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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.

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

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

Freesat BBC iPlayer beta release for Sony TVs

Freesat have now released a beta trial verison of the BBC iPlayer service for owners of Sony Freesat TVs.

The TVs need to be connected to Broadband internet , via a router. Once restarted the TV will give access to the iPlayer service, as part of the BBCs ‘Red Button’ MHEG5 system.

Freesat release BBC iPlayer to public

Following the successful beta closed trial, Freesat have released the coding required to enable connectivity to the BBC iPlayer service.

The service is now avaliable on Humax Foxsat HD and PVR receivers. Viewers need to connect their Humax receivers to a Broadband service of at least 1Mbps.

Access to the iPlayer is via the “Red Button” service.

It is expected that the roll out to other Freesat HD receivers and TVs will quickly follow. There is over 450 hours of programming available, which will be updated daily.

ITV Player to join Freesat

ITV have confirmed they are to make their Catch Up service – ITV Player available to Freesat HD customers, alongside the BBCs iPlayer service.

As with the BBCs service it is likely to be accessed via the Red Button Service. The Freesat HD receiver will need to be connected via Broadband to the internet.

The service should launch early in Q1 2010.

BBC iPlayer to join Freesat

Freesat have confirmed the roll out of BBC iPlayer to their HD Boxes.

Humax appear to be the first with Software Updates to prep their receivers ready for launch in early 2010. The update was available from early December 2009.

The service will only be avaliable to Freesat HD viewers, as SD boxes do not have the required network socket.

When launched, the service will be seen under the “Red Button” service. There will be approx 450 hours of content released on launch.

All HD receivers, including Freesat TVs from Sony, Panasonic & LG are planned to support the service along with the Freesat+ BluRay Recorders from Panasonic.