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From Your Tech Ally

BBC iPlayer to close loophole 1st September 2016

From 1st September, all users of the BBC’s iPlayer will be forced to hold a valid TV Licence before catch-up and live tv can be viewed, following a change in the law. The new rules apply to all devices used to access iPlayer, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, TV streaming devices and games consoles, as well as through third-party services such as Sky, Virgin or BT.

The group most affected will be students away from home, who typically view the BBC on a laptop or tablet. Up to now, the law allowed free viewing of catch-up content, with a licence only being required for live TV. The change was set in motion by the former Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, who lost his job in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
Services from Sky, ITV, Channel Four, My5 and Netflix will be unaffected.

There has been a BBC ID login box for some months at the top of the iPlayer window. Login will become compulsory from 1 September. The BBC iPlayer will cross-reference the UK’s national TV licence database. It’s unknown how many devices will be allowed to use a single TV licence. There is almost certainly likely to be a restriction, to prevent abuse. In the past, multiple registrations in the hundreds at the same address were used by mainland Europe resellers of Sky subscriptions, which were “overlooked” by Sky Security. It remains to be seen how vigorously the new BBC restrictions will be enforced.

The hugely-popular BBC iPlayer is widely accessed around the world through the use of VPN and proxy services, which defeat the current geographical restrictions. Non-UK VPN users will have no British address or TV licence. The £145 annual licence cannot be purchased outside the country.
Many VPN and proxy services are likely to close.

Pirate streaming services in mainland Europe may be affected, particularly those which re-broadcast streamed BBC iPlayer services. Pirates who illegally take a feed fromINTELSAT 907 27.5W will be able to continue until action is taken to secure the satellite. BISS keys which were being changed regularly are no longer being updated, which may signify an imminent change in encryption method, or closure.
Pirates with head-end feeds inside the UK or near continent, such as FilmOn, will be outside the scope of these changes.

BBC radio streaming changes break various internet radios

As I guessed two weeks ago 🙂
Here is the proof that the BBC have broken the radios. Still waiting for them to stop changing things so I can sort out what new links to put back into the radios to make them work.

BBC Radio

Listeners have expressed anger about the BBC’s radio streaming service as the broadcaster continues to change its audio streaming formats.

It has left some internet radio devices, including some models aimed at blind and partially sighted listeners, unable to receive BBC radio at all.

Others have complained that BBC Radio Sport audio coverage has disappeared.

The broadcaster said it was streamlining its digital radio service as part of its Audio Factory project.

The problem is that there are many different formats, known as standards, used for streaming radio and not all devices can receive them all.


The BBC said it will continue to work with the manufacturers of those currently affected by the changes to minimise disruption.

The BBC Radio is also working with the radio industry and manufacturers towards using just one standard, known as Mpeg Dash, which will be industry-wide and open source, said Andrew Scott, the BBC’s head of radio music product.

“The goal we are working to is to have it ready this calendar year but there is some risk in that,” he said.

Currently the Windows Media Audio format is estimated to be used by devices belonging to up to 5% of the BBC’s internet radio listeners – but it has now been switched off because it was becoming too expensive to operate, Mr Scott said.

“The challenge we face is the equipment we are having to decommission is actually something that we have contractual obligations which require us to stop using it or renew it for a long period of time – and the renewal would be prohibitively expensive,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Feedback programme.

“We are dealing with a relatively small number of people (affected by the changes) but for them it is the only way they can access a high quality stream at home,” said Roux Joubert, general manager of platforms in the BBC’s Future Media division.

“The overall success of rolling out Audio Factory is huge – the vast majority of people consuming new radio feeds are very happy with it.”

Changes to the Shoutcast stream have left the owners of devices receiving it unable to hear BBC Sport content, wrote Henry Webster, the BBC’s head of media services, on the BBC Internet Blog.

This is because the new stream is available globally and the BBC RADIO does not have international rights for certain sporting events.

The change also means that BBC Radio 3 HD is no longer available to those listeners.

Logitech Squeezebox owners should soon be able to access these services fully again, added Mr Webster.

“Most manufacturers are in the process of adopting the new format,” said Mr Joubert.

“I think in the majority of cases [listeners] won’t need to buy new devices.

“If the devices are very old they may have to be replaced but that is the natural order of the internet world.”

Old tech

The blog has attracted more than 100 comments from disgruntled listeners.

“This experience has killed off internet radio for me,” wrote a poster called Nothung.

“At the age of 70 I wouldn’t be investing in any new equipment to have it made obsolete overnight.

“I dragged my old FM tuner out to the loft and it works well and there is no sign of rust.”




Reports have been arriving of significant problems with internet speeds following Telfónica’s relaunch of its Movistar Fusión product on 6th. March. Fusión packages include mobile, fixed line rental, ADSL or fibre internet and television services over the internet, including Canal+ channels.
Telefónica was reported as being close to acquiring a controlling stake in loss-making Canal+, but decided to remain a minority shareholder. There had been calls for the purchase to be investigated by the European Commission.
Canal+ losses have increased in the past year to EUR 648.7 million.
In the cities, Movistar has a fast fibre optic network, but in other areas relies on regular copper wires. Increased demand for internet TV following the BBC switch, combined with extra numbers of Fusión subscribers has led to near-collapse of internet speeds in large urbanisations and rural populations, which rely on ageing copper ADSL infrastructure.
It’s not just Telefónica’s subscribers who have been suffering slower internet, companies which share the same trunk cables and cabinets, such as Orange, Telitec aand Jazztel have also been affected.

Can I re-align my satellite dish to pick up UK channels?

