Farewell, snow-filled pictures
fat chance it's Easter - haven't you seen the forecast?
Londoners: don't forget to retune your Freeview kit today, be it a set-top box, a telly with an integrated digital tuner, or a tuner dongle or card hooked up to a PC. Ditto, if you own a BTVision or TopUp TV box. The Crystal Palace transmitter, for years the capital's main source of TV signals, will begin cutting off stations …
fat chance it's Easter - haven't you seen the forecast?
Speaking to a work colleague this morning who is in the capital, it's apparently a lovely warm sunny day. Meanwhile, here in the Peak District every window is a snow-filled picture, and more falling every minute...
I was looking at some screen grabs I took from live TV on my old Amiga the other day and the colour and clarity was fantastic. No MPEG artefacts and no noise despite living 35 miles from the transmitter.
Now on DTTV some of the channels look almost like a webcam.
Well you were one of the lucky few to have perfect reception. Where I lived the BBC never came in analogue at all. And even the terrestrial channels for my area were weak.
However I have to say the BBC is a bit cheap when it comes to bandwidth. They typically stuff an SD channel into 2-3 MBit/s. In Germany for example 4 are about the minimum for larger stations, and public television often reaches up to 10 MBit/s for longer (many seconds) peaks. At least over satellite. Terrestrial transmission is another point, that's actually not taken very seriously with a single digit viewer share. Germany is pretty much hooked on free to air satellite.
However quality isn't the main problem, it's convenience. Back in the old days you had to use framegrabber and manually tune your receiver. Now you just have a little card with 2 antenna inputs which will dutifully record everything you want at the touch of a button. You can even pre-set it to record whatever you want. And the material lands on your hard disk without any additional quality loss. Digital TV is like a download service, but free and legal.
"Germany is pretty much hooked on free to air satellite."
My brother watches lots of sport on your lovely free TV. (German Olympic coverage, for example, puts us to shame). When the Sky Digital switch happened, we simply kept the old Astra dish pointing at 19.2 degrees and the installer added the mini-dish following the (stupid*) "can't see 2 dishes" rule. Bought an FTA digital receiver to pick up all the foreign stuff. As well as German channels there is the odd national channel from other countries too.
* Strictly, you need planning permission to have more than 1 dish.
It's not always like that though..
I live in visual range of Crystal Palace, and I can remember getting ghosting, soft pictures and snow on analogue terrestrial channels. And stereo sound was very hit and miss. Sometimes two channels, sometimes left, sometimes right.
Digital.. Occasionally the picture breaks up for a few seconds, or the sound stops for a little. But that is not that common on most channels. Generally, I get perfect pin sharp colour correct picture, perfect stereo sound etc..
Analogue is more forgiving of a bad signal.. True enough. So you get a range of badness. Digital is go or no go, but when it works, it works very well.
Ghosting is often caused by poor cabling at your end, all you need is a badly installed plug or socket or extension in your aerial connection and the signal goes bouncing up and down the wire causing the ghosting you see. It may well even be worse when you're near the transmitter because what would be invisibly weak ghosts further away due to signal dropoff are visible due to the extra power in the signal..
Well there are multifeed dishes where you can mount up to about 12 LNBs so you can receive multiple positions. I myself have 28° East, 19° East, 13°East and 10° East. I mostly use the first two.
I'm lucky enough to live close to the spot beam so 80cm is enough in my area. At my parents place 100cm are the minimum. We have a separate dish there for that position
I do have cable, but since its mostly encrypted, I'd need not only very expensive CI-slot enabled DVB-C cards and quite a bit of monthly subscription fees. For that I'd get roughly about what I can get from a cheap 19° East dish.
Welcome, pixelated digital pictures.
Welcome pictures that break up into blocky green blobs and freeze for a few minutes while the audio either continues on or starts stuttering like a bad rap artist. A vast improvement over a little fuzz when reception fades.
Did mine already, there was no BBC1 this morning when I wanted the travel news...
I had to retune my free view box for Beeb 1 and 2. I live very close to CP transmitter
I remember the early days of DTTV, BBC then looked stunning.
Been getting slowly worse as time goes on.
In that case, blame the `bean counters`.
Somehow, they got it into their minuscule minds that you can cut the bitrate in order to cut costs.
In the name of `increasing shareholder value`, once was a 10Mb/s signal gets cut down to 2.5Mb/s.
If you read your sources properly you would know that shutdown *started* on the very first hour of the 4th!! was watching the Lionel Ritchie special, then weather at midnight,, and then 'no signal' ... :)
SW London, surrey... :)
FYI - even a 'high pressure' area - on BBC weather! can cause 'skip' so confusing the DVB decoder..
BUT do not worry! on the 16th, there will be a lot higher signal level, that will remove many problems..
Being in Canada, we get hit with Queen's English anaracks from the motherland and the south.
Anyone know the definitive distinction between the two spellings?
Its not that one is correct and one is not. Typically the analogue is British, as its origins are french and that;s how the french spell things!
