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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to all,


Just like to say hello and let you know what is happening downunder.


OUR AUSSIE HTPC digital experience


Widescreen TV in both plasma and RPTV began to outsell 4:3 TV 2 to 1 over Xmas.


DVD ownership is now so common in Australian home that Video rental stores are giving away rentals in VHS completely free of charge. 52% of all homes now have a DVD player. Australian DVD players (576i / 576p progressive players can sell as low as $80AUD.


We have Three Digital standards ... DVB in satellite, cable (soon) and FTA in both sat and land.


Land based FTA can broadcast as follows.....


24 hours in 576i Digital MPEG ... DVD quality .. sound is MPEG layer 2.

Upto 20 hours FTA in high defintion .... 1080i ... sound is Dobly Digital Pro/ 2 and 5.1.

Upto 20 hours FTA in EHD ......576p ..sound is MPEG layer 2.


24 hour cable in 576i SD digital MPEG via satellite AND CABLE. THERE ARE A FEW SATELLITE where a one off fee for life gets one digital sat via DVB-S cards. Subscription to Foxtel. (sat is encrypted but subscribed cam can inserted or purchaed to enable decryption to view 120 channel via EITHER sat or CABLE.


Noone is buying analog tuner cards anymore...it does NOT make any sense, as we have digital TV in all states 24 hours a day. Asian manufacturers are hard to understand this fact here in Australia. The day I see the last analog tuner sold by a computer store here in Australia is the day the market begins to understand for the first time. It MAKES absolutely no sense to attempt to receive TV in analog in a computer when that same identical program is being simulcast in digital 24 hours a day. And ALL Software based DVD players, play the saved streams NATIVELY as MPEG2 DVD quality in 576i


It is rather telling when Late Night Letterman in NY comes up in 4:3 MPEG when it should be at least widescreen MPEG. Several have developed our unique PVR programs which are mainly free. One called DigiVsion does not sell over $60AUD and works as a HD PVR.


All of our DVB card standards are available for computers in a about 12 types of DVB cards.


For example a software directshow enabled DTV card (DVB-T) plays/records back HD SMOOTHLY on an AMD 1500XP sells for $167 AUD. And another innovation you can have upto three DVB cards of same type or sat/cable/terr in the one boxed computer with picture in picture channel on the screen.


Aussies are looking forward to Foxtel switching to MPEG2 576i cable from march 2004. ALL recorded DTV streams program PLAY without modifitication in either WINDVD 5 or POWERDVD 5.


Most programs such as WOMBLE MPEG wizard takes directly saved of any DVB source SD/EHD, HD and can re-encode to smaller MPEG 2 stream even with DD 5.1. Sales and configurations of HTPC enabled hardware has surged 200% right across the board as the media almost pure MPEG 2 is so readily available by broadcasters.


Home appliance based sticklers for home theatre and anti computer home theatre buffs are changing to digital TV from a computer centric solution. The media centric computer concept is likely to overtake USA fanscination with it as DIGITAL TV fever bites right across Australia.


I believe the key to the above success is that all GOVERNMENTS MUST REMOVE ALL restrictive MEDIA CONTROLS. No way is Australia going to enter a free trade agreement with the states if the MPA insists on tighter controls on media copyright laws that will stiffle innovation and consumer right of use here in our country.


Such innovation is stiffled for example: Radeon's ATI component dongle restrict macrovsion enabled DVD's to 480. Australian DVD's are 576i. Most of our HD TV's are all 576i/576p/720p/1080i capable. We mandated in our laws as anti competitive region locking in DVD players. To restrict macrovsion enabled or other copyright media to unique country video standards is choking innovation. With this in mind, myself in association with another company may be producing a VGA to Component HD transcoder for around $99AUD. (Around $69 US)


The reason we start at 576i is due to PAL standards in our video. The restrictive practice of media control from the states has a NTSC 480i focus.


Regards


DA
 

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I am looking forward to Foxtel going Digital. If it is anything like Sky in the UK then it is going to be huge success. I just hope they decide to add Sci-fi and Bravo to the line up. Any news on HD sat or cable?


Hooray for widescreen, I for one am very pleased that finally w/s TV's are alive and well. I advocated the widescreen revolution back in 2000 to many SA retailers, but I was snubbed and basically told I was full of BS! Oh well, I guess I am laughing now. :)


Mark
 

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Even in the US, Letterman isn't widescreen. He just isn't up-to-date as Leno.


