Posted by: Paul | July 27, 2010

Digifusion FVRT200 and the disappearing EPG

I am annoyed. It’s time for some CONSUMER RAGE!

I am the proud owner of a Digifusion FVRT200 digital TV recorder. It may not have the largest hard disc in the world. It may not have the most responsive remote, or the prettiest interface. But it WORKS, and for a piece of kit which has a hard disc in it which is used every single day, that’s saying a lot. In the time I’ve had this unit I’ve replaced the hard disc in my Dad’s supposedly superior Humax twice.

I say it works – it did until a few days ago. Last Friday I wanted to program it to record comic book adaptation American Splendor on Film 4, and found that I couldn’t jump past midnight on the program guide to set it up. ‘That’s odd’, I thought, having tried several times. ‘I’ll reboot the unit in the morning.’ I then promptly forgot about it until last night when we tried to alter the time of our daily Peppa Pig recording for Adam, with Five’s summer holiday schedule having moved around. We tried to select the following day on the calendar and…nothing. Empty. The whole two weeks which are supposed to be stored was greyed-out and inaccessible. I rebooted the machine. Nothing. I rescanned for all channels. Still nothing.

Five minutes of web research and I have the answer. The company which broadcasts the signal carrying the EPG info has come to the end of its contract with certain manufacturers and it has not been renewed. Digifusion in particular is the most affected, but also certain Sony and Thomson units among others. You see, in the time since I bought my box, Digifusion was acquired by Beko, which now only operates the DF brand in Turkey, of all places. That’s nothing to do with me, I thought – I bought a box which was endorsed by Freeview and carries the ‘digital tick’, guaranteeing it will work beyond the switchover. I’ve even checked the box. The onus is on Freeview to take over the contract so I can watch my telly.

However, Freeview’s position is that these manufacturers – including Sony were not authorised to carry this logo and therefore there’s nothing they can do. But in the latest statement they mention contacting the provider (InView, which broadcasts the EPG info) to see if a solution can be found. Despite their denial, this suggests to me that someone somewhere within Freeview or Digital Broadcasting has cocked up, either on the licensing side of things or the technical side, which has left literally thousands of people unable to use their expensive kit, and that they are culpable and will quietly fix the problem without an admission of blame.

I will watch this space to see if the service is restored. In the meantime, there is an online petition currently up to 1400 signatures which you can view and sign if you have been affected by this loss of service at no notice, to put the pressue on Freeview to redress the balance. People power!

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