Sunday 12 August 2012

Probably my last post as Fetch TV does a runner

It looks like it's all over now for Fetch TV, as their official Web site is showing "access denied" and their support pages can't find the backend database either. That means no more firmware updates, no ticket reports, no remote recording, no way to buy official accessories and no Fetch TV PPV service (which, whilst listed as installed on my Pansaonic Viera plasma TV, has gone missing from the list of runnable apps there as well).

After a bit of Googling, I did find a second Web presence for Fetch TV at but before you get too excited, it looks like there's been no updates to it this year and any account links point to a now non-existent staging URL, so this www2 version looks like it was a staging server that dubiously is open to the public.

Having switched to a Linux media centre setup for the Olympics, I haven't plugged in my 8320HD for a while, so I'm not sure if iPlayer is working any more or not. Also note that Tesco's eBay store is flogging off the many 8320HD returns they had as refurbishments - either for C grade (duffed up a bit) for £51.98 or decent condition for £61.98. It could be worth a punt, though it still riles me that they never fixed all the major bugs and never introduced the long-promised new UI.

All of this means that any links to the official FetchTV site from here no longer work, but I'll leave them up here anyway just for reference. Strangely, the firmware downloads are actually still available because they're on a different domain! I downloaded them all ages ago in case they got pulled, which is probably likely to happen soon once FetchTV notice...

I guess this is likely to be my last ever posting on this blog, since there's very little left to write about the 8320HD. A couple of years ago, it was "hot tech" and, surprisingly, nothing surpassed it in 2011 either. Having looked at the early YouView boxes, I'm massively disappointed that their price is high and they're missing some crucial features compared to the 8320HD (no wireless, can't play from USB or the network).

It confirms to me that a PC media centre route is the only sensible option this year - it may cost more (£300 typically), but it's massively more flexible. Also, if you don't like the OS or software you're using for your media centre, there's always several suitable alternatives available (many of which are free!), unlike a set-top box where you'd have to get rid of it and buy a different brand/model.

So that's it folks - a ride of 2 years suffering the endless firmware updates that suddenly dried up a year ago leaving us with a somewhat flaky 8320HD, which was a shame because if they'd have cleared up the major bugs, it would have been a cracking little box. I'm signing off now and getting back to my Linux media centre (yes, I'm typing this using a wireless keyboard and mouse inside Firefox - try doing that on your 8320HD!) long and thanks for all bugs.

Update: I thought I'd peruse one last time to see what people make of the disappearance of Fetch TV from the Net and came across this posting which is apparently an e-mail to users (not me obviously!) claiming that Fetch TV has deliberately gone dark on the Net for 2-3 months (possibly until October!) whilst they integrate with However, why leave a rubbish "access denied" message up, when they could have easily put that same e-mail statement on the site so that<anything> would have displayed it? I'll keep an eye on the Fetch TV site in the next few months then to see what happens - if it does come back in full, I may have to resurrect this blog from the grave :-)

Sunday 22 April 2012 takes over FetchTV, but then scraps Sky Go

Good news and bad news on the 8320HD front this month. First up, have bought FetchTV (who were previously the brand owned by IP Vision), which may hopefully mean the survival of some of FetchTV's services, particularly those related to 8320HD's online functionality. Don't get your hopes up for any future 8320HD firmware updates though - I suspect that ship has long since sailed and left us with a sadly buggy shipwreck on the shore.

Second up, hope that 8320HD online services would be kept intact after the buy-out immediately took a blow as reports are emerging that Sky Go on the 8320HD will cease on 16th May 2012. Whilst I never cared for it when I had a one month free trial, I'm more worried that iPlayer on the 8320HD might suffer the same fate - I use it to watch Click at the weekends.

Finally, I'm announcing that my next recorder setup will not be a consumer unit like the 8320HD. Instead, I'm setting up a Linux PC solution that will blow the 8320HD away in time for the 2012 Olympics. Would you trust the 8320HD to timer record the 100m final properly? No, me neither! Read up on my preparations at my new Olymprecs blog...

Wednesday 25 January 2012

IP Vision/Fetch TV go into administration

The lack of firmware updates (with or without a new UI) for the past 6 months and the rumbling that Fetch TV had run out of money have finally all come to a head - it looks like IP Vision, who own the Fetch TV brand, have gone into administration. Strangely, the Fetch TV home page makes no mention of this, but at least the bottom of the IP Vision home page does.

