Are YOU ready for digital TV?

For those not in the know, Malaysian broadcasters (well ... one only, RTM) began free trial broadcasts of programmes in digital in the Klang Valley this year and plans to phase out traditional analogue broadcasts by 2015 (reference here). So today I decided to try out the included TV tuner hardware in my PC and since it is DTTV ready (DVB-T) I decided to give it a shot.

The Vista MCE interface was crap but managed to pickup three local analogue transmissions (RTM1, 8TV and Ch9). The interface was kinda clunky and cumbersome so I decided to switch to a standalone application instead. I located the original drivers and application for the HVR-1200 card from the Singapore Hauppauge webpage. Installed the latest WinTV 6 application and set the program to start scanning. 15 minutes later (could be shorter than that, I left the PC alone whilst I took a shower) and there was a list of 16 available channels which kinda left me surprised as I was only expecting three or four.

15 digital channels!
And how does it look? Pretty amazing actually ... it looks clean and block free (which is a big problem with ASTRO broadcasts) but the screenshots below have been JPEG compressed by 55% to save space, so it does not show the actually quality of the broadcast. Most of the additional channels are just showing music stuff such as the concerts on RTM but there is also an interactive electronic programming guide channel similar to the ASTRO guide option. Switching to channels also brings up a "currently showing" pop-up text bar which fades after 10 secs similar to ASTRO.

Pop up bar shows whats currently on screen
Notice the words SIARAN PERCUBAAN or trial broadcast
Drawbacks to DTTV? It really needs a strong signal in order for the broadcast to be displayed, else it looks like an ASTRO broadcast during a thunderstorm and the picture breaks up or goes blank altogether. I couldn't get a smooth data feed and either the picture or the sound kept breaking up. This was because I was only using an internal antenna sans boosting or amplification (a.k.a. rabbit ears). My signal strength was really weak with a SNR ratio averaging 17% - I need more than 25% for a smooth feed. Perhaps an external antenna would alleviate these problems, but I will leave that to another day when I finally find the time to install an external antenna. At least now I know the hardware works!!

No comments:

Post a Comment