Can someone help me with streaming and chromecast and stuff?

So, we have sky out here in Portugal. This isn’t a good idea as they keep changing the channels we can get.

But most TV is now available on the internet!

So, we’ve got internet here. And obviously we can watch it on a PC.

Which brings us to something like Chromecast. This takes the signal from your mobile phone and puts it up on hte TV.

Hhhhm, no that’s not quite it.

What we want is some box that gives us TV over the internet and then the wifi connection. So that we can get the UK channels.

I’ve been pointed to here and here.

In order to get UK TV over the internet what is it that we actually need?

38 thoughts on “Can someone help me with streaming and chromecast and stuff?”

  1. suspect you’ll need a decent VPN to make it look like your TV or box or PC is sitting in the UK for starters

  2. My in-laws (who live a few months of the year in Guia) had the same problem. The solution, while clunky (more on which later), was a Sumvision Cyclone X4 (Android box) running a variety of Android apps like FilmOn over a VPN provided by PrivateInternetAccess which made the apps think they were running in the UK.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sumvision-Android-Cyclone-X4-Streamer/dp/B00P7WI8AA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1475669272&sr=8-2&keywords=sumvision+x4

    Apparently it works well (haven’t witnessed in person) but there are some annoyances like it’s hard to type things into search boxes because the on-screen keyboard sucks, the VPN can’t be set to connect automatically when the box starts (you need to confirm a dialog permissions popup to connect) and a lot of the Android apps available aren’t really designed for TVs so navigation can be a pain. That said it supports a standard wireless keyboard/mouse combo if required which fixes the latter quite well, if you don’t mind your TV box being more computer than TV.

    A Chromecast would have been better but can’t really work unless you can set up your router to connect to a VPN automatically, as unlike the Android TV boxen there is no built-in VPN support in Chromecast. AFAIK the Amazon TV sticks have the same problem.

  3. I’ve got a Chromecast, and would definitely recommend it. I mainly use it for watching youtube on the large screen, but there are many apps for various on-demand services too.

    It’s not really just viewing the mobile screen on the telly (though it can do that), it’s more akin to using the phone as a remote control for an app that is displaying on the telly.

    As mentioned above, you will most likely need a VPN service to work around geo-blocking.

  4. Bloke in Wiltshire

    FilmOn also have an Android app. Not tried it, though.

    I’ve not tried those particular boxes, but my mate has something similar and they’re awesome. It’s basically an Android box but without the screen.

  5. I have a Roku which has some interesting stuff, depending on location, but I also have an older laptop connected to the TV with a short HDMI cable using a wireless keyboard mouse on my coffee table as a remote. One of my sons uses a laptop on the coffee table with a long HDMI cable but my wife hates the idea of a wire running to her coffee table.

  6. There are various options. The best solution would be to get a dish and point it at Freesat:

    http://www.freesat.co.uk/

    They have no way of knowing you’re not in the UK, and as far as I can see (https://ukfree.tv/extras/satellite_footprints) the satellites mostly cover Portugal.

    If you want to do it online, http://hola.org/ allows you to bypass regional blocks.

    I’ve also heard good things about http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/bypass-regional-locks-unodns-unotelly-giveaway/

    and

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/using-tunlr-to-enjoy-streaming-services-anywhere-in-the-world/

    but Hola is the default option.

    Finally, there’s a few sites like this (https://www.filmon.com) and stuff like iPlayer, which allow you to watch live TV online if you’re in the right region. Just changing the x-referred-for header to one in the right country works for most of them. Use a plugin called Modheader: (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/modheader/idgpnmonknjnojddfkpgkljpfnnfcklj?hl=en) and it’s easy to switch on/off once you’ve got it set up and working.

  7. John Galt>

    Those things are a scam. The box does nothing except IPTV, and you’re just getting access to an illegal stream of Sky, etc, which you have to pay the crooks an ongoing fee for, and which may be shut off at any time.

  8. @John Galt – Now TV won’t work out there, unless you get a VPN subscription and muck about with the DNS settings (I know, I’ve tried).

    Tim, we had the same problem (Sotogrande, Southern Spain) after Sky changed to another satellite, we lost all but news channels and the odd thing like Challenge.

    Our solution was an IPTV box like this one.

    It cost I think €200, which included the first years €80 subscription and installation.

    Plug the adaptor into the mains, network cable into your router, hdmi cable into the TV – and go. Comes with a TV like remote, and once it’s running, it’s just like freeview etc.

    200+ Channels. In English (about 80 channels) and the rest in about 12 other languages. All UK terrestrial channels, all sky entertainment/sports/movies, and all the other stuff in between (5, Dave, etc).

    It should work with 10mbs, but we had occasional problems with it freezing. 30-50mbs ADSL should be fine (we have 300mbs fibre).

