Freesat’s new service <free time> was announced on Tuesday and whilst the presentation gave us a good idea what the service will do, many questions were left for us all to speculate on. I’ve worked my way through all the comments posted here and on other forums and put the best of them to Freesat.
I did ask to make it somewhat of a quick fire round as I know they are extremely busy yet remain very generous to me with their time, including Emma who was getting on a plane to the IBC trade show at the time!
Freesat have kindly responded with the following which should hopefully cover most of what was asked. Actually impressed with the replies, very positive on the whole and looking forward to the new service:
Q. Will the fancy new EPG run off the satellite signal if no broadband connection available?
A. Yes, although the backward guide, On Demand services and the On Demand recommendations within Showcase would not be available without broadband.
Q. Will the on-demand services/EPG run off broadband when no satellite signal available?
A. The box requires a satellite signal at all times. EPG Updates are obtained via satellite but will switch to broadband if its available.
Q. Is there a HD category in the TV Guide?
A. There is no HD genre, but the short synopsis of programmes asks if viewers would like to view a programme in HD/SD HD filter; there is an automatic HD folder for recordings.
Q. Can you record from the on-demand/Youtube services?
A. Not at launch, but we are looking at this for the future. Boxes are capable of this, but it is dependent on the external services.
Q. Are the on-demand services HTML format so full iPlayer (like on PC)?
A. IPlayer is HTML-5 but ITV player is MHEG5 – for now. The beauty of the UI is that we can switch between our new HTML presentation environment and the MHEG 5 environment seamlessly.
Q. What is the minimum broadband speed recommendation?
A. 2mb per second as defined by the on demand services.
Q. Does the Humax support SRC (one tuner full functionality)?
A. The Humax box has been designed to support SCR, providing the home installation supports it too, but this functionality is not currently available but can be enabled via a future OAD.
Q. Will the HDMI port/cable carry 5.1 Dolby Sound?
Q. Can recordings be transferred to USB?
A. <free time> does not currently support shifting content off the HDD to USB. However, this is not a hardware limitation and
Q. Is DiSEqC supported? Which version if so?
A. Yes. The product searches DiSEqC automatically and it supports up to DiSEqC 2.0.
Q. Any plans for the included CI slot or that just a Humax addition?
A. CI+ is part of the defined specification. We do plan to offer additional and optional, pay VOD services in the future.