28 December 2006

M1 Broadband HSDPA is faster than Singnet 1500?

The breakdown of submarine cables just shows how vulnerable the cables are. Luckily, I have M1 broadband with me. Surprisingly, I can visit most of the sites while we have lots of problems using Singnet ADSL 1500.

Below is a Tracert done using M1 broadband via the Samsung SGH-Z560 connected via USB to my notebook. You can see that it took lesser hops to reach the destination. It goes through the reach.com network.

C:\Documents and Settings\t>tracert www.google.com

Tracing route to www.l.google.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 95 ms 88 ms 100 ms
2 97 ms 99 ms 118 ms unknown.net.reach.com []
3 166 ms 219 ms 99 ms
4 138 ms 109 ms 99 ms unknown.net.reach.com []
5 108 ms 98 ms 99 ms i-2-1.ntp-core02.net.reach.com []

6 100 ms 99 ms 329 ms i-2-1.ntp01.net.reach.com []
7 109 ms 109 ms 99 ms unknown.net.reach.com []
8 102 ms 99 ms 139 ms po0-3.gw2.sin1.asianetcom.net []
9 132 ms 129 ms 129 ms po4-0.cr1.hkg3.asianetcom.net []
10 1119 ms 209 ms 208 ms so-0-0-0-0.gw2.tpe3.asianetcom.net [
11 237 ms 209 ms 210 ms
12 1279 ms 1299 ms 1289 ms
13 1289 ms 1259 ms 1260 ms
14 359 ms 429 ms *
15 329 ms 339 ms *
16 332 ms 329 ms 1449 ms

Trace complete.

The following is a trace using Singnet ADSL 1500. All US bound traffic are rerouted to Germany at f-ea3.F.DE.net.DTAG.DE []. You can see the hops involved

C:\Documents and Settings\t>tracert www.google.com

Tracing route to www.l.google.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 3 ms 4 ms 2 ms
2 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms
3 22 ms 12 ms 12 ms bb219-75-70-1.singnet.com.sg []
4 13 ms 12 ms 12 ms ge-0-2-0-14.asahi.singnet.com.sg [
5 12 ms 11 ms 12 ms ge-7-1-7-0.guinness.singnet.com.sg [202.166.126.
6 14 ms 12 ms 12 ms ge-1-3-0-1.erdinger.singnet.com.sg [202.166.126.
7 13 ms 12 ms 13 ms
8 362 ms 363 ms 362 ms f-ea3.F.DE.net.DTAG.DE []
9 * * 362 ms
10 363 ms 363 ms 362 ms
11 374 ms 375 ms 375 ms
12 376 ms 375 ms *
13 365 ms 364 ms 364 ms
14 363 ms 364 ms 363 ms
15 384 ms * 384 ms
16 384 ms 374 ms 384 ms
17 379 ms 377 ms *
18 381 ms 382 ms 382 ms
19 * 467 ms 465 ms
20 466 ms 463 ms 467 ms
21 * * 470 ms
22 467 ms 468 ms 466 ms

Trace complete.

C:\Documents and Settings\t>

25 December 2006

ECS AMD690GM-M2 mATX (AMD 690G) board appears

It seems that other than NVIDIA chipsets that comes with integrated video, AMD which has acquired ATi earlier this year will launch the AMD 690G chipset. It is said that this chipset has excellent 3D performance and high quality video output for HD decoding. This chipset was formerly known as ATi RS690.

Anyway, here is a upcoming mATX board from Elitegroup which will definitely be a cheap good alternative for those who wants it to use it to playback HD-DVD, BluRay or any HD media available. This model has DVI out. I heard a newer model will have HDMI. Both supports HDCP.

Cheap HTPC Setup using ASRock AliveNF4G-DVI

I setup a simple HTPC using this board. I read the review and found this board, paired it up with a cheap AM2 processor can save me some cash. As it is integrated with NVIDIA graphics which can decode PureVideo. It is the natural choice for me until I upgrade the video with an add on card.

The ALiveNF4G-DVI supports dual channel DDRII-800/667/533 with 4 DIMM slots with a max capacity of 8GB. It comes with 2 PCI, 1 PCIe x16 and 1 PCIex1. The board comes with integrated NV44 graphics DX9.0 VGA that supports Pixel Shader 3.0. It can used up to a max. shared memory 128MB. The board is NVIDIA® PureVideo™ Ready for accelerating video clips. Most importantly, the board has a dual VGA output port. - it supports DVI-D and D-Sub ports by independent display controllers.


