TV via the Internet as an alternative to satellite

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It is not as straightforward as a Sky+ box, but using ovbg's Overplay SmartDNS services, an old desktop pressed back into service and my 50mbs T-Home internet connection, we've been watching the Rugby and Olympics. No buffering problems either.

 

The only issue is that you have to reset the SmartDNS now and then. Could set up a fixed IP using a custom domain, but that's more complex than the problem.

 

Thanks for all the tips.

 

RT

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so, if I get an apple iPad, i'm able to install overplay smartDNS on it and then download the Zattoo app to watch the main English channels through my wireless WiFi?

 

also, would i then be able to beam the channels from the iPad to one of the new samsung smart TVs, and the picture quality would be near HD on the tv? or would i just connect the tv directly to zattoo for the same picture quality?

 

what if i take the iPad abroad; would i then need to reset the smartDNS for whatever wifi service i was using abroad, and then back again for my local service in germany?

 

thanks for any help!

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Pretty much yes to all the above. If you set up the DNS servers for SmartDNS on your IPad it'll work anywhere in the world, so long as the internet you are connected to is fast enough

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Just out of interest, for those who have switched to TV via the Internet, do you prefer to still find live sources for normal TV programmes, or the catch-up and on-demand route?

 

I sort of thought that I would always prefer live TV streams, but once I got used to catch-up and on-demand, I tend to stick almost exclusively to those methods - at least for actual TV programmes.

 

I still watch live TV for news and sports (and the odd bit of browsing if I have 10minutes to kill), but if it is a specific TV show, I either watch them off a catch-up service like BBC's iPlayer, 4od of Hulu Plus, or an on-demand service for box-sets like Netflix or Lovefilm UK.

 

It wasn't as hard a changeover as I expected since the last few years that I was watching via Sat, I just recorded everything anyway, as the concept of sitting down exactly at a specific time to watch a certain episode of something became far to difficult.

 

I´m using SmartDNS with BBC iPlayer on the PS3 (Excellent picture on this btw!), Netflix US (via apple tv) & Sky Snap (ipad + appletv). I also have a German Sky subscription which is gathering dust tbh. We much prefer the ability to watch on demand TV. Admittedly sometimes it has hiccups, but we can live with the frequency of outages.

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so, if I get an apple iPad, i'm able to install overplay smartDNS on it and then download the Zattoo app to watch the main English channels through my wireless WiFi?

 

Just to add to it, yes and you can add many other excellent streaming services for UK Television to your iPad. The Zattoo app is from the German iTunes store, but you can also add the BBC iPlayer app from the UK iTunes store, 4oD for channel 4, ITV Player and Demand 5, all of which works under OverPlay's Smart DNS. There is a long list of apps from other countries that can also be added which work through the Smart DNS service.

 

 

 

 

also, would i then be able to beam the channels from the iPad to one of the new samsung smart TVs, and the picture quality would be near HD on the tv? or would i just connect the tv directly to zattoo for the same picture quality?

 

Yes, but you will need to buy an Apple TV for wireless access, or an HDMI adapter for cabled. The wireless method is a LOT more elegant and easy to use than the wired, and is also better value. Sure, the Apple TV costs an extra €110, but Apple charge quite a bit for their HDMI cable making it less attractive. For the near HD streams, you will also need a subscription to Zattoo, their free service is much lower quality. The sub offers BBC One, Two, Three and Four as well as ITV 1 in near HD, with the others around SD quality.

 

 

what if i take the iPad abroad; would i then need to reset the smartDNS for whatever wifi service i was using abroad, and then back again for my local service in germany?

 

Yes, but keep in mind that when you set OverPlay to your new IP address, people who may stay at home will loose access to it. Unless they reassign OverPlay to the home address, then you will loose access when abroad - essentially, only one IP address at a time. There are two catches:

1) Most Hotels don't offer the best bandwidth for video streaming, but I have been successful at times. In fact, I usually take an HDMI cable along with my laptop or cable adapter for my iPhone and I can watch the streams on some Hotel televisions. Can be cool to watch Netflix films on a Hotel TV when abroad.

2) I have experienced the odd Hotel that blocks Smart DNS. They don't do it to block Smart DNS itself, more for other security reasons to keep neighbours getting free WiFi, but whatever they are doing, Smart DNS doesn't work through their system. There are not a lot that does this, but they can be found.

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The only issue is that you have to reset the SmartDNS now and then. Could set up a fixed IP using a custom domain, but that's more complex than the problem.

