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United Kingdom Television The Internet Technology Entertainment

Ask Slashdot: IPTV Service In the UK? 78

New submitter OlivierB writes "I am moving to a new house in the UK. The house will have very fast broadband but there is only one TV/cable aerial to plug into which is also very inconveniently located in the property. The cable TV provider can move it (for a high fee), but the biggest issue is that their channel packages are just too expensive and not appealing to me. Ideally, I would like access to the UK Freeview channels, and maybe a few extras such as Discovery Channel, Eurosport etc. All of this content would be available via IPTV, which I could watch from an HTPC or simple set-top boxes. Do you have any ideas to share with me?"
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Ask Slashdot: IPTV Service In the UK?

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  • tvcatchup.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by InsectOverlord ( 1758006 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:59AM (#43013987)

    www.tvcatchup.com streams, I think, all Freeview channels as long as you access it from the UK with a UK ISP. HD for HD channels.

    Doesn't work with AdBlock enabled.

    Its legality is being challenged, unsuccessfully so far, according to wikipedia. As a side note, you're still supposed to pay for TV licence.

  • FreeSat and Elgato (Score:5, Informative)

    by kylegordon ( 159137 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:59AM (#43013989) Homepage

    Get a FreeSat package, put up the dish and cabling, and ditch the receiver, and get an Elgato Netstream Sat from http://www.elgato.com/elgato/int/mainmenu/products/tuner/netstreamsat/product1.en.html [elgato.com]

    It'll do all the tuning, and basically takes a LNB on the input, and a network switch as the output. You pick your channels from the M3U playlist, and it does the rest - like magic. Works with MythTV, XBMC, VLC, etc. Fabulous kit

    • freesat tuner and an Ethernet lead [ore wireless - don't bother with homeplug services] to the internet router and you'll be fine
      a smart TV or XBMC setup with wireless will also work
      even a Raspberry Pi + wireless + xbmc will work [YMMV depening on power wind and sacrifices]

      • Freesat doesn't carry all OTA Freeview channels. Conversely, OTA Freeview depends on what the transmitter carries; most relays don't retransmit HD channels. Neither carry The Discovery channel die to exclusive licensing with Sky And Virgin Media.

  • You don't specify if your TV point is an aerial or a cable installation. If it's a cable, you will need to play by their rules for that point.

    In most cases, getting an aerial fitted isn't that expensive. When I moved into my current house, I had the old one totally removed and replaced and got a nice signal booster and six way splitter all professionally supplied and fitted for less than £100.

    If you'd be happy with the Freeview channels, plug your aerial into a box running MythTV and then use a WLAN t

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      I don't really care about TV (I don't have one), so I'm not up-to-date, but I did work on a DVB/IPTV project for a major electronics company a few years ago.

      I had a Linux PC with a DVB-T card, which rebroadcast the DVB stream over IP multicast. This is very simple, since the DVB stream is just an MPEG transport stream (including the video, audio, subtitles, text pages, EPG etc). An embedded Linux system (a development set-top box) took what it needed and sent it to the TV.

      I'd be surprised if there isn't a

      • by datajack ( 17285 )

        Yeah, that's doable. The extra Myth layer will handle the tuning selction of input card and will function as a network based PVr to boot. It will support DVB-S and C too (though you'd be pretty much on your own in getting DVB-C to work in the UK as Virgin Media are basically the only provider here and they keep things locked up).

        Freesat is a good choice, but doesn't have channel 'Dave' which is on Freeview.

    • I'm a bit curious as to why he has to get the 'cable company' to move his connection?

      I mean, how hard is it to tap into where the cable comes into the house and re-route it as necessary? Can he not simply run cable through the house attic, and drop down into the wall where he wants it without cable company interference?

      Can he not put up his own external antenna in addition to cable wherever he wants it?

      • All cable services in the UK are supplied underground and tend to be terminated at the closest point in the property to the road / path outside. Unless you pay more / chat up the installation engineer that's going to be a ground floor front room.