Singapore Press Holdings to offer a new SPH Video News on-demand channel M2Btv

Singapore’s First Broadband TV service by M2B World seals collaboration with Singapore Press Holdings to offer a new SPH Video News on-demand channelM2Btv subscribers will have first-ever on-demand access on their TV screens to video news content from SPH with international coverage from Associated Press. The SPH Video News channel will also provide an interactive new media platform for advertisers Singapore. December 20, 2006 – M2B World Asia Pte Ltd (“M2B World”) today announced a partnership with Singapore Press Holdings Limited (“SPH”), to launch a first-ever SPH video news on-demand channel on Singapore’s First Broadband TV service, launched by M2B World in July this year. Under the agreement, M2B World will convert, host and stream video news clips produced by SPH, as well as international video news content licensed from AP Digital a division of The Associated Press (“AP”). This new SPH video news channel significantly expands the total offering of entertainment and education on-demand content provided by M2B World on Singapore’s First Broadband TV service, reinforcing its position as the leading provider of video on-demand content in the living room. Currently, subscribers can access over 55 channels of local and international content under the M2Btv brand through its Pony set-top box using any broadband connection bringing on-demand content and services to the living room television screens. The wide offering of entertainment content includes Hollywood blockbusters from SONY/MGM like Memoirs of a Geisha; popular Asian serials - Water Margin, as well as Korean dramas - Perfect Love; BBC comedies such as Goodness Gracious Me; Singapore-made movies like Eating Air; and much more.

08 December 2006

Is HD ready TV really necessary?

Till today, I am still viewing HD contents off air using the receiver. Although I have been to SITEX, I was shocked by the video quality presented on the Pionner sets when they screen Lu XiaoFeng (LIVE).

If you are a subscriber to Starhub Cable TV, you can tune in to Australian network. I suspect all the programming in there the 5pm News, 5.30pm Home and Away are all in HD but downsized to fit our regular 4:3 screen.

Looking at the quality, you would have noticed the vibrant colours and clarity. In fact, if this signal is played back in true HD and shown on a LCD TV. I seriously doubt i would be able to differentiate the clarity at a distance away from the screen.

If you remember the show on CHANNEL U "FrontLine". It was also shot in HD. When it was broadcasted on the old Channel U (mediaworks), the quality is excellent too.

In fact, sometimes I really wonder if we really need a HD READY TV set. Is it just a hype or what? What about BluRay and HD-DVD. Another hype for us to spend more money?
Let's discuss.

12 October 2006

Samsung Blu-Ray BP-P1000 Disc player in my hands

At last, I got hold of a Blu-ray disc player. This Samsung Blu-ray player gives you full 1080p native output and up-conversion for your current catalog. This player also offers backwards compatibility to current dvds and CD playback.

With it , I hooked it up to the LCD TV, too bad it is only 1080i (1366x768 display, non full HD).

Quality is excellent, the images are superb!! Never seen anything like that before. It is even better than those images you saw I previous in my blog on mediacorp's trial HD broadcast.

Looks like it is time to get some titles to test it out.

Stay tuned for more updates.

01 October 2006

BENQ 37" 1920x1080 HDTV in Singapore is way too expensive

37" HDTV 1920x1080 is way cheaper in HK compared to SG.

For example the BENQ 37" 1920x1080, In Singapore, it will cost you close to SGD2700-2900 depending on where you buy it from.

In HK, an advertisement fo the same model costs only HKD 8688 which translates to around S$1700.!!

So before you jump in to purchase the high end HDTV, be careful and shop wisely!!


03 September 2006

Mediacorp HD channel has no audio, Ch 301 on Starhub is no longer available

For those of you who are receiving the HD trial broadcast from Mediacorp. I have noticed that the audio is gone. Another most important change is the upscale elongated image simulcasted from Channel 5.

I wonder if that will be our future HD channel, just some upscale broadcast from the regular Ch 5. That would be the cheapest way of going HD for the time being for the braodcaster.

As for Channel 301 on Starhub, there is no longer any programmes being broadcasted. On Ch 300, it is temporaily the National Geographic.

Some good news for non HD users, Starhub will be introducing 5 new FREE channels on Starhub Digital (for Digital box subscribers), you will be able to watch Free channels from one free Korea, Indonesian, German, etc from October onwards.

30 July 2006

Upgrade to Intel Core 2 Duo E6700

For those who have been following the blog, I just replaced my old ASUS P4 board + Socket 478 P4 3.0G with a cheap ASRock ConroeXFire-eSATA2 (which was reviewed and recommended at www.ocworkbench.com) with a E6700 Conroe processor.

Now I am able to decode the real time videos much better than before. The CPU utilisation also dropped from a high of 70-90% to 30-50%. Although i am using a X1600XT graphic card, the decoder I have directly writes to screen. Thus I am unable to take advantage of the AVIVO feature of the graphics card.

If you know of any DVB-T tuners that can decode h.264, do let me know.

More discussions can be found at the following sites/forums :

29 July 2006

I am back with more news

First of all, I would like to apologise for the no updates for the past weeks. I have been extremely busy with work and there weren't much new developments of HDTV after the hoo-haa event (World Cup).

