Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I've Finally Got DTT

A few weeks back I posted about how Homechoice/Tiscali was my only choice for Broadband/TV service and that even analogue TV was gone, as the aerial had fallen off the roof. Last week the aerial was put back up and there was a little sign saying that we needed to retune our TVs. I wondered if that meant that we could now get DTT (though nothing was mentioned). I've borrowed my parent's Freeview box (they barely use it anyway as they get Sky) and low and behold I now get DTT. All of the multiplexes except for multiplex 2 come in at 100% signal strength. Sadly, while I get multiplex 2, the signal strength seems to be around 75%, so the picture and sound often break up on the ITV and Channel 4 channels. I'm not using the best cable in the world (and it's fairly long for an unamplified cable), so I might try playing around and seeing if I can get a better signal.

Still, now that I get DTT, it at least opens up the possibility of moving away from Homechoice/Tiscali, should the new Tiscali branded service not come up to scratch. However, a quick glance at my options, (TopUp TV Anytime, BT Vision and Simply's tvMax) has not shown much promise. Even worse, just as I get a small taste of Sky back (even if it's just Sky News and Sky 3) an article at DigitalSpy indicates that Sky want to replace those channels with a MPEG 4 based pay service that "will offer a range of content including sports, movies, entertainment and news". They'll probably get between 2 to 4 MPEG 4 channels for each MPEG 2 channel - so ultimatly it'll be between 6 and 12 channels, which is fairly limited compared to DSAT. As such, I doubt I would want to pay more than about 5 quid for an "entertainment and news pack", especially seeing as single "Mix" (which is a comparitively large group of similar channels) on Sky costs between £3.50 and £7.50 (as the bare minumum you can subscribe on Sky is 2 mixes for £15, and that goes up to 6 mixes for £21). I don't hold out much hope - "Sky By Wire" which is available on Homechoice offers half of the Sky Movies channels for more than what all the movie channels cost Sky Subscribers. Worse, Sky By Wire is just Movies and Sports - it's the entertainment and news channels that I want. Sky won't want to cannibalize their current subscriber base, but will want to keep competitor pay services at bay as much as possible - a half hearted attempt at a DTT pay platform will go some way to fulfilling both those goals.

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