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Ask Slashdot: IPTV Service In the UK?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the cat-detector-vans-being-upgraded-even-now dept.

United Kingdom 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?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Do you have any ideas to share with me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43013907)

No. No I do not.

You obviously are new here (-1, Troll)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#43013949)

Slashdot is a US site

Re:You obviously are new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014001)

Its not stopped people having opinions on well, anything, before......

Re:You obviously are new here (0)

Zemran (3101) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015007)

I always thought that it was an anti-US site...

Re:You obviously are new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015439)

It's mostly Americans, but the few of us from outside US stand out because of our superbly intelligent comments (relatively speaking) so it's natural that you might think otherwise.

Re:You obviously are new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43016343)

Well, being American doesn't stop one from being virulently anti-US. I agree with Zemran - I've always thought of it as an anti-US site (5, Informative)

InsectOverlord (1758006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43013987) 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. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014395)

You only need a TV licence for live TV: (1)

InsectOverlord (1758006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014439)

TVCatchup does live TV streaming, despite its name suggests. (1)

CockMonster (886033) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016255)

Tvcatchup is great but sometimes you can only get 360p quality

FreeSat and Elgato (5, Informative)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43013989)

Get a FreeSat package, put up the dish and cabling, and ditch the receiver, and get an Elgato Netstream Sat from []

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

Re:FreeSat and Elgato (1)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014757)

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]

Re:FreeSat and Elgato (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015669)

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.

Re:FreeSat and Elgato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015975)

most relays don't retransmit HD channels

That part is wrong - Freeview relays (known unofficially as "Freeview Lite") only carry the 3 PSB muxes - which are BBCA (the BBC SD channels), BBCB (the DVB-T2 HD mux which in England includes BBC1 HD, BBC (2) HD, ITV HD and CH4HD) - and the 3rd mux is D3&4 (ITV, Channel 4 & Channel 5 and some sister and +1 channels).

The fact that the Freeview and Freesat free to air lineups don't match exactly is correct, as also is the statement that the Discovery Channels are pay channels - so Sky Satellite or Virgin Cable only.

Re:FreeSat and Elgato (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#43017981)

The closest relay to me doesn't carry HD channels (neither does my parents-in-law's) and won't until at least 2014 (it also went dark on switchover for 3 weeks as the digital channels weren't enabled. That's how shit it is). I had to point my aerial in the opposite direction to get Freeview HD from a much more remote transmitter.

TV-Catchup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43013997)

You can access from a whole heap of devices, and it streams all the freeview channels. I use my Apple TV running XBMC.

MythTV (1)

datajack (17285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014013)

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 to get TV wherever you want in the house.

I'm not sure about yuor other mentioned channels.

Re:MythTV (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014985)

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 small open-source project that does the same thing. A little embedded computer could sit near the aerial and broadcast the stream over your LAN. Ah, I see someone has mentioned something commercially available [] .

DVB-T, DVB-S and DVB-C are all essentially the same from the point of view of the computer, which just receives the MPEG transport stream. Get whichever is more convenient. IIRC the "Freesat" (Freeview) satellite broadcasts in the UK have more channels. (I had a boring afternoon in a house owned by an Iranian, who had an analogue satellite decoder. There were about 2000 channels available between Hotbird and Astra satellites. About 5 were in English, I never found the Freeview channels.)

Re:MythTV (2)

datajack (17285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015123)

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.

Re:MythTV (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015165)

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?

Re:MythTV (2)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015613)

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.

Re:MythTV (1)

richy freeway (623503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016289)

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.

Re:MythTV (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022377)

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 engineers" in the UK?

If it were me* and I had this problem, I'd simply go to Home Depot, buy the stuff to make it work, fix it. If I didn't know how to fix it, I'd Google it. If it seemed beyond me, I'd bribe someone clever to handle it (with cash or beer or whatever else is appropriate).

In no event would I say to myself: "Self, this thing that exists is inconvenient. Can I just use IPTV instead?"

*: Actually, if it were me I'd get the spool of coax from the basement and the tools from the toolbox and just do it, but others' mileage probably varies.

Re:MythTV (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015547)

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

Re:MythTV (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022541)

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 lower down and use Freesat which is just the DVB-S version of Freeview with the same (more?) channels.

I have Cat6 running from my attic to most rooms in my house into cleanly finished network ports and even I don't bother with IPTV, there's literally no point in the UK precisely because it is so easy to get free to access channels through DVB-T or DVB-S sources. The only reason for it is for catchup services, or for the more obscure channels you can't get via a classic TV service.

It's one of the things we're quite lucky to have in the UK, a relatively open broadcast infrastructure which is trivial to access, and, for the most part, provides some really decent channels without subscription costs - the only cost being the TV license, which contrary to popular belief, doesn't just fund the BBC, but also funds the development and maintenance of that very broadcast infrastructure we enjoy.

Re:MythTV (1)

datajack (17285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022651)

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 again when I realise I have fitted it wrong/got the wrong antenna/booster etc.

