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Freeview Faq (updated July 2010)

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Ok, So what we're saying is that FreeTV have nothing to do with Freeview directly. If so then I'll simply remove reference to FreeTV?

Yup - FreeTV has nothing to do with it.

It just happens that the stations in FreeTV are also in Freeview (but the reverse is not true)

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I'm surprised there's not much discussion about this utterly evil anti-consumer campaign. They are merely trying to elicit a level of control unheard of in Televisions history. Is anyone else scared as hell that people might actually listen to these "other" benefits as fact?

(wolf in sheeps clothing puts it mildly)

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I'm surprised there's not much discussion about this utterly evil anti-consumer campaign. They are merely trying to elicit a level of control unheard of in Televisions history. Is anyone else scared as hell that people might actually listen to these "other" benefits as fact?

Those of us that use these forums can see through the "hype" (15 stations, etc). It's the people that don't that can get fooled by it!!

Cheers

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DSE Freeview FAQ

No where near as comprehensive as your guide Peter, and good to see they aren't telling customers to go out and buy new TVs

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Thanks for compiling and presenting all that information for us & and keep up the good work.

The one key thing that steams me about Freeview ads is the inference that Freeview branded equipment is the only way to access extra channels. I can't remember the wording they use but it seems to me that it is blatantly misleading and self serving. I can certainly understand why their ads have the potential to create confusion. I' be interested to know if anyone else draws the same conclusion.

Cheers,

Brianh

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Thanks for compiling and presenting all that information for us & and keep up the good work.

The one key thing that steams me about Freeview ads is the inference that Freeview branded equipment is the only way to access extra channels. I can't remember the wording they use but it seems to me that it is blatantly misleading and self serving. I can certainly understand why their ads have the potential to create confusion. I' be interested to know if anyone else draws the same conclusion.

Cheers,

Brianh

It certainly is misleading and utterly self serving. I really see it as a last ditched effort of networks to keep control of the audience to satisfy exhorbitant advertising costs based on flawed sampling models of the ratings system.

Perhaps if they stopped paying for 60 Minutes Bollinger Champagne gifts and gold mercedes as company cars they would have time to stop and think about their viewing audiences' real needs. If they start throttling peoples viewing habits they're going to push even more of the next gen onto the net, like there aren't enough there already - don't they get it?

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FreeTV Australia was formerly known as FACTS (Federation of **Commercial** Television Stations) so it definitely does not include ABC/SBS. You really need to remove references to that organisation. Probably applies less in SBS's case :D

Note that many non-Freeview boxes currently have or will have MPEG4 capability already.

Ummm... really?

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Ummm... really?
Yeah, I might tone that down. Its just uncertain if MPEG4 might be a firmware upgrade for many boxes. Was thinking about PVRs like the BW with potentially MPEG4 capability.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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Hey Peter. There are a number of inaccuracies there, highlighted in red with comments below.

Freeview

What is FreeView trying to achieve with this brand?

FreeTV have a number of goals they are trying to achieve with Freeview. Most broadly they

5) Ensure broadcast recordings cannot be transferred to a PC if networks flag a show as such (Digital Rights Management or DRM).

What benefits/drawbacks does Freeview offer?

Freeview box

Must have DRM to potentially stop recordings being offloaded.

What requirements and capabilities must Freeview boxes have?

Freeview have not fully disclosed all of their specifications to the public. However largely Freeview boxes will comprise:

4) The box must have no ad skip capability although fast forward is allowed (see below)

5) The box must have the ability to implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) - still to be confirmed (see below)

Freeview and DRM

It is still unknown just what limitations Freeview are putting on transferring recorded files off a box and onto a PC. The Freeview branded Tivo appears to allow such transfers, while other manufacturers appear to be disabling this capability (file transfers) from their Freeview branded boxes. The best guess so far is that Freeview require all branded boxes to have the capability to ensure that, if the broadcaster wants, they can flag a show as having to remain only on the box. Just what shows a broadcaster might flag in this way is unknown.

No DRM flagging as such. And DRM itself does not stop recordings being transferred to a PC. Either ALL recordings are encrypted (like the TiVo and Homecast HT8200), or the device is unable to transfer 'recordings of TV programs' (like the Beyonwiz FV-L1).

