This time around, I’m going to share my experience on one of the UniFi service triple-play component, namely the HyppTV IPTV service.
Getting IPTV Up and Running
As part of the UniFi VIP5 offering, an IPTV set-top box (STB) is provided free by TM (see below). The STB connects to the TV via a regular set of A/V cables. An HDMI cable is also provided but we’ve only got a Standard-Definition TV (SDTV).
This STB is connected to the residential gateway which in turn is connected to the fiber broadband termination unit. The IPTV stream runs on a separate LAN (a Virtual LAN or VLAN) at an allocated bandwidth of 8Mbps. On the TM DLink DIR-615 residential gateway, the VLAN for IPTV connects to one of the ports (i.e. port 4).
In my home setup, the broadband termination unit and the residential gateway are placed in an area where the internal CAT5 wiring from the bedrooms terminate. This area is near the center of the house. The CAT5 wiring was done several years ago.
However, there’s no permanent wired network connection leading up to the living room where the TV and STB are located.
During installation day, I loaned the TM technicians a loose CAT5 cable for setting up and testing the IPTV service. Testing went well but I still need a permanent network connection for the IPTV.
Why not go wireless? For one, it’s simply not reliable for IPTV streaming. Wired connection seems to be the way to go but then I’ll need to pull a cable up the ceiling. Having wires snaking around wouldn’t play well with the home aesthetics either — especially the living room.
HomePlugs to the Rescue!
At the end, I settled for a pair of Aztech HL110E 200Mbps AV HomePlugs. Each unit comes with a yellow 2-meter CAT5 patch cable (see below). It’s pricey but at least there’s no need to drill holes through the ceiling. Essentially, the HomePlug technology utilizes the wall electrical wiring to transmit network data. Pretty smart eh?
200Mbps sounds like an overkill for a max 8Mbps video stream. Operational speed actually depends on many external factors. In the worst case, both HomePlugs won’t even detect each other.
It’s recommended that a HomePlug be plugged directly to the wall socket for best signal quality but I didn’t have that luxury. There are simply not enough wall sockets in the house. I had no choice but to plug each of HomePlugs to a power strip on both sides (network hub area and living room).
Here’s my exact setup:
1. Network hub area:
Residential gateway > HomePlug > Surge-protected power strip > Lightning isolator > Wall socket
2. Living room area:
STB > HomePlug > Power strip > Lightning isolator > Wall socket
Despite getting only a red LED status (green = best, amber = good, red = fair, none = failed) on the HomePlugs, IPTV streaming still works although the setup wasn’t very ideal as you can see.
Note that I didn’t get it working the first time; one old power strip caused a failed pairing but a newer one works. So, a little patience and experimentation paid off.
Now that everything works, I’ll follow up with a detailed review of the TM UniFi HyppTV service next. Stay tuned!