01 mars 2007

Installation of OTA Freeview digital TV

So .. yesterday the unexpected happened: I was able to plug my set-top box for digital television reception, right into the wall plug where you normally connect to analog cable. Instead of connecting up the analog TV to analog cable, I did this:

------- represents coaxial cable
===== represents European SCART cable

[analog cable wall plug] ------- [digital TV set-top box] ===== [Television set]

The very simple accomplishment of mine allowed me to instantly access terrestrial free-to-air digital television channels. Because of the fact that cable companies normally block access to their terrestrial antennas, I had not expected this to work. However, since I had been informed by this cable provider that they do offer this digital tv option I just had to give it a serious try. It just worked, much the same way I am used to Apple products just working right out of the box. Now I'm just pondering about when the right time will be to purchase a prepaid subscription to the full channel plan.

As it turned out I not only need the prepaid subscription but also either an investment in a so called "CI module" or a complete set-top box with built-in support for terrestrial non-free reception.
The latter seems to be a much better choice because of the small difference in price between the two options:

* Buy set-top box that out of the box provides built-in support for commercial content
* Buy extension card to my current digital set-top box (CI module for DVB-T)

Price for choice 1, a new set-top box purchase bundled with prepaid subscription: 1695 SEK
Price* for choice 2, an extension card: approx. 525 SEK

*= Obligatory prepaid subscription plan (starter kit): 795 SEK + the extension card á 525 SEK equals about 1320 SEK in total.
Not much different from 1695 SEK is it ..?

All in all, I believe the complete package with set-top box, CI module integration and prepaid subscription is worth the extra hundreds. Why? Because it's a complete package ready to plug in and run! Simplicity wins me over, just as MacOS X did for me.