Panasonic rolls out iPlayer update for 2009 Freesat TVs

Update: adds Twitter too

Panasonic has just rolled out the long-awaited update to 2009 Freesat TVs, to enable users to access BBC iPlayer via the red button service.

However, it’s not immediately obvious to users – if you go to the Setup menu and tell the set to look for new software, it won’t find any, as it doesn’t appear to be broadcast “over the air”, that is via the satellite signal.

Instead, you need to start the VieraCast function by pressing the dedicated button on the remote control, and you’ll then see a screen telling you there’s new software available. Click OK, then select Yes, and the software will download via your internet connection. So, you’ll obviously need the TV connected to the net to download the update, but you have to do that for iPlayer anyway (and see this article for my recommendations on how to connect up a set).

I’ve tried this on my set, which is one of the V10 models. I’d love to hear from other people with 2009 models, so we can establish whether or not the update is available across all the VieraCast models from that year.

When you’ve updated, your set’s software version will be 2.303.

Panasonic's Twitter Client
Now you can tweet from your TV! Panasonic's Twitter client, shown here running on a 2009 V10 series Freesat TV

This update also adds a Twitter client to the set, which is a surprise – I thought that it would only feature on 2010 models, which have USB ports and keyboard support. But you’ll find Twitter in there too, and you can compose messages, if somewhat laboriously, using the numeric keypad on the remote control.

Thanks to GreenBars on the Digital Spy forums for the heads up on iPlayer.

105 Replies to “Panasonic rolls out iPlayer update for 2009 Freesat TVs”

    1. The G10 model doesn’t have the full VieraCast functionality of the G15, V10 and Z1 models introduced the same year. So, perhaps it’ll be the case that those will have to wait for the update to be broadcast by satellite.
      What happens on a G10 when you press the VieraCast button on the remote?

  1. well, that’s just the problem…it doesn’t have one!! Guess I’ll have to just wait for satellite update.

  2. I’ve put that question to the Panasonic PR team. However, don’t expect an immediate reply – they’re probably all busy with the big IFA show that starts in Berlin tomorrow.

  3. [QUOTE]
    The G10 model doesn’t have the full VieraCast functionality of the G15, V10 and Z1 models introduced the same year. So, perhaps it’ll be the case that those will have to wait for the update to be broadcast by satellite.
    [/QUOTE]

    Does this apply to LCD as well as plasma?

  4. Has anyone with a non VieraCast set tried the Software Update function in the Menu->Setup Menu->Link Settings->Network Setup (if it is present on these sets)?

  5. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Do the internet updates have an an expiry AFAYK ?

    I would like to wait to see if anyone else tries it.

    Last time I updated my software the satellite tuner part failed a few days later. May be unrelated but a coincidence.

    I have a v10 lcd.

  6. As long as the servers are online I guess.

    You have the same set as me 🙂
    I had to get this one because I could see (and still can) the plasma’s refreshing. Gave me headaches. Sensitive vision I guess.

    Have you noticed any chage in picture quality after the update or is my mind playing tricks on me. Perhaps attributed to the previous comment.

    Do you know if John Lewis would take it back under the 5 years , if it was updated via software and caused it to be faulty?
    I know 99 times of 100 this will not be the case but good to know just incase.

  7. I’ve noticed any change, but then tonight I’ve mostly also been watching 1970s material from DVD and a Bond film on ITV2, neither of which is exactly stellar quality anyway.

    Unless a problem was widely reported, I don’t think a return due to a software update would be that easy.

    Very cautious people may want to wait for more people to give feedback, but I think it’s likely that there’s little in this update other than the chages for iPlayer and adding Twitter to VieraCast, so other issues would seem pretty unlikely to me.

  8. Well, I tried again this morning in the hope that the magic update fairies had done their thing over night…alas, the lazy cows hadn’t…

  9. Just read on another forum that Over The Air updates commence 7th until 13th Sept for the G10′s and 20th – 24th for the G15′s. Only another week to wait…

  10. I’ve also seen the 7 September date. Yes, it’s only another week to wait. But are we waiting for the iPlayer or another letdown from Panasonic?

  11. Updated 50inch V10 on Wed 1st September via viera cast. Worked fine and iplayer quality very good on higher qualiy option.

  12. Installed today on a ’09 G15 via Viera Cast update. TV connected using Wireless adaptor but streams fine. Picture is quite soft though. Has crashed a few times when going to the ‘Categories’ page.

  13. downloaded on my 09 42″ V10.

    it’s added twitter, but i had iplayer on freesat via the red button already. has this update added anything to that?

