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550 posts

Ultimate Geek

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#20622 1-Apr-2008 09:46
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Hi all,

As a blind person, I've been investigating ways of getting Freeview in as accessible a form possible. I was investigating integrating it into my Media Center, but for now, that appears problematic.

One of my big issues is getting the programme guide in a form I can use. In the UK, there are set top boxes available that speak the Freeview Guide. However, would set top boxes from the UK be compatible with DTT Freeview here?

There are three issues that may be stumbling blocks as I see it, the frequencies used over there, the format of the guide data, and the codec. Am I right in inferring that the codec we are using for DTT is different?

Thanks for any help.


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217 posts

Master Geek

  #120985 4-Apr-2008 09:10
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Hi Jonathan,

In both the UK and NZ, freeview is broadcast via satellite and terrestrial. This is DVB-S and DVB-T respectively.

The terrestrial broadcasts do indeed use a different codec - H.264 in NZ, MPEG2 in the UK. However, the guide data is a slightly different creature from the program broadcasts. I believe that terrestrial contains two EPG guides. The first is delivered using EIT and displays only "now and next". The full 7-day or 14-day guide is delivered using MHEG5. I'm not sure whether the UK tererstial boxes used MHEG5, I think they used EIT for all EPG programming.

[edit] As Cyril stated below, DVB-S doesn't contain an EPG, and the DVB-T EPG formats are different between here and the UK [/edit]



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Uber Geek

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  #120995 4-Apr-2008 09:43
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Just to clarify, currently in the UK you can get DVB-T FreeView which uses mpeg2 not mpeg4, so no pictures, and no sound as NZ uses HE-AAC as the audio codec. The UK also uses mheg5 for epg, however I dont believe it is compatible with the NZ mheg5 implementation. EIT is transmitted on both the UK and NZ DVB-T systems as this is a baseline standard requirement.

So I do not believe you would be able to use any real aspects of a UK FreeView DVB-T STB here.

As for FTA satellite in UK, any DVB-S FTA STB can be used to see the BBC and some ITV channels, however there is no EPG. If you get the FreeSat on Sky service which uses a SkyUK decoder (you buy your own in UK rather than rent) you pay a one off fee of around 20quid for a Sky FreeSat card and you gain access to the BBC, all ITV channels and about 40other stocking filler channels on Sky, you also get the Sky EPG.

UK has only just announced the launch of a new FreeView Sat service, this will be mpeg4 based and include HD, currently the plans to upgrade the UK DTT service to mpeg4 and HD are on hold till the analog network is fully shutdown.


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Uber Geek


  #121069 4-Apr-2008 14:08
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Could this be stickied?
seems to be popping up a bit

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217 posts

Master Geek

  #121098 4-Apr-2008 15:09
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Might be wirth taking Cyril's response and making that sticky with a title like "NZ versus UK freeview standards and compatibility" rather than sticky-ing the whole thread.

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