Updated: Recording the Olympics on Freesat

It would appear from the comments on Joinfreesat and on the satellite forums that many of you are experiencing problems trying to record the 24 additional Olympic channels added on Monday.

We have contacted Freesat to find out more information on this and had the following response from Emma Scott, Managing Director Freesat:

Unfortunately the Humax receivers can’t record the Olympics – we’ve been working with Humax and the BBC on this since the streams went live on Tuesday and no fix can be made. It’s a Humax receiver issue and it’s very frustrating for both Freesat and Humax. All other Freesat+ boxes can record the 24 streams.

We’ve just concluded in the last hour that we can’t resolve the issue without further investigation by Humax. We at Freesat now need to ensure that the platform is as stable as possible during this important summer of sport, so we regretfully have to accept we can’t resolve this for the Olympic period.

Getting the BBC Olympics app working on all Freesat receivers – HD and SD – has been quite a feat of engineering by the team here and at our manufacturers – and of course the BBC themselves. Therefore however frustrating this clearly may be for viewers, we’re hopeful that the option of having the 24 streams available in the first place will be some consolation.

Whilst Emma states that this is a Humax problem, we also believe recording on Sky is also an issue, which questions whether there is some kind of encryption block by the BBC on behalf of the Olympics committee to restrict the copying and distribution of their content.

In any case, at least now you know. Fortunately with so many channels being added, there is likely to be countless replays, after all, the athletes can’t compete 24/7.

Update 16:42 30/07/12

Humax have worked tirelessly to resolve the recording issue despite reports from Freesat (above) that it wouldn’t be possible. The following update has just been supplied to us from Freesat:

We have some great news. We’re delighted to say that Humax have found a fix for the recording bug. A software update has been sent to boxes via an OAD (over-air-download).

All Humax freesat+ boxes left in standby will automatically update overnight (around 3am), so don’t power off tonight. Once the update has finished, you should be able to record the 24 BBC Olympic channels (151 – 174) from the EPG as usual.

If you want to update the box earlier, you can manually upgrade using the box Menu, Setup, Software Update and selecting Automatic Update.

We are really grateful to Humax who have really pulled out all the stops to find and issue the fix as quickly as possible.

176 thoughts on “Updated: Recording the Olympics on Freesat”

  1. Bob H said:
    Just to provide some detail:– The problem exists because in the way that the stream is being encoded the box cannot build the required PVR indexing correctly. This causes it to get confused and believe the recording is zero in time. Other devices use other indexing mechanisms. The problem is now understood.– As soon as we became aware that the issue could not be resolved at the broadcast end, engineering resource (in the UK) which was already monitoring the situation was quickly dedicated to producing a fix.– Releasing
    software too quickly is a risk to the consumers, we could easily accidentally break something else in the process.– When a fix is available a beta version *may* be released before we have finished our internal quality sign-off, this would have to be sanity checked first by us and freesat, and the aim of this would be to give you the choice of risk vs function.
    I hope for there to be more information later today but I am not going to pre-empt any of that until we have everything aligned.

    Thanks Bob H,

    I knew Humax would not let us down. I will use normal BBC SD and HD channels to record until you release your fix.

  2. @ Bob…. great news to hear the your engineers are hard at work and there “may” be light at the end of the tunnel.

    I would be happy to take risk over function so long as there was always a roll back option to 1.00.20 current firmware.

    Many Humax HDR users are used to being the pioneeers of Beta testing such as the BBC i-player.

  3. Thanks for the update Bob, good to hear Humax are fixing it. Ill be putting the firmware on right away as the olympic channels are useless if they cant be recorded.

    Its strange there is no standard for indexing as that is exactly what youd expect from freesat so this sort of thing doesnt happen. youd expect this from a non freesat box.

  4. Just use the HDR custom firmware to record all the Olympic channel’s in SD. It’s only on for a matter of days, so who cares if it’s only SD. Must agree about the Samsung, my best mate bought one and thought he was being clever as it was cheaper than my Humax. He’s regretted it ever since with some major problems that still happen every so often. Installing the excellent free firmware on my Humax made him even more pissed off. He now keeps asking me if i’d like to swap boxes, I just tell him to go forth!

  5. Cheers for that info Bob, good to know your on the case with a fix, my parents would be glad to know they can potentially record these streams. It surprises why this can’t be resolved from the broadcasters end considering it’s not an issue with any other channel on the platform?

