back to article Brits not buying into Freeview HD

Freeview today claimed that Brits have bought more that 60 million receivers, DVRs and TVs capable of picking up the free-to-air terrestrially broadcast transmissions it's responsible for marketing. But the news is rather less impressive when it comes to the organisation's HD offering. Freeview was quick to compare the take- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Fool me once..

    That's because manufacturers were able to sell TV's called "HD Ready" that were not ready to receive Freeview HD...

    Nobody wants settop boxes, nobody wants to replace their £800 2 year old TV...

    1. James Hughes 1

      What he said..

      Although I wouldn't mind adding a sensibly priced STB (already have a HD media streamer so not a big issue having another box), I won't be buying an HD TV in the near future, because, well, my current ones are only a year or two old and my PVR is only a year old.

      1. Marky W

        As an aside...

        ...we really need a better name than 'Set Top Box', given the unreasonable length of time it took me to balance one on my new (thin) telly. Bastard thing keeps falling off too.

    2. Richard Porter


      "Nobody wants settop boxes, nobody wants to replace their £800 2 year old TV..."

      Er, I don't want a box on top of my tv, but if I had a large flat screen mounted on the wall I wouldn't want it to include the tuner, loudspeakers and controls. I have an adequate audio system so I would just need a tuner. As it is, I don't want to replace my full-height tv with a low-height slittyvision one.

      We should stop talking about "set top boxes" - how many of them are actually on top of sets? - and market them as stand-alone tuners that will interface with screens, hi-fi audio systems (or surround sound), digital recorders and computers.

      1. ColinP

        @Richard Porter

        You seem to be talking about an older generation of TVs, as all the modern ones have digital audio outputs to plug straight into a surround system. No "set top" box needed.

        What is a low-height slittyvision tv? I want to get me one of those if the vision in my head is what I think it is.

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Not only that, but...

      There were all these annoying marketing adverts featuring one of those aliens from the old smash adverts telling us that "GET A BOX WITH THE DIGITAL TICK" and it will get all the channels and it will be compatible when we switch off the old ones. So people did.

      And now they are told to throw it away, it's not compatible any more and it won't get all the channels, because we changed our mind. Well FK that!

      Me, I spend most of my time in Spain now, where a 2 year old run-of-the-mill flatscreen picks up the equivalent of freeview HD with no extra money required, thanks. Freeview FAIL.

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Nothing to do with the fact

    that with Sky, since your already £500 out of pocket a year just to watch a football game and the box comes free so you can upgrade and watch your favourite players strut their thespian stuff in between the adverts in glorious HD for less than a 5% price hike?

  3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    There's more to it than signal

    OK if it's not being transmitted in your area you aren't going to buy in.

    Far more important is that "how much?" feeling.

    You can buy a SD Freeview STB for less than £20. You can buy a SD Freeview PVR for not too much more than that.

    To get those extra 3 (soon to be 4) channels, you have to shell out nearly a ton! Even more if you want a HD PVR.

    I'd love to watch certain HD content on TV, but am I willing to pay a load more for the sake of a few channels (which logic tells me won't always be transmitting something I want to watch) - HELL NO!!!

    Once they sort out their prices I'll buy one, whether that's through price reductions or a shitload of new (quality) HD channels. As it is, there's a lot of stuff they choose to broadcast in HD that leaves me thinking Why? Who needs to watch Hollyoaks in HD?

    Who needed to watch Brown, Cameron and Clegg debate in HD?

    Natural world stuff, fair enough. Some sports, fair enough. Strictly Come Dancing - F*ck off!

  4. Tzael

    Missing a vital point

    People who pay for Sky TV are more likely to have funds available to purchase HD television sets along with any other current innovations.

    Freeview viewers though are less likely to be in a position to upgrade their home entertainment equipment.

    It's simple demographics and while there are exceptions in both instances the general observations hold true statistically when reviewed with stringent criteria.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Fool me once..