 

Thanks for all the tips.

 

RT

 

This is a common irritation with Smart DNS, but there are ways to fully automate this, besides paying the ISP for a fixed IP address. My service is fully automated, so I never have to visit the OverPlay page each day.

 

1) If you have a NAS box that is on 24/7 and it is linux/unix based, you can quite easily set up a crontab job to automatically reset this every 15minutes or so, and have your IP address change at daft o'clock (you do this last part by rebooting your router at 3am one morning when going to the loo or coming back from the pub, this way your IP address changes every 24 hours at 3am).

Working with crontabs is a little complicated though for the non-techie, so this maybe one to get some help from computer-savvy friends. It works fantastic though, and really easy to switch off when you go on holiday (just shut down your NAS).

 

I have the crontab code if anyone needs it, just PM me.

 

I'm considering testing this out on a Raspberry Pi, and if it works, making some units complete with an enclosure and ready-to-go for sale.

 

2) An easier way is to use a Dynamic DNS. This doesn't require any code, but it can still be a bit finicky to set up, and you need a router that allows Dynamic DNS (or DDNS). OverPlay support this on their website. I am currently using this, and except for the odd hiccup that happened last week, it works great. Same tip though, reset your router at daft o'clock.

 

It is not easy to find a free Dynamic DNS service though, but there is one if you own a D-link router (<<cough>>). Instructions are here:

 

I have to have a word with the folk at OverPlay again though, as they were considering the development of an iPhone or Android app which would automate this, since those devices are on 24/7.

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And not forgetting that many Fritzbox and presumably other routers can also update a dynamic DNS service like no-ip, which is free and the router will also be on 24/7.

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^^ That's a great point. Actually, an alternative could also be the NAS built in to the fritzbox routers. I haven't checked this myself, but I was wondering if they support crontab jobs.

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And not forgetting that many Fritzbox and presumably other routers can also update a dynamic DNS service like no-ip, which is free and the router will also be on 24/7.

 

Where would that option be on the UI of a Fritzbox? A URL for that service would be nice as well :)

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There are several options to automate…

 

1.) using the integrated MyFritz-service which is included in the latest models of the Fritz-boxes

 

2.) If you router is not a fritz-box or an older fritz: Set up an account with a Dyn-DNS-Provider and…

 

2a.) fiddle with your router that it activates the Dyn-DNS whenever the router gets a new IP

 

or

 

2b.) Set up some other device in your house to regularly update the Dyn-DNS.

 

or

 

2c.) Have a link on the desktop of your computer that you just click once a day

 

Stay tuned, howtos are coming…

 

Cheers

Franklan

 

(BTW: This is a good explanation of SMARTDNS and DYNDNS:

http://www.eyeondemand.com/2013/04/05/how-to-automating-authorization-for-overplays-smart-dns/

)

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Chocky, do you ever do anything empirically?

 

click on "Internet" - "Freigaben" then the "DynamicDNS" tab

 

Most of the free Dynamic DNS services (such as no-ip) need refeshing every 30 days or so to stay alive. Some hosting providers such as strato offer a dynamic DNS service in their hosting package. If I remember correctly, if you use the "Free" Myfritz service from AVM they also allocate you with a name and keep it up to date, so you would not need to set this up in the box ("Internet" - "Freigaben" - "FRITZ!Box Dienst")

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I'm going to have to seriously look at that MyFritz service more. I have this powerhouse of a router, but never enough time to find out all the amazing things it can do.

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... Most of the free Dynamic DNS services (such as no-ip) need refeshing every 30 days or so to stay alive ...

 

I use no-ip but, although they periodically invite me to switch to one of their chargeable services to avoid this need to refresh every 30 days, I'm able to ignore them as can anybody whose router has to refresh no-ip every 24 hours in any case thanks to the Telekom habit of changing their IP address.

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OK, Step 1.) : Using MyFritz as DYNDNS

 

Setting up MyFritz is described here: http://service.avm.de/support/de/SKB/FRITZ-Box-7390/966:MyFRITZ-Konto-registrieren-und-in-FRITZ-Box-einrichten

 

Translation:

 

1.Within the userface of your FRITZ!Box, click on "Internet".

2.There, click on "MyFRITZ!".

3.Aktivate the option "Neues MyFRITZ!-Konto erstellen" (create new MyFritz account).

4.Enter your email address into the field "E-Mail-Adresse".

