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How many Aussies are on this forum?


Anyhow, it sounds like a step toward the future:

<Quote>

>>( Melbourne )

We will be selling to the public the DGTEC true HDTV set top box which

will be released at the end of June 2001.

For more information please contact David or Gary on 9886 3393 or on the

mobile 0414 833 236.


Supplied and setup in your home for $699.00

We are currently taking orders so if you want to be one of the first

consumers to have a true HDTV box when they are made available in June

please give us a call.


The box video outputs are as follows

</quote>


VGA connection 1080i

Component / RGB 1080i

S-VHS

Composite


Audio output is via Coaxial Digital out.


------------------

Stan Z
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input guys, as for how many Aussies, I think there are actually quite a few. They possibly don't visit the HDTV forum too much though as they would get too jealous every time they read about all the great programming you guys receive!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dyates69:
Thanks for the input guys, as for how many Aussies, I think there are actually quite a few. They possibly don't visit the HDTV forum too much though as they would get too jealous every time they read about all the great programming you guys receive!
If I have figured right that box is $346.00 or so in US dollars. How can they make it that cheap? They come to your house and get it to work? What if you can't get a signal? What does it cost without installation? Why don't they sell it in the US? The US is a much bigger market the price should be even cheaper.


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rotary, the box won't work in the US. It is CODFM not ATSC as you require over there.

The price is quite reasonable but I think they were only talking installation in a local area.

As far as I know it will either work or it won't depending on where you live so I guess installation isn't really a big issue
 

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Here's an interesting sidelight to the Australian digital "Digital TV suffers from poor reception"

http://www.smh.com.au/news/0104/06/p.../pageone6.html



So only three months after transmissions began, only 2,500 customers have bought or rented the equipment...


Here's another interesting part of the article...


" A television sales consultant at Grace Bros in the Sydney CBD, Mr Razi Uddin, said that, despite being advertised in the Grace Bros catalogue twice, the store had sold only "eight or nine" set-top boxes. Two were returned after customers said they could not perceive any improvement in picture quality. The city department store has also had difficulty demonstrating the new digital service because its antennae requires a costly upgrade to receive digital signals. "


My question is, if COFDM is so great that it can be easily received 'indoors', why then does Grace Bros in Sydney have to make 'costly' upgrades to its antennae to receive digital signals? I thought the COFDM zealots claim COFDM could be received anywhere anytime inside outside or upside down, with simple, inexpensive 'antennae.'

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jps2417:
Here's an interesting sidelight to the Australian digital "Digital TV suffers from poor reception"

http://www.smh.com.au/news/0104/06/p.../pageone6.html



So only three months after transmissions began, only 2,500 customers have bought or rented the equipment...


Here's another interesting part of the article...


" A television sales consultant at Grace Bros in the Sydney CBD, Mr Razi Uddin, said that, despite being advertised in the Grace Bros catalogue twice, the store had sold only "eight or nine" set-top boxes. Two were returned after customers said they could not perceive any improvement in picture quality. The city department store has also had difficulty demonstrating the new digital service because its antennae requires a costly upgrade to receive digital signals. "


My question is, if COFDM is so great that it can be easily received 'indoors', why then does Grace Bros in Sydney have to make 'costly' upgrades to its antennae to receive digital signals? I thought the COFDM zealots claim COFDM could be received anywhere anytime inside outside or upside down, with simple, inexpensive 'antennae.'
If they ahve sold 2500 in three months how does that compare to how many boxes were sold in the US so far? They have 20 milliom population we have 280 million so we are 14 times bigger. That means an equivalent number would be 35,000 boxes here in the US. We have been selling digital boxes for three years? That would be 12 times as long. Have we sold 420,000 boxes yet in the US? That would be the rate even though they think of it as a failure. I guess that would be considered a failure here to. How much better than that are we doing?


How many regular TVs are sold in the US each year? If we had a cheap box like the Australians are about to get I think we would do even better than we are. Any opinions. Again how can this box be cheaper than ones sold here and why can't we have a version of it made for the US? If they can geit it installed for $346.00 we should be able to get one for $250.00.


I will check on the antenna problem. Of course they are all in bed at the moment.

 

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"Uptake of new technology is often slow in the early years, but the Government's decision to restrict new datacasting services and ban multi-channelling means Australia is following the United States model and relying on better picture quality, rather than access to new channels, to drive digital conversion."


