Not much has been known about TidalTV, a Baltimore, Maryland-based broadband video startup, besides the fact that they had plans to launch a “professionally produced, branded programming” service which would run through the browser. In February of this year, the company secured $15 million in funding, but there was still a lot of confusion about what exactly TidalTV would be offering. It appears that we don’t need to wait any longer to find out – TidalTV has now launched.
As far as content goes, TidalTV has quite a bit, offering up premium video from content owners such as the Associated Press, CBS, diy network, Fine Living Network, food network, National Geographic Channel, HGTV, MSNBC Features, NBC News Features, Ford Models, The Chef’s Kitchen, Classic College Sports, Sports Illustrated, somagirls.tv, The Weather Channel, This Old House, TV Guide, Vogue TV, weddingtv, and the WSJ.
The viewing experience isn’t bad, either. When the site initially displays, the video is in a small window on the left, with featured programs to the right and the full program guide below. One click on the video takes you to full screen. Move your mouse to the bottom of the video window, and the controls pop-up, letting you start, stop, pause, adjust the volume, and access other site features like the guide, your options, or site search. There are also three other buttons at the bottom right of the video window that let you share the video with a friend (via email only – no embed codes were available), mark the video or series as a favorite, and display the current program’s description.
As with many online video services, TidalTV makes its money from interspersed, no-skip ads, but they were no more frequent or lengthy than you would expect – averaging about four per a half-hour of programming. The site also performed well in both quality and speed, though it’s hard to tell how it will do under a load of traffic. Thanks to its quiet launch, there hasn’t been a rush of users to it yet. However, at this time, transitions from page to page were smooth and videos began instantly, no stopping and starting and no buffering.
Try It Now!
Unlike with Hulu’s beta, you won’t need an invite or login to watch TidalTV – it’s available to everyone. Check it out for yourself here: beta.tidaltv.com and let us know what you think in the comments.