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FreeView, will it catch on?

rolfw

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#1
Well i don't know about you guys, but I like it and what is more important is that my pensioner Mum likes it.

I tried and tried to get her to use the Sky system, but she took to it like a duck to ice. So last week I put an old Nokia box under the TV and gave her the remote control, I explained that the normal channels were the same numbers as before, but by using the channel up and down button, she could access Sky news, ITV2 and BBC news 24 etc.

Bingo, she likes it, possible because of the simplicity of control, probably because its free as well, but whatever the reason, she likes it :D

Now the point of this apparently pointless post, is that if my Mum will use it, then so will a lot of other technophobes, it bodes well for the new Freeview service.

As an addendum to this, as expected, the BBC are not ruling out the provision of pay channels in the future, but not until the main Freeview package has become a success in terms of viewer penetration and the analogue signals are switched off, thus releasing more bandwidth. TheTimes Online

From The Sunday Times

One source at the BBC said: “We have always thought it would be sensible to reconsider the addition of pay. When the analogue signal is switched off there is the potential to increase the channels on the bandwidth we are using and they could be charged for.”
 

2old4this

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#2
In terms of use, how is Sky any different from DTT? Since Murdoch crippled the kiddybox by removing all the usual consumer options such as channel resequencing or renaming, it too is simply a question of zapping up and down a fixed channel list.

Did you ask your mum what it was about the Sky system that she didn't like, but which was not an issue on the DTT system?

I was thinking of buying a Sky sub for my own old mum but since the most modern thing in her house is a gramophone it needs to be very simple....

2old
 

rolfw

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#3
I believe that the problem with the Sky box was over complicated control and too many listed channels, here we have a generation who for 50 years have only ever had one ranging to five channels which had their own buttons or single digit numbers.

If they want BBC1, they simply press button 1 and 2 for BBC2 etc etc, if they want to cycle through the channels, there are only 30 or so, so it only takes a couple of minutes.
 

jimbo

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#4
Sky TV has to be viewed on its merits, e.g. programme type and content. I think it offers something for most fast viewing requirements (yep like fast food LOL). Obviously it's low on original content in terms of drama. Despite that I can't see how channel resequencing or renaming would make a difference to what's on offer. Apart from making a pre-loaded EPG unworkable that is.

Jimbo
 

rolfw

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#5
Strangely enough, I think that the ability to re-sequence or edit the EPG would be an added selling point, not to me, but perhaps to the growing number of senior citizens.

A Sky digibox does not perform control wise, like a traditional TV and that can be a big hurdle to the non technical minded person. The ability to make it behave in a more traditional manner, for example the ability to press "1" and get BBC1 would be an advantage.

I'm not knocking Sky, I have it and would not be without it, but the point of my first post is that my mother just about refused to use it over a period of years, but is using the Freeview box after a couple of hours and this could be the key to mass takeup.
 

mill9

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#6
I would like it more if I could get the 'Freeveiw' channels! Still No signals from Multiplex 'Freeviews'!!
 

2old4this

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#7
It would be an utterly trivial task to implement channel re-sequencing and renaming on Sky - pre-loaded EPG or not. So long as the software internally uses an unchanging unique sequence number/ident for each channel, the name displayable by the user could be changed at will. It would be a five-minute coding job for any half-competent programmer. Sky choose not to do this presumably because they wish to artificially generate value in occupying one of the higher numbers (broadcasters pay much more to have a higher slot in the EPG). The American cable companies run the same system. It is just another insidious example of how the hapless consumer is manipulated. Before Sky, no-one thought twice about this. It was just a given that one was able to tune the TV according to one's own preferences.

Imagine how much more user-friendly the whole silly system would be if we were able to shuffle the channels to put our own personal favourites at the top, and discard the rest - just as we are able to do with every other single tuning device in our lives.

So thinking about it, Rolf, I agree - the fact that the Sky system offers so much chaff with no facility for pruning does indeed make it messy to use.

2old
 

jimbo

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#8
I'm still intrigued as to the real benefit of being able to re-sequence Sky channels. I mean in terms of application rather than principle. With the European stuff it is useful to get them into an order which you find easiest to access, e.g. FTAs together or grouped in genres. With Sky I find the EPG very manageable and I can pick out a channel I want in a few seconds.

In my opinion Sky is a system for watching programmes rather than scanning through for long periods because you know exactly what's going to be on there. Scanning stuff other than Sky is more interesting as there are (some) surprises of new channnels or others temporarily broadcasting as FTA and there are occasional feeds etc which come and go.

Of course subscribers can use the 'favourites' procedure for ........ errrr... personal favourites. Then switch on, press the blue button and select the one they want. Doesn't seem too onerous.

Looking at the higher numbers question, the top 5 slots (101-105) are occupied by the UK national services with Sky not getting in until 106 with Sky One. I suppose any company who put up the money and took the risks will want its products to the fore.

I believe most consumers who take up Sky do so because they want to watch a film or football or whatever. The point is they know EXACTLY what's on offer before they purchase. If they get out of it what they want does that mean they are hapless? I bet if you could survey them and ask if they want to re-sequence channels and/or rename them you would get a big fat 'No'.

