UK apps for Samsung "Smart" TV's

448 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi there,

 

I am very likely to purchase a new Samsung TV and hope to use the BBC iPlayer app that is built in. Naturally, I doubt the App will be initially available as it will be purchased in Germany, and the German store will also unlikely offer the app.

 

Has anyone in Germany who has a Samsung "Smart" TV found a way to get to the UK app store? Does one set the location somehow to UK and then it works, is both the location and tunnel through a VPN required?

 

Also, is there a way to set two specific DNS's on the Samsung TV. No serious problems if not, but would be handy. The main thing is to try and get the iPlayer app on board.

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Posted

It depends on the TV - both model and series. In the C-series you could access a hidden menu to change location settings and fool the TV into thinking it was a UK model to download the iPLayer app. In the D-series you need to re-flash the firmware.

 

Have a look around the Samsung Firmware forum, and maybe choose the TV you buy from the ease of IPLayer access

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Posted

Ouch... Life is never easy is it?

 

Thanks for that, I have posted on that forum and hope that there is a way. Now, I just have to sort out setting up the DNS servers on my router as per the other post and maybe I will have things working at last :o)

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Posted

Did you get any further with this? I have just purchased a new samsung smart tv and also cannot download the bbciplayer app from the samsung app store in the smart hub. Am wondering if there is another way to download it and if anyone has tried it. I can use the browser to go to myiplayer.com and mypremium.tv (for skysports and espn) to get unofficial live streams (sound does not always work but that may be a browser and codec issue) and the pop ups are annoying but am not complaining too much. But, I would like to have the iplayer widget on the smart hub home screen.

 

Also, I have downloaded the vtuner radio app and talksport works perfectly (although geo recognition of my ip means the euro2012 live coverage is not transmitted) but i cannot find a single bbc radio station when using the search function including bbc world service!

 

Cheers,

Angus

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Posted

There is a post in another thread about using a proxy to fool the TV into thinking it's in another country so you get that country's apps. Search and ye shall find, but it's relatively tricky to set up.

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Posted

Yes Angus.

 

First of all, you will not be able to access the BBC iPlayer app from the German store. That is not a problem though. Follow these instructions and you can easily switch between the UK and DE stores. Unfortunately, it seems you can only be in one or the other, so when in the UK store you may not be able to get some German specific apps.

 

Press the following keys on the remote:

ff 289 rew and enter.

 

You can then change stores.

 

Second, you probably will not find the iPlayer app anyway. I have read in another forum it is broken for the new ES 2012 series... Yeap, that's right. I also read that the BBC was working on a new version, but I have not seen anything yet. Hopefully it does come soon.

 

Finally, you can not set up any VPN on the TV. However, it may be possible to set up a SmartDNS system with a VPN service like Overplay. I havn't tried this with BBC since there is no Samsung app, and I use their iPad App instead (and Airplay over), but I am working with Overplay to get it to work with TVNZ on their web browser. The catch is there, the Samsung TV seems to have an old version of Flash which TVNZ doesn't yet like.

 

I must say though, Overplay do an amazing job with their Smart DNS. I can watch all UK channels, plus Irish and TVNZ (from New Zealand) and ABC from Australia without the need of a VPN tunnel on other devices. And they are adding channels all the time.

 

If you need advise on VPN services just ask. I have had some great successes recently in this area.

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Posted

I guess this is good timing. I have noticed today that the BBC iPlayer has just arrived on the Samsung UK app store. Looks pretty good.

That said, I can explore the content but it won't play yet through my VPN service, so I am communicating with them at the moment.

 

But it may work with your VPN. If so, let me know.

 

I must say, the interface seems speedy enough, and one can choose HD streams where available. Though, sadly for many, I couldn't find a "live stream" section.

 

Once this gets working with a VPN it should be pretty good.

