BBC iPlayer on TVonics Boxes


As some users are aware there is currently an issue on TVonics boxes (DTR-HV250, DTR-HD500, DTR-Z500HD) which causes the unit to crash and/or play no sound when accessing the BBC iPlayer service via the red button.

We are aware of this situation and working with the BBC currently to resolve the issue, the issue has arisen due to a platform change to the BBC iPlayer MHEG service. Both the BBC and ourselves are still trying to narrow down the exact cause of the issue, however we have found a temporary work around. You can find details about this on our forums here.

Please be assured we are doing everything we can to get this issue resolved for all customers at this time and hope to have an update out shortly.


38 Responses to “BBC iPlayer on TVonics Boxes”

  1. 1 Richard Tubridy

    Please could Pulse Eight update us soon. It seems to have gone very quiet on the BBC iPlayer front!!!

    • Working on it, BBC baffled by the issue, we are developing debugging code to try and get to the bottom of it.

      • 3 martint

        Any progress to report? ( the iplayer workaround mentioned in the forum by ‘martinonline’ doesn’t work on my HD500 😦

  2. 4 Ayo

    Hi…I’ve got the TVonics DTR-HD500 which has been stuck on “Starting” for weeks now. Where can I take it to be repaired?

    It’s gone past the 1-year warranty from Makro, TVonics no longer exists and I didn’t buy it directly from Pulse-Eight.

    Bought the box for £199.99+VAT so not keen on throwing it in the bin just yet.


    • Any seller under the Sale of Goods act have to provide a repair service for up to 6 years. They might charge you for it though, if they can’t then they should offer you a partial refund

      • 6 Ayo

        Makro is a Business-to-Business seller and apparently are not bound by the Sales of Goods Act. I quote them below:
        “As you know we aim to be your business partner on a business to business basis, not consumer, which is why our Returns Policy forms our contract with you for returns rather than the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

        As a Makro card holder, you have confirmed that you a business and purchasing on behalf of your business when you joined us.
        Trading Standards agree with our Returns Policy of a twelve month warranty period during which time we will repair or replace faulty goods is a satisfactory remedy. ”

        Is there someplace I could actually take the box for repair rather than get into a ping pong match? I really don’t mind paying for the repair.


  3. 7 andymedcraft

    This is the reply I received from the BBC about the issue and shows that you guys are clearly lying when you say it is a change the BBC made and that yourselves and the BBC are looking into this together. I want an answer ASAP on what measures you are taking to resolve this fiasco.

    Thank you for contacting BBC iPlayer support.

    We are aware of reports from users who have experienced playback problems on TVonics devices.

    Several months ago, we removed TVonics off our list of certified BBC iPlayer devices when the company went into administration. For a product to remain certified, we need confidence that the product is fully supported by the manufacturer as a device issue could have an impact to BBC iPlayer. It’s the responsibility of the manufacturer to resolve any such set-top-box issues.

    Following recent reports from TVonics users that BBC iPlayer no longer works, we have contacted the new owners of the TVonics, Pulse Eight who are investigating this issue. As there have been no changes to the version of BBC iPlayer that the TVonics set-top-box uses, we are sorry to say that we cannot independently investigate this issue further and urge you to contact Pulse Eight.

    BBC iPlayer would like the device issue to be resolved and we’ll continue to assist the manufacturer in their investigation.

    We’d like to assure you that your concerns were fully registered. This will be included on feedback reports that are available to personnel responsible for maintaining and improving the BBC iPlayer service.

    While this email does not resolve the problem we hope that this explains the situation.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to contact us.

    Kind Regards

    BBC Audience Services

    • Andy,

      Thank you for a very detailed response, we are interested to hear the BBC have taken this position, please see a recent reply from the BBC to us:

      From: Hakim Senane
      Sent: 12 April 2013 12:02
      To: Martin Ellis; Lars Op den Kamp; Michael Hornung
      Cc: Tristram Biggs; Siena Pakington; Marcus Parnwell; Elizabeth Blanckenberg
      Subject: RE: TVonics devices

      Dear Pulse-eight,

      Although more recent emails circulate on this subject, I reply to this one to have everyone on the same page.

