How to do VoIP Internet Telephony at Home

When we moved to the UK from Germany in 2013 we quickly discovered BT’s high and fiddly telephone call pricing structure which soon got me thinking about how to bypass as much of their service as I could. Cheap calls and simpler pricing was a must.

Setting up a SIP phone to do VoIP (voice over IP) seemed like a good solution to reduce call costs and also make adding further landline numbers cheap and easy, SIP being part of the VoIP family of technologies. Read more about SIP vs VoIP here.

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Turn an old TV into a Smart TV

So here’s something that has worked well. We had an old TV that we wanted to give new life to in the form of so called ‘Smart TV’ functionality and went for an external streaming device. There are a few manufacturers producing external devices, Amazon has its Fire TV, Google has Chromecast but there are alternatives too.

After some research, we went for a Roku streaming stick which was cheap, low res (since the TV is low res) and it has a wide variety of streaming channels available such as Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, BBC iPlayer, Wuaki and more. The Roku even has a phone app for an extra control option.

If you want to go this route to upgrade an old TV, consider whether you want ethernet and/or WiFi connectivity, the resolution needed, i.e. does your TV and connection support the high resolution offered by the device? and services offered. Also consider vendor restrictions, e.g. will a Google or Amazon device lock out other vendors. The Roku is neutral in this respect which was appealing.