Online catch-up TV services such as the BBC iPlayer and ITVPlayer are great if you've missed a programme when it was broadcast and also forgot to set your PVR or VCR (admit it, we know some of you still use video cassettes). But, if you're like me, you'd probably be more comfortable curled up on the sofa watching the TV show on your large TV screen rather than hunched over your laptop, or sat at a desktop machine.
Access the online catch-up service without the need for a laptop
The most obvious solution is to connect your laptop to your TV using either Composite, S-Video, VGA, DVI, or HDMI connectors. We've already shown you how to do this but if you don't own a laptop, or don't want to go to the hassle of connecting it to your TV every time you want to watch online catch-up TV services, what options have you got? You could invest an internet-connected TV from the likes of Samsung, but forking out for a new TV, especially if there's nothing wrong with your existing TV set, could be an expense you just don’t need.
Freesat, the free satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV that was launched in May 2008, offers Brits free access to more than 140 digital TV and radio stations via a dedicated set-top box and a satellite dish. Among those TV channels are two that offer access to both BBC's iPlayer and ITV's online catch-up TV service, providing you have a a Humax Freesat HD or Humax Freesat+ set-top box and its connected to the internet. It's also recommended your broadband connection has a speed of 2Mbps or above.
To connect your set-top box to the internet, simply connect an Ethernet cable from your router to the port at the back of your set-top box. Then switch the device on and go to channels 901 or 903.
However, if your router isn't located near your set-top box and you don't want cables trailing all over your house, what can you do? This is where Powerline adapters, also known as HomePlugs, come in handy.
A Powerline adapter uses the electrical circuit in your home to create a Wi-Fi network an allow users to transmit data. Prices start from £40 for a starter kit that includes two adapters and an Ethernet cable, but it's a worth-while investment, especially if you're not a fan of trailing cables. It's worth noting, you'll need to free electrical sockets close-by to utilise the Powerline adapters. If you're concerned about losing an electrical socket, look for a Powerline adapter that features an electrical socket on the front to ensure you don't have to sacrifice your power outlet can be purchased. Here's how to connect a powerline adapter to your set-top box.
You'll need to start by plugging in one of the adapters close to your router.
Now use the Ethernet cable to connect the adapter to your router.
Plug the second Powerline adapter into an electrical socket close to your set-top box.
Use another Ethernet cable to connect the second adapter to your set-top box.
Many of the adapters, including the PowerGrid 902 that we used, feature LEDS that will go green when the network is ready to use and flash to indicate data is being transferred. As soon as this happen, you can switch on your TV and set-top box and then access the dedicated catch-up TV channels.