Baduk TV is coming to Go Game Guru!

The Baduk TV logo.

I’m very excited to finally be able to tell you that Baduk TV is coming to Go Game Guru!

Baduk TV is a television channel in Korea, completely dedicated to broadcasting programs about the game Go.

Up until now, there’s never been an official, legal and reliable way for Go players in other parts of the world to access Baduk TV.

But that’s about to change.

Baduk TV and Go Game Guru

Baduk TV and Go Game Guru are working together to bring this service to you. Because of the costs involved in running a service like this, it will be available on an affordable monthly subscription basis.

All of our other weekly articles will, of course, remain free.

There will be a live video service, as well as on demand replays (for busy people).

Get a free preview and find out about the beta service

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, click here to find out more.

More details will follow soon. We’re still working flat out on this.

If you have any questions in the meantime, you can leave a comment below and I’ll answer you as soon as I can.

About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Will it be translated to English? I suppose watching TV when you don’t understand a word is quite pointless.

    • Same thought.

    • Ouch! Tough first comment. I feel for the Go Game Guru folks. If I was leaving the first comment mine would’ve been more like “This is awesome!”

      I’ve watched Baduk TV and some of the Japanese NHK programs before without understanding a word of either language and it didn’t matter at all. It’s just like watching a game between strong players online, except the players are both pros (which is awesome) and you have another pro there showing you all these things that could happen (which is even more awesome). It’s surprisingly easy to follow without any English.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Younggil and I talked about that quite a bit Flandre. We ended up deciding not to not do translations initially, but we’ll maybe add that feature later, depending on how things go and based on subscriber feedback.

      What I mean by that is that the players’ names, event and date will be translated for the on demand service, but there won’t be any subtitles of dubbing for the videos to begin with.

      As some other people have already said, it’s not pointless if you understand the Go, and I don’t think you need to be that strong to follow the commentary just by watching. I know some players who are about 10 kyu who can follow it with no problems, so it’s might be easier than you think.

      We mainly considered adding English subtitles to the videos, but it would add a lot of overhead to the service and make it much more expensive to begin with. We’re trying to keep the costs down initially so we can make the service more affordable for everyone.

      We’ll provide free videos for people to try the service before subscribing, so you can make your own decision then.

  2. Maybe not pointless but less attractive.

    Another higher pay plan with translation would be great 🙂

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for the idea Tomasz. That would be another way to do it and we’d have to see what the costs would be and how many people want to pay extra for translation.

      My initial feeling though, is that if we’re getting the translation work done anyway, I’d rather make it available to everyone. It would require the number of subscribers to reach a fairly high critical mass to be affordable though.

      The ‘problem’ is that Baduk TV are planning to provide 10 or more new videos for the on demand service each week (and that’s only a problem if you want to make it one :)). When you look at subtitling all of those, it works out to be 2-3 days of full time translation work, so we’d have to hire someone to do that. Another option we thought about was to only subtitle some of the videos and make it clear which ones those are.

      To start with though, we want to keep things relatively simple and wait and see how many people feel they need subtitles after they’ve tried the service for awhile. We don’t want to add a massive translation cost right at the outset and make it too expensive for lots of people to subscribe.

      • “Another option we thought about was to only subtitle some of the videos and make it clear which ones those are.”
        It’s the best way for now. Even few subtitled videos will become a nice library later, just like KGS+ lectures. And one more reason to pay for this service.

  3. Dai Zhuo Jia says:

    Woohoo!! Well Done!!

  4. I do not understand Korean but I have been watching baduk TV for awhile. By looking at what commentators showing it is enjoyable enough for me. So totally support this and it will be superb to have English translation maybe for the on demand option 🙂

  5. DanielTom says:

    As you said, there are many ways to access Baduk TV online.
    For example:
    [Links to pirate website removed by admin]

    What is the difference between watching it there or on GGG? That is the main question for me.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Daniel, the short answer is that our service will be better and, for some people, worth paying money for.