Earlier I had an electrician in to re-wire most of the house (good job as it turned out that much of the place was a death-trap) and I had him run data cables and TV coax to the attic for me as it clearly makes more sense to only rip chunks out of the wall the once (yes, I did the cable termination and panels myself), it sounds as though we have similar set-ups

If you consider that time and effort = money then it quite often it makes good economic sense to get a professional in to do the work. I can then use the time to do more productive work. A massive portion of the economy is based on this premise.

Re:MythTV (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023115)

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 electrician to check our electrics as a result, though in part because I needed to get him out to do some outdoor cabling that by law has to be done by a qualified electrician anyway.

Re:MythTV (1)

datajack (17285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023229)

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 old/knackered fittings and consumer unit) included :-

* Electrical appliances hard-wired to the mains via the back of plug-sockets (replaced with proper switches).
* Wall plug-sockets wired to the lighting ring.
* Earthing problem on mains ring (requiring a perfectly good wooden floor to be ripped up)
* Broken mains ring (ended up having to drill out through the back of the house and back in elsewhere to avoid having to rip out half of the kitchen)
* Lighting ring switches wired incorrectly.

Please don't mention the plumbing.

Re:MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023585)

Only ever applied in England and Wales (so not Scotland or Northern Ireland), but the whole certification of electrical installations is going to be massively relaxed come 6th April. About the only thing left that needs notifying as far as I can make out is installation of a new consumer unit (aka the thing with isolation switches, circuit breakers etc.)

tv aerials are simple enough (1)

welshie (796807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014101)

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 soon find that you have plenty of interesting TV to keep you amused and occupied without having to pay for any additional premium channels. When you run out of stuff to watch, go outside and take the dog for a walk. If you don't have a dog, borrow someone else's. If you don't like dogs, go for a walk yourself. If you don't like walking, go for a bike ride... get the idea?

Re:tv aerials are simple enough (1)

Zemran (3101) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015285)

"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 :-)

Filmon (1)

smallfries (601545) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014121)

Take a look at, 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.

DVB-T tuners. (1)

zandeez (1917156) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014125)

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.

Re:DVB-T tuners. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014319)

You can opt out of Virgin Media's TV packages. They will provide the Freeview channels for 'free'. Free, that is if you have their phone line and Internet. Call Customer services.

Satellite (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014135)

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

Re:Satellite (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014979)

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

That's why I'm starting a Canadian Slashdot [] .

Check out SiliconDust's HD Homerun (1)

jrifkin (100192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014157)

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 will unscramble the signal and provides three stations simultaneously.

Re:Check out SiliconDust's HD Homerun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015409)

While they work really well (and play nicely with Myth/XBMC), be aware that the european DVB-T model does not support DVB-T2 (MPEG-4 HD) - they are limited to SD MPEG2. It will still pick up the HD MUX but won't be able to tune to any of those channels.

Can get SKY or freesat also have freesat from sky (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014211)

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

Lots of options (1)

pev (2186) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014521)

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...

Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014707)

Keep a check on 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!

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015009)

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

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016373)

Except during the evenings or if his area is heavily subscribed.

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (1)

Malc (1751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015953)

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).

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (1)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43074013)

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...

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (1)

Malc (1751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43124913)

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.

Re:Broadband speeds are fictious in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43016235)

When you say "Broadband" you meant "ADSL services resold from BT Wholesale".

Virgin Media Cable, ADSL from an LLU provider, or FTTC (BT Infinity) are all fine.

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014719)

Do you have any ideas to share with me?

Yes indeed! Take this as your big opportunity to forget about TV.

I stopped watching about seven years ago and the amount of time it has given me to follow other pursuits and entertainment is amazing.

TV contributes nothing to your life; in fact it is a negative influence.

Check YouTube / DailyMotion for funny clips of chickens laying eggs, then go and read a book in French. Walk the dog, have a chat with your wife. Sit and watch the Moon rise.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43014881)

Do you live in North Carolina [] by any chance?

VPN + Netflix (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014759)

Get a VPN and then subscribe to USA netflix.

Re:VPN + Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43016359)

The UK also has Netflix, no need for VPN.

Torrents and RSS (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014831)

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

Sky (1)

greebowarrior (961561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43014843)

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' barrel coupler), and they'll have to run them to where you want them during the install. However, their TV packages are somewhat confusing, generally more expensive than the Sky equivalent, and they'll charge more for the subscription if you don't take a phoneline as part of the deal.

Failing that, buy a 20m aerial extension kit and a Freeview HD box from Amazon, and pray that you get a good signal.

myth and sat tuner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015015)

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 consumer grade wifi is a bit crap under sustained data throughput, although with the last android mythfrontend update we can now watch sd quality streams smoothly on various tablets and phones (my defy, my wife's nexus, our two crappy archos tablets and my son's chinese 50 quid special no name tablet), so for those times when you want to watch tv on the bog, we even have that covered. You'll need some power in your front ends to stream the HD channels at full quality though, but as even my games room projector is a old analog barco I've never really felt the need to display individual pixels on a cheetah's bum on some wildlife program.
Interestingly we're in France, visiting relatives are often freaked out at the kids watching a laptop playing cbeebies in the garden or me listening to radio1's stream while cutting the grass etc. Been doing mythtv for YEARS now... Great software.
Future plans are a second dish for another satelite, and a second quad tuner card to match... And that 3tb drive is starting to look full again with all the "justins house" and "cbeebies christmas panto's " that have accumulated on it..

