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Quick couple of Freeview Q's

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by rscott4563, May 30, 2004.

  1. rscott4563

    rscott4563
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    I need to get a couple of freeview boxes, but I have a couple of questions, which hopefully someone will be able to help with..

    Firstly where is the best place to buy a freeview box from, where I can take it back and get a full refund if I need to? I ask as I'm in a flat with a distributed aerial system and I don't actually know if I'll be able to pick up Freeview until I try it..

    Now which boxes to get, I have two requirements. The first box can be cheap and cheerful, no need for loads of outputs, digital audio, or anything like that, it will be soley be used in the bedroom with a small 15" TV so not bothered by ultimate quality, just resonable with a really cheap price.. :D
    The second box however will be used in the main room with a 50" plasma and will go through a Lumagen ProHDP scaler, so I'd want to use either component output or RGBs to the scalers BNC inputs. I want coaxial or optical audio output, RGB passthrough would be nice too and RF output, anything else would be a bonus. Most important is image quality..

    Cheers

    Ryan :thumbsup:
     
  2. GaryB

    GaryB
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    To answer a few of your questions, Argos offer your money back if you buy from them and don't like the product for any reason, so it's probably best to go there.

    For a cheap box, just go for the cheapest they have on offer. For the good box, you will probably get several opinions but it's worth taking a look at the Freeview forum over at http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/forumdisplay.php?f=64 which contains opinions on many boxes.

    One work of warning is that whatever box you use, Freeview will not look good on a 50" plasma. The limited bandwidth means that MPEG artefacts will be very visible on a screen that large. I've used it with 35" and 42" plasmas and, while it was watchable, it certainly wasn't anywhere near the quality of DVD or even a good analogue picture.
     
  3. AOD

    AOD
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    As far as refunds are concerned, I think you may have to resort to distance selling regs to get this. Some retailers (thinking especially of Argos here) exclude their Freeview boxes from their returns policy.

    You may be better off borrowing one from a friend (if possible) and trying this out in your apartment. I also live in a flat with a distributed aerial system and don't have any issues.

    Why not have a word with your building's managing agents, they should be able to tell you if the system installed is compatible with Freeview boxes, sometimes they're not. Back in the days of On Digital, our aerial system effectively blocked the relevant frequencies, since it was upgraded a while ago it works just fine.

    Personally I bought one of my boxes from John Lewis (a Pace 210T) and the other (a Netgem i-Player) came from Makro.

    The only box with Component output at present is the Netgem i-player, this also has an optical output and it does support RGB passthrough. It also outputs RGB as an alternative to Component.

    I think it also has RF output, but to be honest I don't use this feature.
     
  4. rscott4563

    rscott4563
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    I currently have NTL running through Tivo and find the picture quality on most channels very good on my 50" and I've read many times that Freeview is usually slightly better in terms of picture quality than Sky or Cable so I don't really have any worries in that regard. Obviously I'm not expecting DVD quality, who would and why would you? Analogue is terrible on a plasma, even poor quality NTL channels such as Discovery H&L beat the analogue channels!

    Unfortunately I don't know anyone with a Freeview box so borrowing one is not an option and my letting agent/landlord is useless and wouldn't have a clue what I was even asking!

    Cheers

    Ryan
     
  5. Fred Smith

    Fred Smith
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    The Setpal's with the latest firmware 00126 also support component output.
     
  6. RBJTech

    RBJTech
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    IMHO there is little point in getting a settop box with component output - the source quality is just not there to justify the cost of these connections. Depending on the channel and the allocated bitrate that they broadcast on (BBC have the most BTW) then the picture will at best be about a quarter of the bitrate that a DVD is reproduced at. Football matches and very high action scenes are notorious for 'macroblocks' or picture pixalation due to the limited bandwidth. In these cases - yes a good analogue picture WILL look better than a digital one - but for the majority of the time digital is better.

    Again, IMO the Sony freeview box (although 'only' RGB output) has one of the best MPEG engines and thus the picture is excellent - only as good as the bitrate of course but one of the best.
     

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