TwitchTV launched an application for Android in beta status a few weeks ago and since then we have had plenty of time to muck around with this new application. For those of you who are not familiar with TwitchTV, it is another service offered by Justin.TV but is completely gaming related.
While Justin.TV allows users to live stream pretty much whatever they want, or vlogging depending on how you use the service, TwitchTV has becomes the go-to place for live gameplay streaming. Currently it airs just about every major e-sport gaming tournament from every major circuit around the world. It's not just for pro circuits though. Anyone can join TwitchTV and live stream the games they are playing. Now that you have a bit of background on what TwitchTV is, let's dive into the new Android application.
The TwitchTV Android application lets you connect to live gameplay streams that are currently being aired on the site itself. This means you will be able to watch anyone who is live streaming their games as they play them on your Android device. If you are into the whole e-sports thing, you can watch all the major tournaments while on the go as well. The layout of the application is simple and when you launch it you are greeted with a couple of choices:
- Featured Games List: This shows the current list of featured games that users are live streaming such as StarCraft II. - Games: This will list all the major games that users are live streaming. This is not a complete list though. It just shows major titles. You can easily find less major games being streamed using the search function. - All Channels: Pretty much what the name suggests. This shows all the channels that are currently streaming live gameplay footage for you to watch.
Once you find a channel, just tap on it and it will load that live stream. Depending on the quality the person playing the game is streaming at, you will have an option to change the quality of the stream between five different quality settings. This option is available in case you find yourself on a slower network at any point in time or if you are not running on a 4G/LTE network. The lower the setting, the lower the quality. All streams also come with full sound so if the person streaming is talking, you will be able to hear everything along with gameplay sounds.
Having been testing the TwitchTV application for Android on my LG G2X on T-Mobile for a few weeks now, the performance with loading up the stream and watching one is actually quite good. In fact loading a stream, at least on my device and network, was rather fast and there were no hiccups in the stream at all. The only issue right now seems to be that there is only two options for the quality to what streams in right now which is Medium and Low. Not sure if it is due to what the broadcasters are streaming at or if it is something that TwitchTV is planning to roll out in the next update.
If you visit the TwitchTV website, you will notice other features like chat boxes and things of that nature which are available when watching a user's stream. These are not included in the application, at least not at this time but that isn't a bad thing.
TwitchTV kept the application as it should be, a live stream viewer dedicated to gaming at its core, and they have not burdened it with features that really wouldn't make sense on a mobile device such as chat boxes. One feature that would be nice to see would be the ability to see a user's profile. The lack of being able to check out a user's profile certainly doesn't take away from the application but it would be nice.
As it stands right now, the TwitchTV application for Android is quite a good (minus the lack of quality choice in streams) performing live stream viewing app. Haven't had a force close or anything and in the newest version the application is now compatible with Android 4.0 devices. For those of you eager to check out the TwitchTV application, it is available on Google Play and through our store for free.