  14. my 2009 G10 has just found an updated software version (1.617). Took about 10-15 minutes to download over the air and another 3-4 to install and then TV re-initialises itself which takes about 2 minutes. You can then access iPlayer through the red button and selecting iplayer Beta (or page 7001). The interface isn’t great but it’s functional. Looks like a standard quality TV picture

  15. That’s great news, as the G10 can’t get the update via the internet.

    If you have a G10 and don’t have the update yet, make sure the menu option to search for updates in standby is turned on, or use the option to check for an update right now.

    Even if you normally turn you set off overnight, I’d advise leaving in standby until the update has happened,

  16. So, if I understand this correctly even though I have my V10 connected to the Internet and I have updated the TV firmware correctly, I cannot get at the iPlayer unless I have a Freesat connection?

    If so, it’s a shame I can’t download the iPlayer software to the TV simply over the Internet.

  17. Yes, that’s right. This update enables the enhanced interactive (red button) Freesat functionality, which uses the Freesat data stream to proving the iPlayer app to the TV.
    It the connects to the net to get the rest of the data, and the actual video.
    The advantage is that once a bit of kit has that red button update, any Freesat receiver can get iPlayer (and ITV Player soon). the BBC don’t have to do special versions for all the various connected TV systems, like VieraCast.
    But the downside is that it’s only available to dish users, as the initial app is delivered that way.

  18. Updated my G10 manually this morning, pleasantly surprised that my scepticism (Sep 02 above) was this time not justified.

    Nigel, I hope your remark in the preceding post means the software is not dedicated to the BBC, and that Panasonic owners won’t have to wait for ages to use the ITV player when it goes on Freesat.

  19. Thanks for the clarification Nigel. A shame for me, guess it’ll be laptop iPlayer over DVI for the forseeable future then!

  20. I imagine that once everything is rolled out for iPlayer, the ITV version will be good to go.
    I’ll see if I can get a definite comment, but it seems to me the BBC are working with the maufacturers to get this part – the IPTV stuff – of their interactive engines sorted out. As it’s a defined set of extensions to the MHEG standard, as long as other channels use the standard (and they have no reason not to), then all should be ok. That’s the advantage of doing things this way.

  21. I have a G10, but do not have Freesat. How can I get the latest firmware. I tried doing an over the air search but it didn’t find anything as I believe the upgdrade is available only over Freesat. Does anyone know if there is anyother method.

  22. I don’t expect – but I shall try to confirm – that this update will be broadcast on Freeview, as Twitter aside, which you wouldn’t get on a G10 anyway, it’s mostly just for iPlayer, which is delivered using a Freesat datastream, anyway.
    So, if you don’t have a dish, not much point worrying. If you are desperate for iPlayer, you could put up a dish. It’s fairly easy, and can even be on a patio, as mine is, rather than high up on a house.

  23. Thanks a lot Nigel. I thought it might use the LAN port for the iplayer service. I have heard people updating firmwares using SD card, but could not where to download the firmware from.

  24. I’m sure my set-up isn’t unusual – I have 2 sat feeds going into my Sky HD box. To access BBC iPlayer on the TV do I really need a third sat feed into my ethernet connected 2009 V10? Wiring that in is a major pain in the ars….why couldn’t the access be via Viera Cast?????

    1. Yes, you do.
      And the reason is that that’s the way these sets were designed; iPlayer on these sets has always been on the roadmap as a part of Freesat, not as part of anything else. By doing it that way, it means the BBC just does one version of iPlayer, and all properly-compliant Freesat kit gets it, and will see whatever version the BBC rolls out for iPlayer. All the TV makers have to do is make sure their set meets the spec for Freesat, and in particular the interactive part.
      When that’s done, then everything happens pretty much automatically. There’s no need for TV makers to have servers or infrastructure of their own, or to make updates to any systems they already have. And it also means, on a slightly different level, no need for the various legal agreements and secure certificates that have to be arranged with each company that does have its own iPlayer implementation. Less programming and paperwork all round.
      If Panasonic wanted to put iPlayer on VieraCast, I daresay they could, but it would probably be a lot of work, for them and the BBC, and those users who have Freesat on their sets would end up with two different ways to access it, which someone will have probably have deemed too confusing from a support point of view.
      They couldn’t not do it via Freesat, given that this was a promised facility at the launch – even the delay in providing the update garnered them a fair few grumpy customers saying “I’ll never buy Panasonic again” – and that too probably counted against putting resources into a VieraCast version.

  25. Just updated my G10 and am pleased to report that iPlayer is a lot faster than the iPlayer on my Humax recorder.
    The Humax was drving me nuts as every time you pressed a button you waited for ages for the response. I can’t uderstand why the Humax is so slow. I can accept that when starting to view it needs to build a buffer, but why is navigation so slow?
    Anyway, Panasonic have done the business and come up with a reasonably responsive iPlayer, so I don’t need the Humax.

