What a non-Sky receiver won't do
EPG - Programme Guide
Forget it. You'll get a now and next on the channel information itself, as shown here:
CBBC with short-form EPG on-screen.
You will also be able to access an extended description of the current programme, as shown here:
(Radio) channel with long description on-screen.
An insider told me that around two thirds of the code within the Digibox handles the complete Sky EPG system, which provides complete listings for all programmes on all television channels for the next 168 hours (seven entire days).
It would be very nice to have some sort of access to this information on an FTA receiver, but given that level of complexity I don't anticipate this ever happening. The best we can expect on an FTA receiver is the same as the Digibox received on Astra 19.2°E - what's on now and what's on next.
The website seems to suggest that this may be a possibility, the user guide is not particularly detailled. If the 7 day EPG is supported, it doesn't work with Sky.
Specifically, this is a form of interactive service. It is not teletext in the traditional sense of the word. Thus, trying to call up text on the ITV channels won't call up what you see on the Digibox.
The red button
Forget it. No red button content is supported. Ordinarily this means you won't be able to access the interactive 'features' that may be on BBCi from time to time, but you may be able to access the streams to watch directly.
Numerous FTA receivers include a 'timer' which allows the box to switch to a specific channel at a given time so you can tape stuff when you are out. If you live outside of the UK, it might be a good idea to run your box (and VCR) to British time so you don't miss by an hour (or two). Sounds silly, sure, but I bet it's caught all of us out at one time or another - myself included!
You'll need a PostIt note stuck to the side of your receiver so you know what you are recording. An FTA box will set itself up for a specific channel at a specific time; but it won't be able to show you what you'll be recording.
Copyright © 2007 Richard Murray