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Posted

Thanks ovbg, been away for a couple of weeks but tried the ff 289 rew and it worked a treat. after a reboot the tv came back with the uk app store and i now see bbc iplayer, netflix and love film in the top app list. Went on to the iplayer icon and was told i needed new firmware. Went to samsung and my model number was not listed in germany so I had to go to the austrian site. Firmware upgraded and iüplayer now launches. Only problem I have now is getting around the geolocation issue. I am not sure if the geolocation comes from the ip address or the dns server address? I did change the dns server address but still got the issue but it maybe that i was using an international one so it would route me to the nearest location not necessarily the uk. if it is coming from the ip address I will have to see if i can add a uk proxy in the router settings unless you have any other suggestions. I know it will work - just need to find the right solution...

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Posted

^^ And BBC Sport now has an app which seems to have a selection of live events (depending on times). The catch is the same as above, that it is Geoblocked.

 

I'm in chats with my VPN service that has a smart DNS service as the Samsung Networking options allows for a single manual DNS server to be configured. The smartDNS option from my VPN service generally means a wide variety of devices, many of which that can't set up an actually VPN connection, can negotiate these geo-location blocks and work. Their smart DNS works great for iPlayer on my PC, iMac, iPad, iPhone and some other devices...

 

The catch is of course, that I haven't got it to work yet with this Samsung iPlayer app. I have been in contact with the VPN company, and they generally get these things sorted, but I think it is only one guy and I have to wait until he gets around to this issue.

 

If you find an alternative solution, then by all means let me know. If the SmartDNS doesn't work, I am considering something like a Raspberry Pi to work as a permanent Bridge to an actual VPN tunnel.

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Posted

Still not found an alternative yet but I was reading some threads on other sites and somebody reckoned that the iplayer is not geoblocked with the IP address but with the country info of the actual TV. OK, i changed the internet location to UK to get the UK app store but they were saying there is also another hidden setting. I managed to access this hidden menu but the option they changed on a C and D series TV (INFO LINK COUNTRY) does appear on an E series set. The TV default region in this menu is set to PANEURO and cannot be changed. There is however an option called WIFI REGION and the setting is currently set to E (options are A-Z) but I have not been able to find any information anywhere on the web that tells me what E stands for and if it is country relative or not. However, my head still tells me that it is the actual IP address that is used for geo-blocking and not this information. Any luck getting your SmartDNS working? and is it VPNUK that you use?

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Posted

Interesting. It could be a combination, the IP address and a setting as you described. This is why I think the best option is still the SmartDNS. Here, the BBC site would ask a couple of questions before it plays the video, such as what is your IP address (is it in the UK?) and some internal question to the Television. The idea of the SmartDNS is to intercept these questions and provide the correct answer. For this to work, I would assume that Overplay who provide the SmartDNS would have to see what error messages come through. I did ask them to take a look for TVNZ over my Samsung TV before the BBC iPlayer had the app available and Overplay requested I use what appeared to be a testing DNS server and notify the time I tried to access it.

 

Since then though, I have not heard back regarding any testing of the BBC App, although I again used that test server and gave the time I accessed it.

 

All that said, they have been known to remain silent, and then several months later the new services begin working. It seems that maybe they have a backlog of TV services customers want to have working and eventually they get to them.

 

So, no luck yet.

 

I also have tried setting my laptop to work as a network bridge. So, I have a wired connection to my laptop from the Samsung TV and then use the wifi connection out. This works until I fire up a standard VPN server and then I can't seem to get any bridged network traffic to or from the TV and the internet. The TV says it has a connection to the laptop, but nothing further. My feeling is, if I can somehow connect this as a bridge on my laptop, I may just buy something like the Raspberry Pi and set that up as a bridge permanently to the VPN service.

 

If anyone has any idea what I may be doing wrong whilst trying to bridge to the VPN service, please let me know.

 

Anyway, I appreciate your experiments as well, so naturally, if I find out anything I'll pass it on, and likewise if you have success please do so as well.

 

Man, it would be great to get this working by the Olympics as the new Samsung BBC Sport App is reputed to contain more than 20x HD live feeds from different sports.

 

Cheers.

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Posted

The TV doesn't communicate any geographic information back to the BBC, that's only worked out from the incoming IP address. The location information set in the TV might block access to install the player app, but that's less of a block, more shielding users from applications they can't use so would normally be senseless to install

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Posted

Why are you buying region locked devices????

