as well. For instance, there is Geek & Sundry which describes itself as …an internet community centered around web videos with shows about comics, games, movies, books, and more. Currently Geek & Sundry has sixteen shows listed. But viewers are restrained to the on-demand format, picking and choosing what they watch. There is a fairly new face in the crowd though – Black Flag TV.

Black Flag TV, http://blackflag.tv, runs a live stream of “midnight movies” twenty-four hours a day. It is not a channel filled with Hollywood blockbusters or procedurals filled with should-be-retired actors. On it, you will find a continuous feed of classic and independent horror films. I’ve spent several hours on the site recently and, while I won’t say that a lot of the material isn’t cheesy, it is fun. I like to think of it as a grindhouse drive-in online. It includes a healthy dose of feature length films, short films, and even has a talk show (The Sexy World of Mia Torres). This is not a network cable station either folks. Films shown on this site may contain extreme violence, coarse language, sexual situations, and nudity. Don’t let your children watch unless you want them as warped as you are.

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Those of you worried about buffer rate and image quality, now hear this. As stated, I have spent several hours on the site and I have yet to encounter a serious problem with buffering. The image quality reminds me of old UHF televisions, which actually enhances the grindhouse feeling of the website. In other words, do not come here for HD video. There was a small issue once with the sound not coming through the stream, but I am fairly certain this came from incorrect transcoding and has since been fixed. They even run commercials, which I honestly don’t mind. Especially since the channel is free.

I believe Black Flag TV is just the beginning of live TV over the internet. In fact, I believe we will soon see tons of these live online channels popping up. The result is going to be tons of channels rising and falling with only those that can gain viewers sticking around. Personally, I hope Black Flag TV is one that sticks around.

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