Like many countries, the UK is in the midst of a “digital switchover”. Our analogue TV signal is being switched off, region by region, to be replaced by a digital signal which needs a new or re-tuned set top box to decode.
The nation’s aerial engineers are out in force, and of course, the big box retailers are rubbing their hands at the prospect of all of those set top box sales. But, one of the real consumer benefits of the digital switchover is the launch of Freeview HD, the UK’s first free OTA (over the air) high definition TV service.
I’ve just spent a short break down in Cornwall with the family for a week’s break – this was of the first regions to get the new service. Pick up a new set top box, and you’ll get BBC HD (with all of those incredible nature documentaries like Planet Earth) awful talent & reality TV shows from ITV HD as well as a host of high definition US programming from Channel 4 HD.
That’s all well and good, but what about when you're out on the road? A few weeks ago, PCTV Systems announced the first Freeview HD USB tuner, allowing you to receive high definition OTA programmes on your PC.
The PCTV nanostick T2 290e is a small USB tuner that decodes Freeview HD (and other DVB-T2 services) at 720p – not the maximum resolution available, but good enough for crystal clear TV. It works with the company’s forthcoming TV Center 6 software, which not only acts as a DVR, but can pump out live and recorded TV to your smartphone, via PCTV’s DistanTV service. The nanostick T2 290e is shipping this month, so free HDTV on your PC isn’t too far away.