Feeds

back to article No Freeview HD kit in time for launch, warns telly exec

It's now clear that you'll need a new TV or set-top box (STB) to pick up Freeview HD. However, Register Hardware has learned that compatible kit won’t arrive in Blighty in time for the service’s debut early next month. Richard Lindsay-Davis, Director General of the Digital TV Group (DTG), has admitted to us that “at this stage …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
WTF?

December Launch

I'm starting to wonder why they didn't call the 2nd December launch a test transmission and have a formal launch date of say Febuary.

I mean what's the point of launching a service if hardly anyone can get it (hey, BSB tried that, didn't work out too well for them either).

I certainly don't think that Sky will be loosing any sleep over the pending launch.

At least the boxes hopefully won't cost much more, might even be time to invest in a PVR when they come out (although I'm in the Beacon Hill area so I'll have to wait until August 2010 anyway, and by then I may have got Freesat anyway).

Rob

0
0
FAIL

Absolute rubbish

" He also said that a Freeview HD STB will likely cost “a little more” than an existing Freeview STB "

This man has no clue at all. If you want to provide the same facilities - e.g. process HD for the EPG and have a window for the picture you're currently on, the current generation of STBs won't have the processing capability to cope and will likely need more memory. Then there is the cost of HDMI fees and software costs. $15 dollars in additional manufacturing costs will result in $30 - $40 additional on retail pricing - remember the distributors and retailers rake off the most profit.

HD broadcast in the UK is a shambles. With this annoucement, unless you live in a very remote area, you are not going to invest in a Freesat HDTV in the hope that you'll be able to buy a Freeview HDTV. Don't hold your breath... it'll be at least Summer 2010 before you get a reasonable choice of sets.

0
0

Really?

"Freeview HD STB will likely cost “a little more” than an existing Freeview STB"

So better technology when it's just launched will cost more than its predecessor?

Who'd have thunk it

0
0

Which EyeTV products support HDTV?

Any DVB-T product that supports EyeTV. I have EyeTV Diversity which is specifically mentioned as being OK.

http://support.elgato.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=29

I look forward to seeing what HDTV looks like on our TV.

:-)

0
0

Digital Switch Over Fiasco

First of all the Government forces us to switch over to digital telly, causing unnecessary cost and confusion for many people and creating increased enviornmental damage through the manufacture and disposal of addtional STB's, TV's etc

But now there is even more confusion for people by the need for an additional STB to receive High Definition. I wonder how many people who have bought HD TV's with freeview installed realise that they STILL won't be able to receive those broadcasts without having to buy yet more equipment ? I think there is a general perception amoungst the public that if you purchase an HD TV with freeview built in that this means they will actually be able to receive HD TV broadcasts WITHOUT the purchase of additional equipment. That this is not the case should be made much clearer

0
0
Grenade

existing HD freeview boxes

what about BT Vision and the PS3's playtv, that claim to be HD freeview ready?

0
0
Bronze badge

Who's conning who?

There are STBs with HD outputs, so who's been misleading who?

Have the DTG been misleading manufacturers? Or have the manufacturers or retailers been conning buyers?

0
0
FAIL

"manufacturers are developing STBs and TVs with the new tuner inside"

Article says: "manufacturers are developing STBs and TVs with the new tuner inside"

Have we any proof of this?

Given that (as I understand it) the UK is going in a different direction with the HD flavour of DVB-T than pretty much all the other DVB-T countries, and given that there's definitely no UK agreement yet on what (if any) DRM will be required or permitted on HD content, if I was an STB or TV manufacturer, I'd be focusing on the markets that actually have a clue what their requirements are. And if anybody from the UK wanted to know about timescales and prices, I'd laugh in their face.

That wouldn't be a problem would it?

0
0
FAIL

New kit?

How many more times are we going to have to replace our Freeview receivers just because those in charge think it's a good thing?

If you bought a TV in the 70s, you could still use it to receive analogue transmissions. With the way things are going with digital TV, how long will it be before they decide to move everything to DVB-T2 (or some other new standard) and force us all to buy new equipment?

