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New Freeview logo for a connected future.

Freeview Play will supply catch-up TV, on-demand and even live TV channels .

New Freeview logo  Photograph: DTV Services Ltd
New Freeview logo Photograph: DTV Services Ltd
published on UK Free TV

The new Freeview-backed online service (once known as "Freeview Connect") was officially announced today as Freeview Play.

Freeview’s aim is that its new connected TV service will become the new normal way to watch television.

New brand 

Freeview's Guy North says "Our new brand identity is bold and contemporary and will stand out in what is a very crowded TV market. Today marks the start of an exciting future for the Freeview brand.”

"Freeview has been built on a vision to make television available to all free from subscription. In the same way that we took the UK from analogue to digital, Freeview Play is the next step in that vision and it will put the viewer in control, without complexity, commitment or unnecessary cost – we want to keep television fair and open for everyone. That means giving consumers the freedom to choose the TV they want, the way they want it.”

Freeview Chairman Keith Underwood adds: "Freeview’s new identity and positioning signifies an important moment in Freeview’s history. The Freeview shareholders - Arqiva, BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky - are fully committed to supporting Freeview’s journey to bring connected television to millions of homes in the UK.”

All 4

Channel 4’s new digital brand All 4 will replace the 4oD brand on all platforms from the end of Q1 2015

Help with
How can I watch itv-1, Channel 4 and five on satellite if I have no card or a fr1
What is the ITC position on free-to-view satellite?2
What is going to happen to the free-to-view satellite cards?3
In this section
Freeview Play manufacturers announced1
Must industry rethink what training and development looks like?2
Connected Home refrigerator used by hackers in cyber attack3
YouView - how it works (video)4
YouView - Freeview: the Next Generation - launches5
A brief history of Internet Protocol Television6

Saturday, 28 February 2015

3:31 PM

"BT in my area is woefully poor.. ok we have fiber cabinet down the bottom of the village... but the Phone lines are so old alot of them are from the late 1950's when it was owned by post office. When will BT wake up and replace these old lines its not good enough for Broadband...."

Similar situation here. A friendly Openreach chap was working at the cabinet at the top of the valley and grimmaced when I said I lived at the far end of the village...

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michael's 872 posts GB flag

9:25 PM

John & Michael

I used to live in a small rural hamlet and there still is no fibre service and most people are on 'exchange only' overhead lines which makes any upgrading a problem. The hamlet is in an 'intervention' area so should eventually be looked at under the BDUK contract with Wiltshire Council. But when? Today I noticed as I passed on the main road 2 miles from the village that Openreach are installing 2 cabinets at the junctionmeaning they are some 3.3 km from the first house in the hamlet. That means whatever FTTC service they may get will be significantly limited for speed - unless BT install a further cabinet actually in the village. Then they have problems of overhead mains supplies and deciding the best location so they don't pass and repass some houses.

I now live on the edge of the county town and we get 37 Mbps+ download speeds but notice that some servers are very slow, especially when busy.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Sunday, 1 March 2015

2:47 PM

We used to have an 8mb connection (this should have been able to cope with streaming TV) but still had buffering problems, we now have a 31mb fibre connection and at times have the same problem you have described with servers not able to respond fast enough.

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Ian's 497 posts GB flag
Ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:21 PM


That confirms what my researches have suggested in that even having a good fibre connection does not resolve the issue of buffering. It is becoming clearer that there are at least 3 elements of the internet that can, and probably do, give rise to buffering problems. The connection carrying all the data to your 'local' distribution exchange can be slowed by a lot of traffic, especially at popular times and with ever larger content demands the load is increasing to the point where it has to be 'load managed' meaning it slows further. Then there is the international communication network and hubs. With again ever increasing demands this supposedly robust system does sometimes have problems, especially if a fault occurs moving the demand onto alternative feeds that may already be busy. The third problem area is the servers themselves. Each content provider has at least oen server connected to the internet and the better ones have several such servers effectively running in parallel, so sharing out the load created by demand. But that is not always the case and some sevrer hardware is not currently coping with high demand periods. So we get buffering which nobody likes.

Now consider that Ofcom are talking of moving all Freeview TV and radio services onto the internet, freeing up the Band 4 and remaining part of Band 5 spectrum for further sell off to the highest bidder. The effect of that on viewers will be significant as everyone wanting to watch TV will either have to have an internet conection at some expense (so perhaps no longer truly Freeview) or use Sky of Freesat services with the additional expense of the dish and receiver (unless their TV happens to have built-in satellite as mine does, but a dish is still needed). All additional cost for viewers who are largely not interested in the technicalities of how they get TV programmes as they only want to be entertained and informed.

Further, consider the data load if/when we get UHD (often called 4k) or even SUHD (suggested at a forum of TV manufacturers and needing at least 4 times the data throughput of 4k). That will increase the already hard pressed severs and delivery systems perhaps to the point of rejection by viewers. And what about those who cannot get internet nor satellite?

