Internet TV is becoming more and more popular, but, as anyone who has ever tried to hunt down all the episodes of their favorite show knows, it can sometimes be a little frustrating. You go from one website to another, searching for the right program, waiting for it to download and then settling in to watch, only to realize that you've actually seen the episode before. De-stress the operation with a handy Firefox add-on - Zinc.
Zinc is a subtle browser extension that basically gives you access to Zinc, a graphic interface designed to give you quick and organized access to your Internet TV. Using the tool is easy - after installing, Zinc adds two important buttons to your browser - 'add to favorites' and the Zinc homepage. The homepage is composed of various categories, ranging from Zv Presents, the developers' selection of things you might find interesting, and Favorites, RSS streams for websites of your choosing, to Applications and Local Content, where you add apps and media from your own computer for easy access.
Adding your own content is easy - you open the RSS feed for whatever stream you are interested in viewing. You'll find that the option 'Preview in Zinc' has been added to your subscription options. Once you've added the feed, it will appear on your main Zinc interface, so you can check out shows without even leaving the program. Even if there is no RSS feed for a particular program, you can still add it, but will take you to the website rather than playing directly.
Given that Zinc deals with Internet TV, the usual problems appear. Some Zv Presents content is not available outside the US (although plenty is), but this doesn't become obvious until quite late in the process. In all, however, I was seriously impressed by this add-on, which manages to combine usefulness and simplicity.
Among Zinc's best features is a function that tells you whether or not you have viewed a program before and the fact that it is compatible with some remote controls. Watching TV on the Internet is no longer looking so much like 'real' TV's poor cousin!
Zinc is a highly usable program that will become a must for all Internet TV viewers.