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Freesat Adds New Channels

Freesat has seen it’s channel offering improve yet agin with new channels joining the line up. 3 New Channels from the Sky stable are welcome additions to the service – Pick TV (144) Challenge (145) & Sky News (202). We are particularly pleased to see Sky News join the platform. We already tuned it in for most of our customers, but it was a pain having the change the mode (ie Non Freesat Mode) to get access. Well done Sky & Freesat for seeing the mutual benefit to all parties. Finally a 6th HD Service has joined the Freesat EPG. Russia Today – RT – has upgraded to HD for those with HD Receivers.

Channel 4 HD to Launch on Freesat

Yes – its true, at last… Freesat have confirmed 4 HD is to join the platform in April 2011. No firm date, channel number etc has been confirmed as yet, but it’s still a big step in the right direction for Freesat.

This now levels the playfield between Freeview HD & Freesat HD, with (the same) four channels each. The expectation is that Freesat really could capitalise further adding more HD content – with the higher bandwidth avaliable on Astra & Eurobird.

We will post transponder details once we can track them down

BBC 1 HD – New Channel to Launch

BBC have confirmed they are to start broadcasting BBC 1 in High Definition – It will be a similucast of  Standard BBC 1 , using HD when avaliable. Native HD material will include Eastenders, QI, Holby City, Match of the Day & The One Show.

The Channel will be avaliable on Sky, Freesat, Virgin & Freeview HD. The failure of Five HD to arrive on Freview HD has released the extra capacity required for Freview to carry the service.

Five HD surrenders Freeview HD Slot

Five HD, will not be launching on Freeview HD. Five was originally awarded a slot on  Multiplex B, along with BBC, ITV & C4/S4C.

Ofcom’s final decision published on March 15th 2010 states that five had “not been able to resolve the outstanding issues”.

As part of the licencing process the spare capacity now reverts back the BBC. Ofcom may allow Commercial Operators to apply again next year.

This announcement leaves the fledgling Freeview HD service with just BBC HD & ITV 1 HD as the only broadcasters on the Terrestrial HD service for the foreseeable future.

Freeview HD – Horsham Review

With little (no) fanfare Freeview HD has officially launched, with the first receivers coming to market. First out the start blocks was a Set Top Box – STB – from Humax. Titled Humax Fox T-2. TVs with built in Freeview HD are arriving from Panasonic, Sony etc over the coming months.

Freeview HD currently offers ITV1HD & BBC HD, with Channel 4 HD to launch at Summer.

The receiver is, as you would expect from Humax, a superb quality piece of kit. Well built, with the familiar Humax menus and is very easy to use. Even the Remote is similar to other Humax units. The newest addition is a “TV Portal” button, which hints at the future options for connecting the Humax to the internet or a home network. Freeview Standard Def pictures are on par with other Humax receivers – picture quality varies dependant on the bit rate employed by the broadcaster.

Thats sadly where the review ends for us. Despite our best efforts – 7 different aerials across 5 different locations in & around Horsham, we were unable to receive Freeview HD Signals. Currently the HD Signal is broadcast at a much lower level from Crystal Palace, than other Digital Signals. We can get all ‘normal’ Freeview signals with only minor blocking, but just couldn’t get the Humax to lock & tune in the HD signal.

Humax has since confirmed the T-2 requires 100% Signal Quality, with Signal Strength at least 30%. Other users, even in Central London have reported failure to receive Freeview HD. As we expected Freeview HD may not be the answer some thought it would be.

If you would like HD TV now, with quality reception, no subcription & no contract, the best way forward is to install Freesat HD.

ITV 1 HD & FIVE HD TO LAUNCH ON SKY

Sky have confirmed ITV 1 HD is to join their platform. 2nd April 2010 will see ITV 1 HD appear on the EPG at channel 178. This slot on the EPG becomes vacant when Men & Motors closes on April 1st – M&M is to close across all platforms on the same date.

There is no conformation yet if ITV 1 HD is to go full time on Freesat at this time. If we receive any news we will post it here.

It has also been confirmed Five HD is to launch on Sky in July. This follows the news that the Freeview HD licence, awarded to Five has lapsed as Five did not “resolve outstanding issues” required by Ofcom.  See the Five HD Update post for more info.

AVAV Systems offer Humax Foxsat 500GB Recorder

We are delighted to offer for sale and install the New Limited Edition Humax Foxsat HRD Freesat+ Recorder with 500 GB Hard Drive.

This unique product is only available through specialist dealers, chosen by Humax.

Based on the superb Foxsat HRD, this new limited version has a much bigger Hard Drive, ideal for all the forth coming High Definition broadcasts in 2010. Highlights include Winter Olympics and World Cup along with many other planned events

For further enquiries pls call or Contact Us Here

AVAV Systems become Associate RDI-LB Members

We are delighted to announce Andy Vizor, owner of AVAV Systems, has become as Associate Member of the RDI-LB, The Registered Digital Installer Licensing Body.

