Placing faith in IPTV

I’m feeling pretty excited  at the moment, having recently had  BT TV installed. It’s £13 a month compared to the £38 that Sky were asking for. The thing is though, I can still get the Discovery and Nat. Geo. channels; the ones that I actually watch!

BT also sent out an engineer to install a new 1TB box ( which is included) BT TV is an internet based system so it ‘streams’ the premium TV channels  over the broadband line, hence BT also insist of installing a UTP cable for you, which his no bad thing really. The box is pleasingly diminutive next to it’s Sky+ grand daddy. It’s not as slick as Sky of course, but it’s perfectly functional. Every thing is there really, a usable App. that allows sending record requests and a decent EPG with series record and instant access to catch up services. The HD picture quality seems fine too, I’ve had both Sky and BT TV for a few weeks now to compare.

Being a bit of a Home Cinema buff, I was sceptical about the quality of streaming video ( give me a BluRay any day). That changed last summer, when I laid hands on a Google Chromecast and a Netflix account 🙂   Broadband is no longer a luxury now so relying on it for TV is no big deal really. BT were apparently the first to show 4K live and the box also lets you stream paid for content like Netflix etc. which all works quite well. BT will  charge £24 for a season of Modern Family though, if that gives you an idea…

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BT UHD Box (Humax/ YouView) 1TB 2.5″ drive

I’ve also ‘negotiated’ a 12 month deal on my BT Infinity Broadband. At £10 a month I am really quite impressed with it. BT recently upped the maximum speed available and I now measure a healthy 51M/17bps which is ‘all you can eat’.

I first had Infinity back in 2013 but have had to endure various speed and usage restrictions up until a year or so ago. BT are also in the process of giving all their Infinity 1 customers 50GB of cloud storage, which is a welcome upgrade over the stingy 5GB they currently include.

I’ve been reminiscing on how we have got from sub 56Kbs modems to 100Mb+ WIFI enabled routers that can stream 3 HD channels at a time. Broadband speed seems to have become a national obsession. My Dad  can’t order FTTC because he’s already too close to the exchange. The last leg of the connection to the house still uses the same copper cables that have been in the ground for 40 years. BT Infinity however uses an optimised  transmission method that enables the higher speeds over short cable runs.

There has been talk online that the speed will drop as more people are added to the fibre cabinets, due to interference. I think our cabinet here is good for 300 odd connections which does not seem like a lot of capacity. Having said that the other side of the road from the cabinet is green belt land, so not many customers there I guess! Google maps says that I am 300 Meters from the cabinet which is pretty close I think.

Do I need faster than 51Mbs ?

 

I’m not currently sure why any one would currently need faster broadband that this ?I could get Infinity 2 which would perhaps see me even faster, up to 80Mbps. If you think about it Web pages often contain resources that come from all over the place and which can be downloaded in parallel. However Web Servers are shared resources so I’m not convinced that they all transmit at 50Mbs. I live on my own so I have the whole 51Mbps to myself.

The BT box is capable of recording two HD channels whilst watching a non live programme  at the same time. Each HD channel seems to use about 6.5Mbs.The UHD Sky Sport channel needs 15Mbps though, as proven by the fact that when the BT engineer connected the box up to my old 10Mb switch it would not work!  I did find a tutorial on checking you are using the fastest DNS using a utility from Google called Namebench, but the BT DNS servers seem to be a pretty fast these days.

Bye Bye Sky ( for now)

Sky have a neat way of fighting back against people leaving them. Last night during Helicopter ER on Sky 1 I saw an advert offering 35% off for customer who ‘stay with Sky’. This blatant money saving offer seemed pretty bizarre to me but a bit of digging reveals that Sky can target adverts to specific audiences with their Adsmart service. It’s a shame they can’t use that technology to help save wasting so much disk space on all those ads. though !

According to the forums Sky will give you 50% off any package if you ask nicely, it’s too late though since I’m hooked on IPTV now 🙂  Now I must get back to catching up on unwatched Sky stuff, I’m all set for the big switch off later this week !

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