0
0
Happy

2011 is ages away

At least it gives us Nottingham folks the chance to wait for the new STBs to drop.

I was thinking about getting a PVR the other day, I might just wait a while now though

0
0
Alert

Not much in article about the tech angle

The article didn't cover much technical (apart from the HD tuners being MPEG4 instead of MPEG2), so I'll asl a few questions:

* For people setting up media centres, they'll need to purchase an HD Freeview tuner for the machine (PCI card or USB I guess). Are these available already (e.g. sold for other HD digital markets in Europe) and if so, will they work with HD Freeview?

* Obvious question here - with the ludicrously sluggish timetable (both for SD and HD digital switchover), can you buy an HD Freeview tuner/set-top box/TV as soon as they are available and then use it with SD Freeview until your region switches to HD Freeview? It would be a massive technical and marketing mistake not to provide support for both because of the long-winded timetable.

I need to know all this cos I just picked up a cute Acer Revo 3610 for 159 quid and want to know if I should hold off buying an SD Freeview USB tuner for it or not (i.e. wait for an HD version to come out and buy that).

0
0

Mr

Not true - there is a product that can recieve the new transmissions, PS3 with the Play TV box.

It's ready to go now....

0
0
Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Given that the existing freeview box styles seem to have evolved to the cheap & nasty box types, maybe spending a little more on the new HD version will encourage manufacturers to make something they can take a pride in, again.

0
0
Pint

Imports

Any reason the Kong Kong or New Zealand recievers won't work in the UK?

It's a risk, but it's possible to just order one online if there's no major difference in the tech specs.

0
0
FAIL

DVB-T2 != MPEG-4

The article is wrong when it says "Freeview HD uses DVB-T2 which uses the MPEG 4 AVC video codec".

Yes, Freeview HD will use both DVB-T2 *and* MPEG-4 AVC. But they are not the same thing. One is a modulation scheme, to carry the digital signals. The other is a codec, to encode video within those digital signals.

DVB-T2 is a more efficient modulation scheme than DVB-T. It's perfectly possible to carry MPEG-4 AVC over the current DVB-T modulation scheme, but they couldn't then carry as many digital HD channels per UHF channel.

0
0
FAIL

Um...

Those saying the EyeTV and PlayTV units are HD compatible need to read the article. They are compatible with the form of HD the rest of the world is using/planning to use, NOT the weird variation we're getting in the UK. I guess there's a fighting chance that either a firmware or software upgrade to those two products would enable UK HD reception but as it stands, they are no better than any other UK stb product i.e. they'll still be usable for SD transmissions but the HD will be a no-go.

0
0
Unhappy

Its OFCOMs fault

If the quango had gone with a DVB-T, MPEG2 solution, there is a good chance many units would have worked, Even a DVB-T MPEG4 solution would have had some units out there that could cope (thanks to NZ). However going with DVB-T2, MPEG4 means that there is nothing, PS3s included, that can receive, decode and display the signal.

Why did they make such a dumb decision?

Because they want to sell off half the transmission spectrum currently used for TV to the highest bidder. Therefore they don't want to give space for any more multiplexes, and won't EVER deliver a proper HD service, just offcuts taking the space of other services.

If you need to buy a new box, you know who to send the bill to.

Oh, and no HD in the south until after the footy - despite that being where most of the audience and most of the digibox penetration is?

Its almost as if someone in OFCOM is in the pay of Murdoch..............

0
0

Market status?

To receive Freeview HD you will need:

a) A tuner that supports the DVB-T2 standard

b) A means of decoding the as-yet-unconfirmed and non-standard mechanism that will be used to encode the service information to ensure that only approved manufacturers who sign up to the DRM rules can make the boxes

c) An H.264 decoder for the video stream

d) An enhanced MHEG decoder for the HD digital text services

Components (c) and (d) already exist in Freesat HD STBs, (a) is probably sampling in relatively small quantities right now and you can't do (b) until OFCOM agrees and it's just pushed the BBC proposal back to them. Chances of any of that changing in the next month are pretty slim, I'd say.

