I got a nice tip from an iDB reader yesterday on Twitter about a fairly new jailbreak app called iStreamNet. Like the name suggests, iStreamNet is an application that allows you to stream a plethora of TV shows directly on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
I’ve seen those apps before but I was a bit skeptical about the quantity and quality of shows available. After using the app for a few hours, I can tell that I am positively surprised by how well it delivers…
First, let’s get the legal stuff out of the way. Because iStreamNet doesn’t have any agreement with the studios, it makes it a somewhat illegal application. The developer explained to me that because he doesn’t own the servers, he is not doing anything illegal, but if a studio asked him to take down a show, he obviously would have to comply.
The dev also assures me that users can’t be liable for streaming a show. I’m no copyright lawyer but streaming a show without the appropriate agreement really looks similar to downloading stuff from torrents sites to me.
This being said, let’s have a look at iStreamNet.
After downloading the application for free from Cydia, you will get a new icon on your springboard. Launch the application, hit the TV Shows tab and you can browse from 28 different shows, including all seasons and all episodes. Among the most popular one, we note the presence of House MD, Chuck, Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, the Office, South Park, and many more.
From there, you can select the TV show you want to watch, a specific season, and any episode in this season. At this point, you have two options:
- You can stream the episode, or
- You can download it directly to your iPhone
I tried both options. First I streamed an episode of House MD. From the time I selected the episode to the time it actually started playing, 3 minutes went by. The video quality was crystal clear when streaming over wifi. Fastforwarding causes the app to buffer, which was to be expected.
Then I tried to download an episode of South Park. It took me 9 minutes to download a full episode over wifi, which is more than acceptable. The episode is then stored on your iPhone and easily accessible from the iStreamNet app. Video quality of the episode I had downloaded was excellent as well.
A neat little feature that most of you will appreciate is that iStreamNet is setup so your iPhone doesn’t go to sleep while downloading an episode. This is a nice little detail that makes the downloading experience even easier.
Besides the questionable legality of the app, its downside is the amount of ads inside the application. They are popping out all over the place and can really hurt the whole user experience. But I understand the dev has to pay the bills for his servers.
Speaking of which, the developer tells me he relies a lot on donations to keep the servers up, so if you’re using this app and find it useful, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to donate every once in a while to ensure you can keep steaming your favorite TV shows to your iPhone.
The dev also told me he has big plans for iSteamNet and hopes to have over 100 current and past TV shows available by the end of the year. Once done, he will start adding movies to the list.
All in all, iStreamNet is without a doubt the best and most complete streaming app I’ve seen so far. The ability to download TV shows directly to your iPhone makes it an instant winner to me. But again, use at your own risks.
Do you stream movies or TV shows to your iPhone? If so, what app do you usually use?