    Almost agree ... move from terrestrial to freeview was compelling given the extra channels available (never mind the fact that you needed to do it at some point due to digital switch over) so having a STB was an acceptable annoyance plus they were cheap. For FreeviewHD its not quite so clear - you're basically only adding extra picture quality to a handful of existing channels and as HD STBs are expensive.

    I do intend to get FreeviewHD and I vaguely thought about getting an HD STB around the time of the world cup but wasn't going to spend £150-ish on one. So for me, and I'd expect many others, I'm planning to get FreeviewHD via a new TV sometime in the next 6-12 months - however, I'm waiting for the prices to settle down a bit.

  6. Richard Tobin

    HD in Scotland

    It's not true that all of Scotland will have Freeview HD in 2010. The main transmitters already do, but many relays will not until the digital switchover next year.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      My wife watchs SCD

      And it does look a lot better in HD

    2. Code Monkey


      I agree. Also the people who are more interested in telly, those most likely to give a rodent's hindquarters about HD, are also most likely to pay for Sky.

    3. Sampler

      Not only, but also

      Those who have purchased Sky may have the funds for HD but aren't they people who are more interested in TV in general? Those who have "settled" for freeview and aren't bothered about getting Sky probably don't see much point in HD aswell.

      I'd probably say this interest factor is more substantial than any financial factor in switch to HD.

    4. Rebajas


      [Citation needed]?

    5. Anonymous Coward

      "Who needs to watch Hollyoaks in HD?"

      Well given the rotating door of young attractive fillies that make up the cast, who doesn't need to watch in HD?

      *need allow for two icons so I can have add in the coat \ dirty old mac as well

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You havenm't watched it in a while have you?

        Although it's improving again, the aesthetic value of the cast is not what it was ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Disposable income - Sky

        I think you'll find that the largest majority of Sky viewers are unemployed. I haven't looked recently, but it used to be something you could claim for as a basic of living (along with a big TV and sofa) from the Employment Office! Plus, they are the people who have the time to watch the cr*p that is being pumped out these days.

        [Limit them to £26,000 TAX free? - that's equivalent to a £37,000 wage!]

        FreeSatHD built in to my new plasma TV is spectacular - who needs terestial?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But it's not available to most people yet is it?

    I know at least in my area that there is no Freeview HD service until the middle of next year, yet the supermarkets have started stocking cheap (ish) HD STBs. They're down to £79 now and by the time it's being broadcast I'd expect them to be cheaper still.

    Lots of the current stock of tellies doesn't have HD tuners, and it definitely sucks that people don't know they need a new tuner to get it, but at least there are TVs and STBs out there right now - it's not like you can't buy a TV with a (for a couple of years) future-proof tuner in it.

    Although, I do think that they (whoever that is) should be HEAVILY promoting the fact that you need a different tuner to get it. It's not fair for people buying what looks like a bargain to find out in a few months that they need another STB. I expected the retailers to be pushing the new stuff harder, the margins should be higher on DVB-T2 capable equipment, but I guess they have old stock to shift.

  8. Steven Jones

    One of the one-in-seven

    Mine is one of the 15% with an HD tuner. In a year's time it will become the norm once the cost difference between standard Freeview & HD Freeview tuners disappears as it surely will.

    However, one thing worth noting is the broadcast quality. Freeview HD is not broadcast at a high enough bit rate to get the full benefit in my experience. Maybe once the new bands are worked out, transmission power is upped (limited at the moment in many cases to avoid inter-regional interference) they will be able to up the bit rate as SNR improves, but I rather suspect not. More likely they'll cram more sub-channels into the same space.

    High def Freeview recorders are still rather too expensive with limited model choice and there, costs are likely to remain higher as you need bigger disks and more processing capacity.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many other reasons

    As you say, it only broadcasts to a few regions.

    DVB-T2 capable devices are like rocking horse shit.

    Retailers lie or mislead to sell old stock.

    Awareness of Freeview HD is virtually none existant.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I couldn't agree more on all 4 points.

      As for awareness of Freeview HD - would anyone like to compare the Freeview HD advertising campaign with Sky's? I know Sky has a load more money, but that's no excuse for making your adverts a complete pile of obscure shit. Anyone remember them? No, thought not.