Consumers without reasonable technical knowledge are dealt much harsher blows in areas such as purchasing PCs with large organisations selling them systems and software......half of which they will never need. I think you could say some were hapless in this case.

Jimbo
 

rolfw

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#9
I would agree with most of your post Jimbo, if this were a thread about the viability of Sky, but my point was really about user friendliness and content of the Freeview service and in terms of the technically challenged, Sky is hard work compared to the DTT system.

My anecdotal evidence with regard to my Mum, will be echoed all over the country I'm sure, the limited (to us) channel line up on Freeview is a new horizon to the hardened 5 channel analogue viewer.

The comments I've seen about Freeview being "crap", with no dedicated movie or sport channel are misplaced, it is after all a package for the non-subscription majority and not aimed at the refugee from Sky or hacked ITV Digital.
 

jimbo

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#10
Thanks Rolf and, of course, you are right my post would be better elsewhere but I was just offering a counter view to what 2old had written.

I have yet to sample Freeview so I may drag the Sonapanic ex ITV digi box out of the loft at the weekend and set it up somewhere in the house. I wonder if I could disguise it as I feel I've used up all my allocated space. Do you have any ideas how I can achieve that?

Jimbo :)
 

rolfw

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#11
LOL, you could go "retro" and apply a lace cover, perhaps a leopard skin sleeve or even skin the monkey and give it a fun fur wrap. :)
 

ProDave

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#12
Now that I have Freeview (via an ex OnDigital ST:cool: as well as free to view Dsat, I can compare the ease of use of both.

Sky is and allways has been a pain to change channels. There are several ways to select a channel:

Select TV guide, then scroll down the listings until you find what you want then press select. Requires many key strokes.

Press CH+ or CH-. Can be many many key strokes, depending on what you are changing from and to. Made worse by the fact that you are forced also to scroll through the channels you don't subscribe to, with no way of removing them.

Remember and type in the 3 digit channel number. My favourite method, but requires a good memory or a crib sheet.

Use the favourites (blue button) function. Limited to 20 channels, and one way scrolling. Still many many key presses.

On my Ex OnDigital DTT box, all channel numbers have 1 or two digit channel numbers. So one way to change channel is type in the channel number directly. This is great for the main channels (BBC1,2,3,4 ITV1,2 CH4 and CH5) as they are just a single key press.

You can select any number of "favourites" So when you press CH+ or CH-, it takes you to your next favourite channel, missing out any ones you have not selected as favourites. Saves a great deal of key pressing.

Or you can press Select, which brings up a small on screen box with a channel list. You can scroll up and down this until you find the channel you want, then press select. All the while the program you were watching remains on screen.

So the DTT box is MUCH easier to navigate, so is now my prefered option.

If only Sky would do something with their software. My two sugestions have always been to allow you to allocate channels 1 to 99 to any EPG number you want, so you can put your favourite channels in the order you want, and also when scrolling with CH+ and CH-. to skip over channels you are not subscribed to.

So I can easilly see why your mum finds the DTT box easier to use, because the user interface has been given more thought.
 

Channel Hopper

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#13
I believe all the above points are being looked at closely by the manufacturers of the Sky bxes, and being assessed by the BSKYB planners of the EPG.

Based on the impact DTT has on Sky subscription churn in the UK, you may see some changes in the Digibox firmware in the near future
 

PRINCE

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#14
Hi,

I recently bought a sky box for freeview, and I couldn't believe how difficult it was to make a selection, having to scroll down the screen through a lot of garbage I am not interested in is not my idea of fun, in the end I got tired of pressing the TV guide everytime I want to watch a channel way down the list that I only now use it when it is absolutely necessary.And like 2old said I believe designing a software that would enable you to manipulate the EPG more easily is not beyond their software engineering,but as with sky marketing ploy is more important than their customer satisfaction and convenience.

Regards

Prince
 

bigrandydavid

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#15
IN THE NAME OF HELPFULLNESS!!!

what I do with my sky box is to store favourites at strategic points to make scrolling faster.
ie. my favourites are 101, 109, 160, 205, 301, 401,440 and 601.
So if I`m heading for channel 444 its a few presses on blue then a few presses of the arrow and there you are!!

simple things amuse simple folk i guess
:) )(-)(
 

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#16
The biggest pain in the neck with a FTV card on Sky, is the EPG including every channel whether it is available or not. If the EPG only included the channels that can be viewed, finding the channel you want would be a lot simpler and quicker.

I suppose Sky think that getting all those "call Sky to upgrade your subscription to include this channel (... showing exciting, old repeats from BBC and ITV)" messages actually helps sell subscriptions. Personally I think a better way would be to include some sort of mosaic channel to entice viewers to sample what is available on channels not included in their subscriptions. If you clicked on one of the little images in the mosaic, it could bring up the how-to-subscribe-message. This would only need one or two channel numbers in the EPG, so I could probably live with it.