If you are a regular listener to my 5 Things feature on Wave 105, you will know that it’s an ongoing joke between Simon and I that I “don’t have a telly.” That’s not strictly true; I do have a TV. But when we moved house, the new flat had no aerial on the roof. The landlord said if it became a complete pain in the bum to have no aerial, to let him know and he would sort one out for us. Meanwhile, we tried an indoor aerial. The problem is that this is a very old building, with very… pain-in-the-bum walls. You can pretty much guarantee that any nail or hook you put into a wall, will stay there for approximately five minutes before falling onto the floor. So there was no point in even putting a hook on the wall for the aerial; instead it was carefully balanced on top of a book shelf… where it proceeded to stay for approximately five minutes, before falling onto the floor.
I had never watched a huge amount of live TV at the old house, preferring instead to use the catch-up service instead to watch anything I may have missed from the day before. We did used to have CBeebies on a lot of the time though, and I was worried about how S would react to the lack of CBeebies type entertainment.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Our YouView box has BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5 and UKTV Play. There are also Sky Store and Talk Talk Player if we want to watch anything Pay Per View. Added to this, if you have a Now TV movie subscription you can get this through your YouView box (you can’t currently get the channel subscription through a YouView box). And as of fairly recently, you can also get your Netflix subscription through the YouView box. You’ll notice from the photo there’s also a “Milkshake” channel – this shows all of the children’s shows from Demand 5. I think it’s great that it’s split out like this; we can go into Milkshake to find something to watch, and I don’t have to worry S will point to something wholly inappropriate and demand to watch it because the picture that goes with it looks exciting!
We love this; especially Netflix, which we’ve never used so much! S has her own profile set up, and we watch endless episodes of such fantastic shows as Teletubbies and Team Umizoomi. Seriously, I love that. No, really, I do.
Okay, so the endless Teletubbies is not so fantastic for me – but it means S has endless choice. When we switch on the On Demand function, we can either go to the screen shown above, and then choose a show or film based on which channel or player it’s on – we do this if we want to watch a movie in Now TV, or a specific show on one of the regular TV channels or YouTube.
Quite often though, S isn’t entirely sure what she wants to watch. Or she keeps changing her mind. More often than not, we’ll head for this screen:
This screen lists all of the children’s shows available on the four main on demand services (iPlayer, ITV, 4OD and Demand 5). You can sort them by popularity, or by the latest shows. We tend to go by popularity, as that’s the default setting when you go into the screen. As you can see, a certain pig is very popular! Each one of those pictures is a different show, and I promise that as you scroll across there are other shows too. S loves to just go through these shows and watch different ones. Sometimes she becomes fixated on one particular show, and we have to watch “Peppa beach” over and over again. The great thing is that there are several seasons of Peppa on Milkshake, and they seem to be there permanently – so when you find a favourite episode, you really can watch it over and over again, indefinitely. Fantastic for the toddler; not so fantastic for you!
It’s worth noting here that all of this comes through our internet connection, since we don’t have an aerial. Those of you who follow me on social media (or on this blog, for that matter) will know how much I can be online some days. Usually when I am online, the TV is on in the background – and I have never known that to cause “buffering” or any of that nonsense on the TV.
There’s something very liberating about being disconnected from live TV in this way; neither of us sees any TV ads (except if I watch something in ITV Player or 4OD). Also for me, when I sit down in the evening and look at what shows are available to watch from last night’s TV, I tend to think “oh, that looks reasonable… what? 45 minutes? I’m not wasting 45 minues on it!” and so I don’t watch much TV. Instead I watch movies, documentaries or TV box sets.
We actually don’t miss having access to live TV at all. If there’s something I want to keep up with – for example the current series of Broadchurch – I can watch it On Demand the next day. As long as I stay away from social media between the show airing, and my next chance to sit down and watch it, I don’t lose out from having that delay – in fact, it means I’m not beholden to the TV listing times; I can watch what I want, when I want.