Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Connecting the Box

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  • kmont,

    It was disappointing to see that a feature by Greer McDonald in Saturday's Dom Post made no mention of UHF Freeview as I think it will be the carrot that will attract the non-Sky-subscribing viewer (with the added attraction of HDTV broadcasts as well)

    Yes, I read that article. What is this UHF Freeview that you speak of? Is it possible to get Freeview without a satellite?

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Is it possible to get Freeview without a satellite?

    Oh, please please please let it be so.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Yes, I read that article. What is this UHF Freeview that you
    speak of? Is it possible to get Freeview without a satellite?

    Next year you will, when DVBT freeview starts, this will be the one with HD content, untill then you have to do with make do with poorer quality satellite (whcih if like me you live in kingsland and have crap reception is better than the current situation).

    Washington DC • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm disappointed, Russell, that you are so easily swayed by "Pretty, shiny, ooooh" over "We can't be bothered supporting our terribly expensive product".

    Aw c'mon. I've made my views pretty clear on the NZDST issue -- Apple's conduct has been plain shabby over that -- but that doesn't change the fact that this is a hell of a computer.

    It's very fast, brilliantly designed, and it takes advantage of some great software ideas. I'm not going to deny that just so I can get in a snit with Apple.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes, I read that article. What is this UHF Freeview that you speak of? Is it possible to get Freeview without a satellite?

    March next year.

    It's DTT, but they're going market it as Freeview Aerial. That'll also be the only way you'll be able to get HDTV service.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    What is HD? Something Digital? DVBT? Help a sister out.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    Darn it, now you've made me sign up.

    Minor quibble: Freeview over satellite (DVB-S) uses MPEG2, not MPEG4. The terrestrial version (DVB-T) will use MPEG4. The difference in quality between Sky and Freeview is down to Sky using a lower bitrate, so that they can squeeze in more channels.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Matthew

    MS even provided instructions for people to update versions of Windows that are no longer supported, which is far beyond what Apple has given us.
    I'm disappointed, Russell, that you are so easily swayed by "Pretty, shiny, ooooh" over "We can't be bothered supporting our terribly expensive product".

    I agree entirely that Apple dropped the ball in NZ over this. But remember for the longest time Apple had the novel concept that operating systems would/should be backwards compatable. In comparison MS have always taken the view that a new OS should force users to upgrade/spend more money.

    Those were the old days for Apple and some of their more recent work has been more er "business like"

    However to suggest that MS are better than Apple because MS have better support ... really hard to swallow that sorry.

    It is worth noting we are a really tiny market - not that we should have been ignored.

    Personally I'll take a week of my computer thinking it's a bit early to be awake for the pretty shiny and ridiculously grunty machine that just works.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Found a copy of Luxury Length going through the old record collection. Damn fine it was too. Flipping through was an odd experience: gems I'd forgotten (like the Blams, and Direen's Conch3) and things I was absolutely sure were there that somehow weren't (like the Dunedin Double ep and Double Happys "Other's Way").
    But no turntable now. I'm trying to face up to reality: I don't want to go out and buy a turntable. And I dunno what to do with this stack of records.
    What have y'all done? Sold 'em and saved the space? Storage in an airtight warehouse? Frisbees? Hours of home-made cd-making?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But no turntable now. I'm trying to face up to reality: I don't want to go out and buy a turntable. And I dunno what to do with this stack of records.

    Dick Smith, $99, comes with a built-in pre-amp because your new-fangled stereo doesn't even have a phono input ...

    I keep meaning to rip some of my vinyl faves to digital.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    What have y'all done? Sold 'em and saved the space? Storage in an airtight warehouse? Frisbees? Hours of home-made cd-making?

    about 15,000 of the bloody things (70% 12 singes, 30% albums) in a storage space in Auckland city...its a bind, and a millstone, but getting ridding of them is not really something I want to contemplate.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And my problem aggravated by the fact that when I see something I want, I'll buy the vinyl before the CD

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What is HD? Something Digital? DVBT? Help a sister out.

    DVBT? DVBS! MHEG! DTT!? OMG! BZZZT!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, alright ... DVB-T is the terrestrial flavour of the digital broadcast standard, and DVB-S is the satellite one. Kordia has also run a trial with DVB-H, which is the mobile one.

    DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Transmission.

    And HD does indeed stand for "high definition". But to view it next year you'll need a TV with an HDMI input: that's High Definition Multimedia Interface (also known as pain-in-the-ass hardware DRM).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Darn it, now you've made me sign up.

    Cunning plan: I make minor technical errors, thus forcing geeks to register with my website and correct me.

    Minor quibble: Freeview over satellite (DVB-S) uses MPEG2, not MPEG4. The terrestrial version (DVB-T) will use MPEG4. The difference in quality between Sky and Freeview is down to Sky using a lower bitrate, so that they can squeeze in more channels.

