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Mar 03 2011

Wotsat have managed to find out some more information about the proposed roll-out of the G2 spec Freesat standard; here is a copy of what Wotsat have posted on their website.

Freesat’s next-generation G2 spec will include DiSEqC, single cable routing and core support for iPlayer-style hybrid TV services.

In the works for more than a year, G2 is set to bring Freesat some features we’ve been looking forward to for some time.

It’s essentially a gathering of new standards which will be supported by the wave of digital TV chipsets expected from manufacturers like ST and Broadcom in the next 12 months.

James Strickland, Freesat’s director of product and technology development, explained that G2 is similar to HbbTV, the European standard which combines both broadcast and broadband-delivered TV technology;

If you see what’s going on with HbbTV in Germany, that’s a roll-up of all the standards work that’s been going on with different bodies.

G2 is basically a hybrid between HbbTV and the MHEG world we have in the the UK. You get the best out of all the international standards that all the manufacturers are working on, rather than rolling out our own.

We want to encourage in the next generation all the best elements that are already being worked on, to get the best hybrid of broadcast and broadband TV.

There’s no launch date yet for the G2 spec or G2 products, although some – like Samsung’s forthcoming Freesat HD box – will be upgradeable via software downloads.

Some manufacturers, like Panasonic, are waiting for the G2 spec to be ready before they launch new Freesat products.

Exact details of what’s in G2 only come with some direct questioning at this stage, but we did discover that it will include:

* MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) support, which potentially enables a whole host of advanced media streaming and multiroom features that manufacturers might use.
* Single cable routing as part of the MoCA standard (Multimedia over Coax Alliance). SCR lets a PVR take multiple tuner feeds through a single cable, but so far there have been several competing methods.
* DiSEqC switching, as part of SCR. Only switching,however, there’s no DiSEqC 1.2 for motorised sat.
* HTML, Javascript and CSS: internet technologies that should make it a lot easier to add broadband-delivered interactive services.
* DRM for non-subscription channels who want some sort of encryption, via broadband or broadcast.
* Payment mechanisms for broadband services like LoveFilm.

James Strickland continued;

It will be easier to write apps and easier to launch online services,[..]. The barriers to entry, the time and the cost of launching new services, will be less than they are currently on other platforms and on this platform. It’s not just about the receiver, it’s about a whole end to end thing.

The core of the technology is internet-based technology. Use of new presentation environments like HTML, Javascript, and CSS that come from the internet, that now we can apply to STB technology.

And not for pay-TV but for free-to-air TV, we are making it easier for people to put their content on the platform by promoting certain DRM elements. It can easily be for free-to-air content, free to the user within the platform, but not necessarily pay-TV.

We are still very cautious about pay-TV and the effect it would have on the platform if we were to allow any pay-TV services on board. It’s a watching brief, and they would be complementary service.

The potential is there for services like LoveFilm to come to the platform and it’s not there today. If you had something like LoveFilm, to be able to transfer your account to the main screen from the PC, that would make sense.

The above was copied from Wotsat.

Freesat clearly have large plans with on-demand online based services seen as the future of all television platforms. Hopefully we’ll see roll-out later in the year.

32 Responses to “Freesat G2 Spec: DiSEqC, Single Cable PVR, On-demand”

  1. bryan Says:

    this is exciting freesat is certainly not sanding still

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  2. Ash Says:

    It’s the best way if they do ever have pay tv, good for the usual free OD plus things like LoveFilm & even maybe picturebox but what would be good is for ESPN to launch, all this wont damage the freesat name as it wont be on the EPG

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  3. Neil Says:

    This will keep Freesat’s products well up with the competition in terms of technological advances and keeps the platform, in my opinion, still way ahead of what equivalent Freeview hardware is capable of in terms of on-demand/online functionality.

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  4. Luke Says:

    Another box with “internet connectivity”. What the hell is going on?

