Friday, October 16, 2015

Further update

For the benefit of those of you who may be contemplating an IPTV set top box to watch  foreign TV.

Pam and I resisted the temptation to have UK TV installed for 11 years. When we first arrived there were a number of ad hoc solutions available including the infamous microwave system. The most satisfactory way was to have as large a dish as you could tolerate and a fake subscription to Sky. We did not favour that and so subscribed to Canal + instead.

Since then though things have changed. The rebroadcast companies have mostly gone out of business and people now use their giant dishes to pick up Freeview rather than Sky. Although the TV via the Internet solution is not new, it does seem to have gained in popularity. Instead of having a fake IP address to access UK catchup TV, you can now view the channels live for a monthly or annual subscription.

As I said in my previous blog entries, you do need a good connection to watch streamed TV especially live.  It isn't just speed, your connection needs to be stable.

I was using Powerline connectors to link up the lounge of our house to the router and these worked fine for most applications. Our SMART TV seemed to have few problems, neither did our Apple TV box once Apple had sorted out the firmware issues. The video on demand service from Canal + also worked OK.  Certainly, the Powerline connectors provided a better alternative to wireless which can be flaky at best. We reserve that for use with our tablets and smartphones.

Even Powerline though has its problems when it comes to streaming HD video on a regular basis. All sorts of devices that you may have on the circuit can introduce noise to the signal and disrupt the quality of your viewing. I have read that even something like a mobile phone charger on the same circuit can cause problems.

To try and solve my issues, I strung an ethernet cable from my router to the switch behind the television. It isn't very elegant and the cable is a trip hazard but this is just an experiment. I knew that a wired connection was going to be the ultimate solution and that has proved to be the case. As my friend in the UK says, "copper is always going to be the best way to go".

Back in the UK I would have routed a cable around the house burying it under the skirting board and under carpet and that would have been neat. Here though we do not have carpet and the skirting board is a row of tiles; there is no elegant way to route a cable inside the house.

What I am going to do instead is take outdoor cable from the router through the bedroom wall and then  around the outside on top of the ledge that runs along the wall to the lounge where a second hole will bring the cable to where I need it. A morning's work and £30 should solve our problems and give us a stable TV reception.


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