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Thursday, January 21, 2021

New IPTV App from Mint

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The rise of streaming services like Netflix made people speculate about the dim future of TV channels. While the newer generation might not watch TV anymore, TV channels are not out of fashion, yet.

Many streaming services like Hulu and Hotstar include TV channels in their offering. TV channels are also utilizing live streaming to broadcast their content to viewers on the internet.

Another way to watch live TV is by using IPTV. There are a number of TV channels available via IPTV so that viewers can use internet to watch the live broadcast. Some channels are available for free while some might require subscription.

There have been a few applications on Linux to watch IPTV channels but most have been discontinued. Linux Mint team announced that they are working on a new app that will allow you to watch TV channels via IPTV on your Linux system.

Hypnotix: New IPTV application under development

Hypnotix is an IPTV streaming application with support for live TV, movies and series. It supports IPTV providers using M3U URL, Xtream API or local M3U playlist.

If none of the above make sense to you, don’t worry. Hypnotix comes with FreeIPTV preconfigured. FreeIPTV is a project that has M3U for over 2,000 TV channels that are legally free to watch.

Which means that you can get a huge list of freely available TV channels from all over the world.

You can click on the country or region of your choice. It will show you the list of channels in the left sidebar. Clicking on a channel will start playing the content in the right sidebar.

You can also go full screen with F or F11 keyboard shortcut or use the button in the application.

There is also provision to handle VOD (Video on Demand) library but I couldn’t figure out a way to use it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Viewing experience depends on your internet speed and the TV channels’ servers.
  • Some TV channels might not work even if they are listed in the application.
  • You may go back a few seconds or minutes but this depends upon the cache.
  • You may also pause the live streaming and it will maintain a cache so that you can resume later. I don’t know how big the cache could be.
  • There is no way to control the video streaming quality as you do on YouTube and other video streaming websites.
  • You won’t get running program’s detail in the player.
  • This is TV broadcast so you get to see the same ads that are broadcasted during program breaks.

Installing Hypnotix on Linux

Hypnotix is still in beta phase of development. The .deb file for the beta version is available for testing. On Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions, you can install it from the DEB file.

At the time of writing this article, no other package is available for Hypnotix. This means Fedora and Arch users will have to wait.

More features to come

Linux Mint development team plans to add more features in the future:

  • EPG support (Live TV Program)
  • PVR: pausing, time-shifting, recording, etc.
  • Custom categories: To list channels in appropriate categories
  • Favorites: so that you don’t have to search for your favorite channels all the time.
  • Hiding unused content

I like Linux Mint team. Unlike many other distributions, they are not just Ubuntu or Arch repackages with different theme and wallpapers. They put effort in developing not only the distribution but also applications like Hypnotix, Warpinator etc for their users. Other distribution maintainers should learn from Mint team.

Hypnotix provides a way to watch the IPTV channels with a simple and easy to use interface. Personally, I don’t watch TV but I know many people do. Are you one of them? If yes, do you look forward to using it? Do share your views in the comment section.

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