Beyond Lilyhammer

Ex-Pat TV brings Norwegian television and music channels to your TV or iPad

Photo: Emily C. Skaftun You can watch NRK in the USA with Ex-Pat TV.

Photo: Emily C. Skaftun
You can watch NRK in the USA with Ex-Pat TV.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Ever wanted to keep up to date on your favorite Norwegian TV show or watch the matches of your Tippeligaen team but couldn’t find a way? Well, Ex-Pat TV was created to help you solve that problem. The Ex-Pat TV system offers two products: the TV Set Top Box and the iPad app.

The Set Top Box allows you to plug the system directly into your TV—using either an HDMI or RCA cable—and watch Norwegian TV live right on your big screen. All you need is a TV and a broadband connection of 0.9Mb.

The box doesn’t use WiFi, however; you’ll need to use the Ethernet cable to connect it to your router. This may be a problem if your router isn’t located near your TV, but you could always supply your own, longer Ethernet cable if necessary.

Once your box is set up, you will use the provided remote control to navigate the TV guide, which provides a short description of the show and the time remaining and is color categorized by genre (news, sports, music, etc.). One of the interesting features of the guide is the ability to hide certain genres. For example, if you’re not a sports fan, you can opt to hide the sports showings from the guide, and these time slots will appear blank. The system uses a time-shift facility based on your location so that if you watch in the evening, you are actually viewing the shows that air in the evening in Norway—rather than in the middle of the night!

The full package includes 20 channels (NRK 1, NRK 2, NRK 3, TV2 Nyhetskanalen, TV2 Norway, TV3 Norway, TV2 Zebra Norway, TV2 Bliss Norway, TV Norge, FEM Norway, MAX Norway, C More Fotball, TV2 Sport Norway, TV 6 Norway, Viasat 4, VOX Norway, Disney Channel Norway, Discovery Channel Norway, Eurosport Norway, and Golf Norway) and 15 radio stations. There is also a basic package available with just the first four channels.

You pay a (somewhat hefty) one-time fee for the box itself, then the service runs on a monthly subscription. Pricing is in British Pounds, but currently works out to around $46 per month for the full service.

My favorite feature is the Catch Up Service, essentially the “On Demand” of Ex-Pat TV. By going to Channel 0 or the top of the guide, you have access to hundreds of recordings of shows on the most popular channels. Since these are recordings, you can pause the show, rewind, or fast forward through commercials. These titles remain available for two weeks.

Although Norwegian subtitles are available on the shows in English or other languages, they are not available for the Norwegian shows. In my opinion, this would be a nice feature—both for those with hearing impairments and for language learners.

I also found the interface to be a bit less user-friendly than what I’m used to, but I got the hang of it once I spent some time using it. The same goes for the picture quality; it’s sufficient, but it won’t stand up to your Blu-Rays. I did encounter some issues with the picture freezing occasionally, but it worked well the majority of the time.

The Ex-Pat TV app for the iPad works in much the same way but is definitely a bit slower and harder to use than the box. When you choose a title and click play, expect a delay as it takes a while to buffer.

All in all, if you want to watch Norwegian TV and don’t mind putting up with a few glitches here and there, I recommend the Ex-Pat TV system.

To learn more about this service, visit www.mytvabroad.com/naweekly.

This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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