It’s TV but not as we know it Jim.

Chair of the Federal Communications Commission Newton Minow said:

When television is good, nothing—not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers—nothing is better,” he began. “But when television is bad,” he warned, “nothing is worse.

And boy is he right!  TV programs are always changing even season to season you can get good shows and you get bad shows gracing our TV  – nothing new here. What is new is how we are consuming  TV program. It’s changing in transformational ways. The concept of beaming TV signals to be displayed on a TV via “boxes”  is disappearing day by day. Also changing is the “conceived value” of existing traditional services. Let me explain the “conceived value” bit first because it leads on to my point of how we consume TV. @lukejr pointed out to me a couple of days ago that you can get a Combo Receiver that will receives Free HD Satellite TV & DTT and can act as single personal video recorder (pause, play, record)  for 143 euros ex-vat! I was gobsmacked at how cheap it is.  So for 143 yoyos you get the usual sat FTA and the Saorview channels.

1 RTÉ 1 46 CBS Reality 91 STREAM-5
2 RTE 2 47 CBS Reality+1 92 STREAM-6
3 TV 3 48 Zone Horror 93 T7 STRM-0
4 TG 4 49 Zone Horror+1 94 T7 STRM-1
5 RTÉ News Now 50 Film24 95 Community channel
6 BBC 1 NI 51 True Ent 96 Vintage TV
7 BBC 2 NI 52 True Movies 97 Record TV
8 BBC HD 53 True Movies 2 98 Al Jazeera Eng
9 BBC One HD 54 movies4men 99 France 24
10 UTV 55 mov4men+1 100 Russia Today
11 ITV1 HD 56 movies4men 2 101 PTV Prime
12 Channel 4 57 mov4men2 +1 102 Abu Dhabi TV
13 Channel 4 +1 58 BBC ALBA 103 PCNE Chinese
14 FIVE 59 BBC PARL’MNT 104 Create & Craft
15 E4 60 S4C 105 The Active Channel
16 E4+1 61 S4C2 106 Body in Balance
17 More4 62 Luxury Life HD HD 107 QVC
18 More4 +1 63 Fitness TV 108 Thane Direct
19 BBC Three 64 Horse & Country 109 Travel Channel
20 ITV2 65 Wedding tv 110 Travel Ch +1
21 ITV2+1 66 Propeller 111 JML Direct
22 ITV3 67 Information tv 112 JML CookShop
23 ITV3+1 68 BET 113 Ideal & More
24 ITV4 69 BET +1 114 Shop on TV
25 ITV4+1 70 Food Network 115 price-drop tv
26 Film4 71 Food Netwrk+1 116 Entrepreneur
27 Film4 +1 72 Controversial tv 117 BBC 1 London
28 BBC NEWS 73 The Vault 118 BBC 2 England
29 Sky News 74 Chart Show TV 119 BBC 1 Wales
30 CNN 75 NME TV 120 BBC 2 Wales
31 CNBC 76 Flava 121 BBC 1 Scotland
32 Bloomberg 77 Bliss 122 BBC 2 Scotland
33 Euronews 78 Scuzz 123 ITV1 London
34 CBBC Channel 79 DanceNation TV 124 STV
35 Cbeebies & BBC4 80 Lava 125 ITV1 Wales
36 CITV 81 Clubland TV
37 POP 82 oMusic TV Radio
38 Tiny Pop 83 Brit asia tv 1 RTÉ Radio 1
39 Tiny Pop +1 84 Channel AKA 2 RTÉ 2FM
40 Kix! 85 B4U Music 3 RTÉ Lyric FM
41 PopGirl 86 STREAM-0 4 RTÉ Raidió na Gae
42 PopGirl +1 87 STREAM-1
43 jazeerachildren 88 STREAM-2
44 CBS Action 89 STREAM-3
45 CBS Drama 90 STREAM-4

The site in question is and I probably will be buying one of these boxes for the folks as the analog signal will be turned off soon enough..

So that’s a lot of channels – admittedly some are absolutely crap but you get about 25 watchable channels. If we compare it to the basic Sky package @ 23 euros a month (that’s 276 euro each year) you’ll find that it match’s a lot of the Sky channels. What you don’t get on Sky is the HD channels without paying for the HD pack. (I know you can tune the FTA channels manually on Sky.. it’s just a pain to get to them via Other Channels!). Once you do the comparison you have to question the value of the basic product Sky is providing.. is it worth it when a ‘free’ version is available?

So we can conclude the cost of receiving TV is decreasing (it ain’t really free).  Another thing we always knew is  TV/Video is data hungry however data costs are falling so this problem will eventually go away.  Another fact is the rise of devices capable of receiving TV. If it’s got a screen and has a data connection then it’s feasible to think it can receive a TV feed, notice I’m using feed now instead of signal because that’s what I believe TV signals is going to transform into.

This transformation is very similar to the transformation that voice went through in the past. Once upon a time it was unthinkable to be able to be tele-communicate with someone while 37,000 feet above the ground and while traveling at 880 km/h. So why can’t we be able to watch our favourite show on our own personal TV device while crossing the Atlantic? We’re not there yet but it’s coming.

I just saw an ad for a DVD rental provider who is beginning to switch to streaming movies instead of renting DVDs  – it’s becoming evident our TV viewing behaviour is changing. We are moving away from devices that sit under and are connected to our TV and becoming accustomed to having TV on demand.  Just like the voice transformation we are moving towards a tether-less world –  a world where TV can be displayed on any device with a screen and data connection.  It’s TV but not as we know it Jim.