Wrong. Thanks to former FCC Commissioner Hundt, at the urging of Bill Gates, we have 18 video standards in ATSC providing ample opportunity for multichanneling and datacasting. In my opinion, a big mistake. No incentive for broadcasters to deliver HDTV quality and too much incentive to deliver low-quality, SDTV multichannels. Australia seems to be doing it right.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dyates69:
Rotary, the box won't work in the US. It is CODFM not ATSC as you require over there.

The price is quite reasonable but I think they were only talking installation in a local area.

As far as I know it will either work or it won't depending on where you live so I guess installation isn't really a big issue
Would appreciate any information you have on problems with antennas over there. My one source says no problem but the article quotes Grace Brothers as saying they had to upgrade their antenna to digital. How do you upgrade an antenna to digital? I got the impression that with this new set top box that you would only need a rabbit ears.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
From my understanding you do only need rabbit ears in some areas. The guidelines that have been set basically state that if you received a relatively poor analogue reception before, you should get digital no problems with no change of antenna. I think a large percentage of homes in Australia receive a relatively good reception, which is why some won't be noticing much difference as the currently available boxes are only SDTV capable and most people here don't have the general quality of display devices that are available to you there.

I have no idea what Grace Bros were on about except to say that most stores here even the more specialised ones, are full of misinformation about every new technology that arrives. Most were trying to steer people away from DVD in droves with their innacurate speculation. It can be very frustrating when you walk into one of these stores with some idea of what you are talking about, as these shonky salespeople are very forceful about pushing their opinions on you even though they are wrong in almost every instance.
 

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dyates, I'm curious about something. What part of the frequency spectrum is used for TV broadcasting down under? VHF? UHF? Both? What about digital? Most of the problems users report in the U.S. seem related to the fact that most U.S. digital transmission is in the UHF band with moderate to severe multipath interferrence in urban and hilly areas.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ray H:
dyates, I'm curious about something. What part of the frequency spectrum is used for TV broadcasting down under? VHF? UHF? Both? What about digital? Most of the problems users report in the U.S. seem related to the fact that most U.S. digital transmission is in the UHF band with moderate to severe multipath interferrence in urban and hilly areas.
Ray, Sorry for what?


Here is an email body copied to me by someone who is getting first hand stuff from down under. Over my head but it includes talk of multipath and power and VHF,UHF.


"I think the "Installed" is only for Melbourne residents?


As for antenna problems with COFDM here, I can only speak of

our Sydney experience, but as it's our biggest city and has

the most 'difficult' terrain for analog, so far it ain't all

that bad even with most of the DVB-T COFDM transmitters still

not running at their full legal power.


The ABC transmits it's analog & DTV signals from the Gore Hill/

Artarmon area with a 40Kw ERP/Low Band VHF (Channel 2) on

analogue and 25Kw ERP/High Band VHF (Channel 12) DVB-T signal.

(The Ch 12 signal will be increased to the full 50Kw ERP legal

planned output power when some signal interference problems have been

solved.)


The ABC main offices are about 5Km from the transmitter site and

is located right in the middle of the city CBD, surrounded by

tall buildings on all sides. Our head office is an eight story

office block and we have a DVB-T 16 x 9 standard def. domestic

receiver in the foyer / ground floor entrance running perfectly

on a set of rabbit ears! (Try that with analog, no way Jose!!)


I borrowed a standard def. DTV STB for a week and took it home to Rockdale

(25km from the transmitter site and a real 'dog' of a place for analog

reception, in a small valley, right next to Sydney's main airport.) I live in a four story apartment block on the second floor, we have a communal shared antenna system that is about 20 years old and feeds around 40 apartments via a amplified splitter system in the roof.


The result of my personal (non scientific) DVB test was nothing more than

outstanding. Using the 20 year old communal antenna feed the pictures were

almost as good as what I get in our TV presentation control room on $12,000

monitors. I had people from other apartments in our block coming over to see it and their jaws were dropping, remember we can't get decent pictures on analog at all, construction work with large cranes between us and the line of sight to the transmitter causing very severe interference. (Some people in our street have had to go to the "Austar" or "Fox Sat" satellite service to get any decent pictures, as cable doesn't come past our street and is a bit of a joke service wise and dam expensive too!)


I haven't tried our "rabbit ears" at home yet, but will give it a go in the next few weeks and let you know the results.


Another noted problem is some "front end" overload of low band VHF into the

domestic STB's depending on how close you are to the low band transmitter.

