I looked up my postcode on BBC digital TV website and was informed that I can’t get terrestrial digital TV (DVB-T) in my area untill 2011 or so. Which sucks. So my two options for digital TV are to get cable (DVB-C) or get a satellite dish (DVB-S), both of which cost more money than I’m willing to pay. I was also talking to Stewie on #ilug who educated me on the subject of DVB.
DVB is an mpeg2 stream which I wanted to record and dump directly to a hard drive. Thus I wouldn’t need a high power processor for transcoding, I’d only need the internal bandwidth available on the SATA bus. I could also use an mpeg2 decoder card to play files, reducing the need for a high power processor again and keeping power consumption down.
Unfortunatly via DVB-C I have to use the cable companies set-top box, which dosn’t let me do anything interesting. Via DVB-S I can only get the BBC channels and ITV. What about Freeview I hear you ask? Well Freeview is a group of chanels that are encrypted (apart from the aforementioned) which are descrambled by a set-top box. Again, these set-top boxes only give analogue output.
What is the point in getting Digital TV when it’s finally delivered in analog? I imagine that the boxes will have HDMI output in the future, so that they can encrypt the data from broadcast all the way to a TV. My only hope is that some Chinese foundary make a well documented HDMI chip or a HDMI to DVI decoder box so I can get my digital TV without encryption, i.e. so that I can actually watch it in digital format.
So it looks as if the media industry, once again, is trying to package up their precious content in formats that are only usable by their allied partners. My problem is that their partners never actually allow me to do anything with the data. For instance, there is no (as far as I’m aware) hard drive recorder that will allow you to record a show and keep it permanently, like you can do with analog and VHS at the moment. So in the future you’ll be allowed to view approved content on an approved vendor device, which sucks if you don’t like any of the approved vendor devices on the market (I wouldn’t try and build my own if I could get one for Â£500 or so).
Therefore I’ll be sticking with analogue TV untill the market has a better offering or I’m forced to switch in 2011.
Thing is, I’m not looking for all that much. I’m looking for a box that
* plays Digital TV
* plays DVDs
* plays my audio files
* provides a nice calender for the house
* and a TODO list
* and both calender and TODO integrate with my laptop
* and provides VoIP.
I have a box that can do everything except the first point. If I put an analogue decoder card into it I can receive and analgoue TV signal and record it, but I’ll waste power. Think of all the kittens that will kill!