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221 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 308179 17-Mar-2010 10:20
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System: For us users outside of range of Freeview|HD is there any current plan for expanding the availability of this service and if so what areas are you looking at expanding it to?


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 308245 17-Mar-2010 12:34
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Are there any plans to support a more grid like EPG see below? similar to SKY where you can see whats on at a given time on multiple channels.
Its very slow having to go channel by channel to see what is on at a given time. This will need to be implemented in a manner that only requires a simple firmware update so current models can be updated easily.

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412 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 308252 17-Mar-2010 12:57
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mentalic - assuming you're using a freeview approved stb if you press the epg button a second time once the epg is showing you'll get a now/next for all the channels.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 308298 17-Mar-2010 14:20
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butlerboy: mentalic - assuming you're using a freeview approved stb if you press the epg button a second time once the epg is showing you'll get a now/next for all the channels.

Correct, but now and next is not much use when you have 7 days worth of EPG that SHOULD be in there.
Sorry shoulud have made my question clearer.

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483 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 308379 17-Mar-2010 16:51
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Freeview has chosen not to broadcast EIT on the DVB-T network. As an organisation which receives taxpayer funding, why does Freeview continue to support anti-competitive and innovation stifling practice?

None of the proposed innovations which were supposed to appear through the use of MHEG have occurred, some 3 years after Freeview went live. MHEG continues to suffer from poor uptake internationally, and New Zealand's decision to customise to to the NZ profile further limits the ability of users to develop a working solution. The MHEG EPG is severely lacking in performance, and functionality of other solutions such as either Sony's Play TV or Windows Media Center.

Why does Freeview continues to ignore the requirements of hundreds/thousands of users and refuse to broadcast a full 7 day EIT guide over the DVB-T service, using the internationally accepted standard? One of the Freeview certified boxes also needed changes made to the now/next/bunch of dots/ EIT streams in order to funtion correctly - which further illustrates the shortcomings of MHEG.

This decision is even more puzzling given the adoption of EIT on the DVB-S network - which in effect negates any possible content provider driven issues, such as content protection etc.

So why - the simple argument that there is not enough bandwidth does not provide an acceptable answer. Surely the Freeview platform was designed with a level of future capacity in mind, especially when there should be an abundance of capacity, given the removal of TVNZ Sports Extra, and the lack of desire of TVNZ to provide any Dolby Digital sounds streams with their High Definition content. Surely functionality on existing channels should take precedence over a flood of limited value, limited rating channels (assuming Freeview have plans to broadcast more channels, which seems highly unlikely given recent actions by TVNZ). In relative terms the EIT streams represent a very small amount of data.

By failing to broadcast the internationally accepted EIT standard Freeview are severely limiting consumer choice, and preventing devices such as Microsoft's Windows Media Center, and Sony's Play TV from operating as intended. This in turn places significant additional cost on consumers to customise software solutions in order to allow these devices to function as intended.

In essence Freeview are limiting competition within a relatively small marketplace. This is unacceptable from an organisation which holds a monopoly over Free to Air television in New Zealand. As a government funded organisation (either directly or indirectly) Freeview/Kordia must be held responsible for either providing a solution, or a satisfactory answer, as to why this anti-competitive behaviour is allowed to continue.

1054 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 308511 17-Mar-2010 22:14
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1) What is with the really poor EPG that comes with approved boxes, not only graphically but as mentioned earlier where is the "grid" guide, browsing from channel to channel is far too slow.

2) Why not allow backup of programs over the network/USB hard drive? 500GB may sound large but after a week or two of use you soon see the limitations.

3) Expansion of the DVB-T coverage, when, if, how? I know New Plymouth is not covered why not????

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  Reply # 308514 17-Mar-2010 22:20
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THe MHEG EPG is ugly and has writing SO LARGE THAT NOT MUCH FITS, with massive whitespace around it.

Sending proper EPG data would allow us to choose a box that shows it in a way that we like, not some fisherprice like crap where more space is dedicated to logos and stuff then useful information, which is in something approximating 96 point font on a PC.


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  Reply # 308557 17-Mar-2010 23:43
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Does Freeview have a stance on the refusal of Prime and Maori TV to provide EPG data to TIVO? Surely this goes against the whole 'Freeview' concept?

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  Reply # 308652 18-Mar-2010 10:41
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Oh, and anothre one....

some 2 (or 3?) years into freeview, why is there no official satellite based PVR released?

