Depends. I got pretty good reception of all the digital multiplexes with
a wideband Unix 100 aerial in the loft from the Oxford transmitter, and
I'm 30 odd miles away on the Northants/Beds/Bucks border. But now that
same aerial is on the roof pointing at Sandy Heath, only 25 or so miles
away, getting an excellent reception of all the multiplexes (and also
gives good analogue pictures too).
The trick is a good aerial, and good downlead cable (CT100 or better).
The Triax Unix 100 is a monster aerial though, about 7ft long....
Not too surprising that. Sandy has for some time now been on a high rate
34 odd megabit digital feed from London. Oxford IIRC rebroadcasts the
output from Sutton Coldfield which will degrade a bit.....
I was trying to do this the cheapest way possible as I don't watch a
huge amount of TV. It's given me quite a bit to think about.
I might yet go for a dish as if I get the cheapest option I get the
free channels at a good price and I know I can get a good signal; just
not so sure about having my phone line hooked up to it for a year.
Me too: along with not wanting to put money into Rupert Murdoch's pocket.
So, I've been holding out: and last week found an Echostar freeview decoder
on the shelves at Sainsbury's knocked down to 60 squids. "Can't go wrong",
thought I, as Echostar make high-end satellite decoders, and good old
Sainsbury's won't quibble over a return if signal proves inadequate.
(We have line-of-sight to the big regional transmitter at Mendip, but an
old aerial (new one in the garage, new coil of CT100 ready to replace
aging downlead currently tacked to side of house feeding Granny's teli
while she lives with us in what will in future be the TV room: ban the
idiot box from the lounge, hurrah!). Ch5 analogue signal is imperfect,
cars and motorbikes with poorly-suppressed ignition systems cause brief
bursts of interference when going past on the main road "above" the house
(we're in a small quarry working with a steeply-sloping main road at the
side of the house, so road is level with the base of the property at the
eastern end and is about 20ft above it at the western end!). And a previous
trial with a friend's pre-release terrestrial-TV-decoder was a No Signal
So, I connected it up with little certainty of success. But it pulled in
the signals without problem: the picture quality is better than on the
analogue (less low-level noise/mush in dark varying backgrounds: only
noticeable when you do direct A/B comparisons), none of the MPEG compression
artefacts I remember from the same friend's setup at his place, and not
only a second chance to see The Office Xmas Special on BBC3 this Sunday
night just gone, but the overwhelming temptations of Bid-Up TV and its
companion channel, PriceDrop TV (which sound like they might've been the
channels to have paid our own Mr Liquorice his recent exhorbitant holiday
working rates ;-). And the Guide stuff (more detailed program listings
than teletext, served in one short-wait-time lump with no further delays) I
find surprisingly useful. Passing spark-sources on the road affect the
digital decoding less often (error-correction seems to do its stuff for
lower amounts of interference), but more intrusive on the few occasions
the error-correction can't cope - a burst of crackly noise and visible
frozen rectangular blocks in the picture, lasting for no more than a few
tenths of a second. So, the new aerial and downlead should be a win, but
they're not urgent.
On the downside, I've found one Y2K bug already!! Hard to credit in a
unit made in 2003, but that's Software Library Reuse for you: when you
use the up-down button for setting the date of a timed event, going across a
year boundary sets the century part of the date to 19xx; as I was doing
this on New Year's Eve the year boundary was indeed close at hand! Workaround
is to enter the date explicitly using the number keys on the remote. And
I've had one software lockup (memory leak?) which lost access to the data
services and to BBC3&BBC4, which I could fix only by pulling out the power
cord for a Short Wait and letting it do its ReTuning proceedcake. If it
loses its marbles a couple more times I'll think about taking it back
to Sainsbury's; but for now I'm a happy terrestrial-digital-TV convert.
Oh, it's nice getting a second source for receiving BBC6 and BBC7 radio,
too, to complement the DAB tuner in my study (which gets hijacked by the
lad when particular contemporary beat combos have Special Transmissions...)
So, I'd say go ahead with a trial install, trying to get your decoder from
a shop which will let you bring it back for a full refund in a day or two
if it doesn't work out...
Yeah. Some time we might put up a dish to get the Polish TV still sending
on analogue satellite. But in the Conservation Area we live in I'm supposed
to get planning perm even for one dish; and it's a hassle either installing
it myself (even with a cheapie alignment meter from Satcure) or getting a
dish installer in (who won't automatically point it at Astra rather than
Hot Bird ;-). Apparently, a Sky box will work OK disconnected from the
phone line most of the time: Google around for the net.gossip on this.
On 6 Jan 2004 11:03:16 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The decoder technology on all DVB decoders has improved quite a bit
over the last couple of years.
