BBC iPlayer to hit Freesat boxes by month's end
MHEG implementation paves way for Freeview HD release too
The BBC's iPlayer will be coming to Freesat later this month, finally giving free-to-air satellite television set-top boxes' Ethernet ports something to do.
Rahul Chakkara, BBC Future Media & Technology's head of TV Platforms, this week wrote on his blog that the service could be introduced before the month is out.
The Freesat-friendly version of iPlayer uses the MHEG 5 interactive TV standard to select and present internet-sourced iPlayer video streams. BBC R&D has been porting the HTML- and Flash-based version to MHEG, but the work is clearly not complete as Chakkara admitted the initial rollout will be a "beta deployment".
The work paves the way not only for iPlayer access through Freesat boxes, but also upcoming Freeview HD machines. Chakkara said MHEG 5 is also part of the standards enshrined in "DBook", the specification bible that defines Freeview HD's foundation technology. No great surprise there - regular Freeview has been using MHEG 5 since it started broadcasting.
However, Freeview boxes generally don't support networking. The ability to access BBC iPlayer and, potentially, other interactive TV services, if they're MHEG based, means it's more likely Freeview HD boxes will. ®
I think I'll pop in a feature request to the beeb asking for iPlayer to become the de facto accessibility conduit possibly based on BTV (limited wot!) or freesat (not so limited).
Try this at home:
switch to subtitles but keep the volume high.
Now see if you can follow any current affairs or news program.
Subtitles of "Afghan a stand" instead of "Afghanistan", awful phasing between text and subtitles (subtitles may be terminated early at the end of program as timelag is so great), images show one person, subtitles show text belonging to another person, difficult to meaningfully follow a conversation ...
C'mon beeb, get on the job?
If experiences with the kit BT supply with their BTVision boxes is anything to go by some of these homeplug thingies can cause massive radio interference. So if you want to do it this way don't be surprised if the man from Ofcom comes round and takes them away.
I really don't understand what people find so hard about running a few metres of Cat5. It seems people are perfectly happy to string phone extensions all over their house, but not cat 5. Buy one of those flat ethernet cables and run it under the carpet.
If the router and TV are in seperate rooms it's still fairly easy. You must have a mains by the TV and the router, find out where the cable runs are and run your ethernet the same way. Mains cable and water and central heating pipes mean that there will be plenty of routes to use, even inter floor.
Do what I did
Run your cat 6 externally, and slip it in where your existing sat/aerial feed comes through the wall. OK, the insulation isn't rated for external use but you've got at least a good few years before it's likely to perish - and probably a lot longer than that.
@ weres this MHEG Dbook spec exactly!
A quick web search finds me;
which has the following statement;
"Supporter members are those who utilise MHEG in receivers, broadcasts and elsewhere, and who are, by being Supporter members, indicating approval of the technology or willingness to supply goods and services to markets using it. Supporter members will incur no direct costs, but will be asked to allow their branding and relevant links to appear on the IMPALA website and other promotional material.
To become a Promoter or Supporter member of IMPALA please e-mail us."
So at a guess linux devs who want to implement this should email implala and ask to become a supporter member. I guess there would be legalities to sort out, but it seems quite clear who the MHEG DBook spec should be obtained from.
Also, about the homeplug switches - yes they're more expensive than direct wired ethernet, but they're a much neater solution (no necessity to have trailing wires or install cat6), and provide much more reliable operation than wi-fi (which is what they're really competing against) for video streaming, and for a comparable price.
I got a Humax Freesat HD
For those wondering how to run an ethernet cable to the back of their TV easily and cleanly, type 'homeplug' into Amazon. Took me 20 seconds to install and now I have a dedicated connection for my xbox and now my freesat!
My girlfriend finds it all confusing but I love it!!