Have to go digital by November 2009

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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My TV is an oldish Sony CRT but I've just bought a Sony HXD995 DVD recorder to replace the old one which blew up.

I am thinking of moving to Freeview sooner rather than later but read that Freeview will have HD transmissions late next year. Are the present Freeview boxes futureproof or would I have to replace any I bought now if I wanted the HD service? I realise that I would also have to replace the TV.
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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as clare says, you would have to replace the stb when they start transmitting in hd.

why not have a look at freesat its hd now although still only limited content, but would negate having to replace the box at a later date
 

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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I'm not keen on going to the trouble of having a satellite dish. Can anyone advise on a cheapo, good Freeview box for the interim, please?
 

Alsone

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Jul 21, 2007
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Before discounting satelite services entirely, have you checked on reception in your area?

Whereas I'm not trying to push you one way or another, if you're going to need an new aerial (and coax if old - coax oxidises over the years), then the cost and disruption for both options is going to be about the same.

ATM no-one knows how Freesat HD boxes vs Freeview HD boxes will stack up for price, but new aerial vs sat dish installation, are pretty similar in cost at around £80. Sat has the advantage of almost guaranteed reception and far more future proofing from a bandwidth point of view, but may suffer slightly in very bad weather (very heavy rain / snow). Freeview has the advantage of more proofing in very bad weather but has less future proofing / guaranteed reception unless you're in a very good signal area.

I'd check with friends and neighbour to see if they can get good Freeview reception and whether they needed a new aerial to do it. Post switchover, the power levels will be better and thus the chances of good reception better also but if you're thinking of buying for now (1 year away from switchover), then you need to know whether a box will just work or if you'll need an aerial instalation in order to properly weigh up the pros and cons.
 

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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I had a new aerial installed two or three years ago when the old one blew down in a gale. I kept the 30 year old cable but have recently put new cable in place which I still have to connect. As far as I know, Freeview reception is OK in my area but I will ask around.
 

bartlett23

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Oct 29, 2008
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what about freeview + boxes that have HDMI connections and can upscale standard definition TV? will they need replacing too?
 

Alsone

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Jul 21, 2007
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bartlett23:what about freeview + boxes that have HDMI connections and can upscale standard definition TV? will they need replacing too?

My understanding is yes.

The problem is nothing to do with HDMI (and HDCP therefore) but rather the fact that the HD channels will be transmitted using a new compression standard that isn't decodable by the existing Freeview boxes.
 

Cliff1

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Nov 2, 2008
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Alsone

'Sat has the advantage of almost guaranteed reception and far more
future proofing from a bandwidth point of view, but may suffer slightly
in very bad weather (very heavy rain / snow). Freeview has the
advantage of more proofing in very bad weather but has less future
proofing / guaranteed reception unless you're in a very good signal
area.'

Interesting you should say that,my aerial points straight at very tall trees & in bad weather,heavy rain in particular i lose the signal completely,worse when leaves are on the trees of course,have to switch to analogue,only ch.1-5 then.

My understanding was that a dish would have less picture break up,not more,certainly the dish would avoid the trees,my brother has sky & gets some break up but appears to be minimal.

This was in fact one of my main reasons for thinking of going over to freesat.But if picture break up is worse than the aerial might as well stay as i am & wait for aerial HD.
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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cliff, its the trees that are the main problem for you not the rain! its just that the rain is confounding the problem. trees and digital signals are an absolute no no. satellite reception is on the whole very good. it is very seldom that my satellite is affected its usually only very very severe rain/sleet/snow that causes the break up and i do mean severe! so wouldn't let that put you off.
 

Cliff1

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Nov 2, 2008
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Cheers Dave

That was my understanding of the dish/aerial reception.May have misunderstood what Alsone was saying.
 

Alsone

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Jul 21, 2007
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Sorry if I confused you Cliff.

I'm a big fan of Freesat because I believe it's the future of UK tv due to various future problems that are likely to occur with terrestrial. That said, I always try to be even handed and put both sides as both technologies have advantages and disadvantages.

Like Dave says, from the sounds of things you'll get much better reception with Freesat. Also, on the subject, if you want to reduce the chance of breakup in severe weather, just get a slightly larger dish ie avoid getting a minidish. A 60cm conventional dish should be fine. If a bigger dish worries you visually and money isn't a huge issue, then satelite superstore sell crystal clear polycarbonate dishes although these work out twice as expensive as a conventional dish.

This is a wall with 2 x 85cm clear dishes on it, hardly visible, its the large motorised brackets that show on that instalation.

On a single instalation with a small fixed bracket I doubt you'd see much and a 60cm is sufficient for Freesat alone:

(Photo linked from Satelite Superstore.co uk)

A good LNB never hurts either. I've just bought an 85cm clear dish although for me this was a case of wanting to add other satelites that are FTA in the future and the jump in dish size is small in cost (£10) compared to the cost of buying a bigger dish later when actually adding more. 1 slight word of caution, when going for a larger dish, keep an eye on planning regulations. In most cases you'll be OK but it pays to check 1st.
 

Cliff1

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Nov 2, 2008
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Alsone

Thanks for that,the clear dishes look good,as you say almost invisible,will definately take a look at those.
 

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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I've had some further thoughts. I've got a new Sony HXD990 DVD recorder which only mentions Freeview under digital broadcasting. If I wanted to go for Freesat, could I still use the Sony or would I have to get a different DVD recorder?
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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the sony has a scart input i believe, so you'd be able to hook a freesat stb to it via scart and record that way yes, although obviously you wouldn't be able to record hd content
 

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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If I stick to Freeview, will I eventually be able to record their HD transmissions on my Sony DVD recorder, or will I need another box?
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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the current crop of freeview receivers,(whether stand alone stb's or intergrated tuners in pvr's and dvd recorders) will not be able to receive hd transmissions, so yes you will need another box i'm affraid
 

Miker

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Jul 26, 2007
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Thanks. That is a bit of a B***. I assume that if I eventually get an HD Freeview box, I will still be able to record in SD. If not, the purchase of the DVD recorder was not such a smart move.
 

daveh75

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Jul 31, 2008
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sd channels yeah, hd channels doubtful, wouldn't worry about the dvdr not being a smart move, hd transmission on freeview wont just happen overnight once switch over takes place, there's gonna be bandwith issues for starters, and i think hd content will be very limited on freeview for quite some time after launch, as is still the case with freesat
 

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