  6. Bob H said:
    Just to provide some detail:– The problem exists because in the way that the stream is being encoded the box cannot build the required PVR indexing correctly. This causes it to get confused and believe the recording is zero in time. Other devices use other indexing mechanisms. The problem is now understood.– As soon as we became aware that the issue could not be resolved at the broadcast end, engineering resource (in the UK) which was already monitoring the situation was quickly dedicated to producing a fix.– Releasing software too quickly is a risk to the consumers, we could easily accidentally break something else in the process.– When a fix is available a beta version *may* be released before we have finished our internal quality sign-off, this would have to be sanity checked first by us and freesat, and the aim of this would be to give you the choice of risk vs function.
    I hope for there to be more information later today but I am not going to pre-empt any of that until we have everything aligned.

    Thanks for contributing Bob, appreciate Humax’s position on this which is clearly different from Freesat’s. Look forward to an update later and will do all I can to publise any beta release / update you make available.

  7. Does this mean the BBC has changed the Freesat EPG for these channels. If so it was a very silly thing to do. On the Sky EPG the BBC has been a bit lazy by not seperating football matches on the EPG.

  8. Neil said:
    Cheers for that info Bob, good to know your on the case with a fix, my parents would be glad to know they can potentially record these streams. It surprises why this can’t be resolved from the broadcasters end considering it’s not an issue with any other channel on the platform?

    Which would tie in with your theory about Sky being the usual sly so-and-so’s with the way they have coded the channels at uplink.
    Its nothing more than childish but he fact is, this should never have been an issue in the first place.
    I work n broadcasting and it really gets on my goat when stupid things like this happens after so long of a test period to iron out the issues. It makes a mockery of the hard work that gets put in each and everyday, from production, to playout, to uplink, to you seeing it.

  9. Just tried a full factory reset on my Panasonic TV, but still getting signal/no signal 🙁 on the Olympics channels.

  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19015855

    Humax box suffers Olympics channels recording glitch

    Humax has acknowledged that a problem meant owners of its Freesat digital TV box could not use it to record any of the BBC’s temporary Olympic channels.

    The 24 live action streams cover every session of every sport across the duration of the Games.

    Freesat – a subscription-free high definition digital TV service – said other manufacturers’ equipment was not suffering the same fault.

    Freesat’s marketing materials heavily promote the “summer of sport”.

    Humax only sells one digital satellite set-top box recorder in the UK: the Foxsat-HDR. The South Korean firm said it believed it was the bestselling model in the UK.

    The firms’ UK service manager told the BBC the company was making efforts to resolve the fault.

    “Humax were made aware of the issue when the problem was identified on Tuesday,” said Michael Caughey.

    “Unfortunately nothing could be done at the broadcast encoder end to resolve the issue so on Thursday we started working on the fix and are hopeful that it is imminent.

    “However, we will not rush it out until we are sure it will not cause more issues and problems as customers will still be able to view all 24 channels – although they can’t record them – and will be able to record the Olympic coverage shown on BBC 1 HD, BBC HD and the other standard definition channels as normal.”

    He added that a software update was unlikely to be broadcast to the equipment before “early next week”.

    ‘Huge disappointment’

    Freesat posted messages to Twitter after users complained about the issue.

    “We’ve tried really hard with Humax to sort out… all other Freesat+ boxes can record 24 streams,” it said.

    The organisation added: “It’s been an Olympic feat in itself to get the 24 streams working and we really hope this doesn’t stop you enjoying London 2012.”

    Robert Wilson, a Sheffield-based IT worker who contacted the BBC, said he had bought two Humax boxes with a view to being able to record several of the streams at once.

    “I’ll be working and attending the Games myself and had wanted to record the channels while I am out of the house,” he said.

    “It’s a huge disappointment because I will not be able to see some of the events I had wanted – events which have been advertised as being available for months.”

  11. Awful article placing the blame on the manufacturer but the fact is sky boxes cant record them either.

    So the Humax and sky boxes can record all channels apart from the olympics, why arent the olympic channels broadcast in the same way as the other channels which 100% work.

    Why could nothing be done at the broadcaster end? Thats a flat out lie.

  12. WRT the channel reception issue:

    I was just reading about IOC broadcast restrictions, and I am wondering if the 24 temporary channels are being broadcast on low power (somehow!) to prevent viewers outside the UK from watching?