Most people were happy watching 625 line analogue TV with stereo sound, a text service and few interuptions and very rarely needing to rest/retune the equipment. Not quite what we have now with all too frequent (according to many non-technical viewers, the majority I suggest) needs to adjust the equipment rather than just sitting down to watch the programmes and enjoy the content.

Interesting times ahead - for some.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Monday, 2 March 2015
john martin

10:59 AM

Mike P "The Non technical viewers." Forgivin your pardon govoner. God you sound like someone out of a Dickens novel. Just because our work might not consist of ripping a computer to bits or looking down on others less well educated as you seem to think you are. No wonder us lower level beings hate so called experts.
All we want is the best we can afford and not to be ripped off. But the big makers in this business insist we have to have this and that. We are told out mobile is obsolete after 6 months some times even when we know it is not. We only has HD and before we got all channels transmitting in it we are told we need Super HD. when we don,t really. We have,nt even got that yet on the 5 main networks and we are being told we need to go up another level again. But if these so called experts say we do we must be wrong.

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john martin's 103 posts GB flag

1:53 PM

john martin: To be fair, most people are not technical, and simply use the technology in their home, without having to understand how it all works. Thats fine - I dont understand all of it either. As long as it works, who cares? I also have to say that the number of times people have had to retune are actually pretty small, and most equipment does it automatically anyway - I suspect its something of a strawman.

Nobody is telling you that something is obsolete, and that you 'must' have something. If your phone works, and its works for you, then thats OK. Its true that phones are consatntly being upgraded, but you only need to buy something if you want it. The same goes for laptops (they come out on a three monthly cycle).

You dont need HD, but the reality is that 70% or more of the TV's in the UK are now HD Ready or HD, and most for the last 4 years have had an HD tuner in them. You havn't been able to buy an non HD Ready TV in the UK for about 9 years, but TV manufacturers still include analogue connections on the back of TV's, even though most will never be used. Thinking about it, technology for most proceeds like a convoy - not perhaps at the speed of the slowest, but certainly towards the slower end of the scale.

My old CRT TV could still be used in a decade time, providing that I get a DVT-T2 tuner equiped with a scart - which is about 40 quid. I would love to sell you 4K, but you might not need that level of technology, and even if you did, you get to choose when to buy it.

Its easy to read all about the latest thing, and there are plenty of journalists, marketers and advertisers wanting to tell you all about it. Sometimes its worth buying, and sometimes its hype. However, for the most part, actual experts will tell you that you can use your older equipment for a fair while before you have to change, but that new equipment might well be cheaper, better and more useful than before. Ultimately, its up to the market.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag

2:32 PM

It is all a bit depressing, but we will survive, we will overcome - some day... Our new Samsung smart whatsit informs indefatigably that a new software "upgrade" is available. But it does not say what the "upgrade" does. Given recent snooping revelations, I am wary.

Back to whizz-bang internet speeds : Interesting article from ZDNet - worth reading !


Building an emergency internet in the white spaces
White spaces wireless technology has been in the news recently, as what used to
be TV frequencies are being opened up to expand wireless internet access to
rural areas in the US and the UK.
White spaces technologies aren't new - they were something I looked into when
working with the local loop group of a telecoms research lab back in the early
1990s. The system that Mapa is using in the Philippines is based on research
from a Cambridge-based consortium that Microsoft Research, the BBC, and Sky
began seven or so years ago.
Disaster relief in the Philippines

Broadband penetration in the Philippines is low, especially outside the main
population centres. So in 2012, as part of a government project, Microsoft began
deploying a white spaces network on Bohol, an island in the central Philippines.

It's an important scientific site, with high bio-diversity, thanks to its double
barrier reef. Protecting the reef means changing how people in coastal villages
live, removing fishing boats from the water while still providing sustainable
economic growth by deploying white spaces radios in fishing communities.

Early in the trial Bohol was hit by a series of natural disasters: first a
magnitude 7.2 earthquake and then, just a few weeks later, Supertyphoon Haiyan.
Just as the island struggled to rebuild its infrastructure, it was knocked back
down again, with cities destroyed by storm surges and with transport and
communications cut off.

That's where the white spaces technology came into its own, as it let Microsoft
work with the government to quickly deploy an alternative communications
infrastructure for devastated rural areas.

While there were satphones and VSAT deployments in some areas, people would need
to go to where the satphones or base stations were - something that was very
difficult given the condition of the island's roads.

At one evacuation centre, a single satphone had a queue of over 300 people
waiting for three minute call slots. Many of those waiting had to come back the
next day for their turn, and the journey was often several hours long and
hazardous, requiring them to traverse debris-strewn roads with little or no

Fortunately, white spaces equipment already existed on the island, and the
Microsoft team worked with government partners to redeploy some of the radios in
the rest of the island.

White spaces base stations were deployed alongside VSAT systems, with endpoints
anything up to a couple of kilometres away, with wi-fi access points. That meant
users didn't need to walk to VSAT terminals, and they could use their own
devices, as the system was compatible with anything that could use wi-fi,
including smartphones and tablets.

