ovbg

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Posts posted by ovbg


  1.  

    Hi ovbg,

     

    Looks like you recovered from that poor health situation you wrote about lately. Good to hear from you again.

    Would you mind commenting that post?

     

    Cheers

    Franklan

     

    Thanks Franklin. As a freelance writer and photographer, my scribbles and pictures are used by countless publications and organizations around the world. I don't work for OverPlay (although they are major advertisers on my website), just as I don't work for the French Tourist board, but both have used my work (and will hopefully continue) in their publications at various times. So have more newspapers & magazines than I care to count (especially on the photography front), and organizations that range from insurance companies to drug companies, sporting goods to museum promotions.

     

    I've been on Toytown since 2009, and only started my own website last year in 2013, so I didn't come here to tout Smart DNS. However, helping expats watch TV from back home has become somewhat of a passion of mine, that I started Eye on-Demand last February. Yes, the site contains advertising and sponsorship from various companies, plus various affiliate links - but then so does most web-magazines these days, from major newspapers and sites like Gizmodo, to small publications like mine. However, I don't sell any products or services myself, I retain 100% editorial control and don't charge anyone money. Everyone is free to read my magazine for the latest news in IPTV, how-to guides that explain how to set up equipment to watch global TV, and reviews on the various global services (which is surprising me to be a big hit with the networks themselves - even when they get poor ratings).

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  2. I thought I'd just add something here to fuel things a bit ;)

     

    FilmOn has just added Chromecast support for mobile Android devices, at least this is what I'm hearing at Eye on-Demand. Getting loads of mails about it, but, not having an Android device (yet) I can't test it for myself.

     

    Apparently requires the latest FilmOn app from Google Play, so it may be worth a try. No idea if it works for all the UK channels, and if it needs any Smart DNS or VPN in Germany (typically FilmOn allow European-wide access to their UK channels though). So, I'd suggest this for someone who already owns Android + Chromecast to test this out, and if it works, Chromecast is only €35 one-off payment for the hardware. (see review here)

     

    FilmOn video quality is nothing to write home about, so nowhere near the quality of Zattoo's HiQ service under a sub, and their paid version only has slightly higher video quality over the free version (currently testing for an updated review).

     

    But there you go... this could be a good, cheap, free way to watch live UK television easily on your main TV if you own an Android smart phone or tablet. It won't be great video quality, but it will get you the Antique Home Road Show or whatever it's called...

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  3. Hi Red, you have a number of choices, and I'll run by a few.

     

    1: Apple TV. If you buy this, you can buy it locally, so it doesn't need to be a US bought model specifically. You then switch the country to the US (very easy) and you will see the US apps, which include (but not limited to), Netflix, Hulu Plus, History, PBS, A&E and Lifetime. Netflix and Hulu require separate subscriptions. There is no US Amazon Prime on the Apple TV, and the selection of apps is quite limited. On the other hand, if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, you can airplay content wirelessly to your main TV via the ATV which is great. A review can be found here.

     

    2: Samsung Blu-Ray Player: F-6500 model or higher: This can also be bought locally, and should be able to be (relatively) easily switched to the US hub by using this method. I say relatively easily, as some people find this a bit finiky to change, as the button presses must be precise and fast to get to the hidden menu, but once done, it works a treat. I have an F-series TV which works the same way, and that has Netflix, Hulu + Amazon Prime, although it lacks some of the other apps the ATV has. The F-6500 model should cost about €10 more than an Apple TV.

     

    3: Xbox One or PlayStation 4: These are rather expensive, but if you are after a new gaming console as well, they both will do the job. Both have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, but not a lot more yet, although more is on the way. Local models can be bought, but you will need to add foreign accounts to grab hold of US apps for the PS4 (Xbox One also needs a yearly subscription). Review for the Xbox and media services can be found here, and here for PS4. The earlier models can also work and are cheaper, but I have no idea how well their apps work.

     

    4: Chromecast: This is possibly the cheapest way to do it right now. You will need the €35 dongle, plus the ability to both put your smart DNS into your home router, and most likely goof around Google's DNS servers within the router. Not all routers can do this, but many can. Explanations and a review can be found here.

