Freeview manufacturers may not support 7-day EPG



Some manufacturers of Freeview receivers may decide not to provide over-the-air software downloads to upgrade their earliest models for Freeview's new 7-day electronic programme guide (EPG), which has now resumed trialling in Wales.

It had assumed until recently that it was mainly the old ITV Digital receivers - most of which haven't got the processing power or memory to run it - which would be the main 'casualties' of the new service. But recent discussions with a number of manufacturers - most of whom didn't want to be quoted - suggest that even where they have receivers in the field able to cope with the demands of the new Freeview service, they may decide the extra coding work required is too costly (at least for their older models).

Pace appears to be one of the conspicuous exceptions, undertaking to create upgrades even for its first-generation DTVA boxes, launched in Spring 2002. And there may also be good news for owners of Sony IDTVs, most of which (even the ITV Digital-era ones) are said by industry observers to be at least technically capable of displaying the new EPG - which could launch as early as February.

The situation is complicated by the news that Novapal CEO Oliver Durkin is to launch a new revenue-generating 7-day EPG proposition which builds on the technology created by 4TV (currently broadcasting a proprietary EPG on Freeview channel 704). According to industry newsletter New Media Markets, this may convince some manufacturers not to support the Freeview EPG at all.