For a website doing the Herculean task of competing against illegal filesharing, SeeSaw gets a lot of things right.
It offers a collection of TV shows from the BBC, Channel 4 and Five on a single website. Each video starts streaming quickly and is available in low, medium or high quality. Adverts play before each episode, but they tend to be short and few in number.
It's convenient and watchable in your lunch hour. Unfortunately, SeeSaw stumbles where it matters: the programmes.
While the site offers every episode of favourites like Spaced and Father Ted, and posts new episodes of series like The Gadget Show and Neighbours, it only features a portion of what's already available on respective content providers' services, like iPlayer and 4oD.
It's tough to imagine SeeSaw ever pulling ahead. Why would any channel provide episodes not already offered by their own services?
The best SeeSaw can hope for is to one day draw equal, and as if to underline that all its content is available elsewhere, Channel 4 programmes feature the 4oD logo in the corner. By being trapped in the shadow of its content providers, SeeSaw appears doomed to paucity.
The internet should provide a home to enormous vaults of past shows, but viewers remain stuck with a motley selection of Doctor Who episodes. There's a complete lack of the forgotten gems that such sites should be highlighting.
Yanks to the rescue?
That leaves American television as the one area where SeeSaw could potentially pull ahead. Hulu, the site's closest American equivalent, is no longer launching in the UK. 4oD offers only a few of Channel 4's licensed shows, and BlinkBox's US selection costs a steep £1.79 per episode.
Sadly, SeeSaw's current plans will see its US series disappear behind a paywall, meaning that unless it can pull off a content coup, the site will remain polished but inessential.
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