However, when used technically, many standards use US English. The most obvious being a Computer Program.
I've been coding for 30+ years now. I still manage to switch between colour and color seamlessly tho. between normal writing and writing of code.
Often many of the US spellings are closer to old English spellings, so are more 'english' than our (British) spellings. Don't tell any Daily Mail readers that tho.
> "Anyone know the definitive distinction between the two spellings?"
Yep. In this country it's "anorak".
Hope that helps.
I thought it was like Programme/Program or To/Too/Two; it depends on the context as to which is correct.
Quite right. It's a tv programme and a computer program.
Can I come too?
I got a cheap DVB USB TV stick a few year ago, with a tiny little aerial. It never ever, ever worked! I think I once got Magic FM for about 5 seconds, before it dropped out... ohh the excitement of it all.
As from today - it works with over 60 channels flawlessly (some TV, some radio) as they have increased the power on some of the multiplexes. In another couple of weeks, I will get the rest as they are all being increased when the other analogues get turned off.
I had always thought it would have worked before though, as I can see the Crystal Palace transmitter from where I am sitting right now.
The town I live in, Harlow, has legal problems. Many properties have a covenant that prohibits the erection of aerials or dishes, having been originally provided with a council-run community aerial system.
That system was transferred to a cable TV company which is now owned by Virgin and they're maintaining the distribution via their own cable. Virgin now want money to supply Freeview channels over the system. The old analogue will only continue until the end of the year, and then you either pay for digital cable TV as an individual, or hope that you don't have a neighbour from hell who will enforce the covenant. Thankfully, the council dares not enforce the covenant.
Building a community distribution system makes sense but only if it's run by the community and that any covenants work both ways or can be terminated.
"the remaining digital channels [will] become available in all areas".
Even to those on repeaters which will only broadcast the "Freeview Lite" channel selection????
My mum lives in Weymouth, and her range of channels has actually decreased post DSO, because she's on a repeater.
Why in two stages?
I think it was because they expected lots of old dears to be less confused if they lost just BBC 2 rather than all of their channels to start with, the idea being that they'd ask family and friends what had happened and have a chance to upgrade to Freeview prior to the second stage.
and first thing this morning, no channels whatsoever. 1 rescan later: picture restored, covered in big white squares...
Only relevant to a small area.
Looks like its posted in Home Entertainment to me.
Also looking through the search on the site, I can see that El Reg has covered the other regions as well with headlines like "Granada to start losing analog telly tomorrow" and "town to lose BBC 2 tomorrow" covering Whitehaven, Cumbria.
Did folks from London complain about these articles appearing cos it didn't affect them?
A small area that happens to have 15% of the UK's population living there (and probably more affected by the crystal palace transmitter who don't actually live in London). As probably the highest-impact switchover so far I don't think it's unreasonable to say it has some national interest...
CP serves some towns as far as 40 miles away. I have a feeling that in terms of population, it's the most "watched" transmitter in the UK by far. In fact the range for its analogue transmissions is said to bet 60 miles, whereas the DTT transmissions are only good for half of that due to power differences.
Historically the London region was also the first to get TV and also claimed many other TV firsts so again analogue switch off is significant in this area. First colour, first 625 lines, experimental NICAM stereo transmissions, first HD DTTV, etc.
Lets have a look at a few of those points...
Only 15% of the population - Therefore not the majority of the UK and still just local news.
Other areas analogue shutdown have been announced - Yes, but not that many. I didn't see anything for the Blackhill transmitter covering central Scotland.
Its a historical transmitter/has lot of relays - Again, Blackhill transmitter. This one covers most of central Scotland with surrounding areas relaying its signal. It has the 5th greatest population coverage in the UK and was the last analogue transmitter to be turned off in Scotland. Historically it was built in 1957 and was the first transmitter to bring independent television to Scotland.
But then, its switching off was just local news...
Hello big fat lumps of MPEG artifacts.
But at least you get more oppertunities to watch the 57th repeat of the 17th repeat of something that was crap when it came out before I was born.
You mean "consume", not "watch". Remember you are the product here, and products consume content.
No, when the signal increases on 16th, there should not be a problem..
but keep watching all the above links, in case of unforeseen problems!!
THIS is why 2 'scan dates' its better than the whole thing collapsing all at once!! :D
and when the CP power goes up from 20Kw to 200Kw on 18th, (some other sites say 16 or 11 ??) then a lot of problems will disappear..
except for these..
The problem with satellite in this country, is that large quantities of water block out the signal!!
yes, a heavy snow or rainstorm will mean no TV!!! - this has happened at least 4 or 5 times in the last two years.. and I stuck watching the limited DTTV channels - its only in the last few months that enough good channels have joined freesat, but it *still* has less *worthwhile* channels than freeview!!!
We live in a marginal area for both analogue and freeview, living as we do in a large Surrey commuter town :rolleyes:
With our current "large good aerial on a tall pole" we can get a reasonable picture only with a masthead amp.
The main problem? Multipath.
