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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 490370 6-Jul-2011 23:55
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Ok, folks... I think I'll close this thread soon, send the questions and then reopen when I get the answers back.

I will give it until Thursday 7 July and lock it.






BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 492125 11-Jul-2011 16:47
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I have now sent these questions to Freeview... I will post answers here when I get them.





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 502345 5-Aug-2011 11:22
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It's taking a while to get these answers back?

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  Reply # 502368 5-Aug-2011 12:05
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possibly hard to answer us  if they dont have all the answers to the more evolved questions ;)



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  Reply # 502369 5-Aug-2011 12:06
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It always takes time. I don't believe there's a conspiracy to not answer in place.




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  Reply # 502651 6-Aug-2011 06:58
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By the time they bother answering we likely will already know the answers to most of the questions.

Just for anyones interest it seems much of the extended hd rollout is up and running now.


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  Reply # 504232 10-Aug-2011 10:27
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lostangel: By the time they bother answering we likely will already know the answers to most of the questions.



We do already.
"We don't control content or broadcasting; you'll have to ask the relevant companies." 



BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 510037 22-Aug-2011 16:51
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And here are the answers!
1. What is the ETA for all channels to be broadcast in HD? Is there a list of channels which are expected to be added in coming months/years/decades?              
Freeview – Those decisions are up to individual broadcasters. New Zealand was well ahead of other markets in providing High Definition; free-to-air broadcast content. The smaller channels will not  have the resource (financial and technical) to go HD in the near future but channels like Maori Television and Prime should definitely be looking to go HD soon – we would expect to see channels like Prime be in HD but Sky seem reluctant to do that at the moment.    In terms of new channels – we are discussing with a few potential new broadcasters and there is room for more. We think the NZ market is big enough for about 18-20 national free-to-air TV

2. What is the ETA for the Freeview|HD transmission to begin in Whangarei?  
Freeview – Officially launched 9th of August.

3. Is there any possibility of broadcasting Freeview HD via other delivery methods where there is poor or no UHF coverage, for example over the UFB network once it becomes available?   
Freeview – Freeview|HD covers ~87% of the population so it’s unlikely that the broadcasters would pay for another national HD platform. The UFB coverage (75%  of the population) is roughly the same as Freeview|HD so probably won’t be UFB but could be satellite if Sky unencrypted the free-to-air HD signals they carry for TVNZ and TVWorks as is the case for free-to-air broadcast in

4. Is DVB-S always going to be the poor-cousin of DVB-T? E.g. HD, channels, etc. 
Freeview – unfortunately no Freeview broadcaster has any further capacity on the Satellite for HD or   more channels. Sky is using or have first rights of use for any remaining capacity. Sky could easily make HD happen for free-to-air channels by unencrypting the free-to-air HD channels.

5. Are there any plans for DVB-S2 or DVB-T2 in the future?
Freeview – Not at this stage. Unlike other countries (Australia & Britain) we don’t have the issue of migrating to Mpeg 4(from Mpeg 2) which is when those countries are planning to go T2. But yes sometime in the future it may happen.      

6. When are you going to tidy up your installer list, there are installers listed under Nelson that operate in Masterton and are clearly not Nationwide.  Surely would be a better customer experience to deal with a local reputable installer with local knowledge, over a nationwide company that has no idea of the terrain or availability of DVB-T.
Freeview – totally agree. We are surveying all installers’ soon and plan to update all listings then. But also need installers to keep their own details current by sending them to us. Could you send us the details for above and we will get it changed. Thanks

7. Why was Auckland left off for restacking, will that affect the ability to have more muxes in future?
Freeview – we understand from MED that they don’t need to restack Auckland to be able to provide the 10 muxes that are available at DSO.   

