Thanks to an orginal tip off from Mashood I have also been playing with streaming peer to peer TV channels. And to get hold of some targeted media I have also resorted to bittorrent and the Emule network. There is too much for this post already so another will follow with more information on Emule and bittorrent.
Again apologies for not posting full tutorials, my free time and Chinese language learning just don't allow that much attention to detail. I will provide a few links where possible though and that give you a better start than I had.
Peer to peer TV sounds crazy, but very simply if you connect normally to a TV stream you have maintain enough bandwith to that single nework location for your media player to output the picture and sound. On a peer to peer networks bits of the stream are being distributed amongst many people. The peer to peer software will be grabbing bits of the stream from lots of different places and also sharing the data you have with other people likewise. The more people sharing the stream the better! you may not all be watching quite in sync. but that is just like time-shifted TV on TIVO etc. but on a smaller scale.
This peer to peer TV seems to have caught on mostly in China so the software is Chinese and most of the media is Chinese also (perfect if you are learning Mandarin). There is some heavy European interest, not surprisingly many Europeans are using the p2p TV networks to watch football.
I have tried PPStream and PPLive the two links I have given you are information pages on football fansites. It is best if you do some google searches to get all the information you can. Thanks to a tip from Pepper I have also tried the TVU player. Assuming you have a reasonable network connect you should be able to get a wide variety of Chinese television from one or all of these.
My quick impressions are as follows: PPStream does the trick, you can find a version to download that has English menus and there is a lot of viewing choice. The downside is that most of channels work best when a lot of Chinese people are online, it often slowed down or interrupted other online stuff I was doing and a few of channels never seem to be available.
PPLive was harder because at the time I tried it I could not get hold of English menus. However often I found I could get channels on PPLIVE even when there wasn't enough data coming down through PPStream (maybe more Chinese people use it?). Also PPLIVE didn't seem to intefere with other network performance.
TVU player is clunky looking however I think this is the most accesible of the players to start off with. It is easy to use and although it has considerably less TV stations there is plenty of choice and it does what it says on the tin. I am currently watching an early episode of 24 dubbed in Mandarin with subtitles as I type this :) (Keifer Sutherland sounds very weird as a Chinese guy). Hot tip time: I never waste an opportunatiy if I am at home posting/reading forums etc. I am almost always listening to Chinese audio or even watching chinese TV. This is one reason why my English grammar and spelling appear so bad.
Now for the best bit, in a previous post I pointed out that you can use Videolan player to record streaming media. Well each of the players described above works by turning your PC into a local media server, so if you connect Videolan to the correct port on your PC you can record it. The address you need for the TVU player is likely to be http://127.0.0.1:8901
If like me you are attempting to learn Chinese from a non-Chinese speaking country then I think the biggest initial hurdle is that you have no idea of, or ear for the language. Unlike some learning experiances you have nothing to lose by diving in. You won't fall off and hurt yourself, your brain will not explode. If you don't understand any of it then put that aside and concentrate on getting a feel for what it sounds like. I bet that if you are English like me you can easily tell the difference between German, Spanish and French language, even if you don't understand them. This is your first and essential goal for Chinese. Step 1 find a way to test if you can learn to easy tell between Chinese and Japanease, then do the same with Cantonese.mandarin streaming media mandarin student chinese