        • If the property has at some point had cable then it's terminated in a brown box on an outside wall with a standard F-Connector. I recently did away with all the original cabling installed by the provider and ran my own. Cable up the outside of the house, into the loft (attic) split to my modem and back down the cavity wall to the TV downstairs. Considerably better than it was. Less cabling on show.
        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          All cable services in the UK are supplied underground and tend to be terminated at the closest point in the property to the road / path outside. Unless you pay more / chat up the installation engineer that's going to be a ground floor front room.

          And, but, so? There is this thing that exists, but it is an inconvenient place. Why not move it somewhere more convenient?

          What prevents an individual from simply relocating that thing? Are tools to work with coaxial cable only sold to licensed "installation engin

    • As he mentioned the cable company has to move it I'd think he doesn't have an antenna.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Did you pay someone because you were being lazy, or because you weren't sure how to do it yourself?

      I ask because I'm rather taken aback that here on Slashdot, the first response wasn't simply move/extend the TV socket yourself.

      Honestly, doing new cabling for TV sockets is easier than wiring a plug and there's absolutely no reason for anyone not to be able to do this beyond them missing a few limbs or something. Even if you don't want to get up on your roof to fit an aerial you can always fit a satellite low

      • by datajack ( 17285 )

        There's no f-ing way I'm getting on the roof!

        Even if I did feel confident enough to go up on the roof without breaking my neck, I would have still got someone in to do it, and laziness does not come into the equation. I did not have the time to :-

        * Research and source a decent antenna (for what should be a one-time job)
        * Figure out the way to actually mount the thing securely (for what should be a one-time job)
        * Learn how to align it and get the tools to do so (for what should be a one-time job)
        * Do it all

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          I do sympathise with not wanting to do the roof job, that's always going to be the most awkward bit. Did you consider satellite though for Freesat at all? They're always much easier to mount yourself, though if I'm honest I just use the normal aerial even though we have a satellite attached to the house.

          The previous owner in our house didn't do the best job of the electrics either (though thankfully no awkward cabling needed redoing- it was only the easy to reach stuff he'd buggered up). I did get an electr

          • by datajack ( 17285 )

            Freesat is a no-go for me - Dave is my comfort channel ;) Also TVs that do DVB-S are a lot less common & more expensive than those that just do DVB-T. TV Aerial plus Ethernet in every room I would ever need a TV seems the best option to me. As the price was almost negligible in comparison to all my other moving & renovation costs, it just wasn't worth doing myself.

            BTW, even interior electrics need to be certified by a qualified electrician now. My list of electrical horrors (excluding the expected o

  • If you have cable, it'll probably be Virgin Media. That means that they'll hike your prices at least annually by at least 10%, without warning. (They like doing that). I personally wouldn't use them for anything more than a simple cable modem. Source your TV content elsewhere. Really, running an antenna downlead to a useful place is easy, it will also mean you don't have to rely on internet working to watch telly that is being broadcast anyway. Get yourself a PVR, set it to record what you like. You'll so
    • by Zemran ( 3101 )

      "go outside and take the dog for a walk."

      Where is that? Do you have a map? It sounds very scary, the idea of leaving the comfort and glow of the computer screen and facing the real world...

      Next idea, Get a proxy and download shed loads of torrents so that you never have to go out again :-)

  • Take a look at filmon.com, they stream all of the free to air channels as well as a few others. The SD feed is ok quality for free, or they have a subscription service for a HD stream. I think that it is a legal service, they have some information about paying channel providers on their website, but they have been sued before and there might be one case still pending.

  • I have Virgin Media's basic TV package as it's more expensive to not have TV at all. Also, what's wrong with putting up an antenna and freeview tuners? Or even extending/moving the cable yourself? Coax termination isn't exactly hard.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Get a cheap satellite system with a stand and set the dish up 'temporarily' in the garden. You can also get special flat cables from Maplin that allows you to bring cable in via a window without need to drill. This should also prevent any hassle with the landlord.