The RDI-LB is the only UK official body to register Licensed Digital Installers. RDI-LB members are checked for quality of work, criminal records, must be certified to work at heights, fully insured and become qualified in Digital TV Installations.

Associate RDI-LB member are allowed to use the marks associated with the RDI & full members can use marks such as the ‘Digital Tick’ & ‘Aeri-Al’

Andy said “I am delighted to be accepted into the RDI-LB. This, coupled with our membership of West Sussex Trading Standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme, shows that not only is our work to a high standard, with fair trading policies, but that we so understand the complex technical requirements of Digital TV Installation”

You can check the validity of any one displaying the RDI-LB or Digital Tick logo, on the RDI-LBs web site. You can also report anyone using the logo who is not an member on the same site – Along with a ‘Rogues Gallery’.

Andy Vizor’s Membership # 18267130 can be varified via the RDI-LB web site.

Sky Launch 1TB HD Box – Review

Sky have launched a new 1TB HD receiver. We’ve managed to get our hands on one! We’ve given it a good testing over the last few days and am happy to share our findings.

Well, it’s very black, very glossy and very sleek, almost PS3 like. It’s slimmer than the old box & boy is it quieter – thankfully. Even the Remote Control is a much darker, almost black affair. With the big beast of a Hard Drive, it’s the ideal buddy for the forth coming Sky Video on Demand service.

It is in fact a 1.5TB HDD, 1TB for recordings with half a TB reserved for Sky’s Anytime Service.

Its got all the connections you would expect – HDMI, Optical (thankfully as the HDMI is STILL only V1.1 so does NOT carry 5.1 audio!!!), Phone, Network, RS232, RF in, out & RF2 for Magic Eyes, Analogue Left & Right Phono Audio.  It only has one Scart socket – which still supports RGB. We are a bit disappointed by this – as a lot of new TVs have less Scarts, its nice to be able to loop thru & daisy chain kit – Well, not with this new box.

Performance is the most important thing. So how does it measure up. As we’ve already said, its quieter and runs cooler. Its so quiet, all you can (just) hear is the Hard Drive ticking away – but it really is quiet. The EPG also runs quicker – we guess this is down to more memory & faster processors on board. Audio is as you would expect, no issues. Just a shame the HDMI spec wasn’t improved to carry 5.1 audio.

HD Picture is superb, no issues – unless you take into the lower bit rate currently employed on the BBD HD Channel – It such a shame to see MPEG artifacts on HD broadcasts. Side by side comparisons with other HD Sky Boxes, Freesat IDTVs and the Panasonic Blu-Ray Freesat+ Recorders, show this is down to the bit rate & NOT the Sky Box.  The Sports coverage on ITV-HD (yes you can manually tune it in) was just stunning with no blocking. Other HD broadcasts fair much better than the BBC HD service.

But we have to report the SD pictures are well short of the mark, compared to other Sky Boxes & Freesat devices, the SD pictures are very poor. Lots of blocking, with visible lines – for example on BBC News, to the point of being annoying. Horizontal Text is well below par. You say “Who Cares? Its an HD box” Well, you might be right, but lets not forget the vast majority of TV still is SD! So its not really acceptable to get sub standard SD product. It really is poor, to the point that whilst watching BBC News, we switched off the Sky Box & went to Freesat!

The version we have is (sadly) manufactured by Amstrad, so other brands may vairy in quality – time will tell.

Overall, a nice product for those who record a lot or like to have the latest model. If your waiting for Sky’s VoD Service, this is the receiver for you. Just remember the poor Standard Definition pictures.

If you would like to join Skys HD service or upgrade your receiver, please give us a call or Contact Us here

Sky to offer HD Box as standard receiver

Sky today announced that HD receivers will now be given, as standard, free of charge to subscribers taking out the HD Pack offering.

This follows the year end results which show Sky have over 2 million HD subscribers, an increase of over 480,000 on the previous year.

Sky also used the occasion to comfirm this weekend will see the first 3D broadcast – to clubs & pubs – using the exisiting HD service. The football match between Arsenal & Manchester United will be filmed in 3D.

Sky claim their 3D service will work with existing HD boxes, once connected to any new (as yet unrelased) 3DTV.

We are a little confused by this a Sky HD Boxes are fitted with an HMDI V1.1 output. The HDMI Group have only just confirmed the spec for 3D over HDMI connections & this requires a new, faster standard of connection – HDMI V1.4. When we have more details we will post them.

If you would like to join Skys HD service or wish to upgrade your existing Sky receiver please give a call or Contact Us here