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#20727 4-Apr-2008 08:32
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Hi  there

Can anyone provide further details in regards to the (apparent) issues with releasing a PVR with Freeview terrestrial decoder(s) built in?
I’ve been advised by Freeviewshop that “the lack of EIT EPG (not broadcast) makes this currently impossible (or nearly)”. 
 From what I have read elsewhere, “They (Freeview) have decided with their great wisdom to go against the DVB standard and not supply EIT data (Event Information Table). This is how data is received on non-Freeview certified boxes and on Sky. They decided to use the MHEG-5 (their official, crippled EPG) instead.” That was being raised as a potential issue for Sony’s PlayTV, but it appears to also be a problem in developing PVRs for the terrestrial service (though clearly not for the satellite service, as at least one model is already available). My questions are: will this issue be able to be overcome by manufacturers of PVRs? If so, how easy will this be, and how long can we expect to wait until they’re on the market? I understand that Freeview is intending to release a PVR in “the third quarter of 2008” (, which I understand will be for the terrestrial service, and the same article indicates will be configured with Freeviews EPG. So, I assume we’ll be able to buy Freeview-“approved” PVRs, but will it be difficult for mainstream to produce something similar?

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  #120980 4-Apr-2008 08:58
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The only issue is with developers or manufacturers who choose not to impliment MHEG5. This is an open protocol and the specifications are readily available so it's not difficult, MythTV for example had MHEG5 support included in it.

You can argue that Freeview have "broken" the standard by not including the 8 day EPG as part of the EIT tables but they have made it very clear from day 1 that EIT tables on terrestrial would only be now/next. This in part seems to have been done to ensure standardisation between all STB's and TV's and by forcing manufacturers to impliment MHEG to get the EPG is a way of controlling this.

MHEG5 middleware has been chosen by most new rollouts including Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. It's not like NZ are just going it alone on this.


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  #121008 4-Apr-2008 10:20
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The DVB Spec only requires Now/Next to be in EIT, it doesn't mandate 7 days worth of data.

In the case of DTT here in NZ the aim is for PVRs to be programmed via the MHEG-5 data.and if possible utilise the MHEG-5 on screen guide.

In the case of MythTV we can currently display the MHEG-5 guide for DTH and DTT but it can't be used for programming as the specification for callbacks from the guide to program a recording haven't been released yet.

Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat APAC as a Technology Evangelist and Portfolio Architect. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.


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  #121013 4-Apr-2008 10:55
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Thanks for the replies - useful stuff.

Am I right in taking from these replies that it's essentially just a matter of time until DTV(T) PVRs are available?; and that the influencing factors on this include:

* the release of information by Freeview as some of the detail as to how the EPG will function (in that I'm assuming if you are waiting for this information for Myth TV, others also require it)

* related, the ability to extract the relevant data from the EPG

* a wider adoption of MHEG5 by other countries (which is happening) which will (hopefully) lead to a level of economies of scale that means mainstream companies will become interested in producing appropriate PVRs.

If Freeview is talking about releasing a PVR later this year, hopefully other companies won't be too far behind...

This info has put me far closer towards a decision to hold off at the moment from buying a STB; I can't really justify spending $400 at the moment only to want to spend probably over twice that in the next year or so for a PVR (well, I can to myself, but not to my partner, not with a baby and a single income!).

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