That day, I had a glimpse of the HD edition of the Pirates of the Carribean. Wow ! The picture quality is fantastic ! I captured some shots of the show on CH 5 and Ch HD One and noticed the differences.

Surprisingly enough, even the 9.30pm news live simulcast on Ch 5 and Ch HD One looks a bit different. The one on HD One is definitely much sharper and picture quality is better.

On another point, ATi has been acquired by AMD. Those of you guys who loves computers would be wondering if AMD will continue to make graphics cards. THe answer is a definite YES and NVIDIA better watch out, you will be KILLED very soon :)

29 June 2006

Asuka launches world's smallest handheld DVB-T TV,

Asuka Semiconductor, a Taiwan-based digital TV (DTV)-module solution provider and system design house, has announced the release of the ARA K-60, which the company claims is the world's smallest handheld digital TV. The ARA K-60 has dimensions 115x77x21mm and weighs 190g.

The ARA K-60 is equipped with a 3-inch low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT-LCD panel display (960×240 pixels) and a built-in telescopic antenna. A polymer battery allows up to three hours of DTV broadcast reception. The ARA K-60 is fully compliant with DVB-T standards and can therefore receive Digital TV and radio broadcasts. The ARA K-60 can also operate as a set-top box (STB), through its A/V output and A/V cord. The unit can also support moderate mobility, between 40-80km per hour.

The K-60 is currently in volume production, according to Asuka.

20 June 2006

亞洲電信展 CommunicAsia 2006 Singapore - Nokia showcases DVB-H and new phones

While browsing the net, I came across the first coverage of CommunicAsia on the net. Everything does not interest me that well except for the Nokia N92 which comes prebuilt in with a DVB-H received.

According to the website ocworkbench.com, "the picture quality is clear and streams in mpeg2. Asked if future versions will incorporate encryption technology, the demonstrator says that there are many different types of encryption schemes and it hasn't been finalised what type will incorporated."

Looks like it is time to watch broadcasts using DVB-H then 3G streaming which costs money.

More coverage of the Nokia event can be found at this link.

19 June 2006

Starhub offers four additional ‘live’ 2006 FIFA World Cup™ matches free-of-charge via its Preview Channel

StarHub, the official broadcaster of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, is pleased to offer football fans in Singapore four additional ‘live’ 2006 FIFA World Cup™ matches free-of-charge via its Preview Channel, Channel 01. The matches will be made available to virtually all households in Singapore who are connected to StarHub’s cable network, regardless of whether they are subscribers of StarHub's cable TV services.

The four additional matches that will be aired on StarHub’s Preview Channel include:

· Togo vs Switzerland (19 June, Monday, 8.30pm)
· Ecuador vs Germany (20 June, Tuesday, 9.30pm)
· Portugal vs Mexico (21 June, Wednesday, 9.30pm)
· 3rd/4th Place (9 July, Sunday, 2.30am)

15 June 2006

Mediacorp HDTV broadcast sample screen captures

Below is a sample clip I captured using my DVB-T tuner. It is really CPU intensive. With my P4 3.0GHz and a Radeon 9500Pro, the cpu utilisation peaked at 100% and throttles between 65%-100%.

The current trial broadcast is playing back locally produced HDTV clips and also clips from Panasonic and Hitachi. It is also advertising the upcoming HDTV screen of the lord of the rings.

08 June 2006

Volcanic eruptions disrupted RTM1 signal ?

Today, I was checking out RTM1 which can be received from the cable point. To my surprise, the picture is totally distorted. That reminds me of the analog encrypted broadcasts, the image is splitted into top, middle and bottom and shifted left right. Go and see for yourself. I wonder did the volcanic eruptions disrupted RTM1 signal ? Using an aerial, I get a clear RTM1 signal though a bit snowy but never "distorted" using nagravision encryption. haha!

So, if you intend to watch your World Cup Live Telecast, it might be better for you to visit :

1) Macdonalds.
2) PUBs that have Live feed from the only cable operator.
3) Watch it Live Streaming from RTM1,2 website.
4) Buy an antenna with booster.

07 June 2006

Smallest DVB-T tuner

Whoa! That is probably the smallest DVB-T Tuner that is available in the market right now! Looks really cool. You can read more about it at http://www.ocworkbench.com/2006/computex2006/day1/leadtek/p4.htm

06 June 2006

ATi Theatre 650 Pro - DVB-T TV Tuner

Local hardware enthusiast site http://www.ocworkbench.com ATI will launch a new DVB-T tuner card at Computex Taipei. The site also provided a picture of the upcoming card with full specifications posted.

The link can be found here. http://www.ocworkbench.com/2006/computex2006/day2/ati/p1.htm

Computex Taipei begins

Computex Taipei is the 2nd largest computer trade exhibition in the world. It draws crowds from local and foreigners to Taipei. At this show, many companies are showing their latest products.