    Don’t rush out and buy one/similar without first finding someone to do the installation.

  9. @Dave, John Galt

    Yeah someone has just set up a Plex media server with a load of pirated movies on it and connected it to a Sky receiver, and is charging you for the privilege of connecting to it via a preconfigured NowTV box running a sideloaded Plex app. There’s very little you can do when they shut off the service for whatever reason (get caught, have your money, who knows) and the non-Plex stuff (iPlayer, 4OD, ITV player, NowTV) will not work in Portugal due to geoblocking.

    The absolute best thing to do IMHO is to get a router with VPN client support and set that up to connect to a reputable VPN, which would give your whole wifi network the ability to connect to and play geoblocked content. Then you can just buy a Chromecast, FireTV stick or NowTV box or whatever you want and use the FilmOn, TVPlayer, NowTV or whatever apps you want.

    That wasn’t an option for my in-laws as they were on a budget and only had cellular broadband, which is surprisingly good in Portugal actually.

  10. Check out the ntv plug in for KODI (xbmc). (Most of the streaming boxen on Amazon (around 50 gbp) have KODI built in.)

    Website is ntv.mx. Used them 18 months or so back and it was perfect.

    As to the legitimacy or otherwise, IANAL.

  11. Everyone going on about VPNs is missing an important point: the TVoIP suppliers have got wise to it and are starting to block VPNs, public cloud provider IP address ranges and so on.

    You’ve got a single option if you want to avoid being-abroad-detection, I’m afraid. You get a domestic broadband connection in a UK residence – I’m sure a UK-based friend will go halves on his broadband cost with you – and a pair of routers, preferably identical, which support site-to-site IPsec tunnel VPN connections – the Juniper SSG-5 is a decent bet. Not too expensive and it’ll do what you need it to do. When you’ve got your site-to-site VPN tunnel set up, your network in Portugal will route all traffic across that link and as far as any TVoIP provider is concerned, you’re a UK domestic broadband user. That means you can use either a Chromecast, a Fire TV stick, or any one of the myriad of Smart TV sticks which turn a thick telly into a smart telly, or even just the stuff on your existing Smart TV, if you have one.

    As for Sky, I’m not completely certain they haven’t got some sneaky way of avoiding VPN tunnels, but I’m pretty sure that Sky Go and similar will work through the VPN tunnel. So if you can again go halves with your UK resident friend, just sign in on a device connected to your TV and you should be able to see all their Sky channels on your TV.

    As for using Chromecast / Fire TV / etc. for casting to your TV – you have to open Sky Go in Firefox, then open Chrome, then use the Chromecast extension to cast your full screen to your TV, then minimise the Chrome browser and put Firefox in full screen mode (because Chrome doesn’t support Silverlight and Firefox doesn’t have a Chromecast browser extension). This is clunky and leads to a crap picture. It’s far less painful to get a cheap small form factor PC and connect it directly to your TV via HDMI and use a wireless keyboard and mouse to control it.

    Sky Q is probably a different matter entirely. I’m still waiting for mine to be installed as yet, so I can’t comment on how it works through a network. Perhaps a Sky Q Mini box will route its conversations with the network through an IPsec VPN tunnel? That would be seriously slick.

    Whilst all this isn’t strictly legal, neither is any workaround – they’re all against the terms and conditions which say you must be a UK resident watching on UK soil. But this is the only way to do it whilst guaranteeing you won’t get your fingers burned at some point in the future.

  12. I find Filmon through Ipad and Apple TV works ok for the channels it has.

    I’d forgotten what utter crap the UK Free to air channels are.

    Can’t wait till the rugby starts it’s about the only thing worth watching.

  13. Just managed to find out that if you can get an L2TP/IPsec VPN tunnel set up, you should be able to use a Sky Q Mini box anywhere in the world, although it would require you to share recordings with your UK peer. It’s not impossible for Sky to block it, though, as Sky Q comes with a particular type of router to which you need to “wire” the Sky Q Mini box – you’d be best off hiring a wide area networking specialist if you want to try to go down that road. Definitely not impossible, however.

  14. Tim

    A concerned Richard Murphy asked me to establish that presumably you will be paying all the various national TV licence costs/taxes Tim?

  15. FilmOn

    If you have Chromecast and Chrome browser on your PC, install the Chromecast plugin on the Chrome browser.

    Go to filmon.com via the Chrome browser. Chromecast the browser window to the TV, select a channel to watch and when it starts select full screen on the in-browser player and you will have the picture on your TV full size.

    Your PC and the Chromecast must be on the same wifi network.

    Alternatively you can hard wire your PC to your TV with an HDMI cable – assuming your PC and TV has HDMI and simply mirror the browser.

    Filmon is free in SD unless you want HD then it is subscription. It does not have +1 channels.