      After many line on internal investigation we ended up testing the latest iPlayer (the TVonics devices cant play audio with) with the TVonics device under our live and test environment:
      – Under our test environment Audio play well
      – Under Live, as you know, Audio does not play,

      Code, Signalisation and Data are identical in both environment: only timings may differ.

      We are investigating this issue

      Best Regards,


      Andy, make of it what you will and the different responses from within the BBC

      • 9 andymedcraft

        It isn’t for me to “make of it what I will” and frankly, I don’t appreciate receiving a condescending response to what is a very serious issue for myself and many others. It doesn’t seem to me that you are taking this very seriously and as I noted previously, the fact that you are still advertising the iplayer red button service on your website is shocking. So far your responses have been vague to say the least. I want to know when the box I bought as a Christmas present just 5 months ago, willwork as advertised.

        • We are taking this issue very seriously and more frustrating for both yourself and us, is that in some regions iPlayer still functions correct for users. We have recently released a new beta firmware which will hopefully give us further clues into resolving the issues with this hardware. We have engineering resource devoted full time into resolving this issue, given we picked up the pieces from a defunct company we are doing the best we can

          • 11 Diane

            How can I get hold of the new beta firmware?

          • Please see our forums for how to join our test group

          • 13 abbey8k

            “BBC HD was replaced by BBC Two HD on all platforms, at 06:00 on 26 March 2013.
            The previous day had seen the channel being removed from the BBC iPlayer accordingly.”

            And the bbc say its nothing to do with them!
            Well done pulse eight for trying to help.

            I hope you’ve received my crash reports from the new firmware.

          • We will have done, and we continue to investigate and work towards a fix

          • 15 abbey8k

            I think people have the perception that you guys are a massive team of boffins working around the clock on this.

            They just need to relax and have patients

          • 16 Andy

            I’d like to help with the beta too. However I’m a bit worried about reports of the “hard drive needs to be initialised” error. Has this been worked on in the latest beta or does this still potentially exist as a bug?

          • It’s only a cosmetic issue, I think TVonics knew about it and could not find a fix, hence they “try and reboot first” text

        • You sir need to get a grip.
          Let them get on with it.
          Yes we are all annoyed with the fact that Iplayer is not currently working but being an ass hole is not going to resolve the issue any sooner!

  4. 19 MartinOnline


    I believe you are being a bit harsh on Pulse-Eight. The BBC claim they have not changed the iPlayer but Tvonics boxes have not been officially updated for a year; and the HV250 for even longer than that. Also, I note that BBC email quoted by Pulse-Eight refers to “the latest iPlayer”.

    If I were in the BBC pursuing this matter and claiming that I had done nothing wrong, I would go back to previous versions of iPlayer with the same data set and confirm that the Tvonics still did not work. Then I would find a data set from a year ago and try that with all the iPlayer versions to eliminate a data-selection problem. I would also take a good look at my controlled “live environment” to compare it in detail with the controlled “test environment”.

    The BBC iPlayer has problems, you only have to look at the iPlayer forum; the Tvonics issue is only one of many, but, I suspect, of very low priority.

    My major complaint against Pulse-Eight is that they do not keep us informed. A regular blog and activity on their own forum would keep us from believing Pulse-Eight do not care and turning many against the box.

    • Martin, I would love to keep more activity, please keep in mind, we are just 3 people! we are doing the best we can


  5. 21 Pete

    andy, lay off Pulse Eight!! If iPlayer stops working, and the firmware on the TVonics boxes didn’t change, then it HAS to be something at the BBC end that has casued the problem, never mind what they might have said!

    Liken it to a cup of tea. The TVonics box is the mug. The teabags are iPlayer. Suddenly your tea doesn’t taste the same as yesterday. The mug hasn’t changed, but the teabag manufacturer says they haven’t changed anything either. So do you start complaining to the mug manufacturer?!?

