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Oz to UK - What to expect on DTT

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Quilgy, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Quilgy

    Quilgy
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    Hi All,

    I am moving from Australia to the UK soon (for a while anyway) and just want to suss out the basics of Digital TV in the UK. You'll only want to keep reading if you're interested in what's happening in Oz and helping out a soon to be Londoner.

    I'll give you a run down of Oz DTV first so you know where I am coming from.

    We have 5 free to air analogue TV stations that are duplicated on free to air terrestrial DTV. Everything shown on analogue is shown in SD digital (576i). The main advantage of digital is a slightly better picture and sound, 16:9 (sometimes) and some of the nice things like EPGs. Very rarely we also get multicasting, for eg the Rugby World Cup where they also had a stats page and another version of the game, albeit just with different commentators, same picture.

    Some digital programming is also shown in HD (576p, 1080i, no 720 at all) and as far as I know, some SD content is upconverted to HD to keep people happy (although the smart ones know they're being shafted).

    Each station (of the 5) has around 5-6 digital "channels" allocated to them which get used for multicasting but usually just show the same thing as the main channel. There's been some very dodgy legislation over here that prohibits a station showing more than one program at a time across their digital channels. So they can multicast one program with say different camera angles, but not show sport and a movie at the same time. This is why in Oz currently, digital is really only good for getting a better, wider picture and better sound. Oh yeah, and *no* interactivity either, not a cracker.

    An SD box here starts around £100, or AU$250. HD Boxes start around £300. One or two models have a PVR built-in and they are rare.

    OK, now that's done I'm keen to find out a few things about your system. I have read a little about Freeview, and just from that it seems you guys are very different. They seem to re-transmit on behalf of other analogue stations rather than being a station themselves?

    Anyway, I'm keen to know starting prices for STBs, what your SD and HD are like (ie 576i/p, 720, 1080 etc), about interactivity and about what features you get on digi that the analogue lepers are missing out on.

    Looks as though you have heaps of channels too. I understand you pay a licence fee annually to have a TV? Is there additional fees for DTT?

    I am avoiding the pay-TV scene for now (ie - monthly subscription for extra channels, cable, satellite etc) so I'm just interested in your free to air terrestrial for now.

    Thanks in advance, Matt
     
  2. LV426

    LV426
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    There are three DTV platforms:

    Sky. Satellite transmissions. Mostly subscription only. Hundreds of channels of all types - sport - movie - general ent - etc. Available pretty much anywhere. Need a dish and set top box.

    Freeview: Digital transmission from terrestrial transmitters. Full details of the (limited) channel line up from here

    http://www.freeview.co.uk/

    Availability is variable. About 75% of people can receive it. This number is increasing all the time. Set top box required (or integrated digital TV).

    Cable: Availability only where cable services exist. Similar content to Sky.

    All platforms are capable of either 4x3 or 16x9 broadcasts. Most new programming is broadcast 16x9.

    Nobody provides any kind of high-definition transmission. This is all PAL (625 line, 576 used).

    LICENCE:

    You have to pay a licence fee to legally use ANY type of TV receiving equipment, which includes any Set Top Box, VCR, or TV with a working tuner. This is used to fund the BBC which has no revenue from other sources - adverts nor subscriptions. You have to pay this regardless of whether you can or do watch any BBC channels.

    The only case where a licence is not required is if you can demonstrate that you have no ability to receive anything off-air (eg if you only owned a monitor with no tuner, and a DVD player).

    Prices:

    Sky boxes are free, but have to pay for installation. This is also sometimes free or very cheap, but is subject to you subscribing to a given level of service for 12 months. Sky also has a PVR option called Sky Plus, which you do have to pay for.

    Freeview boxes are free to use (no subscription) (aside from the licence you need anyway) and cost from about GBP60 upwards. There is a Freeview PVR at about GBP300 as well.

    I don't know about cable box prices or subs.
     
  3. MartinImber

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    We have no HD and no DD5.1 but we do have 8 BBC channels 3 ITV channels and a number of others.

    There are various special offers on boxes, eg Pace Twin for under £200 from Argos.

    You have a Aussie spec. Sony TV don't you?

    Is it worth shipping it if it will use our DTTV?
     
  4. Zor

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    Having made the move from Downunder myself here's some advice. Leave your Television & VCR at home. Most are not PAL I. Most sets can be purchased in the UK at significantly less and many have multi-region analogue tuners if you return home.

    Having been back recently I noticed how much the STB's are in OZ. eg the Netgem Iplayer here £129. The TEAC ITV-D500 $699 (£307.90 at todays rate) And it appears not to come with the keyboard.

    Australia at the moment has a very strong dollar & unfortunately the importers are not passing the savings on to the consumers.


    How I miss the long hot summers.
     
  5. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    If the TV can handle UK DVB-T the analogue tuner is irrelevant
     
  6. Zor

    Zor
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    The big question is if??? There seems to be enough issues with the Sony's for instance running freeview here that were built for the UK market. And at £1300 (no stand) for a KD32DX40AS they aren't exactly rushing off the shelves in OZ. I understand they have not been available that long. Far better to sell it and save on the shipping and buy again for a fraction of the price. Not even mentioning warrant issues!

    Quilgy doesn't mention if he has an IDTV. And if he did bring it only to find you are one of the 25% that can't get a reliable signal analogue sure becomes a great backup.
     
  7. Quilgy

    Quilgy
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    I assume this is an interactive DTV box? There is no such thing in Oz (except for the new Foxtel boxes but they are cable or satellite). I currently have a couple of DVB-T Teac DVB-300s.

    I would not even consider lugging the 68cm over there, more likely pick up a cheap and semi-nasty 16:9 telly for the couple of years we'll be there.
     
  8. LV426

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    An IDTV is an Integrated Digital TeleVision. In other words, a TV set with an onboard digital tuner - as distinct from a TV and a separate Set Top Box.
     
  9. Quilgy

    Quilgy
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    Very rare in Oz, people are avoiding them big time because most people don't know yet whether they should fork out for HD, or settle for SD. Most people are experimenting with SD STBs for the moment.
     

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