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Freeview

Hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration
 
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Freeview

Post by Rebel Rafter » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:45 pm

Hi, folks, RR here again. Since there are no more analogue broadcasts and we now have to use a "digibox" of some kind to watch tv on older sets, I thought I'd better share this. In the years since freeview started I had absolutely loads of various freeview boxes, because they're so ridiculously unreliable, I've had to keep taking them back under warranty. Where I live there's a dirty great big council tree affecting only me so I can't get a satellite signal and cable is far too expensive so it looks like freeview is my only option. And I've now got one, a Goodmans GDB18FVZS2, which I like because it has a second scart and I can plug in my cctv camera and I can access it with one press on the remote control, something you can't do with a lot of freeview units. But this is where the problem starts. This model has two persistent faults which affect loads of them, first some of them keep freezing up only on BBC channels, and others for some reason have far too high peak white level only on the composite o/p, which is ok for those with RGB but for those of us with older sets it's a serious problem. In the last 12 months I must've had at least TEN of these from PC world and Sainsburys, all but one with the same problems, straight out of the box, and the one which worked didn't last very long, and I don't use dodgy cheap mains extensions and adaptors etc. and this peak white problem causes a serious white-out effect making some scenes well-nigh impossible to see, ruining the picture, and if I go back and complain they try it out using scart i/p with RGB so they don't see the fault and they try to tell me my equipment or signal must be faulty, which really furiously annoys me as I know for sure it's not. But then the staff at places like PC world are generally not trained in the technicalities of analogue video, so what do they know? So I would suggest that unless you've got RGB i/p don't buy this model of freeview box unless you like arguments. RR.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Lloyd » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:05 am

Ah, so it is a fault!

I have one of these boxes, I got it cheap off ebay to use off low voltage from my solar panels, and whenever switched to CVBS or whatever it said the picture is really bright! I thought there was something up with my old Daewoo portable when I first saw it. It briefly switches to it when putting the box in standby too. RGB looks ok to me, except on very bright scenes (mostly white) where I loose vertical sync... Very odd!

I also have the freezing problem! I found when it's done it's freeze up and I've switched it off and back on again, I look on the EPG, and I have a random channel repeated about 20 times on the end of the list. Quite annoying, as it's otherwise a pretty good box, very low power consumption, making it perfect for use off solar!

Regards,
Lloyd.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Refugee » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:59 am

Oh dear they have still not got rid of the freezing. I decided to get rid of the telly 6 years ago due to freezing and the remote selecting random channels when other functions in addition to getting fed up with the stock of programs offered by the repeat channels. Big brother took us back down by one channel and it got down to just the news on the main channels some evenings.
I have not been all that impressed.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Wolfie » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:38 am

I think what you really need is a chainsaw..

just for a few hours.


or ask a neighbour if you can fit a multi LNB to their dish?

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by sideband » Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:33 am

The overbright picture on CVBS is probably a software fault. When I was at Philips, we had a similar problem on one of the integrated sets. It meant a major rework for us of some 20,000 sets which involved a PC, interface and a DVD ROM to reflash the micro controller in the digital receiver section of the TV.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Terrykc » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:14 am

Rebel Rafter wrote:... Where I live there's a dirty great big council tree affecting only me so I can't get a satellite signal ...

I saw a crafty dodge some years ago on the outskirts of Gravesend which might help you.

Massive great tree on the roadside in front of the house - so that sounds like yours! - with a dish mounted on the front of the house at ground level looking underneath the tree's canopy!

Check to see if that would work for you - you will need to measure the angle of the bottom edge of the canopy and consider moving the dish position closer to the tree if it's a bit tight or even dig a hole to lower the mounting position!

As an example, the elevation from Southampton is 25.4° but it decreases the further north you go - Glasgow is 20.42° for example.

For accurate figures for your location, use the calculator here:

http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/AudioVi ... ulator.php

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by ntscuser » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:34 pm

The entire row of neighbours opposite me were forced to resite their dishes at huge expense when a line of trees between us overgrew. A few weeks later the housing association sent a crew along to cut them all down. (The trees I mean, not the dishes).

Interesting headsup on the Goodmans Image. The only problem I've had with their slightly earlier DBR11 is occasional "stutter" on the audio.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Jamie » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:02 pm

I'm using an ancient Goodmans GDB4 from 2004 still! (Albeit it my smaller less-used bedroom..)
It was my first ever freeview box and has some PSU issues but it does work if you don't move it! Although it's memory is getting a bit thin with age and it reguarly deletes all the radio channels when switched off (Not an issue though..)

