Sunday, 18 December 2011

No Channel 5 HD for the 8320HD

In a frankly appalling move, Channel 5 have pulled out of the bidding for the Freeview HD slot they would have used for Channel 5 HD, handing it over to the BBC instead. This is hugely galling after the utterly pointless launch of Channel 5+1 (SD) on Freeview, particularly for 8320HD owners who have twin tuners to cover programme clashes.

Also, it's not like Channel 5 can't run an HD channel, because Channel 5 HD has been running for a while on both Sky and Virgin. Therefore, apart from the bidding cost, Channel 5 HD wouldn't cost any extra to run on another platform.

Mind you, considering that Channel 5 has precious little worth watching and the BBC is short of HD channel space to cover simultaneous Olympic events next year, adding a third channel to the BBC's Freeview HD arsenal would be handy to remedy that.

Friday, 9 December 2011

FetchTV on eBay

OK, I'm very late to the party on this one, but when the 8320HD launched in June 2010, the only 8320HD's to be had on eBay were from unofficial sellers (I'm not sure if any were strictly "new" or not). However, FetchTV crept onto eBay back in February 2011, though there's no mention of this on the official FetchTV site.

Interestingly, their eBay offerings are noticeably cheaper than their own official site - the 8320HD is £157.50 brand new (inc. postage) and the 8000 is a stonkingly cheap £67.50 brand new (inc. postage). I think the 8000 could be a very nice second box to accompany the 8320HD, especially at that low price.

So that's why the last firmware update was in July...

I've been starting to fret a bit about firmware updates for the 8320HD recently. The last one was in July and my box still exhibits a couple of regular bad bugs (repeating remote control and failure to record about 50% of all timer recordings if the box is in standby or low power mode). I worked around the latter by setting the timeout to standby to be 6 hours - it might use more power, but it seems to actually do timer recordings properly now.

So why no more firmware releases for the moment? Well, it turns out that Fetch TV have been busy coding a "smart app" for Panasonic Viera TVs as I mentioned a few months back. It turns out they've actually rolled it out and will also be producing it for Samsung smart TVs (and other makes) in Q1 of 2012.

I'm not sure who gets the money (if any) for actually putting the Fetch TV app on smart TVs since I guess it benefits both parties. However, unless Fetch TV hugely improve the actual media content of their PPV service, I can't see too many people using it. I've never been impressed by Fetch TV's PPV movies/TV shows, especially since they're not cheap, infested with self-destructive DRM and seem to be quite limited in their choice.

Still, there is a chance this will increase PPV sales for Fetch TV and maybe then they can get back to 8320HD firmware releases and, eventually, the new UI for it that they've been promising since March 2010.

Thanks to RowanDDR on for the article link