Posts by jj20x

    As of last night I passed my access to the analysis database back to the analysis team who will be converting the system in preparation for the reports to be built into an email mailing list system. Initially, the list will be for participants only but could be made public at some point in the future.

    I'm also taking the opportunity to take a break from forums and online posting for a while. The timing seems right, especially considering recent events on the forum.

    Unfortunately, that means that updates here are suspended for the foreseeable future. Maybe I will be back at some point, right now I don't know. I have been spending an awful lot of time keeping things running, often at the expense of my personal life. It's time to reclaim my life and leave these things behind, at least for a while.


    What do you think is about to happen jj? Is this likely to affect ordinary viewers?

    I think they will continue the trend of merging the content of two transport streams into one. Channel bit rates be reduced to fit into the merged capacity and recordings will use less disk space. Ordinary viewers will be able to record more. They may or may not notice additional or different artefacts, depending on how efficient the new encoders are.

    At a guess, VM tie in such physical changes with a replacement schedule for obsolete equipment, which would explain the delays.

    The frequency change schedule seems a bit hit and miss though. They seem to have periods where a lot networks change frequency over a short period, then do nothing for a few weeks before the next network changes.

    Frequency changes are just that (retuning exercises basically), they don't usually need new equipment so the haphazard pattern of changes seems strange. Not unusual for VM though. The same sort of thing happened with the conversion of ex NTL Langley transport streams to match the symbol rate of the ex-Telewest / ex-C&W networks and the conversion of the last remaining 64-QAM transport streams to 256-QAM.

    I'm sure it could be adapted to allow access without much fuss.

    It really couldn't, not many TVs actually have a CA slot. Equipment made to any of the recent Freeview specs won't have them. Older equipment from the On Digital and TUTV era may have the slots but will be largely obsolete by now. The latest CA systems use card free encryption, so the TV would need a return path to work, which brings us back to broadband access.

    The cost would be enormous, even just to set up a subscription management centre. Also, lots of consumer equipment would need to be upgraded. Just as the Government hasn't mandated an upgrade to DVB-T2, they won't mandate conditional access on DTT. It would involve funding any necessary enforced upgrades to consumer equipment (as happened with the enforced digital switchover and upgrades made necessary by surrendering UHF bandwidth to mobile operators). Not something they would consider when the lifespan of DTT is now somewhat limited.

    Other than that, the BBC PSB licences and BBC Free To Air multiplex licence prohibit encryption, so it couldn't really be introduced before the multiplex licences are renewed and / or the next charter renewal. Basically, that's why John Whittingdale has conceded that the licence fee cannot be scrapped “whilst a significant proportion of the population relies on Freeview” to watch the BBC.

    They wouldn't need to just rely on broadband to charge for a BBC subscription as most flatscreen tvs have a com port which can be used for a subscription card all they need to do is issue customers who subscribe to a TV licence with it in the form of a card, the technology is already there they just need to make use of it. 🙄

    They are largely obsolete or meant for overseas systems. Freeview / DTT doesn't have any form of conditional access. The last time conditional access was present on DTT was for Top Up TV and that wasn't exactly a sweeping success.

    The Culture Minister is still looking at the subscriptions replacing the licence fee, and that is his preferred option. This means everyone will access the BBC channels with the aid of broadband, not with television aerials.…speed-broadband

    I think it is worth pointing out that John Whittingdale is only a junior minister within the DCMS and it's telling that the Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden, whilst voicing doubts about the BBC culture, hasn't been critical of the licence fee.

    John Whittingdale previously held the role as Secretary of State under the Cameron administration for a short while but was quickly replaced in a cabinet reshuffle under the May administration. His opposition to the licence fee is well known and not an uncommon viewpoint within the Conservative Party. Over the years, there have been several consultations about BBC funding and, as yet, none of them have come up with a better or workable solution.

    It's interesting that Whittingdale was given a junior role in the DCMS while Dominic Cummings played an influential role at 10 Downing Street. Cummings wanted to destroy the BBC and Whittingdale, with his well known opposition to the licence fee was an ideal candidate. The media phobic waves of the Cummings era have calmed somewhat since his departure.

    It is also telling that, in the link you have supplied, Whittingdale himself admits that the licence fee cannot be scrapped “whilst a significant proportion of the population relies on Freeview” to watch the BBC. Sure, the threat of removal of the TV licence at the next Charter renewal has been made, but it has been made before. It will be interesting to see how the Charter renewal negotiations go, but that's a few years away.

    The devices aren't illegal. KODI and Android boxes are mentioned in your links but they are legitimate software / devices. The problem starts when software is installed on the devices to stream pirated content. But pirated content can also be streamed to a basic mobile phone, laptop or desktop computer. The devices aren't going to be outlawed because someone can install dodgy software or apps on them. Devices specifically sold, pre-installed with software designed to infringe copyright, are another matter - it is already illegal to sell such, adapted, devices. But this is straying off-topic and copyright infringement wasn't the issue raised.

    As far as protection of PSB prominence goes, maybe the DCMS needs to broaden the broadcasting acts to include streaming apps in the legislation. I'm not entirely sure how it could be globally enforced. It is possible, and legal, to purchase TV's and set top boxes that don't comply with the Freeview spec. and allow channels to be ordered by the viewers preference, so no PSB prominence there. There will always be non-mainstream devices and devices sourced from overseas that will not be covered by PSB prominence legislation.

    PSB prominence can only really be enforced for licensed services using mainstream devices. The trick is to tie streaming services into broadcasting legislation and enforcing PSB prominence on their approved devices and apps.

    Hopefully, the government will resist such calls and bring its ‘public service broadcasting’ remit up to date to fit in with today’s and tomorrow’s TV environment.

