Dismiss Notice
Attention AVForums app / Tapatalk users
Sadly GDPR means that, from 25th, we can no longer offer access to AVForums via the branded app or Tapatalk.
Click here for more information.

High end Freeview?

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by Dubbing Mixer, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Messages:
    643
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    By, and sometimes in, the sea
    Ratings:
    +2
    With all the traffic in other forums and threads about Brits being obsessed with price, I suppose I shouldn't be suprised. But, if Freeview wants to be taken seriously, where are the high-end STBs? With built in digital scalers and digital picture outputs.

    Freeview is much touted as digital TV, so why do we have to convert it to analogue to actually watch it?

    I'll be first in the queue for an STB with DVI out and a built in scaler plus coax and optical digital audio out. (Oh, and I reckon it's worth about 200 quid.) So come on manufacturers, how about it?
     
  2. GaryB

    GaryB
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2002
    Messages:
    5,387
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    St Albans
    Ratings:
    +1,294
    Unfortunately, virtually all of the market for STBs is right at the bottom end of the price scale. An upmarket STB just wouldn't sell in sufficient quantities to justify the development cost. All development at the high end of the Freeview market is going into LCD IDTVs where there is still some margin for manufacturers (which is where I work) and retailers. The main justification for developing a high end box would be to offer better picture quality but with the bandwidth limitations of Freeview there is virtually nothing to be gained over a basic box.
     
  3. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2002
    Messages:
    643
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    By, and sometimes in, the sea
    Ratings:
    +2
    I take your point, but surely there is (at least theoretically) something to be gained from going digital all the way to the screen? More to the point, for those of us (large number I suspect) who have no intention of going anywhere near Sky, the future looks bleak if someone doesn't start thinking about improving the quality of Freeview. If I have to buy a new set to get the benefits, I will but, so far I've seen nothing that convinces me that the IDTV sets are any better than the set top boxes. More to the point, it is highly inconvenient having the best Freeview inside the telly if you want to record it.
     
  4. GaryB

    GaryB
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2002
    Messages:
    5,387
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    St Albans
    Ratings:
    +1,294
    Any benefits in going all digital are currently more than outweighed by the poor quality of the transmissions. Until the broadcasters go for quality rather than quantity, there is very little improvement in overall picture quality possible as the bandwidth limitation is by far the weakest link in the chain. One of the recommendations in the recent Ofcom "Planning Options For Digital Switchover" consultation paper is to change from 16QAM to 64QAM which would give an increase in transmission capacity. If that happens and if that increase is used to increase the bitrate of the current channels rather than adding new ones, we just might get something decent but if, as looks likely, they use that capacity to add more (probably shopping or similar) channels we're stuck with what we have now for a few more years.
     
  5. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2002
    Messages:
    671
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Norfolk
    Ratings:
    +5
    There's a company called Frontniche which offers an SDI modification on the first generation of digital terrestrial boxes (ie Ondigital). Apparently it's not possible to carry out the mod on Freeview boxes. If you don't have an Ondigital box Frontniche will source one for you. I haven't tried it, partly because it's very expensive, but you can't get higher-end than SDI.
    Incidentally I don't agree that the standard of Freeview transmission is universally poor. Provided you have decent display equipment quite a lot of programming on BBC1 and 2, for instance, is excellent. Football on BBC1 in particular can be extraordinary - you can pretty well pick out blades of grass. It's converted me back to footy after years of being bored to death with it.
     
  6. newbiebie

    newbiebie
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    81
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +0
    I am with you guys. I'll pay top £, say up to 1y worth of a regular Sky package (that's 350-450!) for a high-end STB with HDMI/DVI digital output straight from the MPEG decoder or with at least a good YUV out prog or not. Let's face it, with Freeview we are not gonna get HDTV until at least 2012 down here in the South East so this is a very worthwhile investment to get the best PQ for the next few years.
    Watched Red Planet and The Fugitive this week and the picture from SCART was already very good so the feed quality is there. If fed in its purest form, I bet you the result will be stunning over HDMI.

    I'd also be interested in a good FTA Satellite STB with the same output.

    Cheers.
     
  7. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,031
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    dat london
    Ratings:
    +0
    Anyone thought of going the HTPC route with this ? I understand that the initial layout would be quite big, but bearing in mind you can get 2 Sweetspot Freeview DVB-T for £75 each and MCE2005 for about the same price and a half decent graphics card, you could get digital all the way to the LCD/Plasma. If you run something like FFDShow, this software de-interlaces and upscales to fit the size of the panel. Some say that HTPC scalers are only bettered by standalone scalers (ie better than the upscaling DVD players) and these can be used with DVD playback and Freeview. Also use your PC as a Music server and DVD burner for when your Hard disk is full.

    Richie.
     
  8. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    544
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +10
    Hi Rich

    its actually cheaper than that - we have an offer on :)

    agreed..one of the biggest myths about digital TV is that the problems are all down to bandwidth. In our experience the vast majority of problems are due to poor configuration of digital displays (plasmas,lcds etc with all sorts of 'enhanced modes' messing up the picture), and of course the connection between the STB and the display (composite video!). Sure, more bandwidth would always be nice, but that often isnt what is breaking the picture.

    The PC side is getting better, there is work going on with Dscaler to deliver high-end de-interlacing performance on PCs from DVB sources.
     
  9. newbiebie

    newbiebie
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    81
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +0
    According to DVD Benchmark, the software de-interlacers are at best good but average prog scan solutions compared to some newer or older cheapo DVD players. Note the Pana DVDS97 (£125) scores 91 over HDMI when the best software can do only 67 on their scale of torture tests. They have advantages, no doubt they give an excellent picture and provide an all-in-one solution but with ffdshow in there you also need to have a very high-spec machine (noise/heat level? size? price?).
    Not that I want to (re)open this can of worms here, but I decided not to go the HTPC route for DVDs a while ago, so I am not too keen on going this route for broadcast signals either. And you need to keep your other half happy :nono:

    [new firmware for pany, edited for higher score]
     
  10. GrahameD

    GrahameD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    326
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Baldock
    Ratings:
    +4
    This sounds good is there a link to the product?
     
  11. Rob

    Rob
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2000
    Messages:
    1,285
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Norwich
    Ratings:
    +33
    Thats exactly what I, and many others do. For those who don't want to pay for $ky its an ideal solution. Install a Nebula, or other TV card and you can have a digital all the way to the screen connection.You can controll it with a remote (Nebula comes with its own) so high on the WAF. I don't use any post-processing, such as FFDshow, but I might give it a go at some point.I currently just use Powerstrip (graphics card controller) to set the resolution.

    The ability to be able to store music, movies & pictures on a well-built PC is hard to ignore.I don't use windows media centre, but a program called Xlobby

    http://www.xlobby.com/

    I still use a freeview box through a TiVo for recording season passes etc. and that works well. Picture quality is not upto the Nebula card, but is still OK.

    Cheers Rob.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice