Freeview Playback

Tarbat

Well-known Member
I see press reports that Freeview Playback machines will be available next month. Anyone know who is making the boxes, and where they can be ordered?

I desparately want to replace the unreliable recording on my Goodmans PVR with a Freeview PVR that can actually cope with programmes being rescheduled and over-running.
 

HeadBanger

Well-known Member
Tarbat, I reckon that all the major manufacturers will update the software on their existing machines to utilise the enhanced EPG data and also release OTA updates for their current machines.
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
Tarbat, I reckon that all the major manufacturers will update the software on their existing machines to utilise the enhanced EPG data and also release OTA updates for their current machines.
That's good news, hopefully Goodmans will update their software.

Is there a list anywhere of which boxes the manufacturers are planning to update for Freeview Playback? Freeview themselves seem to have very little information on their website about Freeview Playback.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
Tarbat, I reckon that all the major manufacturers will update the software on their existing machines to utilise the enhanced EPG data and also release OTA updates for their current machines.

I'm not going to hold my breath on that one Matt. It's a commercial world out there and the opportunity to knock out another upgraded box will be siezed upon by manufacturers. It is unlikely that 'badged' boxes under brand names such as Goodmands,Wharfdale,Alba, Bush etc will see any value in upgrading old products when they could potentially be selling something else.
 

ad47uk

Active Member
I thought this Freeview playback things was just going to be a badge stuck on a PVR. what is going to be the difference between say a Freeview playback device and my Thomson DHD4000?

I hope this Freeview Playback thing is not going to be like Sky or Sky+ and make the EPG and controls the same on alll boxes.

I choose my thomson because it was nice to use and I like the EPg, but if all Freeview PVR's are going to have the same interface, I think that is bad news.
If I was in te market for anew PVR, I think I would choose a Humax as they have some great features.

I hate this you can have it in any colour as long as it is black crap, just like Sky have done.
 
G

greb

Guest
The idea behind 'freeview playback' is that a pvr manufacturer displaying this mark conforms to a standard.
With the varying performance of pvrs, this should be welcome news.
What it says 'on the tin' etc.
 

Starburst

Novice Member
Basically it's an attempt to unify the DTT DVR under a single banner with specified functions the likes of which other DVR's have had for years. One of the problems of the free for all so far is that no one was prepared to lay the ground work for something like series link or the superior TIVO season pass and the EPG on DTT while functional is lacking.

Cross fingers my 9200 has an OS update but if it doesn't I'm not buying another:)
 

HeadBanger

Well-known Member
I'm not going to hold my breath on that one Matt. It's a commercial world out there and the opportunity to knock out another upgraded box will be siezed upon by manufacturers. It is unlikely that 'badged' boxes under brand names such as Goodmands,Wharfdale,Alba, Bush etc will see any value in upgrading old products when they could potentially be selling something else.

That's a fair point but the manufacturers are going to have to upgrade the software for their current boxes (to be ‘playback' compliant) so they should (hopefully!) release the upgrade to current users unless they do decide to redesign a box from scratch. I doubt they will as it wouldn't be cost effective as it seems to me that it is simply amending software to utilise some additional EPG data that will be broadcast (to allow the likes of series linking).

If manufacturers don't give OTA updates and release new machines I would be wary of buying even their 'new' machine because as soon as another development in EPG data comes along you know they won't update their current live machines!

I for one am glad I went for the Toppy as even if they don't provide an OTA update then I can rest assured that one of the EPG taps writers (Mystuff etc) will release a version to utilise the new EPG data.
 

ad47uk

Active Member
I prefer a choice at the end of the day, what is the use of having different manufactures if all you are getting is a clone of each other?

My Thomson does everything I want of it, and since the last update it is reliable and Stable, Series links can be a bit hit and miss as a mate of mine reminds me of the one on his Sky+ box.

The only problem I have with my Thomson is that it gets a bit warm, but it don't seem to have caused it any problems since it is now almost 2 years old.

If I need to get another and if I decide to get another PVr once the Thomson goes Belly up I will get a Humax, but not if it is just going to be a clone of eveything else.
 

njp

Well-known Member
I see press reports that Freeview Playback machines will be available next month.

I found this statistic from that article astonishing (and frankly rather implausible):

More than 500,000 VCRs were sold last Christmas

As far as PVRs based around the new EPG all being clones, I don't see why that should be the case. The important thing is that the new EPG metadata will allow more features to be designed in than is possible at present, and I assume that the branding will guarantee a certain feature set. How those features are presented to the user, and what additional features are available will (I assume) be down to the individual manufacturer. Anything else would be madness.
 

Starburst

Novice Member
As far as PVRs based around the new EPG all being clones, I don't see why that should be the case. The important thing is that the new EPG metadata will allow more features to be designed in than is possible at present, and I assume that the branding will guarantee a certain feature set. How those features are presented to the user, and what additional features are available will (I assume) be down to the individual manufacturer. Anything else would be madness.





