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Free-To-Air Options

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Wilbur, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Wilbur

    Wilbur
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    If I was to buy an FTA box tomorrow which of the following ought it to be?

    Grundig
    Pace FTA
    Nokia Mediamaster FTA
    Panasonic TU-CT20

    I have read the Grundig/Pace head-to-heads that have been discussed elsewhere in this forum + the recent reviews in the home entertainment glossies. Pace seems to come out on top although only averaging a 3 out of 5 in the reviews I have read.

    The Nokia seems to score slightly higher (4/5) but at the cost of £50 extra. Only product I haven't seen any coverage on is the Panansonic - anybody got one? How much are they? And where do i get one (if they are any good...)

    My priority is getting a better picture from a moderate analogue signal (Canary Wharf gets in the way of the nearest transmitter and causes ghosting).

    I don't think I need loads of scarts, only kit I'm going to have is this box + a DVD player (+ AV amp & speakers).

    EPG etc would be nice and do any of these things automatically sense widescreen broadcasts and change your picture accordingly (I believe I read that the Panasonic can do this...)

    Finally, I was on the verge of buying the Pace but somebody mentioned the SCART lead wasn't great and as it was hard-wired I couldn't get an upgrade - is it really that bad???

    Thanks in advance...

    Wilbur
     
  2. LV426

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    It is not my normal practice to recommend any part of Dixons Group, but I saw yesterday in my local store, that they are selling ex-ITV Digital STBs at £80. In Sheffield they were all Nokia ones. I had an early Nokia and it was slow and prone to freezing. I don't know if they have improved.

    BUT: the big advantage (to me) of the old ITV-D boxes over the new breed of FTAs (Pace and Grundig) was the inclusion of a multi-event recording timer, which, coupled with a JVC VCR, makes timer recordings a very simple process.

    It may be that in other stores they have other makes of hardware. I'd go for the Pace 735 or the Pioneer box, if you can find one.
     
  3. gringottsdirect

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    Forget it. Get a dish....
    You need a strong signal for successful DVB.

    If you can sale or return, wait for the Panasonic.
    The Silver Nokia is the same slow beast as the old black ON Digital, it even has the OD menus.
    The Pace is faster, the picture is as good, but cutdown on spec too far.
    The Pioneer is a good buy @£79 in Comet if you can find one.
    Grundig hmm....
    The new Panasonic should be ideal, but if at all a possibility, save yourself the grief, get Sky subscribe full Sky World 1st month, reduce to £10 minimum 2nd month onwards until 12 month contract fulfilled then cancel subscription altogether, you keep the box and dish and use Free To Air. Sky has the £10 offer at the moment or if you need a brand new Panasonic/Sony pay more and use an independent.
     
  4. Squirrel God

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    What do you call strong? I run mine from the FM aerial coax with a signal strength of 60%. I tried using an aerial splitter on the FM coax and it still worked like a charm! If Sky is set up incorrectly, you'll get picture breakups and signal drops. DVB is resilient.

    I have the Pace DTVA. Now only £89.99 at Dixons - great value. No timer but picture and sound quality are superb and the menus are pretty nippy too ;)
     
  5. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    60% is strong.
     
  6. Wilbur

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    I believe the signal I'm receving is fairly strong (aerial and booster set-up was recently overhauled) but the engineer who checked it out said that there was nothing he could do about the impact of the towers (i.e. the ghosting). I was just hoping that DVB would cure that!

    Anybody know how long the wait for the panasonic is going to be?
     
  7. Squirrel God

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    It will. You don't get ghosting on digital. It either works or it doesn't. There's no dodgy mid-range with half-decent pictures; they're always crystal clear. That's the beauty of it. :)
     
  8. MartinImber

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    Well Pace DTVA is pretty good
    Nokia is cack
    Grundig is cack (no QAM16 support)

    Sony IDTV is best I've seen
     
  9. SimonSays

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    Phoned Panasonic and they said that it wouldn't be out until August.
     
  10. Wilbur

    Wilbur
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    Thanks Simon (why didn't I think of that!)

    There's another product coming out early next year that will provide FTA digital. It will only cost £30 (hardware will be subsidised by various home shopping channels that plan to add their own functionality to the OS and remote.

    www.tvcompass.com
     
  11. Squirrel God

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    Yikes! Bet it's ridden with annoying advertising and pop ups :eek:
     
  12. Squirrel God

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    Was browsing this month's What Video and TV in WH Smith's this afternoon. The Nokia Mediamaster is reviewed in there and got a great review.
     
  13. Starburst

    Starburst
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    9850T?

    It got a reasonable score in HCC but when the slowness of the OS is remarked upon then it's obvious that Nokia have just taken an old design and given it a face lift.
    OS and menu speed for me at least is a critical element in a modern digital reciever/decoder.
    I put up with my first gen PACE digibox because I didn't know any better, using it know is a nightmare when compared to modern boxes and makes every function a chore to use.
     
  14. Squirrel God

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    Not sure of the model number - it was the new FTA Mediamaster. I didn't see anything about the slowness of the OS in the review in What Video and TV, but I was just browsing it really as I had to catch my train so it may have been there. Picture and sound quality and connectivity scored highly though.

    I'm very satisfied with my Pace DTVA anyway - picture/sound quality excellent and OS is nice and nippy too :)
     
  15. Stuart Brooks

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    Grundig 16QAM is upgradeable over the air, just like the MHEG on the Pace.

    You probably don't want to live without a timer for recording purposes.

    There was another Nokia FTA reviewed in one of the mags, got 5 stars, great pictures, but no info on connections or timers. £130 out this autumn. Similar avant-garde styling to the Pace DTVA.

