Am I better investing in Freesat PVR rather than Freeview HD ?

lauraeva

Standard Member
Looking a few years ahead, and wanting to buy a PVR soon ...

I have a Sony Freesat TV which gives me terrific HD right now (Freeview HD will not be available in my locality for 8 months till scheduled switchover - and TV has SD only Freeview tuner). Also I get a far better SD picture on Freesat than I get from Freeview, and of course far more channels !

At the outset I was told that due to space limitations on Astra 2D (and prioritisation for Sky who own it and were leasing bandwith) freesat HD content would remain limited and terrestrial was much the better long term bet for HD. However up to now Freesat matches Freeview in HD (and NHK seem to broadcast Freesat HD now and then !) while giving more than double the number of channels, movies and news.

So would a Freesat PVR make more sense than a Freeview PVR if you already have a dish set up ?

Seems like Freesat PVR choice is rather limited though ?
 

logiciel

Moderator
It's surprising that when Sony did satellite TVs, with HD, they included only SD terrestrial tuners.
I don't see any possibility that "terrestrial was much the better long term bet for HD".
There's always going to be many more channels on satellite than terrestrial, so there's no real question, especially as you already have the dish.
The 13 Freesat PVRs are perhaps rather limited - freesat+ HD - though people around here reckon there's only one that's worth having.:D
 
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lbear

Well-known Member
It's surprising that when Sony did satellite TVs, with HD, they included only SD terrestrial tuners.

Possibly because at the time DVB-S2 tuner chipsets were widely available whereas T2 tuners were not widely if at all available. I can also see that they predicted a wider market for HD satellite sets.

The other consideration I suppose is whether the OP has a dual or better quad LNB so that both the tuners on the PVR have a signal and ideally a spare one for the Freesat TV.

At the outset I was told that due to space limitations on Astra 2D (and prioritisation for Sky who own it and were leasing bandwith) freesat HD content would remain limited and terrestrial was much the better long term bet for HD. However up to now Freesat matches Freeview in HD (and NHK seem to broadcast Freesat HD now and then !) while giving more than double the number of channels, movies and news.

Sky do not actually own the satellite but had an almost monopoly purchaser relationship with SES Astra for UK transmissions until Freesat came along. The main difficulty is that by leasing the "narrow beam" transponders focused on the UK, Sky edged out the competition by putting its scrambled signals on them.

Astra intend to locate the about to be launched 1N at 28.2 E initially to provide extra "spot beam" capacity for the UK. That should release more S2 transponder bandwidth which in turn means a greater likelihood that more HD channels will be technically possible. Much will depend on the economics and whether channels are tied into exclusive Sky deals - Five HD fof example.
 

MarkA

Active Member
We have both Freesat HD and Freeview HD PVRs. This allows us access to the full range of channels across both broadcast mediums. However most of our watching is of the common channels on both platforms. We use our Freeview PVR as the main unit with Freesat for when dual recording capability just isn't enough. Why do we favour Freeview? Mainly because the DigitalStream PVR is a great reliable unit. The Grundig Freeesat unit has a really good user interface and is easy to use, it's just not reliable.

Unless there's a real differentiator for you on channel selection or signal quality/availability, then I think the decision and experience is more down to the capability and reliability of the PVR itself.

Long term promises of what might be on either platform always seem to end up being broken....!! Then there's questions around the latest, greatest technology ending up requiring new hardware. Caveat emptor and all that!
 

raydawson

Active Member
We have both Freesat HD and Freeview HD PVRs. This allows us access to the full range of channels across both broadcast mediums. However most of our watching is of the common channels on both platforms. We use our Freeview PVR as the main unit with Freesat for when dual recording capability just isn't enough. Why do we favour Freeview? Mainly because the DigitalStream PVR is a great reliable unit. The Grundig Freeesat unit has a really good user interface and is easy to use, it's just not reliable.

I also have the Digitalstream Freeview PVR, but also the Humax Foxsat HDR. Both are very reliable.

My TV is a Panasonic Viera with both satellite and freeview inputs.

So, I have the best of both worlds, but there are advantages to freesat over freeview.

Bit rate - the freesat bitrate is higher than freeview and the video is noticeably better - especially on BBC HD channels.