0
0
Bronze badge

No current receivers

There aren't any. Not the PS/3, not the BT Vision box, or Elgato sticks, or anything else.

Some of those will receive HD in other countries using DVB-T, but they will NOT do so in the UK; the DVB-T2 hardware is pretty clever stuff, and you can't just change the software on your PC to magically transform a DVB-T tuner into a DVB-T2 one.

However, there are prototypes out there, and there are certainly manufacturers working on equipment for the UK market. The testing is apparently a little more rigorous than has sometimes been the case in the past, so at least in that regard I think lessons have been learned.

As to why we're doing this - it's a new technology, and it's much more efficient (50% extra capacity per mux). Sooner or later it would be adopted anyway, whether for HD or SD.

There's at least one new(ish) technology involved in HD for most people - H.264. By linking that and DVB-T2 in one jump, it's hoped to avoid the problem of starting an HD service and then changing transmission technology a few years down the line. A bit more pain (and wait) now, but far less likelihood of another upgrade very soon.

0
0
Stop

several points

- where's hampshire on that list?

- @mfraz "If you bought a TV in the 70s, you could still use it to receive analogue transmissions." yeah and you can still use it today, as long as you hook it up to a freeview box

- are they seriously saying that 'hd ready' tv's now in stores will NOT work with freeview hd???

0
0
(Written by Reg staff)

@Richard 69

'HD Ready' TVs will not work directly with Freeview HD.

'HD Ready' simply means the telly can display an HD picture - it says nothing about its ability to tune into HD transmissions and never did.

HD TV + Freeview != Freeview HD

0
0

EyeTV? Nope..

No current EyeTV hardware supports DVB-T2, so you won't be able to receive HD in the UK with it. See http://forums.elgato.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6439&p=31899#p31757

(Ain't it great, so many existing transmission systems and they picked something different.)

0
0

Two standards change.

There are two standards that change.

(1) The video coding MPEG4 AVC and that only comes down to software at the receiver.

(2) The transmission standard DVB-T2. This is the real bugger that really needs new hardware.

AFAIK every other HD country stuck with DVB-T1 for the transmission and went to various different video compression standards. The DVB-T2 standard has only just been ratified and there are certainly no PC tuners available yet and I doubt any TV boxes.

As it seems to be a purely UK decision to use DVB-T2, I can't see chip fabs falling over themselves to produce hardware.

0
0
FAIL

@By Raffs

Raffs says:-

"Not true - there is a product that can recieve the new transmissions, PS3 with the Play TV box.

It's ready to go now.."

PlayTV uses DVB-T, not DVB-T2. It cannot and will not recieve the new broadcasts.

0
0

@Fat Freddie's Cat

Your elgato device will NOT receive the new broadcasts. Look again at the support page you linked there are no DVB-T2 (its the 2 thats significant) listed on that site. Infact there are no DVB-T2 devicec at all, anywhere available to the public.

@Richard Lloyd

to answer your 1st Q, a device aimed at another country will NOT work in the UK. We are to be the first AFAIK who will actually broadcast DVB-T2 signals in the world on a full scale basis (the HD trial in london a year or two ago didnt use DVB-T2)

The HD tuners will have to be backwards compatible with the DVB-T standard. No-one is going to have two devices one for HD and one for SD. I'd hold on for your new tuner if i were you (it could be almost a year before PC receivers are available though i reckon)

0
0

MPEG-4

You can just as easily broadcast MPEG-4 with DVB-T. Denmark is doing exactly thatl since the big switch on November 1, most channels now use H.264/AAC, including DR HD, so you don't need a new box to get high definition on DTV (at least not until 2012 when Denmark will switch to DVB-T2).

0
0
Linux

Surely no problem with MythTV?

As long as the tuner card can still deliver the transport streams to a computer, surely software PVRs like MythTV will be able to cope? They can already play back MPEG4 AVC and ASP video.

0
0
Thumb Down

Big feckin' woopdedo

Is this the same HD-Freeview that the Beeb were trying desperately to riddle with DRM? Yeah, I think I'll pass thanks. I don't care about HD for TV content anyway, since I'm not part of the target audience for the programming that benefits for it (well, maybe some of the documentary stuff, but not the sports broadcasting).

