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ajt (2546)

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UK based. Perl, XML/HTTP, SAP, Debian hacker.

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Journal of ajt (2546)

Saturday September 20, 2003
01:14 PM

DVB, shops and Perl

[ #14803 ]

This week has been an expensive one, I ordered ADSL, some CD-Rs, printer ink and today I splashed out of a digital (DVB) TV tuner. The UK is phasing out analogue terrestrial TV transmissions this decade, and after the OnDigital disaster, the BBC sponsored FreeView is doing rather well. Combined with BSkyB who have converted most of their satellite broadcasts to digital, old fashioned 4:3 ratio analogue TV is destined for the dust-bin.

So I went hunting for a DVB tuner in town. Like many people my DVD player is connected up on the TV's RGB input, and the second SCART can only take s-video or composite. While RGB is better than s-video, most of the DVB tuners only output RGB or composite, and not s-video, which is a shame as anyone with a DVD player is then forced to watch TV over nasty composite video. Sony make a DVB tuner that can manage all the right formats, and is naturally the most expensive on the market. I went into the first shop, and they ignored me, so Dixons lost the sale, I then tried the Sony Centre, and they were very nice and got the sale.

After an hour or so of playing with it, I'm very happy. Most digital signals are transmitted in nice 16:9 ratio, and if for some reason they are not then the DVB puts in nice black bars so I can leave the TV in 16:9 ratio all the time. As davorg once pointed out, most people can't find the right ratio, and end up watching very distorted people, I just get annoyed having to tinker all the time, especially as the TV's automatic is rarely right.

I now get all the BBC channels, both TV and radio, which is very useful, as some are digital only, and I'm in a FM black hole so I have to listen to BBC Radio 4 on long wave, which is not very good! There are a bunch of commercial channels, but I don't care to much for them, but again I couldn't get them before, so if I want to I can now watch them.

This means that the Perl work I had planned for today will have to be done some other time.......

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  • I'm in a FM black hole

    Where on Earth are you? I thought that you lived somewhere civilised and populous. Maybe you should move somewhere that does have FM reception, such as north west Scotland :-)

    (Until Austria, Finland and Sweden joined, north west Scotland was the least densely populated part of the whole EU. So on going there to do my undergraduate fieldwork, I was amazed to discover that where we were (Knockan) not only could we get all the BBC's radio stations in glorious FM stereo, but also we couldn't get Atlantic 252 (which I believe is no more) and its 8 track playlist. Until that time Altantic 252 on minibus radios had been the staple of field trips)

    (The other thing that amazes me about NW Scotland is as follows: The Ordnance Survey provide maps at 1:10,000 scale (er, and some 1:10560 still) of the entire country. The 1:10,000 maps of NW Scotland (remember, it's vast and virtually no-one lives here - Ledmore Junction is on road signs for many miles and precisely two people live there) have this note regretting that maps at larger scale are not available. Yow! I'm impressed that we can even get 1:10,000 for everywhere. Although maybe I'm not being clear, because my understanding is that the OS completed the 1:10560 survey of the UK before the First World War. Yes, all those 50 foot interval contours for every acre of the country were first surveyed by hand about 100 years ago)

    • I'm in leafy Hampshire at the back of the Watership Down. I don't know where the nearby FM transmitters are, but they don't cover us at the foot of the hill. Thus, every morning, I awake to the sounds of BBC R4 on long-wave, as I have long since given up hope of listening to it in even FM mono.

      I assume it's local geography that is the problem, the village is in quite a bit of a basin, and FM doesn't work very well. I gather that DAB works quite well, and I did consider a DAB tuner originally, but when I r

      -- "It's not magic, it's work..."