    The SD picture is OK and whether HD is an option will depend on the bandwidth of your Internet service.

    If you do not like FilmOn, you can also subscribe to unclocator.com which will give you access to the UK Tv players like iPlayer. Unlocator is not a VPN, it just hides your geolocation, so there are no issues with loss of bandwidth that sometimes occurs with VPN services.

    Good luck.

  16. Since the demise of Sky (and the sudden availability of thousands of 3m+ satellite dishes) everybody here (apart from me) uses an IPTV service…

    They seem to be very reliable, cheap, HD and offer 7-day catch-up too… A new source pops up every time one is closed down…

    Personally, I download torrents and stream them to the TV via a NAS…

  17. Get rid of the TV, there are a load of things better than TV to be doing in Portugal.
    If you desperately need to watch a program then it gives you the excuse to visit that friendly little bar for the evening.
    You will find that after a week or two you don’t miss it, after a month you don’t even think about it.

    TV is the work of the Devil.

  18. > Get rid of the TV

    Per recent discussions about the BBC’s female-skewed output, I’d wager the TV is for our host’s better half. Getting rid of it is not an option.

  19. Old laptop connected to TVs with wireless mini keypad with touch pad works just fine, though the to has Netflix client built in which is good, keep saying I’ll have a custom media setup one day, previously used an old apple mini which is nice as it’s very quiet and unobtrusive and doesn’t have the limitations of an Apple TV

  20. “Check out the ntv plug in for KODI (xbmc). (Most of the streaming boxen on Amazon (around 50 gbp) have KODI built in.)”

    That’s probably the way I’m headed. Thanks to a 25 quid Raspberry Pi & an £8 wireless keyboard/mousepad the size of your palm. I already use it for downloaded video & music.

  21. Looks like my previous comment got stuck in moderation for too many links.

    Any of you lot have any experience with Freesat outside the UK? According to the coverage maps, it should cover Portugal, and that would be much easier than all the other options.

  22. wireless HDMI systems will allow you to replicate whatever you have on the PC to the big screen (or from any other device with a HDMI port, we have it installed on a DVD player). I use an Optoma WHD200 one and it works perfectly fine. They sell them on Amazon. You may need to have it in the same room as the TV (they are not great at penetrating walls, etc). We also use a chrome cast for netflix, youtube, etc where there is an Iphone app with chromecast ability

  23. Kodi on your PC and output to the TV or Raspberry Pi + Kodi for a separate box. If you have a decent connection it works fine with SD or HD sources – 4K might be too much. Can stream or download to the box. Get FilmOn for live national TV channels. Or use the Genesis and Exodus add-ons to stream or download UK TV programmes people inevitably share online. Your only cost: a Raspberry Pi.

    Obviously this is not permitted (but not illegal) but ISPs and IP owners are more interested in sharers than leeches.

  24. Geoblocking sounds as stupid as regional DVDs. For sports and other programmes that companies have paid millions for the rights to, okay. But why would BBC content be geoblocked? You can pick it up via satellite dish from the whole of Northern Europe.

  25. “Geoblocking sounds as stupid as regional DVDs. For sports and other programmes that companies have paid millions for the rights to, okay.”

    But the big problem there is delays. I can’t legally watch Archer when it comes out in the USA. We get it nearly a year later. If I do that, the plot and jokes are ruined across the internet. The BBC loses a fortune from Americans that rip Dr Who because they don’t want to wait.

    The whole thing only exists because “we’ve always done it this way”. Producers who are post-internet like Amazon just make something like Mr Robot and release it globally.

  26. Quite odd that.
    Clicked on Tim’s Chromecast link & got a perfectly blank browser page from Google.pt. With invisible clickable links scattered over it. Clickable links that lead to other blank Google.pt pages.
    Can’t remember that happening before.

  27. BiW,

    Indeed, and Netflix has figured out people prefer watching several episodes of a series in succession, rather than wait a week between each episode.

  28. Tim, if you’re content with the content you get on your pooter and have a vaguely modern TV then just spend a couple of Euros on the appropriate cable, hook the TV to the pooter and set the TV as a second monitor for the pooter. Job done for the price of a cable. This works just fine for laptops and PCs, but is only good if you’re happy with the quality and choice you’re getting on the pooter, in which case all this VPN stuff is over-engineering.

  29. I use Chromecast and it works for iPlayer (from my Android phone) and that’s about it. It doesn’t beam the video from phone to Chromecast, it just tells the Chromecast device what video to go and stream. Services vary widely in their support of Chromecast. I use it mainly to watch MotoGP using their streaming service.

    If you can get what you want on your PC, your can just hook your PC up to your TV with HDMI. It’s slightly faffy but it works. A HTPC with XBMC might be another thing to look into.

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