0
0
Alert

No HD for Elgato / PS3

It's true, the Elgato and PlayTV on the PS3 will happily decode Freeview HD across Europe, but they won't in the UK. This is because (a) Europe broadcasts Freeview HD using DVB-T and the UK broadcasts Freeview HD using DVB-T2. (b) Elgato / PlayTV on the PS3 only contain DVB-T tuners. Without a DVB-T2 tuner, Freeview HD is not possible in the UK.

0
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Excellent news, number one

Plot a course to ditch CRT and invest in LCD panel in about 18 months. Make it so!

0
0
FAIL

One for OfWatch or WHY

With Freeview Digital Terrestrial TV roll out not yet completed, it is unbelievable they're launching the HD version already.

Even more shocking the fact that current Freeview tuners will need replacing with a STB, unless the unlikely event that TV manufacturers offer tuner module upgrades.

This begs the question as to why manufacturers weren't forced to state whether TV's they've been selling this last year or two can be upgraded with HD tuners.

In the analogue broadcasting world, TV's and radios lasted a lifetime. In the digital one, you shiny kit gets obsoleted out of your control and sooner than you'd hope.

0
0
Stop

DVB-T2 will not work with DVB-T tuners

Before anyone goes out and buys an "HD-capable" DVB-T card, please bear in mind that DVB-T2 also changes how the signal is broadcast. I don't know the full technical details, but I do know that it's not just the video coding that's different.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

List

Is it just me, or is the whole of Edinburgh and the Lothians missing from that list?

0
0

Common Interface/ Upgrade

I wonder if it is possible to upgrade current HDTV's to the DVB-T2 standard? Common interface cards can have processors and memory built into them, and many HDTV's have the slot. Currently they're only used for top up tv etc.

Still; I have some doubts that TV manufactures would bring out anything to prolong the life of current sets, when they can use it to push people towards a whole new one!

0
0
Bronze badge

CI slots

@Simbooth, no, you can't do it using the CI slot, because that appears in the wrong place in the chain - DVB-T2 replaces the very first link in the chain of processes inside the receiver.

Without a DVB-T2 tuner, you're not going to get any signal to tune into, let alone pass on to the CI slot.

In theory, you could put a tuner on a CI module, and feed a signal in that way - but that's essentially putting a whole receiver in a CI module, and though it's possible to control such a module from the menus on some TVs, it's not easy (and often impossible) and not elegant at all. The CI spec is rather limited when it comes to controlling such things.

DVB-T2 will be being used elsewhere in Europe; a number of other countries are planning to roll it out in future.

0
0
Megaphone

DRM currently unspecified?

Lots of mentions of the difference between DVB-T and DVB-T2.

How about another mention of the little spat between Ofcon and the rest of the industry on what DRM will be used? Don't know why it's going to be any different than Freesat HD but someone (presumably on behalf of the "rights holders", 'cos no one else wants DRM) apparently wants it to be?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/09/bbc_ofcom/

0
0
Jobs Horns

Chinese proverb

Man who walk too quickly step in bear trap.

Aye fangew.

0
0

couldn't give a toss

Until they improve the content I'm not going to waste any money upgrading the picture. You can broadcast "The Impressions Show" in HD but it's still not funny.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@mfraz

"If you bought a TV in the 70s, you could still use it to receive analogue transmissions."

With an STB and a modulator you can still use it to receive freeview.

Thing is if you bought a Colour TV in the 70's you probably would have paid a good chunk of your wages (one reason why so many rented them - yes kids people used to rent TV's). You can buy a Freeview STB for about 3hrs work @ minimum wage - throwaway money, throwaway electronic goods.

A 22" colour TV back then was half the price of an Austin Mini, today 22" colour TV costs the same as 4 tyres for a Mini.

0
0
FAIL

@Absolute rubbish

Looking at the comments above, it's not just the processor, memory and HDMI fees then, it's more expensive tuners as well... and potentially DRM in a PVR ?

