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BDFL - Memuneh
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Topic # 31091 4-Mar-2009 11:41
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Hello folks. We have arranged with Freeview to have a new round of Q&A discussions here on Geekzone. The idea is that we will have this discussion open for a week or so (through 11th March) and lock this discussion while Freeview answers the questions.

We will then re-open the thread with their reply and leave it open for people to discuss. We will then follow with another discussion thread some time later and so on.

If you show enough interest (and please make it clear in your posts) we could even organise some live on-line chat to have Freeview discussing the answers with you guys.

So start with your questions below for this second round...








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  Reply # 199203 4-Mar-2009 13:57
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A few questions from the last tread I did not have answered:

 

1/ with the present transmission licences you have; how many extra channels could be added using the free space? (obsviously dependant on signal type SD/HD etc?)

2/ with satellite I could understand it would expensive to offer space to other broadcasters; but with DTV-T, could free space be offered cheaply (even if it was only lower quality SD) to free to air international channels like BBC World, DWTV, VOA etc with possibly a small amount local advertising to cover some cost? I would think that such a move would significantly boost veiwing numbers and would eventually improve everyones bottom lines?

 

3/ As the response to the new TVworks channel 3+1 seems to have been luke warm to say the best; and it would appear that TVworks does not have any new content to bring to our screens, would it be possible to negotiate with them to relieve them of their obligations to another channel by early 2010, and give it to another operator who could provide something different? I think most people would feel that they need 4+1 like a hole in the head!

 

Also a new one:

 

Why is Stratos not on DVB-T?


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  Reply # 199242 4-Mar-2009 16:42
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Any update on DVB-T for the engine room of the country, Southland?

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  Reply # 199393 5-Mar-2009 12:12
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After contacting Freeview via the web site asking about coverage in Upper Hutt, I was told "There are no plans to extend the coverage outside the initial nine areas"

According to all the maps that I look at Upper Hutt is in the Wellington area so why is there little or no coverage for large areas of Upper Hutt? Are there any plans to increase the coverage? Maybe using Mt Climie?

As it stands I am only able to use the DVB-S service which is fine but I would like to go HD which I can't get via the satellite.




 

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  Reply # 199690 6-Mar-2009 22:28
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Will the Freeview platform support pay channels in future?
If so, what equipment will viewers need?
Is Freeview aware of any planned channels and/or start dates?




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  Reply # 199738 7-Mar-2009 12:12
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Tockly: After contacting Freeview via the web site asking about coverage in Upper Hutt, I was told "There are no plans to extend the coverage outside the initial nine areas"

According to all the maps that I look at Upper Hutt is in the Wellington area so why is there little or no coverage for large areas of Upper Hutt? Are there any plans to increase the coverage? Maybe using Mt Climie?

As it stands I am only able to use the DVB-S service which is fine but I would like to go HD which I can't get via the satellite.


While I'm going a little OT as this is just for questions I'd be interested to know whether you have actually tried to receive Freeview|HD or had an aerial installer visit installer or just assumed it's not available?

Freeview|HD is available in most parts of Upper Hutt and a SFN transmitter is co-sited with the Vodafone site above Haywards and delivers coverage into Stokes Valley, Silverstream and most of Upper Hutt. There are deadspots however including Riverstone Terraces and Birchville area but the Valley basin as a whole does receive good coverage but a well installed UHF aerial is essential.

If you're in need of an installer who would be able to tell you straight away whether you can get it send me a PM and I'll give you his details.

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  Reply # 199740 7-Mar-2009 12:17
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Assuming the TVNZ Tivo deal is not simply rumor and does go through what's Freeview's opinion of this deal? 
 

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  Reply # 200580 11-Mar-2009 11:56
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sbiddle: While I'm going a little OT as this is just for questions I'd be interested to know whether you have actually tried to receive Freeview|HD or had an aerial installer visit installer or just assumed it's not available?