My technical colleagues tell me that it's easily fixed by adding a low cost

domestic low band filter to the receiver's antenna feed.


Other reports from my colleagues indicate that even @ 25Kw DVB-T appears to

give excellent results out to at least 40Km from the transmitter, at that

range you start needing to look at some use of 'high gain' roof top mounted

antennas, once we get to our 50Kw power output, even that may not be

necessary?


Apart from the DGTEC HDTV STB, still no sign of any HDTV COFDM domestic

receivers yet, Sony have a prototype working at their Sydney technology park

but are keeping it 'under wraps' and not saying much about it, even to us

'broadcasters'. There are now two standard def. STB's available for sale on

the Oz market, the "Tompson" box has been joined by a model from "Teac",

both are going for $699 AUD = $350 US which makes the aforementioned

proposed "DGTEC" HDTV box appear such a bargain at the same price!


I've noted with interest some of the discussion in the US about how much

"power" COFDM transmitters need to get the same level of reception as 8-VSB, while this is true, in reality it's all in the gain of the transmitter antenna, our 25Kw ERP signal is coming from a 2.5Kw transmitter with a x10 gain at the antenna. When we finally go to 50Kw ERP the transmitter will be running at 5Kw (So what's the big deal, I know some ham radio guys that have 5Kw amplifiers running legally from their homes?)


Anyhow must go now, I'll keep you updated on our Oz situation.

Take care and don't let the '*******s' get you down. In the end

the better modulation system will be adopted, it only the amount of time and pain it will take to get there? I even hear rumors that Japan and Korea are secretly working on "Super/Ultra High Definition TV" which will probably use MPEG 4 type codecs and have resolution around the 4K limit of visual perception?"



Mean anything? 4K limit of visual perception?

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dean, if BU really wants to come down here, I'll gladly swap! That way it should only cost the price of an airfare for both parties!


Rotary, I assume he means 4000 line resolution, but surely that would depend on screen size. Unless we can only perceive up to 4000 lines in our total field of view
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ghobman:
Talking to someone in the industry recently I was advised of another HDTV STB about to be launched here manufactured by Hyunwoo:

http://www.mcplus.co.kr/en/product/productframe.htm (look up DTV Set Top Box)


This STB's spec is for USA VSB, but this is the company that is rumoured to supply an Oz COFDM very soon!


Regards

Garry Hobman
Here is one but I don't have a URL. It will be sold in Australia they say.


"HITOP portable TI-DTV receiver report


At the IBC Conference Hitop Communications Corp. were exhibiting their

prototype TI-IDTV integrated portable DTV receiver. There was considerable

interest in this device for a number of reasons: first integrated portable

DTV receiver, smallest DVB-T STB ever seen and full 6/7/8Mhz VHF/UHF

reception (ie a world DVB-T receiver).


Key facts:


DVB-T COFDM all modes including hierarchical decoding and autosearch on all

VHF/UHF channels. Can be set for world DTV channelisation plans via menu.


Integrated DTV decode and display via built in 7-inch LCD 16x9 display.


Designed for indoor, outdoor, and mobile usage


Processor: 32bits RISC, 4MB MPEG RAM, 4Mbyte System/Graphics, 2Mbyte flash


Remote control: Full remote, which clips into the body of the STB and

secured when the LCD panel folds over to snap shut. (Means you never lose

the remote!) Full support of DVB-T navigation, EPG's, lists. The remote was

very easy to use.


Dual function as an IDTV and as a STB (has RF/SVHS outs)


Weighs 2kg


Dimensions: (WxDxH): 310mm x 207 x35 mm


TFT LCD display: 336, 960 pixels, size 7'' diagonal, with 16x9 aspect

ratio. The LCD is moulded to fold flat into the body part of the device for

carrying it.


Full PCMCIA Common Interface CAM slot to connect external CA modules.


Power: AC or DC (boats, campers etc) or battery


Contact: HitOP Communications Corp., Taiwan +886 (0) 2 82511668, or
www.hitopcomm.com


Supports multiple languages eg English, Spanish, Russian, German etc...


The unit was on display in the conference centre in a room decoding BBC

News 24 in full 16x9 connected with an indoor antenna. Reception was

completely unaffected by people walking about it, and there were many,

although when someone walked in front of the antenna blocking it completely

with their body it did momentarily glitch. Nevertheless this was an

interesting demonstration of excellent indoor COFDM reception.


