Tuesday, 16 August 2016

IP TV ...

When we moved back to Telstra they gave us this little Roku box that does Netflix and the other streaming services, as well as the public broadcasters on demand services.

Before then our internet in Canberra (yes it's the federal capital, but we lived out or reach of the VDSL cable and our ADSL service was overloaded and slow) was crap and basically not good enough to watch streaming media reliably except during the day when the kids were at school and people were out at work.

And having the streaming box has   changed our habits. We hardly ever record anything to watch later these days, and we have become devotees if various dubbed dramas and docos which are online only.

At the same time we also have a second tv in the guest room which we originally bought as a special offer from a big box store to give us a tv in our new house while we had two houses and were commuting between them.

Currently our guest room tv doesn't have an antenna connection, and for various boring technical reasons doesn't actually pick up SBS that well if you plug an antenna into it (weak signal, tuner performance and whatever -  basically the joys of rural life). Being odd people we only ever watch SBS and the ABC (in the days of analog tv we only ever had these two channels tuned in).

So, what to do? The TV wasn't doing anything useful, and installing an antenna socket and a booster would cost more that I wanted to pay.

What I did go was do looking for one of these Android powered streaming devices. Usually they come only with Netflix and some Asian language services preloaded but as it's Android it's an easy task (once you've sorted the onscreen keyboard mystery) to install the major broadcasters streaming applications giving us both live TV and the on demand services, plus the usual YouTube and what have you, all for a little less than sixty bucks (or a quarter of the cost of having an additional socket installed plus a signal booster). Installation and configuration was no more difficult or time consuming than setting up a new  phone or a tablet.

Interestingly, when we were in Croatia last year, one apartment we stayed in had basically the same system - internet box with a set of preconfigured streaming apps, except that the box was provided by the local isp and also functioned as a wireless router.

Obviously it'll eat into our internet quota, but as it's the guest room / second tv it won't do that much, and anyway, at the moment we've bandwidth to burn.

Simples ...

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