    TVs, BluRay players, Games Consoles and now Freesat tuners which can stream files, connect to internet based VoD services. Soon you’ll be able to watch LoveFilm on your fridge!!!

    This really pisses me off. There are already dedicated options for people who want to do those things.

    Am I the only one who wants to play games on my XBOX, watch movies on my BluRay player and, SHOCK, watch Free to air satellite TV on my FreeSat tuner? I have a Mac Mini running XBMC for my streaming and VoD needs and its performance in these areas far superior to any of my other devices. I feel like I’ve wasted money on features I will never use but are considered essential and therefore put in everything. I don’t want/need an ethernet port on the back of my FreeSat tuner unless they start updating them over the internet. iPlayer on FreeSat is an appalling experience.

    It’s f**king moronic FFS.

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  5. scott Says:

    Sounds like the Technisat receiver. The German spec is excellent with Astra HD +. Lots more HD content, and can get conax card for mtv too, spec in technisat receiver that has all this. We need smart card slot for basic fee to get additional services, mtv, extra HD, eg itv 2,3,4 Ch 5, and other services across spectrum of Astra 2. I don’t think less than £50 a year is bad, provides managed service and future product developments

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  6. Main Says:

    yes! single cable pvr i’ve been waiting for this :) just so people know this still allows recording of multiple programs simultaniously but you only need one cable to one of your boxes, also works great with multiroom… hopefully that samsung box they announced supports this.

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  7. Nick Says:

    Single cable routing is a major voorsprung durch technik!

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  8. Al (Original) Says:

    Films on demand via ilove film ok.

    But subscription model should go no further.

    Mark my words, the minute Top up TV over broadcast becomes available on Freesat it will be the death knell of the platform as many major cash strapped FTA channels will be likely to elect to go pay and the number of FTA channels will plummet as will the number of new channels that join in the clear.

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  9. Russ Says:

    @ Al (Original),

    Could not agree more, freesat should remain as the name suggests, free. For those that want to pay to watch tv there are plenty of options already open to them.

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  10. John Naylor Says:

    This is great news! Freesat just keeps gaining momentum.

    Off thread. A question for Admin. Could you find out if there is any further news on the software update for the Foxsat HDR?

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  11. Derek Says:

    Great enhancements for the technical end of the market, but many of the features will go completely over the head of Mr Average Buyer who buys a Freesat TV or PVR to watch television….

    I have sometimes struggled to explain features to friends and neighbours and I imagine that others have had the same experience.

    TOTALLY agree with Al about FTA – this is FREESat. Don’t forget.

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  12. laban Says:

    well I dont have access to fast broadband so ill never have these interactive services. I had sky for years and paid loads to watch [admin – swearing removed, please avoid in future] channels (because I dont get a clear terrestrial signal) so freesat was a godsend, but it looks like its gonna go the way of sky and start itroducing more and more paid content that is not what people were first attracted to it for. The problem is for channels pumping out free content over the air is not making as much cash as paid for add ons

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  13. monkeymaniac Says:

    I agree! Keep Freesat free.

    This is interesting from Freesat Official site on there WHAT’S NEW PAGE.

