AFTER A BROADBAND ALERT from Zenark and a tweet from Liam Noonan concerning digital television signals being switched on across Ireland, we went to Maplins and bought a Humax HD-DOX T2 digital audio and video receiver. It's too early to know whether the €205 purchase is worth a Christmas present for the digitally-deprived grandparents but first looks are impressive. The unit is about the size of an Apple Mini and it fits out of sight. It takes an antenna lead from either our loft antenna or from a small Nikkai micro indoor antenna that I found on the shelf but not in Maplin' online shop. I've tested the receiver unit on 12-year-old television sets and it works as simply as a DVD player. However, I can't get it to recognise my USB collection and I think that's because it needs to find Media Center code between the audio, still and video files in order to display cover art and metadata. It makes no sense to spend several hundred euro on a receiver/player if the player portion is inoperative. The digital receiver's interface says we're receiving a signal at 60% of its maximum strength and that means we occasionally get artifacts with rain outside. There is absolutely no static on the 10 digital audio channels that the set autotuned. I imagine there will be some people who will be a little upset at spending any sort of money to tune their television sets when the analogue signal is turned off in 2012. I doubt those people will want to pay several hundred euro for a receiver that's ready to accept a datastream from a media center. However, those same people will be really annoyed when they discover they have to buy both the tuner and a new antenna. I wonder if there will be grants for pensioners to afford this kind of digital living appliance.
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