BinTube Review: A look into the streaming usenet provider with its own unique newsreader

// 29th Aug '09 BinTube Review: A look into the streaming usenet provider with its own unique newsreader

Today we look in to a relatively new provider on the scene and one of the first to provide a bespoke client capable of streaming video content from compressed files while also downloading it. It allows a user to open an NZB file, which can be searched for in-client using BinTube's search engine, and immediately start playing all sorts of video and audio files. Interested?

Despite rumours to the contrary, the Usenet industry is growing and competition among providers is heating up. To be perfectly honest, the naysayers are more than welcome to believe Usenet is dead as they'll never know what they're missing. So let's great straight on with it! But before we do a disclaimer: access to BinTube's service was provided for review purposes by BinTube themselves; we thank them very much for that but we will be re-cindering access after this review is complete to remain unbiased. Our connection is no different to the average user experience and was not enhanced in any way. Right then: BinTube offers an all in one solution aimed at people who may well be completely new to the Usenet scene. If subscribing to the the $10.99 monthly package you will get a fully featured Usenet client with streaming abilities; a decent Usenet connection and indeed access to BinTube's search engine which does a good job at indexing all the files available.

The short of it? Our overall experience with the package has been excellent and we would recommend it to people that want a hassle free Usenet experience. The subscription is a month by month contract with no hidden terms in the T&C's (unlike cough UseNeXT) and can be canceled at any time with the service stopping when monthly renewal date was hit. If you're just buying the software, we have guarantee's from BinTube that updates will be for life - no extra subscription required unlike other programs such as Newsleecher. If you want the more detailed review: read on..

Our Experiences

We reviewed every part of BinTube's service; what follows are the bits that stood out to us.

  • Installation Process - the process itself is simple, however the application currently only runs on a Windows Operating System. The setup file is a simple executable which installs the necessary files. By default, the installer's "recommended" install pattern does not change your default file openers - this is always a good sign of decent software - we personally can't stand applications that mess with your default settings unless they specifically ask so this is a major plus. One thing that could have been made easier would have been to install VLC media player during the installation. As it stands, the BinTube client automatically downloads and installs it when you first open the media tab or try and play a video within the client; as VLC is required for most functionality within the client, it seems to make sense that it should be bundled in to the initial install. (Update: BinTube have got in touch - and they provide a very good reason as to why it's not bundled: including it would cause the installer size to jump from 3MB to 17MB, and as VLC is quite popular and installed already on a lot of systems - this was considered unnecessary)

  • Encryption - is always used (except for searches - see improvements below). There are no packages available with BinTube that do not offer SSL as standard. We can only wish more providers did this without charging extra to protect their user's privacy.

  • Streaming - this is a quality feature that is pretty rare to find in most Usenet clients. It basically allows you to start playing a video/audio file as soon as you hit download - the program is clever enough to download the files in the right order, to extract the files on the fly and stream it using the VLC built in functionality. Binverse also offer this "preview/streaming" functionality in their software but we are yet to test if it works as well as it does with BinTube's client.

  • Decent indexing - NZB regulars may well already know about BinTube's search functionality as it has been around longer than the client. The indexing is actually good and it does a decent job of grouping together the newsgroup headers in to simple downloadable groups.

  • Auto Extracting / Repairing & File cleanup - the client does an excellent job of automating this process. Don't know what a RAR or PAR2 file even is? Doesn't matter with this, it will handle it all for you and clean up the file mess afterwards leaving you with only what you wanted. It will do this mostly in the background although provides a log/status bar if you wish to view it's progress.

  • Support - so far has been excellent. Replies to emails sent to [email protected] come very quickly, and not just in our case (as obviously leaving us waiting would be stupid) but also from an anonymous BinTube user we've been in contact with. He submitted a question asking about German Paypal problems and received a polite reply very quickly; unfortunately in this case the problem lies with the ridiculous German Paypal rules but the reply was very professional. We would trust this company with our money; if this ever changes, we'll be the ones covering it and so you'll be the first to know. However at the moment, the service is very respectable. For example, we asked them to clarify the minimum monthly contract and not only did they reply very quickly with the answer - but realised it wasn't clear enough on their website and immediately added it to their website (last line of the benefits!)