      As a brand, Freeview is a joke.

    2. Jim Morrow

      me too!

      I've got a Humax HD box and the picture is stunning. The signal is sometimes shite though. The strength seems to go to zero when its raining. I can see the TV mast from my house and the regular TV/radio chanels which come through the same co-ax and roof aerial are fine. So it's probably not a reception or cable problem at my end. Perhaps the signal will improve after the digital switchover and the power gets turned up.

      Most of the HD content is crap. Holby City and Coronation St are still shit even if they are in HD. The World Cup coverage was amazing though.

      I hope that they improve the bit rate for HD and stop all this annoying drivel with sub-channels and "press the red button" irritatants.

      BTW, the price of HD recorders will surely fall. Regular PVRs were about 300 quid when they first came out. Today they're around 100. HD versions are around 300 quid too and these will fall as hardware costs drop and production increases. The only real difference between the HD and non HD versions is the tuner chip. Which will eventually be the same in new models.

    3. Annihilator

      Completely agree

      Went into a variety of Dixons/Currys Digital, about 3 months ago. First sales person stated that any TV that said "HD" on it could receive HD Freeview, second one was adament that you could only get HD via Sky.

      If they'd stuck with DVB-T like they did in the trial from Crystal Palace, you can almost guarantee that PC based tuners would be working already, either officially or through the modding community. I remember capturing the original trial BBC HD feed (around 2006 I think?) and managing to decode it offline. Couldn't quite decode it in real-time, but you know that codecs and CPUs have gotten better since then and it would be a doddle today.

      1. You're all dinosaurs

        DVB-T HD - three channels at best

        If they'd stuck with DVB-T like they did in the trial, they'd be able to get *maybe* three channels of 720p or 1080i. As it is, they can get five channels on DVB-T2, and the platform is capable of 1080p, which you can't say for Freesat HD or the first gen of Sky HD products, and there's enough residual bandwidth for one channel to be upgraded to 3D using a service compatible system.

        Sticking with DVB-T for an HD service would have been like using DAB for digital radio.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      And the Freesat HD angle

      A lot of us bought Freesat HD when it came out in 2008, after spending £300 on a box and £50 or so on a dish and quad LNB, why will we want to buy Freeview HD?

  10. David Haworth


    Well, I imagine a lot of people want a Freeview HD PVR, rather than just a decoder, and those have only just become available in the last month or so, and are still fairly buggy by many accounts. hardly surprisingly that the numbers are a bit low. I'm looking around at the current range of HD PVR's now with an eye to a potential purchase to replace my humax 9200t which is acting a bit flakey.

    The new humax HDR looks good. I kinda liked the 3view box but it seems pretty buggy atm. we'll see.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Freeview HD?

    If its as bad as Sky's 'HD' then its not worth it anyway. I was recently nabbed by a Sky HD sales weasel pointing out how I could see the hairs on some random footballers head, I pointed out how the pitch and background were still made of Lego. Until they quit multiplexing the bandwidth to death and put something worth watching on its not worth the money, whether Sky, Freesat HD or Freeview HD.

  12. Andy Miller

    Built in?

    You talk of 85% of TVs not having a built in Freeview HD decoder. What percentage of TVs have a built in satellite HD decoder?

    The usual model in both cases is still a TV with a separate decoder.

    Clocking up the same number of user in the first 5 months sounds pretty good when you can only reach 55% of the population at the end of that period.

  13. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    Why Freeview HD has been unsuccessful

    "Nowadays, then, HD ought to be an easier sell - so why has Freeview HD been relatively unsuccessful?"

    Because a lot of those who really wanted HD have already gone to Sky.

    Freeview is a misnomer. It's not free (you have to buy a licence) and half the channels you can't view (because they're radio).

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Umm Freesat HD here

      Via a Humax HDR

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Freeview PVR

      Last week I bought a Humax HDR-Fox T2 box and I'm very pleased with it, great interface, responds quickly to commands etc. There's an update out in two weeks which should give it access to the iPlayer and other online video, so that should be good.

