BBC iPlayer on TVonics DTR-HV250

Having already tried to source a compatible USB WiFi adapter for use with my TVonics DTR-HV250, I was sceptical about ever sourcing one that would work since TVonics themselves stopped selling their own wireless adapter.  I’d read various claims on forms that people have got wireless networking up and running on their TVonics set top boxes, but never anything concrete… often referencing expired listings on eBay or out of stock items on Amazon.

When I saw that Pulse-Eight were selling USB WiFi adapters on their website, I was compelled to have another go, especially at the very reasonable price of £7.99 (including P&P)… far more reasonable than the £29.99 TVonics were charging some months ago. The Pulse Eight website makes no claims about compatibility with the DTR-HV250, only the DTR-Z500HD and the DTR-HD500, but I threw caution to the wind, ponied up the £7.99 and ordered one to try with my DTR-HV250. I ordered Thursday evening, and the package arrived through my door on Saturday morning, which is good service in my book!

The result is that, after some persistence, I am up and running with BBC iPlayer through the interactive services.  The iPlayer is fast and responsive, and when streamed using the ‘better quality’ option, the picture quality is indistinguishable from most broadcast channels to my eye.

The first couple of times I tried to configure the connection, the internet connection test failed, despite seeming to acquire an IP address according to the advanced settings.  I had to re-try the automatic configuration a couple of times before the connection test passed, and when it did, the iPlayer option appeared in the red button menu on all BBC channels.

Since spending a couple of days with iPlayer functionality, I have to report it isn’t perfect.  The red button menu is different once you’re connected to the internet, but it is with some randomness that the appropriate menu allowing access to iPlayer appears.  This may well be due to intermittent availability of a connection or the service itself, I don’t know.  All I can say is that normally my 40Mbps FTTC connection is rock-solid, so I’m sceptical that’s the cause. On other occasions, dropping into the iPlayer menu gives a black screen, and on one occasion I opened up the iPlayer interface fine, but the controls would do nothing.  It seems that a channel change helps with some of these problems, but I think it would be fair to say that the iPlayer experience falls short of the experience I’ve been used to with the DTR-HV250 in general.

All that said, I have to say I’m very happy to now have iPlayer available through my set top box… everything is controlled with one remote, there’s no switching inputs or waiting for programs to load.  I think once I’ve spent a bit more time with it, I’ll understand some of the quirks of the iPlayer a bit better, and hopefully I’ll be able to work around some of the issues.

Pulse Eight to the rescue!

Pulse Eight have extended their forums to include sections covering the TVonics products.  Specifically there’s a section for general TVonics discussion, then support sections for the DTR-Z500HD and the DTR-HD500.  The suggestion is that Pulse Eight won’t be offering support for other (earlier) TVonics models, including the DTR-HV250.  On the bright side, though, it’s been hinted that we might see firmware updates for the aforementioned HD models… we’ll wait and see what form that might take.

You can get to the Pulse Eight forums by following the link below:

You can post questions over at the Pulse Eight forums. I’ll be keeping an eye on the forums, and follow up on any subject matters that warrant it with blog posts here.

For us DTR-HV250 owners, it seems that this site will remain the one resource for information for now.