    One in five Brits want to get out of their Pay TV subscription

    As the VAT increase hits and government cuts begin to bite, Britons will be using the New Year as an opportunity to reassess their costly monthly contracts such as TV subscriptions along with other financial commitments to reduce their outgoings, according to new research from Freesat.
    Many people will be putting their spending under a microscope in the New Year reveals the Joy of Sets study commissioned by subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat in partnership with academics at Exeter University. Out of those people currently paying a monthly TV subscription, one in five find themselves tied into their contract when they’d like it to end. Out of those people currently not paying a TV subscription, over half of those polled (61%) admit to being increasingly wary of getting tied into pay TV contracts, stating that pay TV is six times less important to them than a broadband connection.
    Dr Young from Exeter University comments: “Many people do want to get out of their contracts but never get round to it and some marketing material is deliberately designed to encourage this inertia. What’s more, consumer psychology suggests that transforming intention into behaviour is a real problem for some people”.
    The study also suggests that economic gloom is encouraging around a quarter of us to stay in and watch up to 50% more TV. Bad news in the real world, such as uncertainty over VAT rises and other austerity measures, has also influenced what we are watching, with half of polled admitting to using TV as a means of escaping from reality.
    While we Brits may be watching more TV than before and even changing our viewing habits, we are finally waking up to channel wastage – channels paid for on subscription but not watched by the viewer. This coincides with BARB data which shows that approximately 60% of people in Sky homes only watch free TV channels (January-October 2010).
    Freesat Managing Director Emma Scott said: “Britons are increasingly waking up to the fact that good TV needn’t come with a hefty monthly price tag. As we face tough times ahead it’s only right that households reassess the value of the services they receive. Our research
    conclusively reveals that TV subscriptions are low down on the list of financial priorities for many households as people are increasingly wary of deals which they are tied into when they themselves face an uncertain financial future. The good news is that there is a free alternative that offers value, choice and quality.”
    Dr Young, from Exeter University, explained the findings: “The data clearly shows that choice and value are together the most important factors for TV services as we head into 2011. Value also means having channels that are regularly watched for the price being paid for them. We found a lot of channel wastage among people who are paying for hundreds of channels but only watching a handful.”

    If this is the case, why is Freesat possibly thinking of going down pay tv road, going by this report, In the best interest for Freesat is to stick to free tv only.

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  14. gingercol Says:

    I personally think that the ability to have one off pay per view rather than subscription is a good thing and will make the freesat platform more appealing to a lot of people .Also @luke no4 you should of got a ps3!

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  15. Two Pen'orth Says:

    2010 Panasonic TV & 2009 Panasonic BluRay/PVR.

    Am I missing something here?

    Will we have to buy new kit in order to get the new services?

    Spent a small fortune only 6 months ago and it’s obsolete already?

    Can somebody enlighten me?

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  16. admin Says:

    @Two Pen’orth

    Technology has never been any different, you will always miss out on new services to a point, this will always be the case regardless of the electronic equipment you buy.

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  17. Nat Says:

    @ Luke no4
    You’re right.
    Too many boxes with half baked internet features and a horrible user interface.
    Just got a PS3 and its a frustrating mess – you couldn’t buy a noisier Blu-ray player, rubbish film rentals, awful interface, doesn’t even come with a proper remote. I only got it for GT5, when I finish that its straight on eBay.

    Best add-on to Freesat is an Apple TV, its a joy to use and if you get a US iTunes account its even better. Just rented the new movie 127 Hours in HD – fantastic.

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  18. L Pearce Says:

    I’d be interested to know how the “single cable PVR” bit works. Does this still allow for recording two separate programmes simultaneously, or watching one channel while another is recorded? And if so, how can this be accomplished with existing LNBs which have dual voltage and 22khz switching? Or does this new standard require an LNB upgrade?
    If full functionality can be achieved with just a single cable, then this really is a big improvement.

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  19. bigal Says:

    @ 18 L Pearce

    It can be done now. For info Just Google stacker/destacker

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  20. bigal Says:

    @ 18 L Pearce ****UPDATE****

    With the stacker/destacker you fit a twin LNB to your dish, connect the stacker box at the dish end.

    connect the destacker box at the PVR end and hook up both Tuner sockets.

    Be sure to buy the correct De-Stacker for your cable length De-Stacker = 30 metres of CT100 cable.

    De-Stacker Plus = 60 metres of CT100 cable. Works with any satellite PVR, Humax etc.

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  21. L Pearce Says:

    Many thanks. It’s a clever and interesting solution to a problem that exists in many flats with a shared dish. But i think I’ll stick with my twin cable feed on the grounds of cost and reliability!
    Presumably the new G2 spec will be backwards compatible with existing set ups.