Good to know that HD is making its way around the world!! I visited Australia over Christmas/New Years once ... if I ever visited again, I wouldn't want to return!!
 

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You liked it that much Homer? I know HD is not making a splash in the UK, don't ask me why, I have no idea! lol


Mark
 

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I most certainly did!! We spent two weeks on the East coast and it was an amazing time. So many different climates ... from Christmas Eve at the Great Barrier Reef to Christmas Day in a rain forest to New Year's in Sydney. I loved it!!
 

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Quote:
And another innovation you can have upto three DVB cards of same type or sat/cable/terr in the one boxed computer with picture in picture channel on the screen.
Can this be done with DVB-S ??? If so what SW are you commenting about ??
 

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Homer - You should come to Adelaide sometime, most beautiful city in Australia, but I am bias. I'm from England and I love Adelaide, but after four years, I am still homesick.


Mark
 

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Does anyone know what the new “Digital Service†promoted by Foxtel and Austar will offer us Aussies.

I LOL every time I see this “new†service advertised, as the Foxtel and Austar services have always been digital. (encrypted Mpeg2)

Unless Foxtel-Austar go HD with the “new†service, I cant see what the fuss is about.



Owen


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The ffdshow resize-sharpen dude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Owen
Does anyone know what the new “Digital Service†promoted by Foxtel and Austar will offer use Aussies.

I LOL every time I see this “new†service advertised, as the Foxtel and Austar services have always been digital. (encrypted Mpeg2)

Unless Foxtel-Austar go HD with the “new†service, I cant see what the fuss is about.



Owen


___________________________

The ffdshow resize-sharpen dude.
Hi Owen


Let not get confused here, just because Foxtel is delivered via cable DOES NOT mean you are receiving MPEG 2 into the STB.


The fuss is concerning the DELIVERY of Foxtel via cable. Instead of it being analog and subject to quality drop like some are experiencing the swtich to digital format ensures CONSISTENT delivery at the temination into either DVB-C STB or PC based decoding devices.


Foxtel cable is not NOT digital by the time you receive it and the quality is less optimum for large Screen Sd and HD TV. As well you do have widescreen only mimick widescreen. The sound is not digital. I have seen Foxtel cable and for me the quality is simply lousy like second rate antenna reception on analog.


As for Satellite Foxtel it has always been DVB-S digital format.


The introduction of digital MPEG on both carriers means multi-channel and interactive services. There is also a proposed a Movie downloading service (in line with video store release) of usage whereby the DVD movie will self destruct within 5 days if not viewed. In other words the STB will have a hard drive. The details are very sketchy at this stage.


Anyone who has seen SD MPEG 2 digital on SD displays knows immediately the differences between analog 576i and digital 576i particuarly the widescreen aspects, improved sound stereo, DVD like quality. So the 24 hour service of SDTV 576i now in Australia even on computer monitor looks like night and day compared to the analog tuner cards.


I would expect improved MPEG 2 quality delivery by Foxtel as cable goes digital from analog as part of digital evolution.


Now the real fuss I guess for me is the MPEG 2 native pumped directly into a computer and upscaled to perhaps 720p and even 1080i. As I source is digital already the PC platfrom can do a number on rendering of foxtel via cable in progressive etc.


That's it you see ... the fuss........DVD quality through the airways, sat and cable.


Regards


DA
 

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Sounds no different to Sky in the UK, which I once subscribed too. If it is half as good as Sky, it will go down well. Let us hope they put something on decent...


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DigitalAdvisor
Let not get confused here, just because Foxtel is delivered via cable DOES NOT mean you are receiving MPEG 2 into the STB.


The fuss is concerning the DELIVERY of Foxtel via cable. Instead of it being analog and subject to quality drop like some are experiencing the swtich to digital format ensures CONSISTENT delivery at the temination into either DVB-C STB or PC based decoding devices.
I am well aware that the current cable service is analogue. The humorous part is that Foxtel-Austar are advertising there “New digital service†on there already digital satellite service LOL.

There is no proposal for increased quality on the Sat service, just more channels, interactivity with a new STB and greater cost no doubt.

Where the hell is high definition?

I would trade all these new “features†for just one HD channel.


Quote:
Originally posted by DigitalAdvisor
As for Satellite Foxtel it has always been DVB-S digital format.