It seems that administrators were appointed on 22nd December 2011 and a little bit more info can be found on a London Gazette page. I'm not sure if it was coincidental or not, but iPlayer and Sky Go apparently stopped working for a short while a couple of days ago, but when I checked iPlayer and Fetch TV's PPV stuff just now, it seemed to be all be working OK.

If IP Vision don't come out of administration, then they'll obviously turn off their servers - not only will their Web presence disappear, but so could 8320HD functuionality, including Fetch TV PPV (obviously) and even the disappearance of iPlayer (which I personally think shouldn't require box registration or the use of any of IP Vision's servers, but that's just me).

Sunday 18 December 2011

No Channel 5 HD for the 8320HD

In a frankly appalling move, Channel 5 have pulled out of the bidding for the Freeview HD slot they would have used for Channel 5 HD, handing it over to the BBC instead. This is hugely galling after the utterly pointless launch of Channel 5+1 (SD) on Freeview, particularly for 8320HD owners who have twin tuners to cover programme clashes.

Also, it's not like Channel 5 can't run an HD channel, because Channel 5 HD has been running for a while on both Sky and Virgin. Therefore, apart from the bidding cost, Channel 5 HD wouldn't cost any extra to run on another platform.

Mind you, considering that Channel 5 has precious little worth watching and the BBC is short of HD channel space to cover simultaneous Olympic events next year, adding a third channel to the BBC's Freeview HD arsenal would be handy to remedy that.

Friday 9 December 2011

FetchTV on eBay

OK, I'm very late to the party on this one, but when the 8320HD launched in June 2010, the only 8320HD's to be had on eBay were from unofficial sellers (I'm not sure if any were strictly "new" or not). However, FetchTV crept onto eBay back in February 2011, though there's no mention of this on the official FetchTV site.

Interestingly, their eBay offerings are noticeably cheaper than their own official site - the 8320HD is £157.50 brand new (inc. postage) and the 8000 is a stonkingly cheap £67.50 brand new (inc. postage). I think the 8000 could be a very nice second box to accompany the 8320HD, especially at that low price.

So that's why the last firmware update was in July...

I've been starting to fret a bit about firmware updates for the 8320HD recently. The last one was in July and my box still exhibits a couple of regular bad bugs (repeating remote control and failure to record about 50% of all timer recordings if the box is in standby or low power mode). I worked around the latter by setting the timeout to standby to be 6 hours - it might use more power, but it seems to actually do timer recordings properly now.

So why no more firmware releases for the moment? Well, it turns out that Fetch TV have been busy coding a "smart app" for Panasonic Viera TVs as I mentioned a few months back. It turns out they've actually rolled it out and will also be producing it for Samsung smart TVs (and other makes) in Q1 of 2012.

I'm not sure who gets the money (if any) for actually putting the Fetch TV app on smart TVs since I guess it benefits both parties. However, unless Fetch TV hugely improve the actual media content of their PPV service, I can't see too many people using it. I've never been impressed by Fetch TV's PPV movies/TV shows, especially since they're not cheap, infested with self-destructive DRM and seem to be quite limited in their choice.

Still, there is a chance this will increase PPV sales for Fetch TV and maybe then they can get back to 8320HD firmware releases and, eventually, the new UI for it that they've been promising since March 2010.

Thanks to RowanDDR on for the article link

Wednesday 30 November 2011

8320HD's will need to be re-tuned next week

The dearth of 8320HD news has made me look at the wider Freeview picture and we have a new "terrestrial" channel coming up next week. Don't get too excited, it's just Channel 5+1 (yep, in glorious SD) turning up on Freeview on Tuesday 6th December.

This will require a re-tune of your 8320HD, because the box doesn't recognise any new channels (or moving around of existing channels) automatically - witness the utter fiasco of the last major channel launch - BBC One HD - which the 8320HD blissfully ignored until a re-tune. Don't be surprised if there's no EPG logo for Channel 5+1 either (which may require a firmware update to turn up).

I must question the usefulness of +1 channels to 8320HD owners who already have twin tuners for programme clashes. I also don't like the fact that sometimes the original channel has no onscreen logo and yet the +1 version does! As for Channel 5, it's a disgrace that they don't have Channel 5 HD available on Freeview HD and that's surely more important than another SD copy of Channel 5 shown only an hour later?