      For me, and for a lot of other people, it’s worth paying a reasonable amount for things if they’re convenient and they don’t waste my time. If you have a busy job and/or a family to worry about, you want to be able to fit things in when it suits you. Of course this isn’t for everyone, but people will know if it’s for them or not.

      Another answer is, as I said above, that this is an official partnership with Baduk TV. Again, that means there’ll be a reliable source of new quality videos each week, that you can replay whenever you want. That’s in addition to the live stream.

      Those other sites you linked to are running a pirate stream. It’s online sometimes and other times it stops working for weeks, or months at a time. Sometimes the guy running that site decides to charge people to watch, sometimes it’s free, sometimes you have to watch lots of ads before you can view it. I’ve heard of a few people who paid him and then the service went offline. They didn’t get their money back.

      Baduk TV are aware of it and they’re not happy about it, so I’ve removed the links from your comment. Please don’t leave links like that on Go Game Guru.

      In contrast to that pirate website, we’re a legitimate operation. We don’t fly by night. You know who Younggil, Jing and I are. You know you can trust us. If there’s a problem with the service, you just let us know and we’ll fix it. If someone wants their money back, we give it back to them. It’s pretty simple. That’s the difference.

      • DanielTom says:

        Thanks for your reply.
        To be honest, I was not aware that the example links I posted were illegal. Even the famous forum Lifein19x19 has live broadcast of Baduk TV. So, I repeat, I did not know it was illegal, and I am sorry for that (thanks for telling me).
        Best of luck with your endeavors!

        • I don’t know what the Lifein19x19 admins are thinking with that. It was never certain, but it was kind of obvious that it wasn’t a legit stream.

        • David Ormerod says:

          No worries Daniel.

  6. Adrian Petrescu says:

    I’ll definitely be signing up for this on day one 🙂

  7. This is very exciting!!! This is quality content and I am willing to pay monthly subscription for it! Please keep us updated on the progress. I signed up on the mailing list.

    And thank you for making this happen.

  8. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks for your comments guys. It’s reassuring to hear that it’s not just us who are excited about this and that there will at least be a few subscribers to start with :).

  9. I’m excited I really am, I was hoping for a service like this and a partnership is perfect!

    Thanks for the hard work

  10. Nicolás says:

    WOW! The only reason I am not going to sign up for this is because I will probably become so addicted that it would cost me my job. Nonetheless, this news is simply incredible. It really makes me wish I had enough time.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Haha, I know what you mean Nicolás. For me the challenge recently has been not getting sucked into the videos while testing that everything is working… 🙂

  11. At what monthly subscription fee will we be looking? 🙂

    I’ll probably surely subscribe. Finally legal Baduk TV!

    • Between $10-$20/month, depending on the subscription you choose. But wait for David to finish tweaking his disturbingly complicated spreadsheet to get a final figure :D.

  12. That is amazing news, well done!

  13. Byung Soo Lee says:

    I would be interested in Baduk TV and think that it has value, but I hope that the GGG team does not take on much financial risks in starting this venture.

    What is on Baduk TV? I have seen a lot of Baduk TV videos on Youtube and here is what I found.

    Best Value
    *) Professionals giving reviews of great championship games from the past. These programs are the best value for the English-speaking viewer because not much time is wasted.

    Second Best Value
    *) Live recordings of matches in major tournaments. Usually, there is a professional and a strong amateur following the game and trying to interpret the intent of the players and discussing how they might play. This is somewhat valuable because the slower time settings in these matches tend to give the reviewers time to play out sequences on big boards. Might be quite interesting even if just a few phrases are translated. The professionals who review the live games seem to have a few phrases that they use frequently.

    Only valuable if you can understand Korean
    *) Programs that teach amateurs the basics. Joseki, life-and-death, opening, and haengma among other basic topics.
    *) Programs that teach amateurs about fighting back against overplay and trick moves. Tygem users seem to send e-mails to the program director.

