“Hopefully 7fix 7flix”

2016-02-29_1142

The launch of 7flix attracted plenty of comment on social media yesterday, but much of it was from viewers hit with technical problems.

Many in regional areas, along with Foxtel viewers, expressed frustration at being unable to find the channel. At the moment 7flix is confined to metro areas and Seven Queensland (regional). But there were also some city viewer experiencing difficulties, complaining of sound problems. TV Tonight received plenty of complaints and questions here.

The channel uses MPEG4 meaning some older MPEG2 capable sets will be unable to access it, without a new set top box (or a newer TV). While other new channels have recently launched including 9HD, these have been with an SD simulcast to avoid viewers missing out.

But others were happy to have the new channel:

The channel is Live streaming via PLUS7 for those wanting to see new episodes of shows such as Once Upon a Time, The Amazing Race, The Muppets and The Mindy Project.

Meanwhile Foxtel has advised, “We’d love to offer 7Flix to our customers through our set top boxes and are currently in discussions with Channel 7 about this.”

The female-skewing channel drew a modest 2.3% share in its first outing.

Seven is offering some: 7flix FAQs here

What is the difference between MPEG2 and MPEG4?
Seven’s main channels are broadcast using MPEG2 whereas Racing.com on Ch78 is MPEG4. MPEG4 is a more efficient format of broadcasting and has the ability to provide better picture quality.

How can I tell if my TV is MPEG4 compatible?
A majority of televisions, set top boxes and PVR’s purchased since 2009 including any devices bearing the Freeview logo will have this capability but those bought prior to 2009 may not support MPEG4. If you are unsure if your current TV supports MPEG 4 you will need to refer to your manual or contact the customer care line for your specific TV brand.

TV’s which do not support MPEG4 are most likely to demonstrate one of the following behaviours :

· Ch76 appears in the channel list, the picture is black and the sound may or may not be ok

Or
· Ch76 does not appear in the channel list at all

34 Comments:

  1. 7flix’s use of HE-AACv2 audio is actually more problematic than MPEG-4 video.

    Depending on their level of AAC compatibility, TVs that don’t fully support it can end up with mono sound (HE-AAC v1), low-quality sound (AAC-LC), or as many viewers have complained…no sound. For many TVs and STBs this can be completely independent of any MPEG-4/H.264 video capability. There are complaints of all 3 issues on social media and forums.

    What makes things worse is that there’s actually no reason or advantage for them to be using v2 at the 64kbps bitrate they’re broadcasting in — that’s exactly the bitrate where v1 is suppossed to be used, and using v2 at this bitrate is actually negatively impacting sound quality.

    Unlike MPEG-4 video which brings a tangible increase in video quality and/or compression efficiency — the compatibility problem of their HE-AACv2 audio is actually all…

    • Good to know the problem. It’s existed since 78 Racing.com was launched so it doesn’t appear Seven have been in a hurry to fix it.

    • 7flix are now broadcasting 2 audio tracks in some areas (e.g. Sydney and Melbourne). Still got the original HE-AACv2 which many devices can’t handle, but also using MPEG2 which is more compatible. My trusty Beyonwiz DP series PVRs can now play the audio.

      • Spoke too soon. In Sydney 7flix has gone back to a single audio stream with the HE-AAC codec which is incompatible with many devices. Are 7flix deliberately trying to annoy and lose their potential audience? Perhaps we should ask their advertisers who might have more influence?

  2. Six month old LG TV (which cost $1,200.00) with two year old Topfield PVR will not tune to the new Mpeg4 channels – so much for “televisions since 2009 should be compatible.”

    I went to see the price gougers at Harvey Norman last night – all out of compatible set top boxes with no plans to get additional stock it, but I can have a new television for “under $3,000.00” if I wish.

    I think I will live without the Mpeg4 channels for now.

    • “Six month old LG TV (which cost $1,200.00) with two year old Topfield PVR will not tune to the new Mpeg4 channels – so much for “televisions since 2009 should be compatible.”

      Even sets that are newer may have MPEG4 capability switched off by default and you may need to go through your options to see if it can be switched on. I had to do that with my Panasonic model that was a couple of years old, it wouldn’t pick up MPEG4 but a check of the options soon brought those channels up.

