Sky Q

Posted by: Shaun Guard Posted Date: 14/06/2016

We have now started to see the first of Sky TV’s new ‘Sky Q’ receivers appearing in our customer’s houses. The product looks as though it is an impressive step forward in usability. As long as it is reliable it will be a product which we will be recommending in the future. However, as yet we as a company are not able to offer an upgrade to Sky Q because Sky has not yet made the equipment available to independent retailers. We hope they will do soon.

Sky Q allows you access to lots more channels all at the same time. With the old Sky Plus box, you could only watch one channel whilst recording another one. This wasn’t really any advance on the old video recorder from 30 years ago. The new Sky Q box can handle a dozen channels at a time – it has 12 separate tuners. Because of this you can record four channels at once, whilst at the same time watching three further channels on three different TVs in you house. You can also then watch another two channels on Wi-Fi devices – all at the same time. This comes in to it’s own with big families.

Sky Q also boasts what it calls ‘fluid viewing’. This allows a program to be partly watched and then paused on one TV, then picked up from the same point on another TV or an Ipad etc.

The Sky Q receiver works from a different type of LNB (the electronic part on the end of the dish arm) so an upgrade to Sky Q will require a change to the dish. In flats, Sky Q also requires an equivalent change to the communal (shared dish) systems. This is quite an expensive upgrade and so far only a couple of property managers have gone ahead with an upgrade to their systems.

It remains to be seen if Sky Q will remain a ‘premium’ product, rented out at a higher price to a few high end customers or whether it will in time become Sky’s main viewing platform as Sky Plus and then Sky HD did. 

 

4K

Posted by: Shaun Guard Posted Date: 06/02/2015

The last few years has seen a stream of new developments in television broadcast, each advancing the quality of the picture available to us.

 

The latest buzz word is 4K. This ultra high definition format of picture delivers 4 times as many pixels as the previous highest definition which was 1080p. 4K has 2160 lines vertically and 3840 horizontally.

 

The last hyped up, leap forward in technology was 3D TV. But whereas that technology looks as though it will never really catch on for most of our mainstream viewing, 4K looks as though it will gradually take over as the industry standard for new TVs over the next few years.

 

4K will not really look any better than 1080p on any TV size below 48inch. This step up in definition is really aimed at 60inch and 75 inch TVs and bigger.

 

The unanswered question at the moment is where will the new 4K signals be available from? Initially internet broadcasters like NetFlix will make the programmes available for download but you will need a fast fibre optic internet connection to watch them. Virgin Media and Sky do have the capability to broadcast 4K but they haven’t published any plans or timetables yet to start doing so.

 

Blue-Ray discs can hold enough data to deliver a 4K movie but the question is will enough people want to buy an expensive 4K DVD player and the 4K discs to make it worth manufacturing them, when the content will be available to download?

 

The interesting question to us as aerial specialists is will 4K ever be broadcast via Freeview (an aerial)? There is limited space on the Freeview platform. The amount of data that would need to be broadcast to deliver 4K would reduce the number of channels available dramatically so it may never happen.

 

The Oxford transmitter already has one of its seven multiplexes dedicated to HD broadcasts and the Freeview spectrum is being constantly squeezed to make room for mobile services such as 4G.

Non UHF Sky HD receivers

Posted by: Shaun Guard Posted Date: 10/10/2013

The new Sky HD receivers no longer have a UHF modulator which is used to relay (known as an RF2 point) the original program to other TV's in the house i.e bedroom or kitchen.
The reason Sky have taken this modulator off is to save money and so the Wi-fi (currently accessed via a dongle with older receivers) can be in-built.
So, the only current way to watch your pictures on another TV is via a widget known as an iO-link. We can supply and install one of these for around £100.

Call us to arrange an appointment on 01865 400141.

4G Interference

Posted by: Shaun Guard Posted Date: 19/02/2013

4G Mobile Service – Major TV interference in Oxford


Now that the switch to digital TV is complete, the government have decided to use some of the spare frequency spectrum for ‘fourth Generation’ (4G) mobile services. This will give users of smart phones much faster mobile broadband. However, the frequencies that are going to be used are directly adjacent to current freeview TV signals and there will be lots of interference to TV channels!
The auction for the available frequencies will probably be complete by February 2013 and the first roll-out of 4G is planned for later in 2013. Initially it will cover Britain’s major cities. (Rural areas are unlikely to benefit for a while.)


How bad will the interference be?


We do not know what the scale of the problem will be. The power of the new signals will be much greater than we have seen before and in Oxford particularly the frequency channels being used (including channel 61) is right next to the Oxford ITV frequency (Channel 60). The effect will vary depending on how close your house is to a 4G transmitter. We don’t know yet where they will all be.


What will the Government do to help?


The Government have set up company called MitCo to deal with these issues. They will initially supply a simple in-line filter to any consumer who complains of interference. This will solve a proportion of the problems. But there are situations where this will not work. For example, the filter will need to be fitted in front of any amplifier on the aerial system and if you have an amplifier it may be in your loft or even on the roof! Then the filter will need to be installed by a professional installer. Mitco may issue a voucher to cover the cost of this but that has not yet been confirmed. If a filter doesn’t work, there will be a fund of government money to move some viewers over to Freesat. There is also a fund to assist the aged and vulnerable.


What about all of my bedroom TV's?


All of the government help will only apply to your main TV point. If you have additional TVs in the house, and most people now do, then you will have to get the others sorted out privately. OXFORD AERIALS will have a supply of filters to fit to your other TVs. If the filter doesn’t work on your main TV, then it looks as though Mitco will subsidise a switch to Freesat, but not so on your other TVs.
OXFORD AERIALS will have a stock of new aerials which are designed to NOT pick up the 4G signals. We will also have higher quality ‘super filters’ and screened sockets and leads where the problem is particularly bad. We hope we can always get a solution for you.


What about blocks of flats?


TV systems in blocks of flats will perhaps have the worst interference. These systems usually have a very large amplifier at the head of the system. These amplifiers can amplify TV signals by up to 1000 times before it is distributed around the block of flats. Signals will need to be properly filtered using professional grade filters before entering these powerful amplifiers.


4G is already advertised. Has it not started already?


The interfering signals won’t start until well into 2013. There is confusion because one company, ‘Everything Everywhere’ (EE), who own Orange and T–Mobile, have started advertising 4G services. EE have only been granted the use of the old 2G frequencies around 1800 MHz for a version of 4G. This will not cause problems with terrestrial digital freeview television.

 

Switchover now complete!

Posted by: Shaun Guard Posted Date: 15/05/2012

The Digital Switchover (DSO) is now complete for the South East of England with Crystal Palace being the final transmitter to be switched in this region.
Many viewers in Henley, Marlow and surrounding villages are now able to receive Freeview for the very first time- before DSO all they could receive were the 4 analogue channels. This is great for them as they get many more channels, however, many of these households will only receive a portion of the mainstream Freeview channels as they get their signal from the local relay transmitters. We have received many calls and queries about this and the main complaint is that ITV3, ITV4, Film 4 and Yesterday (popular channels) are not available from these relay transmitters. For these customers who really want be able to watch these channels, we are installing Freesat- this gives them the full range of digital channels from a satellite dish, it does however mean that this costs more than having a Freeview receiver added to their existing TV aerial system.

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