Early DTT/Freeview Hardware
#21

I actually had a pop up appear on my box first telling me it needed returning, then the message a few months later stating Carlton and Granada had paid and I didn't need to.

My box was a refurbished (i.e. sprayed silver and with a generic remote, but still with the On Digital branded software) Nokia I bought from Curry's several months after ITV Digital went under, so of course was always mine and never needed returning, but as it was still running the On/ITV Digital software the message still appeared anyway.

In fact that's reminded me of that very brief period in the early-mid 00s when TVs, VHS players, DVD players, STBs and the like went silver. Didn't last very long before they went black again.
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#22

(06-05-2024, 11:04 PM)Neil Jones Wrote:  IIRC the boxes were on loan, so the administrators were within their rights to ask people to send them back.

Although that being said, the story goes that although they shifted a lot of stock, they didn't have a clue where most of the boxes were. For all the platform and later administrators knew the boxes could be on the moon. It was a bit of a non starter really as it was either pay £40 or send the box back but if you don't know where most of the boxes are in the first place, who exactly are you going to invoice £40 to?

It was pretty much a saving face exercise for Carlton and Granada to open their wallets and pay them off, as they'd announced their merger plans a few months earlier.
With the exception of the prepaid STBs, the boxes were the property of ITV Digital - so yes, they could have had them back, however the administrators would have needed to arrange that at their own cost.

So far as I know ONdigital had no end-of-contract returns process, so the administrators would have had to set this whole collection, warehousing, refurbishment and resale operation up or found a contractor who'd do it for them. It was never going to happen, basically. It was never revealed how many paid up the £39.99 but I suspect the answer is 'not many'.

With regards to the Carlton/Granada purchase - I doubt it had much to do with saving face to be completely honest, it was more likely that someone realised a deal could be done which would enable them to get their broadcast license discounts which at the time were available for converting x millions of homes to digital. They paid £3m, or £1.50 a piece - not a lot in the grand scheme of things.

To answer my own question - the other ONdigital manufacturer was of course Toshiba. There were no Alba/Bush STBs but there were Bush IDTVs which apparently just had the guts of Pace or Nokia STBs inside.

(06-05-2024, 11:15 PM)James2001 Wrote:  I actually had a pop up appear on my box first telling me it needed returning, then the message a few months later stating Carlton and Granada had paid and I didn't need to.

My box was a refurbished (i.e. sprayed silver and with a generic remote, but still with the On Digital branded software) Nokia I bought from Curry's several months after ITV Digital went under, so of course was always mine and never needed returning, but as it was still running the On/ITV Digital software the message still appeared anyway.

In fact that's reminded me of that very brief period in the early-mid 00s when TVs, VHS players, DVD players, STBs and the like went silver. Didn't last very long before they went black again.

I was always curious about those units - why did they go to the effort of spraying them silver I wonder? It wasn't like their provenance was particularly well hidden.

Can you remember what the box and manual was like?

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#23

Weren't the prepaid boxes still ITV Digital's property... just they'd been sold without any proper means of keeping tabs on who bought them so were effectively untraceable?

(06-05-2024, 11:32 PM)WillPS Wrote:  I was always curious about those units - why did they go to the effort of spraying them silver I wonder? It wasn't like their provenance was particularly well hidden.

Can you remember what the box and manual was like?

Sadly, not really, it was a long time ago. I don't think there were any On/ITV Digital references in the manual though. As I said, the box was slow as hell!

Was using it until around 2008/9 when I finally got an IDTV, though I did keep hold of the box until DSO in case I still needed it for some reason (became useless after DSO, so I got rid of it then).
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#24

(06-05-2024, 10:08 PM)James2001 Wrote:  I think until the Pace box came out (in the dying weeks of ITV Digital), it was virtually impossible to get a DTT box without subscribing to On/ITV Digital.

Yes, that was certainly the case in 1999 when I tried to get a box - I was only really interested in the FTA channels, but ended up having take out a minimum subscription (which gave you just one subscription channel) in order to get the box.
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#25

(06-05-2024, 11:36 PM)James2001 Wrote:  Weren't the prepaid boxes still ITV Digital's property... just they'd been sold without any proper means of keeping tabs on who bought them so were effectively untraceable?

You had to call in and give your details to activate the subscription channels, so they'd have got it that way. My vague recollection is that they did this pre-sale too, at least when we got ours they had to call someone and make a reception enquiry.

But even with the most accurate subscriber database they'd have had quite a time making progress on recovery, especially from customers who were themselves minor creditors of the company if they still had an outstanding prepaid period (I remember getting reams of paperwork about it, and I think my parents eventually got a cheque)

I seem to remember additional outrage where people who were full fledged subscribers, and who had bought their boxes outright before the free promotion came in, were also being asked to return.
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#26

(05-05-2024, 01:51 PM)cable Wrote:  www.jimsaerials.co.uk 

www.jimsaerials.co.uk  - a good example here of early era Freeview box software. The transparency and colours of the ON menus (yellow, green, purple) were no comparison in my mind.

There was a few updates to say MATSUI/Astratec boxes that enabled the teletext extra EPG which gave it a modern appearance, if you liked adverts.

That is exactly the menu's and EPG I remember. I can't remember the brand we had (though Matsui is ringing a bell).

We must have had it quite early then, I think before ITV3 launched. We were also the first family on the street with a DVD player, all the neighbours came around to see it... could you imagine that these days?
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#27

(07-05-2024, 02:22 PM)TIGHazard Wrote:  That is exactly the menu's and EPG I remember. I can't remember the brand we had (though Matsui is ringing a bell).

Wharfedale, Digilogic, Techwood and Matsui were just a few of the brands that used this Vestel based hardware/software and on the whole, they worked really well. The Argos Wharfedale box was the best out of the bunch and the 14:9 selectable picture ratio was just the ticket.
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#28

I do remember in the On/ITV digital days, the signal was notoriously awful in many places, I know some people who bought the prepaid boxes and couldn't get a decent signal. When Freeview launched they changed the encoding of some of the multiplexes which made the signal more stable (but reduced the bitrate) which improved things a bit. Though it still took until DSO for them to significantly increase the power.
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#29

(07-05-2024, 05:45 PM)Juicy Joe Wrote:  Wharfedale, Digilogic, Techwood and Matsui were just a few of the brands that used this Vestel based hardware/software and on the whole, they worked really well. The Argos Wharfedale box was the best out of the bunch and the 14:9 selectable picture ratio was just the ticket.

Did a bit more research looking up Matsui freeview boxes. I believe this was it - the DTR-2.

Manufacturer date on that model says 08/04 on it which also checks out as being rather early on in Freeview's life.

www.ebay.co.uk 
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#30

(07-05-2024, 07:38 PM)TIGHazard Wrote:  Did a bit more research looking up Matsui freeview boxes. I believe this was it - the DTR-2.

Manufacturer date on that model says 08/04 on it which also checks out as being rather early on in Freeview's life.

www.ebay.co.uk 

That was also badged as the Goodmans GDB2 which was my first Freeview receiver. The GDB3 was a lot better!
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