 

I use Windows Media Center inside Windows 7 in a fairly inexpensive computer I recently rebuilt to be quieter and use less power (less than 30w bulb at idle/watching media). That is plugged into a standard 1080p LED LCD TV. I can watch whatever I want and stream from places I'm geo-blocked from like BBC. However I only like Top Gear so the rest of it is totally unimportant.

 

I see two solutions.

 

1) You can take your smart tv back and get a standard LCD-TV without the smart apps.

 

2) You can put Media Server software on your desktop (PlayOn, Plex, Tveristy, etc) since it (Samsung Smart TV's) has DLNA and stream from your desktop with VPN software install on it, like Tunnel Bear.

 

But what I would do if I had a smart tv, is get a cheap NAS box, stick a couple of 2TB drives in it, install Sick Beard, subscribe to a Newsgroup server and use EZTV dot com, automatically download any show you want (via RSS feed) and play it back on your smart TV. Plex works on Samsung TV's, you should be able to download it or side-load it onto the TV.

 

I would also store all my TV Show DVD's, Blu Rays and Movie DVD's on it, why load disc????

 

 

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Posted

 

Why are you buying region locked devices????

 

It has nothing to do with the device that is region blocked, it's the service. And the BBC iPlayer is region blocked on every device that exists because the BBC check for things like the IP address before allowing the show to start. This is the same for my TV, a windows PC, an iPad or anything.

 

 

I use Windows Media Center inside Windows 7 in a fairly inexpensive computer I recently rebuilt to be quieter and use less power (less than 30w bulb at idle/watching media). That is plugged into a standard 1080p LED LCD TV. I can watch whatever I want and stream from places I'm geo-blocked from like BBC. However I only like Top Gear so the rest of it is totally unimportant.

 

And I do something similar using an iPad airplaying across to an AppleTV. It uses even less power than your device, has a much better interface (touch screen tablet is simply the easiest way to navigate something as large as an iPlayer library) and works very well.

 

I see two solutions.

 

 

1) You can take your smart tv back and get a standard LCD-TV without the smart apps.

 

Sorry, but there is no logic here at all. A smart TV can take any input device just like a dumb TV. The difference is that the smart TV has the opportunity to run apps like the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport App without the need of an additional device. This is handy and a good option. It also uses less power than two devices. And sure, we can always ask what is 30watts. But why use an additional 30watts when you don't need to?

 

 

2) You can put Media Server software on your desktop (PlayOn, Plex, Tveristy, etc) since it (Samsung Smart TV's) has DLNA and stream from your desktop with VPN software install on it, like Tunnel Bear.

 

Of course, but then you have two devices on at the same time. My iMac may be a lot more power friendly than most PC's, but it still is their top end machine meaning it still draws more power than only having the TV on. The interface for operating the iPlayer remotely from another computer and streaming across to the TV is not as good as either the iPad solution or even better, the iPlayer direct in the TV.

 

 

 

 

But what I would do if I had a smart tv, is get a cheap NAS box, stick a couple of 2TB drives in it, install Sick Beard, subscribe to a Newsgroup server and use EZTV dot com, automatically download any show you want (via RSS feed) and play it back on your smart TV. Plex works on Samsung TV's, you should be able to download it or side-load it onto the TV. I would also store all my TV Show DVD's, Blu Rays and Movie DVD's on it, why load disc????

 

This is a good idea. And I've been doing that since I've had the smart TV. I have a NAS which does indeed have a number or shows or films. Downloaded or ripped from my DVD's. I have tried the built in DLNA server of the TV, but found an incredible app called File Browser for the iPad works a damn lot better. I can flawlessly stream HD films or TV shows wirelessly from my NAS across to my iPad which then perfectly airplays it across to the TV (via Apple TV of course)

 

Sadly that Plex app did not have an updated App that worked on the 2012 models of Samsung.

Also, I found Plex to fail to update my video library properly. It would miss loads of videos and only about 50% of the time correctly label the TV shows. And finally, the only way to get it to work, would be to stream from my iMac as my NAS is not an intel version and Plex only works on Intel. Plex has a bright future, but is still a long way off from working flawlessly.

