It’s been a couple of weeks since the long awaited new Sky HD EPG made it’s way onto my box. Considering all the fanfare about it I’ve been fairly ambivalent about it, so much so I couldn’t be bothered even posting about it. A tweet tonight about ITV HD has nudged me along though.
The ability to watch ITV HD on Sky is the biggest new feature for me. Before the update, ITV HD was available only on FreeSat and only via the red button service – it’s not an actual channel which when you realise how little is broadcast in HD is understandable. To watch it on Sky (new EPG only) you need to do the following:
- Press services button > System set up > Add channels
- Change the Freq to 11427
- Change polarisation to H
- Leave symbol rate @ 27.5
- Leave FEC at 2/3
- Press select to find channel
- New channels will appear , TV and radio , scroll to the one marked Channel 10510
- Press yellow to store it , press select , press select press back up , press back up.
- Scroll down to other channels , highlight 10510 and press select to view.
Not easy and it’s a few button presses to access the channel each time. Then again, Champions League in HD tonight and FA Cup semi-finals in HD this weekend. Nice. Quality is excellent too which makes a big difference compared to the pixelated mess that ITV usually is on Sky.
Other important changes – the EPG is now in HD and much clearer than the old one. It’s also added a mini display. However it cuts off half the display if enabled and also plays the sound from the currently selected channel. This has caught me out already – last weeks Apprentice was recording while I watched the football. Went into the EPG to select it and start watching and I see the three boys sitting in the boardroom. Even worse, disabling the mini tv doesn’t sound the TV channel sound off so you can still hear spoilers. Bit daft on Sky’s part.
Your series recordings are now displayed in stacks in the EPG. Makes sense for me but another daft feature is that the stack isn’t just per series but per series and channel. Miss a recording on BBC1 and record on BBC3 instead will see two different stacks for the same series. Can’t see this affecting me as I don’t build up a lot of recordings but it is a real pain for some which could have been avoided.
HD programs can now be highlighted in the EPG – handy when browsing what’s on. Speaking of which, now and next is a lot better on the new EPG with full info on each program without going in to the EPG. About time.
Despite these additions though the downside is that it feels a bit slower in use and that’s on my box with not much recorded. Some reports in forums from users with lot’s recorded say it is way slower than before. I’m also convinced that to watch recordings it takes more button presses than before. If it doesn’t it certainly feels that way. Considering it’s been in development for so long it’s a shame that usability seems to have suffered. Overall it’s a benefit having the new EPG but still feels like a missed opportunity.
Day six of the Beijing games are over…my thoughts so far? Dramatic, enthralling, fantastic. When I can I’ve watched, well, any sport really. No matter the sport or the country taking part I’ve been interested. British interest always increases the tension and as Gordon said so well, the BBC add’s to the coverage by framing events so well. But first – that opening ceremony.
It looked and sounded amazing and watching it in HD was pretty special. So many memorable moments and images – The Big Picture photoset captures it beautifully. The manpower and cost, never mind the passion shown during the ceremony makes it almost impossible for London to match but that’s four years away and a different games. During the ceremony the miming and footstep’s in the sky were pretty obvious to spot but took nothing away from the show. That’s all it is – an entertainment show to get the games going. Acts around the world have mimed for years so I was surprised to see so much coverage for this.
I also got annoyed with the BBC emphasising that China had been selective with choosing moments from their past to highlight at the ceremony. What do you expect? In 2012 will we see slavery scenes in London? Pretty silly. Thank goodness Eurosport HD has launched – I watched the majority of the ceremony on Eurosport which even looked slightly better and their surround sound worked unlike the BBC.
As for the sport itself, Nicole Cook was magnificent as was David Florence although the in your face reporting from Garry Richardson was way over the top. It was like David Brent doing the reporting. Favourite events so far have to be from the swimming pool. Rebecca Adlington’s swim was so good as she hauled back a large lead with just metres to go. The most amazing race so far though was the 4x100m mens freestyle. How America pulled back that lead and the reaction from Phelps – image of the games so far. Athlete of the games so far too. In fact, athlete of the games. Can’t think of anyone form track and field that can compete.
From archery to boxing the range of sports covered well on TV has never been better. So sad to see Gail Emms go out today – the interview afterwards was heartbreaking. From BBC HD to the main BBC channels with the fantastic red button service you can see Olympic sports 24/7. Couple that with a great website – I’m like a pig in mud.
Track and field kick off tomorrow and Saturday looks like being the day of the games – so many medals decided and many include potential golds for Britain. One niggle remains though. Should China be hosting the games? For me, absolutely. I don’t agree with how the country is run, the human rights issues, the lack of freedom of speech etc etc etc. How many governments around the world are squeeky clean though? Considering Iraq and Afghanistan should London have been in the running if Beijing is so controversial? There’s a lot of hypocrisy surrounding these games and lot’s of negativity around the blogs. Ultimately the Olympics is about sport but as usual people want to politicalise the games and tell everyone how terrible it is that China are hosting the games and how oppressed the country is. Watch some sport, see the passion from the athletes involved and enjoy it for what it is. You’ll also get to see classic TV moments like this.
After a quite spell there have been some significant HD announcements for the UK. ITV HD channel will launch next spring, BBC HD has been recommended to start as a full time channel as soon as possible, MTV HD is due to land next year and Channel 4 have announced a C4 HD to launch from December. Great news and about time that there is more commitment from providers other than Sky and BBC.
From the most dull UK Big Brother ever this years celeb version has now picked up a massive amount of news coverage, is the most complained about TV show ever and is now causing international tensions between India and the UK. How bizarre. I’ve not watched it all but I’ve seen and read enough to form some opinions.
I do think there is a hint of racism in some of the comments that are being made in the house but I do not believe that the three housemates (Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd, Jo O’Meara) are racist. There is however a class divide between the three and their ‘victim’ Shilpa Shetty and that is now manifested in ongoing arguments between Shilpa and the three. The fact that the three seem to know each other outside the house hasn’t helped – there’s a bond there and due to their background and age they were always likely to stick together. Bullying…yes. Racism…no. The three also seem to be from very similar backgrounds – three hairies (great work John) was the best description I heard today. I couldn’t disagree.
Why the arguments – Gordon’s nailed it for me. Lack of education. As soon as Jade starts to talk back to Shilpa you know where it’s going. Two minutes later its rage, arguments, slagging and then her two mates chip in to form the gang. Game over.
Channel 4 could have easily nipped this in the bud, but no. Media hype followed by some good editing means ratings gold. Then a climb on to moral high ground with this statement – “it is unquestionably a good thing that the programme has raised these issues and provoked such a debate. These attitudes, however distasteful, do persist – we need to confront that truth.” Couple that with an eviction vote between Jade and Shipla so that the public can decide on who’s right. Makes me sick.
I hope this is the last Big Brother. Never thought I’d say that as I usually end up enjoying it for all the wrong reasons – trash TV at it’s best. It’s gone to far though and thats with a list of ‘celebs’ who are no more known than the ‘normal’ folk who entered last summer. Normal – who am I kidding!
At least there’s a bit of a backlash. Carphone Warehouse have withdrawn sponsership from this series but potentially not the next one. Shop’s have also withdrawn Jade’s perfume from shelves. Hopefully Channel 4 get hammered for this at some point too. As for me I’ll probably still catch tomorrows nights show. I want it to end but while it’s on…as I said…guilty pleasures.
Oh, one last thing. Jade Goody. Can you just fuck off now?
Trailer for season 6 is up – http://www.24trailer.com/ – now just need to wait until Sky One starts showing it in January, seemingly not to far behind the USA. In HD 🙂