Dolby surround 5.1 - comes out of the back of the freesat boxes on HD channels, (when transmitted) but freview has the dolby changed into a newer format which most amps and receivers don't recognise.

Bandwidth - there is potentially more bandwidth on freesat for extra channels as freeview is really pushing it now - hence the lower bit rate on freeview.

Freesat has a few channels missing, which are on freeview (Dave, Five USA and a few others), whereas freesat has a few more including the CBS and movie channels.

Personally, having both freeview and freesat, I do usually watch freesat on the Viera TV - which gives me nice Dolby 5.1 when it's transmitted - but record on both freeview and freesat.

Cheers,

Ray D
 

Muzer

Standard Member
The thing I like about the FOXSAT-HDR most is its hackability. If you're the sort of person who appreciates the difference between hacking and cracking, and rather enjoys a little of the former, you'll probably want one of those over any Freeview HD box I know of ;)
 

logiciel

Moderator
This sub-forum provides confirmation of that point, on a major scale.
Many Humax owners appear to use them far more for those purposes than for watching TV.:laugh:
On the question under discussion I can only repeat that I don't think there is a question.
If there is a choice between Freesat and Freeview then imho there's no competition.
 

Muzer

Standard Member
It's not hacking in the sense the media use the term, it's hacking in the sense of using something computer-related for something it wasn't intended for to create a nice solution. In this case, you hack it in order to transfer video files over the network, and get non-Freesat channels in Freesat mode. You could even with not much effort stick a web server on there or something and use it as a low-power server as well as a PVR ;)
 

logiciel

Moderator
more access to your recorded TV shows
I press the play button for that, but I understand the enthusiasts' wish to make it more complicated. :D
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
I press the play button for that, but I understand the enthusiasts' wish to make it more complicated. :D

Ah but the play button doesn't allow you to send content to one or more devices elsewhere in the house leaving the receiver free to play something else at the same time. It is also not complicated. Anyone who owns a PC and is smart enough to register for and use the forum would be capable of doing it given they have the ability to read and a willingness to learn.

I notice you don't comment on the complexity of other receivers mentioned in the general sat section such as Linux receivers but love to mention it whenever someone mentions the Humax 'hack'.
 

logiciel

Moderator
I feel the same way about the Linuxes but don't get asked about them quite so often! ;)
 

WightWalker

Standard Member
I don't believe that Freeview will transmit any more HD channels than is currently available on Freesat: BBC 1, ITV 1, BBC HD, Channel 4

At least for the foreseeable future - I hope that I'm wrong.
 

lbear

Well-known Member
I don't believe that Freeview will transmit any more HD channels than is currently available on Freesat: BBC 1, ITV 1, BBC HD, Channel 4

At least for the foreseeable future - I hope that I'm wrong.

We know a fifth HD channel is due on Freeview after final DSO and there is speculation the channel will initially be used for an Olympics HD Red Button or 3D alternative. This is supported by the London switchover date being a bit earlier than extected - mid April.

It is also quite likely I would have thought that a successful bidder for the Channels 31 to 37 or the interpolated channels would want to use this for a HD service.

Actually Freesat has five HD channels. NHK HD was recently added. It is also likely that the terrestrial fifth HD channel will be on Freesat. The imminent launch of Astra 1N means there will be more bandwidth so hopefully your general point that there should be more HD channels on Freesat holds good.
 

WightWalker

Standard Member
Actually Freesat has five HD channels. NHK HD was recently added. It is also likely that the terrestrial fifth HD channel will be on Freesat. The imminent launch of Astra 1N means there will be more bandwidth so hopefully your general point that there should be more HD channels on Freesat holds good.

I deliberately omitted NHK HD as it has surely has very limited appeal; I'd rather have HD from one of the other mainstream channels e.g. 5HD, ITV2/3/4 HD or E4.

If 5HD is already free to air on SKY, then it could be available to FREESAT.
 

logiciel

Moderator
Much less limited appeal than C5. :laugh:
 

lbear

Well-known Member
If 5HD is already free to air on SKY, then it could be available to FREESAT.

5HD is not free to air on $ky, it is free to view. The deal with Murdoch deliberately placed it and all the 'digital' channels in Dirty Desmond's collection behind the encryption wall.

