Freesat BBC iPlayer trial coverage widened
Now available to all Humax Freesat set-top box owners
The BBC has extended its iPlayer-on-Freesat trial to more punters by publishing the "secret code" they need to try out the service.
That said, since the code appeared on the internet last month, it's hasn't really been a secret for some time.
The code, 5483, has to be punched in after entering the BBC's red button digital text service. Currently, it only works on Humax-made Freesat boxes and of these only one connected to the internet over a broadband connection of at least 1Mb/s.
Freesat promised the trial would be extended to all other manufacturers' Freesat set-top boxes "in the coming months". ®
Humax HD Player and iPlayer
I was amazed how easy this was. I was already primed with an ethernet conection laid in to the area of my LCD TV. Just had to move it from the laptop to the Humax HD box. Then just had to enter the 5483 as if it was a page number and there it is. iplayer just like on a PC.
The arranegment I use before was to have an old Laptop set up wired up to the TV but this is excellent and seems to play HD quality very well. I am lucky in that my BT Internet connectyoin is plenty fast enough.
The present software is a bit clunky compared to the on-line PC version and does not give any detailed info on programs,
'Freesat iPlayer uses press red to start then broadband to stream
The service uses a variation in the "Press Red" function of the satelite stream to initiate the internet connection to the iPlayer servers. All the video downloading is using the ethernet port - as you say using your current broadband.
The crucial difference for owners of Freesat TVs is that you don't need an extra box to view iPlayer. So now you get subscription free HD broadcasts (Freesat) and also subscription free video on demand (iPlayer).
The ethernet port is mandated as part of the specification for Freesat devices. The important factor for the BBC (et al) is that the capabilities of the viewing devices are known and standardised so one implementation by the broadcaster should work for all Freesat branded devices - at least that's what we've been told. I'll only know when Panasonic update my plasma.
What is the relevance of the Freesat bit?
If I understand correctly (please advise me if I am incorrect) this still does all the downloading over broadband. Its not like a satellite based internet connection so I feel the Freesat term may be misleading. How is this service different in reality from the current iPlayer (which I like), but which is unusable on my current (very poor) broadband?
Is it just a question of it integrating directly to some DVRs, rather than requiring a PC/Mac? If so, why not do this with non-Freesat iPlayer as well?