Agreed.
The Playback spec is mostly about software functions which while require a certain level of hardware the actual design of that STB and it's GUI is still upto the individual manufacturers so there is still scope for choice and flexibility.
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
Series links can be a bit hit and miss as a mate of mine reminds me of the one on his Sky+ box.
This is exactly the problem I have with our current Freeview PVR. The wife keeps missing her Eastenders Omnibus edition on Sundays because it's always a different time or even different channel. Same problem with some programmes on Ch5 and STV as well.

Will Freeview Playback handle series links okay? We're so used to how well they work on SkyHD, but need the same functionality on our Freeview box (in another room).

And again, with Freeview saying these will launch in May, anyone know who's manufacturing them, and where I can order one - would like to get it for the wife's birthday in May.
 

Hi-Def

Active Member
Check the freeview website it has the name of a few including Sony
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
Check the freeview website it has the name of a few including Sony
Yes, looks like Freeview have updated their website with some Playback details:
Leading manufacturers Humax, Sony and TVonics are the first to offer Freeview Playback digital TV recorders, which will be available from Argos, Comet, John Lewis and Tesco from May 2007.
More Freeview Playback digital TV recorders will be available from Alba, LG and Sharp (amongst others) in the summer.

Anyone know which channels are doing series links on Freeview?
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
Leading manufacturers Humax, Sony and TVonics are the first to offer Freeview Playback digital TV recorders, which will be available from Argos, Comet, John Lewis and Tesco from May 2007.
More Freeview Playback digital TV recorders will be available from Alba, LG and Sharp (amongst others) in the summer.
Did any of these Freeview Playback devices actually appear in shops? Freeview said they would be in the shops from May 2007, but I can't say I can find any.

The Freeview Playback website states:
Just make a one off payment from around £130 for a Freeview Playback digital TV recorder which you can find in leading electrical retailers and supermarkets like Argos, Comet, John Lewis and Tesco as well as online retailers such as Amazon.

Then just plug it into your existing TV and aerial - that's it.
And if I follow the links Freeview provide to Comet, Argos, etc. I get lots of Freeview boxes, but no indication if all of these are Freeview Playback compliant.

CONFUSED!!!
 

Geofbob

Well-known Member
The first one I've seen with the Freeview Playback logo - http://www.tvonics.com/dvr150.html

But note the footnote:

"At the time of this Digital TV Recorder’s manufacture, some Freeview Playback features, including Series Link, are not fully supported by broadcasters. Once all Freeview Playback features are fully available and tested for compatibility with our products, TVonics will automatically update your Freeview Playback Digital TV Recorder to use all these features. This update will be via an over air download."

I read this to mean that in fact the TVonics box does NOT currently provide Series Link, and all you are buying in respect of SL is a promise to update the softwear when Freeview make SL available. Moreover, note the reference to "compatibility" - what if the feature isn't compatible with the TVonics box? Yet again - Caveat Emptor.
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
But also note the manufacturers agreement to use the Freeview Playback logo:

All products in connection with which the Freeview Playback Trade Marks are used must include all Group 1 features as detailed in the DTG Functional Specification for Digital TV Recorders by 31 December 2006 and all Group 2 features as detailed in the DTG Functional Specification for Digital TV Recorders, in addition to all Group 1 features, by 30 June 2007. Such products must also include all Group 3 features as detailed in the DTG Functional Specification for Digital TV Recorders by such date as may be specified.

Which would suggest that they can only use the Freeview Playback logo if they provide the series link functionality by 30th June 2007.
 

Tarbat

Well-known Member
And another one - the Humax PVR-9200TB
http://www.humaxdirect.co.uk/product.asp?ProdRef=10036&cat=stb

And a marketing campain:
FPMcau.jpg
 

Geofbob

Well-known Member
But, as far as I can see, despite the use of the Freeview Playback logo, no mention of Series Link in the list of Humax features.
 

Dark Eyes

Standard Member
The trouble with a 'series link' and all these type of functions is that they rely on broadcasters making sure all the relevant information is in the metadata that is transmitted.
I see that Freeview Playback is expecting broadcasters to keep the Now/Next times accurately updated to enable FP decks to start and finish recordings on time - well I wouldn't be prepared to trust it myself - knowing the issues some broadcasters had managing PDC start/stop signals.

If some of them are still struggling with getting the widescreen flagging correct (particularly on 4:3 material) , what hope is there for more complete stuff like 'series link'?
 

MikeMcr

Active Member
Freeview Playback works on the new Sony RDR-HXD870 DVD Recorder. The series links are great but only work currently on BBC channels (and Channel 4, I think). The auto-padding feature (called EPG Link on the Sony) is a bit hit and miss due to the fact it relies on the broadcaster updating the EPG correctly. I have already had a few missed recording on Channel 5 because they seem to make a mess of it. As you would expect, it seems reliable on the BBC channels.
 

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