    Sorry shouldn't be reading Slashdot it's a US site

  • I have one at my house (US). It's about the size of a pack of cards, and has two ports. The TV Cable goes into the first, your home internet into the second. You can then watch unscrambled TV anywhere on your network. Under Linux, use MythTV or a combination of VLC and SiliconDust's own apps. I bought the cheapest version, about $80, which is limited to unscambled stations and two stations simultaneously. I get about 6 stations.

    There's also a version whch accepts a card from the Cable provider which w

  • The UK has a lot free to air and free to view channels.

  • There are quite a few devices that have multiple TV tuners and encode / stream the TV over your LAN / WLAN. I've got a Hauppauge one somewhere which works well (although must remember to ebay it soon now I've re-wired my house). There are plenty of options available.

    Personally I'd do a bit of DIY and put an aerial splitter in the roof and drop a few more cables in. Much better solution long term, DIY really isn't that hard...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Keep a check on http://www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange_mapping to see how far you are from the infrastructure. If you are using copper wires they talk about fast, and you are more than a few km from the exchange, somebody is lying!

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      If he has cable (Virgin Media) or one of the newer FTT(H/C?) services the speed should be pretty much as advertised.

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Not very accurate. Maybe too BT or BT reseller centric?

      I put in my address:
      ADSL available at ~7.5Mbps
      Cable services not available
      FTTC services available
      BT 21CN services available
      Wireless services not available

      I actually have ADSL syncing at 18.2Mbs down and 1.3Mbs up, via Be Unlimited (I think they use their own hardware in the Exchange).

      • by DrVxD ( 184537 )

        syncing at 18.2Mbs down and 1.3Mbs up, via Be Unlimited

        Make the most of it. Now that Murdoch's got his sticky paws on Be, I expect things to go downhill rather rapidly...

        • by Malc ( 1751 )

          Yeah no kidding. I'm planning to move home so I will probably keep the service that long. No way am I choosing to give money to Murdoch. I'd rather switch to BT! Anyway, there's choice of fibre and other services faster than ADSL now without having to sell out to Sky.

  • Get a VPN and then subscribe to USA netflix.

  • Ask a friend for an invite to a private TV tracker with an RSS feed.

  • If the landlord will allow a dish install, they're reasonably priced (£25pcm for all channels, excluding movies and sports), and can also provide your landline + broadband/fibre. We pay ~£70pcm for Sky, Movies, landline, and 40mb fibre (which has no download caps or traffic shaping).

    Alternatively, you can pull out all the indoor Virgin Media cables (assuming they've haphazardly tacked them to the skirting boards) to the outside of the property (where they should be joined with a threaded 'F' bar

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Freesat is the way to go. I have a turbosight TBS6984 quad s2 sat tv card in a mythbackend, then various frontends dotted round the house.
    We can pick up all of the usual uk channels off the astra (sky) sat where they're not encrypted, and it won't jam up your pipe with data.
    I have one quad lnb equipped 60cm satelite with sat cable down to the rack where the backend lives. The rest of the property has no antenna cabling at all. For dedicated frontends I prefer hardwire cat5 connected htpc's as some of the co

    • Mod parent up.

      I have mythtv + Tevii DVB-S tuner + Sky box -> tv capture card. loads of channels from the DVB-S tuner + everything from Sky all from the one dish.

  • iPlayer (Score:4, Informative)

    by RDW ( 41497 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:36PM (#43015263)

    I don't think there's any parcticular need for a special package if you already have fast broadband. Most of the decent free TV is on iPlayer, which covers all the BBC channels and now has content from the major free to view commercial rivals:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ [bbc.co.uk]

    You might also want to check out the ITV Player, 4od and Demand 5 sites (I rarely bother).