8. How does Freeview feel about the going digital campaign and its promotion of sky as a replacement for analogue?
Freeview – it's early days in the Going digital campaign and we work closely with them so it’s almost certain that their campaign will get stronger as we get closer to DSO. Obviously, being a Government funded organisation, they must be impartial but it is somewhat ironic that it’s free TV getting turned off, not pay TV, so why are Sky there? We do know that 80% of the remaining analogue homes do not want to pay a monthly subscription for their TV.            

9. What plans are there for the less tech savvy, elderly, etc so they are fully up to spend with what digital switchover means for them
Freeview – yes the younger (younger than 29) and older (over 55) audiences have been the slowest to convert to digital. So we are working on a number of initiatives to communicate with them.

10. Would the Rugby World Cup be broadcasted in 3D on Freeview?  (Sky and the Cinemas, (3D live) are going to host it in 3D)
Freeview- it definitely could be but we understand that RWC ltd and their rights holders , including Sky, have made this not possible.

11. Is there any intention to replace AAC-LATM/HE with better/more available audio codecs (as AC3 which is already on the spec for TV3)?
Freeview – We include both AAC-HE and AC3 in our spec so products are capable of receiving both. It then comes down to the broadcaster to choose what is used. TVNZ plan to start broadcasting using AC3 for 5.1 audio very soon.

12. Are there any intentions to open up the EPG to make it easier for people to retrieve for MythTV/WMC type setups (such as full EPG in EIT like on Satellite)      
Freeview – not at this stage and it’s because the broadcasters would have to pay increased transmission fees for the extra data needed for a separate EIT on DTT. The reason the EIT schedule is broadcast for the Freeview satellite service is that there were about 20,000 homes that were already using the EIT schedule for the TVNZ service so when the other broadcasters joined they kept the existing system. There was no legacy platform with Freeview|HD so the broadcasters went for the most cost effective option for broadcasting an eight day EPG.

13. Is there some sort of broadcast quality standards (minimum bitrates for audio and video, correct video aspect ratios, etc) for channels on the platform?  Any plans to encourage broadcasters to transmit EIT EPG data on DVB-T?  
Freeview – no the broadcast quality standard is up to the broadcasters.

14. I am from Ashburton. I have noticed a deterioration in Freeview DVB-T from the Sugarloaf (Christchurch) transmitter in the past several months. Has the signal strength been reduced or other changes made which could explain this deterioration?      
Freeview – we would certainly hope not but we don’t control transmission, the broadcasters do. We will ask them if this is the case. 

15. Can you give us an overview of what the "Freeview Organization" does and is responsible for?   Does Freeview have any influence over the broadcasters?  I guess the horse has already bolted but if Freeview is a kind of governing body then it could have minimum standards that broadcasters must meet. 
Freeview – Freeview is a not profit, open access organisation set up by New Zealanders leading free-to-air broadcasters to market the free-to-air digital TV and radio platform and provide industry engagement and decision making for the technical specifications required to achieve DSO . Unlike other countries New Zealand does not have a central regulatory body that ensures open competition and standards for broadcast and content i.e. there is no regulation to control dominant broadcasters monopolising content rights and distribution. 

16. I would like to know if the additional channels that were required by TVNZ and Mediaworks to be part of Freeview are permanent or can they be shut down after a few years? For example, do TVNZ need to keep a channel running on position 7 when TVNZ7 content funding ends?      
Freeview – Good question and that’s one for the Minister as that agreement is between the broadcasters and the Crown. Our understanding is that yest they do.

17. Are they planning to ease any of the annoying restrictions on the features a box must not have in order to get Freeview accreditation and access to the MHEG5 EPG? (e.g. the requirement that boxes can't have a 60 second skip button if they have hard drive recording)           
Freeview- those restrictions are what the broadcasters must provide the studios (In the case of copy protection) and because the free-to-air industry relies primarily on advertising revenue to pay for content, play out and transmission hence a no 60 second skip on advertising.

