Opinions of early adopters

Brooktop

Active Member
I've never had a satellite system, but am interested in Freesat HD because I've recently bought a 50" HD Ready plasma. The Freesat site is really sketchy on info. I'd like to know what it's broadcast in (720p, 1080i or 1080p) and the audio (DD5.1 or stereo?).

I'm also interested in the quantity and quality of the channels. Is there much HD and does it include all the Freeview channels? I'd particularly like to hear from anyone who has started from scratch ie been into one of the retailers and paid there £150(ish) + £80 installation. It seems there's a lack of knowledge amongst the retailers.

Thanks!
 

frenchie0101

Active Member
channels wise its just bbc hd at the mo, itv is to launch its hd channel soon and apparently more to join at the end of the year, i dont know what audio feed would be but it should be good becuase it all streams over in data
 

Brooktop

Active Member
Seems ok but early days. I realise there's not much HD content at the moment, but have I anything to lose from getting it now? I can't imagine prices are going to drop that much.
 

derek500

Well-known Member
All HD channels broadcast in Dolby Digital by default. However, BBC HD is one of worst HD channels audio wise and broadcast the majority of its programmes in DD2.0 (stereo) and very few in DD5.1.
 

RMF1

Active Member
On the Argos website it claims that all of thye availabble HD freesat boxes upscale to 1080i. Is this true? I've seen no mention of this from any members here and if it is true how does it hold up in termss of the improvement with SD content on the Humax and other HD boxes?
 

Brooktop

Active Member
On the Argos website it claims that all of thye availabble HD freesat boxes upscale to 1080i. Is this true? I've seen no mention of this from any members here and if it is true how does it hold up in termss of the improvement with SD content on the Humax and other HD boxes?

Does it matter? My understanding is that your TV will upscale to the set's resolution anyway...although it may be more complicated than that - I'm no engineer!
 

chrissyman

Active Member
Yes if you have a quality tv then it should not matter, why do people get so excited about upscaling dvd players and so on' your hd tv will have to upscale everything (SD) that plays through it . If you want HD picture then you need a blu ray or HD sat box.
 

Supersonic

Well-known Member
Firstly, the improvement in picture quality over SD is substantial. I have been very impressed with the picture quality using my projector to display 1080i feeds. The upscaling is fine and in my case is done better by the projector than the Humax box, but that's understandable.

The prices may well not fall much from where they are and in the short term there isn't really room for a huge downward movement even if they do fall. Once *all* the content on all the channels is HD that will probably change.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Yes if you have a quality tv then it should not matter, why do people get so excited about upscaling dvd players and so on' your hd tv will have to upscale everything (SD) that plays through it . If you want HD picture then you need a blu ray or HD sat box.

Yep - though an HDMI inteconnect (at SD, SD Progressive or HD) is noticably cleaner and higher quality than an RGB SCART connection - the lack of D/A and A/D conversion is noticable on most TVs I've done the comparison on.

The improvement isn't usually the upscaling - after all the TV will do this if fed SD content - I think it is often the HDMI connection.

Watching a Sony DVD Recorder with integrated Freeview receiver (which I believe is connected at the ITU 601/656 level internally) via HDMI was noticably better than the same feed fed via RGB SCART into the same display.
 

Brooktop

Active Member
Watching a Sony DVD Recorder with integrated Freeview receiver (which I believe is connected at the ITU 601/656 level internally) via HDMI was noticably better than the same feed fed via RGB SCART into the same display.

Interesting point. I watched the same Freeview recording (on +RW DVD) on both the Panasonic EZ27 it was recorded on AND a PS3. The PQ on the PS3 was noticeably better! Could it be that the cable from the PS3 (£20 from amazon) was superior to the cable from the DVDR (£5 from ebay)? My understanding was that it shouldn't matter....and that's what The Gadget Show said this week. It's simply a binary signal...so will either receive it or not. Quality should not be an issue. Equally, the FV quality from the internal TV tuner is slightly superior to the pic from the DVDRs FV tuner.
 

FlyingSquirrel

Standard Member
Yes if you have a quality tv then it should not matter, why do people get so excited about upscaling dvd players and so on' your hd tv will have to upscale everything (SD) that plays through it . If you want HD picture then you need a blu ray or HD sat box.

My Humax is connected to a Panasonic PX70 plasma via both SCART and HDMI.

The SCART image is a bit more vibrant/contrasty but has jagged edges all over the place. The HDMI connection shows no jaggies but it is a bit softer and less saturated. On some material there's a huge benefit with the Humax upscaling via HDMI. yes it's soft but it has a very CRT like look as opposed to a digital artefact laden look.

I don't think the PX70's internal scaling is particularly good, but it shows the TV doesn't always upscale better. Interestingly a PX80 owner noted a similar thing on the digitalspy forum.

:rolleyes:
 

FlyingSquirrel

Standard Member
On the Argos website it claims that all of thye availabble HD freesat boxes upscale to 1080i. Is this true? I've seen no mention of this from any members here and if it is true how does it hold up in termss of the improvement with SD content on the Humax and other HD boxes?

The Humax allows a 576i signal to be upscaled as far as 1080i.

It looks softer than the equivalent SCART feed (I'm connected to the TV by both), but really it will depend on the prowess of your TV in handling SD signals and some are streets ahead of others.