Re:myth and sat tuner (1)

rasherbuyer (225625) | about a year and a half ago | (#43018391)

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.

IPTV is not InternetTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015057)

IPTV is run on a dedicated network. I think france has a IPTV provider but there are none in the UK.

Cable from Virgin is the closest to it but you already don't want to go with them (only cable in UK.)

iPlayer (3, Informative)

RDW (41497) | about a year and a half ago | (#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: []

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!): []

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

Re:iPlayer (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016317)

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.

Re:iPlayer (1)

RDW (41497) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016915)

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.

Re:iPlayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43019745)

Using get_iplayer is easier and quicker than using TPB.

Sledgehammer to crack a nut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015279)

1/ Very few houses have only a cable connection, so it's likely there is a terrestrial antenna somewhere too, or there has been one in the past and the wiring is still in place.

2/ The best (and cheapest) way to stream multi-channel television around your household to multiple rooms is via coax from an antenna or satellite dish. IPTV is a much more expensive option, not to mention that such live feeds as are available over the Internet (such as from iPlayer) are of lower quality than off-air.

3/ If you're not competent (or permitted) to run a length of coax from a current TV socket, you're certainly not competent (or permitted) to run CAT5/6 cabling which you'll need if you're really thinking of streaming multiple digital TV channels simultaneously around your house to STBs (WLAN won't cut it).

4/ The range of off-air channels available and the likelihood of your receiving them with a loft antenna (for example) depends entirely on where you live, which you didn't actually mention.

5/ You could consider YouView (from BT, TalkTalk, etc, etc) which provides Freeview channels plus optional on-demand content delivered via the Internet (such as some of the additional channels you mention as well as catch up TV). However, you need a terrestrial aerial.

Avoiding the Murdock tax (3, Informative)

Martin S. (98249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015307)

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.

Re:Avoiding the Murdock tax (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016467)

Shame you still have to pay the BBC tax.

Re:Avoiding the Murdock tax (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a year and a half ago | (#43024229)

It's a license fee, and pays for the excellent programming on the BBC and subsidises some other programming on other networks.

Re:Avoiding the Murdock tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43017777)

Surely you still need different decoders for the overseas channels? They were locked down a good 20 years ago, so I would imagine they're somewhat better protected in 2013.

Freeview via Satellite (1)

fruey (563914) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015553)

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. (1)

liamevo (1358257) | about a year and a half ago | (#43015611)

free online freeview provider: []

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

Used a low power ARM device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43015711)

I was is a similar position and with a slow connection, online streaming was not a option. There are devices about that'll stream the channels via your local network. But I found it cheaper/preferable, to roll my own using one of the many ARM computers about and a USB DVB device (I went with a Cubox and TechniSat). Just had to install my preferred distro and set-up Tvheadend [] .

Buy a TV (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43016579)

Most decent modern TVs have a freeview tuner built and iplayer (for the BBC) plus there are Freeview boxes that act as DVR's

easy (1)

DaveGod (703167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43017301)

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.

HD Homerun (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | about a year and a half ago | (#43017547)

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.

I have this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43017909)

I Have a BT Infinity connection, and i run a Linux box, and XBMC, where i watch the naughty video collection, also i have the catch up TV plugin, which gives me the freeview channels, I have canceled my TV licence therefore saving £140 a year and when i am sure they have stopped visiting i will put the tvcards back in the machine to give me the PVR.

In the UK a standard broadband connection is about £25-£30 a month and the BT infinity is about £45 so the TV licence money and the old connection money gives me the super fact connection, and I get free TV which i hardly watch as most of it is utter rubbish.

Lucky You! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43018535)

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 of antennas, because the signal re-radiates through the lot). Result: in the UK, one high gain antenna, highly directional and very efficient, pointed in a single direction, will get you all of the channels in a given area. Because of the large number of eyeballs in a given area (remember what I said about 60+ million people on a small island), there are a large number of free, over-the-air channels, all in high definition digital. Unlike in North America, there are licence fees to watch tv. (That's the downside).

Ibox TV maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43019579) has IPTV for ios, android & Google TV. Might be worth a look.

XBMC Media server with Raspberry Pi satellites (1)

edmans76 (2613127) | about a year and a half ago | (#43019703)

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.

Re:XBMC Media server with Raspberry Pi satellites (1)

poolmeister (872753) | about a year and a half ago | (#43063179)


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, SportsDevil (live sports streaming from multiple sites/feeds) and live TV (with a TV tuner and TVHeadend backend), live TV recording, the list goes on.

nettv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021695)

If you have someone with good internet and tv (or ota channels) in the US you use nettv (

- u get whatever service you have where transmiter is installed
- can control setup boxes (programable)
- quality auto-adjusts acording to the available badwidth
- u can buy the receiver or use in a pc, phone or tablet.
- few seconds delay

- only sold in taiwan ( but ship int)
- no HD
-no digital tuner

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