If you’re replacing an old television set, connectivity is a potential issue that it’s worth considering carefully. Having a decent number of HDMI ports is certainly a good idea, for connecting up Blu-ray and DVD players, and games consoles, and most sets cater for such devices well. If, however, you have older equipment you may …
Tightly Specced? wtf
Freeview is hardly tightly specced!
Take the sound format, apparently the broadcasters can use AAC or Dolby Digital+, unfortunatly they didn't specifiy that the output should be transcoded to a more universal format (dolby digital or dts)...so your fancy HD TV will just be feeding stereo to your amp...how 'modern'!
Nor did they specificy a minium bitrate, so you end up with overly compressed crap that only looks good on youtube or your phone.
They don't even correctly apply the H.264 video standard, so your recorded programs can't be played on devices that 'support' h.264.
So all in all its about the same as all the other tech standards, incomplete with masses of room for user confusion and 'new' versions.
Will 5.1 audio and 100% standards compliant kit for the video make the return of Big Fucking Brother to the tv any different? Will it make any difference to your drunken enjoyment of the world cup? Of course not.
Will it make any difference to your life in any way shape or form? No, but it will affect your bored to shit friends when you are trying to explain just why your new Freeview HD is better than their SD stuff, because lets face it...no one (who actually counts) really cares, they just want to watch TV on what ever it is Dixons are selling when their old stuff goes tits up.
Alternative Freeview HD buyer's guide
1. Do nothing.
2. Ignore all the hype over a range of products that will be half the price and twice as good next year.
3. Buy an HD recorder with the money you save on your next telly.
What I said in the piece was not that it's "tightly specced", but that it is more so than the standard def service. It's still not as tight as, say, Freesat, where the EPG layout and genre screens are controlled, but there are more restrictions than in the past.
The surround issue is something we've been following for a while - see last week's report here, and the stuff I've been publishing on my own blog for the last month. We'll have an update regarding that fairly soon, too, just as soon as some other people get back to us. It certainly far from ideal, to put it mildly.
However, I simply don't recognise the description of the Freeview picture quality as 'overly compressed crap' - have you watched it? And which bits of the H.264 video standard aren't being used properly?
A far more common reason for not being able to play recorded material from a PVR on other equipment is that that other equipment, while supporting the H.264 codec, does not necessarily understand how to get H.264 from an MPEG Transport Stream, which is what has to be broadcast - just as some kit also doesn't understand an MPEG2 video Transport Stream, and needs it turned into a Programme Stream before it can play back. A case, as Morecambe and Wise might say, of having all the right packets, but not necessarily in the right order.
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