SeeSaw service moves to an open beta
The service offers content from the BBC, 4oD and Five, and for the material we watched on BBC and Five there was options for low, medium and high quality encoding. The low bit rate looks to be around 450Kbps, medium around 800Kbps and high about 1.2Mbps, the high quality looking like a decent Freeview SD signal, though it was getting a little blocky if there was numerous scene changes within a few seconds. The 4oD content ran at around the 800Kbps mark. For those with usage allowances to worry about, a low quality video running for an hour would amount to roughly 200MB, medium around 360MB and high 540MB, so if the kids start to watch whole series in one evening which is possible with SeeSaw be prepared for your broadband usage patterns to change.
At this time the viewing is funded by advertising, both before and during programmes, once the full service is launched there will be the option to pay to view a specific show without adverts. The future may also see US shows appearing if negotiations with US studios go well. Currently there is a lot of UK shows not on the service, but you are able to view whole series. You could say that SeeSaw is like having a large DVD Boxset collection all available at the touch of a button.
At present the service requires XP or better on a PC, or Mac OS 10.6 and Adobe Flash Player 10 to be installed. The beta feedback section for the service shows that the SeeSaw team are looking at expanding the platforms the service will be available on, but as ever content control (DRM) will be the issue.