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dave.hartley

Questions About Freeview

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After helping a mate set up Freeview over the weekend when he moved house, I've been mulling it over and doing some research on the 'net about it. I must say, I was quite impressed with the picture quality from the DSE box we bought -- looked very good, even on his 29" CRT.

 

However, I've been thinking about how using a Freeview box would apply to my setup, and wonder if anyone has any comments on these vague thoughts of mine ...

 

  • Obviously, the settop boxes being sold now only allow you to tune to one channel at a time. Does anyone know of anything like the MySky setup with an HD Recorder in the works?
  • Talking about that, has anyone involved with setting up Freeview thought about the amount of re-training it's going to take to get people time-shifting recording programmes off the Freeview box? Getting them trained to use the built-in tuners in our VCRs (which are going to obselete soon!) was hard enough ... now they have to be UN-trained!
  • Looking at the coverage map on the freeview website, I see that good ol' Invercargill doesn't look like it gets a terrestrial transmitter. Does that mean that we will be left out of the HD loop, as it looks unlikely that we'll get Mpeg4 via the satellite feed?
  • Lastly (as an aside), does anyone know if/when Sky will cease its UHF transmission? I only ask as one of the more useful bits I have is a BaseBand decoder plugged into a decoder slot on my aging Sony VCR. Means I can timeshift recording (the limited range of 3) Sky channels if needed in an emergency (although I haven't done THAT for a while!), but if Sky's going to pull that then I maybe need to look at getting MySky ...

(As an aside, looking at the back of the DSE box we got I see there's an optical digital out for audio. Can we hope for DD 5.1 or better in the future?!)

 

Any comments would be most appreciated! :)

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I checked out Freeview at Harvey Normans with a component set up

and it didn't look as good as analog with good aerial reception!

There were bad MPEG artifacts and text was blocky. Dissapointing

as it's meant to be a 4Mb dvd quality stream.

 

Freeviewshops Topfield TF5010PVR has 2 channel support. View one

record the other.

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I am very surprised that you would see obvious mpeg artifacts. Ofcourse it does depend on what display you were watching on. Many LCD and plasma panels introduce their own artifacts that often look similar.

 

I have not noticed any obvious artifacts using a 32" 50Hz CRT. Last I looked TV3/4 were running Constant bit rate at around 6Mb/s, this is well beyond the region where obvious mpeg blocking occurs. I understand that TVNZ recently moved to VBR but with averages of 3Mb/s, however they have a big pool to swim in so should be able to pull 8Mb/s is needed.

 

As for DD5.1, well its upto broadcasters to offer that, I would not be surprised if TVNZ and Canwest offered it on selected shows as the ABC does in Aus.

 

It would appear as though the very south will not get a DVB-T signal, not a lot of punters down there to justify it I guess.

 

Cyril

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Thanks for the comments ... some food for thought there :) I didn't notice any artefacts when I set it up last week -- maybe they were in the actual recording?

 

Hopefully we in the deep south won't lose TOO much by not getting a DVB-T signal (he says hopefully) ...

 

Just another question now -- I've been looking at FreeViewShop's website (lots of goodies to buy there!), and I quite like the look of the Topfield PVR. However, it says this:

 

 

Twin CI allows reception of FTA and Encrypted or Pay TV

Excuse my thickness ... does this mean it can decode Sky as well? Or am I just barking up the wrong tree here ... :confused:

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I am going to have to buy a freeview set box tomorrow, for the one and only reason they are now showing the V8 Supercars Live from Oz on a seperate channel, not delayed like on TV1.

Seems stupid as I already have 3 sky box's in the house.

But I need it for the racing.

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Yes there are HD recorder capable set top boxes. These are dearer than Mysky but at least there is no subscription charge and you get to keep the box.

 

Here is a NZ website that has alot of answers re what hardware is available and what channels you can get (dependant on dish size).FreeTV

 

I would suggest that if you are going the freeview route that (if supported in your area) you make sure that you get a reciever that is capable of terrestrial reception as well as satelite, as satelite will not (at this stage) broadcast HD quality content.

 

As far as the Harvey Norman demo, please be aware that the feed to the TV you were watching was probably not optimal. It could have been routed 30 or 40 meters from the dish to the reciever and then another 30 meters through numerous splitters to 10 or 15 displays. NOT optimal. The displays I have seen look as good as Sky Digital (if not better).

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The PVRs with CA CAM capablility can be used for various encryption systems such as Iredito , ViaAccess and others that are used by smaller Pay operators. The primary interest in NZ for that would be the Optus Aurora service on C1 that gives you access to ABC, SBS & Ch7, however you have to prove you live in an outback region of Aus that is deemed by the ACMA as not have any terrestial TV coverage. The NDS encryption used by Sky requires certain firmware to be resident in the STB as well as a NDS CAM (which on its own does not exist), so there is no way these can be made to decode SkyNZ.

 

Cyril

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