Note that just about any digital STB/PVR (including Frteeview) can output to an analogue DVD Recorder if desired.

What about macrovision? Topfield mistakenly released both 5000 PVR and 7000HT STB firmware a while ago that included macrovision blocking. I doubt freeview would have missed the opportunity to insist on macrovision blocking.

What about ad skipping?

Freeview boxes will however still be able to Fast Forward and Rewind (at up to x60 speed). They will also be able to resume play (continue from where a recording was last stopped) and also likely have some very coarse ability to jump (say at fixed 10% intervals).

Freeview PVRs/DVDRs are limited to 30x fast forward. Percentage jumps aren't allowed because 10% of a 30 minute recording nicely equals 3 minutes of ads. Minimum jumps are normally 10 minutes (not 10%) - handy for quickly getting to the middle of file, but useless for ad skipping.

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Yeah, I might tone that down. Its just uncertain if MPEG4 might be a firmware upgrade for many boxes. Was thinking about PVRs like the BW with potentially MPEG4 capability.

Just change it a tiny bit like: "Note that many non-Freeview boxes already have MPEG4 capable hardware and should only require a firmware update to be made compatable with MPEG4 broadcasts."

Or change it a lot like: "Note that many non-Freeview boxes already have MPEG4 capable hardware and should only require a firmware update to be made compatable with MPEG4 broadcasts, assuming the box is still working or in use if and when MPEG4 ever comes on line."

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Any ideas when freeview will be in full effect in australia ?

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Any ideas when freeview will be in full effect in australia ?
Not sure what 'full effect' means? Its currently here in a number of boxes. and will presumably keep appearing on new ones over the months to come. The only outstanding bit is the Freeview EPG itself. That is not meant to be broadcast until towards the end of the year. Manufacturers also don't have to provide boxes capable of reading the Freeview EPG until the end of the year, and so far it looks like most boxes available today can't/won't be able to get the Freeview EPG.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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Ok, So what we're saying is that FreeTV have nothing to do with Freeview directly. If so then I'll simply remove reference to FreeTV?

Its still got a lot of FreeTV references!

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Its still got a lot of FreeTV references!
Caught out :) Yep I've been a bit tardy. Promise I'll update it tomorrow.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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Nice FAQ.

So basically, Freeview is a desperate attempt by a corporatocracy (TV mafia!) to stifle technology and maintain an outdated, cash-cow business model for as long as possible while making it look like the consumer is getting something new?

Edited by AndrewWilliams

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Seems there is an update on the MHEG5 EPG

A new Freeview service will be launched in Australia on 5th April 2010 following the cutting of a deal between Freeview and Macrovision the owners of over 100 patents in Australia relating to the delivery of content information via an electronic program guide.

Also cutting EPG deals with Macrovision are Sony and Foxtel.

According to Robin Parkes the CEO of Freeview Australia, which is a not for profit organisation owned by several free to air TV stations in Australia, agreement has been reached with Macrovision in the US that will see $6.00 added to the cost over every Freeview device sold in Australia as of April 2010. The new Freeview devices will incorporate MHEG 5 technology which will restrict the recording of content. It will also allow TV stations to deliver a TV commercial in between the 30X fast forward of content.

The $6.00 fee which will be paid by set top box and TV manufacturers as of April will be for the use of a patented Macrovision template that is used in the delivery of common electronic program guide information (EPG) according to Parkes.

She said "We have negotiated a flat volume fee that will not impact small volume manufacturers Vs larger manufacturers. This fee will be paid by the manufacturers who have a Freeview licence".

In recent week's lawyers for Macrovision, who own over 4,000 issued or pending patents and patent applications worldwide have visited Australia to review the delivery of content in EPG's and set top boxes as well via Freeview compliant devices.

The new Freeview devices will incorporate MHEG 5 technology which will restrict the recording of content. It will also allow TV stations to deliver a TV commercial in between the 30X fast forward of content.