      Luckily I didn't really buy it for HD, though, as it turns out my area (Hemel Hempstead) isn't due to get Freeview HD until 2012.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      "It's not free (you have to buy a licence)"

      You need that licence for Sky as well you know... It's not "freeview" you're paying for with it.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Not just Sky

      I caught a Freesat demo and told them their demo was rubbish - what did they have on?

      Football on BBC1.

      What should they have had on?

      BBC HD of course.

  14. Jim Hague

    Have you tried to buy a Freeview HD telly recently?

    I did. There's a lot of weasling about being 'HD Ready' but models with DVB-T2 HD built-in are pretty thin on the ground, and as near as non-existant as makes no difference at the cheaper end if you're looking in the bricks and mortar world(*).

    I'd have bought a Freeview HD ready TV if I could, but it wasn't an option.

    (*) I was unloading DSG vouchers so was restricted to their stores.

  15. Andrew Cooper

    Blame the World Cup...

    Something I notice prior to the World Cup was that a lot of the box shifters (Currys, Comet and their brethren) were not *selling* the Freeview HD sets, instead opting to clear out their old stock of Freeview SD with attractive sale prices.

    It's not surprising sales have been slow.

  16. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Ah: Digital TV. Such a choice of channels

    We were promised - and got - endless choice with the advent of digital TV.

    Unfortuantely, the reality was: Huge choice, but nothing to choose.

    Once burned..........

  17. David Ritchie 1


    As someone thinking of finally upgrading an old CRT, I will be buying a non Freeview HD TV, as I watch all my telly through my trusty old DVR, allowing me to pause, rewind and record. I can save hundreds by purchasing a Freeview telly rather than a Freeview HD one.

    When my DVR dies, I will probably get an HD one, but until then I can live with regular old Freeview

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Well why would we?

    When some of us (East Midlands - Waltham Tx) aren't being switched over until August 2011. We don't all live in London you know?

    The reception around Leicester is appalling really - its a tossup which Tx (Waltham or Sutton Coldfield) is better for which mux. Even with the huge aerials installers have been flogging there's little to no chance of getting HD Freeview - hell SD Freeview on the ITV mux's is dodgy enough.

    Once analogue gets turned off we'll get an ERP increase of 400% from the Tx. Then it might be worthwhile.

    Oh and the UK has made an almighty fuckup of digital TV switchover. Nearly a decade and a half to switchover? Fail. Total unmitigated fail. Lets not even mention the "unique" nature of the UK's HD Freeview system mmmm? DVB-T2 which is ubiquitous isn't it. Ermmm no, fail again.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      "The reception around [fill in blank] is appalling really"

      Which is why I wound up sucking Murdoch's cock after years of holding out and went HD via Sky with a very heavy heart indeed. I couldn't get a sustainable SD FreeView signal from the Lichfield transmitter group so I despaired of what they would do to the HD signal.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Should have researched Freesat

        Pity you had to go to Sky, I wanted HD so ended up with Freesat HD

  19. Anomalous Cowturd

    I got thirteen channels of shit on the TV to choose from, choose from, choose from.

    I got wild staring eyes...

    Did Roger Waters know more than he was letting on?

    My Freeview box never outputs to TV, only my Amp, for Radio 4, 6 Music, or TMS when the cricket is on.


  20. DrXym Silver badge

    Price and coverage is more likely to be the reason

    Freeview HD boxes command a premium and therefore take up is going to be fairly slow. Just compare a bog standard Freeview receiver to a Freeview HD receiver on Argos. The cheapest HD box is £99 compared which is 5x the cheapest SD box. TVs with integrated HD receivers are also taking the piss with prices at the moment.

    This happens with any new tech and usually takeup increases as the price comes down and more models appear.

    I expect by next christmas the receivers will be down to £50 and there will be a lot more models to choose from, including PVRs.

  21. probedb

    That would be....

    ....because it's not available in my area so why would I buy into Freeview HD yet?

