IPTV and Setanta Sports: The Inside Scoop

setanta sports 600x391 IPTV and Setanta Sports: The Inside Scoop

From the minute that the EPL Talk Podcast interview with Setanta Sports premiered on Friday, the message boards and blogs on the internet have been a buzzing with soccer fans talking about IPTV and whether it’s a suitable alternative for them if they can’t (or don’t want to) sign up with DirecTV in order to watch the Premiership matches on Setanta.

Although an announcement has yet to be made official, we can tell you that the IPTV company is Interactive Television Networks (ITVN). As soon as the news breaks, we’ll let you know. But this is what we know thus far:

ITVN launched more than 18 months ago and delivers high-quality video over the internet via a device, reportedly no bigger than a cigar box. According to PC Magazine, the set top box is $100 but it’s possible, based on ITVN’s promotions in the past, that they may offer the set top box for free with a 12-month subscription to Setanta. However, we won’t know whether this will happen until we hear an official announcement from ITVN and Setanta.

At the Digital Life tradeshow in 2005, ITVN won PC Magazine’s Innovator Award. PC Mag called it “the most innovative” and mentioned that “the future of TV is broadband and ITVN is right at the center of the revolution.” Lastly, PC Magazine says this about ITVN: “Of all the IP-based TV technologies out there, this one remains the simplest and in some ways the most effective.”

So, from what I can gather, the technology seems sound. Now let’s just see what ITVN and Setanta offers us, and if they can get the service set up as soon as possible before the Premiership season kicks off in 10 days.

While we wait, please post your questions here for ITVN and I’ll see if I can schedule an interview with an ITVN executive to get them answered for you.


33 thoughts on “IPTV and Setanta Sports: The Inside Scoop”

  1. some questions that immediately come to mind.. how does it work with a wireless router? does the router, box, and tv all need to be in the same room? obvously, how soon and how much? what other services are offered such as other subscription channels? youre doing a great job gaffer, keep it up!

  2. My most basic question is whether this device requires the active cooperation of one’s internet provider, be it cable or dsl, and whether the former are likely to play along at all.

  3. i dont know if that should be an issue. for instance, my isp (my cable company) doenst mind, but cant condone people using routers (wireless or otherwise). the reason is if you dont, you have to purchase more ip addresses. but really they dont care if you do it or not. i imagine this is the same…what they dont know…

  4. I found something on the ITVN site that mentions it works on a wireless G network with an adaptor (sold separately), but I couldn’t find any information about the adapter needed. Anything you could find out about the adapter would be helpful. I’d also be interested in knowing if programming can be received via PC. I’m sure we’d all prefer to watch on a TV, but given the home network changes I’ll need to make, it would be nice to be able to watch via PC in the short term. Thanks, and great work on getting the scoop for us.

  5. If this happens, I’ll just get like a 50 foot ethernet cable and ill run ir through the house whenever im watching.

    hope this comes true. thanks for the hard work gaffer. :)

  6. Thanks Gaffer for running around and putting in the effort to get this information to us. I for one will be desperate to get Setanta via any means necessary. If it means an ITVN box, so be it. The price is absolutely worth it, even if it means making a one-off payment of $100. I will gladly pay the monthly $15. And if there is a free box with a year’s subscription? Gold bless Setanta and ITVN.

  7. agreed..i think its quite obvious the gaffer is the source for information on the issue. ive heard two radio shows on sirius and various message boards discuss the issue, but noone has any facts compared to the gaffer. epl talk is becoming very big!!

  8. ITVN have a money back guarantee, so I’ve ordered a box which should arrive on 8/11 and will post details on whether or not this really works…and no, I didn’t order the premium porn channel but honestly did think of it for a second. My concerns are obvious, how can they send a stream with enough throughput thru a cable modem to recreate NTSC video/audio @ 30 fr/sec on a tube TV. It sounds far fetched when I can’t even get CNN video of a car chase with out buffering issues, etc. They make no mention of router specs, I’ve got an Apple base station and Time Warner Cable usually gets me 4 meg downstream. I want the answers before 8/19 as do the dishless amongst us, so stay tuned, I’ve taken the plunge.