- ooohhhh goody! Just what I alwaya wanted :ninja:

Edited by diesel

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On top of all that it will also mean unnecessary bandwidth usage when they are already strained with multiple SD channels. Are Freeview actually lobbying to takeover the D44 and expand that to provide a vehicle for the Freeview extras?

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The new Freeview devices will incorporate MHEG 5 technology which will restrict the recording of content. It will also allow TV stations to deliver a TV commercial in between the 30X fast forward of content.
I've updated the FAQ thanks. This development would tip Freeview PVRs into the 'to be avoided' category I believe. Transferring files to a PC is a niche feature. Ad skipping is also not something many require (FF is plenty fine). However potentially disabling recordings altogether (or perhaps placing a watch within a week limit on some) as well as providing a FF capability that has less power than your average VCR would not be well received even by the lay person.

Freeview would need to either be sold at a significant cost drop or its much vaunted EPG would need to be much more than just a horizontal scrolling grid.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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I wonder if anyone with a Freeview PVR could post about their enjoyment of not being able to skip ad's?

(Yes, dripping with sarcasm there but interested nonetheless)

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Seems there is an update on the MHEG5 EPG

Well they've no doubt convinced many people to specifically avoid a 'freeview' certified box. Idiocy.

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What's the situation right now? Do current Freeview branded PVRs let you FF at (up to) 30x through ads or not? Is it just the forthcoming MHEG5 that will restrict this? Or is this more unreliable "news" from Smarthouse?

Does anyone here actually own a Freeview PVR yet?

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This development would tip Freeview PVRs into the 'to be avoided' category I believe. Transferring files to a PC is a niche feature. Ad skipping is also not something many require (FF is plenty fine). However potentially disabling recordings altogether (or perhaps placing a watch within a week limit on some) as well as providing a FF capability that has less power than your average VCR would not be well received even by the lay person.
Peter, I notice that at the moment, the only Freeview branded gear has been PVRs and STBs. DVDRs seem to be non-compliant at the moment and this may just feed the sales of DVDRs over PVRs.
I wonder if anyone with a Freeview PVR could post about their enjoyment of not being able to skip ad's?
There's a few on the BW forum with the FV-L1 model (the Freeview version) and they don't see skipping or transferring of content to be a major feature and so are happy with the hobbled units.

Most of the circle of friends and work colleagues I have, still see DVDRs as the digital evolution of VCRs and PVRs are just not even on the horizon. TiVo has raised PVR awareness slightly, but being able to hold a "disc" is still attractive to them even after many attempts by me to show otherwise.

What's the situation right now? Do current Freeview branded PVRs let you FF at (up to) 30x through ads or not? Is it just the forthcoming MHEG5 that will restrict this?
The BW Freeview model has FFwd/RRwd but no skipping of FTA recordings - though skipping of media files is allowed. You also cannot transfer FTA recordings off the BW's internal HDD

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DVDRs seem to be non-compliant at the moment and this may just feed the sales of DVDRs over PVRs.

DVDRs would seem unlikely to comply for a while. Their capacity to burn a recording would largely preclude them (and all current models are pretty much analogue or SD based).

What's the situation right now? Do current Freeview branded PVRs let you FF at (up to) 30x through ads or not? Is it just the forthcoming MHEG5 that will restrict this? Or is this more unreliable "news" from Smarthouse? Does anyone here actually own a Freeview PVR yet?

Note that many of the restrictions of Freeview are essentially optional as far as I can see (optional for the broadcaster that is). They can choose to insert ads while FF. They can choose to dissallow duplicate (ofloading to a PC) or even not allow you to record a show at all. However to date the networks have been reticent to go down these paths. We only know that a Freeview box must have the potential to do all this.

But that said, current FV boxes have no ad skipping and unimpeded FF (to x30 speed). It also looks like they are largely incompatible with the Freeview EPG (when it finally is broadcast)

As I noted, there really seems only downsides at the moment to buying a Freeview model - not a single benefit beyond the sticker.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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I've updated the FAQ thanks.

Still full of FreeTV references.

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Still full of FreeTV references.
Had another edit. Its made a little complex by the fact that much of the impetus and announcements about Freeview has come from FreeTV.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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