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Rant: DVB-T2 cards are too expensive!

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
Our Freeview HD finally gets switched on at the end of March, so I'm starting to look for a DVB-T2 card. They are still way too expensive. The Blackgold BGT3620 price is a joke at £116.70, but even the TBS 6280 is £90-odd.

I got a twin tuner DVB-T card SIX YEARS AGO for £50. My more recent twin DVB-T card was just under £20. I know DVB-T2 is new, and we're ahead of the rest of the world, but I would have thought the suppliers of these things would have actually started competing on price by now.

Tesco were selling a DVB-T2 box for £29. OK that's only one tuner, but it also includes a case, display, connectors, power supply, operating system, application software, etc, etc.

We're getting ripped off and I for one will be holding off until the prices halve. Is anyone else delaying buying one of these solely because of the daft prices?

In fact, the price has gone UP since this card was launched...

http://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/DVB-T2-Tuner-Definition-Digital-Receiver/product/B005JTA7TG
 
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Rambles

Distinguished Member
I agree, rubbish isn't it?!

Not only that, but 7MCE can't deal with the 5.1 audio contained within some DVB-T2 broadcasts properly either :thumbsdow
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
From what I understand DVB-T2 has not been taken up by many nations (UK is one of very few) and the set top boxes are probably subsidised. There just aren't the numbers to bring the prices down.

S2 is a world wide format and even then the prices are still quite high to be honest.

Robbo100
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
There is only one (yes, one) T2 tuner chip in production and other companies are trying to get theirs out but it will be a while.
T2 is horrendously complex but when the transitioin is finally in the future made we will be able to have a large number of HD terrestrial muxes in the UK.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
There is only one (yes, one) T2 tuner chip in production and other companies are trying to get theirs out but it will be a while.
T2 is horrendously complex but when the transitioin is finally in the future made we will be able to have a large number of HD terrestrial muxes in the UK.
How many HD terrestrial muxes do you expect each transmitter to be able to handle in the future? Clearly they are just running with 1 at the moment (for those who have been through DSO).

Also, do you know if there is going to be an increase in bitrate to make it as good as DVB-S2 channels?

Robbo100
 

spacemanc

Active Member
There is only one (yes, one) T2 tuner chip in production and other companies are trying to get theirs out but it will be a while.
T2 is horrendously complex but when the transitioin is finally in the future made we will be able to have a large number of HD terrestrial muxes in the UK.
From what I've read, there will never be a large number of muxes in the UK, even if they improve compression, because there simply isn't the bandwidth. I did alot of reading up on it all over the summer, and personally I think that something like Youview will eventually become the main platform for the UK.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
There will be 7 completely clear RF channels after analogue switch off. This is in addition to the higher frequencies that are being used for 4G data. Ofcom are currently opening up the bidding for an additional 3 MUXes, on top of everything we currently have. Two are regional, segmented among transmitters as conventionally so that a total of three channels are used for each (to avoid interference where there are neighbouring transmitters). The third one will use one single RF channel across the entire country.

Ofcom doesn't care what is transmitted, or in what format, but it can only be terrestrial TV due to european restrictions. They may be T or T2 (although I think the national one works much better with T2). Temptingly, we could get another 12 or 15 HD channels. Even if they are SD then T2 is very likely for one mux, pretty likely for the other two.

The bad news is that they are not ruling out subscription TV within this extra capacity. They also aren't ruling out Bid-Up HD!

Source (with links to Ofcom): http://www.ukfree.tv/fullstory.php?storyid=1107051897

So at least two tuners are a very good idea. And I doubt Tesco would subsidise a set top box, and the government won't either (unless you're old and meet certain criteria).

The only conclusion is that BlackGold and BGT are flogging a card that costs about £10 to make. I only hope that they keep the prices up long enough for a company like Peak to storm in with a card for £50 and wipe the floor with them!
 
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Habanos

Novice Member
All the more interesting when you consider that hardware-wise, it's almost identical to the Hauppauge Nova-T-500. The only other difference, except the price, that I can see is that the Peak's drivers are reliable.

