The future of television, some part of it at least, lies behind a black door on the fringes of Bloomsbury. It is the front door to a house; a sturdy, terraced one in Doughty Street where also stands the office of the Spectator. For all this 19th-century solidity, though, the building has a work-in-progress feel, with scaffolding around the outside and the clutter of refurbishment within - fitting for a venture combining Conservative political content with breaking the media mould.

18 Doughty Street TV was launched three weeks ago, becoming Britain's first internet television station. Founded by Tory bloggers Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie (of Conservative Home) and financed by YouGov's Stephan Shakespeare, it has so far streamed four hours of programmes from Monday to Thursday, beginning at eight in the evening.

Pre-launch, it made much of its unconventionality, proclaiming itself "anti-establishment" and promising its brand of "talk TV" would give a voice to the ordinary citizen whose perspectives on the world are, it believes, ignored by mainstream broadcasters. How is it doing so far?

I have an interest to declare. Eager to bond with the blogosphere, Dale invited those he judged Britain's best political bloggers to contribute to the channel as citizen pundits and reporters. There would be no pay, but you would get a free Sanyo digicam with which to make short films or home-record your tuppence-worth on an issue of the day.

I was one of those approached and have so far uploaded two gobbets of opinion and also been a studio guest. It has been quite exciting to play a small part in what is, undoubtedly, a ground-breaking enterprise, the more so for the impression that 18 Doughty Street freely gives of making up the future as it goes along.

In many ways, the programmes look conventional: for the most part, it has been studio-based, sofa-set fare. Dale's daily show, co-presented with one of two female colleagues, has the chattiness long familiar from daytime TV. Montgomerie kicks off the schedule with Up Front, providing commentary on the day's political news, and also conducts sit-down interviews with serious political players, who have included Australian prime minister John Howard, the Conservative party's defence spokesman Liam Fox. The evening's viewing has so far ended on the yielding upholstery too, with The End of the Day Show, in which the day's events, earlier programmes and messages from viewers are chewed over.

At first glance, nothing revolutionary there. And yet, in other ways, the output has been novel. Partly, this has resulted from 18 Doughty Street's very newness and, on the part of the presenters, an occasional genial amateurism. This, far from undermining the proceedings, lends them an intimacy you just don't get with even the most professionally relaxed TV performers. It feels in keeping with so niched an operation, as it did the day last week when no one could find early editions of the next morning's papers for The End of the Day Show guests to review. They had to find something else to talk about instead. But so what? It all added to the impression that 18 Doughty Street is not only for viewing in your office or front room but made up there on the spot too.

The station's really distinctive quality, though, the one that may mark the beginning of a huge change in the coverage of politics on TV, is its break with the conventions of impartiality. "I don't want people to think this is Tory TV," says Dale. It is, though, TV from a Tory point of view, and without apology. Most guests have been Conservatives or Conservative-inclined, and both Dale and Montgomerie are candid about themselves being True Blues. Sometimes, this bias has resulted in a too consensual, what's-the-world-coming-to tone reminiscent of the less riveting conversations you might get trapped in at a Tory conference. Better have been those debates more worthy of the term, such as when a member of the Anti War Coalition appeared. That was a feisty one.

But 18 Doughty Street is also demonstrating that studio disagreements need not generate more heat than light, as so many on mainstream television do. This is largely because, it being a subject-specific channel, participants have more time in which to make their arguments - an advantage exploited by Ann Widdecombe and the socially liberal presenter Zoe-Anne Phillips in the most downloaded programme so far.

Others have been far gentler but, for the political junkie, no less enlightening for it. The key seems to be that balance of some kind is essential, even if the fulcrum is put in a different place.

It's all in the chat

"I don't know if there is such a thing as the right balance," says Dale. "The main object is to get a good discussion."

In fact, there's been quite a lot of input from the left. Both Phillips and the fourth of the original regulars, Rena Valeh, come from that side of fence, with the latter presenting a programme with the self-explanatory title of Left Field.

My fellow guests on the edition of Vox Politix I appeared on were Sunny Hundal of the Pickled Politics blog and Peter Barron, editor of Newsnight. We discussed broadcasting bias. Dale read out an email from a viewer asking if he was the only Conservative there. Since then, Claire Fox, familiar from Radio 4's Moral Maze, has presented her first programme from her distinctive libertarian angle.

18 Doughty Street is still finding its way. There will be schedule changes from this week, a new set has been mooted and there are various plans to Get Out More among those voiceless ordinary citizens. Dale acknowledges that accessing the programmes has proved difficult for some potential viewers. This seems to have been especially so for those who, like me, are IT-illiterate Mac-users.

As for the programming, though, Dale says, "We don't care if we don't get it right all the time." Viewing figures, he says, seem to be up in the thousands but are hard to determine at this stage and, anyway, "We're not going to let the viewership dictate what we do." A former bookshop owner and publisher, he says, "It's like when you publish a really good book that only sells a few copies - it was still well worth doing. That's the way we look at it, and we'll see where that takes us."

Will 18 Doughty Street be the first of many? Will it thrive and survive? As any good Tory would tell you, that will be for the market to decide.