I'm afraid that I'm going OT here too. I'm in Whakatane and had Freeview HD up and running a year ago, even though the website's coverage checker shows it as "unlikely" (the old PDF maps, on the other hand, say that it's very likely). Unfortunately the "no Freeview HD" attitude seems to be rather common here; I walked into DSE the other day and caught the tail end of a conversation with the salesman (who happens to be a friend of mine) saying "and that's why you should get Freeview satellite instead of HD". I asked how he came to that conclusion and he replied "because HD isn't available here".

Trying to bring this back on topic, is it possible for Freeview to try to get better information out to dealers to reduce the likelihood of this sort of thing happening?

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  Reply # 200588 11-Mar-2009 12:54
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sbiddle: While I'm going a little OT as this is just for questions I'd be interested to know whether you have actually tried to receive Freeview|HD or had an aerial installer visit installer or just assumed it's not available?

Freeview|HD is available in most parts of Upper Hutt and a SFN transmitter is co-sited with the Vodafone site above Haywards and delivers coverage into Stokes Valley, Silverstream and most of Upper Hutt. There are deadspots however including Riverstone Terraces and Birchville area but the Valley basin as a whole does receive good coverage but a well installed UHF aerial is essential.

If you're in need of an installer who would be able to tell you straight away whether you can get it send me a PM and I'll give you his details.


Yes I have had an installer come and visit and have also spoken to one of the onwers of City Aerials who do alot of installs in the Wgtn area and there was no signal at all. In fact the comment was, oh ain't seen it that low before.

As you mention, Riverstone Terraces, that's where I am and we seem to be getting passed over with just about everything. Poor broadband and no Freeview HD to name a couple.




 

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  Reply # 200974 13-Mar-2009 11:22
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Question For Freeview 1:  MyFreeview|HD is all good for the % of people that can recieve the HD only signal, but what about a MyFreeview|SD for all the people?  A Dual DVB-S tuner (or more than two) with recording, time shift etc would be welcomed.
Question For Freeview 2: CCTV8, Central TV cannnot be recieved where I am on Satelite, why is this? why wouldnt the satelite have the same channels as the HD signal, but in SD format?
Question For Freeview 3: When Freeview first launched, all the advertising was saying stuff like 'make bad reception a thing of the past' and talked about satelite dishes and not having to use your old antennas.  Then later you guys launch freeview HD and now you NEED your uhf antenna, dont you feel you frustrated a lot of people?
Question For Freeview 4: Why are settop boxes so expensive? you cant get a freeview certified box for less than $150






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Reply # 206167 9-Apr-2009 11:54
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Folks, here are the answers to your questions:

With the present transmission licences you have how many extra channels could be added using the free space? (dependant on signal type SD/HD etc?)


There are three frequencies currently available.  TVNZ for example fill theirs with 2 HD and 3 SD channels , MediaWorksTV will fill theirs, so that leaves the third one which Kordia wholesales to other broadcasters.  It is currently configured to have 1 HD (current Freeview|HD demo channel) and 6 SD (2 are free).  We are asking the Government to make a fourth frequency available.


With satellite I could understand it would expensive to offer space to other broadcasters; but with DVB-T, could free space be offered cheaply (even if it was only lower quality SD) to free to air international channels like BBC World, DWTV, VOA etc with possibly a small amount local advertising to cover some cost?


This really a question for the transmission provider(Kordia) but  yes that is possible and for most of the ‘new’ broadcasters e.g. ChineseTV8 that is what has happened.  Transmission pricing is, however, set by Kordia, who is an SOE and therefore is required to make a commercial profit.


As the response to the new channel 3+1 seems to have been luke warm to say the best; and it would appear that MediaWorks does not have any new content to bring to our screens, would it be possible to negotiate with them to relieve them of their obligations to another channel by early 2010, and give it to another operator who could provide something different?


This is answered I think by the above ‘how much capacity’ questions.  There is space on the Kordia frequency so no need to take away capacity from a broadcaster who is using it.  a big factor is that there is a recession on and new advertising dollars are very hard to come by at present - nearly all Freeview broadcasters are dependant upon those dollars to fund programmes/channels.


By the way – in the UK (and other places in Europe) +1 channels are very popular; Channel 4 in the UK for example gets 10% of its network audience (and revenue) from C4+1.  Until we all have a digital television recorder at home (and maybe even still then) +1’s are really good for viewers and broadcasters.


Why is Stratos not on DVB-T?


Simply cost.  Transmission pricing is set by Kordia (who is an SOE and therefore is required to make a commercial profit).  It will cost Triangle Stratos an additional amount to broadcast on Freeview|HD.  We certainly hope they will be able to afford it soon.


Any update on DVB-T for the engine room of the country, Southland?


Still nothing concrete sorry.  We are working on it with Government and Broadcasters.  Sadly, the recession comment applies here too.


After contacting Freeview via the web site asking about coverage in Upper Hutt, I was told "There are no plans to extend the coverage outside the initial nine areas". Why is there little or no coverage for large areas of Upper Hutt? Are there any plans to increase the coverage? Maybe using Mt Climie?


As above, so still nothing concrete sorry.  We are working on it with Government and Broadcasters.  Sadly, the recession comment applies here too.



Will the Freeview platform support pay channels in future? If so, what equipment will viewers need?


The standard Freeview receivers are for FTA only.  New hybrid broadcast and broadband devices are likely to enable this mixed model.  The first one, announced recently, will be TiVo – Freeview|HD and internet connected.


Is Freeview aware of any planned channels and/or start dates?


TV3 PLUS 1 is the latest launched 30th March.  We are talking to others, lets hope one or two make it across the start line soon.


What's Freeview's opinion of the TVNZ – TiVO deal?


Freeview is hardware agnostic so any device that picks up our broadcasters FTA signals is good.  It’s a receiver that has two DVB-T (Freeview|HD) receivers in it.  More products equals more choice for consumers, and then hopefully better prices and service.


MyFreeview|HD is all good for the % of people that can recieve the HD only signal, but what about a MyFreeview|SD for all the other people?  A Dual DVB-S tuner (or more than two) with recording, time shift etc would be welcomed.


Agreed – WIP – sorry it’s taking a while but we can’t launch a service without receiver hardware and it's taking a while to get the specification right and the build done.  Should be in shops Q3 or earlier.


CCTV8, Central TV cannot be received where I am on DVB-S, why is this? Why can’t the satellite service have the same channels as the HD signal, but in SD format?


We would like that too … please see earlier comments about transmission costs and it being the choice of the broadcaster which platform they go on.


When Freeview first launched, all the advertising was saying stuff like 'make bad reception a thing of the past' and talked about satellite dishes and not having to use your old antennas.  Then later you guys launch freeview|HD and now you NEED your UHF antenna. Don’t you feel you frustrated a lot of people?


We hope not … from day one we also talked about a UHF service coming to 75% of homes (it was on our website and in the media before we launched the satellite service).  We need two platforms as UHF is not economic to get to 100% of the population and there are lots of people who get better reception via satellite.  You can throw away your VHF antenna!


Why are set top boxes so expensive? You can’t get a Freeview certified box for less than $150.


Is that expensive?  At today’s exchange rate that’s about USD87 or USD77 (less GST) so taking into account retail margin, wholesale margin, freight, and manufacturing margin, that’s not bad.  We hope they keep coming down though and that’s why we have tried hard to promote receiver brand competition.  Have a look at the nineteen freeview approved receivers on our website.

You can post your comments below.





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  Reply # 206422 11-Apr-2009 09:17
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Thanks freitasm for the answers.


I know all businesses need to make a profit; but some of the answers seem very typical of business in this country who have to make X amount of profit fromsomething before they are willing to do it. With 2 channels going spare, would it not be better to make something off them rather than nothing? From what I am seeing at the moment there are not a lot of takers (if any) obviously because the price is too high. Freeview needs to offer more product in the market place as they are fighting a losing battle to sky; and with ad revenue declining to the point that even the existing FTA channels are being forced to make cuts how do they expect anyone else to set up business.


The only way for Freeveiw to thrieve is to allow a number of FTA international channels to be added (even if they are just channel fillers until better options are sought/available) giving veiwer more choice. I believe if this does not happen quick enough then many people will instead turn to high speed internet that will become available to source such programming and further dilute the veiwing market which they will not be able to afford in the long run.


