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Chrome TV lets you stream international TV stations to your desktop via a browser pop-up inside Google Chrome. It draws its listings from an online database, which means you can’t add your own channels or make other changes. Chrome TV’s selections are nothing if not diverse–linguistically and geographically, at least. The programming leans toward news, weather, and sports broadcasts as well as what might be called cultural affairs programming, though we did find some movies, classic cartoons, and other pleasant surprises.
Chrome TV is free and installs easily, but it might require the Windows Media Player browser plug-in, which is also free. This plug-in was intended for Firefox, and it’s listed for Vista, but it works in the latest version of Chrome, too, and we had no problem running it in Windows 7 64-bit. Chrome TV’s extensions page had some useful support information but no configuration options to speak of.
Clicking the Chrome TV icon opened a window displaying two listing, Countries and Categories. Nearly every country in the world is represented, though not every station is always online. Chrome TV can filter the selection to show only stations that are always online, though. The categories range from the usual news, weather, and educational programs to movies, religion, business, government, kids, and more. Clicking a station opened a media-player-like pop-up; the program usually started a moment later.
The video quality ranged from quite good to rough, though most of what we saw was at least watchable. Double-clicking the display opened it in full screen, which also had a pretty decent picture. The TV display window shows animated ads at the bottom, but dragging the corner to resize the box let us cover up any distractions.
Chrome TV certainly delivers international programming to your desktop, and international sports fans will certainly find some interesting offerings in Chrome TV’s listings. However, we’d like to have more options, such as always-on-top and the ability to add stations.