Improvements required?

The Usenet service and client are both excellent; however we'd like to see the following client enhancements over time.

UPDATE (3 hours after publishing): BinTube have replied and some of these comments are irrelevant. Please see the update at the bottom of the article.

  • Adverts should be removed for paid members - The banner ads are not built in to the client as such, but as the client uses BinTube.com for it's search engine - the banner adverts take up quite a lot of screen real estate when using the search feature. If these adverts could be made to display conditionally based upon whether the user has paid for the software/subscription we would see this as yet another benefit. (Update: now fixed, see update below)

  • Search from within the client should do so by SSL - There is an option on all BinTube.com search pages to access the website via SSL (see footer of pages). As the Usenet downloading itself (from BinTube's servers) is encrypted via SSL; we're not quite sure why the client doesn't use the https:// version of BinTube.com by default. It should at least be an option in the settings to enable encrypted searches - with this, every single connection leaving the client would be encrypted - thoroughly awesome for privacy. (Irrelevant: see update below!)

  • The client should save past searches - Frequently during our testing we wanted to search for the same thing and had to retype it in the box as it doesn't save past searches in a drop down. This is a minor usability enhancement but something that would add to the overall experience.

  • Some form of feature request platform - There is currently already a feedback suggestion box built in to the application but we feel a public solution would suit the service/client better. e.g. Get Satisfaction where users can submit new ideas which then get voted up by the rest of the user base so the BinTube developers know which features people would like most. Either that or a simple feature request forum; as developer time is never cheap it's always a good idea to have an idea of what features are wanted most.

  • Make it clearer that after download the file starts playing immediately in the media tab - This one thing confused the hell out of us as we had our PC sound on mute. When you search for something and click the green arrow to download, the video file starts immediately streaming - and while this is an amazing feature - we didn't know it was happening and spent a while (a good 15 minutes!) clicking around trying to get the video to play (all the options were greyed out because it was already playing!). There should be some kind of warning that it has done this (at least the first time anyway) or maybe an option in the settings where you can make it auto switch to the media tab when you download something?

Conclusion

To sum up our BinTube Review: decent usenet with a decent easy-to-use client and a respectable support policy.

We've enjoyed using the software over the past few days but we also realise the software is relatively new on the scene and has a long time to develop in the future. The good thing though is that it already has most of the main features boasted by other clients; it's literally just a few small usability enhancements here and there. Thanks for taking the time to read through; we'll be keeping our eye on BinTube and be re-visiting their service in the future to make sure this article still stands valid. Your comments on the service are welcome below!

Update 29.Aug.2009

BinTube replied as quick as ever and answered a few of our queries; here's what they said:

In regards to removing adverts in the search for paid members: they've already done it and this will be released in the next update.

They also told us why they don't ship the installer with VLC: it causes the .exe setup file to increase in size from 3MB to 17MB - and this is considered (rightly so) to be excessive for something that might be installed anyway.

Encrypted searches are built in, we just missed them! There is a button on the right of the search which is a drop down of available search engines. Simply select the encrypted/SSL version of BinTube's search. If for some reason you don't have that option, simply click "Manage search engines" in the drop down, select BinTube > press Edit. In step 3, add an "s" after http so it becomes https > then hit OK! It will remember your last search engine used even if you restart the client.

And finally, all the other suggestions we mentioned are being worked on and will be released some time soon once developed.

We can't really fault them on support, we really can't - it's been awesome throughout. Hopefully it'll stay that way :)

djm posted by djm
This entry was posted in News Providers and tagged bintube, clients, reviews, ssl, streaming. Leave a comment.

25 Comments

  1. Colin
    Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Con­grat­u­la­tions on a very bal­anced review, your site is awe­some, dif­fer­ent from the “Oth­ers” great!

    I’m cur­rently test­ing the cli­ent, ( in trail mode ) and I find the ads very annoy­ing, the lack of SSL search is a mater that needs to be addressed, over all a good exper­i­ence. I fully agree improvem­nts are required.

    I’m sure Bin Tube will take on your com­ments and I look for­ward to fur­ther improvements .