     

    5: Finally, I also recommend a Roku box, especially their flagship model, the Roku 3. This must be bought from the US and shipped over, and requires a specific method to get it to work via Smart DNS that must be followed precisely - if not, US apps will not appear. Once done, it works a treat, and you will find the widest range of US apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more, including USTVNow for live US television (requires a sub) that offers CBS, NBC, ABC etc. The catch here is that again, you need to put your smart DNS details into your router. Full details, including setup can be found here.

     

    My personal favourite is the Roku 3 for US content. It just works really well, but the negative side is that you will need to get it shipped over, and if you are not very comfortable around tech, it can be a little scary setting it up - not that it is hard, but the instructions must be performed exactly and in the correct order (so read the instructions carefully, including any tips others have provided in the comments).

     

    For local, the Apple TV is great value if you also have an Apple handheld device. AirPlay is magnificent.

     

    Chromecast is the cheapest solution, but it has a few flaws mostly because it is so new.

     

    Finally, you will need a Smart DNS service that is compatible with all the services you want, and on the platforms above. Devices 1, 2 and 3 above can have the DNS servers installed directly on them, but 4 and 5 require this on the router.

     

    Hope all this helps

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  4.  

    Sorry to hear that, mate. Get well soon! (By the way, you can't say "crook" and have "Nationality: Unspecified" in your Profile!)

     

    Right now, everything's OK, but the trouble started a few days before I posted. Just as Franklan said, I felt it wasn't worthwhile opening a support ticket with OverPlay. Based on past experiences they'd've had me trying this and trying that whereas all the time it was something at their end that has now been resolved.

    The last time you, Murphaph and I discussed this, you were going to raise the issue priority with real people at OverPlay: any news?

     

    I'm willing to bet that in a week, or two or three when we've all settled down it'll happen again and we'll be caught out just as we switch on to watch some time-critical transmission like, say, the start of the F1 race on that particular Sunday ...

     

    Thanks, year, I see what you mean. Crook (in Australian/New Zealand) lingo means ill.

     

    I got a few more eyebrows raised they other day when I mentioned I was "buggered", which in New Zealand English has no connection to the British meaning and simply states that I was really tired and exhausted. So year, I'm still crook and buggered, but at least I'm back up and moving again.

     

    I did raise it, and they had it fixed at around the same time. Was some sort of server issues (from memory), and I can imagine the annoyance of this happening again. I will say that it is important to raise the issue with their support team, even if it means going through the usual level one tedium. After-all, they will never know there is a problem until someone tells them, and the more that tells them, the quicker they will realize this issue is not at the user end.

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  5.  

    I've been let down constantly by OverPlay over the past few days too. Now thinking about switching to VyprVPN... unless ovbg can save us all by using his clout with OverPlay

     

    Hmmm, I've been rather ill the last few days (and still crook to be honest), so, I've been away from all of this. Never noticed anything wrong with my automated IP setup as I switched back to the NAS version after writing the review. Are you still having this problem?

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  6. Hi all,

     

    I'll be in Berlin not too long from now for a few days, and wondering what sort of opportunities there would be for good value, but good quality eats. I'm not interested in Imbisses, but more basic, casual restaurants I can dine without reservations.

     

    For breakfast, I'm looking for an area in the Wilmersdorf neighbourhood, as well as leaning towards Kurfürstendamm area which is not too far away. Just a cafe will do, could be a buffet, or could just make some really nice breakfasts from quality ingredients, and a decent, strong flavoured coffee.

     

    Dinner, well, anywhere in the same area, or central Berlin, but I am looking for casual. Maybe a gourmet burger place (real, fresh burgers and fresh chips/fries - not frozen stuff) or same for a good currywurst, so no crappy imbiss where everything just comes out of a frozen bg.

     

    Any suggestions? The Frankfurt forum here has a really good thread on gourmet burger restaurants, so if there is a similar one for Berlin that I missed, point me towards that.