 

At the end of the day djfourmoney, although you do have excellent ideas, it's not like I haven't worked out alternative solutions myself. The problem is this; All these other external devices are great for me to get iPlayer and BBC on to our main TV. They work and especially with the iPad, it actually works great. But my wife, like so many, does not like to mess around with all this tech. She just wants to switch on the telly, and watch something from the BBC. Despite what we have, she never even tries as she finds it all too much effort (and before you reply saying any of the solutions you wrote are easy enough, I assure you that they are not which is why most normal people don't use them - only people into tech like us). The new Samsung BBC app would be easy enough though. It's a simple but elegant interface, no other device needs to be on and it works (when the geo blocking is omitted) just as one should expect it to.

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Posted

OK, had a bit of time this weekend to try a few things out. I got in touch with VPNUK as they offer a SmartDNS service. I sent them an email requesting a trial and they said no problem and sent me their live chat link. So, i got in touch and they gave me a 24 hour trial. Basically logged on to my account, entered my IP address, waited a couple of minutes for it to be enabled on their database and then it gave me a DNS IP to enter into my Smart TV. Logged on to the iPlayer App and this time their was not Geoblocking but I encountered another issue. When I selected a video it just buffered until it timed out!!! Googled this and found it was a common problem also in the UK so it appears the SmartDNS worked but I cannot prove it yet. Anyway, I did everything suggested on various message boards: latest firmware from samsung.com, updated (reset) the Smart Hub, updated the iPlayer App and also (recommended on the samsung site) updated the browser app. Reboots of TV and modem (this caused a small issue as I got a new IP so i had to go back to my VPNUK account and register the new one) and also reset the TV date and time as that was mentioned by one person. I even tried a wired LAN as well as wireless but still the same message. My thinking now is that I need to wait for another firmware update as it sounds like the developers are testing it on different models at a time and then releasing new firmware. One issue I have is that my model is not sold in the UK (ue46es6530) so hope the firmware is the same as a similar model that you can get in the UK.

@ovbg - one thing the VPNUK helpdesk did say to me is that you cannot use smartDNS over a VPN connection and you need to disable this first - not sure if that helps you at all.

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Posted

Very interesting. Thanks for this information and I do hope this all get's sorted. It would be great before the Olympics with the BBC sport app offering 24 live HD feeds.

 

Interesting in that I heard an ITV app is also imminent as it was announced as being released and then held back due to a licensing issue between Samsung and ITV.

 

With Overplay, we don't need to disable SmartDNS when I use the VPN. But I have only tested that on my iPad or iMac, not the TV because of the current issue.

 

Anyway, I really appreciate your efforts and passing on what you find out. I wrote again to Overplay asking how it is all going with the Samsung issue and hope to hear something soon.

 

By the way, are you with T-online? We're with T-online and every day they change our external IP address. It is a bit of a hassle as I have to access the VPN's web page to reset our Smart DNS each time that happens.

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Posted

 

By the way, are you with T-online? We're with T-online and every day they change our external IP address. It is a bit of a hassle as I have to access the VPN's web page to reset our Smart DNS each time that happens.

 

It's the same will all domestic internet providers in Germany. They are required to break your connection every 24 hours, following which your router immediately re-connects and as a result gets a new IP address.

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Posted

 

It's the same will all domestic internet providers in Germany. They are required to break your connection every 24 hours, following which your router immediately re-connects and as a result gets a new IP address.

 

Interesting, do you know the reason for this?

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Posted

@ovbg - it was the other way round. VPNUK said that you cannot use smartDNS with your VPN, so disable the VPN connection and then try.

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Posted

^^ Ah, that makes sense. Anyway, on my iPad, I have presets for the various VPN servers I may use (i.e. UK, NZ, Australia etc) and the SmartDNS set up. So, on the occasions I don't need an actual VPN, the smart DNS works fine, but if I need a VPN then I just switch that on.

 

As for the TV, I can't set up a VPN on the Samsung anyway. I have tried by bridging via my laptop (ethernet from TV to laptop, bridged to internet via Wifi, but as soon as I connect through VPN, I get no internet at all on the TV)

 

Anyway, just thought I'd mention, this morning when I checked the settings for my TV, there was an update available (firmware I presume). Who knows, maybe this will fix the iPlayer issues you have, though, it could be the same firmware update you've already downloaded.

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