(and totally agree Rusty above, EIT and MHEG5 coexist well on the sat service, and the EIT system IS in place on the terrestrial service already to provide now/next data......)

115 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 308671 18-Mar-2010 11:06
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Why is there no ability to transfer recorded files off Freeview|HD approved PVRs?

Most households these days have more than only one TV, and most of these TVs (setup before the Freeview-era) will have VCRs attached to them.  Although only VHS quality, people like the flexibility of being able to record something on their lounge VCR, and taking the tape to another VCR in the house to watch in another room when the main TV is in use.  When the analogue broadcast service is eventually turned off, if the current restrictions are still in place, it will mean that this flexibility will disappear overnight.

The average consumer isn't technically minded enough to build a HTPC to get around this problem, and most also won't have a fully wired home network.  They just want to be able to record a program in good quality (whether HD or not), and then watch it on another TV.

If no change is made to the current setup, people will end up with one, or more, Freeview-approved PVRs (since that's what they'll want reassurance in buying, rather than non-approved devices) in their house, and only be able to watch whatever has been recorded on the TV that each PVR is attached to.  If the restriction is lifted it would also allow you to record, say, three programs at the same time on three different channels - i.e. 2 on one PVR, and 1 on a second PVR - but then watch them on whichever TV you like.

118 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 308963 18-Mar-2010 23:46
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TV3 broadcasts various HD programs in 5.1 audio but viewing those programs on TV3+1 only results in stereo audio. Is there any plans to update TV3+1 (along with TV 1 & 2 as asked previously) to 5.1 audio on HD programs?

TIVO has the capability to plug an external USB drive in to expand the storage. Is this capability likely to be added to Freeview PVRs like the MagicTV?  If so, would the external USB drive be able to be removed from one Freeview device and moved to a second freeview device to view the content on another freeview approved PVR?

595 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 35

  Reply # 308969 19-Mar-2010 00:00
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+1 on the DVB-T EPG. More EIT data than Now/Next would help those of us who for whatever reason choose a non-official box.

290 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 308972 19-Mar-2010 00:06
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I can sort of answer the TV3+1 question.  Standard definition (SD) broadcasts are very rarely in anything other than stereo.  It is likely Kordia do not permit the extra bandwidth required when MediaWorks (TV3) is paying for only SD bandwidth for the TV3+1 channel.  The decision has nothing to do with Freeview.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 309434 20-Mar-2010 20:51
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(Not a business person so please excuse me if the following are stupid questions!)

Do channel providers (eg. TVNZ, Mediaworks) have any outstanding agreements to launch more channels on either of the Freeview platforms (and if so, what are the launch timeframes specified by the agreements)?

Do channel providers get any sort of kick-backs (based on added value for the Freeview platform) for launching new channels?

Does Freeview have any means of incentivising quality (ie. 1080i/720p hi-def, AC3 multi-channel audio, subtitles) over quantity from channel providers in either channel offerings or programming content?

Continuing the above question: does Freeview have any position on whether quality is preferred over quantity (or vice-versa), or whether any related quotas are in place?

The quality reduction of the TV One feed provided via satellite (due to regionalisation) was unpopular with many in the Geekzone community. Does Freeview have a position on this move and are their any minimum standards for "real" bitrates for channels?

Thanks for your time!

1332 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 309802 22-Mar-2010 14:18
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Forgive me if I do not fully understand the situation but I am new to Freeview and its technicalities.

I see several questions regarding Freeview's choice of EPG software and implementation and am puzzled. Is MHEG-5 not an internationally recognised and standardised format?

My apologies for quoting Wikipedia but ... "MHEG-5 is a cost-effective, licence-free, efficient, public standard interactive TV middleware...".

This seems to say to me that this standard is open and able to be supported by anyone who choses to do so. I am actually proud that Freeview has chosen to use this standard rather than EIT which I am assuming is not formally standardised (I can't find it anywhere).

Arguments that various consumer products do not support MHEG-5 seem to have nothing to do with Freeview in my opinion and repeated questions on this subject seem unnecessary.

I would suggest lobbying Sony or Microsoft to support MHEG-5 rather than try and force Freeview to simply copy what other broadcasters are doing.

As for those with open source solutions; is this not what open source is famous for? Surely with enough demand someone will be able to hack together some MHEG-5 support and you'll probably be able to make better use of it than those using the standard set tops ;)


My question:

Is it technologically feasible to provide 5.1 audio on channels with AAC audio encoding? If so, have any of the content providers shown any interest or have you tested this at all?

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