Open Letter: What does EC "support" mean?

MJ Ray mjr at
Wed Aug 11 15:48:44 UTC 2004

On 2004-08-11 16:13:25 +0100 Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:

> I think you probably ought to talk to some BBC engineers before saying
> too much bad stuff about them.

I have, often described in my /blog/ site, but they have said they won't write to me much any more.

> I have little idea about interactive TV,
> but I did think the BBC used an open standard (maybe MHEG though).

I don't have much idea apart from what I've read in specs, as I don't have an interactive TV receiver. I think you may be right about the BBC using an open standard, but only for DVB-T (Freeview) and not DVB-S (Astra 2 Satellite).

> [...] 7-day EPG [...] the problem is one of end-user hardware, not
> willingness to support standards.

I have hardware which works with the ARD services. I believe they are DVB-SI EIT and BBC isn't.

> That would mean that two 7day EPGs
> would be being broadcast - 4TV (proprietary) and the new 7day (actually
> 8, IIRC) SI. Or are you saying that the full DVB-SI they're testing is
> proprietary?

I'm saying they're not testing full DVB-SI on the Astra 2 satellite. What's 4TV?

> [...] The list of
> PVRs which cope with 7day EPG is *3*, according to

I reckon it's at least 16, based on the number registered with the DVB project (deducting the two Open TV ones from: wget -q -O- '' | grep -ic record).

Of course, the standards support should mean you can currently make a reasonable attempt at a DIY Freeview recorder, mythtv-style.

> I don't know of any DVRs which cope with it.

What's a DVR?

> [engineers] I will try asking if you're interested in the answer

I am, especially if it's soon enough to affect this. Do BBC use Globecast uplinks?

>> Basic DVB-S equipment retails from around 80 pounds sterling,
> £40-50 if you know where to look.

I wasn't counting popping to France. Beyond that, I don't know how to match your price for a complete system. The 80 pounds retail is based on the forthcoming Lidl offer news:<nbahh0hpel2ldt973n84rsrt5829sj7dln at>, which will probably be a very small stock.

> It's possibly more a question for those making the equipment not
> adhering to broadcast standards, rather than the BBC not wanting to
> support open/interoperable standards.

Possibly. I don't see how I can use this on the manufacturers, though. Can you? I think the BBC must create the demand by supporting the standards first.

MJR/slef    My Opinion Only and not of any group I know for creative copyleft computing
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