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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.

OFCOM Announces winners of 4G Auction

OFCOM has announced the 5 winners for the spectrum to operate 4G Mobile Phone Services.

They are – Everything Everywhere (Orange & T-Mobile), Hutchison 3G UK, Telefonica (O2), Vodafone & Niche Spectrum Ventures (BT Group).

A few interesting things come to light in the results. Niche Spectrum (BT) have only 2.6GHz spectrum, which indicates they are concentrating on heavily populated areas only, as that high frequency doesn’t travel or propagate very far. Hutchison 3G, operators of the 3 Network have only acquired the 800 MHz Spectrum, which indicates they will be reusing their existing 2.1GHz for populated area 4G service – thus using the 800 MHz band to increase coverage across the country. This should also greatly improve their indoor coverage – something much needed as 2.1GHz really doesn’t travel well. The Telefonia (O2) Licence comes with a attahcement that the network must offer 98% INDOOR Mobile Broadband Coverage – 99% Outdoor – by 2017. That really is a tall order & will require at lot of Network Planning, aggressive Roll Over & a LOT of Transmitters.

The auction raised £2.4Million for the Treasury, well short of the £3.5 Million expected. Things have changed a lot since the previous auction of 3G Licences, which raised in excess of £22 BILLION for the then Chancellor Gordon Brown. At that time , I worked for Orange & was astounded everytime the latest round of bids went in. The networks should, hopefully see ROI this time around.

Our main concern with 4G Services is the interference the 800 Mz Band will cause to Freeview Reception throughout the UK.

BBC 2 HD to Launch March 26th 2013

The BBC Trust have confirmed a ‘Launch’ of BBC 2 HD on March 26th 2013. This will, sadly, not be an additional service but instead will replace the current BBC HD Channel on all platforms – Freeview / YouView 102, Sky 169, Freesat 109 & BT Vision 852. Whilst we welcome the ‘addition’ we can’t help think its a shame that some of the excellent content on BBC 3 & BBC 4 will no longer have an outlet for the HD Version. It also seems to be a cost cutting exercise by the BBC – Whilst at the same time launching BBC 1 HD Regional Version – with its ‘Upscaled’ content – for Wales, Scotland and Northern Island.

This represents the loss of an excellent Licence Funded Service where you were guaranteed to see ONLY High Definition Content. We are also sad to say this may well see the end of the BBC HD Test Card being available for dealers & techies like ourself to check just how good (or bad) new HD Screens are. Shame, the price of progress?

It is also the end of BBCs 3D Trial Broadcasts. We accept the whole 3D thing hasn’t really taken off, but again, shame to see the service dropped. The BBC is renowned round the world its expertise & technical excellence, roll on 4K

Sonos – PlayBar to Launch

Sonos have confirmed the launch date for their latest product – The Sonos PlayBar. This Soundbar adds another facet to their product line up. Offering 9 Drivers it adds seamlessly to the Sonos Wireless System.

Offering seamless integration with the current Sonos products – all current ‘connected’ components have been updated – it can operate on its own, as part of normal Sonos system or can operate as part of a 5.1 surround sound package with the Sonos Sub & Play 3’s. We understand it connects via standard RCA Phonos or Optical TOSLink Cable, also we are told it can be programmed to respond to the IR Commands of your Standard TV Remote Controller.

We are now taking pre-orders at a retail price of £599

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