    (And at the same time, preventing viewers IN the UK from watching if they happen to have a receiver which fails to work on a lower power signal)

  13. ian said: Which would tie in with your theory about Sky being the usual sly so-and-so’s with the way they have coded the channels at uplink.
    Its nothing more than childish but he fact is, this should never have been an issue in the first place.
    I work n broadcasting and it really gets on my goat when stupid things like this happens after so long of a test period to iron out the issues. It makes a mockery of the hard work that gets put in each and everyday, from production, to playout, to uplink, to you seeing it.

    Fully agree there Ian. Likewise I work in the industry and am baffled as to what could be the issue compression-wise but has not to date affected any other DSAT compression hub on any Transponder.

    That article I feel is very unfair on Humax as I don’t think they should be exclusively to blame for this. If they were aware of it they’d have been on the case before now, does seem as if Sly have pulled a childish stunt on Freesat owners. I might be totally wrong here and it’s something completely out of their control but I do smell a Sky flavoured rat here!

    The other misleading issue with that article is that it doesn’t just affect Humax hardware, my Panny PVR is also affected as are others!

  14. “Update on the Freesat box and Olympic recordings.

    We’ve been working on a fix around the recording for the extra Olympic channels on Freesat and have developed a software update. Early tests indicate this is working correctly and it is looking positive that we can get this fixed. Testing continues this afternoon and we will post here as soon as we know when we can make the software available”

    Just been posted on there facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HumaxUK

  15. Anyone have issues with the Echostar HDS-600?

    I can view all Olympics HD channels via the EPG except 1, 7, 18 and 24 which show as weak signal. However I can tune to these four channels just fine in non-freesat mode (although I can’t then record using the EPG data).

    Anyone else or is it just me?

  16. Personally I don’t exactly know in which company this is happening but I wouldn’t blame Sky, encoding doesn’t generally happen in Sky for non-Sky channels, they are just the network operator.

    FYI. It is a complex issue that sits right down in the video encoding and revolves somewhere around timings of particular packets of data. Beyond that I’d need a whiteboard, lots of coloured pens and a few days to remind myself how an MPEG encoder is built. *Perhaps* they could fix the encoders so they don’t provoke the problem, but the risks involved in doing that and impacting other systems during this sensitive time (perhaps breaking everything) is too great.

  17. It is worth saying that for guys who work in a gigantic organisation like Sky, I find their technical teams to be very honest and affable.

  18. Craig Humphreys said:
    Anyone have issues with the Echostar HDS-600?
    I can view all Olympics HD channels via the EPG except 1, 7, 18 and 24 which show as weak signal. However I can tune to these four channels just fine in non-freesat mode (although I can’t then record using the EPG data).
    Anyone else or is it just me?

    Make sure you are using the latest software as per their website. They had to carry out an update to ensure the Olympic channels worked at all.

  19. Bob H said:
    Personally I don’t exactly know in which company this is happening but I wouldn’t blame Sky, encoding doesn’t generally happen in Sky for non-Sky channels, they are just the network operator.
    FYI. It is a complex issue that sits right down in the video encoding and revolves somewhere around timings of particular packets of data. Beyond that I’d need a whiteboard, lots of coloured pens and a few days to remind myself how an MPEG encoder is built. *Perhaps* they could fix the encoders so they don’t provoke the problem, but the risks involved in doing that and impacting other systems during this sensitive time (perhaps breaking everything) is too great.

    Cheers for this info Bob, I was of the assumption that the BBC were passing these channels to Sky who were compressing and uplinking, perhaps ATOS (ex Siemens) are looking after compression and passing the ASI TS to BSkyB for uplinking.

    I think Humax need a hats off for such a speedy resolution to this issue, no other organisation would jump on to this so quickly irrespective of press publicity or not, also good publicity for joinfreesat too as it’s clear the BBC have lifted your comments on this thread.

  20. Neil, a BBC journalist spoke to Michael earlier to get the low-down, and Michael and I work very closely so we try to maintain a common line.

  21. Bob H said:
    Neil, a BBC journalist spoke to Michael earlier to get the low-down, and Michael and I work very closely so we try to maintain a common line.

    That’s good, lets hope they give you your due credit for (hopefully) being able to turn this issue around so quickly.

  22. And for those of us who can’t even WATCH the temporary Olympics channels, let alone record them? Any positive news for us?

  23. I have a Technisat box and if I go onto BBC HD I get a picture for about 30 secs then it goes blank but the sound stays on. Earlier it came on for a few secs then went off with just a box about the red button. Retuning doesn’t seem to have worked either. Watching in SD only atm, most disappointing!