I used to be a fan of Hauppauge cards, but all their recent efforts have been a disappointment. The Pinnacle PCTV range they bought out and then sidelined are better than what they offer under their own brand. They still don't offer any DVB-T2 internal cards, not that I expect them to be any good - the HVR-4400 is pretty much useless as a hybrid card in that tuning in with the satellite tuner screws up streams running on the terrestrial one. Still no dual DVB-S2.

BlackGold and TBS are at least producing products that people want (quad, dual T2, dual S2). The quad DVB-S2 TBS card is pretty reasonably priced when you consider the alternatives.
 
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WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
I have to agree that Hauppless are dead as far as I'm concerned. I can't forgive them for the peeing about and denials they made when trying to deny that the original Nova-T-500 simply did not handle standby correctly. I spent many hours of my life trying to explain to them that the grass is green and the sky is blue.

If you're reading this, Peak, we need you - make a DVB-T2 card for a decent price and you'll make lots of money!
 

Cafe Racer

Novice Member
Ah yes, Nova-T-500... it still fills me with dread when I hear the USB disconnected "bing-bong". Seriously, even now I get a cold feeling.

I was most annoyed when they bought out Pinnacle, and Pinnacle vanished.

Black Gold tuners have always been expensive, but first-to-market. Unfortunately, so have their drivers.

Yes, DVB-T2 are still way too expensive.
 

jameson_uk

Novice Member
Are they too expensive or just more than people are prepared to pay :rolleyes:

If you look at the Nova S2 card, that is £85 for a single tuner to £170 for two tuners. Even cards like the TBS6981 which is a dual DVB-S2 is £85+ and that is for establish tech that is used in many places across the world.

DVB-T2 is new and not widely adopted. Some countries with terestrial HD are still using DVB-T and remember the US uses ATSC. All these countries however are likely to use DVB-S2. According to wikipedia there are basically only 4 channels in the UK, 12 in Italy, five in Sweeden and 32 in the Ukraine so on top of the lack of users there is also only a handful of chanels.

Not that most people will ever use them but also remember the BGT3620 has dual DVB-C tuners, two analogue tuners and also S-Video, composite and component inputs so there is more in there than just DVB-T2 (although I am sure 99% of people with one are only using the DVB-T/2 tuners)

All in all I think the price reflects that they are a relatively niche product and until there is more demand the cards will stay that price. Even when the prices of DVB-T2 cards do come down, they are not going to drop to the £25 level of a Peak card for the forseeable future
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
I fully understand your points, Jameson. However, I find it difficult to understand how a T2 card can cost 4x what a T card costs. They both have identical needs for the RF tuner and PCIe interface, and the driver software is similar.

The only difference is the price of the T2 decoder chip. As you can buy a T2 STB for £29, it's unlikely the chip can cost more than £5 (per tuner).

I think all that's lacking is competition. Black Gold have never bothered to compete on price - their business model seems to be low sales volume from customers who like to pay more.

TBS have priced theirs a chunk below the BG. But at the moment no company is pushing TBS to a lower price. If I was TBS I'd price it as high as they have.

I just hope the situation does change at some point. £50 would be fair.

...and I still can't understand how the heck Peak manage to retail their DVB-T card at £20! They must be selling it wholesale at about £10-odd. Incredible.
 

jameson_uk

Novice Member
The only difference is the price of the T2 decoder chip. As you can buy a T2 STB for £29, it's unlikely the chip can cost more than £5 (per tuner).
Are there boxes for that price? I must admit it has been a little while since I looked and last time they were around £100. Just looking at Tesco now and their el cheapo brand STB is £50 and that is probably sold as basically cost.

Still prices will drop and DVB-T2 will get more widespread then prices will fall but I really don't see this happening for a while yet

...and I still can't understand how the heck Peak manage to retail their DVB-T card at £20! They must be selling it wholesale at about £10-odd. Incredible.
I have a feeling it is basically an OEM card (IIRC it is also sold as a KWorld; and other; branded tuners too).

