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VPs and SD output from the new FreeSat set-top-boxes

StooMonster

Well-known Member
We've got used to the foibles of SkyHD and it's forced EDID 576i output or the use of PReP to get a 576i signal, but FreeSat launches today and it brings with it a range of new HD compatible stb; it also brings the a new GUI and a new EPG too.

At launch there are four stb: Bush BFSAT 01 HD, Goodmans GFSAT 200 HD, Humax FOXSAT HD, and Grundig GUFSAT 01 HD; there should be more makes and models to follow, including PVR versions.

The question is ... are we going to be able to use the EDID trick with these boxes, or is PReP going to be the only way to get 576i out of them. Moreover, maybe they'll fix all output to 1080i :eek:

Thoughts? Idle speculation?

StooMonster
 

SimonO

Active Member
From memory, the Humax HD box I had did SD @ 576i

Hmmm, just checked the spec and I may have been mistaken...
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
I had one of the Humax boxes, I think HDC2000 or something. It only did a fixed output res (either 576p, 720p or 1080i) which you toggled with a button on the remote. It did not do 576i HDMI at all, and had no AUTO equivalent.

To be fair I would assume the fair bulk of people with systems based around video processors would likely be able to afford to stick with the Sky HD option for the best source...
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
That's not too encouraging, we have to hope that Sky HD keep with their current spec then.

Not that I watch ITV1, but ITV have announced that ITV1 HD will only be available on FreeSat when it launches later this year ... although perhaps they simply mean "on satellite" as if it's fta then Sky HD should be able to pick it up, unless they do not intent to pay Sky for the EPG fee!

StooMonster
 

Jet_Set_Jim

Active Member
That's not too encouraging, we have to hope that Sky HD keep with their current spec then.

Not that I watch ITV1, but ITV have announced that ITV1 HD will only be available on FreeSat when it launches later this year ... although perhaps they simply mean "on satellite" as if it's fta then Sky HD should be able to pick it up, unless they do not intent to pay Sky for the EPG fee!

StooMonster

ITV could put their 'content' out as true-life 3D holograms, and I'd still not watch. It's the "Readers' Wives" of TV channels.

I can't see them making their HD channel unavailbable to Sky HD owners though - other than during a trial period perhaps...
 

Chris5

Well-known Member
In fact I think ITV have gone out of their way to make sure you can't watch it with a skyHD box. Isn't ITV using a symbol rate that skyHD can't pickup?

Infact I think that having sky excludes you from watching freesat (and visa versa) as you would need a second dish, that would require planning permission. No council is going to allow 2 dishes. You would not be able to daisy chain the receivers either.
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said ITV's HD service would launch "with an unrivalled line-up of premium football", so it's still of no interest to me either. ;)

I can't see them making their HD channel unavailbable to Sky HD owners though - other than during a trial period perhaps...
In fact I think ITV have gone out of their way to make sure you can't watch it with a skyHD box. Isn't ITV using a symbol rate that skyHD can't pickup?
"ITV HD will be a red-button service available exclusively to freesat customers, so whenever you're watching ITV1 and an HD logo pops up at the top of your screen, just press the red button on your remote control to watch it in glorious high definition."
Source: http://www.freesat.co.uk/index.php

So, ITV must be avoiding the Sky EPG tax and therefore only appearing on FreeSat.

BSkyB are having a fit about it, BSkyB's Chief operating officer Mike Darcey said: "They are deliberately withholding free-to-air content from almost half a million Sky HD homes. This is curious behaviour for a public service broadcaster."
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7384928.stm

Infact I think that having sky excludes you from watching freesat (and visa versa) as you would need a second dish, that would require planning permission. No council is going to allow 2 dishes. You would not be able to daisy chain the receivers either.
You don't need two dishes, there's no problem connecting FreeSat to your Sky HD quad-LNB. I thought it could be a cheap way of getting HD satellite into more than one room -- i.e. no Sky HD fee -- and could even consider hooking it up to a VP, but how they output 576i (or 576p if one uses a PReP equiped product) is obviously going to be key to that.

StooMonster
 

Jet_Set_Jim

Active Member
So they are ducking Sky by the sound of it. That's their choice I guess - but it's the choice of idiots.