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  7. Just a point worth mentioning eileenro, FilmOn via a web browser is much lower in quality to some other platforms such as mobile or as discussed, the Roku box. Seriously lower quality.

     

    No idea why.

     

    But, perhaps because you have an Android laptop (??) FilmOn may allow the FilmOn app to install instead of the browser, and the video quality may then be better (??)

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  8. There is no law against watching FilmOn's live streams within Germany. You are not filesharing which is illegal.

     

    In fact, FilmOn do not even block the UK channels within the EU, which complies with local laws. As soon as they are told to stop streaming in certain locations, they stop immediately (especially noticed in the US right now where they are trying to stream some US channels. They do so legally in the states where they have been given approval, but don't in states where they are not allowed... same thing in Europe)

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  9. Actually, there is a reason the EPG at least via browser on Zattoo retains the old order. Zattoo license this from a third party, and that company stipulates the order it must remain in.

     

    I believe Zattoo wanted to change this, but haven't been able to, which was why I was confused, yet pleased to see the UK channels at the top via the iPad's EPG. Until recently, I had to scroll all the way down to the UK listings, but now they automatically are at the top.

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  10.  

    Yes, about zattoo. All are about the free services. I haven't felt the urge to go for the pay services yet as I don't really watch live TV. I'm mostly playing back recordings (and in FilmOn's case, playing back downloaded recordings (higher quality)).

     

    I threw together a spreadsheet of the strange lack of features available on the web but not in the apps. It's kind of amazing that both don't offer a proper orderable favourites list that can be applied to the list of channels and TV guide and across all platforms.

     

    post-8795-13987705578682.jpg

     

    Cool table :)

     

    Gosh, I had to look around for a non-sub account I have with Zattoo and test things things.

     

    Ok, Zattoo has favourites via the web or iOS (I don't know anything about Android apps yet).

     

    Via web, look at the channel list right at the very left of the screen, and when it is at the very top of the list (so you are looking at the Swiss and German channels). You should see a tab called Favourites (or Lieblingssender), and slightly to the right of this are two small buttons. The first looks a bit like a pen in a box. Click that and you see stars appear beside each channel. Highlight a star and it becomes a favourite which will reside at the very top of the channel list.

     

    With iOS, swipe the channel to the left or right, can't remember which way, but one will also highlight stars. Select your favourites by highlighting a star. These will also go to the top of the channel list.

     

    Now, iOS does something else under a sub, but I can't figure out why. It has all the English channels for me at the very top of the EPG. This is different to my list of favourites, and I have no idea why after the latest app update, the English channels are at the top. Don't get me wrong, I love this feature, but I have no idea how it got there. I tried changing the whole iPad back to German, but they remained. Maybe it is because I have my Zattoo account set to English.

     

    Also from memory, the favourites was sort of orderable by the order you chose them. Or at least they used to be. So, I generally selected BBC One first, despite being below ITV and it came as first on the favourites list.

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  11.  

    It's unusual to limit it to certain hardware in this case because FilmOn is officially available here via their site and via computer/phone/tablet. It's not like installing it on a Roku would give us more channels that we'd normally be able to receive. I'm keen to see it on Roku simply because of the Roku remote being the best remote control ever (less is more).

     

    Has anyone figured out any of the following?

     

    How can you limit FilmOn channels grid to favourites only on Android like you can on the website?

    How can you get a full FilmOn TV guide (grid) on Android like you can on the website?

    How can you add favourite channels on Zattoo? I don't think it's possible.

    Can you download your recorded shows from Zattoo? I don't think it's possible.

     

    It is odd, but hopefully we'll find out soon.

     

    Is the last two questions actually about Zattoo, or about how to do those things Zattoo can do?

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  12. Hmmm, I think you are right. I am seeing reports of other people with the UK Roku box not able to install the channel. It looks like FilmOn have limited this only to US hardware, which is a real pity.

     

    If so, I don't think there is any way around this, VPN or Smart DNS included.

     

    In any case, I have a contact in FilmOn, so I'll see if this was deliberate, or if they have plans to expand to UK boxes. And if there is anyway to sideload this onto a Now TV box... ;)

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  13.  

