No Freeview HD kit in time for launch, warns telly exec
Full rollout timetable revealed
It's now clear that you'll need a new TV or set-top box (STB) to pick up Freeview HD. However, Register Hardware has learned that compatible kit won’t arrive in Blighty in time for the service’s debut early next month.
Richard Lindsay-Davis, Director General of the Digital TV Group (DTG), has admitted to us that “at this stage we can’t guarantee any [DVB-T2] receivers in the UK market before Christmas 2009”.
The news will come as a blow to early adopters living in London or Manchester, the first UK cities set to receive the Freeview HD signal, on 2 December.
While Freeview is based on DVB-T technology, Freeview HD uses DVB-T2 which uses the MPEG 4 AVC video codec. While manufacturers are developing STBs and TVs with the new tuner inside, Lindsay-Davis said that the DTG doesn’t expect such products to be available in the UK until at least January or February next year - and possibly later than that.
He also said that a Freeview HD STB – your only option if your don’t want to replace an HD TV with built-in Freeview – will likely cost “a little more” than an existing Freeview STB.
There is some good news in store, though, provided you’re a football fan.
Lindsay-Davis explained that, rather than a formal launch, the 2 December launch is essentially a test run for the service designed to ensure good quality of service and a strong signal in time for the 2010 World Cup. ®
Next page: HD Roll-out timetable
HD-Ready and other things - http://www.digitaleurope.org/
The HD-Ready logo is defined and managed by Digital Europe (formerly EICTA). The meaning is clear and has been for some time. The TV is ready to connect to an HD input device and has sufficient resolution.
"HD-Ready" - Means it will work show HD pictures with a Blu-ray player, Sky HD, Freesat HD, or Freeview HD box. If you have got a non-HD-Ready TV you really are stuffed.
"HDTV" - is the logo for built in decoder. And manufacturers have been responsible and not used this in the UK. DVB-T TVs with HD MPEG4 decoding have been available since late 2007 and have been sold in the UK without being promoted as such while they are being happily used on the continent for HD services.
Both the above logos have 1080P variants indicating 1920x1080 display and input support as additional requirements.
DVB-T2 demodulators are not yet available in quantity even to major manufacturers. The spec was finished a little over a year ago and actually development has gone as well as could be expected. There is no possibility of software upgrades to any DVB-T demodulator (unless it is FPGA based and about the size of a 32" TV).
This means that PC USB tuners, PS3 PlayTV, tuners STBs, PVRs and TVs current and past will not receive Freeview HD with existing hardware.
If anyone does know of anywhere that DVB-T2 products can be obtained please post the link. Especially a USB tuner would be good.
Re: Market status?
“To receive Freeview HD you will need:
b) A means of decoding the as-yet-unconfirmed and non-standard mechanism that will be used to encode the service information to ensure that only approved manufacturers who sign up to the DRM rules can make the boxes
So long as it's MPEG-TS with the same meanings for certain IDs as for DVB-T and so long as free-to-air content is still broadcast in the clear, I don't see a major problem there; the likes of VDR will cope fine (and if not, well, there are users who will produce patches).
This assumption is wrong:
"(1) The video coding MPEG4 AVC and that only comes down to software at the receiver."
The MPEG decoding in a TV or STB is a dedicated hardware block. That means you can make the main CPU relatively low-spec, which means cool and (very importantly) cheap. If you didn't have dedicated hardware to do it, then you'd need a monster CPU to do full HD decoding at 50/60Hz.
Having said that, most large TV manufacturers have been shipping MPEG-4 decoders in their TVs for the past few years, because there are a bunch of European countries already broadcasting it over DVB-T. It's just that the UK changed both the encoding spec and the modulation type at the same time.
I think customers who have recently bought large-format TVs have every right to feel aggrieved - the "HD Ready" logo situation is a shambles, and Freeview HD is no better. Apart from a hard core of enthusiast geeks and the TV industry, nobody knows what's going on (as these comment threads have demonstrated).
Pah - oh well gives me chance to wait until the technology has caught up and I can get a DVB-T2 integrated TV or PVR that is cheap as chips.
I know where I can get multiple DVB-T2 units
You could also get the modular boxes and wait for them to produce the tuner for them (which a lot probably would have already).
It's about time that our country grows up and stops calling anything from a Satellite Sky and Digital Terrestrial "Freeview".
The rest of Europe isn't like this... maybe because they aren't as thick as shit.
Freeview HD - it's just a package, just like Sky - gah.