Review: Oxford DSO Stage 1

Probably not the most exciting event for most people, but last night was ‘Oxford DSO Stage 1’ – that is, the first stage of digital switch over when one of the analogue channels was turned off (BBC2 in our case) and in its place (on the relays, anyway) goes the ‘BBC A’ digital mux containing the BBC channels (obviously, including BBC2).

Two weeks from now, on 28 September, all the other analogue channels get turned off and the relays start broadcasting all three digital muxes, with the main Oxford transmitter broadcasting all 6 muxes at full power.

Sad as it was, I thought I’d stay up till midnight to see BBC2 analogue disappear – there was a trashy film on BBC2, but instead of going off at midnight they actually waited until 01:13 (end of the film) to turn it off (I was yawning a lot by then!).  Snow appeared on the screen, and BBC2 analogue was gone forever.  At the same time, BBC1 analogue also disappeared, but that was to come back by the following morning.

Then I went to bed (understandably).

The following morning, I was expecting the worst.  The powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, had decided to switch UHF channels 34 and 53+ around which could only have ended up in disaster.  (The reasoning behind it was sensible – to get all the PSB muxes into Group C/D so existing non-wideband aerials could be used).  Instead of the box thinking ‘oh, it’s the same LCN (Freeview channnel number) just on a different UHF channel’ it just refused to show it.  Hmph.  So I had to do a manual retune on the box.  And just as I feared, this did the usual thing of deleting all my timers on the replaced channels.  I really don’t understand why the manufacturers haven’t sorted this one out yet – it makes things very user-unfriendly.

Anyway, retune done, everything worked okay again and I had all six muxes back.  I will have to do all this again on September 28 when more channels move (68 is moving to 60-, 51- moving to 62, and 34 is moving to 59-, and 29 moving to 55 – putting all the muxes in Group C/D at last).  And I’ll lose virtually all my timers – again :(

New Humax firmware

New Humax firmware recently out for my HDR-Fox T2 — and it’s got some fixes, but also some new features.  The big one for me is that it can now act as a DLNA server as well as a client, so I can watch my recorded programmes on my PC.  Which is quite cool, and I expect I’ll get bored of it soon and go back to putting myself in front of the telly as I usually do.  There is also a YouTube feature on the TV portal now.

You can get the new firmware from the Humax UK web site, or you can just wait for the OTA download to come round on the Freeview HD mux.

Christmas Present Review

Got a great pile of Christmas presents this year – mainly DVDs of classic children’s TV programmes!  The French and Japanese versions were made in 1982, and first shown in English in 1986/87 on Children’s BBC, then repeated again in 1990, the Mysterious Cities of Gold was a 39-part series made jointly by NHK/RTL loosely based around Scott O’Dell’s book The King’s Fifth, and charts the adventures of three 11/12-year old based children – Esteban, Zia and Tao, along with their Spanish companions Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho (who mainly seem to be interested in getting rich), around South America looking for the Cities of Gold.  It’s amazing how well this series has stood the test of time, and I’ve got to say it was great to be able to watch it again (and only the third time in my life I’ve seen it!).  Although the DVD set was released in the early 2000s, it was never released in English at the time and the English dubbed version finally appeared on DVD last year!

Some info about the series: Wikipedia and a unofficial fan site (in English and French).

The other DVDs were the complete first and second series of Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.  Produced by BRB Internacional SA in Spain in 1981 (so actually predating MCoG by a year), this was a cartoon animation series based on the Alexandre Dumas story The Three Musketeers.  26 episodes were produced for the first series, and the English version was shown on Children’s BBC in 1985.  I’ve got to say, I don’t think I ever saw every episode when I was a kid, so it took a little while to get the story this time round, but definitely a children’s TV classic.  The second series (‘Return of Dogtanian’) was not shown on the BBC, but shown on ITV in 1990 instead as it was a BRB Internacional/Thames Television co-production.  Having never seen the second series the first time round, I was unsure what to expect, although I remember people saying at the time that it wasn’t as good.  Having watched the first five episodes, I think I have to agree with that – many of the voices have changed, the characters don’t seem quite as well-drawn, and the theme music (a rearrangement of the original) is frankly horrible.  However, I’m beginning to warm to it – so perhaps I’d better watch the rest of the series before I go passing judgment on it.  The second series appears to be based on “The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later”, also by Dumas.

More information on Dogtanian can be found at the Wikipedia entry or at this fan site

Still, I enjoyed watching the first series again, and the second series is growing on me slowly, so I can safely say lots of fun was had watching those!  Here’s hoping for Around the World with Willy Fog next Christmas then :)

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