What'll happen when they turn up the juice? I suspect we'll just have very very loud multipath that'll swamp the input of the digibox.
FYI anyone who's having reception issues, before or after switchover it's worth trying a different digi-box if you can. Our old Sony DTV couldn't deal with the signal quality here at all, but our much newer Sony digibox usually works/worked fine.
Incidentally, I don't know how the media has been disseminating the news about the digital switchover, but I do know it's not working very well. My parents didn't know it was going to happen, and until I explained why she didn't have BBC2 the girlfriend was completely stumped too.
The spouse of one of the local antenna installers told me this evening that he's had over 400 calls today because "My TV isn't working"
That's in a fairly small Surrey commuter belt town.
Is _never_ caused by local cable problems.
It's ~60us across the viewable screen. (the other 4 is in the flyback and horizontal sync pulse plus overscan)
Every 1us of distance separating the image and its ghost is 300metres of path separation between the main and reflected signal - and it normally takes at least 3-5us to even be noticable.
Working out where the reflector might be requires drawing an ellipse on a topgraphical map with loci at the transmitter and receiver, then seeing where it intersects reflective objects and repointing the antenna so that one of its nulls points at that object (this loses some main signal but a lot more of the ghost. Most antennas are best described as "directional attenuators" and have pretty poor directional characteristics - a lot of ghosts turn out to be reflections from BEHIND the receive antenna.
This principle works just as well for digital as analogue - multipath reception causes distortion of the received constellation, a higher Bit Error Rate and consequent greater sensitivity to local interference such as mopeds.
If you need 300+ metres of coax to get a usable signal then you have worse things to worry about than an impedance mismatch on a connector.
3rd comment in a row. Blooming 'eck.
The only reason rain fade is a problem is that most installed dishes are sized to give a barely useful signal under ideal conditions. Apparently "fade margin" is far too technical a concept for the average cable monkey^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdish installer to grasp.
Going up a few sizes helps a lot. My Freesat signal only drops out when the sun is directly behind the Astra birds (twice a year at predictable times).
HINT: Sat dishes don't have to be pig-ugly grey things or hang off the rooftop. A coat of paint does wonders to placate the neighbours and if you want to be really stealthy there are even transparent ones available.
I suggest you invest in a qualified aerial installer who have experience in dealing with multipath...
I hope you have not believed the salesmen, that a big complex aerial will help you get better freeview.. it has most likely pulled in TOO MANY other signals, and swamped your box...
dont goto dixons/curries.. the small electronics shops usually have the good guys, who wont just sell you lots of stuff just to increase their commission!!! yes it may be expensive, do you want to risk your head getting up on the roof??
yes sure you can get a giant dish and a fantastic LNB, but how many will be able to fix this, get planning permission, and afford the price???
can you offer a good price for a 10Cm dish witha hi gain LNB?? I'll bet you cannot beat a sky install... (£60 to FREE)
It is difficult enough getting some petty people to get that big ugly thing on the side of their house...
Planning permission is only required for dishes exceeding 100cm in most areas in the UK, even in conservation areas and "areas of outstanding natural beauty"
A 60cm dish is plenty to cover rain fade in the south when pointed at the Freesat birds, increasig to 80cm in the extreme north of britain.
As for price: My 60cm dish cost 30 quid with LNB and that was over the odds as it was an impulse purchase at B&Q. Changing to a 8-output LNB cost more than that (the neighbour takes 2 feeds off it). Size of the dish itself has very little impact on the cost as that's just a stamped piece of metal.
There are (now) other dishes but they're not visible from the ground (flat roof) - and for that matter the 60cm one is usually only seen by people when I point it out (white paint). My neighbour's not going to complain as he doesn't need to worry about mounting a dish himself.
There are myriad ways of disguising a dish, but the easiest way to deal with objections is to mount them as low to the ground as possible so they're not visible from the street/neighbour's backyard. Sky installers are NOT likely to consider doing this.
One of the simplest and most ingenious disguses I saw was a bin bag over one sited on the ground in the middle of a rose bed in a front garden. (it received very well.) Other dishes have been mounted below the ground floor windows in the back yard (sited between 2 compost bins, or other obects, noone ever sees them at a casual glance).
You can even get flat panel receive arrays which are paintable and thanks to beam steering tech don't need to be pointed directly at the satellites. I don't use them but I've seen a few in various locations and unless you know what you're looking for you'd never "see" them even if they're right in front of you.
yeah its clear you are blind to 'normal people'... I'll bet you do not advertise in the Sun or Daily Mail.. or even radio times...
But how about something you might know.. My DSO happened on schedule on the first minute of april the 4th.. No BBC, ITV etc to switch off a few days later or earlier....
BUT!!! How come with a scan on my new 19" for the bedroom I just bought on the 7th, pulls in all the analog channels??? yes, I checked the analog teletext on BBC!, its says 'London' not kent or whatever I would expect in tunbridge wells or bluebell hill??
Is a 2 parter - one analog channel (BBC2) was switched off on the 4th, the rest will be switched off 2 weeks later
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