5.Enter a password to be used into the field "MyFRITZ!-Kennwort" and click on "weiter".

6. Confirm the notification "Internetzugriff auf die FRITZ!Box einrichten" with "Weiter",

or

6a. Create a Fritz!Box user by entering a username and a password and click on continue

 

7.Click on "Beenden".

 

You should now get an email with a link to activate the MyFritz-Service. After you've clicked on that link you should get another email confirming that MyFritz is activated.

 

8. Checking if MyFritz is working: Within the Fritz-Box setup, go to "Internet > MyFRITZ! > MyFRITZ!-Konto". It should say "Ihre FRITZ!Box ist bei MyFRITZ! angemeldet". Yeah!

 

Here is a picture:

 

myfritz_angemeldet.png

 

9. Deactivate access to your router:

 

On that page there is an option "Internetzugriff auf die FRITZ!Box über https aktiviert", deactivate that, unless you know what you're doing. Click on "Übernehmen".

 

Now, we'll need to find out what DynDNS-Address we have...

 

10. Select "Internet/Freigaben/FRITZ!Box Dienste". Activate the option "Internetzugriff auf die FRITZ!Box über HTTPS aktiviert" temporarily. You will now see the DYNDNS address of your router, something like "https://l5ffrtzpbb5gfgtgaz.myfritz.net"

Write down that address, or copy it to a document, but without the leading "https://".

Deactivate the option "Internetzugriff auf die FRITZ!Box über HTTPS aktiviert" again and you're ready.

 

Now let's check if everything works:

 

11.) Open this: http://www.overplay.net/vpn/ip-address/what-is-my-ip-address.php

 

You'll see something like "You are visiting from aa.bb.cc.dd". Write down that number

 

12.) Open this: http://www.kloth.net/services/nslookup.php

 

Enter the address you've written down in 10. into the field "Domain:" (without the "https://" !!!), click on "Look it up".

 

You'll get an answer like

 

"here is the nslookup result for grutzelfrutzel.myfritz.net from server localhost, querytype=A :

 

[bla bla bla]

 

Address: some IP address

"

 

If some IP address is the same number as written down in step 11.), you have successfully set up Dynamic DNS with MyFritz!

 

Finally: Setting up Overplay to use that address:

 

13.) Open www.overplay.net, click on "My Account" and log in.

 

Click on "My Account / Profile". Enter the address as written down in step 10 into the field "DynDNS Hostname" and click on "Save changes".

 

Cheers

Franklan

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Thanks for those instructions, Franklan. They'll definitely come in useful should no-ip ever cease to offer their free service.

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Great instructions franklan, thanks for posting! One great tip to add: Reboot your router once at an early hour in the morning after the Dynamic DNS is all set up. I know I keep repeating this, but it really makes a lot of difference. When your IP address changes, there can still be a delay between your new IP address being automatically registered with OverPlay. This small delay is no issue at 3am or whatever in the morning, but if you are watching a live stream during the day, it could suddenly stop in mid-action.

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I'm not convinced that MyFritz Dynamic DNS addresses are persistent. I manage 5 different Fritzboxes, and generally go straight to the box using the allocated URL rather than via the MyFritz UI. On at least one occasion this hasn't worked and I had to log into MyFritz to find out what the new URL was. In general they seem fine, but I'm concerned they may get changed now and then - I don't know why. Of course, if there is an infrequent change (say every 3 months or so), then this is no big deal. From the 5 boxes I manage I've seen one change in 6 months - even less of a big deal.

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Hi ovpg,

 

 

Reboot your router once at an early hour in the morning

you can automate that in the fritzbox, too (and 99% of all routers sold in D have an option like that).

 

To set up your Fritz to restart the connection in the middle of the night, do this:

 

In The fritzbox setup,

 

go to "Internet / Zugangsdaten".

 

There click on "Verbindungseinstellungen ändern"

 

Activate the option "Zwangstrennung durch den Anbieter verschieben in die Zeit zwischen "

and select a time that fits your needs

 

Screenshot is here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/01wxutznff6wgwm/267990182-fritz.jpg

 

Cheers

Franklan

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Chocky, do you ever do anything empirically?

 

Yes, I do, but not often wrt to techie stuff, because, as you will probably understand, what would be the point in spending hours clicking aimlessly on settings panels trying to get something working, when you can just ask someone who's already found the solution? I don't have the time or the inclination to do that.

Besides, it's not like you're obliged to respond to my queries.

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