  9. All,

    I’ve been speaking with ITVN and they’ve kindly given me their customer service number, and told me if YOU have any basic questions regarding the ordering process, installation or tools you need, you can call them (even if you’re not a customer).

    Their customer service number is (818) 591-4186.

    In the meantime, no official announcement from ITVN as of yet. It may be Monday before we hear something.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    PS – Thanks for all of the kind words. While I’m a publisher, I’m also a football fan and I’m in the same boat as many of you. I have too many services bundled with my cable to switch to DirecTV.

  10. this could be money in the bank!

    I would love to see this deal go through, and I could take this in and out of college dorm rooms and what not!

    I can’t wait, if this happens i’ll be the happiest boy on the West Coast:D

    Any idea when this could go through?

  11. one more question i thought of…actually my gf pointed it out. will there be some sort of dvr, vcr, tivo ability with the itvn. shouldnt be an issue on weekends, but for games airing during business hours ill be at work. judging from the fact that it comes through the red yellow white cables..i would imagine you coul dhave it go through something on its way to the tv..anyone know?

  12. IPTV, should run perfectly over 802.11G wireless router. no need for wires. Some of the newer routers have very good range. Standard TV only 3Mbps, even HDTV compresses to 20Mbps with latest codecs. Go to your local computer megastore. Get one off the shelf.

    Other issues on picture quality relate to conversion from European to NA picture capture and conversion.

    Speaking of which, I recently subscribed to Setanta on DirecTV and have noticed significant lower picture quality than Fox. Anyone else seen that? Maybe it was the ChelseaTV feed?

    Also maybe my imagination, but are their less cameras more long shots? Losing MLS off HDNET is big negative especially after being spoilt by the world cup on ESPNHD

    What will be the test is how much buffering space is in the set top box. Providing the average line rate is fast than the frame rate a good IPTV set top box should be able to smooth out packet delays and picture quality issues better than satellite.

    The issue of ISP cooperation is an excellent one. Without it, then channel surfing will be very slow since the channel change instruction needs to go back to Setanta, since they can’t broadcast all channels simultaneously without trashing the quality. In a cooperative scheme the channel change happens in a neighborhhod box.

    Finally, I think you’ll need some special DVR than takes RGB input not like a TIVO that inputs from coax.

    Anyway, probably too much info. I’d be intersted in hearing how it all works

    Mark in LA

  13. I need this to happen. I want to watch Setanta, but NO WAY can I afford paying 50+ a month ontop of the monthly Setanta fee for a Dish. I don’t want to miss my 3:30am Sat. games :D

  14. Good questions everyone. Keeo ‘em coming.

    In the meantime, I’ve been told we should have some details regarding ITVN and Setanta on Monday.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  15. Come on ITVN! Get this deal done so we can watch some quality EPL games, and more from SETANTA! By the way, My DSL modem only has 1 input (from phone jack) and 1 output (to PC) How can I use this AND my interenet at same time? Does this decrease internet seped significantly?

  16. Thank you so much for all your hard work The Gaffer. Hopefuly some sort of deal gets worked out allowing people without the dish to enjoy Setanta!

  17. Lampard fan – You’ll need a router. That will take in your 1 PC jack and give you out many PC jacks.

    Yes, IPTV (or ITVN specifically) will impact your download speed. For just browsing websites on your pc it will be fine, but if you are downloading files you might notice your TV image start to skip and your download to be slow.

    Basically, you should only watch TV and web browse, but not watch tv and download files.

    This is just my guess from basic networking knowledge. I’m not sure exactly how much bandwith ITVN takes up.

