Wednesday, 28 September 2011

FetchTV to beta-test a new 8320HD UI at long last

It's been 18 months of broken promises about a new 8320HD UI, but it looks like Fetch TV are about to start beta-testing it soon, if their request on Twitter for UI beta-testers is anything to go by. Yes, I've applied to join the trial, but there might be some terms and conditions I could be reluctant to agree to.

For example, not revealing the download URL to non-beta testers is a reasonable request (though often the URLs get "leaked" anyway), but if they wanted to "gag" me publicly commenting about the beta, then that could be a showstopper. Judging by the bugginess of previous betas and final releases, I can't say that previous beta testers have been doing a particularly great job...

Thanks to christgill on for the Twitter info 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Beta firmware release available, but very buggy

Whilst we're twiddling our thumbs for the next 8320HD firmware update, I ran a script to scan for potential firmware releases in the download tree on the site. Somewhat surprisingly, it did indeed come up with a beta firmware release that I hadn't seen before, namely version 4.8.05-03.

However, before you get too excited, it was actually packaged some 14 hours before the current stable 4.8.05-02 release on 25th July 2011. What's worse is that I temporarily installed 4.8.05-03 on my 8320HD and it has the same nasty bugs as the now-withdrawn 4.8.04-11 release. Hence I would recommend not installing 4.8.05-03 and I'm a bit surprised that Fetch TV haven't withdrawn this beta like they did with the 4.8.04-11 "stable" release.

What's disappointing is that there's been no sign of new betas (ignoring 4.8.05-03) for the past two months, which is a new record for the largest gap between consecutive firmware releases. And, yes, I still see the remote control repeat bug plus my sister's 8320HD is also exhibiting that bug now too, so there's still bugs that need fixing.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New IPTV channels 110-112 may need firmware update

Although they haven't launched yet, the new IPTV channels 110, 111 and 112 on Freeview HD may need a new 8320HD firmware update to work correctly. I'm basing this on the fact that channel 112 ("SPORTS TV") - which looks like it'll initially launch with Sports Tonight Live discussion show - claims that I need to connect my 8320HD to the Internet, despite the wireless being fully operational.

If you want to see what Sports Tonight Live looks like, you can check out their Flash-based streaming Web site, though when I just looked at it at 11,20pm tonight, it was anything but live. It was actually a repeat airing of the previous live discussion from a couple of hours earlier. Quite poor not to indicate it's not live and also the female presenter was waving around an Apple iPad constantly - naff for a static studio show and a hugely blatant advertising of the Apple logo and hardware.

I wa also surprised how many brand names they talked about in the show - I bet they get cases of free product for each mention! I guess the fact that, yep, the show includes adverts means they don't really care about being professional product pluggers.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Freeview HD to offer new IPTV channels

According to this article on The Register, Freeview HD channels 110, 111 and 112 in the EPG are to be used for IPTV starting from the end of September. There will be some free content, but it sounds like most of it is going to be subscription and maybe PPV. Let's hope the 8320HD can cope with it - I've no idea if any firmware update (other than maybe new logos in EPG) is needed to enable it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

FetchTV to launch on Panasonic kit

Whilst the recent press release by FetchTV that they are to launch their service on Panasonic VIERA Connect TV sets and Blu-ray players doesn't sound that relevant to 8320HD owners, it does mark the first time that FetchTV's PPV stuff will appear on hardware not manufactured by themselves.

This, in turn, should increase their revenue both for licensing their service to Panasonic and, of course, from increasing the number of FetchTV PPV users. Hopefully, this will mean they will have enough money to actually finish the new UI they've promised for the 8320HD for the last 18 months and haven't come through with yet...