Watching Freewire TV using VLC

The Freewire TV service provides a number of Freeview channels for students living in University accommodation via the University's JANET Internet connection.

The service works over a wired network connection, so is available in all accommodation.

The service is free, unless you subscribe to the pay channels (similar to those offered by NTL and Sky, though Sky's own channels are not included at present). However, you must have a TV license to use this service legally.

The company that provides the content (Studentcom) also provides client software, but it does not currently appear to work here. However, there is an alternative...

1. Get a copy of VLC

You can obtain versions of VLC for Windows, Macintosh and Linux clients from http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html.

2. Get a copy of the channel list

You can get this at http://network.wlv.ac.uk/freewire_tv.m3u. Save it somewhere on your PC. It contains the names of all the available channels, and the information VLC needs to connect to them.

3. Configure your firewall

If you installed F-Secure Client Security from the University download, the rules will allow Freewire TV to operate.

If you're using Windows Firewall, then when you launch VLC, Windows will ask you whether to block or unblock it. If so, choose unblock.

For other firewalls, click the appropriate link from the list below:

If you are using a firewall on a Macintosh, or your firewall is not in this list, please consult the documentation that was supplied with it. Most firewalls allow you to permanently authorise a new application.

4. Open the channel list using VLC

Just double-click on the file that you saved in step 2 (freewire_tv.m3u). This will open VLC and show the list of available channels. After a few seconds, it will start showing the first in the list (BBC1):

To make the picture full-screen, select Fullscreen from the Video menu.

To display the channel list, select Playlist from the View menu:

The current channel will be selected. Double-click any other channel to change. It takes a few seconds to change channels, so don't expect it to be immediate.