A couple of years ago I chose to get rid of my Sky TV subscription and that felt good. No more of my money would be going to any Rupert Murdoch entity. Around that time I also bought a FreeSat decoder so that I could record live TV shows onto a hard drive. I don’t record that many TV shows and ultimately the box is largely used for steaming content to the television rather than used the TV itself, the Blu-Ray player, the PS4 or the Apple TV. It’s kinda ridiculous how many things that are connected to the TV.
About a week ago the FreeSat box was reporting that it wasn’t getting any satellite signal. That was a little weird but I think I just turned the box off and on again and it seemed fine. Then, over the weekend, it dropped the signal, only thought one cable was connected [there are two] and wouldn’t find any signal. Whether this was a problem with the box, cables, dish or LNB I have no idea. The dish has been up for longer than I have lived in this house. The LNB was new when I upgraded to Sky HD a long time ago and the cables snake their way around the house and get bumped around a lot because I moved the TV room from close to the dish to the other end of the house a long time ago. I’ve never had any problem with satellite signal before.
I pondered the time and effort and cost in trying to work out where the fault was. I could get a signal detector from eBay for about £20 and use this to see if the box is at fault. I could hook up the old Sky box and see if that was getting a signal. After that I would probably have to pay someone to come and check the cables and LNB. I thought about this and decided that actually I don’t watch any real live television. Over ninety percent of the content I watch is streamed or already recorded onto the HDD in the box. There isn’t a huge amount of live TV I’m interested in.
After a little thought I decided I’d just remove the FreeSat box and get a streaming device so that I didn’t have to use the PS4 all the time for watching moving pictures and sound on the TV. I did try the TV built in apps but they are quite old and while the TV is almost “smart” it’s not that smart and the performance might not be that good. Also, I don’t think the sound output would be brilliant via the ARC.
Having looked around the various streaming devices I could have bought an Amazon stick thing but I don’t want any Alexa stuff in the house. This abode is definitely a “Hey Google” home, I didn’t want to add even more confusion. I also wanted to be able to have a remote control with the device for other people to use. I didn’t want the device to be Google voice activated, I wanted a decent UI and control system.
These criteria essentially led me to the Roku stick. I don’t need 4K streaming and so the £25 device was suitable. Looking online it supports all the services that I use with the exception of NFL Gamepass and Eurosport. I’m happy to stick with Gamepass on the PS4 and Eurosport is only need for one weekend each year when the LMP1 cars are racing around their spiritual home.
Yesterday evening I removed the FreeSat box, although I had some wiring issues as I’d forgotten where the power cables went in AV corner and I did need to move all the devices around. There is very limited space in AV corner and you definitely need your aluminium foil hat going anywhere near there! The Roku device was easy to plug in and works really well. I’m impressed with it as the device is cheap, simple and works as expected. Maybe one day I’ll go 4K but this would require me to upgrade the PlayStation as well and I’m not ready for that level of investment.
Yesterday I managed to get all my services logged in and now I am set up. All of my viewing content is now delivered via the ADSL connection and I’m now slightly fearful for an internet outage. It is good to have a high bandwidth though. There is a slim possiblity that I will write about this again in the future to indicate how it’s going with no live connection. I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine without it but my parents might struggle when they visit [a very small concern].