  24. Brian Damage said:
    And for those of us who can’t even WATCH the temporary Olympics channels, let alone record them? Any positive news for us?

    I very much doubt its a transmission problem Brian – there are few other reports of problems from what Ive seen. Certainly before I went away on holiday the Olympic channels were being transmitted at the same high powers as the rest of the channels, and the ones on Astra 1N were very high power indeed. If you are in the UK then the problem is far more likely to be at your end – and even if you are outside the UK you should get reasonable recedption of the numerous channels on Eutelsat 28A across most of Europe assuming your dish is aligned correctly.

  25. Have managed to record the opening on Technisat, but now all the EPG data has gone, again, only next 2 programs only across all channels, and I am in freesat mode not technisat mode!!
    Wish I kept my Canal+ Digitaal receiver from Holland, it always gave a 7 day guide for most UK channels, just had to cope with BBC 1 one 701 instead. Definately gonna ditch all UK based receivers and go for a generic Linux based receiver, as they are more stable.

  26. I had to restore my Humax box to factory settings to even get the Olympic channels, all I had was a blank EPG under Olympics genre. I also couldn’t access any red button services related to the Olympics, but could for everything else strange.

    I’m glad to say I can see all Olympic HD channels with great signal quality and access all red button services after the factory reset. This is the first factory reset I’ve had to do in the 2 years I’ve had the box, so can’t complain. Olympics here we come woohoo.

  27. There is more than one way of skinning a cat 🙂
    No Freesat PVR so recorded on my Samsung netbook with DVB-T USB tuner. (10.2GB mpeg file.)
    Looks great on my 42″ Hitachi AllShared to my Samsung smart Blu-ray box.
    It just works!

  28. Just to add into the mix, anyone find that since the 24 channels were added, the EPG has slowed down and switching channels seems more, erm, jerky and slow to respond?

    Really not impressed. I don’t see how adding a few extra lines of channels, probably a matter of kilobytes in terms of EPG data, have caused this otherwise great box to run so poorly.

    I hadn’t noticed I couldn’t record the streams either — double blow!

  29. Scott said:
    Have managed to record the opening on Technisat, but now all the EPG data has gone, again, only next 2 programs only across all channels, and I am in freesat mode not technisat mode!!
    Wish I kept my Canal+ Digitaal receiver from Holland, it always gave a 7 day guide for most UK channels, just had to cope with BBC 1 one 701 instead. Definately gonna ditch all UK based receivers and go for a generic Linux based receiver, as they are more stable.

    Have you updated the firmware? There is a fix for the EPG not loading problem. admin has/had the file.

  30. Keith said:
    @ 8 YES there is a solution.
    I did it this afternoon. A simple job and a great web interface. Thanks must go to the creators of the custom firmware and GrahamThompson for the link
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/freesat/1599048-media-file-server-bundle-foxsat-hdr-release-4-0-part-2-a.html
    I updated the firmware on my Humax HDR and added the Channel Editor plug-in. I then added the 24 SD Olympic channels to the Freesat EPG and I can now rsee, pause and timer record them. I wanted to do that rather than record HD channels anyway to save my precious HDD space.
    If you dont want to update your firmware the SD channels have always been there and recordable on the Humax HDR in non-freesat mode.

    I did this, but the channels are the still the same on my HUmax. Am I missing something?

  31. Re: Echostar HDS600 problems @68 – I also am having problems with the new Olympic channels. I have the latest software update 123R and all the programmes are showing in the guide but I can’t watch any of them. Once or twice I’ve had a warning of a weak or missing signal but when I connect my old Sky box to the same satellite cable I can watch these chanels with no problem.

  32. So, it’s not just a Humax problem as Emma Scott has incorrectly pronounced. We now know that Humax, Panasonic (TV & DMR), Echostar and Technisat users have all reported problems of one type or another with the Olympic channels.
    Once again though it’s Humax that steps up to the plate, acknowledges an issue exists (somewhere in the transmission chain but not necessarily in their equipment), and is looking for a solution for its customers. Thanks Bob!!

  33. I seem to be able to record the olympic channels quite happily with my Technisat HDFS, using the EPG and timers.

    The red button app can get confused, though, so I would suggest tuning directly to the olympic channels.

  34. 2 week old Humax 1TB Freesat has since yesterday (Friday) decided to lock up, when selecting a different channel, for example display changes to BBC Olympics 24, but displays a blank screen and then locks up completly. Disconnecting mains is the only answer to restore TEMPORARY use.
    Software issues I suspect due to the new additional channel line up on Freesat.
    Oh well back to Freeview.
    I was so looking forward to watching the recording of the Olympic Opening Show, with a Humax box falling out of the helicopter perhaps!

