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.......