Advice for my father

Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
My father is 76 years old and he's been with Sky for about 20 years now, but the latest price increase has finally convinced him he is paying too much. He's not terribly technical as you might imagine at his age, so he's asked for my help in moving everything away, including the broadband. We've calculated he'll be saving about £650 a year... 

I'm still using a YouView Box from BT that is an old model now and I've not looked at anything more recent while it still works, so I wanted to ask for any suggestion on which box to go for or ones to avoid. The aim is to make it as simple and reliable as possible for him. 

At the moment Sky is doing his broadband with an old ADSL connection that gets about 12mbps, but I thought he could come across to Vodafone fibre on the 38mbps, which should be more than adequate, especially since his house is 20 yards from the exchange box. I have no problems arranging that side online for him. 

He doesn't have an antenna, so I've suggested he has one fitted inside the loft so everything is protected from the weather. Presumably it will require something pretty decent, but he could have somebody local do that. In our case I did it myself, but once again any suggestions would be welcome.

There is a big hill nearby that has a beacon monument on the top and as a child I used to watch TV with an imprint of the monument on the side of the screen when using a little aerial on top of the black & white TV in my room, so I'd really want to feel sure that could be avoided or we'd have to consider freesat instead. 

The TV he has is an HD Samsung from about 6 years ago and it was a good model when new that cost £1000. Much has improved since then, but he doesn't want a new TV. From what I've just been reading a modern YouView box would also let him access Netflix and Amazon Prime on the YouView box, so he wouldn't need any extras like a Fire Stick. 

Thank you in advance for any suggestions here  :)


  • RoyRoy Member, Super User Posts: 17,791 ✭✭✭
    Avoid the T1000 boxes. Avoid boxes of unknown provenance on eBay, and even Amazon.

    John Lewis, Richer Sounds, Argos and Curry’s are all safe bets that will provide him with a new, and kosher, box and a warranty.

    The retail box to go for is the T2000, though there is a BT Retail box that is cheaper, and arguably neater.

    We have a loft aerial that works just fine. With digital, ghosting is largely a thing of the past, but a local aerial installer will be able to advise.

    YouView boxes don’t do Freesat.

    There is no Amazon Prime on YouView boxes (yet?) and NowTV is Movies only, but yes, there is Netflix. 

    It will be worth looking at his TV, if it is a Smart one, to see what Apps are available. Maybe NowTV and Amazon Video will be there, but on a TV that old, I’m not sure,

    Otherwise, if he hankers for a little Sky still, a NowTV stick is £15. Needs a subscription, but he can stop and start as he wishes. I’m sure the numbers of subscribers go up and down with whether GoT is on or not  :p

    The Amazon FireStick is about £40. Again, it needs a sub, though if he is signed up for Amazon Prime, he already has one.

    I think that about covers it; if I’ve missed anything, just ask again.

    ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ Wm Morris
  • andro101010andro101010 Member Posts: 31
    Apologies in advance but it will depend upon what he wants to do.
    Assuming that he wants to be able to record programmes and watch them later (as opposed to just streaming or watching live TV) then Youview is (IMHO) the best all-in-one solution. To put it in place he will need:
    i) An aerial capable of receiving the freeview broadcasts.
    ii) A broadband internet connection near the TV, This is usually achieved by using a pair of homeplug adaptors that can carry the ethernet signals over his house's mains cabling.
    iii) A Youview Box. I recommend the Humax DTR-T2000, however the remote control for the functionally identical  BT box is better designed. Specifically it has a button to control the TV's input.
    He can then get and record all the freeview channels, plus he has the option of subscribing to Netflix or Sky Movies (aka NowTV) if he desires. At the moment Amazon TV is not available.

    As an alternative, if he wants to view subscription channels (including some football) then there are youview packages from BT, plusnet and Talktalk that you should look at.

    Lastly, if he's not interested in recording but only wants to watch live TV and streamed content then there are still options but streamers become more popular. 
  • DanielDaniel Member, Super User Posts: 1,979 ✭✭✭
    I would advise you to look at Vodafone broadband if fibre is available. I have had nothing but fantastic service from them and the price for there internet is cheap. They don't even charge line rental for the landline. You only pay for the internet and any calls you may make or a calling plan but line rental itself is free so if you don't actually use the landline you pay nothing at all for the phone.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    Apologies for the late reply here. For some reason I didn't receive any notifications of previous answers.

    To answer these points in turn, yes I agree on Vodafone. I've been with them a couple weeks now on a 76mbps connection and it's working very well at a very good price, including line rental and anytime calls. We have a 4K TV and sometimes there are three of us in the house all streaming HD content at the same time, so a few pounds extra seems worthwhile. For what he needs I think the 38mbps speed should be fine. 