  3. People are so entitled. All they have to do is move house to a part of the country that receives this! It will only cost you a couple of million for a house in Sydney, what are you complaining about?

  4. My older PVR is caught out by the MPEG4 thing, luckily I bought a new one over Christmas so shouldn’t really matter. But a bit annoying that items sold as HD have become obsolete, will there be more changes forcing us to upgrade again anytime soon?

  5. People are so entitled. Nothing needs “fixing” asides from people’s attitudes towards buying new equipment to access a free TV channel. Simply put, there isn’t enough room on the spectrum not to use MPEG4. Don’t blame Seven for using it; blame the technology companies for not supporting it sooner.

    As an aside, it’s interesting that Seven’s choosing to use such a low bitrate audio feed for a movie channel, 64kbps, compared the 192kbps+ of their other channels. Surely it wouldn’t be difficult to scrape an extra 64kbps to bring it to a bearable 128kbps. Maybe drop 7TWO to 128kbps? I’m sure nobody would notice.

  6. Ok we have entry level LG tv that’s 4 yrs old & tunes the new channels itself. Some tv’s need to have Mpeg4 enabled thru’ the menu as they’re disabled from the factory to avoid paying licensing fees. Sound quality on HE-AAC sd channels(74,76,78)are louder than primary channel. Picture quality is good. Our newer el-cheapo tv’s in other rooms also all good. We’re in metro SA. I’m glad 7flix is not a cooking or lifestyle channel!

  7. I’m not sure any of the recent add on channels are worth investing in new tech to watch their content, the dominating FTA Networks are being typically full of hype with little substance. Those who do have old TV’s should check their DVR players own channel menu and try that . DVR players are also cheaper to replace than TV’s and usually have the bonus of featuring up to date smart TV functions and media player USB outlets, dependent on price .

  8. Once again I appeal to TV stations to stop broadcasting in MPEG4, stop introducing new channels in MPEG4 and move the channels currently in MPEG4 back to MPEG2. It isn’t good enough to tell everybody “Just buy a new TV”, or “Get a set-top box”, there are thousands of dollars invested in TVs, PVRs and other equipment which has been made virtually useless by TV stations being selfish and trying to make a killing forcing everybody to buy new equipment. We don’t want MPEG4, we don’t need it and it is total crock. Scrap it now for God’s sake!

    • you don’t want mpeg 4 but it’s the way of the future. mpeg 4 gives you better compression so we can see better quality pictures. And with a small spretrum mpeg 4 is the only way to go. a stb costs 30 dollars

    • I sympathise, I really do.
      The TV set we use isn’t MPEG4 either (however our PVR is, so we use that and we can watch live through it).

      But MPEG2 is simply out of date, it doesn’t handle resources and data as well as MPEG4.
      MPEG4 allows better resource management and offers (in theory) better results for the end user.

      There comes a time and point where progress has to be made.
      I know there’s people out there who still would want to use Windows XP computers and are annoyed that it no longer is supported.
      But there has to be a point where we move on and progress to MPEG4 is inevitable.

    • So the rest of the nation should wait for new channels until you update your TV set?

      If you can’t receive these other than a HD channel switching to SD you’re not losing anything, and a cheap set top box is the interim solution until time comes to change your TV. Completely agree that technology is too disposable nowadays but in reality MPEG4 has been the standard for years – it’s just that consumers haven’t been fully informed.

      Australia really needs to get a grip of it’s digital strategy as it’s really getting left behind. In Europe countries are slowly but surely now making the switch from MPEG2 to MPEG4 and as such turning off SD channels and going fully HD. On the 5th April in France they’re turning off all MPEG2 SD channels and switching 25 channels to HD.

  9. 1 of my DVRs will handle 9HD but the sound has always been clipped on Seven’s MPEG4 channels. Looks like Seven is putting a lot of compression on to fit in all the channels, more than processors in some old equipment can handle.

  10. Are these the same people who complained that they couldn’t get 9HD too because of the codec format… Stop complaining! Upgrade your TV / firmware or purchase a STB from a retailer. Heads up people, Channel 10 will make changes to their services this Wednesday too… Let see what people say here then!

  11. I had the channel listed in my TV channels for weeks and when I went to check it out yesterday it said “No service”
    Re-scan the digital and now the channel has gone.

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