In a word, ‘NO’. The only satellite that will give you Sky UK channels is 28.2 Astra. On this platform you will receive all of your Sky (pay) channels also (ITV 2/ITV 3/ITV 4) HD channels, also CH 5 HD. You will not receive any of the BBC’s, ITV 1, CH 4 or any of the associated programs (BBC 3/4 more 4, E4, 4 7’s or any BBC radio stations.

We have had reports that some companies have been installing the Intelsat 907 satellite as a replacement for losing the Freesat channels. This satellite does carry BBC 1/BBC 2/ITV 1 and CH 4 HD plus a few other channels. This cannot be installed and unscrupulous companies installing it for their clients will either disappear very quickly or have to refund them as this is a completely unstable platform.

Intelsat 907 is located at 27.5 west and it is used as a relay satellite in the event of the UK free view channels having issues. It uses an encryption system called BISS keys that can be gained by hacking codes. It is operated by Arqiva who can at any given time can change the BISS keys as and when they wish, leaving unsuspecting customers without Freesat channels for days/weeks/months.

We at The Sky Doctor’s put this to the test a year ago. We installed an Intelsat 907 system, it worked for 3 days, no problem then the BISS keys changed and it took 3 months to get new keys for the satellite decoder. This means that there were NO viewable channels for 3 months. If you were thinking about having such a system installed, then DONT.

BBC’s Services on Astra to migrate to new satellite 06-02-2014

The BBC’s services to Sky and Freesat homes are carried on six transponders on satellites operated by SES Astra located at 28.2°East.

In February 2012, one of these satellites (Astra 2D) was retired and BBC services moved to a new temporary home on Astra 1N. Astra 1N is shortly to be moved to its permanent position at 19°East, so the affected BBC services will be transferring to a new permanent home on Astra 2E (28.2°East).

This will take place in the early hours of Thursday 6th February 2014. Care has been taken to ensure the minimum of impact to UK viewers both during and after the change, such that no viewer actions should be required.

A small number of channels are unaffected by the change. These are on the multiplex “DSAT 8” which is carried on Astra 2F (also at 28.2°East). These are BBC ONE Scotland HD, BBC ONE Wales HD, BBC FOUR HD, BBC NEWS HD, CBeebies HD.

Generally the new transponder will improve reception in the South East of England, the north eastern coast of East Anglia, the North East of Scotland and the Shetland Isles.

New satellite coverage Astra 2E

If you have not got a solution in place for watching UK IPTV, contact Mark @ yourtechally today to get your options explained in plain English

Original story BBC 


Broadband Internet traffic management strategies help to improve the end user experience

With 46 million of us in the UK alone accessing and using broadband for data-heavy activities such as watching video and catch-up TV, the Internet is becoming an increasingly busy and congested place.

broadband internet congestion

In recent months the Internet has become a victim of its own success. In response to this, Ofcom recently published a new guide to help consumers understand why and how the Internet is actively managed during busy peak periods. Unfortunately the Internet isn’t an infinite resource, and is in fact a series of interlinking networks of hugely varying capacities and capabilities. Its not possible to just make every part of the Internet faster and faster to cope with increasing demand.

Comparing the Internet to a series of motorways, Ofcom describes how, just as a motorway might become heavily congested during peak times, the same happens with the Internet. In the early days of the web, far fewer people were using it and even then, it was primarily used for emailing and browsing. As the Internet continued to grow in popularity and more services became available however, the old dial-up phone connection struggled to cope with demand and things became congested and slow.

Broadband was the answer to this dilemma as it provided the Internet with more, wider motorway lanes to speed up the traffic. As well as making browsing much quicker, broadband also opened up a whole new world as people could now stream films, download music, play games and even make video calls.

Again though, these activities required a lot of bandwidth and more people started participating so the Internet became congested once again. In order to deal with this, Internet Service Providers had to come up with a new way to keep the Internet running without slowing everything down.

Think of the Internet as a busy motorway – its has its own ‘rush-hours’

Although ISP’s continue to build bigger, faster motorways, often the network of minor Internet ‘roads’ can’t always be expanded or widened. Therefore in response to steadily increasing demand, broadband ISPs have to try and manage their ‘motorways’ and the ‘A roads’ by introducing priority lanes for certain types of Internet traffic.

The ebb and flow of our daily lives means that busiest time on the Internet is between 4.00 in the afternoon, and 11.00 at night. When children are on school holidays, the busy time can start as early as 11.00 o’clock in the morning

Internet traffic can be thought of as being represented by different types of vehicles. Activities such as streaming videos are the lorries that take up a lot of space and emailing or browsing are smart cars, which are much smaller and take up less space.

This analogy has been adopted for Internet management strategies because the Internet is managed similarly to how the roads might be. For example, a bus lane gives priority to buses – therefore making their journey times shorter. While this is great for the buses, this can mean slightly longer journey times for other vehicles sharing the remaining lanes.

An individual Internet Service Provider may decide to prioritise audio and visual services during peak times by putting them in the ‘bus lane’. This should allow users to stream content without disruption. In order to do this, they may have to slow down another type of traffic – such as file sharing, emailing or logging into social media websites.

Ofcom’s research also revealed that among the general public, there is a distinct lack of awareness when it comes to traffic management. Only 1 in 10 users are familiar with the concept and just a tiny 1% have claimed to have considered this when choosing their broadband provider. Every Internet Service Provider has their own traffic management policy so when making a decision, it’s important to check that their policy suits your needs.

Here you can read the Ofcom guide on internet management policies.

If you want to understand more about how we manage internet usage on satellite broadband, here for example is the SES Fair Access Policy.