    I'm pretty sure the box we have is an old 1000 series that originally came from BT and we've been lucky with this one, but I know they are not famous for their reliability, so I'll definitely point him towards a DTR-T2000 from one of the suggested suppliers. 

    In terms of viewing, I think most of what he watches will be on BBC, ITV and channel 4 etc. Most programs will be watched live or recorded and just occasionally he'll be able to watch something on catchup. At the moment he's paying £84 a month for a basic Sky TV package, plus slow ADSL broadband and phone, so switching to Vodafone with YouView will save him a fortune. 

    He does does have Amazon Prime for deliveries, but not yet used it for TV. The TV does have some built in apps, however the interface looks desperately dated and he's not used any of them. I think Netflix would be a revelation for him and it would only be £7.99 a month. 

    That's very good to hear that ghosting is now a thing of the past with digital TV, so we should be able to organise all of this fairly easily. I think he's a bit anxious about Sky hassling him or making it difficult to leave but I don't think they can mess about on the broadband like before, because the new provider handles everything.

  • DanielDaniel Member, Super User Posts: 1,979 ✭✭✭
    If your dad is the only one using Netflix and not bothered about hd he could have the one screen package for£5.99 of course your quite right in pricing if more use it or he wants hd. 
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    I'm sure he'd want the HD and for £2 extra a month it's worth it. I don't know what Sky are charging for HD channels nowadays, but when I left about 5 years ago it was £10 a month. 
  • Tim CTim C Member, Super User Posts: 622 ✭✭
    I'd suggest that before you invest in anything you make sure that reception through an aerial is acceptable as although ghosting is a thing of the past there are still areas where terrestrial TV reception is quite poor , otherwise there are Freesat options using his existing satellite dish.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    Yes indeed, I've suggested he asks some neighbours and if they seem to be OK we'll most likely find a local fitter who knows the area. In my case I went to a local shop (different town) and bought a fairly powerful antenna that I was able to fit myself in the loft. 

    The glaring difference is that my house was only a couple years old at the time, so all the wiring was in place where you enter the loft. In my father's case the house is over 80 years old and it's very likely there has never been an antenna in the loft. Going back 20+ years ago, before he had Sky, there was a rather ugly antenna on the roof that rusted away and was subsequently removed.

    We may well need a professional fitter in this case and if it can't be done without quality issues I guess we'll have to look at Freesat. That would be a shame, because I hear YouView has a better interface and a couple useful features that are lacking in Freesat. 
  • SarahSarah Member Posts: 1,812 admin
    Hi @Sgt_Bilko

    Just to let you know, I've edited your notification preferences so that you receive an email and pop up notification when someone comments on one of your discussions :)

    If you want to change your notification settings at any time, click the chevron on the top right of the page, select 'Edit Profile' and then select 'Notification Preferences'. 

    Hope that helps!
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    @Sarah Thank you! 
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    edited 13 March 2018, 12:45PM
    I've just been in contact with a local retailer in his town, who my father knows, but they don't do YouView and they are pushing Freeview recorders heavily. From what I can see they appear to be a close match in terms of features and there is a Panasonic DMRHWT150EB for £189.

    I'm a bit wary of any retailer who obviously favours what they sell, but they seemed pretty close to what YouView is offering. I ran a quick check using his postcode at the Freeview website and his choice of channels would be rubbish!! just 27 channels in total and only 11 HD. On the YouView postcode checker he would have over 90 channels with 16 HD. 

    Apparently the modern Freesat boxes can pause and rewind live TV, so I'm wondering if that will be the easiest choice here with no need to install an antenna. That retailer wanted £150 to install an antenna, which I thought was pretty steep. 
  • andro101010andro101010 Member Posts: 31
    A couple of points.
    The 'Freeview Play' recorders are quite decent and offer a similar functionality to Youview. However I don't think that the interface is as good, as fast or as legible. Pros: the Panasonic does have wifi and thus no need for the homeplug adaptors, plus it'd do Amazon Prime video and 4K Netflix. Cons: It won't do NowTV and if Youview ever get the Alexa integration working that'll be another USP for them.
    It's up to you to decide what might be better for your father's purposes.
    It seems strange that you're getting different over-the-air channels from Freeview as compared to Youview. They're usually the same as both are coming over the air. Maybe someone could explain how that works?
    Freesat functionality is similar but another whole area of comparison. I'm afraid I've no idea as to what's an acceptable aerial/satellite dish/cabling cost might be as this will depend upon the type of antenna you want, cable quality and length and the height and course of the cabling required. As always, get 2+ quotes.
    Good luck
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    I was surprised by this as well, but I could only judge by using the relative postcode checkers. Having spent half the day on this he has just decided to go with a Freesat recorder box that should plug in and play with his existing sky dish after running through the setup guide. If we find it doesn't work for whatever reason it can always go back and we'll look at YouView again. 