The introduction of digital MPEG on both carriers means multi-channel and interactive services. There is also a proposed a Movie downloading service (in line with video store release) of usage whereby the DVD movie will self destruct within 5 days if not viewed. In other words the STB will have a hard drive. The details are very sketchy at this stage.
The movie download service is interesting. That detail is new to me.


Quote:
Originally posted by DigitalAdvisor
Anyone who has seen SD MPEG 2 digital on SD displays knows immediately the differences between analog 576i and digital 576i particuarly the widescreen aspects, improved sound stereo, DVD like quality. So the 24 hour service of SDTV 576i now in Australia even on computer monitor looks like night and day compared to the analog tuner cards.
I have been a Sat subscriber for years and have NEVER been impressed with the quality of the picture form Satellite. It suffers from over filtering (low detail) and over compression (macroblocks). For normal TV’s, the low resolution of Sat is not that noticeable and the lack of any noise is welcome but on a big screen it sucks. For me, the resolution possible from terrestrial analogue PAL free to air TV is staggeringly higher then the Mpg2 stream coming from the Optus Sat and better then DVD due to the lack of compression.

Now that free to air TV is available in digital HD, the less then SD quality from Sat is even more unacceptable. My problem is that there is almost nothing worth watching on free to air TV.

The move to wide screen format on Sat is welcome but I doubt that the quality will improve if a corresponding increase in bandwidth is not forthcoming to increase horizontal resolution. I wait in hope.

Quote:
Originally posted by DigitalAdvisor
Now the real fuss I guess for me is the MPEG 2 native pumped directly into a computer and upscaled to perhaps 720p and even 1080i. As I source is digital already the PC platfrom can do a number on rendering of foxtel via cable in progressive etc.


It is also my hope to be able to have the mpeg stream delivered direct into my HTPC so that I can hopefully resize and process it with FFDShow for output at 1080i or 720p to my 57†HD TV.

I called Austar today to ask if they allow the use of there new smart cards in a DVB-S card installed in a PC. They were unable to answer my question and have arranged for one of there technical staff to call me back tomorrow. Since the new smart access cards will be married to the provided STB, I think it is highly unlikely that they will permit them to be used in any other Sat receiver.

Needless to say, I am not holding my breath. I think we will be screwed.


I apologize for my negative tone but I do find it all a tad depressing.



Regards,


Owen


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The ffdshow resize-sharpen dude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Owen


Firstly let me say a few things about what is working already in Australia.


The Web Site is www.digitalnow.com.au


The software for DVB-T and DVB-S and future developed DVB-C is presently in DigiVision.


At the the moment the reason why SAT- DVB-S is so bad is inherent in the transcode from digital to interlaced in Pal composite, SVHS and possibly Interlaced Scart RGB from a cheap decoder box.


The results of DIRECTLY taking a CAM decryption card from the DVB-S works in the the VP card which has of course the CAM slot insert.


Of course AUSTAR, even Foxtel and Optus can tell you nothing. They are locked into the STB approach and the final STB for DVB-C is yet to be publically released even to their own employees!


The DigiVision software is poised to incorporate the ability to have three cards in most cases DVB-C, DVB-T and DVB-S. Of course as DVB-S will eventualy become a carbon copy of DVB-C then it makes no sense to get satellite provided you have cable broadband running by your footpath.


TwinHan in Taiwan are providing present select distributors with hardware DVB-C cards ready for beta testing. In the course of that beta test there is the wall of silence until the DVB-C is tested more throughly.


Presently a multi-million stock market listed public company will be distributing the DVB-C card eventually to most outlets that deal in home theatre and computers.


Reviews of DIRECTLY decoding within the computer domain is proven to increase perceptable quality and with VMR 9 along with a good graphic card such as a Radeon 9600PRO upwards the redendering of the MPEG effectively goes through definitive digital cleanup by the time we output to a HD display. Let's leave flldshow and other add ins as well rescaling to progressive done properly.

http://www.digitalnow.com.au/products/pr-2.jpg


I have never been a fan of STB boxes delivering proper video quality. I have seen as you say STB satellite via STB and I am not impressed. Afterall they are made for a mass market price point.


But I am impressed with the software decoding of quality DVB-S Foxtel via a PC based card. It certainly could easily be mistaken for more then satisfactory Terr. standards.


Regards


DA
 

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DA,

Now I know who you are. Gday mate.

You’re just the man I need to speak with.