Deployment was quick, the network was up and running in two hours as it had an
existing VSAT terminal to work with. With the power grid still out of action,
the whole system was able to run off solar panels and batteries, including the
endpoint white space radio equipment. The same panels could be used to charge
smartphones and tablets as well.

An advantage of using white spaces technologies is that one base station can
work with many endpoints; it's inherently a multipoint technology with a 90-degree
beam pattern. You can locate endpoint radios anywhere in the beam and it'll work.
That's a lot easier than working with traditional point-to-point radios, where
aligning radio beams over a 2km path can take half a day.

Six weeks after the typhoon, Philippines telecoms companies were able to start
re-establishing their networks, putting power into towers and replacing VSAT
with fibre. All the while, though, they still used white spaces radios as last
mile connectivity.

With services back in place, the project team was able to refocus its attention
on Bohol's fishing villages, completing network rollout in April 2014, and
starting to use the network to link the Philippines fisheries authorities with
fishermen. This allowed the fishermen to use mobile devices, rather than having
to travel to district offices, which took a lot of time and led to missed

At the same time government officials could be more mobile. This allowed them to
improve education and even medical facilities, as specialist devices allowed
villages to work with central hospitals to offer remote diagnostic services.

A second phase of the network rollout is planned, to deliver broadband
connectivity to smaller islands 10 to 12km off shore.

The advantages of white spaces

Comparing white spaces technologies with other radio technologies shows several
key advantages. Firstly it's multipoint, with no need for line-of-site
connections or to locate end points accurately. That means it's able to operate
in high winds and when there are earthquake aftershocks that might cause
misalignment of point-to-point systems and might break cables or fibre.

Secondly, you don't need to worry about exact alignment, and can even operate
through obstructions and over water. The equipment used in the Philippines was
weatherproof, and could be installed anywhere, with a normal antenna. Base
stations can be used as repeaters, though the current maximum range is an
impressive 12km (with future systems promising up to 40km).

Thirdly, deployment is easy, with dynamic spectrum access management allowing
systems to avoid interference. While you might need to climb to place and point
the antenna, it's a job that any TV installer can perform. That makes it a lot
cheaper to deploy than cellular systems, as you don't need the same level of
skill in the personnel who deploy the tech.

Another advantage is that white spaces technology uses unlicensed space in the
spectrum, making it easy to work with regulators, and to provide cheaper access
as a result. With white spaces aimed at providing rural broadband, that's a
significant bonus: you can provide internet access for a very low cost, almost
for free. Pending legislation in the Philippines will provide a budget for free
network access in lower income areas of the country, allowing it to be delivered
to traditionally underserved communities.

People aren't the only possible consumer of this type of service. White spaces
is also being considered as a way of giving lower cost connections to the
Philippines' national sensor network. Designed to track flooding and seismic
activity, it's a distributed network currently using cellular and satellite
communications. White spaces would allow more sensors to be added to the grid at
a lower cost - and, with experimental sensor packages that can run off coin
batteries, it's an option worth considering.

Source :

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mikchael's 872 posts GB flag

2:46 PM

mikchael: You have to actually switch on the camera/microphone for anyone to hear/see you, and its highly unlikely that anyone actually wants to listen in/watch what your doing anyway. Despite the news coverage, the chances of anyone actually being spied on is very very low. And of course if your looking at this on a laptop, there is a camera/microphone ready to go, and there is evidence of people switching them remotely.

The upgrade is probably upgrade. You might get a new version of an existing app, etc. I suspect that if you look on the net, you might be able to find out what it does.

Interesting article about the use of white space and devolved networks. It mirrors to some extent the growth of mobile technology in Africa, which has greatly lowered costs in rural areas compared with a relatively expensive fixed system. And have a look at the ways in which Google Earth has been used a standard mapping tool in humanitarian relief efforts - a single standard map, with the capacity to add data, plus a devolved and accessable network adds up to some powerful tools after a disaster. Google Earth Application to Support Disaster Emergency Response | Juniawan Priyono -

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag

4:48 PM

Wouldn't it be nice if "they" focused on getting the present technology to work properly before announcing its outdated and revealing the new bug filled latest piece of Chinese built rubbish.

I would love ITV and Dave to be able to broadcast without it looking like there is a frame missing every few minutes.

I would love BBC i player radio to sort out there "program not available" (sometimes for 50%+ of programs for any given day on 4 extra)

I would love the internet to work 100% of the time, but most company's don't want to spend the money on it, so we get telephone lines that are 40 years + old and underground joints that are so rotten they contain more water than a garden pond.

etcetera etcetera etcetera.

Quick profit, bugger the infrastructure.

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Ian's 497 posts GB flag
Ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage

6:46 PM

One thing I have to say... Like Now TV.... they don't provide subtitles on their movies or entertainment programmes their excuse is " not enough band width to carry subtitles" in this day and age it is not acceptable... why should the deaf community have to be sidelined yet again!

I have tried Now TV on my you-view box and my Xbox for 30 days.... i shall not be subscribing to their service until subtitles are on..

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Rob's 171 posts GB flag
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