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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BBC Channel Guides - know what you're watching on the VuNow

As NC-Jay reported a few days ago, [Live Internet TV] received something of a content refresh, bringing in a new section dedicated to UK streaming channels.

As was noted then, the streams seem to be downlinked from satellite - a method that brings questions and issues with it, including the legality of such a stream and issues such as the Satellite receiver going into standby mode and rebroadcasting a simple dark screen from time to time.

Assuming, however, that the channel you'd like to watch is not currently on standby (either via the Sat. receiver or the BBC broadcast station) then you'll find considerably more professional content on these channels than on most of the other english language channels (I can't comment on the other languages, I can't understand them).

Rather than focussing on Religion and home shopping, these BBC channels offer real entertainment value with shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends -- movies such as Butterfly Effect (on last night) and Broken Arrow (on tonight).

So for you folks who'd like to know WHAT you might tune in for, here's a spattering of links to get you some scheduling ideas. Note that the online schedules are, of course, listed in British Standard Time (BST) which is GMT +1. For reference, Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT) is GMT -4. That puts a difference of 5 hours between Eastern North America time and British time. Just enough, mind you, to pretty much guarantee that it is ALWAYS PRIMETIME at your house.

BBC 1 - [One of two flagship BBC TV stations] Schedule
BBC 2 - [Second of two BBC flagship TV stations] Schedule
BBC 3 - [New drama, talent, comedy, films, and accessible news] Digital only BBC station Schedule
CBBC - [Children's BBC ] Schedule
Cbeebies - [children 6 and under] Schedule
BBC News - [yes, news] Schedule (I CANT FIND A SCHEDULE LINK FOR THIS ONE)
BBC Parliament - [UK Government] Schedule

ITV 1 - [One of 4 independent TV stations - ie: not government sponsored] Schedule (this schedule link has LOTS of other channels too, including most [maybe all?] of the others listed here)
ITV 2 - [2nd of 4 ITV stations - free-to-air entertainment] Schedule (available above on ITV1 link)
ITV 3 - [3rd of 4, entertainment] Schedule (available above on ITV1 link)
ITV 4 - [4th of 4, "male oriented" ie cops, sports, with dramas and comedy too] Schedule (available above on ITV1 link)
CITV - [childrens ITV] Schedule

Channel Four - [commercially self funded, publicly owned, entertainment] Schedule
More Four - [aimed at 35-60 yr olds] Schedule (available @ Channel Four schedule)
E 4 - [entertainment] Schedule (available @ Channel Four schedule)
Film 4 - [feature films] Schedule (available @ Channel Four schedule)

Fiver - [drama and sitcoms] Schedule
Five USA - [again, looks like drama and sitcoms to me] Schedule (available at Fiver Schedule link)

Also note that many of these sites have MOBILE sites. For example, Channel_Four_Mobile is a great page to pull up on your fancy little cell phone (yes yes, I'm a phone geek too) to help you find a program you'd like to watch.


nc-jay said...

Excellent set of resources - thanks for doing the research!

By the way, I submitted this feedback to VuNow support, and received back the standard "we've passed your info to our content team" (who are usually very responsive and fix most of the issues brought to their attention). The feedback is pretty self-explanatory:

Hello - I wanted to thank you for the addition of the live UK TV channels! This was totally unexpected and a real treat that's not available via any other method. It's worth the price of the VuNow Pod all by itself!

I would like to make a request regarding some of these channels. Most (if not all) of the UK channels broadcast over the air using a 16:9 aspect ratio. The following channels properly display very nicely on the VuNow POD in 16:9 format on a display of those proportions:

BBC News
BBC Parliament
itv 1, 2, 3 and 4

However, the following channels display on the same TV, using all the same settings, squashed down to a 4:3 aspect ratio with black vertical bars on the left and on the right. It looks pretty bad, and should be easy for you to fix, I would think:
BBC one
BBC Three
Channel four
Film 4
More 4
Five USA

I'd really appreciate it - and so would your other HD POD/HDTV users - if you could fix this particular problem on these channels.

Anonymous said...

thanks for wonderfull information

bitflung said...


hah! i have the opposite problem. my old 4:3 TV plays back the 4:3 content just fine, but the 16:9 content is, of course, squished and looks like everyone is tall and thin.

hopefully they can implement an intelligent image scaling function to scale the video to the dimensions of your actual screen.

Anonymous said...

Hi, How are you connected to Vupod wired or wireless ?. I have 5Mbps internet cable line and connected through wireless. The new UK channels, keep breaking from continous streaming every 20 seconds or so. How is it for you guys?

bitflung said...

currently i'm physically connected, but i'll try via wireless to compare.

i, too, have 5mbps cable.

on a side note, i switched to wired ethernet not long ago because one of my usb ports stopped working: i'm assuming the vunow fell from some distance and landed on the wifi adapter, torquing the usb connector and breaking it. not 100% sure this is what happened, but worth mentioning i suppose. now my usb port closest to the edge of the device won't power the wifi adapter, and usb drives connected to that port are not detected :(