  18. Two points about ITVN DirectTV and Setanta:

    1. If you don’t want to get rid of your cable, you can get Setanta ala carte through another satellite provider, Globecast WorldTV. While the upfront cost is high ($179 for the unit and about $125 to install the dish), it’s only $12/month for Setanta–no other channels, no other costs. Compared to the $45/mo for basic DirectTV and Setanta, you’ll break even after the EPL season.

    2. If you’re going to use a Slingbox to remotely view IPTV programming, I’m sure the huge bandwidth download stream would interfere with the huge bandwidth upload stream for the Slingbox.

  19. the globecast idea sounds interesting but how does it work with your existing cable? Do you need special equipment to switch between the cable and globecast. Please don’t tell me that I’ll have to plug/unplug everytime I want to switch feeds

  20. watching ITVN now…they allocate 1100 kbs max for what they call live TV (Mav TV) – It is not enough of a data rate for live sports and will not be watchable as there is artifacting and posterized effects with any movement (in this case bikini girls) and football would look like junk…

    please ask the ITVN subject how much bandwidth they plan on using for Setanta because if it’s not substantially increased, my box is headed back to them unless they discounted the monthly fee relative to DirecTV.

  21. ADDENDM to above post:

    Now watching a car race, blotchy and blurry and can’t read the numbers on the full body stock cars. Football players, ‘cept for Crouch, will not be identifiable at this bit rate, so will see what they come up with…

  22. “watching ITVN now…they allocate 1100 kbs max for what they call live TV (Mav TV) – It is not enough of a data rate for live sports and will not be watchable as there is artifacting and posterized effects with any movement (in this case bikini girls) and football would look like junk…

    please ask the ITVN subject how much bandwidth they plan on using for Setanta because if it’s not substantially increased, my box is headed back to them unless they discounted the monthly fee relative to DirecTV.

    1:14 PM
    Anonymous said…

    ADDENDM to above post:

    Now watching a car race, blotchy and blurry and can’t read the numbers on the full body stock cars. Football players, ‘cept for Crouch, will not be identifiable at this bit rate, so will see what they come up with…”
    ________________________________

    i have a friend that has seen setanta on itvn and said it looked just like cable. they must have improved the encoding from what you are watching on the live tv

  23. that’s great news then, if your friend has seen a test in a lab setting but not in the wild it’s one thing, but perhaps I come off too critical, really, just a bit of an increase in data rate and it’s right there with highly compressed digital cable and that’s good enough for me!

  24. I’ve had ITVN for 1 week now. Unless they up the encoding they do for Live TV to around 2000kbs…sports will not be watchable. Right now Mavtv (1200kbs) on a big screen looks horrible…and thats using Component outputs and reducing sharpness on my TV. I have plenty of bandwidth (Fios)20/5megs. It never needs to buffer!

  25. Question is this Setanta USA or Setanta Broadband. ITVN is very careful not to say Setanta USA. Also, I would suggest to ITVN subs that you probably wouldn’t want to download on your computer when trying to watch TV.

  26. I have Comcast and want to watch MUFC games. I don’t want to give up Comcast. So I got Direct TV as an addition and subscribed to the cheapest package and added Setanta. With their $10 per month promotion discount, I am paying about $40 per month for Direct TV including Setantas with no installation costs. Great!

    Just two issues.

    1. Combining Direct TV and Comcast into one cable creates some issues but nothing I can’t live with. Basically I lose some HDTV channels on Comcast unless I unplug Direct TV, but it’s no big deal as Direct TV will only be for MUFC games.

    2. As someone else pointed out, the Setanta picture is significantly worse than FSC. Hope that improves. Other Direct TV channels look great, so it’s just Setanta.

  27. I have ITVN and I am using it with a wireless-G adaptor. Works great, not HD, yet, but still good. and yes it is Setanta USA and not Setanta broadband. therefore, I have been watching EPL, champions league etc..

    If you are in the U.S. you can get the box free shipping with promo code: 101096

    Pass it on and enjoy the EPL!

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