Feeds

IPTV UK: what's on tonight?

Worth watching yet?

High performance access to file storage

Low rent

There are free programmes available too. The Boxee box, for instance, makes a large number of free films accessible, though you won’t find new releases there.

It’s worth checking to see what offers are available too. Registering for AceTrax on a Samsung TV gives you £4.50 credit, for instance, while setting up FetchTV on a Viera will give you your first film free.

Toshiba Places

Toshiba is rolling out its own content store set, Places

BlinkBox has a whole section of free content, which includes some older British TV series such as The Young Ones and Bad Girls, and SF like Andromeda and Mutant X. But the quality’s not always good – I found the first episode of Andromeda sounds like it’s playing from a slightly stretched VHS copy, for example. The alternative, however, is to page £1.49 per episode on iTunes, or £15 per series.

Besides quality, rights remain a niggle, with some content only available on certain devices and not others. For instance, while 4oD has plenty of material available on YouTube, a lot of it can’t be accessed by YouTube apps on TVs. Some Lovefilm streaming content suffers the same problem, too. You can watch it on the web, but not on your TV.

Channel 4's 4oD on YouTube

4oD has plenty of shows on YouTube, but a lot of it can’t be accessed by YouTube apps on TVs

Remember too that while shopping around is fine in principle, in practice it’s not quite so simple. If you want to watch on a smart TV or set-top box, you’ll be restricted to the services supported by that platform. Not everyone is prepared to connect their computer to the TV to give them access to the whole range of sites.

Ready for primetime?

There’s little doubt that the range of content available now is such that many people who want just a bit more than Freeview may well consider an IPTV service as an add-on, rather than switching to pay TV. And, given a reliable broadband connection, services like Netflix, Lovefilm and BBC iPlayer can give a great experience, with ‘HD’ streams matching DVD quality.

If you want more than catch-up, then Netflix is probably your best bet for ‘box set’ type material, while Lovefilm is more suited to cinephiles – though both will doubtless adding more to their libraries. Reg Hardware will be running a more in-depth comparison of these two services later this week.

Remember, though, for only a few pounds more than a streaming only service, you could add disc rental too, and fill in the content gaps.

And, of course, when it comes to streaming there are still glitches. Some days, it just doesn’t work: video freezes up, programmes skip or jump right back to the start. You often getr error messages that are inexplicable. I’ve even had days when the BBC iPlayer app on my test TV stopped working until I rebooted the set.

For the tech-savvy Reg reader, these things can be lived with and worked around - though less so when you’re paying to watch. But perhaps it’s worth waiting a little longer before you urge your less technical relatives to jump on the IPTV bandwagon. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.