Image

Upstairs I have a YouView PVR with OnDemand etc.. (Which I got for £10!!)
and in the kitchen I have an older Bush Freeview+ recorder with a sickly hard drive.. Causing the picture and sound to stutter though there is no hard reset on this box!

The shed I have an Acoustic Solutions from about 2007.. I've been fairly lucky with freeview boxes as you can tell..

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Terrykc » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:37 pm

Terrykc wrote:... you will need to measure the angle of the bottom edge of the canopy and consider moving the dish position closer to the tree if it's a bit tight ...

I've done few calculations on this.

If the clearance under the tree is only 2 metres, the dish must be within 5.5m (20°) or 4.3m (25°)

Obviously, if the clearance under the tree is 3m, these distances will increase by 50%, so you can easily calculate the distance you will need - it is just a simple ratio.

The dish I saw was at the back of a lawn which rose up towards the footpath, giving an improved clearance (why I suggested possibly digging a hole for your dish).

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by ntscuser » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:39 pm

Rebel Rafter wrote:This model has two persistent faults which affect loads of them, first some of them keep freezing up only on BBC channels, and others for some reason have far too high peak white level only on the composite o/p, which is ok for those with RGB but for those of us with older sets it's a serious problem.


I meant to ask:

a) Does this model (Goodmans GDB18FVZS2) have a modulated RF output?

b) If so is that affected too or is the problem restricted to composite video output?

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Rebel Rafter » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:29 pm

ntscuser wrote:
Rebel Rafter wrote:This model has two persistent faults which affect loads of them, first some of them keep freezing up only on BBC channels, and others for some reason have far too high peak white level only on the composite o/p, which is ok for those with RGB but for those of us with older sets it's a serious problem.


I meant to ask:

a) Does this model (Goodmans GDB18FVZS2) have a modulated RF output?

b) If so is that affected too or is the problem restricted to composite video output?

Hi, RR here, no, it doesn't have a modulator, I'm having to use one I took out of an old vcr and fitted into a plastic box on it's own with the standard 75 ohm resistor across the input. If I play my DVD player into it the picture's fine, it's the same with the camera, only the freeview box has such a dreadful picture, which is why I'm in the process of fitting RGB i/p to my old tellys. RR.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by ntscuser » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:56 pm

Rebel Rafter wrote:Hi, RR here, no, it doesn't have a modulator, I'm having to use one I took out of an old vcr and fitted into a plastic box on it's own with the standard 75 ohm resistor across the input. If I play my DVD player into it the picture's fine, it's the same with the camera, only the freeview box has such a dreadful picture, which is why I'm in the process of fitting RGB i/p to my old tellys. RR.


Interesting, thanks. Image

Good luck with fitting RGB input, not easy I believe if the set's user controls are to be retained.

 
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Re: Freeview

Post by Katie Bush » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:25 am

Just for the record,

I use a couple of IceCrypt T5000 FreeView boxes.. I've had them for about three or four years and find them extremely reliable.. They have RGB and CVBS outputs via SCART, and also have built in RF modulators which can be tuned anywhere from ch21 to ch68 (very handy).. The menus look a bit cheap, but are very easy to use, and the performance is faultless, even to the extent that they can resolve a decent performance from a very poor signal indeed, I'd certainly have another/more if the need arose.

Also, I once bought a Thomson DTI550 for my dad (about ten years ago), and it is still working flawlessly.. It's only downfall is the lack of an RF modulator, though this is easily overcome by the use of an external modulator of the grey box type supplied by Maplins.. After my dad died, nearly seven years ago, I took possession of the receiver.

On the DTI550, it is worth noting that unless you got the last OTA software upgrade, about four years ago, the box will still operate to some extent, but has problems with channel allocations.. I don't even begin to understand the minutia of that, but somewhere 'NIT' and 'Split-NIT' come into the equation.. i think it has something to do the way the older TDTV channels were laid out in a single Network Information Table (NIT), and the new/current system using a split 'NIT' where the information is broken into smaller sub tables to accommodate the greater number of channels currently available (Where are the FreeView gurus?).. In any event, my DTI550 got the update and works spot on.

Marion


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