    Amazon, Netflix etc simply don't have a PSB remit. It's up to the DCMS to ensure that public service broadcasters get the appropriate level of prominence. Also for Ofcom to ensure that regulations are followed.

    I seriously doubt that sales of plug in devices will be outlawed, it would be like making a law to ban the internet, where such services are made available. The plug in devices simply bring the content to more traditional equipment such as TVs. Whether or not the DCMS decide to regulate PSB prominence on these devices is another matter. All recent changes in policy have indicated that the DCMS are tightening up on such policies, not relaxing them.

    There's nothing unusual in the comments coming from the BBC or from ITV. I would expect the PSBs to lobby for their services to continue to be protected but would also expect them to live up to their PSB commitments and not continually try to dilute them.

    Indeed but no clues as to how this will be achieved on Freeview and Satellite. VM will be relatively simple I suppose, if the feeds are there.

    But.. all part of much more sweeping changes at the Beeb. I've been looking at the radio side of things and there will be some sweeping changes there. I've added a more general thread about the wider range of proposed changes in the Broadcasting and Media section.

    Wednesday's changes & sorry about the delay, they didn't land on the database until early this morning:

    SID 1013 Virgin Movies & Store (Movies) was renamed Store (Store) on channel 400.

    End of free to view period: (pack override (FTV) flags removed)

    Date TSID SID EPG Service Name Pack codes Notes
    17/03/2021 2 218 828 Colors Cineplex FTV - Override flag removed End of Free To View Period
    17/03/2021 3 304 258 Discovery Chan +1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 3 317 266 National Geographic FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 3 318 267 National Geographic+1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 4 401 183 MTV FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 501 168 I.D. FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 504 214 DMAX + 1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 508 171 DMAX FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 509 172 TLC+1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 511 173 I.D.+1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 513 807 SONY SAB FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 517 342 Kerrang FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 518 336 Box Hits FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 519 338 Kiss FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 521 340 Magic FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 523 181 Comedy Central FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 5 524 157 FOX FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 7 715 133 Comedy Central +1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 7 716 827 Colors Rishtey FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 7 720 415 Turner Classic Movies FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 7 722 182 Comedy Central Extra FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 7 723 158 FOX+1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 10 1018 417 TCM +1 FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 513 1310 268 National GeographicHD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 16 1602 250 Discovery HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 16 1610 199 FOX HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 16 1612 145 E4 HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 18 1809 265 Nat Geo WILD HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 19 1906 167 TLC HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 20 2005 195 More 4 HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 20 2013 134 MTV HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 27 2702 429 Film4 HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 28 2802 132 Comedy Central HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 28 2804 416 TCM HD FTV - Override flag removed
    17/03/2021 28 2807 826 COLORS HD FTV - Override flag removed

    Hopefully Thursday's changes won't take so long to appear...

    Tuesday's changes:


    SID 1110 Sky The Players (SkyPlayers) reverted to being Sky Sports Golf (Players HD) on channel 515.

    SID 2307 Sky The Players HD (Players HD) reverted to being Sky Sports Golf HD (SkyGolfHD) on channel 505.

    NIT CDS (frequency) changes:

    Portsmouth / Code Download Test (Portsmouth) & Portsmouth TRIALS had frequency changes for TSIDs 10-11, 12-14 (512-514), 18-30 & 101-102.

    Wearside had frequency changes for TSIDs 2-5, 9-10, 14-15 (514-515), 16-21 & 24-30.

    In all cases, TSIDs 25-30 moved to frequencies adjacent to transport streams cleared of DVB services.

    The VOD stream for VM Hammersmith moved from a dedicated frequency to share the same frequency as TSID 515 bringing VM Hammersmith back into line with Lewisham. The only remaining known network with dedicated frequencies for VOD is NGRHEE Knowsley.

    Ex NTL Langley networks are not monitored for NIT changes.

    Samsung, one of the largest manufacturers has yet to be tempted into the Freeview Play arena, so possibly a sign of things to come.

    My point though was in response to Horizon's comment about this being Freeview setting things up for how things will be in the future. Ultimately, the future will involve a Freeview without a terrestrial network. Clearly, Freeview will need to adapt to justify its future existence. How do the manufacturers fit into that plan? Without the DTT network, certification becomes less important. Each manufacturer can come up with their own menu of aggregated streaming services and use that as their USP. Also, they can use obsolescence to keep buyers on an upgrade path.

    Maybe the future will involve the public tiring of replacing their smart TVs every few years and purchasing basic display monitors with a relatively cheap add on device for streaming. The future is unpredictable, as we saw with the increasing sales of vinyl LPs and music cassettes in 2020. The only certainty is that Freeview will have a problem carving out a niche for itself in an environment without DTT.

    A further dilution of local broadcasts took place today on Bauer's GHR. Simon Mayo's new show taking the peak drivetime slot, with local broadcasts being shifted to the 1pm-4pm slot.

    Recent trends have seen local broadcasts take one of the peak audience slots of breakfast or drivetime, both important slots for travel news during the travel to/from work periods.

    ..... only just seen this post and will come back to it when I can. But me thinks Freeview is setting things up here for how things will be in the future.

    It seems to be setting a path that departs from basic DVB-T/T2 standards which is interesting. As with Freeview Play, not all manufacturers will necessarily support new bolt-on features.

    DTT has just been through the MHEG-IC era, with streaming options added but not compatible with pre-existing equipment. Furthermore, not all manufacturers supported it going forward. A few years on and MHEG compatibility is no longer mandatory as the platform moves on to new standards.

    How far will the industry support new features that are non-standard and may come and go as swiftly as MHEG-IC without ever hitting critical mass?