    The box he has ordered is a Humax-HDR-1100S, which includes something called Freetime and I gather this is a much improved interface. Ultimately I think he wasn't keen on having somebody tripping around in the loft to install an antenna, because he has no boards up there. 
  • AnaglyptaAnaglypta Member, Super User Posts: 871 ✭✭✭

    One annoyance you will have on Freesat is an ongoing dispute between Channel 4 and Freesat - see details here.

    "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - George S. Patton
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    Oh dear, that's not very good. I hadn't heard about that and wasn't even aware that Freesat charges TV channels to be on their platform, but I suppose it makes sense. Presumably there will be significant pressure on Freesat to reach an agreement, otherwise there will be huge complaints and people will stop buying their boxes. 

    For the most part I'm pretty happy with YouView and that was my immediate suggestion. Clearly he would rather avoid putting up a new antenna if not required, but we'll have to see what transpires here. It should be there tomorrow and I would then go around to set it up for him. Not having channel 4 would be reason enough to send back the box, since it appears in all their ads. 
  • DanielDaniel Member, Super User Posts: 1,979 ✭✭✭
    Purchase your own YouView box from a retailer such as Currys and then sort the aerial out separately would be my advice. My aerial only cost me £65 fitted.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    £65 sounds much more reasonable for a fitted antenna but possibly an easier job to fit. I have no idea what the cabling situation will be like in the loft, because the house is around 80 years old. The Freesat box will be here tomorrow and it's come direct from Amazon, who are pretty good about returns. If he isn't happy for whatever reason we can look again at the YouView option. 
  • DanielDaniel Member, Super User Posts: 1,979 ✭✭✭
    For me the 4hd issue would be a issue but of course your dad might not care about that. Have him check out the freesports channel if he's a sports fan. 
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    I think it will be an issue for him as well, but we'll know soon enough. The 4HD block on Freesat seems ridiculous and I wonder if this is really about costs or politics with competing platforms. 
  • TomWTomW Member Posts: 508 ✭✭
    £150 is a reasonable price to supply and fit a good quality TV aerial + wiring it in. That’s what I paid for mine and I got several quotes from different companies. But it if you’ve already got a satellite dish then Freesat would be the easier/cheaper option.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    I paid somewhere around £70 for my antenna from a local shop, which was definitely more than it would have cost online. It was quite a big thing that I fixed to one of the beams in the centre of the loft and it takes up a lot of space. This was almost 10 years ago now, but he was quite helpful in describing what needed to be done and said he would come over to fit it himself if I couldn't manage. I imagine that would have been around £60, so we are not far off that £150 figure assuming comparable quality antennas. 

    At this point I'm glad to have both the antenna and the sky dish, because it gives us options. When we had Sky it used to annoy me when the picture would break up due to heavy rain or some snowfall, but that is never a problem with an antenna in the loft.

    The Freesat box should be there today so I'll be curious to see what it is like. The big priority for me is to make sure he cancels Sky ASAP, because they want at least 31 days notice. 
  • DarrenDarren Member, Super User Posts: 701 ✭✭
    edited 14 March 2018, 11:27PM
    As far as a I know Freeview Play still don't have a app so you cant remote record programmes unlike with the Youview app that I have on my IPhone. That's if he wants an app on his Phone.
    My sister got someone she knew to fit a new antenna to the back the house a few years ago with her help. After my old Antenna got storm damage. I got my antenna from Argos for under £40 and it seems to work fine. Depending on where he stays he may or may not be able to pick up a local Mux. Where I stay I get a weak a signal from the Edinburgh local mux so cant pick up anything. Also coms 7 and 8 only cover 75% of the UK.
    When I asked my sister to pick between the Youview T2000 retail box and the Humax Freeview Play box over a year ago she picked the Humax T2000 Youview box so I got her that and she loves it.
    I myself have been using Youview nearly 4 years now and have had BT TV just over 3 years and Netflix over 2 years that I share the monthly Netflix cost with my sister for 2 screens plus HD. Never used Freesat but I have heard that Freetime from Freesat is meant to be a little better than the normal Freesat boxes.
    I got rid of Sky TV back in the early 2000s.

