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Connect TV brings IPTV to compatible Freeview HD devices
Monday 27 February 2012 16:46:27 by Andrew Ferguson

Television is trying very hard to be the driver for people to upgrade to ever faster broadband services, the latest entrant into this area is Connect TV who have launched some 45 channels. The channels can now use IPTV to deliver their channel outside of the DTT timeslot, or carry extra on demand content, the internet content appearing in the channels normal Freeview channel number on the EPG.

Delivering an IPTV service at around a bit rate of around 1.5 Mbps is nothing new, the difference is that this service utilises MHEG-5 which is part of the Freeview HD standard and should therefore work on most Freeview HD boxes released after April 2011.

For consumers a big advantage is that no new hardware or confused menu system has to be learnt, they stay within their familiar EPG, the only change being that the Freeview HD box needs linking to their broadband connection. For broadcasters they can avoid the expense of having to buy a full 24 hours of over-the-air bandwidth, which due to the limited spectrum Freeview has can be expensive.

The way that the IPTV integrates means that people who are on a metered usage service need to ensure that they don't leave a box on streaming when not watching content, as the current quality level consumers around 550 MB per hour.

As well as working on the newer Freeview HD boxes, there are a number of legacy devices that the service should work on:

  • Televisions with integrated tuner, LG 2012, Panasonic 2011 & 2012, Samsung 2012, Sony 2011 & 2012.
  • Set Top Boxes, Panasonic 2011 & 2012 PVRs, TVOnics PVRs

The bitrate at launch of 1.5 Mbps will ensure a very wide audience should be able to experience the service (around 90% of UK broadband should be able to stream that speed), and the fact that you are not having to swap around remotes, or add yet another box below the TV will appeal to those who want to keep things simple in the lounge.

Of course as with all streamed video delivered over internet, there will be the issue of peak time congestion, all too often it is this congestion that makes people think they need faster broadband, when the reality is often that they just need a service provider that has more capacity to cope with peak times.


Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
'For consumers a big advantage is ' that very few have a TV or box less than 1 year old.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago
Lot easier to just buy a mini PC + HDMI for £100, rig it to your TV, every night download a set of shows you want and make your own channel/playlist.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@otester And where are these mini PC's with HDMI for £100?

The point of connected tv, is that it is simple for people to use, not those who are happy to figure out a cheap linux mini-pc
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Oops, £180 for an mini one:

But you probably could find something for £100 used.

Nothing stopping you from installing Windows 7 and using WMC on it.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
And how much for Win7?

You are making the Freeview HD seem more attractive
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
Damn it I have a Freesat HD. Oh well probably don't need yet another way to watch TV.

I miss the days of one box, one system, that done everything and didn't crash all the time.

Best was when I had a mythtv box in the loft with my PC and laptop connecting over the network to access and record TV.
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
"where are these mini PC's with HDMI for £100?"

RaspberryPi escaped your attention?

DIY (unboxed) ones will allegedly be available this month (like, soon!).

Pre-sale details aplenty already available.

Around £30 plus a few bits and bobs.

Linux not Windows, but TVs and set top boxes don't run Windows anyway (especially now BT Vision have finally got with the program and abandoned Windows CE).

"mythtv box in the loft with my PC and laptop connecting over the network to access and record TV."

Raspberry Pi behind the TV.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@c_j do you really expect the average person to buy a Pi rather than a freeview HD box?

The point of connected TV rather than AppleTV etc is that it is all on the normal TV EPG.

There is a big market for people who don't mind paying someone to install things, but then just want day to day use to be simple.
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
"do you really expect the average person to buy a Pi rather than a freeview HD box?"

Probably not, but I hope to see it set a new standard for price vs functionality. The "smart TV" concept where you pay a fortune for a poor computer inside a TV box is looking dated, and why upgrade the whole TV when all you *need* to upgrade is usually *either* the screen *or* the smarts but not both.

"day to day use to be simple."

But isn't that what you get with Linux-based smart TVs (Sony, Samsung, and many others - basically anyone with sense) and STBs? The punter never sees the Linux, they see a TV.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Depends where you get it from xD
Posted by otester over 5 years ago
Also it might be an idea to make an interface for the RasperyPi to make downloading via torrent (whilst ensuring a VPN connection) and sorting into a library very simple, could just rig it up to a Linksys E2000 (supports VPNs) and re-enclose the whole lot and sell for profit.

My current MKV box does torrenting but no VPN settings and also requires you get the torrent file from a PC etc.
Posted by c_j_ over 5 years ago
As well as RaspberryPi (first 10,000 on sale at 6am on Wednesday?), there will (allegedly) also soon be Cotton Candy from Norway's FXI. Rather more expensive than RPi, but also rather more powerful, and ready "boxed" in something the size and style of a USB flash stick. With HDMI output (including sound). Look it up.

Ubuntu or Android ICS, allegedly.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

For £140 that's basically a Galaxy S2 minus the screen, can have ICS so users can easily browser videos and use Androids VPN/Torrent capabilities, perfect.
Posted by EnglishRob over 5 years ago
After reading part way through the article I thought "ahh better buy a new box then", and then realised my Panasonic TV has Freeview HD (not that I use it having Virgin). Might have a play with it though. As far as box costs go, the last Freeview HD box I picked up from Tesco was about £40. Could be a little bit of an issue for folks who don't have an ethernet connection close to their TVs though.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

You can get wireless -> ethernet adaptors.

Ethernet over powerline is also another option.
Posted by acpsd775 over 5 years ago
@otester what is it with you and like full on advertising illegal TV downloading, I mean if you want to do it fair enough your choice to do so but you really shouldn't advertise the fact on a website with impressionable new users who might not realize torrenting TV shows is illigal
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Downloading copyrighted content isn't illegal in the UK...

And torrent isn't the only P2P network, Usenet is actually quicker and safe.
Posted by Artificerman over 5 years ago
Does this work also on Freesat HD systems
Posted by BrianWood over 5 years ago
Even if I were to have the latest Freeview HD settop box next to an ethernet socket, is there anything worth watching?
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