Mind you - this is the company that managed to fail with ITV Digital, a product about as good as Sky but Plug and Play, with no need for a dish. Genius!

I have nothing but contempt for ITV's business management ability - thankfully, as mentioned I never watch the channel so it's not really too much of an issue.
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Found the Humax Foxsat HD manual, and the relevent section...

4.3 Resolution

You can set the resolution of the screen. Press the
V-FORMAT button while watching a programme. The
current resolution will be displayed.
Each time you press the V-FORMAT button, the
resolution changes in the following sequence:
576i -> 576p -> 720p -> 1080i -> Original.

Note: If the product is connected to the TV using an
HDMI cable, Original will not be displayed.​
Source: http://www.humaxdigital.com/freesat/FOXSATHD_100GB_040308_onlyref1.pdf

I'm hoping that one can set output to "original" and get 576i for SD channels and 1080i for HD ones ... but since discovered that it means back to where one started. Over in the "Freeview & Freesat" forum a Humax owner lists one of the cons of the stb being that output is fixed to whatever one has selected and there is no automatic SD/HD output. :(

StooMonster
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
I've been in an email conversation with Humax support and they confirmed that "Foxsat-HD does not give you the functionality of automatically outputting the native broadcast. The option is fixed and can be changed with the V-Format button on the remote control."

However, they have added my request for an automatic native resolution output to the FreeSat platform wishlist; as they are unable to make functional changes such as this to their box alone.

They were very nice, and helpful too and can be contacted on [email protected]

Perhaps a few forum members would care to email Humax, Grundig, etc and request the same feature and it might get bumped up the priority in the FreeSat platform development plan -- which would only be good for those of us who like to use external video processors. :)

StooMonster
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
I notice that for HDMI output, while it says ORIGINAL is not available for HDMI connections, it doesn't say that 576i isn't an option........ Some hope for a firmware update to make this auto (is original the same as auto?).

Also be interesting to see if component output on original mode will give automatic 576i/1080i.
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
I notice that for HDMI output, while it says ORIGINAL is not available for HDMI connections, it doesn't say that 576i isn't an option........ Some hope for a firmware update to make this auto (is original the same as auto?).

Also be interesting to see if component output on original mode will give automatic 576i/1080i.
Apparently it does 576i over HDMI with no problems at all ... if you select it manually via the remote control.

My complaint is that one has to select 576i for SD and 1080i for HD channels by hand with the remote control. :(

I wondered if "original" worked for the component output, but apparently it doesn't appear as an option there either.

However, over on DigitalSpy there is a poster called Bob_Cat who apparently works for Humax and today he's said that the manual lists "original" as an option for resolution and one should be able to select it with the remote control too -- but it slipped through the cracks during firmware development.

"Original" would act the same way as Sky HD and output SD as 576i and HD as 1080i -- but Humax offer the benefit of 576i as default option rather than 567p (and 576i only being attained through EDID and HDMI negotiation).

StooMonster
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
The feature slipped through the cracks and is not present at all (either component or HDMI), Bob_Cat says that he's informed the developers and it should get fixed ... but after some more urgent items get done first.

So, fingers crossed, we might well see automatic 576i/1080i output from Humax Freesat boxes before too long. Interestingly he didn't say anything about FreeSat specifications like the email support, so maybe he was just talking about component output.

Fingers crossed that it's not just on component output but is also on HDMI too.

StooMonster
 

JonnyGoon

Standard Member
I unplugged my HDMI cable and through component you can choose 576i and original on the V-format.

Tried to compare 576i to freeview but freeview quality seemed pretty poor on the programs just after 7 so ill try a bit later when some decent bitrate stuff is on BBC1 or something. Just enjoying HD Heroes :thumbsup: It looks just as good as the mkv versions I had been watching.
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
I unplugged my HDMI cable and through component you can choose 576i and original on the V-format.

Tried to compare 576i to freeview but freeview quality seemed pretty poor on the programs just after 7 so ill try a bit later when some decent bitrate stuff is on BBC1 or something. Just enjoying HD Heroes :thumbsup: It looks just as good as the mkv versions I had been watching.

Having the 576i option is going to depend very much on whether your display or AVR or video processor accepts 576i, and if it is going to do a better job than the Freesat box would.