    Waste of time even if you know Korean
    *) Live games with very short time settings (usually Korean Baduk League games) in which a pro attempts to explain some of the moves. I found these to be a waste of time for the most part. The reviewers often have to resort to speculation that isn’t so helpful to amateurs because the games either start in byo-yomi or get there very fast.
    *) Programs on dealing with health issues (mostly related to aging). This essentially tells me that most people who watch Baduk TV in Korea are over 45.

    Based on what have seen on Youtube, I wonder how Baduk TV may compare to the pre-recorded English-language lectures (1 Euro each) and game reviews on Guo Juan’s web site. Looking over the content on her web site, I think that English-speaking kyu players are better served listening to those lectures instead of paying for Baduk TV. On the other hand, dan players (especially strong dans) may find the number of professional games on Baduk TV to be quite appealing, especially if they can pause and rewind the programs to try the variations being played on magnetic boards by the reviewers.

    So my conclusion after this admittedly half-baked analysis is that there is a market for Baduk TV, but that it may be limited to dan players until English translations become available.

    It would be nice if you could take advantage of the global economic crisis to hire some translators at a discount (college kids?). If there are strange laws in your country of operation requiring that you provide insurance and other benefits to such temporary employees, you could even outsource the translation to other nations via the web. Am I thinking too much like an evil capitalist?

    • Byung Soo Lee says:

      Of course, Youtube may not accurately reflect the full range of programming on Baduk TV (or what the nice folks at GGG are planning to select from it). The Internet is not always accurate. I hope that Baduk TV will be a successful venture. 🙂 Just be careful in your planning!

    • “Looking over the content on her web site, I think that English-speaking kyu players are better served listening to those lectures instead of paying for Baduk TV.”
      One problem with Guo Juan’s lectures is that they are incredibly boring. No comparison with live pro game commented by another pro player! Especially when you watch your favourite player.
      I am sure even kyu players can understand something from a pro game if there are some comments (ideally, in English).

      • Byung Soo Lee says:

        From the standpoint of viewing go as a sport, I agree that watching a live match is quite exciting for the same reason that live sporting events are exciting (the uncertainty of the outcome creates a thrill). However, if it is just watching the games, there are many you can follow on Tygem and other servers. The real value is in the professional commentary that accompanies the live game. Some of the commentary is really great, but I feel like a lot of it would go over my head if I did not understand Korean. A single phrase like “This cannot be captured in one move” or “You cannot feel good about capturing the group in such a small way” or “This doesn’t work because of shortage of liberties” or “This gives black way too much influence” (I am not strong enough to know what is too much influence) or “This is absolute sente” (Again, if I knew something was sente, then I could go about figuring out why it was sente…) makes a lot of difference to me at least. I certainly would agree with you that they would have decent market value if some basic subtitles were to be provided as the commentary is often quite good. Also, one could pause+rewind when variations are played in order to try to guess what is being said in Korean, and one might even succeed in guessing correctly with decent confidence. However, the inconvenience involved in frequently pausing+rewinding would lower the market value of the product. My personal belief is that those translations can be done relatively cheaply via outsourcing, but that may or may not be correct. It seems to me that a library of stock Baduk TV phrases could be constructed and used repeatedly. Also, my impression was that many student clubs in the US whose main activity is translating Asian media for their own personal consumption. One could imagine such clubs forming a source of cheap part-time labor that could be relied on to pick the correct stock phrase from the library to mass produce subtitles.

        Furthermore, we have to consider the time zone difference between China/Japan/Korea and Australia/North America/Europe. There might not be enough people who have a schedule that permits them to watch the game live (they might be at work). This means that they will have to watch the games later when the winner is already known. This is fine, but that means that large segment of the market will not experience the thrill of the live game when they finally sit down to watch the game via VOD. Accordingly, the price you can charge for the service will decline.