    Has anyone managed to install the FilmOn app on their Roku box? I get the message it's not available in my region. I don't think that's a Germany thing though, or something overplay could fix for us because most of us want Roku to think we're in the UK, and I suspect that the UK is also not a valid region for the app. I think it's probably US only, but that's just what I'm thinking. Anyone know any more about it? I'd love to be told I'm talking crap

     

    Which code did you use Derek? Have you tried WM6BC?

     

    This worked on my US Roku 3, and although the UI needs a bit of work (the channel logos are especially "blurry"), the video quality during playback is the best I have seen with FilmOn, and this is without logging into my current FilmOn subscription.

     

    It's also pretty fast in changing channels, which I always like.

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  14. Hi Carmelb, I know what you mean by certain things, especially when you are living in such a small town.

     

    Re: food, coffee is certainly understood. German's like their flavours, well, mild to put politely, and coffee here tastes almost exclusively of milk. One of the first things I enjoy when traveling away from Germany is the stronger coffee, and you don't have to go far for that. Still, in Frankfurt at least, they are starting to add an extra shot of espresso when I ask and not charge me for a whole double coffee which helps.

     

    Pies are easy in Frankfurt as the British shop here stocks some amazing ones from a small company in the UK (Kent Pies), hand-made and as delicious as any I have tried in NZ or Oz. They use shortcrust pastry rather than flaky, but to be honest, that is so much better in my opinion. Still, you can get flaky pastry pies from other UK companies, and some other stores ship them over.

     

    BBQ's as mentioned by Kiwistylz, are really popular here, and the sausages are excellent. You can always impress your German friends by BBQing some things up NZ style. Sometimes a good mix of both work really well.

     

    Do you like walking? There are probably loads of hiking guides for your area, which could be fun to do on the weekends. Perhaps, you could also travel a bit on the weekends or even during the week. If you get homesick for English, just pop to the UK for a few days. The language and culture will make you feel at home immediately, and if you book in advance, you can get really good flights and deals. Also, since you work freelance, you maybe able to work while traveling as well ;)

     

    Don't forget, you can still watch TVNZ on-Demand to catch up what your friends and family are watching from NZ. Needs a few tricks, but they are explained here: It is amazing how just a bit of local TV from where we come from can help with homesickness.

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  15.  

    The Chromecast works pretty well, although controlling it from iOS devices is still a bit clunky

     

    This is the big problem. If you switch off your phone/tablet or use it for something else, it can be slow and confusing to get back to not only the app, but the exact spot where the playback controls are to pause, FFW or REW.

     

    I wish the Chromecast app itself had a virtual remote. That would make it so much easier.

     

    Could be better on Android (since Google make Chromecast) if they have a lock-screen set of controls. Don't know if they do, so that would be interesting.

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  16. @Derek, Thanks for the info. I'll have to check out CTV a bit, just to see what it's like. Though, I'm actually more interested to find out about Canadian shows. As for why FilmOn haven't been stopped by the US networks from putting on CTV, probably because that is Canadian. American networks don't really have any say outside their country. Actually, FilmOn still stream the major US channels in some American regions, but it is all hinging on a current court case with Aereo if that can continue or expand.

     

    @Krieg, this is not new. Hulu have done this a few time in the past. Every now and again they shake things up to make sure they comply with their license agreements to only stream in the US. This shakeup shows that they comply with the contract they have signed, then in the past they let it go for another six months months or a year and do this again.

     

    It is likely to be the same again this time. Most of the DNS and VPN services have Hulu back up again, although I believe some are still having issues with Hulu on the Apple TV (no idea why), and a few people have had trouble with the free web version - though most seem to be able to get through to that.

     

    Hulu isn't alone here. This happens every now and again with many other broadcasters. On one had they enjoy the additional customers and viewing figures an international audience generates, and especially in pay-wall services, those extra customers generate income for them and right down the daisychain to the grip and sound editors who made the content in the first place, so few are really bothered. But a license agreement is a license agreement, so they will have to show every now and again that they take that seriously... then get back to business.

