Saturday, 30 May 2009

Freesat Ethernet Port

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is still waiting for the ethernet port in the back of the freesat boxes to be activated. The freesat specification requires that any freesat digibox or TV with built in freesat must have an ethernet port built in for future use. I'm not very technical, but surely it wouldn't be hard to switch it on already and let people connect their freesat boxes to their broadband, even if only to watch BBC iPlayer. I read somewhere that the port is there for future software upgrades, but I can't see the point of not taking advantage of the iPlayer service right now. It would give you the basic functionality of a PVR in a freesat box and would surely only boost the sales and marketability of the boxes over some equivalent services like freesat from Sky or the Virgin Television service.

I can't imagine it would be very difficult to integrate a web browser into the software of these boxes since I'm pretty sure that the info coming down in the EPG is either XML based or HTML based (now and then I get some spurious characters that are HTML formatting so I'm basing my assumption on that).

In the meantime, we still have to have a seperate box to browse the internet, which is a real shame because it puts another computer under your television or in your lounge if you want to access some online TV. And of course, connecting up my computer to my television is a little bit awkward....My ideal situation, obviously is simply to have a freesat television with the ethernet port active for web browsing - then I can do away with all the little black boxes under my television :)

Oh well, just some thoughts. Anyone out there have the inside scoop as to when the ethernet ports are going to be useful to the consumer?

Friday, 22 May 2009

Freesat Televisions

It makes sense, when you're next in the market for a television, to buy one with a freesat tuner built in. Doing away with a digital set top box for your freesat reception makes sense and keeps your living room tidy, with fewer cables and fewer remote controls.....and usually, a happier wife :)

Up until April this year, you could only purchase Panasonic TVs with built in freesat tuners, but now, LG have entered the market as well, bringing more consumer choice to the table. Which is a good thing. Consumers get more choice and more competition in the freesat television arena will undoubtedly bring the prices down. I think freesat will become bigger in the near future. It still seems to be a bit of a forgotten technology when people buy new televisions. Which is strange, especially with digital switchover looming. Freeview seems to be the digital tuner of choice for manufacturers to integrate into their television, but it won't be long before the choice for freesat tuners integrated into TVs becomes larger.

As it stands, you currently have the choice between several Panasonic Viera models, starting at 32” and working upwards to 50” as well as some LG televisions, again starting at 32” with the LF7700 model and working up to a 47” offering. The LG televisions with integrated Freesat are LCD TVs and are all 1080p with a good selection of HDMI ports as well as USB connectivity. Panasonic's
Freesat enabled televisions include some plasma displays in their Z1 series NeoPDP televisions which are available in 46” and 54” models. The Z1 Panasonics also offer wireless technology and the 54” model is only 1inch thick, making it an ultra thin television.

It's good to see LG enter the Freesat integrated television market, but really at this stage of the game, with Freesat being almost a year old now, it would be nice to see some more manufacturers enter the market with Freesat integrated into their televisions.