        Guo Juan’s lectures might be boring, but they are in English and also fairly cheap. So there is a trade-off. Moreover, she has a low cost operation because she is only streaming audio + SGF animation via Java. This requires much less bandwidth than streaming video (as would be the case with Baduk TV). She also has relatively low nominal labor costs because she does most of the lectures herself (I won’t attempt to guess what her opportunity cost is). This probably means that she does not have to sell that many lectures or charge much per lecture in order to break even. If you are watching the games on VOD (i.e., not live) AND without subtitles, then can it really be said that a single recording of a live Baduk TV game provides significantly more value than a somewhat boring 1 Euro lecture in English to weak players? There might be a lot of people who would indeed value it significantly more, but is that enough to cover the operating and setup costs? I don’t know, but my hope is that a thorough analysis will be done so that the venture will be profitable in its final form.

        I will sign up for this service whenever it becomes available, but I would also like it to be a sustainable business for the people who run this blog because I love what they do. I realize that they really shouldn’t be taking business advice from a random person on the internet (i.e., me). I just felt like sharing some of my worries, that’s all.

    • Byung Soo, You mention it as no value to non-Korean speakers, but a few times I watched the joseki lectures, and liked it very much. I am 5 dan tygem, and don’t speak Korean. Well, except, I know “nee” is yes (frequently used as conversation filler), “nappun” means bad, also I know some curse words but they don’t use it on BadukTV 🙂

      • Byung Soo Lee says:

        Perhaps 5 dans such as yourself are strong enough to understand without translations. One of the coolest things that I have seen on Baduk TV is Chinese and Korean players reviewing games together without needing any translation whatsoever (and the pro who is watching them through a TV monitor explaining what they are “saying” to each other). So perhaps you have reached a level at which you “speak go” through stones instead of through English. I am incredibly jealous of such people!

        I was giving my own perspective as a kyu player who does not have that skill. of course, perhaps other kyu players are quicker on the uptake than I am. I certainly don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

        • David Ormerod says:

          You’ve hit on a key point Byung Soo. As someone who understands Korean, you can follow it easily and it’s probably hard to imagine what it would be like otherwise.

          Likewise, like Lazy, I find the shows pretty easy to follow because you get to a level where the Go makes sense, but I try to imagine what it might be like for other people.

          I’ve shown videos to other players to try to get a feeling for who this is suitable for and my observation is that, with a good commentator, people around 10 kyu or stronger seem to be able to follow and enjoy the games.

          The key ingredient though is the commentator and the amateur who works with them. Some of them work really well together to anticipate moves viewers might be thinking about and show what could happen, why that move wasn’t played, and so on. In those cases, language doesn’t matter for a lot of people.

          We’re trying to select programs that typically have that sort of useful commentary, like you’ve suggested. To start with we’re focusing mainly on episodes a show where a pro and an amateur discuss a recent game together and some of the Korean Baduk League games. Things that tend to have 1 or 2 hour episodes, because I’m assuming some people using the on demand service won’t have time to watch a really long game with commentary and the live stream will always be there as an alternative for people who have more time. Personally I’ve found the Korean Baduk League games to be quite good, so I’m surprised to see you rank them at the bottom.

          Regardless, we’ll get a much better idea of what works well for people once the service starts and then we can get more episodes of the more popular shows.

          • Byung Soo Lee says:

            My evaluations are dependent on my own weaknesses. The pace of KBL games is usually too fast for my mind to keep up with. I am only about 2-3 kyu on KGS. Thanks for starting this up!

    • Thanks for all the suggestions Byung Soo! I know it must’ve taken quite awhile to write and we appreciate everyone’s advice. 🙂

  14. Frederik says:

    Very cool, cant wait!

  15. Interesting! I’m certainly going to try the free trial. Ever since I heard about Baduk TV I’ve been wondering what that would be like ^^

    I’ve watched a few of Guo Juan’s lectures online and they’re not that boring… But I agree, the idea of live tv is more appealing.

