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All posts by Roy Brown

Below are all of Roy Brown's postings, with the most recent are at the bottom of the page.

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Saturday 8 March 2014 9:03PM

Film 4 issue

It's very hard to find any help with this, as the web is full of last years' Film 4 multiplex change, and the tuning issues that followed. But I got through all that with no issues, and it have a strange, very 2014, Film 4 issue.

Basically, I can't get Film 4 on my YouView box at all now.every other channel I should get, from Ridge Hill, to Bishops a Cleeve near Cheltenham, is all present and correct. Including all those on the same multiplex Film 4 is now on, and Film 4+1, which I can receive just fine.

Investigating the issue, I retuned all the sets in my house, all of which were getting Film 4 in its new home, and two of them lost it - an ageing Sony Bravia and my Digistream PVR. But both found it again on a retune, though the YouView box still just shows a blank screen for this channel.

So there's something odd about my reception of a Film 4, but I can't imagine what it might be. I thought that in this digital age, you either get a whole multiplex or you don't, not that you can have selective difficulties with just one channel on that mux.

YouView can't reproduce the issue, and nor have other users reported it - it seems unique to me. I did notice that Film 4 was showing 85% signal strength, where no other channel gives more than 82%, and YouView have suggested that maybe the signal is too strong and needs to be attenuated.

Which I have yet to try. But again, I don't understand how different channels on the same multiplex can show different signal strengths - is this usual? And how come?

My aerial is a loft one, with a distribution amp feeding about 7 aerial sockets in the house with 6 TVs and two PVRs, and apart from this Film 4 issue, it's all very satisfactory.

Any advice or explanation of the above would be most welcome.

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Our 1.2m dish in Frigiliana, 50km east of Malaga, and 2km up in the mountains, gave us good Sky reception until we lost Ch5 a few months ago (and who cared?) and then BBC1 etc a few weeks ago (and boy, did we care). We still get Sky, with Sky News and a selection of obscure channels like a Movies For Men and such, but none of the 'big four'. And we never subscribed to Sky, so there was no change regarding the payment-requiring Sky channels.

Fortunately, we had (a) planned for this and (b) still have a home in the UK. So we coupled a Slingbox to our YouView box at home in the UK, and set that up before we came out this time.

The Slingbox works well, even though we don't yet have fibre in our village. Currently, it's slinging to an iPod Touch on Telefonica broadband, and the iPod Touch is coupled to our two TVs here over wifi to an Apple TV unit under each TV. We have iPads, which give an exact graphical representation of the YouView remote control, but the options on the Touch are entirely workable, and we like to keep the iPads for general use, as whatever is sending the TV programme needs to be dedicated at the time.

With this setup, we can watch live TV on the YouView box, make and watch recordings, and even use On Demand catchup, though that can buffer to an extent, which when you think the Slingbox has to pull the programme in over a 6mb link, push it back over 1-2mb, Telefonica has to pull it in and send it over wifi to the Touch, which then has to send it back over wifi to the Apple TV, is not bad going at all.

While we've been here, we've also been reintroduced to FilmOn, which we had on our I-Thingys, but hadn't much used. However, this provides many UK TV channels, free if you tolerate a short ad each time you start it up though you can subscribe and skip the ads (we haven't). BBC News (80) Isn't in the UK Channels section, but can be found under News Channels, if you can get past Bikini Babes,

FilmOn is a bit easier to use than Slingbox, but only has some of the live UK channels: we watch the main channels and BBC News on it, but use the Slingbox for recordings and Ch4+1, which FilmOn does not have.

This setup is using £320-worth of kit, not counting the iPod we already had, but has a zero monthly cost, needs no VPN, no other set top box, does not rely on a supplier who might go bust or be forced to shut down, does not require a PC in the loop, and shows its picture on our TVs. And apart from On/Off and Volume, where we use the traditional remote, the iPod Touch is effectively our remote now, and where two taps will enable us to move the programme from bedroom TV to lounge TV at will.

With the Sky, we had Digisenders to distribute the picture from lounge to bedroom; we've elected for an Apple TV on each, but I might have been able to use the Digisenders, except I think the TVs don't pass on the HDMI picture, even over SCART. But this way, bandwidth willing, we can even watch different programmes on the two TVs by using the Touch on one and an iPad on the other.

We have found some Internet usage, on PCs and the like, can make the TV service stutter a bit. But it has to be very intensive to do this, and doesn't happen with normal browsing, etc.

It does seems to need Apple products to work well, though; I have Screen Mirrored FilmOn from my Android Nexus 7 to a Samsung a Smart TV here, but it is very slow and clunky compared with the iPod experience. And if a Nexus 7 won't cut it, what Android device will? (Though maybe Samsung tablets play nicer with Samsung TVs; I don't have one to try).

Re the Apple TV unit (about £90) , it would be cheaper to use an HDMI converter cable (£40), but that's a much much less convenient wired solution. And the Apple TV has all sorts of other advantages we've only begun to scratch the surface of, like being able to rent Blue Jasmine in HD this last weekend.

As a last, bonus point; we get a much better picture from either Slingbox or FilmOn than we ever got over Sky.
Losing Sky has been a good thing; it's made us think about alternatives, and actually find a better-looking, more versatile solution for half the price that the satellite solution cost us in the first place.

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Thursday 3 April 2014 9:20AM

Never mind why I can't get Sky in Spain any more - I know the reason for that!

My question is why can't I get in Spain? I'm only able to post on here because I am coming over my company's VPN; on this exact same computer without the VPN, I get, from this link in the latest but one email:-

Various corrections and updates for Freeview HD, local TV and so on | About UK Free TV | - 11 years of independent, free digital TV advice

You don't have permission to access /fullstory.php on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Is there a reason for this at all, or is it accidental?

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