  22. StooMonster

    FreeSat HD is fine

    I've already got a quad-LNB satellite dish from Sky for HD, so hooking up a couple of FreeSat HD boxes was easy.

    Got no need for pointy bird perch antenna on the roof, not had terrestrial of any sort for years; Freeview reception was always bad where I live, I don't think we ever got Channel Five over analogue even.

    One of my friends bought a new TV with a FreeSat HD decoder in it recently, and he's chuffed to bits with it -- he lives in really rural area and wouldn't get a good enough Freeview signal anyway, and you can pick up dishes for FreeSat for less than 30-quid.

  23. There's a bee in my bot net

    Show me the content...

    I bought into freesat a good while ago. 1 HD Channel at the time. Very good quality.

    Now we have 2 channels! Well one really as the other is ITV which doesn't really count as its all ant and dec and the like.

    Also the quality just isn't as good as it was - that could be my perception, or it could be the fact that the beeb changed their encoding a while back. It just doesn't have the wow factor any more.

    I'm left wondering a) Why isn't everything broadcast in HD or at least up-scaled and b) Why is it taking so long?

    I will buy a freeview HD box when they cost £40 or less or if every single TV channel it can receive is HD.

  24. terry 1

    Not that impressed with HD

    I was in a store recently with my boys and we watched a sky sports HD / SD demo. The improvement was marginal at best. Certainly not enough to warrant spending money on getting HD content.

    1. Pedro Mendosa

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

      The setup must have been terrible then as the difference is huge.

      I can put up with films and regular programmes in SD if I have to but I hate watching MOTD with it's blurry players and pixel-patch pitches.

      Football in HD gets you much more involved in the game; more like the feeling of watching a game at the ground, whereas SD seems far more detached now.

  25. D@v3
    Thumb Up

    BBC HD

    I get all my content (HD or otherwise) through the iPlayer (or similar services) on my PC which is HDMI'd to the AV receiver attached to my Full HD (1080p) TV. No aerial plugged into TV, no TV license. No worries

  26. AlistairJ

    Late adopter

    Well I for one welcomed Freeview HD with open wallet. That is, I avoided buying an "HD Ready" TV until it could actually receive said broadcasts, and kept my large and heavy CRT until that point.

    Now I can watch the history channel (sorry, the BBC) in HD for free on my 32" LCD. Its definitely a cleaner clearer picture but not much more than that. I haven't yet tried any other HD source though.

  27. Cunningly Linguistic
    Thumb Down

    Let's also not forget...

    ...the AAC vs DD 5.1 debacle.

  28. Andy Livingstone

    But I like it.

    Had to buy a new TV, so got an HD ready one. Not till a casual conversation did I realise that HD was even available in my area. So much for locally- relevant publicity. Because most viewing is by time shift I wanted a Freeviw HD recorder and by luck the Humax box became available within a short time.

    Got one direct from Humax on day 1 of release and loved every bit of it. (My 3rd Humax box)

    If BBC would sort themselves out to actually put more standard programs onto their channel in the way that ITV and Channel 4 do, then all will be well.

    Maybe because I use glasses the difference seems more than apparent.

  29. Red Bren

    Don't upset Uncle Rupert...

    ...has been OFCOM's motto throughout this debacle.

    OFCOM initially said there would be no terrestrial HD, so if you wanted HD, you were stuck with Sky, unless Virgin had cabled your street. After giving Murdoch a few years to corner the market, OFCOM announce a version of terrestrial HD that is not used anywhere else in the world, has hardly any HD channels and isn't compatible with any of the existing HDTVs with digital decoders. So Sky are given another bite of the cherry.

    1. DRendar

      You still need a license.

      That is all.

  30. Fuzz

    It'll depend on people upgrading their TVs

    I just bought a new TV, had the last one around 5 years and fancied something bigger.

    The new TV has freeview HD. Most of the TVs I looked at had DVB-T2 tuners. The TVs on sale without DVB-T2 are old models. By the time we get to 2012 all TVs are going to be capable of receiving the new signal.

    I'm just waiting for a USB tuner for my media centre PC. There's one on its way to market but there's a bit of a debate as to whether or not it will give freeview HD on media centre.

