Is Satellite TV for PC really a legal way to replace satellite dishes and high cable bills? Many online offers advertise special software for one low price of $39.95 US Dollars (USD) to $99.95, by which one can purportedly watch 3,000 – 4,000 channels, eliminating the need for monthly broadcast bills. The claim is that with Satellite TV to PC software, one only need install it, then watch TV on the PC, or stream it to a television, free. Unfortunately, the advertisements and claims are highly misleading, though like all successful scams, this one has an iota of truth.
There are basically two types of broadcast television: free to air and pay-for. Free to air broadcasts are normally limited to local broadcasts that anyone can pick up freely with a roof antenna. Prior to cable TV and satellite dishes, all television was free to air, everyone had roof antennas and no one paid for broadcasts. While this sounds great, there were also very few channels available. Cable brought consumers non-local networks creating a fatter channel lineup, better picture quality, and monthly bills, or pay-for TV.
With the advent of the Internet, many networks decided to make some of their free to air broadcasts available over the Internet as taped or live feeds. Most networks post tidbits of their daily live broadcasts as pre-recorded streaming videos; few if any networks stream entire 24/7 broadcasts live. The Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) makes many current and past documentaries available online, as another example of free TV content available.
Next we have pay-for stations like ESPN, Court TV and E! that might stream certain events live to the Internet, or make certain taped content available. However, pay-for networks do not stream their 24/7 broadcasts to the Internet. Streaming content is limited, and live streaming content is even more limited.
Finally we have premium channels like Home Box Office (HBO) and Showtime, which do not make their content available online except through certain promotions conducted from their own websites. For example, trailers for original series’ are typically available, and an opening season episode might be posted as a tool to encourage new subscribers, as in Fall 2007 when Showtime's website posted the second season premiere of Dexter.
So what does all this have to do with Satellite TV for PC? This software only provides links to websites that host TV content. Satellite TV for PC is not offering satellite or “live broadcast” TV like your cable or dish service, but online TV already available to anyone. Satellite TV for PC only loads a “remote control” interface that sits to the side of your screen. Clicking on a channel simply takes one to the network’s website. Satellite TV for PC software cannot replace free-to-air broadcast TV, much less cable or premium channels.
If this scam has a silver lining, it might be that the reaction to the Satellite TV for PC hustle has inadvertently shined a light on free websites that host links to television networks all over the world. Websites like WorldTVPC, InternetTV or WwiTV, link to online TV hosted internationally. Watch a daily newscast from Iraq, Italy, Croatia, or Egypt. Cruise the online TV universe all you want and hang on to that 50 bucks; it doesn’t cost a dime. Besides, you'll need it to pay your cable or dish bill.