Remember this is PCI not PCI express too and probably based on a 5 year old design. It has no analogue tuners, DVB-C tuners, analogue capture...

One of the cheapest PCI express DVB-T cards I have seen is Compro E750 PCIe Dual DVB-T TV Card with Power Up Scheduling and Windows Media Center Remote - COMPRO E750 - Scan.co.uk which is £55 for a single tuner

has anyone noticed that the Peak website has vanished btw?
 

WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
Are there boxes for that price? I must admit it has been a little while since I looked and last time they were around £100. Just looking at Tesco now and their el cheapo brand STB is £50 and that is probably sold as basically cost.
Hmmm. I didn't imagine it but I can't find it now either. Perhaps it was a clearance special over Christmas, in which case my point's been stomped on.

Even if T2 chips currently cost £10 each, it can only be a matter of time until the chip makers start to compete with each other and drive the price down.

The biggest annoyance is that we're all having to pay for T2 tuners so the govt can squeeze TV into less bandwidth and flog the spectrum off to the telecoms companies for 4G. The aussies have no problems getting HD over DVB-T. If we'd gone down this route I'd already have everything needed.
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Paid £95 for a 6280 last week but think it was worth it (got a £25 Amazon voucher for Xmas which was enough to push me over the edge lol). It's been solid enough without any drop outs or signal problems. I've read so many problems about Blackgold cards that I was happy to pay a couple of quid more to get something that people have left generally positive reviews for.

An understated feature I suppose, is that it's got an RF outlet. So I've ditched my last Compro (have had two in the past but wanted to move away from DVB-S), ditched my Play TV (selling for nearly what I paid for it on eBay), and gone back to just dual tuners in the PC. But the RF outlet means you can loop back through to your freeview TV without having to split the cable which for me is great, as I can record 2 and watch a third (albeit in SD).

I suppose it may come down in time but the T500 itself was £50 for a long time, and that was an old/proven design.
 
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Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
How many HD terrestrial muxes do you expect each transmitter to be able to handle in the future? Clearly they are just running with 1 at the moment (for those who have been through DSO).

Also, do you know if there is going to be an increase in bitrate to make it as good as DVB-S2 channels?

Robbo100
Frisst, the current T2 mux is 40Mbit/sec, the same range as S2 muxes.
second, T2 has advantages in terms of network planning.
At the moment each area has six muxes to prevent interference but T2 provides more immunity from overlappingtransmitters and, in theory, can allow a signle frequency network (SFN) to operate. I would hope in ten years we can have 10-12 muxes provded they are commercially viable.
 

STdrez625

Banned
no problems getting HD over DVB-T
I think this is one of the problems, most of europe has decided to go this route, rather than T2. And somebody mentioned chip makers, as if there were more than one (samsung) ISTC. I dont think theres excessive profiteering going on? And older cards (dvb-t) are being sold off at or below cost as the future market is very limited. As someone mentioned DVB-S2 cards are not much cheaper, eve tho they have worldwide market.
£60-£70 is my trigger point (dual tuners)

The pound is weak, luke, you must use the force within you, your midichlorians are strong.

Cheap they are not
 
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WheresMyArtisan

Novice Member
Well I gave in anyway, and ordered a TBS 6280.

The Peak DVB-T card has been cheap for years - they're clearly making and selling them at a profit for £20 (despite the weak £), via a retailer who must be paying them much less.
 

Smokeycat

Novice Member
Frisst, the current T2 mux is 40Mbit/sec, the same range as S2 muxes.
second, T2 has advantages in terms of network planning.
At the moment each area has six muxes to prevent interference but T2 provides more immunity from overlappingtransmitters and, in theory, can allow a signle frequency network (SFN) to operate. I would hope in ten years we can have 10-12 muxes provded they are commercially viable.
I thought this was quite interesting:-

EXCLUSIVE More Freeview capacity coming 2012-2016 | ukfree.tv - independent free digital TV advice

:eek:
 

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