Category Archives: Entertainment

NOWTV Dev Channel and FilmOn abroad

Couple of recent updates.

NOW TV have chosen to block the dev channel slot on their hardware. I respect their choice, but this does mean that the FilmOn app will be removed if you have it installed.
Several people have asked for a work around or suggestions, the answer is to get a full Roku.

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Not only can you install the FilmOn app without the need for dev mode you also get Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. I migrated from the NOW TV small black boxes to the Roku 2. Hardware wise they are identical. The only thing you’ll be missing from a NOW TV box is Sky Sports News HQ, Sky Sports Box Office and for some reason the BOX Plus.

Also yesterday I began getting reports of people outside the UK unable to watch the BBC channels. Took me a while to notice what was happening but a one character change by FilmOn caught me out. I’ve updated the source code, but need to upload it to my Roku box to compile which I can’t do until at least tomorrow. Hopefully I can role it out to everyone in the next few days.

Finally FilmOn emailed to say they are removing their affiliate program on the 1st May and that “all Web, Mobile and API affiliates will no longer be able to access the FilmOn content”. We’ll know more about what this means for my app closer to the time, but I’m hopefully there will still be a way around it.

FilmOn Higher Quality

When FilmOn made their changes last month they blocked a loophole which allowed users to watch the higher quality (note, I’m not going to call them HD as I feel they aren’t high enough to have that label) streams without the need to have a premium FilmOn account.

Several people requested that I support being able to login to FilmOn to reach the better streams, so today I’m please to announce version 2.0.8 of my FilmOn app.
You can now login with your FilmOn email address and password and if you have an active pro account watch the higher quality streams.
Continue reading FilmOn Higher Quality

Aukey Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker

Thanks to the wonderful people at Aukey they’ve sent me some stuff to test.

Next is the Aukey Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker.
img_20161120_184425

This little bluetooth speaker is built like a builders radio, it can take a good kicking and I’d expect it to survive a drop from some scaffolding.
The audio quality is what you’d expect for a £20 bluetooth speaker, good but not amazing.
Pairing was a breeze with my mobile, however after that it was let down by the bluetooth. I had the speaker on my dining room table, walking through the doorway to my kitchen (a distance of several meters) was enough to cause the audio to start dropping out, which means that either the phone stays with the speaker, or the music has to be paused if I’m not close enough.

img_20161120_200859It has a hidden micro usb port for charging and also comes with a 3.5mm port for audio in, if the device you use doesn’t have bluetooth. It would have been nice if it also had USB A port, then I could have considered powering a Chromecast audio from it and then wouldn’t need to rely on the poor bluetooth, but it’s a cheap speaker.

Overall 3/5

Aukey Nylon Braided Lightning Cable

Thanks to the wonderful people at Aukey they’ve sent me some stuff to test.

First up is the Aukey Nylon Braided Lightning Cable.
img_20161118_101500 img_20161118_101524

By being braided it should be less likely to kink compared to the cable that Apple provide with their iPhones. It’s also less likely to knot up, however when trying to pack it does like to spring out. At 1.2 metres long you can use the phone whilst on charge without having to sit next to the wall.

Being Apple MFI certified, your phone won’t moan about using an unsupported cable.

As with any USB cable the main test is how they perform in 6 months, and I’ll update next year.

FilmOn on Roku and NOW TV boxes, an update

So yesterday I began to get reports from users that streams would no longer play, this occurred around 16:30 (GMT) as I was preparing to leave work to head home. Once I arrived home I could see that some of the tricks previously used to generate the m3u8 urls returned an error from the FilmOn servers.

I quickly built some new code which used more of their API and successfully allowed me to watch most of the channels, this was the 1.5.0 release at 19:15.

Again reports came in of issues for some channels with the new “Unable to fetch stream URL” error message that I added. I could only replicate this issue with BBC News, Really and some of the french channels. I was able add some more code which fixed this issue for me and 1.5.1 was released at 21:25.

Users outside of the UK continue to report they can’t watch UK stations, whilst those who can watch the channels get the streams stopping after 2 minutes.
Continue reading FilmOn on Roku and NOW TV boxes, an update

TVPlayer on Roku or NOW TV

UPDATE: At present changes made by TVPlayer have blocked the streams from loading.
However I’ve created an alternative app using FilmOn feeds.
Latest Version: FilmOn 1.5.1 Sideloadable ZIP / Roku Private Channel

So I set myself the challenge of building an app for Roku, and thought it couldn’t be too hard to get either TVCatchup or TVPlayer working could it.

Turns out that TVCatchup is pretty simple and within 2 hours I had a working example built.

However their selection of channels isn’t great and I wanted Dave as we don’t get that with Freesat and have no aerial on the house for Freeview.

tvplayer-channelsTVPlayer have at least some level of protection around their stream URLs, however after watching traffic within Chrome and also over the mobile app I worked out a way to get the streams playing.


tvplayer-invision
So if you want TVPlayer on your Roku or NOW TV box you can use my unofficial app.
For Roku just use the private channel arteseatvp, or on NOW TV you can sideload* the ZIP file

tvplayer-nownext*To sideload an app on to your NOW TV box you’ll need to enable the Developer Mode and push the file via a browser. I’ll do a blog post on the exact method, but this Engadget guide should help.

To the TVPlayer devs, if you need any help building your own app drop me a line, I can tell you why the UKTV feeds fail to work without intervention.

April Update: As per the red box above, TVPlayer streams are currently blocked, however you can use the FilmOn app instead.
Enjoying the app? Why not make a donation?

WinnerGear Rumba Earphones Review

I’ve used these WinnerGear Rumba Earphones now whilst in the house, walking to work and on the train. I was sent them for free to review and normally use Soundpeats Qy7 bluetooth headphones.

The audio quality is better than my bluetooth headphones and a huge increase on my normal emergency earphones (which came with one of my past mobiles). Although they aren’t noise cancelling, they do a good job of stopping other noises get in. They are sold as “best bass”, I’m no expert but the bass did sound better and not at the cost of the other ranges.

Continue reading WinnerGear Rumba Earphones Review

Mr. Robot

Enjoy computers? Enjoy drama? Then watch Mr. Robot!

Amazon have got the UK rights and you can watch it as part of their Amazon Prime service.
If you don’t already have Prime and not had it for the last year you can get a 30 day trial in which you can binge all ten episodes.
Alternatively you can by the show for £16.99 in HD and episode 1 is available to watch for free.

I want to rave about how great it is, but don’t want to spoil a thing, other than the final scene of episode 9 was so rewarding.

PSA: Google Maps Navigation with Satellite Layer uses tons of data

Screenshot_20151021-084814This weekend we did a lot of driving around areas where we’ve never been before. I use Google Map for my navigation including the OK Google voice search from the lock screen for ease of use.
As I tend to view Google Maps with the satellite layer it comes on when using navigation.
Yesterday I got my bill from Vodafone, and whilst logged in I took a look at my current usage and it said:
Data 1.16 of 4GB used
You’ll get a new allowance on 16 Nov 2015

This meant in four days I used over a gig of data, checking my data usage within the phone it showed that 0.96GB of that was from Google Maps.
Fortunately I tend to use less than 2GB a month, so the exta gig on top is still below my allowance, but a note to self for the future, make sure tha satellite layer is turned off before navigating.