You may find a variation between types of broadcast according to the
symbol rate in use.
Those are always free-to-air.......
Should be, but it's worth borrowing a tester with error rate
information. The strongest signal is not necessarily the most error
Do these get firmware updates downloaded by the broadcaster like the
satellite boxes do? You might find that there is a firmware
There are quite a few Polish channels on Hotbird on DVB as well
although some are encrypted.
Find one who does commercial installations..... generally they know
what they are doing,. You can still get the Sky subsidy if you want.
It will do, although you lose out on the PPV stuff (or at least have
to call their call centre and pay a surcharge for an event). You
also lose the ability to press the red button and vote on things at
50p a go, but I ouldn't be upset about that.
Otherwise, there is a contract requirement if you have the subsidised
installation contract to have the box connected for a year. They do
do occasional checks by sending the box a command to phone home. I've
had it happen once on mine. Whether they would take any action if
you are not connected I rather doubt.
Yes, the packaging promises over-the-air firmware updates; but these are
initiated by the decoder mfr begging NTL or whoever runs the terrestrial
digital transmitters (similarly for satellite). There's no user-accessible
port down which I can myself flash the firmware. And the manual claims I'll
know about it when a firmware update is sent - the decider will pop up a
dialogue box which requires Assent from me-the-owner to apply the upgrade.
There's a screen which tells me the version numbers of the various
bits of software currently running. The EchostarUK website assures me at
http://www.echostaruk.co.uk/OAD.html that "information about specific
downloads will appear on this page", suggesting none have been released yet.
Yes - with a bit of Web searching (lyngsat) I find there are more free-to-air
Polish channels still on analogue, for which we already own a decoder
sitting in the garage after the last housemove, than on DVB. If I went
DVB I might be able to get some premium MooVee channels too, but since
they don't sell subs to overseas cust-OH-mers I'd have to either go the
pirate-card route (fun, and instructive for a security geek, but unreliable)
or use a friend/relative in Poland as a cutout address to get the card.
And for what? The wondrous Polish invention of the "lector" - a bizarrely
emotion-free single-person-voiceover artist who does all the dialogue -
is available on the free-to-air channels already. It is *quite* bizarre
having this treatment in an action-drama - imagine a monotone, deadpan
delivery supplying "you dirty rat", "eat lead, sucker", and the like, with
not even a pretence of an attempt to mark the transition from one speaker
to the next. Guess it maximises the productivity of the single voiceover
merchant ;-) And among the most surreal TV experiences I've had has been
watching a lectored Meaning Of Life...
Thanks - Stefek
Well, a "title", or "designator", rather than a "name". Y'see, if you
came up to him in a pub and said "Hi, Lector!", not only would it be like
greeting you as "Hi, RF-propagation-consultant!", but there might be some
unfortunate misunderstandings concerning Hannibal and gruesome goings-on
And though it does sound as if there's only one guy doing this across all
the I-can't-believe-it's-not-dubber films, with that deeply resonant but
totally bored-sounding voice, there is more than one person doing this
role across the wide range of third- and fourth-rate MadeForTV MooVees they
show across Polish (and, I hear, Czech/Slovak and Hungarian) TV...
On 6 Jan 2004 13:45:35 GMT, email@example.com wrote:
The Germans do it too. On one occasion, in a hotel, having nothing
better to do, I watched an episode of Minder, dubbed in German in this
way. The translation of the swearing was entertaining as it was
spoken in a deadly dull way....
On 6 Jan 2004 11:03:16 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Good point. The only Rupert I want in my house is the one with checked
I went to Argos to buy their cheapest box which, according to their
website, is not excluded from their 16-day money-back guarantee.
However, when I went to pay for it, they told me it *was* excluded. I
pointed out what I saw on the web page but, while the assistant agreed
with me, there was nothing she could do and invited me to talk to the
manager. She also said that she bought a box for her TV, plugged it in
and it worked fine. Sometime later, she called - out of noseyness, she
said - the special number to find out whether coverage was available
where she lived. Guess what. It wasn't!
So, later, I found myself in Asda and asked about their boxes. They
had none in stock but would be happy to give a refund on one which
proved unsuitable. So that's probably where I'll go.
Well I agree with that sentiment up to a point, but these an awful lot
of the country yet to be covered by digital TV especially those out of
the way locations not served by the main stations.
And in these locations satellite delivery is the only other viable
You can find a lot of better advice on that on alt.satlelitte.tv.eurpoe
With a SAT dish this doesn't have to be up on the roof. You can have it
much lower provided it can "see" the satellite then it will be fine. The
Sat signals come in at a steeper angle that a lot of people realize. Its
a bit higher than where the dish "appears" to point.
The two we have are hidden out in the garden, both are about a foot or
so off the ground!....
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