I far prefer the soft desaturated upscaled Humax HDMI feed to my PX70 thean the saturated jagged SCART feed which suggets to me the PX70 isn't doing much with the SCART input anyway.

:rolleyes:
 

FlyingSquirrel

Standard Member
I've never had a satellite system, but am interested in Freesat HD because I've recently bought a 50" HD Ready plasma. The Freesat site is really sketchy on info. I'd like to know what it's broadcast in (720p, 1080i or 1080p) and the audio (DD5.1 or stereo?).

I'm also interested in the quantity and quality of the channels. Is there much HD and does it include all the Freeview channels? I'd particularly like to hear from anyone who has started from scratch ie been into one of the retailers and paid there £150(ish) + £80 installation. It seems there's a lack of knowledge amongst the retailers.

Thanks!

Personally I think the £230 outlay is pretty cheap for what you get even though there's only four hours or so of HD on BBC HD currently. I paid about £500 for an all singing/dancing JVC video recorder about 12 years ago and you didn't even get any content with that!

If you currently receive Freeview channels well you may not feel a huge benefit paying £230 essentially for BBC HD, but things will develop over time. £80 sounds like a lot for installation but I doubt i could get the dish/cables/drill bits/time/hassle for that.

Your only real alternative is Sky (assuming no local cable) which means a not insubstantial monthly outlay and a minimum term contract - you need to decide if that would offer you more.

The BBC HD programming is a bit hit and miss currently - some nights you think great i caould watch a couple of hours, other nights there's nothing of interest. Ultimately a good programme is good whether you watch it in SD or HD. HD can add something to a great programme but won't improve most of the tripe we're served up daily.
 

NickHunt

Standard Member
£80 sounds like a lot for installation but I doubt i could get the dish/cables/drill bits/time/hassle for that.
You can save a few quid but it involves a bit of effort ordering the stuff, waiting for it all to arrive and then wielding a drill. Dish off Ebay £15, 10m cable £6 & 2 F connectors 20p off Satcure.co.uk, signal meter for dish alignment £5. Took about 1hr to put the dish up, drill through a window frame and connect it all up.
 

Brooktop

Active Member
Personally I think the £230 outlay is pretty cheap for what you get even though there's only four hours or so of HD on BBC HD currently. I paid about £500 for an all singing/dancing JVC video recorder about 12 years ago and you didn't even get any content with that!

If you currently receive Freeview channels well you may not feel a huge benefit paying £230 essentially for BBC HD, but things will develop over time. £80 sounds like a lot for installation but I doubt i could get the dish/cables/drill bits/time/hassle for that.

Your only real alternative is Sky (assuming no local cable) which means a not insubstantial monthly outlay and a minimum term contract - you need to decide if that would offer you more.

The BBC HD programming is a bit hit and miss currently - some nights you think great i caould watch a couple of hours, other nights there's nothing of interest. Ultimately a good programme is good whether you watch it in SD or HD. HD can add something to a great programme but won't improve most of the tripe we're served up daily.

I must admit, I don't watch a great deal of the usual tripe - especially reality TV, talent(less) shows, fame-hungry muppets etc. I do watch a lot of DVDs and BDs - hence my quest for better PQ when I do watch TV! I think I may wait for the PVR HD versions, because I currently have a Freeview PVR and DVDR, so I guess I'd soon miss the ability to record in HD.
 

BuyCleverStuff

Active Member
As a fellow Freeview user with a poor signal, Freesat was a great option, I've gone for the Humax HD, got it from a trade customer of mine who sells all sorts of satellite stuff… still had some in stock last time I knew too.

Got it wired up last night, got to say Freeview looks better than Freesat SD, but that might be my TV and the way it's dealing with the SD content via HDMI, our Freeview box (humax one too) was connected via RGB Scart and look great, but broke up at I live on the Cheshire Welsh border and could never get a good single... no such problems with Freesat obviously.

As for line up… as Freeview, just missing Five, Sky Three, Virgin.. think that’s it.. few extra news and kids stuff nothing great.. few of film channels, but again nothing great.

BBC HD looks good on the trailers, but last night I watched a comedy program “the visit” I think it was called, and I didn’t see that it warranted being on HD.. however Heroes did have a noticeable difference over Freesat / Freeview BBC2, one problem no 5.1 for me… on either the trailers or anything else I watched. :(

All in all it was a good option for poor Freeview signal areas like mine, however if your Freeview works and you have a good set top box I don’t think an upgrade to Freesat either HD or SD is worth it at the moment.

Also as we had an old Sky dish, no install cost just plug it in and away we went it made it relatively cheap upgrade.
 

Brooktop

Active Member
Thanks John. Living on a hill, I have a great FV signal. Obviously the quality varies greatly depending on the channel and the programme. As I have a new 50" Plasma, it's showing up the flaws of the weaker broadcasts. The possibility of getting 200 channels also seemed appealing, but not if they're predominantly foreign or just pap!

I think I'll wait to review at the end of the year, when there will hopefully be more HD material and the 6 month 'window' for the 6 original manufacturers will have ended and there may be more price competition. Not that I think £230 is too much, but when you look at how FV boxes have plummeted in price, there seems little point being an early adopter if it offers me very few advantages.
 

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