It’s been a short while since my last blog entry; I have been hurriedly coding my monstrous hunk of a new website, Auction Earners. In between frantic key bashing I have also partaken in Christmas festivities, settled in at work (carefully omitting keywords to prevent this being flagged in a Google Alert), turned 23 and grown a little overweight. Who’d have thought that typing was not sufficient daily exercise to keep one healthy? When it gets a little warmer those calories will be burnt off as I take to a regime of sun tanning and cycling.
Now, in taking a break from my still unready ad service, I feel that I need to rant about a couple of things. Come New Year and my splendid get-together come shindig in my flat – (with Tex-Mexican niceties (tacos, enchiladas, dips, chilli con carne) spread among 8), whilst purchasing the tasty treats I decided to embark on a Freeview adventure. Back in November I bought myself a Philips Freeview box (a DTR220, digital terrestrial receiver) for £35. Plugging it into the aerial atop of my flat lead to the discovery of 40 channels, with an almighty 3 of these being viewable (bid up TV, sky three and a radio station), the rest degrading into some sort of glitch-ridden madness. This didn’t bother me too much; I took the box back and grabbed my refund from Curry’s, one hour after purchase. In late December I picked up my signal booster from Bristol, bought the same box again and hey presto – 40 viewable channels.
It’s been a month or so since I got the box, and a number of things have started to annoy me. The main niggle is the constant crashing of the firmware – I’ll be merrily flicking through channels and all of a sudden it will turn itself off and on again, experience a control freeze up (the TV signal shall continue but all control is removed – forcing me to switch the unit off and on at the switch) or suddenly cease rendering the background image elements for the EPG and info bar – which again do not return until a reset. Temporary in-viewing problems also include a periodical five to ten seconds of black and white, cross channel interference (particularly annoying if the invading channel has scrolling text) and all on top of the ugly low signal digital pausing and image distortion that occurs during bad weather. The remote control interface is also entirely unintuitive, although it is slick – if I had to give a positive point to this pseudo review.
In conclusion, do not buy the Philips DTR220, it is a hunk of junk with a brand name.
To continue in the same vein, my television comes equipped with a solitary SCART connector. I regularly switch between my Xbox 360, Wii, PC output and Freeview box. This wouldn’t be a problem if an affordable yet decent switch-able multi SCART adapter existed. Finding a manual switching device that doesn’t use automatic signals to change the display is difficult enough – given that my PC is on all the time this isn’t an option. Robert and Dyas do stock one, a 4 connector with push button switch – fantastic. Up until the point you plug it in and get hideous interference between all the SCART channels and incessant screen flickering. Product returned and I’m still looking.
Ideally I would upgrade my 20 inch CRT to a flat screen LCD, but the TV isn’t that old and it does its job well enough – except when it comes to Xbox 360 gaming, but that isn’t its fault. Of the 4 games I have, only one has legible on-screen text – the others all result in tiny blurred text that is impossible to read – rendering it useless. This is entirely a design flaw – expecting all users to own an LCD is an outrageous assumption that continues to thwart me. Gah!
Ok, electronics rant over, time to get back to fixing some session stuff.