18. I’ll ask this again, it was ignored last time, Does Freeview have any plans to enforce their trademark use by people selling low quality non approved satellite receivers online and on Trade Me?
Freeview – of course and we have spoken to Trade Me about this numerous times. When we are aware of businesses' illegally using our trademarks we send them a reminder that we own the Freeview trademarks and then a cease and desist letter. If you do see anyone illegally using our trademarks to pass off products or services not approved by Freeview then please email us at freeviewadmin@freeviewnz.tv. Thanks

19. With the loss of government funding for TVNZ7 and the expected demise of the channel, do you see this as making Freeview a less attractive platform?    
Freeview – it’s  not  final that there won’t  be a public broadcasting channel like TVNZ 7 around after TVNZ loses funding for it  and if the public make it a big enough issue then I’m sure the government will make funding available for a public broadcasting channel as they do in every other OECD country.  In saying that the platform is still more attractive than analogue TV and that’s how we position ourselves to analogue viewers and of course why pay a monthly subscription for most of your  TV viewing – just get Freeview and use the $700 a year you would pay sky for something else.

20. Is there going to be a Freeview weather channel like sky's one?  
Freeview – If someone can make enough revenue to pay for the content, the transmission and play out fees them I'm sure there will be.

21. I’m keen on some better channels too. Something to rival Discovery Channel, movies, docos, history etc.
Freeview – more channels will come as the financial model gets better i.e. more homes have Freeview. Then there are more people watching advertising so the channel can make more revenue to pay the large fixed costs of transmission, content /rights and play out.

22. Are there any plans to use DVBS-2 on satellite?
Freeview - not as this stage. With 87% of the country now covered by Freeview|HD the likely use of new technology would be the transition to T2 but that is many years away.

23. Why was the decision made to install the Invercargill HD transmitter at Forest Hill and not Hedgehope where the current terrestrial transmitter is located? The existing Hedgehope transmitter provides service for a lot of southland including Invercargill and Gore. The new HD transmitter at Forest Hill only really services Invercargill so Gore and a lot of other smaller southland towns have missed out.   
Freeview – that decision was made by Government so you would need to ask them. Obviously our desire would be to cover as many homes as possible with Freeview|HD.

24. Would it be possible to run a short term 3D broadcast like the "HD channel" in the near future for limited hours of the day to let us all knows how the existing equipment will cope?  Has anyone mentioned a channel for 3D rugby world cup games via Freeview?       
Freeview – Yes the current DTT platform is capable of broadcasting 3D content, that would be great but the owners of the transmission capacity (Kordia, TVNZ and TVWorks) don’t want to at this stage. We understand that broadcast of the rugby in 3D was investigated but the company managing these rights decided not to make them free-to-air.                       

25. Regarding advertising; 1) If they are not confused by the poorly conveyed information, then the strange/unnecessary animations will either distract, annoy or cause people to 'switch off' and ignore the advert. 2) The current animated blob riding a whale has no relationship to the information that needs to be portrayed. (the older generations have NO IDEA what it is these adverts are trying to portray - I know this is fact as I have been in their house working and asked them "what was that advert about that was just on?" - The Answer = "I have no idea!")  3) The adverts should be designed to inform the masses, not sell them something.  There is no need to employ flashy animations and TV personalities to convey information in a strange, disjointed way.  I think most would agree that the advertising needs to be plain and informative. (No unrelated animations - just one person giving info with helpful shots of current aerials/dishes and analogue TVs and shots of what will be used in future.    - Ideally broken up into 'blocks' of info (i.e.: start with what is going to happen in 2012/13 and why).  - Run each block of info for a period (1 or 2 months?)  - Move on to the next block of info.    4a) Print advertising should be portrayed in the same plain and informative way i.e.: EQC style.  It should also match the current info block being run on TV.    4b) Articles in Local papers featuring info on Freeview NEEDS to be checked/approved first, there is too much misinformation going out that is confusing the general population.    5) Retail store staff needs to have a decent product/service knowledge session in regard to Freeview as I have found that there is just as much misinformation coming from salespeople as there is from any other source. ( As a local installer I am more than happy to spend an hour or two of my time with the local salespeople at a product knowledge session, as it would save me hours of repetitive phone calls from confused citizens asking why their CRT needs to be thrown out next month.)   In short, the above is not really a question but a summation of views. 
Freeview - thank you for the feedback which is appreciated and helpful. Your concerns are also ours so we will include those in the review of the advertising that we do every quarter. It’s difficult to find a single creative vehicle that is appealing to both young and old viewers and Fergus is more popular with younger viewers (under 29s) who are still the biggest group of analogue TV watchers yet to make the change to digital. We do target the older viewers through word of mouth and local press and their awareness and understanding of DSO is increasing as you can see in the latest research by the Going digital group. And we will be testing new TVC’s which we hope will appeal to older viewers very soon.

