back to article BBC iPlayer to hit Freesat boxes by month's end

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Craig 12
    Thumb Down


    Isn't MHEG the thing that powers slow and crappy digital teletext :(

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Feel free... fix it for the Wii sometime this decade.

  3. JasonW


    Need to run a cat 5 to the TV now... for research purposes of course :-)

  4. Rob Farnell
    Thumb Up

    Sounds great

    Hopefully my Humax Foxsat HD with the Ethernet port will have its firmware updated to accept this. I'm off to get an access point near my Freesat in anticipation of this working.


  5. Puck

    broadband or satellite sourced?

    Sorry, could someone here please clarify for me whether this service will enter the digiboxes via broadband or satellite dish? Thanks

  6. LuMan
    Thumb Up

    This is good

    Following on from the iPlayer function in the new PS3 OS it looks like the BBC are trying to punt their wares through more and more channels (pun not intended). Also, the subscription is non-existent and there are no annoying ad breaks (like iTV and Ch5). Finally we're getting something useful for our license fee!

    Now we just need the Beeb to up the amount of available content....

  7. Rob

    Next solution...

    ... get a samsung TV (or home cinema) and a netgear ReadyNAS and all your streaming needs will be taken care of, onlie and off.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Will it also install an ethernet port to my Bush Freesat box?

  9. Joe Blogs


    So when are they going to get iPlayer working over DLNA?

  10. It'sa Mea... Mario
    Thumb Up

    Nice.. I just gotta think about how to link my Wi Fi Router in the hall to my Humax box under the TV in the lounge. Cheaply, neatly and without having to lift carpets/floor boards or needing to repaint walls walls etc..

    @ Rob Farnell: I read some where here on The Reg in October that an update for the Foxsat HD is due this month..

    I agree about the Wii iPlayer needing fixing but I am still waiting for an iPlayer App for my iPod Touch*

    *I may have commented as such before now in another article.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Great... my Foxsat can join my PS3 and PC in mocking me with the message "iPlayer isn't available in your territory"

  12. Tony Hoyle


    Your Humax shouldn't need an update as ethernet has been part of the standard from day 1 - it's just that nobody has written an app that uses it yet.

    I've had my TV plugged into a port since I bought it.. always the optimist...

  13. Matthew Smith
    Thumb Down

    Wii still has a problem

    The IPlayer on the wii has been broken for 2 months now. I'm sure theres far more Wiis in Britain than there are freesat boxes.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I forsee huge sales of HomePlugs....

  15. MJ

    @ It'sa Mea... Mario

    "I am still waiting for an iPlayer App for my iPod Touch"

    - Fire up Safari on your iTouch and browse to

    - Once it loads, click the '+' icon on the bottom toolbar in Safari.

    - Select the 'Add to Home Screen' option.

    - Wait a second for the custom iPlayer icon to load and then click 'Add'.

    - Enjoy :)

  16. Darkmoon

    MHEG was never the problem

    "Isn't MHEG the thing that powers slow and crappy digital teletext :("

    It's the Java language API which the digiboxes internal and over-the-air software is programmed in. What makes early efforts crappy is not the language but the cheap-ass CPU's that end up running it. That, and the lack of bandwidth for any bitmap data necessary to spruce up appearances. Expecting better from the current crop of HD boxes with satellite and net connections.

  17. Greg J Preece

    @Rob - I also have a Foxsat

    Hopefully I will be able to use it. Unfortunately the networking config panel on the Foxsat is so broken that it is incapable of remembering any static settings, and once you put static settings up the dynamic ones don't work either. Bloody thing.

  18. Bob H


    I would recommend using HomePlug AV or direct cable connection rather than WiFi because of WiFi congestion/reliability.

    Glad this has finally been made public.

    @Craig 12,

    MHEG is an interactive standard, on some devices it is quite slow but that is an implementation decision and a result of the very restricted bandwidth available on terrestrial in the UK. On Freesat HD boxes the quality is much higher than in the past because of improvements in the designs.


  19. Colin Miller

    @Mathew Smith

    The iPlayer on Wii works fine for me, just don't put Opera into flow mode.

  20. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re:Wii still has a problem

    There is a large (100+ posts) thread on the BBC iPlayer message boards:-

    The current BBC position on the Wii iPlayer was given by one of the "Hosts" on that forum earlier today:-

    "We still aim to have an improved version of BBC iPlayer for the Wii this year so hope to have some further news soon."

    No info on *what* this "improved" iPlayer will be (Flash, "Channel" or WiiWare) or what the current state of development is.

    Which is, IMHO, taking the term "noncommittal" to ridiculous extremes.

  21. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    @Matthew Smith

    "The IPlayer on the wii has been broken for 2 months now. I'm sure theres far more Wiis in Britain than there are freesat boxes."

    Not for much longer looking at Wii sales figures. Nintendo apparently say they have "stalled". Presumably they are not aware of the term "free fall".

  22. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    What about BT

    Interestingly the BTVision box runs a variant of Windoze so you'd think that it would be relatively easy to port iPlayer to it. However it isn't there. What little OD stuff there is of BBC programs you have to pay for, it's surprising that's legal.

    Whether BT or the BBC are to blame for this state of affairs I don't know, but it should be enough to put anybody off getting BTVision.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    weres this MHEG Dbook spec exactly!

    "Hooray! #

    By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 4th November 2009 15:01 GMT

    I forsee huge sales of HomePlugs...."

    NOT While their x15+ the price of two simple ethernet cards and a 50 foot length of RJ45 cable at £10 all inclusive...

    or while their adverting a 1gig homeplug thats ONLY capable of a max real data throughput of one 10th that for extortionate £200 prices per unit.

    unles your a MUG OC and fall for any advertising you see...

    and OC none seems willing to supply or tell you were this weres this MHEG Dbook spec exactly! , or even supply any test 'Transport stream' with this MHEG for download so the LinuxTV devs around the world can help intigrate this standard into all DVB 3rd party software.

  24. Richard 22

    @ 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.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    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!!

  26. Darkmoon

    Homeplug good :-) MHEG closed :-(

    "NOT While their x15+ the price of two simple ethernet cards and a 50 foot length of RJ45 cable at £10 all inclusive... ...unles your a MUG OC and fall for any advertising you see..."

    By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 4th November 2009 19:20 GMT

    You're forgetting the 'partner factor' - "THAT wire? Round OUR living room?". Extra cost is so often worth the trouble saved.

    Besides, have you ever compared Homeplug to Wireless in a real usage scenario. You don't have to be a mug to recognise that, while the numbers on the box aren't attained, its still vastly superior to wireless g in terms of throughput and more importantly, dropout.

    On MHEG: you're right, its frustrating to see a standard as wide as this be so closed. I was able to download a Java API reference at one stage, when I was researching BD-J, but they seem to have taken it down. One wonders if this was specifically to slow down open source devs...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    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.

  28. Frank Bough

    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Jolly good

    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?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021