    As a foot note many new­bies won’t know about the open source VLC player could you write a fea­ture about the program?

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  2. Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Hi Colin, many thanks for the kind words — we do try and be a tad dif­fer­ent from the rest.

    They have indeed already replied as you’ll see by my update at the bot­tom of the art­icle. SSL search is avail­able really eas­ily and the ads will be removed in the next update.

    A VLC fea­ture sounds like a good idea — we’ve got a few art­icles we’d like to put out first but it’s been added to the list. Per­son­ally I use GOM Player as it acts like VLC (as in, plays everything you chuck at it) but it also looks a bit prettier.

    cheers, djm

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  3. Colin
    Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    djm, I have just one more ques­tion could you check out of GOM player will work with the Bin­Tube cli­ent . I’m impressed how quickly Bin­Tube is address­ing the issues described in your art­icle. this indeed is a pos­it­ive sign. Bin­Tube really intends to stick around for the long term and shows their will­ing­ness to listen to their cus­tom­ers.

    On thing you have over­look in your art­icle is the speed of the con­nec­tion, how fast are the servers?

    Colin

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  4. Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Hi,

    Sorry for the con­fu­sion — I recom­men­ded GOM player as an external cli­ent if you’re simply play­ing video files. Only VLC 0.8+ will work from within Bin­Tube itself. I did indeed over­look the speed of their serv­ers — mostly because it was pure qual­ity and maxed out my 20mbit con­nec­tion. They use decent serv­ers in both the US and EU and there­fore 99% of the time, it will max out your con­nec­tion bandwidth.

    Cheers, djm

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  5. New Duke
    Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Firstly, nice web­site djm, it’s good to have some friendly journ­al­ism cov­er­ing Usenet, until now I’ve been rely­ing on forums.

    I switched to Bin­tube from Astraweb about 3 months ago. I had been using Astraweb for about 4 months and they were my intro­duc­tion to Usenet. Noth­ing wrong with Astraweb made me leave, I just wanted the stream­ing and auto-recovery fea­tures of the bin­tube cli­ent. Just as with Astraweb I’ve had a very pos­it­ive exper­i­ence with Bin­tube. I don’t see myself switch­ing pro­vider any­time soon hav­ing become accus­tomed to the excel­lent cli­ent, ‘vanilla’ news­read­ers seem a bit weak in comparison!

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  6. Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Cheers New Duke, much appreciated.

    I agree, the stream­ing is a massive selling point for those who lit­er­ally just want to push n go. Auto-recovery/extracting is handled by a hand­ful of News­read­ers these days includ­ing News­bin Pro, News­leecher and indeed the free and excel­lent sab­n­zbd+; how­ever, all those apps do indeed come with their own com­plex­it­ies and learn­ing curves so I can see why ser­vices such as Bin­verse and Bin­Tube will gain pop­ular­ity with people want­ing to jump straight in to Usenet. Guess we’ll see how they fair in the com­ing months! Thanks again.

    djm

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  7. Alex
    Posted Jan 18th, 2010 at 22:01 p.m.

    I switched to Bin­tube from Astraweb about 3 months ago.

    Well. Bintube is Astraweb's reseller =) so basically ur experiens with astraweb should be comparable with the one ure having with bintube

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  8. W
    Posted Feb 1st, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.

    Except with BinTube you also get BinTube Usenet Reader and Usenet search.

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  9. Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Our fea­ture request plat­form is live!

    We look for­ward to your ideas and fea­ture requests.

    The BinTube Team

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  10. Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Cheers. We’re work­ing on get­ting com­ment edit­ing soon. Also fixed the URL, our auto­matic text replace script needs fix­ing clearly!

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  11. duck
    Posted Nov 3rd, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    I just wanted to say that I have been with these guys for a little over a month now and they are amaz­ing — eas­ily bet­ter than — dare I say it — giganews. I actu­ally left giganews for Bin­Tube and have never looked back.

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  12. W
    Posted Nov 5th, 2009 at 16:11 p.m.

    Bintube rocks! 95% of the time items download perfectly. Only a few times do I need to use quickpar. Have been using the software for about a year now, the improvements have been really good. Was using Giganews before and Thundernews - but would never leave bintube now. The previewing of files is really good. One slight issue, would be good if they informed you that a rar file was encrypted - nothing worse than getting to the end of a download, but finding you cant even open it.