We've been wondering what to do for demo material in the new office given that Sky is a minimum of £120 per month (for private staff room use only) rising to around £300-£400 a month to have it in a public demo room!!!!! Never realised the answer was right under my nose with Freesat. Just need a PVR version now...
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
I unplugged my HDMI cable and through component you can choose 576i and original on the V-format.

Tried to compare 576i to freeview but freeview quality seemed pretty poor on the programs just after 7 so ill try a bit later when some decent bitrate stuff is on BBC1 or something. Just enjoying HD Heroes :thumbsup: It looks just as good as the mkv versions I had been watching.
How is the component output?

Is it nice and crisp in 576i, or is it horrible and blurred like the Sky HD Thomson box?

Also, does "original" in component automatically switch from 576i to 1080i and vice versa?

If the component is a good, clean signal, might not be that bad whilst one waits for "original" on HDMI then (or can put up with manually changing the output with the remote control).

StooMonster
 

JonnyGoon

Standard Member
How is the component output?

Is it nice and crisp in 576i, or is it horrible and blurred like the Sky HD Thomson box?

Also, does "original" in component automatically switch from 576i to 1080i and vice versa?

If the component is a good, clean signal, might not be that bad whilst one waits for "original" on HDMI then (or can put up with manually changing the output with the remote control).

StooMonster

Well it looked pretty damn good, although I will reserve a full comment on component as i was using the Humax shipped Composite RCA's :devil:

The 576i stuff looked very similar to the freeview other than stronger colours etc but Ive only ever set my component input up for my Xbox so that could do with tweaking for TV. Original worked fine aswell as my TV info button on component tells you the res of the source material, happily switching between 576i and 1080i when changing between BBC HD and say BBC1. My parents have a spare component cable I bought my dad for xmas that so Ill nab that back and see what its like then.:oops:
 

JonnyGoon

Standard Member
Having the 576i option is going to depend very much on whether your display or AVR or video processor accepts 576i, and if it is going to do a better job than the Freesat box would.

If my TV doesnt accept 576i over HDMI would the STB be clever enough to take that out of the V format options when the HDMI cable is plugged in?

What ever processing thats going on in the freeview box seems to be better than that of the freesat box on SD channels, the STB is a bit too soft and news reader faces etc lack detail
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Over on DigitalSpy the Humax guy says that the chipset in the box isn't really an interlacer and upscaler, and recommends always outputting 576i and 1080i and letting the display (or in our case the video processor) do the work.

It's only fairly old kit that cannot deal with 576i over HDMI.

StooMonster
 

JonnyGoon

Standard Member
It's only fairly old kit that cannot deal with 576i over HDMI.

StooMonster

Nice, seems my LE40M86 Samsung falls in to that category, doesnt support 576P 60Hz sources through HDMI either. Back to component I guess. BBC HD has gone even further to show up the motion issues with this LCD, the resolution effectivlely reduces with motion as you lose HD detail to something more akin to SD then when it stops moving its like a camera focusing back on the picture.:thumbsdow
 

Dubbing Mixer

Standard Member
Just so long as I don't have to pay Sky any money I'm quite happy to suffer a few annoyances and wait for the available technology to catch up. This is the only way a lot of us are likely to get HD broadcast so don't knock it just yet.
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Nice, seems my LE40M86 Samsung falls in to that category, doesnt support 576P 60Hz sources through HDMI either. Back to component I guess. BBC HD has gone even further to show up the motion issues with this LCD, the resolution effectivlely reduces with motion as you lose HD detail to something more akin to SD then when it stops moving its like a camera focusing back on the picture.:thumbsdow
Doesn't sound good. :(

Amazing that it supports HDMI 1.3 but doesn't accept 576i/480i over HDMI. It was DVI (the predecessor digital connector) that could not support 576i/480i and thus these formats were not included in the EDID tables, however, HDMI saw the addition of these formats in the extended EDID table specifications. Check the VESA website

So either Samsung hasn't updated it's EDID table specs to the latest versions or has deliberately disabled them or ignored the extensions (the are 'optional') ... but this demonstrates why Sky HD defaults to 576p rather than 576i.

Your motion blur sounds horrible!

StooMonster
 

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