Brands like ASUStek also presented their 32" LCD TV. Looks like they are following Acer, do everything.

Leadtek, Compro releases new DVB-T tuners but not sure if it can decode h.264 avc 4 or not. Some comes with dual tuner, one for ananlog and one for digital. Looks like a good deal.

I noticed that some local sites send people there to cover, but they're slow like a tortoise to get information out. You can visit this site for up to date coverage.

04 June 2006

Technical Knowledge = NIL!

Yesterday i went to one of the megastores in town area to hunt for the ideal LCD TV. While I read that many forumers got the AMOI brand 37" LCD (1920x1080), I took a look and found the price is still at S$2899. Pretty steep I would say.

I was shocked when i see another 26" is selling for only S$899. I looked around and asked one of the staff if it supports HDMI. To my surprise, he mistook DVI as HDMI. I asked for an assurance, he confirmed that it has HDMI?! Next, I asked if I can use this TV set to receive Terrestial Mediacorp HD broadcast, guess what he said? Yes you can, and you don't need a set top box. I was wondering, for S$899 you can get a 26" LCDTV, with HDMI? and with Digital Tuner built in ? I was about to ask, does it support H.264 AVC level4 , i think he will be blur until ...

I am disappointed by the knowledge of the sales people. Seriously, if you know of any place where I can view or talk to someone who is able to tell me more about the AMOI LCD TVs, drop me a comment.

31 May 2006

What kind of LCD TV to buy?

A lot of readers have been wondering what sort of LCD TV to purchase. Will the current LCD TVs support the standards that the two broadcasters use ?

As we have discussed before, most of the current DVB-T or DVB-C tuners might need firmware upgrades to decode the high profile AVC. At this moment, most of the LCD TVs you see in the market do not support digital receivers to receive such signals, be it via cable or terrestial (if you know of any, pls leave comment).

Secondly, most of the LCD TV that are selling right now supports up to 1366x768, some only supports up to 1280x768. These are only 720p compatible. What about 1080i at full resolution ? You will need something that can support 1920x1080.

Anyway, these LCD TVs can display HD TV by hooking up to a set top box provided by Starhub or Mediacorp during this trial period thru HDMI or component IN. So it all depends on whether you want to wait or grab the chance to buy one right now.

The cheapest 32" LCD TV is now at S$1200. Some of the China made models from SHINCO or AMOI are probably even cheaper and they're also using SAMSUNG panels. So why pay more since they're probably using the same sort of panel (perhaps of a lower grading).

29 May 2006

UK ITV begins HD trial soon

UK ITV begins HD trial soon on 9 June 2006 at 12:00 on channel 503.

Mediacorp's HD Channel on Air

Just in case you are not aware, Mediacorp's HD Channel "HD ONE SINGAPORE" has been on air for the past few days. I am able to receive the signal just like what I did with TV mobile, CNA, Digital 5 and Digital 8.

This new channel is broadcasted on UHF Channel 36 (610MHz), 8K mode, QAM 64 modulation. It's audio bitrate is at 384Kbps and broadcasted in AC3.

The broadcasts are in H.264 (AVC) High Profile Level 4. This means high-quality images at a very high bitrate. Audio is transmitted in 5.1 AC3 (Dolby) for true surround-sound.

To receive this HD channel "HD ONE SINGAPORE" you would need a DVB-T device, be it a set top box or a USB, PCI-E card that can receive terrestial broadcast. Next, you would have to update the firmware to support AVC codec at a cost. Some devices will not be able to support the new codec depending on its design.

28 May 2006

Welcome to my blog

First of all, I would like to welcome all to my humble blog on HDTV developments.

Let's start off by talking a bit on the latest trend. Lately, Starhub and Mediacorp has announced HDTV Trial from June onwards. With this in mind, a lot of people have been trying to purchase the very latest HD Panels, LCD or Plasma TVs just to be in the forefront.

A look at some of the local forums shows that most people are still discussing abt Plasma vs LCD. They can talk abt the technology, colours etc. The only thing that they never talked about is the resolution supported.

As you are probably aware, the HDTV trials by both are using MPEG 4 AVC compression. That is the same thing that is being used in the UK in their trials. Mpeg4 conserves more bandwidth than the HDTV broadcasts in Australia.

The standard is 1080i and 720p. If you happen to own a Plasma panel bought earlier, you still can 'playback' HD signals just like anyone else who uses a CRT. This i s because the images will be downscaled to fit the resolution of the older plasma panels or crt (provided the STB has RCA out).

When you go out to buy the latest LCD or Plasma HD panels, please ensure the panel can support up to 1920x1200 (for 1080i) or 1280x720 (for 720p). Anything below that resolution, you might as well just got for a DELL 2405 :)