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  22. Oyodi Says:

    Why can’t they include Wi-Fi connectivity in the new spec, so as to connect wirelessly to my network? (Just like my cheap printer, so it can’t be expensive!). My modem/router is nowhere near my FreeSat box so unless I have 20 metres lead, or send thou the ring main, all of which are not convenient. It would be so easy then to use the iplayer! Even my surround sound amp connects wirelessly to my modem/router!

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  23. SL Says:

    Im not bothered about any of this and its certainly not a reason to buy another box.

    The hardware is fine as it is, all we need are more channels, especially HD ones.

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  24. Richard Crichton Says:

    Why do people say we need more channels.There are more than enough channels already (133 ish) but there is very little on them worth watching.That is the real problem. I remember the old days when there were only four channels but always something worth watching.
    What we need are more programs worth watching and less of the dumbed down low budget shows and constant repeats of old shows that weren’t worth watching in the first place.
    22 Oyodi Technisat do a wireless dongle for their HDFS box that wolud solve your problem.

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  25. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Richard 24

    The Technisat Dongle is fine if you have a Technisat HDFS. The problem is it costs around £20 and it is USB. My box does not have a USB socket. Samsung have wireless on some of their Blu Ray players so I cannot see any tecnical reason for not having wireless but I would only have it if it was N type wireless.

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  26. Oyodi Says:

    @24 Richard & 25 Kevin
    I have a Humax PVR, it has a USB socket on the front, but dont know how to make it wireless, I wonder if Technisats dongle would work with my Humax box?

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  27. David Says:

    I suppose things have to change and move forward to make the specification numbers look better, but I will not be upgrading to Freesat G2. I have a 2008 Panasonic TV and what a waste of space that network connection is on the built-in Freesat tuner! And I don’t want to pay for TV services – I would subscribe to $ky if that were so. Keep Freesat Free!

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  28. Richard Crichton Says:

    @ Oyodi
    I get the impression that the Technisat dongle only works with the Technisat.
    Humax do a bundle deal including two Devolo dLan 200’s for power line home networking for iPlayer connection.

    http://www.humaxdirect.co.uk/productbundle.asp?ProdRef=10073&cat=stb

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  29. Al (Original) Says:

    @Gingercoll # 14, the problem with Pay for View is once its on Freesat its then on both Freeview and Freesat. Currently its very difficult for channels to go pay for view because at least one platform is in the clear thus meaning that they would potentially lose audience if they went pay to view on 1 platform as many viewers would switch to the other and this in turn would knock advertising revenue.

    However, introduce Pay to View for broadcast on Freesat and you then have both platforms capable of Pay to View. This then provides a total licence for entire channels to go Pay to View as no longer are there any broadcasts in the clear.

    Once this happens, there are many major allegedly cash strapped channels that this would appeal to meaning the potential loss of quality channels such ITV, Ch4 or FIVE to Pay to View. No doubt there are many other channels that a Pay model would appeal to and for any new channels why would you join in the clear if you could join on a Pay to View Basis and get more revenue for your shareholders?

    To my mind, the fact that there would be no platform that transmits in the clear would be the factor enabling many free channels to got Pay to View thus resulting in a Freesat which potentially loses many major channels and could become just the BBC + the trash channels.

    It could also impact Freeview as the same could also happen on Freeview in my opinion, as obviously you can’t charge on one and have the other in clear, so if channels on Freesat go Pay to View, they are likely to do the same cross platform, so this could potentially mean the loss of a huge selection of our best loved FTA tv.

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  30. Stefan Says:

    Does this new spec mean that it will be compatible with You view launching next year?

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  31. (Updated) Echostar Freesat Receiver Still Going Ahead | Join Freesat Says:
  32. DishDash Says:

    How could single cable PVR possible using a conventional Universal LNB with a single output? Any technical insight to how this new technology is implimented would be much appreciated.

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