Mon 4th Aug 2014 at 14:00

Digital better that Digital

About 4 years ago we had our old analogue TV transmission turned off and replaced with the new digital TV transmission. This was suppose to increase our station list from 5 to 14 (later more, but 14 was all we could look forward to in those early years). The truth is our TV reception was never that great. We live on the side of a valley surrounded but hill (mountains officially) and thus we struggled to get any form of analogue signal that was clear, consistent and snow free. So we have a salelite on the side of our house. But over the past couple of years, we have installed a TV in the bedroom and discovered we can atleast pick up some channels via the TV antenna, as long as the weather is good and the moon is the the correct position, although we have become used to pictiure freezes in the middle of programmes and the audio becoming all bitty.

This growing irritation led to investing in a Chromecast and I have been completely blown away by the results. Many of you will be aware of the long standing issues I have had with our broadband, one of the few downsides to living in a rural village. However, it has given us a consistent 2-3Mb recently and as such, it's quick enough and stable enough to watch steaming sites like Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. It still slows down and if my wife starts playing on her iPhone the network starts to grind (my Android phoe seems to not have the same affect) and other that iPlayer which buffers, the rest seem to adapt the video quality to allow the programme to continue playing.

For live TV streaming I use the FilmOn app on my phone which may not give me all of the channels my satelite does, but it gives me access to the ones I care about and the only issue with audio I have to worry about is my wife snoring.

So why is Digital Streaming better that Digital Transmission? Well, it's quite obvious really. The digital TV transmission is just a blanket broadcast and we have static aerials on our roofs with no adaptive technology and any boosters just increase the noise, not just the transmitted signal. Where as streaming services are well aware that people might have issues with broadband speed and all recomend a minimum of 2Mb but the decent services will have adavtive video quality. This lowering of vidoe qulity reminds me of the old analogue days where the picture may have gone a bit fuzzy, but you could still follow the plot and don't miss vital portions of the film.


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