Companies providing TV have realised this and started showing tv programs via different feeds – laptop, PC, mobile, tablets. Apple and Google of course are in the mix and it will be really interesting what feathers get ruffled when they roll out more solutions.  We don’t need to look far to see great local Irish companies developing solutions in getting TV feeds on just about anything with a screen  – I’m looking at you @askehill and @davidconde who provide the magic behind the solution. If you haven’t checked out this free site ..what are you waiting for?

This area is a real hot topic but a lot question (not to mention technical questions)  still need to be answered like how to solve the copyright issues? What’s the story with paying ‘TV licences’ if we don’t really watch TV on traditional TV’s?  I for one would be glad to stop paying that tax!

I’ve noticed myself in the past year I watch more TV from online sources because it’s just more convenient. Will the TV be replaced by the laptop? No. Will our habits change? Yes.  What’s the next thing that’s going to happen .. I’m not sure.. but I can’t wait to find out!


Sharing my experience on startup, sport, linux, mobile phones, movies and some other random stuff.

8 thoughts on “It’s TV but not as we know it Jim.

  1. Update: – you’ll need a Digital antenna to pick up the Saorview service. So that means you’ll need an antenna and a satellite dish receive the channels listed above.

    Thanks to @nouvation for pointing out this.

  2. The EPG on that box will probably be limited to now and next or an incomplete 5 to 7 day guide.

    If I was going for FTA receiver, I would get a FreeSat box with a proper EPG for less that £60 or for HD and recording:

    Keep the DTT signal separate (like the old VHF/UHF) and get a TV with an in-built MHEG decoder or a simple box so that you get the proper RTE EPG too. Powercity already have a certified one:

    The antenna is just a bog standard UHF antenna and my old pair of ‘bunny ears’ worked straight away. See

    The EPG is the thing you’ll use every day and you’ll miss UPC/Sky if you get a bad one.

  3. Got combo box, very quick delivery.

    EPG – this box is limited on the satellite side of things, but EPG on the Saorview/DTT is perfect with 7 days.

    I was never a EPG guy, never used it with UPC or Sky (I flick a lot), and didn’t have it with my last freesat satellite box so I won’t miss what I never had. But for EPG hogs, you’ll miss it.

    I used our bog standard rabbit ear UHF indoor aerial to get Saorview channels, but need to tweak to get reception as we are in a coverage blackspot.

    160GB HDD hooked up via USB, pause, rewind all works great. Recording quality
    is excellent.

    The box is connected via HDMI, the quality is excellent and HD channels are great (BBC1 HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD).

    All the standard definition (SD) channels look way better, so they are upscaling the SD too. It looks way better then our old sat box, which was SCART connected. Colours are really bright and the image is really crisp.

    I am impressed with this box, very impressed. Our TV doesn’t have MPEG4 tuner so for us to get Saorview it was either send €90 on a Saorview only box, €400 on a new TV, or €150 on this combo box that gives us HD satellite and Saorview in one, no need for a second remote control either.

  4. Yeah, if you don’t want an EPG, this is a very good deal and all FreeSat boxes have a premium for the software. I’d recommend that people try it out to see what they are comfortable with.

  5. After a good few weeks now with the free box I have some comments.

    First up is Saorview. In Ireland, if your current analogue reception is anyway fuzzy, you won’t be able to pick up Saorview. If you use rabbit ears you won’t be able to pick up Saorview (unless you can see the mast out your window). So you will need to buy a good outdoor UHF aerial priced from €10-€50 depending on your reception area.

    Second, HD. HD is stunning, especially for sports. Watched the Masters, F1 and Football, all look stunning.

    Third, SD. This box does an excellent upscaling job on SD content, very impressive.

    Last is recording, pause, play rewind all work great. Scheduling a recording is difficult as series link doesn’t exists which is disappointing.

  6. Hi, TV Trade Dave here, found your article on saorview while having a dig around google checking out what people are saying about us and wot not. I liked the article but just wanted to correct something you stated above which is a misconception on the public’s part and that some unscrupuolous retailers are trying to take advantage of whith the launch of saorview upon us.

    1. Digital antenna. No such thing. A bog standard UHF aerial is what you need, don’t get conned into thinking you need a sopecial aerial, digital, hd, saorview etc The correct grouped contract aerial will work best followed by a wideband. In the worst case scenario, a wideband grid aerial should do the job.

    2.If the signal is fuzzy on analogue, it won’t work on saorview. Quite the opposite actually. The new digital signal is many times stronger so should work far better (obviously location dependent – saorview to cover around 97% of Ireland)

    TV Trade Dave

  7. TV Trade Dave here again. Just a wee update. Last week, a rake of frequencies changed on free to air channels. They were mostly music & kids channels but some movie channles were affected also. The likes of POP, Tiny Pop ,Tiny Pop +1 ,Kix! ,PopGirl, PopGirl +1, The Vault, Chart Show TV, NME TV, Flava, Bliss, Scuzz, DanceNation TV, Lava, True Ent, True Movies, True Movies 2 suddenly appeared blank and we got a load of calls and emails saying that their box was broke. It was just a matter of rescanning the new TP for the missing channels. We have a blog entry on it…

    that contains the possible settings to use and also a link to a page that shows you how to do it in video format. The video is for the edision argus combo but the procedure is very similar for all boxes. In fact if you have one of the boxes that are on the site (excluding the argus), we you can download updated channel list software and load these pre-programmed lists directly on to your box using a USB memory stick, without having to got through the rescanning process. A good few people seem to read Ronan’s blog so just to get the info out there a bit more about the freq changes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *