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Topic # 31606 24-Mar-2009 08:43
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I contacted Panasonic the other day for some details on their forthcoming Freeview-equipped PVR, and got a reply yesterday. Some interesting information:

* it will record in HD, and allow for HD recordings to be down-scaled to be burned to DVD

* it won't have MHEG5, so therefore no 8-day EPG.

As Panasonic pointed out themselves, this means it won't be Freeview certified. It also is a disapointment, as I had been hoping for one of the big manufacturers to release something that competed head-on with the Zinwell (and without the Zinwelll's problems).

No idea of price yet, however I'm assuming it will enjoy some premium over a standard Panasonic PVR.

Not sure whether it will have twin tuners, but will post this information if Panasonic can/will provide it.

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  Reply # 202965 24-Mar-2009 08:51
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If it is a variation on the Panasonic one I saw in Aussie last year it was a blu-ray player - dvd burner - HDD recorder. It was AUD $2000. Am a little surprised that it does not have the 8-day EPG since their TVs do.




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  Reply # 202973 24-Mar-2009 09:27
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Yeah I thought that about the Sony PlayTV addon for instance.  I figured this could have been sped up as they already have the local knowledge from the inbuilt TV tuners with EPG here in NZ.

Does the Zinwell PVR still have issues?  Has a firmware upgrade been released to fix these yet?

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  Reply # 202984 24-Mar-2009 10:08
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Am a little surprised that it does not have the 8-day EPG since their TVs do.


The current Aussie system uses EIT EPG as does our FreeView Sat service (in addition to mheg5), but not our DTT service which is mheg-5 only. The new Aussie standard will eventually move to mheg5 as our is.

The key issue is that all DVB devices must support the base line EIT EPG, however mheg5 is optional, and as our FreeView system has decided not to run EIT on the DTT service, then manufacturers have to invest a lot of effort to support mheg5, for a small return in a small market. As European operators start to use mheg5 more then that may change.

Cyril

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  Reply # 202985 24-Mar-2009 10:14
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IMHO there are simply *no* excuses for not supporting MHEG5 in a STB or PVR. MHEG5 is not some obscure middleware standard that nobody uses. It is now very much common middleware format used by a large number of broadcasters.



The specs are readily available and IMHO nobody should be releasing any products for our Freeview platform whether they be certified or non certified without supporting MHEG5.



Virtually everybody doing H.264 DVB-T these days is using MHEG5 for their EPG and even countries like Australia who had established DVB-T networks are now deploying MHEG5 for their 8 day EPG's since EIT is essentially obsolete and incapable of supporting many of the features such as series link that people want.




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  Reply # 202988 24-Mar-2009 10:22
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Hi Sbiddle,

I'm viewing conceptually, that the EIT is the raw data as such.  Is it possible to extract the same raw data from a given MHEG5 broadcast, for use in a custom EPG?

Sony for instance have an excellent user interface for it's PlayTV product, but they populate this with EIT data.  So really I'd like to know if it's possible to take a MHEG5 only environment and extract the relevant data to populate the custom EPG?

Cheers.


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  Reply # 202991 24-Mar-2009 10:30
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Jaxson:

Hi Sbiddle,

I'm viewing conceptually, that the EIT is the raw data as such.? Is it possible to extract the same raw data from a given MHEG5 broadcast, for use in a custom EPG?

Sony for instance have an excellent user interface for it's PlayTV product, but they populate this with EIT data.? So really I'd like to know if it's possible to take a MHEG5 only environment and extract the relevant data to populate the custom EPG?

Cheers.



Yes. There is a program and source code on the net written by a guy here on GZ but this no longer works due to some changes introduced by Freeview when they deployed the MHEG-PVR profile.

http://code.google.com/p/mheg2xmltv/source/browse/trunk/mheg2xmltv/Program.cs?spec=svn4&r=4

The best approach is to use the MHEG5 EPG and MHEG5-PVR for recording however as this saves having to extract the data. The downside of exacting the data is that IMHO products such as Windows Media Center, GB-PVR, Media Portal etc all have better EPG's than the MHEG5-PVR profile one.






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  Reply # 202993 24-Mar-2009 10:35
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Hi Steve, totally agree mheg5 is a readily available stack, guess we are just too early in the implementation of mheg5 for the likes of panasonic to justify the cost of writing it in, I am sure with time it must happen.

cyril



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  Reply # 202996 24-Mar-2009 10:59
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jonathan18:

Not sure whether it will have twin tuners, but will post this information if Panasonic can/will provide it.