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  17. Interesting about Hulu.

     

    I pay for Hulu through US iTunes gift vouchers. They can be bought online, and work a treat - granted, there is an additional fee for the privilege of doing this, but it is not too high that I worry... After all, I am trying to do something that is out of the ordinary.

     

    But it (so far) works for me.

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  18. Thanks for the tip Derek.

     

    I had noticed CTV there before, but being rather ignorant about Canada, I wasn't sure if that was a live stream of the "real" CTV, or a curated version like FilmOn's stream of Australia's ABC.

     

    In fact, not knowing anywhere near enough about Canadian TV, I have no idea where CTV is placed in the FTA order. I naturally assumed that CBC would be the big one, maybe a bit like the BBC, but is CBC more like PBS in the US, quite a way behind the commercial networks?

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  19. From my understanding, the only platform OverPlay haven't yet got up for Hulu is the Apple TV. Works on all others I have (at least for the moment). Just tested via a browser (cleared cache and all to make sure) and it is working for me there too...

     

    The free Hulu is good, but as you say, it only works via a browser and in SD. The paid version is much better.

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  20. You may want to give a few more details as to why renting from US iTunes doesn't work any more for you. Are you having problems paying with a German credit card? Have you tried topping it up with US gift vouchers (can be bought online)?

     

    I haven't heard of any recent problems there.

     

    Watchever is quite good. Not a massive range of titles, and not as good as Netflix, especially when via a DNS service, but it does have the advantage of offline access.

     

    If you have a recent smart TV or blu-ray player, it may already have a Watchever app. The Apple TV also has one, and is great for AirPlay, but I would wait there as a new model may be launched soon.

     

    Chromecast is really cheap, €35 and will also do the job when combined with your iPad.

     

    But, I still prefer Netflix. A combined Netflix account + Smart DNS service will be very similar in price to Watchever, and you get so much more. You also get access to loads of other American content including the free version of Hulu which has many of the latest American episodes of TV shows.

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  21.  

    Thanks. We generally just turn this kind of thing into a shopping trip. We did all the touristy crap in 2003, though. The wife really wants to hit Camden Market, but other than that, we'll probably just walk around and see where we land.

     

    Camden markets is really interesting, as are the streets surrounding it. Expect to be the odd one out in this neighbourhood, especially if you don't sport an extensive range of body piercing. But that is the fun bit about Camden Town.

     

    You could just get the train straight there... or, you could try walking the Regents Canal. There is a great walk from Little Venice that follows the canal the whole way so no need of a map (check the streetview path here) If walking that distance is too far, you can get a boat for the whole journey. On the other side of Little Venice is a boat ramp.

     

    London's canals are often little known to tourists, but they can be really interesting. Following the tow path (where horses used to pull the barges), you can pass everything from luxury villas to decayed Victorian industry, through tunnels under London's streets and past parks.

     

    If you want a good mall to browse through on a rainy day, head to Westfield's Shepherds Bush. Loads of different public transport options to get there, and year, just a mall, but if it is raining it is a nice one.

     

    The myriad of streets around Covent Garden has loads of small boutiques and some real shopping gems. The area around Seven Dials is especially interesting. Look carefully though, as there are many hidden courtyards behind buildings that are full of shops but can be missed: http://www.singaporeaninlondon.com/2012/06/7-things-to-do-in-seven-dials-covent.html

     

    Borough Market is incredible for food and is a place not so well known by tourists. It's a beautiful old Victorian market on the south side of the river and well worth a visit. It is partially open every day, but only Wednesday through to Saturday is it fully open: http://boroughmarket.org.uk/

     

    You're gonna have a great time there.

     

    Cool tip. When your legs become to sore to walk, just hop on the top deck of a doubledecker bus. Take the long route back to where you are staying even if you have to change buses a few times. The view from the top is amazing, and you will see so much more of the real London than from the tube. London has one of the biggest bus networks in the world, so navigating can be complex, but once you figure out how the stops work, which has a local guide of destinations connected to a map with stop letters, it is real easy.

     

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