  26. followed all intructions correctly and installed the update on my V10, and then got faulty dish message. Turned TV off then on twice and problem cleared.

  27. my G10 has just download the software update, but iplayer has not appeared when pressing the red button. It still says at the bottom of the list Iplayer coming soon go to page 7001 for info. Should i do anything else

    1. Check the network connection to your TV – if you don’t have the network connected and working correctly, then you’ll still see the beta test message. When the connection is working, then the iPlayer option appears on the menu.

  28. Updated ok via Vieracast on G15 12/9/10 – all working fine – reasonable pic on HQ setting – bit fuzzy on standard – got ^mb connection not watched anything for length of time most things are recorded on Sky + but this will be handy if forgotton to set something

  29. Can someone please help? I have been going nuts trying to get iplayer onto my panasonic tv.
    I thought I’d done everything required, got a network connection, got a panasonic tx-l37g10b tv purchased last year.
    But no mater what I do I cannot update the software to the newer version and the OTA update expires tomorrow .
    Am I doing everything, is my tv not the correct model!!

    1. Have you got the option enabled to check for updates in standby?
      Another alternative might be to do a full re-installation, as that usually includes a check for the software update.

  30. Thanks for the assistance.
    I’ve got the software update enabled, and tried about 10 times to manually update. But it doesn’t find the newer software.
    I have also tried setting the tv back factory defaults.
    Plus I know my dish was a bit old and the reception wasn’t the best, so had a new dish put up this morning.
    If my tv ends in g10 is that ready for the update? I can’t think of anything else.
    Once again Nigel thanks for your help.

    1. Hmmm; I’m afraid I can’t think of what else to try – the G10 should pick it up automatically.
      Do you have a network connection on the TV at the moment?

  31. Yes. I’ve got the enthernet cable in, and i also checked it was working buy plugging it into my panny blu ray player and that worked fine. I get the feeling if I could just get the software to update then it will work. Should I leave the tv on stand by overnight would that help?

  32. I’m having the same issue as Darren.

    I’m thinking that the software update has been pulled. After all today is the 13th and it was only supposed to be available until today.

    My G10 has been on standby all day plus I’ve also tried forcing a download.

    Will they make the update available again or have we missed the boat? I can’t believe they only provide such a small window of opportunity to upgrade!

  33. Seem to be having the same probs as other people. Tried updating to the new software but it says software is up to date – its ver 1.603 – on my TX-P42G10B. Also got the ethernet cable plugged in but no difference. Going to email Panasonic to try to get some answers. Fed up watching iPlayer on my laptop! Thanks for the answers. Mike

  34. We’ve waited months for iplayer on G10s, surely Panasonic are not limiting downloads to a few days. I’ve tried downloading updated software several times this evening to be told 1.604 is the latest. I’d like to know what to do next. Any ideas?

    1. It will most likely be repeated at some stage.
      The way this works on Freeview (and I think Freesat’s update system is much the same) is that there’s a shared channel for updates that’s used by all manufacturers, and so obviously no single manufacturer can be allowed to monopolise it.
      An update will typically go out in the first available slot after it’s been approved, for a week or so, and will then be repeated some weeks later, and possibly again after that.
      A couple of repeats will usually cover most users, unless they always switch off completely overnight. So, don’t panic if you’ve missed the transmission this time round. It will almost certainly be repeated at a later date.

  35. Thanks for the prompt reply Nigel. I always switch off overnight but will clearly have to change the habits of a lifetime. Is there no other way of downloading it? From the internet? I read on one of the blogs that such downloads can be put on an SD card and loaded up via the SD slot on the TV – I’m not too keen on doing this but would give it a go if I thought it might work without creating any problems.

    1. The G10 doesn’t have the VieraCast facility, so can’t grab the update from the internet itself. There’s a setting for auto search in standby which you need to enable from the menus to ensure the set will pick up the update when it’s next broadcast.
      I’ll see if I can find out from my people at Panasonic whether or not they’ll be able to provide a SD card version of the update.

  36. An SD card version would be great. Failing that perhaps Panasonic can give an indication of when satellite updates will recommence for G10s?

  37. This is all very well for the sets purchased in 2009, but what about us 2008 Panny owners? We were first in supporting Freesat, when prices were at a high, and were promised iplayer right from the start, but it looks like we will be last to get it. All we are is TBC on the update lists. Doesn’t say much about Panasonic’s commitment to their loyal customers. TBC indeed!

  38. Any news about when the update is going to be broadcast again for th G10’s, or if an SD version will be available for download? I am emailing Panasonic right now and if I get any news from them I post here.
    If anyone already know please let me know!

  39. Hi, Any more news regarding the i-player update for the G10B? I’ve been away on holiday and completely missed the recent update session. Is this going to be repeated and if so when? Thanks, Andrew

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