This months blog is going to focus on Internet TV and services.
In 2015 much of the latest technology has focused on supporting 4K image resolution (and beyond), although there is still a lack of content out there at the moment. TVs we have installed over last year have definitely grown bigger, and the 4K versions are certainly heavier. Beware of some of the TVs that look ultra slim but then have a bulky lower section for AV connections/speaker. This makes installation far more difficult or spoils flush fitment to the wall.
Certainly in 2015, use of Internet TV services has become far more popular.
So far in 2015 the trend for online streaming and cloud based services are becoming more and more prevalent …….So for this blog I’m going to cover the subject of’ Online TV services’. As a result, your broadband connection and a reliable Wi-Fi signal is ever more important. I do offer a range of excellent Wi-Fi access points to provide whole house coverage including the garden !
In the UK, we’re seeing an increasing number of digital TV services being delivered over a Broadband Internet connection. These online services offer TV programmes and movies “on-demand” for viewing on your TV set, on your computer, or on a mobile device. The content is most commonly accessed using Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), a set-top box, or a plug in gadget.
Sky and Virgin TV services now heavily feature on-demand content through broadband connection as well as live services through the dish/cable network.
To access any online TV services, you will need a decent broadband connection above 3mb/s, a decent Wi-Fi signal and a suitable Internet-enabled TV, or device to connect to your Broadband service. Many services can also be accessed from a computer or a smartphone. For TV shows and movies there are many service providers and a number of devices/gadgets out there.
Here’s a roundup of some of the services/products:
Sky satellite /Sky Go – the market leader which most of you are familiar with – this requires a sat dish and broadband service – Note: it does not have to be Sky broadband !
Virgin Media cable – similar services to Sky – requires Virgin cable network in your area and Virgin broadband
BT Vision, requires Youview box, digital aerial signal and BT broadband connection/bundle
TalkTalk TV, requires Youview box, digital aerial signal and talk talk broadband connection/bundle
Youview – Is a collaboration of terrestrial broadcasters, BT and TalkTalk. It’s essentially a set top box for your TV that combines over 70 channels of basic digital TV, and catch up on demand services (from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5) via a broadband connection. You can pause and rewind live TV, and if you get the YouView+ box you can record programmes as well. YouView is available either as a standalone box, or as part of a TV package from BT or TalkTalk, which give you access to more channels. Catch up TV is integrated right into the TV guide. A monthly Sky Movies Pass is available, and you can subscribe to Now TV or Netflix too.
NOW TV – A non-contract video streaming service provided via Sky using a cheap digibox connected to your TV or online via PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, PS3 etc. NOW TV’s own packages include on-demand movie content and live sports which can be purchased without contract as monthly bundles for sky entertainment or movies and day passes for Sky Sports. NOW TV boasts latest movie offerings beforeNetflix or LOVEFiLM Instant
Blinkbox TV – a video-on-demand service (owned by Tesco) which allows you to rent or buy films and TV programmes to watch straight away on a variety of devices including computers; PS3 and Xbox 360 games consoles; Samsung and LG TVs; and iPads.
BBC iplayer, ITV Player, 4OD, demand 5 – familiar free ‘catch up’ services available on many ‘smart’ TVs or other devices connected to broadband. Samsung smart TVs tend to support the most content
Netflix – Popular online streaming service paid via monthly subscription – app available through many IPTVs, games consoles and portable devices
Amazon instant video – online access to renting/buying movies/TV shows which is free to those who have paid for the yearly amazon prime membership
iTunes/Apple TV – rent movies or buy TV shows/movies which are stored to your iTunes database and can be viewed on any PC or iOS device connected to your network/account. iTunes has one of the nicest looking interfaces
Google Play – android equivalent to apple iTunes – cloud based access to games, apps, ebooks, movies and TV shows etc
LoveFilm – was one of the leading online movie streaming/rental services – has now been acquired by Amazon and integrated into their own video services
You-tube – owned by google – video sharing website ideal for viewing music videos and TV shows on TVs for free
Google Chromecast – small cheap plug in HDMI dongle for streaming videos, music, photos to your TV and works with apps like Netflix, Youtube, BBC iplayer and google play. It allows users to ‘cast’ or mirror content viewed their PC, tablet or phone directly to the TV screen.
Amazon Fire TV stick- small cheap plug in HDMI dongle for streaming videos, music, photos, amazon prime instant video movies, tv shows as well as youtube, Netflix, bbc iplayer etc A hacked version is also available with KODI media player software installed
Kodi/xbmc software media/pc players – used to stream any of the latest online movie/TV show content without contracts/payment
Remember to think about your monthly download limit, if your broadband contract has one. An hour watching catch up TV will take about 1GB of data – and that can easily add up if you’re watching regularly