Yep, they've confirmed that it will have twin tuners.

I would be surprised if this is a bluray model - surely NZ's market is so small that to target what will be only a few geeks and rich people with a $2k PVR is just stupid? They'd be far better off releasing a product that more could afford - it's just that they seem to be nobbling themselves by not using MHEG middleware to be able to compete head-on with the Zinwell.

I've got only a few days (if I want to get the discount) to make up my mind as to whether it's worth waiting for the release of a Zinwell  PVR alternative (with Sommet and Topfield supposedly releasing product at some stage, yet we can't be sure that either will support recording from the MHEG EPG) or just bite the bullet and cope without the full EPG by getting the Vantage plus external drive (and save some cash in the process)...

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  Reply # 203000 24-Mar-2009 11:29
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sbiddle:
Jaxson: Is it possible to extract the same raw data from a given MHEG5 broadcast, for use in a custom EPG?

Yes. There is a program and source code on the net written by a guy here on GZ but this no longer works due to some changes introduced by Freeview when they deployed the MHEG-PVR profile.

http://code.google.com/p/mheg2xmltv/source/browse/trunk/mheg2xmltv/Program.cs?spec=svn4&r=4

Awesome, well that answers that issue then.  Granted it's not as simple as working with the raw data, but it can be done.  Only issue then is if you refer to data points etc and then freeview change the layout of the EPG graphics etc then that could cause issues as you say.

And agreed about the potentially better EPG designs, that's why I was wondering if the extraction of data from the MHEG5 EPG was possible.  The current one is quite good, but it would be nice if the hardware did preload additional pages, say one channel up, one down etc, as this aspect is very slow.

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  Reply # 203008 24-Mar-2009 12:07
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Awesome, well that answers that issue then.  Granted it's not as simple as working with the raw data, but it can be done.  Only issue then is if you refer to data points etc and then freeview change the layout of the EPG graphics etc then that could cause issues as you say.


Surely they couldn't change the format/data in the MHEG5 stream now without breaking a few settop boxes?

I this code could be worked on and sorted it would really resolve a lot of issues that exist with the current xml downloaders.

cheers
db




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  Reply # 203011 24-Mar-2009 12:14
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browned:
Awesome, well that answers that issue then.? Granted it's not as simple as working with the raw data, but it can be done.? Only issue then is if you refer to data points etc and then freeview change the layout of the EPG graphics etc then that could cause issues as you say.


Surely they couldn't change the?format/data in the MHEG5 stream now without breaking a few settop boxes?

I this code could be worked on and sorted it would really resolve a lot of issues that exist with the current xml downloaders.

cheers
db


The data and format in the MHEG5 EPG can easily be changed since MHEG5 is only a runtime environment processing the MHEG5 code. Freeview could change the look and feel of their EPG tomorrow without breaking any boxes.

Trying to extract the data from the MHEG5 stream is entirely different and the format of the data can (and has) changed in the past.


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  Reply # 203068 24-Mar-2009 17:40
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PVR without program a guide, what's the point!? I guess they should commint to a firmware ugrade to fix this.




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  Reply # 203206 25-Mar-2009 10:51
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Dingbatt: If it is a variation on the Panasonic one I saw in Aussie last year it was a blu-ray player - dvd burner - HDD recorder. It was AUD $2000.
The Panasonic DMR-BW500 that's currently available in Australia has a Blu-ray writer allowing HD programmes to be written to blank Blu-ray discs. It'a a dual tuner 500GB disk full HD recorder.

Quite a neat package, but with a RRP of Aus $2,199 (typically available just below $2,000) that package comes at quite a price.



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  Reply # 203208 25-Mar-2009 11:36
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Deev8:
Dingbatt: If it is a variation on the Panasonic one I saw in Aussie last year it was a blu-ray player - dvd burner - HDD recorder. It was AUD $2000.
The Panasonic DMR-BW500 that's currently available in Australia has a Blu-ray writer allowing HD programmes to be written to blank Blu-ray discs. It'a a dual tuner 500GB disk full HD recorder.

Quite a neat package, but with a RRP of Aus $2,199 (typically available just below $2,000) that package comes at quite a price.


As mentioned above, I doubt Panasonic will target the NZ market with a unit costing over $2k - especially as it's essentially crippled by the lack of the MHEG EPG. Or, at least, they would be stupid to make this their only model.

I am still surprised that this long after Freeview HD was released only one manufacturer has managed to release a fully fledged HD PVR - and even that one apparently has (had?) problems. It's clear that Panasonic won't be the second.

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