26. When viewed on the popular MagicTV MyFreeview|HD receiver and PVR, the channels on the Kordia mux have elevated black levels meaning darker areas of the image look washed out and whitish, meaning a lot of content looks horrible. I have been told this is because the Kordia mux encodes black and white as video levels unlike the other two muxes which encode them as PC levels. If this is the case, this likely means either the MagicTV received Freeview approval despite not being fully compatible with Freeview|HD, or Kordia is broadcasting outside of specification. Could this please be fixed? 
Freeview – the broadcasters do the encoding rather than Kordia as the MUX operator. The main difference in quality may be the difference between HD and SD and the bitrate used.

27. Has the Panasonic DMR-BWT700GZ been MyFreeview|HD approved? It isn't listed on the Freeview website but sellers are saying it has Freeview HD tuners. 
Freeview - Yes, it is now approved.

28. With the number of channels there is now on the Kordia Freeview|HD mux the bitrate allocated to each individual channel is relatively low and the broadcast quality is poor. The Parliament TV channel on the Kordia mux does not broadcast any programming 98% of the time but instead shows a static image. Over a 10 minute period I recorded both Prime and Parliament TV while it was in static-image mode and was surprised to find that Parliament TV had 78% of the bitrate Prime had over that period. I presume the situation is similar for Parliament TV on the satellite. Could the bitrate on Parliament TV be moderated when it is not broadcasting content, for the benefit of channels people are watching? 
Freeview - we have discussed with Kordia and the broadcasters but it’s not something we control i.e. it’s up to the broadcasters and transmission providers to make this happen.

29. The OTA MHEG-5 EPG can be slow to load and navigate at times. Will the EPG be made available over the internet to internet-enabled Freeview receivers in the future for faster operation? 
Freeview – it certainly could be and is currently delivered that way for Freeview compatible products like TiVo, Sony PS3 Play TV and the Telstra T-Box. 

30. It has been noticed that some Freeview PVRs have had the electronics required for a true standby mode omitted meaning they use what over time amounts to be a significant quantity of electricity while in their quasi standby mode. Will Freeview go "green" and require Freeview approved devices to have a true standby mode, or require them to go low-power in standby mode to receive an additional accreditation? Freeview – there are currently a number of different sleep states that MyFreeview recorders enter from deep sleep to light sleep where they check schedule times and check for updates. We are working with EECA to ensure that Freeview products are as ‘green’ as possible.

31. Will on-demand services like those by TVNZ and TV3 be made available to internet-enabled Freeview receivers at some point in the future? 
Freeview - The current specification for Freeview|HD receivers includes the addition of Mheg interaction channel on any receiver that has an Ethernet port. This enables broadcasters to build an application to deliver OTT services in the same way that the BBC so with the BBC iPlayer in the UK. Once the broadcasters build this application, this service will be available.