  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    edited 16 March 2018, 9:15AM
    I went over yesterday to setup the Freesat box, which is just as well, because he hadn't worked out how to open the box  :p

    The setup process was ridiculously easy in this instance. All I had to do was screw in the two wires from the Sky dish and switch it on. It then ran through a guided process and everything was done inside a few minutes. Curiously the picture is better on HD channels than with Sky using the same dish. His TV suddenly looks pretty darn good and not far behind my newer 4K Samsung. 

    I prefer the interface of YouView. The colour scheme is nicer and it's generally a bit cleaner looking. His box is much faster, but that may just be down to the hardware. The range of channels is exceptional, but a lot of it is junk. 

    Signing up for Netflix and creating accounts for on demand catch up services was easy enough. The moment he saw Netflix he couldn't understand how Sky can justify their charges. Sadly his sister in law is visiting, so the girls forced him to sit through La La Land on Netflix last night!!

    I managed to set up the move to Vodafone for him online, but leaving Sky was an experience and it really did feel like they were making it deliberately difficult. They do everything possible to get you on the phone, but we stuck with the online chat and after about 2 hours it was done.

    There were periods of ten minutes where Sky would just disappear and I can see how lots of people would have to walk away if the kids were screaming or something else. They put up the prices again last week by £5 saying it was necessary, so they could continually improve their services, but yesterday they were magically able to offer "huge discounts". We weren't interested and though he'll have to pay for another 31 days the Sky box has already been disconnected. 

    I wouldn't see any reason for me to move away from YouView, but it did make me wonder if a new box might improve the experience, since our old BT thing is a bit sluggish. 
  • VisionmanVisionman Member, Super User Posts: 10,303 ✭✭✭
    Pleased your dads sorted. Did you get him a HDR-1100S by any chance?
    In regards to you, do you have the older DTR-T1000 model?
    I'm now happy with the disagree icon, because its gone.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    Correct on both counts. My father did get a HDR-1100S and it seems like a nice little machine. It's fairly compact and he's able to pause or rewind live TV etc, plus you can go back and watch content from previous days, which kicks in through the on demand players, much like YouView. His choice was determined more by the antenna situation than anything else. 

    Having spoken to him last night I think he's very happy to have finally dropped Sky and pleasantly surprised at how well it all works. I just don't understand why people would pay those prices when you can have something like YouView that covers 90% of what you watch and then £8 a month on Netflix for a package that runs rings around Sky. 

    Mine is the older DTR-T1000 model that came with a BT fibre contract and must be a few years old now. This is actually the third or fourth one we've had, due to endless problems with earlier examples. BT eventually agreed to send out an engineer, who brought a new box and removed the power line adaptors, saying that BT was no longer recommending them. Instead he added a slim Ethernet cable around the edge of the room and it's been perfect ever since. 

    Prior to making that change, the DTR-T1000 was a basket case that never did the same thing twice and I was sick of the buggy behaviour that lasted about three years. I just went down and had a flick through the menus before writing this and realised it's not so different in speed to my father's new recorder as I originally thought and it's basically fine. 

    I prefer the overall look of YouView with the new colour scheme and I presume the features are still being updated from time to time, though I couldn't see a software version or manual update check anywhere, which used to be possible with the old look version.

    I remember that YouView used to suggest HD versions of channels where they exist and offer to record a later transmission if there was a clash, but I'm not sure if it's still doing all that now. 
  • VisionmanVisionman Member, Super User Posts: 10,303 ✭✭✭
    edited 17 March 2018, 9:14AM
    That feature is being implemented and returning right now. Meta data appears to be a bit of a problem atm, but no doubt that will be sorted.
    I'd highly recommend updating your box to one of the T2000 models (any will do). You'll be amazed at the difference.
    I'm now happy with the disagree icon, because its gone.
  • Sgt_BilkoSgt_Bilko Member Posts: 66
    edited 17 March 2018, 9:42AM
    Thanks @Visionman I shall do a bit of research. The current one seems to be doing the job as expected, though I've no doubt it will die at some point. Presumably they share the same software, so I'm not sure in what way they would differ significantly. Good to hear those features are coming back. 

    I had a look on Amazon and the 500 gig DTR-T2000 is £149, but that is the same price as the UHD DTR-T4000/1TB that is presumably a better machine. We have a 1 year old 4K Samsung. 

    It looks like there are lots of apparently new boxes floating around on eBay for not much money, but it doesn't strike me as the most reliable of sources. 

  • VisionmanVisionman Member, Super User Posts: 10,303 ✭✭✭
    Yes, if one buys a second hand box they are sold as seen with no warranty and no return.
    I'm now happy with the disagree icon, because its gone.
Sign In or Register to comment.