iPlayer on TV (the blind leading the blind!)

altyfc

Standard Member
Hi everyone

I wonder if you could help. I would like to help my parents set up their TV so that they can watch iPlayer.

They have WiFi in the house.

The living area (which is in the next room, but the other corner of the room to where their PCs are) has a TV and DVD player. The TV is at Toshiba 32WLT58 and the DVD player is a Toshiba RD-XS 25SB.

As far as I can ascertain, they have Freeview (at least, they can get the Dave channel, so I'm guessing that probably means Freeview????)

There's an additional TV (only about a year old, I think) in a bedroom (don't know if they get Freeview on that one).

They don't have Blu Ray / Wii / Playstation.
I have an iPod touch somewhere that is kind of surplus to requirements.

I don't really know what I'm doing. I've read up quite a bit on this, but am not very proficient in it all and so am not sure what my best course of action would be.

Would really appreciate some advice. Thank you. :)
 

next010

Distinguished Member
iPlayer is an internet media service that various platforms have access to, this would mean purchasing a set top box with iPlayer support.

How technophobe are they a little or a lot ? are they comfortable switching inputs on the TV to another box which they will have to learn to use.

There are a variety of iPlayer boxes
* Sony NMP200 (this is Sony's SmartTV platform minus the actual TV set)
* LG ST600 SmartTV Upgrader (same as Sony only from LG)
* Popcornhour/Popbox, Boxee Box network media players
* Various Android based set top boxes like the AC Ryan Veolo which will allow you to access the iPlayer Android app.
* There are a few Freeview set top boxes out there with iPlayer support also I believe.
 

altyfc

Standard Member
Thank you for taking the trouble to reply, Tony.

Only a little, I'd say. They do well with the computer (using email, the Web, etc.), but haven't used the TV/DVD enough to really get to grips with it. I'm sure they could pick it up and switch inputs if shown what to do.

I looked up the items you mentioned:

Sony SMP N200 (I couldn't see NMP200 - guessing that was a typo???) - best price I found was £80
LG ST600 SmartTV - £85
Popcorn Hour Popbox 3D - £99 (plus other types at around £100 more)
Boxee Box - £135
AC Ryan Veolo - £180

I'm making enquiries as to what Freeview set top box they currently have just in case it supports iPlayer (but suspect it doesn't).

Given that all they want to be able to do is watch iPlayer on the TV, I'm guessing one of the under £100 options will suffice. Or am I missing something that might be advantageous (now or in the future)...?

Thanks.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The Sony one is probably the best option in that case if they just want iPlayer and nothing else.

The Humax HDR-FOX T2 is one of the Freeview HD PVR's with iPlayer support, might be cheaper stuff out there but I'm not not the guy to ask on that.
 

NX3

Member
As above, from that choice, I'd go for the Sony SMP-N200 if I was buying for any family member or recommending to anyone. It has Wifi N built in so its an all in one pretty neat little box.
 

M15ley

Standard Member
What are the limitations of this SMP-N200, surprisingly little info out there.
 
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next010

Distinguished Member
The N200 is very limited in what local media it can play and your pretty much totally reliant on a DLNA transcoding server to play anything at all.
 

altyfc

Standard Member
Thanks for the continued replies.

I found out a bit more about my parents' set-up. In addition to the digital TV with Freeview, it seems they have an analogue DVD player with a set top box (and I understand that box is there so that it 'talks' to the TV OK, does this sound right?)

Anyway, the Sony SMP N200 is sounding like a good bet, from what little I can tell. Just a few (hopefully final) questions:

1) is there any reason it shouldn't work for their set up?

2) is it easy to set up? (will even I be able to do it??? :))

3) what won't it do that some of the other options would offer? (I think they're only bothered about playing iPlayer but it would probably be useful to be aware of what they're not getting just so I can make a fully informed decision on their behalf! [I'm planning on making this a Christmas present])

4) sorry, I didn't understand what was meant by "your pretty much totally reliant on a DLNA transcoding server to play anything at all" - please could you clarify?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
4) sorry, I didn't understand what was meant by "your pretty much totally reliant on a DLNA transcoding server to play anything at all" - please could you clarify?

This is for playing media which is stored on another computer like pictures, music or videos. DLNA is a form of networking and when a DLNA server (e.g. Serviio) is installed on the PC you add folders for it to scan and index. A DLNA client (e.g. N200) connects to the DLNA server and can browse the media listings.

Were this all falls apart is that DLNA is a very broken standard with no mandated media support other .mpg video, .mp3 audio and .jpg pictures also there are odd quirks in each vendors implementation of DLNA so they don't always work together.

Some media players have a very large range of codec support so they can play almost everything, Sony is not in this camp.

As a workaround Most PC DLNA servers implement real time transcoding & device profiles for certain players like the N200 which means they convert on the fly all the media types in your library into something the N200 will play.
 

NX3

Member
1, it sounds like it would work
2, its fairly simple to use and setup. Hardest part is connecting to wifi perhaps but not that hard :)
3, It doesn't have ITV Player, 40D
3, Its codec support is a bit more limited than some. Unless they are 'downloading' movies its unlikely to be an issue.
4, As per next010 answer. The Sony box is a bit limited playing media files natively from say your PC / Laptop. Again if they aren't downloading files then not a big deal. Also you can get around this by installing a DLNA server like Serviio (its free and very good) which will convert the files on the fly to a format the Sony box can play.

Serviio also lets you add online streams, in beta testing, so you can add ITV player, 40D and other services to a media box with Serviio.

My Nan, 97, can cope with a Sony iPlayer implementation, its quite simple to use :)

With all those boxes, I guess you need to just check the tv has enough free hdmi connections for another box.

From a pure 'iPlayer' point of view its your cheapest, easiest way to add it to your existing setup currently. In the next 12 months things are likely to change and develop rapidly as things like Youview should launch.
 

altyfc

Standard Member
Thanks again, both of you... I really appreciate you taking the time to be so patient with my (probably dumb) questions. :)

It sounds like this is limiting in what it will do, and likely to be obsolete in a year's time. Is that a fair assessment?

Is there any reason, therefore, why this isn't a good option:

It basically just seems to be linking an iPod Touch to a TV screen with the red, yellow and white cables, but perhaps there's something I'm missing here. (You may recall I have an iPod Touch kicking about, so this would seem to be an inexpensive option for me.)

Obviously, that would then allow me to have iPlayer, ITV catchup and YouTube via the apps.... but is it that the quality's not there? Or is there some other 'catch' with this solution?

Thanks.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
It sounds like this is limiting in what it will do, and likely to be obsolete in a year's time. Is that a fair assessment?

Not really if all they are using it for is iPlayer and a bit of Youtube. The Roku boxes are coming to the UK early next year these are even cheaper than Sony's box and easier to use but just as limited as they are online media streamers only.

The iPod option will work but it could be a more finicky approach for them as the the iPod touch must be used to control the UI on screen, there's no physical remote.
 

NX3

Member
The quality from those devices won't be quite as good. I think you bite the bullet if thats what you want, accept things move on, just like phones, computers, tvs etc have been come items to update often. It will still work in a years or so's time. If when you want to replace it, sell the old one and move on....
 

altyfc

Standard Member
The iPod option will work but it could be a more finicky approach for them as the the iPod touch must be used to control the UI on screen, there's no physical remote.

Fair point, thanks - I can see how that wouldn't be all too convenient from the comfort of a sofa...
 

NX3

Member
I was talking ipod to tv, not Sony boxes. You've missed the Amazon lighting deal now. Given the option of the SMP-N100 or 200, I'd get the 200.
 

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