    You can grab BBC (only) programmes from iPlayer with get_iplayer, which generates standard mp4 files you can play anywhere (finally a use for that Apple TV!):

    http://www.infradead.org/get_iplayer/html/get_iplayer.html [infradead.org]

    Some US TV sites can be accessed by methods like this (or get a VPN):

    http://xtremisreaction.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/how-to-watch-the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-in-the-uk/ [wordpress.com]

    http://xtremisreaction.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/how-to-watch-hulu-and-us-television-in-the-uk/ [wordpress.com]

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Or just say "fuck that shit" and go directly to The Pirate Bay. Seriously, why go to the effort of defeating DRM and region locks against the wishes of the content owners when you can just download a nice easy .mkv automatically by RSS feed, ready for watching when you get home from work?

      I pay my TV license, I don't watch adverts anyway and my TV already lets me record BBC shows forever to HDD. There is no moral issue with using torrents to replicate that online.

      • by RDW ( 41497 )

        get_iplayer doesn't have to defeat DRM - the iPlayer streams are DRM-free. You can also download DRM'd files via the BBC's iPlayer Desktop application, but that's a separate issue.

  • by Martin S. ( 98249 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {remapS.nitraM}> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @12:39PM (#43015307) Homepage Journal

    You can still go Satellite without paying the Murdoch tax.

    Install a motorised dish at £300 buy a DVB-S STB at anything from the Eagle-HD at £60 to the Dreambox DM800 £400 depending on features required.

    You will get all FreeSat channels plus literally thousands of overseas channels and more with software cams.

    These are both Internet enabled and can view BBC iPlayer, YouTube, etc and support CAS emulation.

  • I have a setup with a satellite dish, Freesat box (Technisat HDFS, which is also a PVR if you add a USB HDD) which has a network adapter. iPlayer works via broadband for catchup TV, the rest is all just PVR. Virgin have a Tivo like box for cable, but you'll pay heavy subscription fees for that.

    Freesat gets you most of what you need. For Video on Demand Netflix runs in the UK, selection not as good as US, you can as others have suggested get a VPN as needed to look like you're in the US.

  • free online freeview provider: http://tvcatchup.com/ [tvcatchup.com]

    then the major channels all offer online services to watch their shows.

  • Most decent modern TVs have a freeview tuner built and iplayer (for the BBC) plus there are Freeview boxes that act as DVR's
  • Mid-range TVs do all of this now, or you can point your webbrowser to any of the main tv providers.

    Only thing to watch for is with the TVs, some of them take the piss with pricing on their proprietary USB wifi.

    Moving a TV aerial should be a fairly straightforward DIY task unless you're renting, though you should be able to get someone in to do it for you quite cheaply and they should align your aerial for you too. If you still get a crappy reception, look into Freesat.

  • You could get the DVB-T version of the HD Homerun and hook that up to the inconveniently placed aerial and then stream Freeview over your network, either direct to a device or to a MythTV box. One thing to note is that as it's only capable of DVB-T reception it doesn't actually get any of the Freeview HD channels.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the UK, in spite of what they tell you, you are on a (relatively) small island with 60+ million people! The UK government went digital TV quite a few years ago, and (better yet and unlike in North America) got quite insistent that all the over-the-air TV broadcasters in a given area must share an antenna. Result: instead of having two, three or four antennas all pointed at different towers, then ganged together (remember when ganging antennas together, the gain on any antenna is divided by the number o

  • XBMC is working well for me here.. got an 8TB media server serving up all my archived DVD's and BluRays, hooked up to my sound system. Then in each room a raspberry pi running XBMC attached to homeplugs (too lazy to cable my flat). Set them up to use the SQL xmbc library, and add the TVcatchup to each. You will then have access to any media you have, and all uk SD channels without any cabling at all. and when you get bored you have a few raspberry pi s to experiment with.
    • Seconded..

      I have a low power Atom/ION PC connected to the TV running XBMC serving up all my stored, over-the-air & streamed content.
      The TVCatchup XBMC addon is a good alternative to over-the-air Freeview although max quality is not as sharp as over-the-air TV, but our TV reception is sometimes sketchy so it comes in handy sometimes and has more channels than pur ariel picks up.
      The advantage of XBMC is that you can unify all media sources including local files, network shares, 4od, Demand 5, iPlayer, Sp

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