[mythtv-users] UK/Europe vs US TV was CableCard Chain.

Rob Davis rob at davis-family.info
Wed Jul 25 21:35:15 UTC 2012

On 2012-07-25 15:56, Yeechang Lee wrote:
> Rob Davis <rob at davis-family.info> says:
>> OTA epgs are pretty much broken here and only provide a few hours if
>> they work, so any manufacturer wanting to make a DVR has to buy a
>> listing service from somewhere to enable scheduling, including us
>> with MythTV (Schedules Direct).
> You get what you pay for. Yes, US EIT is terrible, but $25 a year for
> SchedulesDirect is stupendously, incredibly cheap consider how high
> quality the listing service is (for those outside the US, it's the
> same data that TiVo subscribers pay $10-20 a month for), especially
> compared to UK's EIT or Radio Times (which, in turn, is far superior
> to most of the rest of the world).

I used to use Radio Times xmltv until Freesat epg worked.  It was 
really very very good.  Schedules direct is pretty good too.  I also 
used an Italian EPG which was pretty terrible, but at least told me what 
was on.  I don't think people would have a problem paying for schedules 
direct, if it could be used, however, we need off the counter DVR's. The 
HD factor will push the envelope up a bit.

What I said about 16:9 SD vs 4:3 SD is probably more of an issue.  My 
impression (as a forrener) here is that people can easily tell the 
difference between HD and SD mainly because of how the picture is 
formatted.  For instance, a local PBS station shows Dr Who on their HD 
station.  Most of my collegues (well the ones that watch it) thought it 
was filmed in HD, but I know it was pre BBC HD and upscaled 16:9 PAL, 
but still looked pretty good.  The UK and Germany (at the least) used 
16:9 from the introduction of digital tv, and other countried are 
gradually changing everything over with LCD tv's.  My parents had a 16:9 
widescreen CRT in the late 90's.  However, your average Brit has to look 
hard to work out whether a channel is HD or SD and many of my family 
have been watching SD channels on their HD box and Tv thinking it's HD 
because the pushed the wrong button.  Nobody would make that mistake 
here and not notice (assuming they had an HD tv of course).

>> Just my thoughts having lived in both places.  I would much prefer
>> the UK setup to the US one, even though all our OTA channels are HD.
>> Widescreen PAL looks so much better than SD NTSC.
> Again, tradeoffs. Here in San Francisco, the following over-the-air
> channels are available:
> Channel	     HD?	Non-duplicate subchannels?
> ABC	     X		1 (HD)
> CBS	     X
> The CW	     X
> MyNetworkTV  X
> NBC	     X		1
> PBS	     X		4
> Telemundo    X
> Univision    X
> Telefutura   X
> ion	     X		2
> KCSM	     X		2
> KICU	     X		2
> KOFY	     X		1
> KMTP			3
> KCNS			3
> KTNC			1
> I've left out many more SD channels that I can't get from my
> particular location. (One has 15, yes, 15 SD subchannels.) No
> painstakingly slow rollout of one Freeview HD channel at a time; most
> of the above HD channels have been available for more than a
> decade. They are all the real thing; no "best of" programming subset.

15 subchannels on one mux, that must look terrible!

Here is Rockford, which is probably more representative of the US we 

ABC HD (only network feed) Local programming or syndicated SD upscaled 
Fox HD (only network feed)
CW (subchannel of NBC) SD
MyNet (subchannel of ABC) SD
Bounce (subchannel of Fox) SD
Accuweather (subchannel of CBS) SD

And that's it.  No PBS OTA.

I can pick up Madison to the north which duplicates everything, but 
also gives me PBS.

It's common in the US to pick up your locals from two directions, 
requiring a bit of black art to make it work, less so in the UK.  Plus, 
you probably already have an antenna on your house anyway there.

> I agree that it would be nice to be able to in the US choose from a
> large selection of OTA tuner/DVR boxes using good-quality EIT guide
> data the way Freeview boxes are available everywhere in the UK. 
> (While
> the Dish Network/Channel Master DVRs do exist they're not widely sold
> in US big box electronics stores and, again, the poor quality of US
> EIT is a major limitation.)

I think a mass market OTA DVR with integrated Netflix and Hulu would do 
well, especially if it could do Clear Qam too.  I would love something 
like a Dreambox looking at US ATSC implementation.  This was probably 
the market that Boxee was going for.

> More importantly, as has been discussed in
> this thread, US cable/satellite penetration has been so high (more
> than 90%) for so long--unlike in the UK, where over-the-air never 
> fell
> below a majority of households--that many people have never
> experienced OTA TV, let alone modern digital ATSC HD. Further, the
> typical US cable/satellite selection is far, far superior to anything
> available in the UK or Europe; my cable provider offers ~75 HD
> channels and hundreds of SD channels, and its lineup is somewhat
> inferior to that of the larger US cable/satellite companies.

I agree, I could watch more UK football (that thing you guys call 
soccer) on my tier on Comcast than I could when living in the UK, but I 
pay twice more for it too.  There was no middle ground though.  I paid 
24 euro per month for Sky Italia which had entertainment channels (dual 
language) and 7 cinema channels.  (I didn't bother with sports at the 
time).  Comcast was charging me $64 for their offering, until I cut the 

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