How to watch TV nowadays?

Dave163

Novice Member
I've just cancelled my Virgin Tivo service. The box isn't very responsive and I don't have time to watch much TV so it's a bit of a waste of money. I'm increasingly finding that stuff I want to watch is catchup or Amazon Prime movies etc. I still have fast cable broadband and the house has a TV aerial.

I never realised until now that there ware so many options apart from Virgin. Freeview, Freeview Plus, Freeview Play, Now TV, Youview boxes. Boxes with hard drives, Cromecast gizmos. Or I could simply watch live TV via a streaming website like TVPlayer.

What options would be suitable for replacing my Tivo and Virgin TV service, given that although I don't watch a lot of TV, I do want:

(i) to be able to watch live TV occasionally
(ii) to be able to watch catchup TV ie iplayer, 4OD if I need to see something after it's broadcast
(iii) to be able to record things for later viewing and maybe for posterity
(iv) to be able to watch films on demand occasionally.

I have a projector which I use to watch films (broadcast, on demand or DVD) and a small TV in the corner of the room for when I'm not using the PJ. No point buying a smart TV as I won't be able to use its tuner or apps with the projector. Instead, I need something that will output to my AV amplifier, so I can choose whether to watch on big screen or TV screen.

I'm kind of torn between the new Humax FVP4000T which gives freeview, recording, catchup and maybe Netflix, or should I just get a cheap PC and watch live TV via web streaming (or perhaps a digital tuner). The issue with a dedicated freeview box for me is that which services it offers ie Amazon or Netflix or 4oD etc seem to vary by manufacturer and might be added or removed at any point. (But if they have a built-in web browser, can't I just view on demand films via the browser?)

On the other hand with a PC, I don't know if it's possible to record streamed programs onto the hard drive, and the websites I've seen that offer live streaming seem rather blurry compared to the quality I would have expected from freeview. Any suggestions within a reasonable budget would be appreciated - by reasonable I could go up to £200 but if a suitable £100 PC running Linux would do what I'm looking for, that would be fine too.
 

JerrySmith

Novice Member
I have the same 'dilemna'. Paying over £140 for my VM package per month (pretty much all of their services plus a second tivo box). I'm sure I can get a reduction (maybe even a new Tivo box thrown in) by threatening to leave but I'm not using lots of what I'm paying for. I'm interested in the Vbox and Kodi based EPG as 'a project' (World's First DVB-T/T2 - DVB to IP - Network Tuner) but maybe the convenience of something like a HUMAX FVP4000T would be better for me. What really worries me about ditching the Tivo box is the picture quality and EPG - the Tivo box is slow but that's also seems to be a problem along with box freezes and crashes for most of the dedicated PVR. I'm also not interested in on-demand as I already get the services I need through my Amazon Fire 4k box. You would have thought that this would have been an increasingly big marketplace as TVs get smarter but don't necessarily deliver the convenience or multi-tuner capabilities that people want in a decent PVR. My newly acquired Hisense 50m5500 supports USB record but only has a single tuner and the EPG is pretty awful.
 

esc4p3

Active Member
I'm in a similar position and in the end went for the DMR-HWT250EB from Panasonic, the model got a good review from AVF. It offers twin Freeview HD tuners, 1Tb HDD, all the major catch up TV built in as well as Netflix and Amazon Video (and YouTube and probably some other guff I'll never watch!). Also offers some up-scaling to 4k (you'd have to read up on that bit, I haven't get a 4k telly, so haven't really looked at that spec). I got it on an Amazon lightning deal for £181, which even then is a bit more than i wanted to pay, but might be an option for you? I've only had it a day, so I can't really comment on how good it is yet.
 

RichardWiz

Active Member
I have a vbox for a year now, EPG is great, getting it over the air and the vbox also has series ID support for smart series tv recording
The guide on the vbox apps is a bit slow, if you setup all 100 freeview channels, but it's working great on Kodi 17 RC1
There is also a newer vbox with 4K support VBox | Watch live TV on your iPad, tablet, PC, Mac

We had some crashes on older FW versions but for the past 6 months my family is using the device non stop without any issues, we're now on Netflix + youtube + vbox with Minix U1 and a new MiBox 4K bought for 65$ on 11.11 :)
 

JerrySmith

Novice Member
Thanks for this - I read some of your earlier posts and could tell you were a fan. How does the EPG compare to say a mainstream STB equi? I guess you are using one of the Kodi EPG add-ons? Also does the vbox have any impact on HD quality? Also interested if you use the pvr capabilities in either vbox or Kodi?
 

RichardWiz

Active Member
Yes the vbox really simplify my TV setup and helped to convince the wife to switch to freeview
I don't use any EPG addons - never tried that, what do you recommend?
I am using the EPG captured by the vbox from freeview it's about 7 days guide and hassle free.

The vbox doesn't transcode - it keeps the full HD quality

I used to work only with the vbox apps to set recordings - as it supported series ID, but now that they have added it to Kodi 17 I am mostly using Kodi, but still set recordings on my mobile when I'm on the road.
Anyway regardless to where you set the recordings it is handled by the vbox - both Kodi and the vbox apps or web browser simple set the recording rule on the vbox and it saved on the same storage

by the way, I am starting to like the Mi Box too, have a friend with the nvidia Shield and this box does the same for 3rd of the cost!
 

JerrySmith

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply. I had assumed there were some 3rd party add-ons available through Kodi for the EPG but if the vbox default is good them that's a positive. Any chance of posting some pics of the UI? I'm already invested in the Amazon Fire TV 4k box with Kodi installed so don't really need the Mi (unless I'm missing something). Do you use an external USB drive for the PVR storage? I have a Synology NAS looking for a purpose so hoping I could use that. Again I'm assuming that can all be set up through the Vbox?
 

JerrySmith

Novice Member
Thanks for this and the previous responses. Do you use a remote to drive the Kodi vBox interface?
 
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RichardWiz

Active Member
Yes I do, I have the Minix a2 lite for the NEO U1 and the remote that came with the mi box. On the minix I also have the vbox app for stb, which also works with the remote, but we mostly use Kodi
 

Stiggy

Distinguished Member
Sorry to bump an old thread, but I'm thinking of buying a Vbox TV Gateway to update my setup which currently uses an HTPC with DVB-T and DVB-S cards.

I was thinking of using Kodi but wondered what people use for an EPG. I'm currently using SchedulesDirect data via EGP123 into Windows Media Center.
 

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