32. We know being Freeview approved means certain things like supporting the MHEG-5 EPG, but should buyers consider being Freeview approved as signifying a device is a quality product from a hardware and software point of view?  
Freeview – There are a large number of Freeview approved products which cover a wide range of customer preferences, prices and quality. All approved products are guaranteed by the manufacturer and retailer. All approved products have been tested to the New Zealand specification and can be updated over the air so any issues can be fixed remotely which is a huge advantage for both manufacturers and consumers over non approved products that must be returned or updated manually by the user for any fixes or upgrades.                                                                                                                 

33. This is a really technical one, but I wouldn't know who else to ask:  Why is the centre frequency values in the NIT terrestrial delivery system descriptor all set to 0? It would help some receivers scan more quickly if the values were set properly. (Note: location = Manawatu, tx = Wharite)      
Freeview – According to Freeview’s Transmission Rules:

A single Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall be used in each Transport Stream Loop of the NIT Actual. Each instance of the Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall describe the transmission properties for this Transport Stream. The frequency field within the Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall be set to zero in all cases. The Frequency List Descriptor defines the frequency on which Transport Streams are broadcast.

The reason for this being that the Freeview network transport streams are available across multiple frequencies depending which transmitter you are using. Therefore, we set the terrestrial_delivery_system descriptor centre_frequency to be zero and use the frequency_list descriptor to specify all of the different centre_frequencies that that transport stream is carried on




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  Reply # 510047 22-Aug-2011 17:07
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I like their answer to my first/main question...

freitasm: 11. Is there any intention to replace AAC-LATM/HE with better/more available audio codecs (as AC3 which is already on the spec for TV3)?
Freeview – We include both AAC-HE and AC3 in our spec so products are capable of receiving both. It then comes down to the broadcaster to choose what is used. TVNZ plan to start broadcasting using AC3 for 5.1 audio very soon.


If 'very soon' = before RWC then I'm sure there will be a lot more excited other than just me.  (I did notice that Prime showed the Dolby Digital logo during one of their programs too, but I didn't check the recording via MythTV to see if that was really the case though).

As for:

12. Are there any intentions to open up the EPG to make it easier for people to retrieve for MythTV/WMC type setups (such as full EPG in EIT like on Satellite)      
Freeview – not at this stage and it’s because the broadcasters would have to pay increased transmission fees for the extra data needed for a separate EIT on DTT. The reason the EIT schedule is broadcast for the Freeview satellite service is that there were about 20,000 homes that were already using the EIT schedule for the TVNZ service so when the other broadcasters joined they kept the existing system. There was no legacy platform with Freeview|HD so the broadcasters went for the most cost effective option for broadcasting an eight day EPG.


They did indicate in a later question about broadcasting the EPG over the internet for internet enabled boxes as well, if they could add XMLTV output then that should make it better for MythTV/WMC setups.

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  Reply # 510149 22-Aug-2011 20:56
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33. This is a really technical one, but I wouldn't know who else to ask:  Why is the centre frequency values in the NIT terrestrial delivery system descriptor all set to 0? It would help some receivers scan more quickly if the values were set properly. (Note: location = Manawatu, tx = Wharite)      
Freeview – According to Freeview’s Transmission Rules:

A single Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall be used in each Transport Stream Loop of the NIT Actual. Each instance of the Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall describe the transmission properties for this Transport Stream. The frequency field within the Terrestrial Delivery Descriptor shall be set to zero in all cases. The Frequency List Descriptor defines the frequency on which Transport Streams are broadcast.

The reason for this being that the Freeview network transport streams are available across multiple frequencies depending which transmitter you are using. Therefore, we set the terrestrial_delivery_system descriptor centre_frequency to be zero and use the frequency_list descriptor to specify all of the different centre_frequencies that that transport stream is carried on


Hmmm, guess I'll have to have another look at the NIT specification. At first read the Freeview approach doesn't seem very standard - why couldn't they do it by providing custom NIT actual for each region with the "correct" frequency descriptors, and then use NIT other for any other information they wanted to carry...

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