User report:


I persuaded HiTOP to let me take one of the units home for the first

evening of the conference. The unit came complete with a SECA CAM inserted

allowing it to decode the encrypted ONdigital channels with an appropriate

card. There was no documentation for it as it is an OEM prototype but they

explained how to operate it. It is completely menu driven and has a very

nice easy navigation system.


I was advised not to use the autotune facility as it is not enabled yet for

8Mhz (although it does work for 7Mhz and has been exhibited in Australia!),

and therefore had to do the install myself. First you set the channel

bandwidth: 6, 7 or 8Mhz. You can enter offsets and tuner ranges as well for

manual tuning.


You enter the frequency in MHz (which I had to read off a separate Nokia

9820 DVB-T), the GI, the modulation mode (QPSK, 16QAM or 64QAM) and the

hierarchical value (non-hierarchical or alpha = 1, 2, or 4). Very neat. The

unit took about 30 seconds to scan each entered channel and while it does

this a very nice display comes up depicting the S/N ratio, BER and then you

start watching television. You can set the LCD display for either 16x9 or

4x3 with various options. I entered the frequencies for all six locally

available RF COFDM channels and the unit loaded all the services into its

EPG.


All FTA DTV channels were displayed with pinsharp pictures, excellent

digital stereo sound, and as soon as an ONdigital card was embedded in the

CAM reader Sky Sports 2 decoded straightaway and we were watching a US Golf

tournament via an ESPN relay.


As it is a prototype it does not implement autoswitching between 16x9 and

4x3 programs automatically unlike conventional fixed UK STB's but I am

informed this is trivial to add. The box can auto download software of DTV

service providers and be equipped with appropriate API runtime engines.


I tried it both on the external antenna fed distribution system and on an

indoor antenna in one room where this works: it produced excellent COFDM

DTV pictures.


Reactions from parents, children and grandparents were very interesting. My

son thought it was a computer, my daughter said 'Just look at that tiny

telly', my wife said 'At least its silver and it's a lot smaller than those

ghastly black boxes'. The grandparents were intrigued by its possibilities

for taking to holiday homes or while travelling. All agreed that the screen

size should be larger (maybe 11 inches) and how little it weighed.


HiTOP's plans:


HiTOP are making a world tour of OEM's and platform operators. As you can

imagine interest is very strong in this device given that it is a portable

IDTV/STB combo which implements the DVB-T standard for world markets. The

unit can also be used as a display for a portable DVD player (this function

can also be integrated).


There are plans to include diversity reception COFDM chips and shortly the

silicon will be replaced by a chipset optimised for mobile reception.


It is rather different from the Mediascreen, which integrates the WWW, GSM,

and DTV, as it is a more conventional CE type product for DTV decoding and

viewing.


Certainly it is the first portable IDTV receiver which I have seen and is

so small compared to current DVB-T STB's or the 19U ISDB-T racks!


Final comment:


It is interesting that a Taiwanese company has developed a global DVB-T

portable IDTV receiver for use in all markets. Although price was not

revealed I suspect that in volume this unit would probably retail at $600 -

$800 initially.


There is one immediate application for this unit: in any further DTV field

trials eg Argentina to trounce the ATSC again.


All in all the HitOP unit embodies what DTV should be all about, portable

and mobile services."

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rotary:


All in all the HitOP unit embodies what DTV should be all about, portable

and mobile services."


...
As much as I am very intrigued by the portability of this unit and believe some day we in the US will also be able to play with them the same way we play FTA DBS boxes made in Taiwan and other countries, I disagree with the above conclusion. OK may be for DTV but not HDTV.


I hold the belief that true HDTV programming and affordable hardware is the only way to push average household to DTV upgrade, not the fancy mobile technology. There will be demand for mobile applications but will never be enough to justify the complete change over.


On the other hand how much programming you mentioned above is HDTV? If all people see is a 16X9 version of the same image then I am not very interested.


It appears that in Australia analog reception is poor in many locations to the point that is not watchable (I may have read this wrong, if so please correct me), so DTV may be the key to improve TV reception, for that alone is the justification. In the US however, most folks are cable subscribers, reception is not a problem other than lousy cable services. Which is why digital cable and digital DBS are popular. I have no reason to believe people will rush to upgrade to DTV just because now they can bring the box into their minivans and watch TV on a 9" screen.
 
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