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  13. Posted Nov 5th, 2009 at 18:11 p.m.

    Thanks W.

    How do you mean encrypted by the way? As in a passworded RAR set? If so I believe it will be very hard, if not impossible, for BinTube to tell you that the RARs are password protected before downloading them. The only way they would be able to know is if somebody told them or if the header files said "password protected" or something similar.

    Other systems rely on user feedback. i.e. Newzbin relies on it's great comment system.

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  14. Ton Muller
    Posted Feb 16th, 2010 at 23:02 p.m.

    Last year I used NZBindex, Grabit,and QuickPar as tools and Eweka as server. I was quite happy with the situation until I stumbled upon BinTube and decided to try it for a month or so. Now I will never go back to my old situation because I like the streaming video that appears after only a couple of minutes downloading and no more worries about enough Par2's and deleting the Rar's afterwards. With BinTube the whole complicated world of Usenet has turned into a very simple and easy to handle thing.

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  15. M
    Posted Feb 27th, 2010 at 17:02 p.m.

    My only complaint about bintube is the price they want to charge for the bintube pro software if you don't want to use their service. It's currently 59.95, this just seems unreasonable considering its only real major selling point over other alternatives is that it can play videos while the download is active. I think 24.95-29.95 would be a fairer price, also take into account they use a free third-party software (vlc) to play the files. It seems to me more of a way to coax customers into switching providers, which for me is probably going to work lol. I just cant see them selling to many copies of this software at its advertised price.

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  16. Adam
    Posted Mar 25th, 2010 at 22:03 p.m.

    Bin tube used to be good but no every think i download gets corrupted I'm not very happy any one else had the same prob i know it is no the NZBs because every one else says they work I'm pissed cheerio

    AdZ

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  17. Posted Mar 27th, 2010 at 16:03 p.m.

    Hi Adam,

    If you are certain it's not the NZBs, please open a support request so that we can help you. We'll make sure to update everyone else once you get in touch.

    Cheers, The BinTube Team

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  18. Adam
    Posted Sep 10th, 2010 at 08:09 a.m.

    Problem solved, was not BinTube, sorry about the comment it was stupid Astra webs severs, now using BinTube severs not had a problem since.......My apologies would highly recommend BinTube to any one who is looking for a good sever and great program cheers

    AdZ

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  19. Posted Sep 10th, 2010 at 08:09 a.m.

    Hi Adam,

    Glad to hear you're having a great experience with BinTube's service. To be fair to Astra, I don't think the problem you experienced was their fault either.

    Cheers.

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  20. Posted Sep 10th, 2010 at 07:09 a.m.

    LEONE LYNSEY [I Know I've Been C LEANN

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  21. Adam
    Posted Sep 10th, 2010 at 08:09 a.m.

    English please.....

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  22. nescernordets
    Posted Sep 22nd, 2010 at 19:09 p.m.
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  23. Posted Dec 2nd, 2010 at 06:12 a.m.

    kraft no bake pumpkin cheesecake, making romano cheese, laughing cow low fat cheese calories, pistachio salad with cream cheese, apple cheese sandwich. southern living baked macaroni and cheese nilla wafer cheesecakes swirled cheesecake nibbles

    chili cheese corn, cheesesteak denver, the cheese shop hoboken nj, cheesecake cafe toronto, many cheeses. list of blue cheeses cheese 2 24 1 how head cheese is made

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  24. Todd
    Posted Jan 23rd, 2011 at 21:01 p.m.

    Bintube's service did not work for me, and yet they refused a refund. Their customer service, who I contacted shortly after signup up, was unhelpful in resolving my issues connecting to their servers. The best guess that we settled on was that I was being blocked on the ISP level (thought that's just a guess, had their customer service been more helpful we might of been able to narrow it down further). Even though I had only been a customer for a few hours and there was nothing they or I could do to get their service working for me they chose to keep a full month's fee. Low marks.

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  25. Seneinderruts
    Posted Feb 14th, 2011 at 03:02 a.m.
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