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 http://www2.fetchtv.co.uk/ 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!)...so long and thanks for all bugs.

Update: I thought I'd peruse AVforums.com 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 Shopto.net. 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 www.fetchtv.co.uk/<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 :-)

32 comments:

  1. Could you please post a new link to the user manual pdf file (and post the file somewhere if necessary) as the link to it on the FetchTv website is no longer working. Thanks Geoff

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  2. There is a message from ShopTo Ref. FetchTv visible on the smartbox when you press the fetch tv button so that gives me some hope that there might some further development.

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  3. I've only recently found you blog but it has been most helpful, so many thanks. I was impressed by the first 8320HD that I bought (at Tesco's current price) and I have now ordered two more. I was also fortunate that I accessed Fetch's site before it shut down and I had downloaded what I needed.

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  4. Manual link again ........ http://tinyurl.com/fetchtvsept2010

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  5. I have had 3 "C grade" 8320HDs from Tesco Direct and only one has had very minor scratches on the top - 2 were virtually as good as new.

    Iplayer still works from channel 222 and over the net firmware upgrades still work. I read somewhere that the new website should be up and running by September.

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  6. Hi there - I've just stumbled upon your (soon to be abandoned blog) and was wondering- if you were to pick a cheap PVR for the next 6 months in the UK, without signing up to Virgin/Sky or whatever, would you go for the 8320?

    The reason I ask is I'm moving to Australia next year and just about to move into rented accommodation for 6 months and can't get (don't want) a cable or satellite contract.

    Is the Technika now a waste of money or would it still be worth me getting? And can I run iPlayer, etc?

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    1. Ask yourself this question, how many freeview HD PVRs can you buy for 50 quid? It still works as a PVR and BBC iplayer..... never know shopto.net might even release new firmware and an on-demand service.

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  7. mine still works, still has it's flaws but it works. iPlayer FreeviewHD program guide etc. all as good as it ever has been. It will do until YouView prices drop.

    Plus I am running a RaspberryPi with RaspBMC which gives me access to iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4oD, and Demand 5

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    1. The pi has the mpeg2 decoding hardware acceleration switched off due to licencing costs so you are never going to get that to play standard freeview data streams.

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    2. not using the Pi for Freeview, I'm using the Pi for all the catchup services that are not on the 8230.

      But with the tvcatchup plugin I can watch any of the Freeview channels although obviously not HD. It had a more Olympics channels than Freeview managed, and it has others like Movies for Men as well.

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    3. How is RaspBMC now? It wasn't very good when I first got my PI, the auto update was corrupting the setup at one point making it unusable.

      Are the UK catchup services on the plugin menu now oe do you still have to find them and manually install?

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    4. pretty impressive, especially as they _are_ now to have MPEG-2 support. There's not much that doesn't work.

      http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1839

      not perfect of course. Plug-ins can be a but buggy but I don't know if that's RaspBMC or the plug-in's fault.

      If you try it again make sure you have a speedy SDHC card, that makes a huge difference.


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    5. plugins are here .

      http://code.google.com/p/tvcatchup-xbmc-addon/

      http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/desktops/how-to-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-an-xbmc-media-centre-50008599/

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  8. iPlayer's no longer accessible via 222 on my 8320: am I alone or is this part of either a) the inevitable decline of FetchTV or b) their re-emergence with all the ShopTo changes fully integrated?

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    1. My iplayer's stopped working also. Hopefully it's just temporary whilst shop to are working on their development.

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    2. You are certainly not alone. BBC iPlayer stopped working on Friday and I'm pretty sure it's the same for all Fetch TV customers as http://stb.fetchtv.net/bigscreen/ isn't working (this is the URL that your smartbox uses to access iPlayer).

      I have no idea what plans ShopTo have for FetchTV but they don't seem to be very interested in it, but there must have been a reason for buying it, surely???

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    3. I noticed this morning that BBC iPlayer has been restored. Well done to ShopTo for fixing this. Now if they could add some other catch up services (itvplayer, 4OD) this device would be getting close to perfection.

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    4. And perhaps a deal with Lovefilm or Netflix would be great as well

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    5. Hey, Bluski - that's great news! I agree about the device: if I could just get it to see my network drives, it would be perfect!

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    6. I play videos and music on it through my network by using streaming via windows media 11. Once i sorted my firewall out it was reasonably easy to set up.

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    7. Sadly it didn't last. iPlayer on 222 seems to have disappeared again. [sigh].

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  9. Had mine unplugged for 10 days , just reconnected and spent 30 minutes messing around.Luckily it was a £50 ebay purchase! Glad I just saw these recent posts with the same issue. If anyone has a fix please explain it on here. Many thanks Richard

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  10. 222 iPlayer working again - Brilliant , just thought id try and hey presto it was back..

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  11. Hi although I have a good strength signal my picture breaks up after 5 or ten minutes, any advice on which settings to try or weather this is a box issue would be appricatiated, thanks Dave

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  12. I am considering buying one of these boxes and just noticed that despite the blog owners comment that the fetch tv servers went dark , they are now up and running again It would seem ( www.fetchtv.co.uk )
    Could anyone comment on whether or not this would be a good buy or if this is best one to steer clear of?
    Also, where are the firmware updates located as I couldn't find them on the fetchtv site.
    Thanks

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  13. Just came across this blog in the past few weeks, I've had mine for almost 2 years and have been very happy with it. Only problem I've had is recoding in HD,recodings would break up although picture was perfect if live.Noticed the timeshift builds up over time to fill the memory and although it's supposed to delete automatically as required I don't think it does it quick enough for HD files.Since manually deleting timeshift files my HD recordings have been perfect so thought I'd share that as other people may have the same issue. Not surprised that Fetch TV went bust , the content was just not good enough.Now if only I could add blinkbox to the box it would be perfect and all I need as I don't want Sky or a subsciption service.Anybody else got any ideas about how to do that?

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    1. It will need a change of firmware,which must be possible!
      Ask blinkbox if they will support this 8320 box.
      Installing a server like tversity allows you to beam from internet to box videos.Blinkbox could support the box if they wanted too.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Well, if you use the fetchTV button a notification now appears and iPlayer is back...

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  16. Iplayer has died for good !

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/18557315-post196.html

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  17. I have finally abandoned my FetchTV box and gone for Humax which, although more expensive (you can buy refurbished boxes from them more cheaply however) is a really good piece of kit. The other good box which complements is a Roku LT, which with Plex added is very good for streaming your videos and dvd's from a hard drive, plus it gives you access to an interesting assortment of channels and Netflix.

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