Complete shambels. Man at DTG and those in the BBC need to find alternate employment as wheelie-bin cleaners or something with less impact.

0
0
Silver badge
WTF?

Mr.

And if they used DVB-T, half of you would be complaining why they are launching a new technology on an old standard, when the more efficient DVB-T2 exists.

Then we'd be stuck using the old standard, either that or we'd be forced to upgrade AGAIN in a few years time!

0
0
Go

"a Colour TV in the 70's"

I still have a pre-SCART Philips 15" TV which I originally rented from Visionhire (the year Chas+Di had their wedding, not that I watched it). A few years later I made them an offer to buy and they accepted.

It still has a better picture than either of the LCDs I have bought in the last 3 years (one yukky Beko, one allegedly respectable Samsung). The programmes aren't any better on the old TV though.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

dvb-t2

I know where I can get multiple DVB-T2 units

You could also get the modular boxes and wait for them to produce the tuner for them (which a lot probably would have already).

It's about time that our country grows up and stops calling anything from a Satellite Sky and Digital Terrestrial "Freeview".

The rest of Europe isn't like this... maybe because they aren't as thick as shit.

Freeview HD - it's just a package, just like Sky - gah.

0
0

2012

Pah - oh well gives me chance to wait until the technology has caught up and I can get a DVB-T2 integrated TV or PVR that is cheap as chips.

0
0
Bronze badge

@Martin 15

This assumption is wrong:

"(1) The video coding MPEG4 AVC and that only comes down to software at the receiver."

The MPEG decoding in a TV or STB is a dedicated hardware block. That means you can make the main CPU relatively low-spec, which means cool and (very importantly) cheap. If you didn't have dedicated hardware to do it, then you'd need a monster CPU to do full HD decoding at 50/60Hz.

Having said that, most large TV manufacturers have been shipping MPEG-4 decoders in their TVs for the past few years, because there are a bunch of European countries already broadcasting it over DVB-T. It's just that the UK changed both the encoding spec and the modulation type at the same time.

I think customers who have recently bought large-format TVs have every right to feel aggrieved - the "HD Ready" logo situation is a shambles, and Freeview HD is no better. Apart from a hard core of enthusiast geeks and the TV industry, nobody knows what's going on (as these comment threads have demonstrated).

0
0
FAIL

HD-Ready and other things - http://www.digitaleurope.org/

The HD-Ready logo is defined and managed by Digital Europe (formerly EICTA). The meaning is clear and has been for some time. The TV is ready to connect to an HD input device and has sufficient resolution.

"HD-Ready" - Means it will work show HD pictures with a Blu-ray player, Sky HD, Freesat HD, or Freeview HD box. If you have got a non-HD-Ready TV you really are stuffed.

"HDTV" - is the logo for built in decoder. And manufacturers have been responsible and not used this in the UK. DVB-T TVs with HD MPEG4 decoding have been available since late 2007 and have been sold in the UK without being promoted as such while they are being happily used on the continent for HD services.

Both the above logos have 1080P variants indicating 1920x1080 display and input support as additional requirements.

DVB-T2 demodulators are not yet available in quantity even to major manufacturers. The spec was finished a little over a year ago and actually development has gone as well as could be expected. There is no possibility of software upgrades to any DVB-T demodulator (unless it is FPGA based and about the size of a 32" TV).

This means that PC USB tuners, PS3 PlayTV, tuners STBs, PVRs and TVs current and past will not receive Freeview HD with existing hardware.

If anyone does know of anywhere that DVB-T2 products can be obtained please post the link. Especially a USB tuner would be good.

0
0
Badgers

Re: Market status?

“To receive Freeview HD you will need:

[…]

b) A means of decoding the as-yet-unconfirmed and non-standard mechanism that will be used to encode the service information to ensure that only approved manufacturers who sign up to the DRM rules can make the boxes

[…]”

So long as it's MPEG-TS with the same meanings for certain IDs as for DVB-T and so long as free-to-air content is still broadcast in the clear, I don't see a major problem there; the likes of VDR will cope fine (and if not, well, there are users who will produce patches).

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.