  16. LucNoSensei says:

    David you really are doing some outstanding work with Younggil, both in providing valuable free content to the community, with an ever humble approach, and in finding elegant ways of adding monetized quality content. I’m not just saying this because you’re a good teacher and a better friend, but you guys are doing some great work and I really think your hearts and business minds are in the right place.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Luc, it’s kind of you to say that. Hope you’re doing well by the way :).

  17. Thank you thank you thank you!!! Two questions: Will the stream be 1080p? What will the price of a full subscription be, roughly?

    • It will be 720p (i.e. 1280 x 720) maximum on connections that can support it and there will be lower quality streams for slower connections. There still has to be a final check on the numbers, but it’s looking like it will be about $19/month, or less if you only want the live stream.

  18. Tommyray says:

    Great news! But no Flash please :), or at least compatibility with Puffin/SkyFire browser on mobile devices – I’d highly appreciate it.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Don’t worry Tommyray, we’re catering for mobile devices too and we can do better than SkyFire ;). Actually that’s what I’ve been spending a lot of my time on that recently, but I know it’s important to people.

  19. Jimmy Saurus Rex says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea. I’ll certainly subscribe just to show my support . . . though in fact I’m probably too busy with two jobs and three kids to really enjoy it. 🙁

    Since folks are giving ideas, I’ve really enjoyed, and purchased all his stuff.

    Personally, I think that model has a lot of promise to it as well. For instance I’d very happily pay $20/month for a lecture a week in that format.

    Like I said, I have two jobs and three kids. Which means I have money but little time. So I think I’m probably in the easiest demographic to make a sale to . . . if you give me some way of enjoying go that is very time efficient. Because for me, it’d be hard to ever have more than an hour a week to spend.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Jimmy, you sound like the kind of person we were thinking of when we decided to add an on demand service. Hopefully it will suit you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  20. Steppenwolf says:

    Give it a try, I like it a lot

  21. Will there be sgfs included with every VOD? I’d love to have the javascript sfg player embedded with every game and the ability to download whatever I just watched. That way, I can jump around the game without leaving the page or having to open another program, and I can later study games I like or find interesting.

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s a good idea Noah. Depending on the final setup, we might have more than one version of the same video embedded on a page (for different quality/bandwith versions), so you might end up having to scroll a lot to do what you’re suggesting. Also, it’s not always easy to find all games shortly after they’re played. I’ll keep it in mind though.

  22. Hi,

    this is a awesome idea. I have a question I am not sure it will be covered because it might be difficult. From a Go club point of view with not much money to spend I am pretty sure none of our members would pay for an account of this individually (at last not many), but if there is a formula where a membership can be shared we would definitively go for it as a club (I am not sure, maybe some simultaneous connections and a bit more expensive service). This will also help to promote it I believe. The other option of course is to pay for some memberships but a shared one looks better from the point of view of sharing.


    • David Ormerod says:

      Sorry Toni, I missed your comment earlier.

      I think we’ll have to talk about how we could do that once the beta is finished because we have to get a more accurate idea of the costs involved.

  23. For what it’s worth, I would pay a hundred bucks per month indefinitely for 10 shows a week with subtitles. You should consider a poll or a Kickstarter to gauge interest.

  24. Battleboard says:

    I would pay $10 for the live stream, unfortunately i couldn’t really afford more than that a month.

    I hope that will be enough 🙁

    Either way the project is great news for the community. Thank you for all of the effort.

  25. Jonathan says:

    Can you give us an idea of when the beta will begin? Not that I’m counting or anything. 🙂

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Jonathan, sorry for the slow reply. Most of my free time recently has been taken up with getting Baduk TV working :).

      I’m migrating code to the production (live) website this weekend, but there are still a few small things to sort out.

      There are also some issues at the Baduk TV end with providing the video source at the level quality we want, so the beta may not start in 720p, but we’ll keep working on that.

      I think it’s a matter of days rather than weeks though.

  26. Looks great. Although I would rather have it as a channel on TV 🙂