You can receive STV on a Freesat box using the 'non Freesat' mode and you can also then get Luxury HD which is also free to air and 1080p like NHK
 

logiciel

Moderator
Or would be if it was still broadcasting.;)
 

DCGP

Standard Member
Hi all, it seems the general consensus to the original question is that Freesat is the better bet, as of May 2011. It is now November - has anything changed to alter that view?
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
has anything changed to alter that view?

Not really, analog switch off may mean more Freeview & Freeview HD in your area, and some of the Channel 5 channels such as 5 USA etc are coming to Freesat in December.
 

DCGP

Standard Member
Thanks for reply. I get Freeview HD from Wenvoe, which includes BBC, ITV, and, guess what, Welsh S4C HD, which I can't understand and would much rather have Ch 4 HD, so that is a good reason for Freesat!

DP
 

logiciel

Moderator
They're two different things.
I don't see that it's a matter of choosing between them - if you want variety then it has to be Freesat.
 

deeplyblue

Active Member
It's not hacking in the sense the media use the term, it's hacking in the sense of using something computer-related for something it wasn't intended for to create a nice solution. In this case, you hack it in order to transfer video files over the network, and get non-Freesat channels in Freesat mode. You could even with not much effort stick a web server on there or something and use it as a low-power server as well as a PVR ;)
First I thought I couldn't copy off my (inherited) Humax HDR becasue there was no output.

Then I discovered there is a USB port.

Then that I couldn't use the USB port.

Then that I could use the USB port if I formatted the USB device with Linux.

Then that even that wouldn't let me copy the HD "Frozen Planet" progs to watch in another room.

Then that I could with a little hacking, and then ...

:confused:

I think that I might find it easier to buy the HD-DVD - except that I only have a PC-based DVD player anyway (which is probably useless for this purpose).

So now I would like to do two things:

1) Be able to store some programs off the Humax, even if I have to copy them back on to it to watch them.

2) Have a way of watching HD upstairs entirely separately from the the Humax and its rather restrictive carrying capacity (once you take the size of HS progs into account)

I do already have the Humax and got the satellite re-positioned to get the signal on it.

My terrestrial aerial is due for the chop (indoors and, after the neighbours did some roof raising, giving me a weak signal). The original plan was to get a new terrestrial aerial as backup and get a bloke in to fit extra leads and give me a satellite feed upstairs as well. I did intend to get another FoxSat PVR (perhaps even to practice the hacking) as well, but would welcome comments.

Is it better to manage with terrestrial HD for the second setup? I can get the bloke who dealt with the satellite dish to come and install a second feed to the upstairs setup and/or a new external aerial for the HD signal which (I believe) is now available in our area.

If I want a terrestrial HD PVR, could I use a currently unused Topfield TF5800PVR (I haven't the signal strength ATM for that and a DVD recorder)?

Oh yes, and if I did decide to go down the "hack the Humax" road - which is the best forum/sub-forum to start out with. I'm not frightened of programming, but am distinctly limited when it comes to using screwdrivers.

db
 

kevkbuk

Distinguished Member
1) Be able to store some programs off the Humax, even if I have to copy them back on to it to watch them.

2) Have a way of watching HD upstairs entirely separately from the the Humax and its rather restrictive carrying capacity (once you take the size of HS progs into account)

1. Use a USB storage device formatted in the appropriate format or install the custom firmware and copy to your PC via ethernet. Search the forum both have been discussed at length. You will have to copy HD content back to the Humax to play.

2. Install a seperate Freesat or Freeview HD receiver. Carrying capacity???
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam
1. Use a USB storage device formatted in the appropriate format or install the custom firmware and copy to your PC via ethernet. Search the forum both have been discussed at length. You will have to copy HD content back to the Humax to play.

2. Install a seperate Freesat or Freeview HD receiver. Carrying capacity???

No need to copy HD content back to the internal drive if directly stored on a usb mass storage device, EXT3 for files larger than 4GB or FAT32 for ones less than 4GB. In both cases replay is possible from the usb drive. I have a 1TB drive on the rear usb port about 50% full of encrypted HD content. (its in a drop in cradle so I can also use the original 320GB drive). Effectively unlimited storage but it only works with the hdr that recorded it unless recorded without encryption using non-freesat mode.

If you use the media button followed by red and change to a connected usb drive(s). Multiple drives can be used using both ports or a usb hub, replay is identical to the internal hdd.
 
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