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20 Years of Digital TV

(October 2018)

IN
Interceptor
Here's an interesting BBC trail, attempting to explain that digital television doesn't automatically equal subscription television. Even though I think it was possible to buy an ONdigital box at full price without a subscription I don't think many chose to do so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkhn2bmaWE0

A few years after that, and at the *very* end of ITV Digital's life the first non-ONdigital DTT box was launched: http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/terrestrial/news/a7187/affordable-digital-tv-the-pace-dtva/

There were a handful of "integrated" digital TVs available before this which often came bundled with a 6/12 month ONdigital subscription, does anyone know if these early digital TVs used the same interface as the ONdigital boxes? And if not, do they/would they still work today? (I believe all the ONdigital boxes died at DSO.)
TT
ttt
My father had a Bush-branded IDTV -- it had the OD interface. It would have continued to work as it had SCART (the digital tuner I don't believe would have continued working as it only supported 2k), but as they weren't very reliable I doubt there are many still around.
NG
noggin Founding member
Didn't ONDigital boxes stop working before DSO, and not because of 2k vs 8k support? ISTR that there was another change that caused them issues and no firmware updates to mitigate it were offered as the boxes were, by then, unsupported?

All the ONDigital-era IDTVs I saw were based on the same UI - and looked like they were effectively built by putting a STB in a TV?

I had a Pace DTVA. They ran VERY hot (it melted the top of my Sony 28" Wega CRT...) but nicely supported Line 23 WSS.
LL
London Lite Founding member London London
Like many, I started having digital TV through an OnDigital Nokia Mediamaster which at the time was given away with subs from the now defunct Granada rental shop.

Once Freeview started, Vestel started mass making of Goodmans and Bush branded boxes. The first Goodmans box was a lot faster than the Mediamaster, but very buggy. However, the next Goodmans Vestel box was excellent. I then went for PVR receivers until 2014 and since then, I've moved towards using streaming media instead, although I still watch Freeview channels through my tv.
OV
Orry Verducci Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
Didn't ONDigital boxes stop working before DSO, and not because of 2k vs 8k support? ISTR that there was another change that caused them issues and no firmware updates to mitigate it were offered as the boxes were, by then, unsupported?

If I recall correctly it was the split of the Network Information Table (NIT) which stopped onDigital STBs from working as it wasn't supported by the firmware, preventing the boxes from discovering and tuning in to services. Other STBs had received firmware updates ahead of time adding support.


This was followed shortly after by the switch from 2k to 8k mode, which killed off a whole range of early STBs due to a lack of support in their hardware.
HC
Hatton Cross Central (West) Midlands Today
My first On Digital box.. Ahh memories of a cold wet early Friday afternoon in November 1998 when I got my decoder box from my local independent electrical retailer, got it home, set it up, plugged it in, and..

.. 'Initialising Hardware - please wait' scrolling on the readout on the front of the Phillips box for, well, ever.

Let it go 30 minutes, then called the tech support number. Rang out, left it some more, still initialising.

After 3 hours and sensing the box was trying to get an update that wasn't loaded on in the factory, and with the tech support line still ringing out, hit the 'nuclear' option and rang the new subscription line knowing they would pick up the phone.

They did, and after listening and then one pass of call to the technical department, I had a new box couriered over in a little under in three hours.

That worked, perfectly until it got very laggy and sluggish sometime around 2003 and then brought a cheap but acceptable LG decoder box around 5 years later.
Readers are warned that this post contains some flash photography
London Lite and DE88 gave kudos
MY
MY83
My box history:

2003: Panasonic TU CT 20
2004: Nokia Mediamaster 9850T off eBay for TopUpTV, replaced swiftly with
2006: Philips Digital Terrestrial Reciever for TopUpTV
2007: Sagem IDT68 for Setanta / TopUpTV

which is when I switched to integrated sets, although I never used the functionality because we got Virgin Media at the same time.

In my spare room I'm currently running a Panasonic smart TV coupled to a Roku stick, as well in the bedroom a Samsung dumb TV connected to an Amazon Fire TV, thus giving me access to TVPlayer, NOWTV etc.
BA
bilky asko Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Like many, I started having digital TV through an OnDigital Nokia Mediamaster which at the time was given away with subs from the now defunct Granada rental shop.

Once Freeview started, Vestel started mass making of Goodmans and Bush branded boxes. The first Goodmans box was a lot faster than the Mediamaster, but very buggy. However, the next Goodmans Vestel box was excellent. I then went for PVR receivers until 2014 and since then, I've moved towards using streaming media instead, although I still watch Freeview channels through my tv.


Wasn't it the Vestel manufactured boxes that drew the same amount of power whether or not it was in the standby mode?
JM
JamesM0984
Freeview really was a revelation. I wonder if we would have had such a rapid DSO - 14 years from launch to analogue switchoff - had it not come about?
HA
harshy Founding member
I’ve never enjoyed the compressed square pixel vision that has come with digital tv, and the millions of channels it’s come with it’s just too much choice I think.
WH
Whataday Founding member Wales Wales Today
I remember very clearly a promo for BBC Digital featuring a lot of 0s and 1s, narrated (I think) by Richard Wilson and Angus Deayton which actually managed to make the whole thing sound a million times complicated than it was. Can't seem to find it online anywhere even though it was played at practically every junction.
SP
Spencer (previously Spencer For Hire) Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I’ve never enjoyed the compressed square pixel vision that has come with digital tv, and the millions of channels it’s come with it’s just too much choice I think.


Thankfully picture quality has improved somewhat on the major channels on digital, particularly with HD becoming more widespread.

I know what you mean about choice though. With four or five channels, it was easy to choose what to watch. When you've got hundreds, finding the good stuff is more of a challenge.

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