  31. Chimpofdoom!


    Biggest problem with freeview/freeview HD is lack of decent content. It never really bothered me before, as I didn't really watch TV, but as the gf sticks any random rubbish on.. i thought it was worth shelling out for heavily discounted sky HD (know a member of staff and get a 1/2 price code!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      > I just bought a new TV, had the last one around 5 years and fancied something bigger.


      > The new TV has freeview HD. Most of the TVs I looked at had DVB-T2 tuners. The TVs on sale

      > without DVB-T2 are old models. By the time we get to 2012 all TVs are going to be capable of

      > receiving the new signal.

      Despite an earlier comment I think FVHD sets are starting to become widely available and I'd strongly assume that virtually all new models will. At the moment they are commanding a premium over FVSD sets though that partly may be that retailers are shifting out old FVSD stock at cheap prices ... once there's no FVSD to fill the "entry" level pricing then FVHD will come down in price. (N.b. you can already get FVHD sets at much less than I paid for my first LCD 4 years ago)

      1. Fuzz

        Exactly my point

        I just bought a 37" LED set with freeview HD and it cost less than the 26" set I bought 5 years ago.

        It may take a couple of years but freeview HD will become the main way to watch HD TV, in the same way that freeview quickly became the main way to watch digital TV.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Utter crud on TV?

    How about the fact that most drongos who watch broadcasts simply want to veg in front of X-Cacktor or Corrie? I watch about 45 mins of broadcast TV a year, I get most of my viewing from bargain bin DVDs off Amazon or from ASDA, then download the odd TV episode from torrents.

    I have a full 50" HD TV, even a BluRay ( Lord knows why I bothered! ) sadly I make do with an XboX original streaming TV episodes most often at 640x480 DivXs off a NAS box in the spare room! Maybe I missed something in the mad rush to get HD, but so far the whole thing has left a rather sour taste in my mouth and quite frankly I'll only buy another TV when mine finally goes poof and blacks out!

  33. DRendar
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "That may explain why 85 per cent of all the HD TVs sold this past summer did not incorporate a Freeview HD tuner, by Freeview HD's own admission"

    Ummm - that's probably because 50% of those people buying a new telly already have either Sky or Virgin Cable.

    If I had the option for my next telly it wouldn't have ANY tuner built in at all... I get all my media through Sky HD, my XBMC Media Centre plus various consoles, all of which connect though my Onkyo Amp. The TV tuners just get in the way. I just want a 50" monitor! LOL

    </side track>

    As others have said - probably 80% of Joe Public doesn't know that FreeviewHD even exists, and those poor sods who know nothing about it, will just go out to buy "One of them big flat tellies like our Tarquin's got" to watch Jeremy Kyle on - and will believe the lying sack-of-shit (or clueless) salesman who tells them that an HD ready Freeview telly can get all the channels.

    To be fair - 15% of all new Tellies sold this summer having FreeViewHD built in is bloody good going!


  34. JeeBee

    Not a surprise, give it some time

    To get past the chicken and egg situation, Freeview HD was launched before any of the boxes were available. Sky had both the chicken and the egg, so they could get hardware out there for launch. It doesn't sound like Freeview HD is doing that badly given the limited reception areas, the fact that people with Freeview TVs already are unlikely to want to replace them just yet, and the price of the standalone boxes is still relatively high.

  35. RobH

    Freeview sucks in rain - they can stick DAB where the sun don't shine...

    Waltham mast from Derby - BBC Freeview ok, other mux piss poor. Fitted new 'log' antenna at DigitalUKs recomendation which gave me all channels except when it rains. More shopping and encrypted channels than analog but only when the weather cooperates... FAIL...

    When did the hooters move the upgrade to the end of August 2011, it *was* May...

    So tell me again why we're supposed to listen when the lying weasels say we need to "upgrade" our FM radios?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Last month

      "When did the hooters move the upgrade to the end of August 2011, it *was* May..."

