I must confess, I've never seen the appeal of Twitch: why watch other people play video games when you can play them yourself, on the thing you're using to watch them? But enough other people seem to enjoy it that Amazon gobbled up the livestreaming service, and now something very similar has come to Android. Shou.TV is a beta app and service that basically does exactly what Twitch does, but on your phone instead.

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Man, what an ugly gamer.

Android Lollipop has user-accessible APIs for screen recording, so Shou.TV works right out of the box on the latest hardware and/or software. Those running older devices will need root capability in order to broadcast, but you can watch other players without it. For broadcasting, you can create a new account or connect your Facebook or Google+ (yes!) account to log in, then name your channel and select a game (or any app, really). Once you start recording, Shou.TV will automatically create a channel for others to watch on their devices or in a browser window.

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The technical aspect of Shou.TV is very impressive. It will stream solid video off of my Nexus 6, plus record what's coming in from my microphone, and let whoever wants to peek in on my play session. There are also predictable features like face recording with the front-facing camera, and you can comment on other videos, embed them to other sites, or "follow" the creator. It's clear what Shou.TV is trying to emulate here, but the implementation is solid... with a couple of hiccups. Games played vertically will sometimes be distorted on both the browser and mobile, and there's no easy way to tell that I'm successfully recording or streaming while in the app without actually opening my stream on the desktop as well. You'll see a definite hit to framerate for 3D games, but that's to be expected.


On the viewing side of things, the app divides videos up by games, and then by streamers, but the website puts everything in a big grid, prioritizing live streams over recorded videos. You can access local copies of your recorded videos, and posted videos can be shared or embedded on other sites.

At the moment Shou.TV is in beta, with no ads, in-app purchases, or watermarks. It's also available for iOS. Twitch is technically available for Android, but in order to broadcast video, you'll need a SHIELD Tablet.