  35. Further to my post #41, can someone with a Humax, or another Panny user check Olympics channels 5, 11, 15 and 21 as these seem ok on my Panny, look like they are probably sharing one transponder and wondering if these four might work on the Humax? Just curiosity more than anything!

  36. Rosco said: I very much doubt its a transmission problem Brian – there are few other reports of problems from what Ive seen. Certainly before I went away on holiday the Olympic channels were being transmitted at the same high powers as the rest of the channels, and the ones on Astra 1N were very high power indeed. If you are in the UK then the problem is far more likely to be at your end – and even if you are outside the UK you should get reasonable recedption of the numerous channels on Eutelsat 28A across most of Europe assuming your dish is aligned correctly.

    Hmm… Possible but can’t understand why this would only effect the new Olympics channels and nothing else. Looking at the Freesat twitter feed, there seem to be some others who are having the same problem.

    It just looks like a low power signal from here – just on the Olympics channels.

  37. I have a Pani with built in Freeview and Freesat HD tuners and can say it is stuggling with the temp HD channels on Freesat.

    All the temp HD channels are fine on my Foxsat but to be fair to the Pani it does get its feed from the loop through on the Fox so this may be blocking the signal a bit but that said all other SD and HD channels are fine even through the loop.

  38. Yes same here some channels come up no signal i v got a goodmans box had dosent have a pvr but it’s the signal issue I am stumped with

  39. As a Humax foxsat user of some years this doesn’t surprise me at all. The additional Olympic streams seem to work like red button streams and we have never been able to record/pause or rewind those – very annoying, but certainly not a new issue. It is long standing and remains unresolved the same as the humax freesat box still can’t record the buffer but the freeview boxes can.

    On the signal strength/quality issue many of the additional channels (but not all) are reasonable strength 90% but low quality 50% and fluctuating.

  40. Getting 100% signal and 84% quality in Scotland on the Olympic channels. Good old Manhattan best boxes by a long shot. The Space, Itv player and all the Olympic channels all working perfectly with the new firmware.:-)
    Why pay more?

  41. Have a Panasonic DMR-BS750 and also a Sky HD (different rooms but same dish). The Sky is perfect. The Panasonic for Freesat is only showing 4 of the channels – the rest are there but marked “No Signal” even though the EPG does tell me what should be done. Is the same if I try to use them via the Red Button. Have done everything except a factory restore (as have some recordings I have not watched yet I don’t want to lose). Happy to try factory restore if it keeps my existing recordings on the hard drive. Can anyone help?

  42. I wonder when freesat will release the humax fix as an over the air update it seems to be working fine all Olympic HD channels now record which is fab news.

  43. There seems to be a fix in the humax forum but its only given out in PMs. an OTA update will take a week or 2 at least.

    I would have hoped they would have given the beta fix for everyone that wanted it.

  44. No problems at all with recording, pause, rewind etc of the olympic channels on my EchostarHDS 600. Loved the opening ceremony on friday night, a bit different but nonetheless pretty spectacular, especially the lighting of the cauldron/torch by the youngsters at the end. What a work of art

  45. Brian Damage said: Hmm… Possible but can’t understand why this would only effect the new Olympics channels and nothing else. Looking at the Freesat twitter feed, there seem to be some others who are having the same problem.
    It just looks like a low power signal from here – just on the Olympics channels.

    Im now home and Ive had a look at the transmission strengths on all the 24 Olympic standard def feeds. All are equally as strong as the usual tv channels – the highest power ones are the ones on 10921H. (2/5/8/11/14/17/20/23). Even the EB28A feeds are nice and strong here.

    Give me a few minutes to swap some cables over and I’ll have a look at the HD channels.

  46. Hmm the HD channels do seem to be down a bit compared to the other channels, although that may be because of a very poor length of coax on that particular cable run which needs replacing if we ever get a summer here….

  47. Some of the SD feeds are on Astra 1N whereas the HD ones are on Astra 2A which explains the signal level difference.

  48. I’m just curious of what is different Encoding-wise to affect these feeds rather than any other H264 MPEG4 encoded HD service transmit on DSAT as it’s clear not only Humax are affected but also the Panny PVR’s too. I’m sure it will all come out in the wash no doubt!

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