      Last month they finalised the date - well we can only hope its finalised. The May date was very speculative - I think I know the site you'd have read it on and its varied from November 2010 through to May 2011 over the years.

      Rest of the world must be pissing themselves laughing at "can't do" UK - 14 years and counting to switch over to DVB-T, never mind DVB-T2. Pathetic, totally pathetic.

  36. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Rubbish marketing and bad timing ?

    I went to a public talk a year or two ago by one of the Digital publicity team. I raised the question of whether she thought it reasonable that TVs were being sold as "HD Ready" when they would in fact not be capable of receiving HD transmissions. Her response epitomises the problem - they are only there to evangelise Freeview, and the fact that others are making misleading marketing claims isn't their concern. She could not see that there was any confusion (either then, or when Freeview HD started transmission as it already has up here in Winter Hill territory) and basically showed that all they cared about was people being able to get the basics. They weren't bothered whether people could get HD, they weren't bothered if people were confused about whether they could get it, they weren't bothered if people were being sold kit under false pretences.

    Given that many of us had no choice but to buy digital kit a year ago in order to get anything at all, and that when we had to buy it, DVB-T2 hadn't even been finalised, then is it any wonder that we bought kit that can't get Freeview HD ?

    Since we've bought new kit, most of us don't want to buy more new kit to get a relatively minor improvement. Yes I'll buy some DVB-T2 (or DVB-S2) kit sometime, but it won't be just to get HD.

    For those of you still waiting for the big switch over, in some ways you are lucky - you have the option of waiting for "real" HD capable TVs to be readily available and at a reasonable price. Since our big switchover was last year, up here we had no option.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    where are the USB2 and USB3 DVB-T2 cards

    the simple fact is, the BBC and their 3rd party OEM's were told a whole 2 plus years ago, when all the so called DVB-T1 plug fest DVB-T2 trials where going on for the MASSIVE North west winter hill coverage area's,that WE NW end users NEEDED a cheap basic DVB-T2 USB2 and STB To Be made available for, and by the November 2nd 2009 official DVB-T2 transmitter launch, but these Basic units are Still not available anywhere.

    so dont come all this DVB-T2 HD free-view signal not available to many users, the Uk's second most powerful winter hill transmitter located in the North west, transmit's/covers much of the NW alone and thats several million at least when you include its DVB-T2 relays etc.

    theres No excuse other than greed and wanting to shift masses of badly managed overstock antiquated DVBT only kit on the retail channels shelves.

    so again You Need to ask loud and clear, where exactly are the basic USB2 and USB3 DVB-T2 cards for PC HD USE ?

    a generic lower power HD PC with a £50 teraByte Hard-drive today with PS3Media server installed makes a perfectly good 16:9 widescreen HD recorder and NAS server to any connected DLNA Device but for a non existent DVB-T2 USB2/3 device 2 years down the line since plugfest and nearly 12 months of Real DVB-T2 broadcasting.

    hell, not even the generic world class LinuxTV/Linux media code-base dev's has any DVB-T2 devices to write/port that code to and they have been writing lots of new code and working API's for the ARM A9 dual SOC devices etc.... so no hope before at least cristmas/new year 2011 for your average end user in the NW england to make use of anything.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Don't talk shite mate...

    "...But while Freeview HD launched in 2010, Sky HD debuted four years ago, a time when there were far fewer HD TVs around and punters were just getting used to digital TV and the upcoming analogue switch-off..."

    What the fuck are you basing this on? I and many others I know bought Sky Digital when it launched in October 1998. I still remember the old Sky Planner, the black dish and the funky remote control. I also remember all the failed digital add-ons like being able to browse Next and various other shops. All in all it was complete pish but a huge upside was the addition of all the new channels. Sky Plus and Sky HD are just evolutions of the same system.

    The reason HD hasn't taken off, in my humble opinion, is that HD is a waste of money. It's complete overkill for general programming. HD is good for two things: gaming and movies as it's a step closer to a more immersive experience. Counting the liver spots on Babs Windsors' face or the hairs on the backs of Richard Keys' hands isn't worth two grand for a telly and five hundred a year for a Sky HD sub.