This is the answer I had from Bloomberg last week:


"Thanks for your query. I would very much like to be on a satellite with a better footprint over New Zealand, but right now we are unable to justify the cost of the transponder space based upon the market realities. I have sought to get onto Sky New Zealand without success to date, but will keep trying."


A prefect example for Freeveiw to follow up on.


Lets hope that they will make Kordia/Government see this logical; which will eventually lead to better bottom lines for everyone.




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Reply # 206424 11-Apr-2009 09:25
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I think there's a misunderstanding there. Freeview is not a Sky competitior. Freeview is a digital platform that will eventually replace the current analogue system.

That's it. Nothing else. They have to worry only about moving current FTA channels into the new system - that's done.

FTA operators will be better deploying new TV channels on this platform - that's done too, just look at TVNZ7, TVNZ6 and TV3+1.

Sky is a subscription service and they pay rights to broadcast some channels. When Bloomberg says "we are unable to justify the cost of the transponder space based upon the market realities" they probably mean there isn't enough advertising available to pay for their investment. This has nothing to do with Freeview.





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  Reply # 206428 11-Apr-2009 09:34
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benneg:

This is the answer I had from Bloomberg last week:


"Thanks for your query. I would very much like to be on a satellite with a better footprint over New Zealand, but right now we are unable to justify the cost of the transponder space based upon the market realities. I have sought to get onto Sky New Zealand without success to date, but will keep trying."




A prefect example for Freeveiw to follow up on.


It isn't really Freeview's job to follow up on these. Bloomberg could easily be on both Freeview DVB-S and DVB-T now if they fronted up with the money and they would be well aware of this.

I suspect however that spending (at a rough guess) $750000 - $1 million per year for Freeview costs as well as Kordia backhaul costs to the DTT sites that this is simply not a cost they believe can deliver then a return on investment.

Freeview is nothing but a replacement platform for analogue TV. It's not competing with anything except existing analogue broadcasts.


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  Reply # 206430 11-Apr-2009 10:02
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freitasm: I think there's a misunderstanding there. Freeview is not a Sky competitior. Freeview is a digital platform that will eventually replace the current analogue system.

That's it. Nothing else. They have to worry only about moving current FTA channels into the new system - that's done.

FTA operators will be better deploying new TV channels on this platform - that's done too, just look at TVNZ7, TVNZ6 and TV3+1.

Sky is a subscription service and they pay rights to broadcast some channels. When Bloomberg says "we are unable to justify the cost of the transponder space based upon the market realities" they probably mean there isn't enough advertising available to pay for their investment. This has nothing to do with Freeview.




I am coming from the point that if it was not for HD on freeview; I would personally not have my box now as it is a pain in the backside that I have to switch between digital and anolgue to get the full range of channels (my wife just uses anolgue because of this as she watches prime and triangle)and don't believe the extra channels added are worth the cost. If I feel like that then how many others do and arn't going to take up freeview in the first place?


When anolgue is turned off then I am betting in the current enviroment that more people would take up an offer of a SKY package of just the FTA channels (which they could offer more of) with a smaller initial cost and a very low monthly cost (if any) than go to Freeview (I know I would if they offered a carrot like including BBC World in there as well which is already FTA), and then they would be truely competing with SKY. Getting as many people on to their platform as they can will only enhance their future propects and as a private company they understand this. Face it offering this package will not cost them anything extra except the install costs and when you have their package they will have the chance to offer extra services like pay per view movies and sport; they would be crazy not to do it! Think of what sort of market share they could control if not regulated.


If you believe that they are not competitors then that is your view; but I would be very interested to hear what Freeview itself had to say if this point of view was put to them? I think they are quietly already worried about it and will be lobbying the government to regulate against it.


I think this situation is playing into SKY's hands very nicely!

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  Reply # 206798 14-Apr-2009 10:52
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Is the bitrate for TVNZ going to be increased after they finish "testing" because right now it is NOT "Crystal Clear Digital Quality" its blocky and is compressed to crap.

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