    Stuart
     
  16. Tejpal

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    queastion about the product on tv compass.com

    will that be free to view or subscription?

    and i can bet anyone it wont be £30.....more like £100
     
  17. Tejpal

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    also can someone post the prices and places to buy for them DVB boxs
     
  18. Starburst

    Starburst
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    It's a FTA digital reciever for UK DTT.
    They believe that people will put up with onscreen adverts and adverts on the remote control which will generate revenue for TVcompass and offset the retail price of the hardware.
    They are wrong:)

    Psychic hat on........It'll never launch.
     
  19. Wilbur

    Wilbur
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    ...and went for the Pace.

    (Which also reminds me, the guy in Dixons said they had ceased production - hence he didn't have any in stock and would I like to buy a grundig instead...!)

    Bearing in mind my TV recpetion is pretty good - I'd say 70% on 5 channels, the Pace can only pick up 9 channels and all are unwatchable.

    I'm sure this can't be a function of the strength of my signal or the lack of digital coverage (I'm in central London and right in the middel of a strong reception catchement). Anybody got any ideas as to what could be causing this? I'm going to speak to Pace later today. Does an aerial and booster set-up that's good for analogue just not cut it with digital?
     
  20. Squirrel God

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    Sounds like you need a wideband aerial.

    Having said that, another member had a strong signal (like you) but the picture and sound kept breaking up. Turned out that his Pace box was faulty. He picked up all of the channels though, whereas you are only picking up 9.
     
  21. bxd

    bxd
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    Hi,

    I just picked up a Nokia ITV Digital box being sold off by Dixons for £50 on Saturday.

    Apart from the logo on the front of the box it seems identical to the one reviewed in What Video. Yes, the whole thing is very slow but the picture quality on Channel 4 (Enterprise in widescreen) seemed pretty good. It even allows me to watch Ch5.

    Brian.
     
  22. browellm

    browellm
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    Hi, that was me. I only got all the channels for the half hour that it worked. After it went belly-up I got a much reduced list just like you Wilbur.

    Interestingly, the aerial man said that the last two Pace boxes he'd been out to turned out to be faulty. Dodgy batch perhaps?

    Wilbur: Try borrowing a known working box from someone else to test BEFORE you pay to have your aerial looked at. I wish I had :eek:
     
  23. MartinN

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    My Nokia 9850T blew up after a week, and the replacement Phillips isn't too fantastic - so I'm after something decent myself.

    You can get hold of the new panasonics - but they are only just coming out now, and it's hard work tracking down a retailer that stocks them. Also I've got no idea how good it is.

    There were rumors of a new nokia DTT with a built in hard disk recorder?!?!?! I can't believe that one myself.

    Failing that someone else mentioned that the Nokia 210T - which I think is sold in some parts of europe, is coming out in the UK - certainly looks different to the current model.

    Martin
     
  24. Caveat

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    Wilbur, Im in London SE1 with an inherited arial thats probably 20yrs old. The BBC channels get lost from time to time, and only get 65% signal strength, ITV Ch4,5 etc get better than 80% and never fail. Ill update the arial soon, and expect to get everything consistently - any arial model/type recomendations.
    I was (heavily) sold a grundig box which went back after a few days, and Ive been very happy since with the pert little pace box - but then I dont need lots of connections.
     
  25. LV426

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    In Comet at Rotherham on Sunday, they had both Pace and Pioneer ex ITVD boxes on sale at under £50 with 5 x 4hr VHS tapes free.

    I have a Pace 735 running off a loft aerial. It works just fine, except that, most of the time, the front panel clock freezes when it is switched on - it doesn't display the channel number as it should. But the signal going to the TV is near-perfect.

    I also have a Pioneer running off an exterior aerial. It is quicker than the Pace, and picture and sound are also near perfect. At under £50, I'd describe either of these as a bargain.
     
  26. MonkeyDonkey

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    If only I could get to Rotherham, a Pioneer box would suit me fine, especially at that price!
    The local Comet/Currys/Dixons don't have any ex ITV D boxes and I went to another Dixons store yesterday who were selling the new Nokia boxes (well new logo ex ITV) for £119 and OnDigital branded ones for £99. I couldn't believe it!
     
  27. LV426

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    Worth a few phone calls to stores in your reasonable travelling area. I gather that Comet & Dixons stores have stock of left-overs. When they're gone, they're gone. I have seen them recently in Dixons in Huddersfield, Sheffield, and Comet Rotherham. All about £50.
     
  28. Stevenyoungmin

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    On the subject of digital boxes, I have the panasonic and compared to the current grundig and pace models it seems to switch channels the fastest. Do owners of other set top boxes find that they would like there boxes to be more responsive?
     
  29. MartinImber

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    Biggest problem with channel change is that you type in 11 then wait fo the box to decide you have finished then goes N24.

    Except my TV which you press -- then 11 and it changes instantly
     
  30. RHardaker

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    I have had the Panasonic box for about 3 weeks and not had one problem with it - not even 1 pixel missing!. I hear people complain (and I have seen it on my neighbours) about poor picture with football on Sky. This is not the case with DVB - perfect. My signal stregth is about 9.8 of out 10 and I live 10 miles from Emley Moor. My arial is a standard one that was erected for analogue TV - no special screened cable or anything like that. To be fair when my wife plugged in a rather dodgy hairdryer that upset it a bit - but then the normal TV breaks up as well.
    The menu system is quite quick (certainly quicker than other boxes I have heard about) except as the previous post mentions when typing a channel number directly as opposed to just pressing up / down channel. Although you can select from the on-screen guide quite quickly.
    The box is also very small - only issue with the size is that is does not have any display on it for clock or channel number etc. Just an LED that's red for off off / green for on / flashes red and green when picking up the remote. But do you really need another clock and the screen tells you everything else.

    .Richard
     

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