Do you miss following your favorite home team live? Watching the Norwegian live knitting show? The Swedish Hollywood Wives? A quick search on the web shows there is a huge demand for TV from back home among Scandinavians abroad, particularly those living in Asia. There are also several service providers offering web-based Scandinavian TV solutions to suit every taste and budget.
But which one is the best and how does this thing work? To find out, ScandAsia decided to look into the matter and try to shed some light on the IPTV phenomenon.
I started out trying to contact seven different providers who claim they could deliver live TV from Scandinavia to asked them a couple of questions about their products, services and the whole legal matter regarding copyright. Unfortunately only two responded. World TvPro claimed that I could find answers to my questions and product reviews posted by their customers on their website. Neither of these information is to be found on the website, so if you choose to do business with World TvPro, you should be aware of this.
But I am pleased to inform you that another provider, European IPTV, did respond in a positive manner and even gave me the opportunity to try their services designed for tablet users. So any testing mentioned in this article refers to this company’s services, as none of the others seem to be interested in having their services tested or answering questions about availability of services or their legitimacy as providers.
I will leave it up to you as a smart consumer to draw your own conclusion as to why the companies were unwilling to cooperate and participate in this survey.
Location, location, location
Many of these solutions function in the same way. A signal from Denmark/Norway/Sweden, etc., is rerouted to a server in another country in Europe. From there, the server then redirects the signals again to different servers based in countries around the world. The closer a server is to your home, the better signals you will get.
So I might sound like the messenger who brings bad news when I say that everyone who is living in areas with a bad internet connection, will experience some difficulties accessing any of these IPTV services.
People with slow internet connections should not give up in IPTV, though. Your experience might just be an occasional drop in picture quality and perhaps a lot of graininess. But you may also experience delays on sound or video that could drive you towards insanity! However, some can strangely experience the same smooth experience as others who are located closer to streaming servers or live in an area with relatively better internet connection. You have to hope for the best and expect the worst.
Different suppliers recommend different minimum connection speeds.
Some of the companies suggest that a 1.5 mbps download speed is sufficient while others claim that 0.6 mbps will be enough.
In my experience streaming video contents in Thailand, I would strongly recommend that you have at least have a 3 mbps download speed or more. If you are watching the TV on your smartphone or tablet, it might not need as much transfer rate, but if you, like me, have several devices connected to your internet connection,
I would say the faster the better. If you don’t know your speed, www.speedtest.net/ is one website that can instantly tell you
If you live in Singapore you should be able to have the best experience. Singapore has a very developed broadband infrastructure and European IPTV, whose services I tried out, has a server there, so it should run extremely smoothly there.
If you are living in China you could experience difficulties from time to time due to the country’s very strict control of the internet with access to certain sites blocked by the authorities.
It has not yet been possible for me to cover the legal aspects of these IPTV services. But one could imagine that there is a gray area in which someone’s copyright may be violated or not fully respected. I have been in contact with a professor in Denmark who specializes in copyright and he will get back to me when he has figured out how the laws apply in this matter from a Danish judicial point of view. When I hear from him, I will post an update on our website.
I can say state with certainty that it is illegal to use any of these services when you are in a Scandinavian country, so if you subscribe to any of these services, please obey the law when you are back visiting your home country.
As I have mentioned before, I was given the opportunity to try out one of these solutions. It was the tablet subscription to European IPTV. I spoke with Tom Hansen, who runs the company, and he stated that the legality of this matter was a grey area as no cases had been tried in any court so far.
“That it is not illegal, does not, of course, make it legal,” he said, adding that TV content owners have a way to monitor where their subscribers are using their services, and if anyone accesses those contents without paying within Denmark, Norway or Sweden, they can shut down the signals. He also said that he did not feel like he was taking away anybody’s livelihood by providing these services.
European IPTV stream TV contents through three servers placed strategically around the world – in the Netherlands, Slovakia and Singapore. There is a direct line from the server in the Netherlands to the one in Singapore, which secures a reliable connection with most of Asia.
According to Tom Hansen, their service only requires 538 kbps to run smoothly. According to the test I performed, this seems to be about right. Though I need to add that I tested the product on a 7 mbps connection, where I had only dedicated 600 kbps to the IPTV service on the iPad.
I experienced quite a lot of problems with live streaming part of the service. I was often prompted by a message telling me that I was switching channels too fast or that I was already watching a stream on the login. According to Tom Hansen, this was due to some extra security priorities that they have had to make.
“There are some people out there, who steals our stream and then reroutes it through another site for free, and we are trying our best to prevent this to protect our interests,” he said.
At European IPTV, you can record a show from any of the channels at any time. This allow users to watch those recordings at a later time on your device, and this part of the service always runs perfectly smooth, so on that account I have nothing to complain about.
In summary, all these IPTV services available are not easy to navigate, and, unfortunately, I can only refer to my experience with one service provider. I would like to emphasize that you have to take into consideration where you are located and how fast your internet connection is.
If possible, always ask if it is possible for you to try before you buy into one of those IPTV services. Prices begin at around 35 Euro pr. month depending on your choich of product.
Here is a couple links you can check out if you are in need of some Scandinavian TV.