I would like to have both a DVB-T (HD) and a DVB-S card in my HTPC. (No cable in my area).

I need PVR functionality (capture Mpeg streams) for HD and SD source as well as the best possible picture quality for both. I would also like to be able to use the Mpeg decoder of my choice and be able to use FFDShow for real time TV and stream playback. What hardware - software do you recommend?

Should I wait a month or two till the new offerings have arrived?


Will the DVB-S cards work with the new Foxtel or Austar smartcards?


As you may have guessed, I already have a fully sorted 3.5Gig P4 HTPC with Radeon 9600Pro and running Zoom Player, WinDVD decoder, FFDShow, Reclock and VMR9 output at 1080i or 720p.

I just need to sort out the DVB card options. :D


Regards,


Owen


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The FFDShow resize-sharpen dude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Owen
DA,

Now I know who you are. Gday mate.

You’re just the man I need to speak with.

I would like to have both a DVB-T (HD) and a DVB-S card in my HTPC. (No cable in my area).

I need PVR functionality (capture Mpeg streams) for HD and SD source as well as the best possible picture quality for both. I would also like to be able to use the Mpeg decoder of my choice and be able to use FFDShow for real time TV and stream playback. What hardware - software do you recommend?

Should I wait a month or two till the new offerings have arrived?


Will the DVB-S cards work with the new Foxtel or Austar smartcards?


As you may have guessed, I already have a fully sorted 3.5Gig P4 HTPC with Radeon 9600Pro and running Zoom Player, WinDVD decoder, FFDShow, Reclock and VMR9 output at 1080i or 720p.

I just need to sort out the DVB card options. :D


Regards,


Owen


___________________________

The FFDShow resize-sharpen dude.
I highly recommend Womble MPEG Wizard for re-encoding.



VisionPlus is the ONLY card that can support multiple cards correctly. The DigiVsion is the only software with picture in picture (Sat in Terr. or Terr. in Sat)


1. Try to decide to purchase the VisionPlus real soon. It is presently on special for $169.00. This was orignally selling for around $260 at one stage with DigiBox.


2. Do get the option of purchasing DigiVision at the same time. !/2 price of the $69.


3. www.digitalnow.com.au


No alternative US based PVR software supports DVB-T cards very well.


The only solution for full screen is found in DigiVision. The nature of DigitalTV in Australia is that is always widescreen presented. This creates a black pillar box around a 4:3 source placed within the 16:9 ratio when broadcasted. This is an issue for 4:3 displays and 16:9 displays that cannot stretch 4:3 material in the 16:9 window.


DigiVision can correct this by chopping off the redundant left and right in 4:3 material and present 16:9 as 4:3 in proper aspect full screen. This is done by cropping down the 16:9 to 4:3 proper in software.


DigiVsion will also support the new VP DVB-C when it is released. It already supports present DVB-S satellite card with foxtel for example.


Alternatively you purchase two VP card DVB-T and actually record one whilst watching another and get picture in picture.


DigiVsion along with the supplied VisionDTV card supplied software also supports HD with DD 5.1 very well. Its recording is faultless.


Screen issues, no AC3 and poor HD performance on lower spec computers are often characteristic of other DVB-T cards.


Further development of free front ends of the VP card mentioned can be found here:

http://robdvd.radfiles.net/viewforum...91041cde185103


I also believe flldshow can graphed in. Some of these developed frontends use AC3filter. The many features found in directshow filter for AC3 by way feature rich settings are remarkable. Ticking just AC3 in WinDVD 5 for example does not expose one to the many features of their AC3 codec.

Hope this helps. Good if you want to tweak further.


As for Foxtel CAM Sat. encryption future compatiblity you'll have to query Renura Enterprises privately about the CAM. If you are a subsripber to Foxtel/Austar already now I understand some changes to the encryption method and other features are in the pipline. I simply do not know whether Foxtel will upgrade their DVB-S STBs. If they just ugrade the subsribed slot-in CAM then all would be well.


DA
 

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ARGH!


Does this mean I will now need to replace my haupage pvr-250 (which is less than 6 months old) with a dvb card ?!?!?


can anyone tell me if thru the single dvb card I can get multiple channels presented at once or do I need mutliple dvb cards ?



I'm guessing the dvb cards do not have hardware mpeg encoding ?



just when I get everything setup nicely..... they decide to change everything :(



TIA
 
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