    The penetration of HD and, to a lesser extent 3D, will always be limited by the reality that they bring very little actual value to TV. It's one of those things companies will try to sell us but a lot of us are saying "Hang on, that's still just a moody shot of a fucking glacier. Tell me again why I need to fork out two grand!"

    HD movies are great. HD gaming is great. HD general programming is technology for its' own sake and not a lot of people think it's priced fairly. I have to say I agree with them and not Sky or the BBC.

  39. Dick Emery


    I recently got an HDTV with FVHD and FreesatHD built in. To my dismay only BBC HD broadcasts in 5.1 Dolby Digital (Occasionally). The other channels do not. Not only that but on FreeviewHD the 5.1 signal is sent as AAC which my HDTV will not transcode to DD. This was a cockup because of the late change from DD to AAC (Because it is more efficient and the BBC in their infinite wisom wanted to include audio description which cannot be included on DD). The TV manu assumed we was all going to be DD so did not include transcoding ability. So early adopters might get stuffed on DD 5.1 unless they use FreesatHD. But then they lose Channel 4 in HD.

    Oh yeah and another annoying thing. The 'Press the red button' does not vanish after a timeout on FreeviewHD (You have to press the green button to get rid of it) unlike FreesatHD where it goes away after about 20 seconds. Not nice for plasma's where image retention can be an issue (Dog tags are a pisser too. At least BBC HD uses a semi-transparent one).

    One more thing. WHY HELL IS AUDIO ON THE HD CHANNELS SO FRIGGIN QUIET! Seriously. I have to bump the volume by 5-10 steps to hear it and it often goes up and down in volume (Inaudible anouncers is funny on BBC HD).

  40. VulcanV5

    wotsit all about alfie

    The article makes no sense to me. We've never been early adopters of anything so missed out on the joys of spending £000s for early-days crap and instead stuck with our 10-year-old £300 JVC CRT until it expired in June.

    At which point along came that nice Mr Sony, and the almost as nice Mr Tesco, offering the latest £850 Sony 37 inch with built-in Freesat HD. Mr Tesco knocked £200 off our local Sony Shop's price for the same model, and Mr Sony knocked another £200 off on the proviso we took our deceased JVC telly into Tesco's and left it with Customer Services (it was all part of some seasonal promotion relating to some obscure football game or other.)

    So we PX'd the JVC and for the princely sum of £450 have a Freevsat HD telly that's an absolute joy, hooked up to a sat dish that cost us £50 purchase & installation.

    We recommended some friends who were hunting for a decent LCD TV to go buy the Sony and PX their 12-year-old 14inch portable that's stuck in their holiday caravan and manages to get two channels in mono. But our local Tesco store had run out of the Sony and when they tried every other Tesco source (Tesco Direct, Express catalog etc) were told that all stocks had gone.

    According to the store manager, Tesco alone had shifted thousands of Sony sets with inbuilt Freesat HD capability. So how "85%" of buyers this year have missed out escapes me.

    * PS: as we know sod all about TV technology, we've been astonished to find that somehow, our rental DVDs played on our ancient Daewoo DVD player (circa 2003) seem to be screened by the Sony in high definition -- or at least, something that must be damn near to it. A knowledgable friend grinned and said yes, the modern tellies can all do that, no need to spend a load of money on that "upscaling DVD player" con trick.

    I was going to sign this off as Smug Git.

  41. Milkfloat

    4 channels - no way

    Freeview HD is doomed to fail as it is limited to 4 channels in HD and even then it is not full HD. It would be better to kill it and put the monies into Freesat, at least that is scalable.

  42. Steven Burn

    2 primary reasons ....

    .... I'm not switching to Freeview HD (or any other for that matter);

    1. I've got Freeview and;

    a. It's x number of channels with 99.9% repeats

    b. They can't even get the damn signals right for standard freeview (and yep, I've tried different boxes, arials, TVs etc etc etc)

    2. Inclusive of the 99.9% repeats, given HD only has a few channels at present, there's absolutely no point.

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