    I stand corrected.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh god, it just gets worse. Not only am I the first person in NZ probably to have paid for one of these box things, when we try to install it, it don't work, so we take it back and I am back where I started with crap TV One reception in the bedroom. (Don't be rude). And you lot just bloody plug things in and bang, you're off. (Don't be lewd). And then, to top it all off, I come here after a long afternoon learning about the joys of Comic Life, expecting some humour, some thought provocation, and what do I find? More ubergeeky talk which is way over me poor old head. Bugger me days, but it's hard being a luddite these days. Have any of you thought of hiring yourselves out a la hire-a-hubby?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Personally I'll take a week of my computer thinking it's a bit early to be awake for the pretty shiny and ridiculously grunty machine that just works.

    Yes. OTOH, I'd be bloody annoyed if Apple was to sacrifice my user experience to the copyright lobby the way MS has with Vista. Much bigger issue, IMHO.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Cheers.

    That makes some sense </backing slowly out of techie thread>

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Jackie, you aren't the only one, I returned 2 boxes before I could get them to work (and 2 dehumidiers too! I was having a bad appliance week!)

    Washington DC • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Bugger me days, but it's hard being a luddite these days. Have any of you thought of hiring yourselves out a la hire-a-hubby?

    Oh, Jackie. People don't want to PAY for geek expertise, they want it for free. At parties. In the supermarket. Over the phone during dinner. I'm beginning to understand what it must be like (on this one particular point at least) being partnered to a lawyer. I want to buy my partner one of these. The best part, the absolute best part, is people who whine about how boring uber-geekery is, but still want free advice.

    On the up side, I'm really nice to our mechanic these days.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Don't be afraid of the tech, don't befriend the tech, dominate the tech and if necessary, if only to quash entropy, destroy the tech.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Emma, I would most happily happily pay a great deal of money for a lovely person to come and install a freeview box thing, I really would. A home visit, if you will. I just have to convince the male person in my life that it's okay for other people to do these sort of jobs, and it's okay not to be able to do them yourself.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Dick Smith, $99, comes with a built-in pre-amp because your new-fangled stereo doesn't even have a phono input ...

    I keep meaning to rip some of my vinyl faves to digital.

    I thought the idea of the new laser vinyl readers sounded amazing. Unfortunately, they're bastard expensive, but it seems there ought to be a good enough market for using such technology (which can, I think, deal to skipping records), to make lovely hi fidelity digital versions of our beloved vinyl. I have a lovely turntable, and I still haven't digitised anything. And it might even have the deep base richness in a digital file that the CD format allegedly is missing.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Emma my IT help won't do it when they're paid to.
    My offsider used to be super-tech and knows that broken stuff can't be rebooted especially after I it fixed it, just like the cat.
    We bring in our own kit cause the form/billing structure/revenue drive... mean this is the best course of action.
    I'm not sure if not working means they're saving your tax dollars, but it works for them.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    so last time I checked (6 months agoish) Sky and TVNZ are really using the same satellite - and in fact the same streams - when you tune to TV1 on Sky your sky decoder gets the same bits you get when you tune to it on freeview (well maybe not quite - there are multiple copies with different ads inserted for different regions) - and yes it's all mpeg2

    Probably TVNZ decides how much their MPEG is compressed (rather than Sky who get to choose for all the other channels they have control over) - variation between channels even within the same service can be extreme - back when I designed sat boxes in the US we'd make sure we had access to HBO (which splurged on bandwidth) and the NASA channel (which way over compresses) to help debug stuff - the new HD channels are even larger and sat services in particular are cramped for space (hence the push for MPEG4 and real HD showing up in DVB-T)

    I think if you are seeing better quality because your new mpeg decoder has a better decode engine, or a better video backend - both are hard to get right and there's a lot of variation out there

    Because Sky doesn't let others sell boxes for their service we're stuck with their crappy box with the crappy formware that crashes every week or so and keeps losing the guide. The one with a UI in yellow and blue obviously designed by people who don't understand colour and video and the artifacts you get when you directly mix complementary colours .... hopefully a bit of freeview competition will encourage them to fix a few bugs in the current stuff

    BTW a lot of people make the mistake of connecting their wonderfull new TV with a crappy old cable - I don't mean go buy an expensive gold cable, those are a ripoff - what I mean is don't use one of the yellow/red/white composite cables - at the very least use S-video or pref a YPrPb 'component' cable or best of all a digital connection (the dread HDMI) - if you choose that cheap cable that evil Sky UI will literally dance for you

    Wiring the dish is actually pretty easy in NZ - everything is horizontally polarised (so far) so there are no LNB switches at the dish, that means you can use simple splitters around the house - just remember there are electronics (called the LNB) in the dish so they have to be powered for any box in the house to work - if you look at the splitter you'll see that one side is marked as passing LNB power - plug that into something (like the sky box) that will provide LNB power and make sure it's always switched on.

    If they ever want to have a whole lot more channels on Sky they'll have to start using V polarised transponders too and that's going to mean replacing the LNBs on all the dishes in the country (and those splitters) - so I'm guessing that 500+ channels are a very long way away

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

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