    You would know about it if the firmware on your TVonics box had changed. It hasn’t. Ergo, Pulse Eight are working with the BBC to find out what did happen, and how to get it sorted. Giving them flak for it isn’t helping.

  6. 22 Derek

    As someone who is new to adding the bbc iplayer (or indeed any internet connection to a television) can someone please advise me if:
    1) You can connect your television via the tvonics (I have the DTR-HV250) with a lead and not the wifi dongle?
    2) It’s possible to access the bbc iplayer by any other means, that is to say other than the “red button”?

    • 1) the HV-250 does not have an ethernet socket, you will need to connect the WiFi dongle
      2) only red button MHEG service is available


  7. It is now over two months since this blog was posted, surely there has been some development that we would be interested to hear about or should we send you our deficient boxes so we can get something that works.

    Other set-top boxes seem to be able to deal with iPlayers platform changes, so it shouldn’t be beyond the realms of Pulse-Eights technical competency to write a firmware update and release it tout suite.

    • Hi Steve,

      If Microsoft went bust, and you purchased the remaining IP to Windows without any of their staff, could you make a fix to address a security concern easily?

      While I don’t want to be on the attack, this is not an easy thing to resolve, especially when are a very small company and we are having to learn about the code currently in use, we are working with the BBC and have a fix that is in the works. It should be out shortly


      • 26 andymedcraft

        All we seem to hear are excuses! Am not particularly bothered whether you are a one man band or a multinational, you bought this company’s assets with open eyes and now we are your customers and deserve more respect than the shoddy treatment received thus far. I admit you were very helpful, for about 5 minutes. The fact remains though that for half the time I have had my box, which I bought from you not tvonics, it hasn’t worked as advertised.

        • Andy, as you’ve said, we purchased the assets, not their knowledge. If you believe you purchased something that is not functioning according to the features advertised, do try and return it. But, I must re-iterate that the iPlayer service is a third party service not directly provided by us and may become unavailable at any time in the future once we have resolved this issue.

    • 28 andymedcraft

      Agreed. I’m going to be pushing for a refund for my box which ive only had since Christmas, unless I hear some positive news very soon.

  8. 29 Selina

    Hello. Been folliwing the blog since April & have tried downloading the software to tackle this. It appears to download ok but then we get a message saying No upgrade availabe. I’ve checked the network connetion in network settings and all appears ok. Can you advise please.

    • what model of box do you have and what firmware is already on the box?

      • 31 Selina

        That was fast. We have DTR Z500HD.
        I can’t work out how to find out what firmware is via menu or in instructions sorry….only reference I found was to software version v2.0Axxxx.Dxxx.F100 onwards??

        • Goto download the latest update from their first and try again, thanks

          • 33 Selina

            Thanks so much. Sounds a bit complicated for me to attempt on my own but I’ll get some help later to give it a go. Thanks again for your speedy advise.

          • 34 Selina

            Hi – couldn’t find any downloads on the soapdrama web only descriptions of the updates.

            Did locate our firmware version V2.0.A1947.D341.F101 and on a blog site found a link to a download but it was from this month so again the most recent. I downloaded it to our computer anyway, transfered it to a USB, plugged it in and tried the USB update from the options on the box, message again no update available.
            I am feeling rather thick but is there a web site that gives you the previous downloads that I have to apply first or something else I am missing?

  9. Selina, try that link please

    • 36 Selina

      That worked a treat and I am very happy with the iplayer with sound and no black out on backing out — and I don’t feel thick any more
      Thankyou so very much you have been very fast and very helpful.

  10. 37 Chris

    My box recently updated to version 3 (via network). Previously I had IPlayer sound (when Iplayer worked at all) now I have no sound, to the update has made this issue worse for me. The good news is that there is now beta software to play video from USB (I have not tested this yet), may be there will be video archiving to usb in future?

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