IPTV UK: what's on tonight?
Worth watching yet?
2012 looks like it stands a good chance of being the year that IPTV really starts to go mainstream, with more services and a good range of content appearing built in to TVs and other devices, not to mention the web.
And, of course, the launch of YouView will help raise the profile of IPTV still further in the UK.
World+Dog is familiar with BBC iPlayer on the web...
That’s not to say that IPTV has been hidden away. The BBC’s iPlayer has done much to make watching TV shows online a normal experience for many. Some shows, like Doctor Who, now get a large proportion of their audience that way.
What’s on the box
Most Reg Hardware readers will be familiar with BBC iPlayer, along with 4oD, ITV Player and Demand 5. BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 are built in to some TV sets, though the other broadcasters have yet to make that leap.
...fewer know it's also available on some smart TVs
The launch of YouView this year is likely to help that, providing seven-day catch-up for all the main broadcasters through a unified programme guide, rather than the current collection of disparate interfaces.
But there are plenty more ways of getting extra telly from the net – Apple’s iTunes, Lovefilm and the newly launched Netflix are the obvious choices, but there’s also Acetrax, BT Vision, BlinkBox, Boxee and more specialist services for lovers of Indian cinema and other genres.
Content catch: not all the material available from a service on the web...
So, what’s on offer, and what’s it going to cost you?
To a degree, what you can watch depends on the devices you’re using. If you regard Apple as the spawn of Satan, you’ll miss out on the content available on iTunes, and on Apple TV and iOS devices. BT Vision’s movie library is only available through BT's own set-top box, while FetchTV can be accessed with the company's own Freeview HD boxes, or an app on recent Panasonic Viera sets, with Samsung to come soon.
...is also available on other devices
Acetrax, BlinkBox, Lovefilm and Netflix can all be accessed on Windows machines and Macs using Microsoft’s SilverLight software. Linux users are out of luck as a result, but they can make use of dedicated streaming devices that support these services.
When it comes to TVs, you’ll find Netflix and BlinkBox only on Samsung TVs so far, while Acetrax is on some LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Toshiba sets. Meanwhile, Lovefilm makes an appearance on Samsung, Sony and some LG devices.
Next page: Paying the price
It's also still too pricey
When they're asking £2 - £3 an episode, you might as well subscribe to the full package with either of the incumbents - it'll work out cheaper. In an average week the TV is maybe on here for 5-6 hours a day between us, so let's be really generous and say 5 one hour episodes (most are shorter) at £2. Or, around £280 a month to replace TV with IPTV.
Knock it down to 1/5th of that and we're talking. Of course the ISPs will then put their prices up to cover the increased bandwidth use... so you can't win.
Youview sounds good. Neflix and lovefilm are a joke unless you like movies over 5 years old (and *somebody* tell Netflix that 'Chitty Chitty bang bang' is not scifi!). Blinkbox has so many adverts it's basically unwatchable (When the adverts are so intrusive you can't follow the story any more, what's the point?) .
I'm also looking at Raspberry Pi to help (waiting for a plex client) to improve the WAF on my existing setup (since new TVs are totally out of the question in the current economic climate) enough so I can tell VM where to shove it. When that's gone there's money waiting for an IPTV provider that doesn't suck, when one appears.
It just gets worse
Our village has poor broadband, 1/2 MB is pretty good going, and there are no plans to improve it even though we are less than 4 miles from a major town. There must be many places where they'll get left behind. The current thinking is that 90% of the population will get a decent speed, but that still means 6,000,000 without.
We don't have gas either, but are only 1/4 mile from the main supply to Leeds and beyond.
Still, we have two pubs!
Until blinkbox goes away taking your "purchases" with it. Frankly, purchases tied to accounts is simply not sustainable. Pretty soon you're going to have 5 different accounts all with different purchases that you never owned in the first place.
I'd rather get a dvd, at least I won't have to worry about not being able to watch it a few years down the line and can still rip to non DRM'd up the pooper files that do, really, play everywhere.
Just like Hulu
Why the hell the BBC simply doesn't let non-UK residents pay a "licence fee" to watch beats the heck out of me.
Oh yes....artificial barriers to free trade.
Content, Accessibility and Price.
Not enough content and too slow. Not universally available and easy to access. Too expensive for run once streams.