Thai TV in the USA?
April 19, 2018 3:05 PM   Subscribe

My grandma is visiting us for a month and change, and has repeatedly expressed a desire to watch Thai TV, especially news. I'd appreciate the hive mind's input on how I can make this happen.

When she visited us last year, I was able to turn on some older TV programming via Youtube, thanks to my Amazon FireStick. The Youtube-Amazon interface has become a lot more painful over the past few months. I was particularly saddened by the fact that I couldn't seem to get Grandma to understand that, because this was Youtube, it wasn't going to be live.

So I'm writing now in hopes of finding a more permanent solution. I guess I need a VPN of some kind, but I'm not quite sure what I'd do with it once I had one. We would prefer to have things on the large TV screen, if possible, because a tablet or something similar would be very difficult for grandma to manage. Ideally I want to be able to leave it on for extended periods and not have to fuss with changing the playing video, or whatever.

We have access to an Amazon FireStick, and the standard Comcast/Xfinity services here. I note that the FireStick is considerably more accessible, from my perspective as a totally blind user who would likely be doing most of the setup.
posted by Alensin to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like there are a handful of unencrypted Thai TV satellite channels that are are accessible all over the globe. It might require a lot of research, but it looks like it's possible to buy the satellite dish (and maybe a motor?) and receiver, then pull in satellite signals without any type of ongoing subscription.

Here's a step by step guide from a company that's selling some of the supplies. And here's a list of Thai "free to air" TV stations from another company.
posted by reeddavid at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2018

I haven't used this before, but it looks like ThaiFlix can be used with a Roku. So maybe a month membership to that (~$14) + a Roku streaming stick (~$50)? [For a site like this where I don't know their security practices, I'd use a pre-paid credit card from the store for membership.)
posted by bluecore at 4:52 PM on April 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Per Wikipedia here's the live stream of Thai PBS which simply plays in my web browser.

I'm in the U.S., so it doesn't appear to be geo-locked; and I'm viewing it in the Firefox browser on a very old laptop running Linux. The Wikipedia page for the Amazon Fire TV says, "In December 2017, Mozilla launched a Fire TV version of the Mozilla Firefox browser." So hopefully playing it on your large TV screen is as simple as opening that URL in Firefox and pressing the "full screen" button in the web page.

Clicking around, many other entries in Wikipedia's list of television stations in Thailand offer streaming links. (Though of course they may be geo-locked or outdated links which don't work any more.)
posted by XMLicious at 8:04 PM on April 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Malimar TV says it's "the leading entertainment service for the Lao, Thai, Khmer and Hmong community." For $14/month, you can get a couple of dozen live Thai channels. But it looks like if you want to do it through the TV, you'd have to get a Roku (which start around $30).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:46 AM on April 20, 2018

There are a lot of paid IPTV services that can be viewed in a few different ways, though almost all of them will work on anything that can run Kodi, which includes the Fire Stick.

Depending on the provider you'll either just get a list of channels or a guide interface more like cable TV. There's an obviously named subreddit dedicated to the topic where many are of these services are advertised.

$10 spent on one of the providers that focus on Asia will certainly get your grandma what she's looking for.

Also, Dish's Sling TV streaming service has a bunch of various foreign addon options, though I don't know that any of them are specifically something you're looking for. IIRC their cheapest plan is $20 a month and the addons are $5-$10 each.
posted by wierdo at 11:10 AM on April 20, 2018

Response by poster: Wonderful, all! ;) I think a Satellite dish is probably a bit overkill just for a month or so, but the Thai PBS stuff sounds like just the ticket.

I'll also look into other options y'all have posted. Thanks for the help!
posted by Alensin at 11:38 AM on April 20, 2018

« Older What sort of things would a new mom enjoy knitting...   |   Traveling with friends. Should I offer to help... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.