We have had many people ask us what MHEG and MPEG mean and whether Topfield receivers will still be able to receive the FreeView channels if they are not the FreeView approved receivers. The data sheet below provides the answer.
MHEG & MPEG Data Sheet
With DTV and FreeView launching in New Zealand a whole new range of terms have been bandied around, many times with little or no understanding of them.
So what does MHEG and MPEG mean? And if my satellite receiver does not have MHEG will I be able to receive FreeView in New Zealand?
What is MHEG?
This is a software that is loaded on the receiver. The New Zealand software will be called MHEG-5.
This software has some benefits. For example MHEG-5 allows the broadcaster to allocate the channel settings on the receiver. Should a channel change in the Freeview lineup or a new channel be added, the receiver will automatically be updated. Much like how consumers never have to tune their Sky receivers, it is done automatically.
Are there any downsides to MHEG-5? Just two small downsides. The first is that with a satellite receiver with Mheg-5 you can only ever receive Freeview channels, you can not use this receiver on other free channels broadcast to New Zealand. Secondly the software costs the manufacturer of your receiver and so the cost of a MHEG-5 receiver is considerably higher than a non-MHEG-5 receiver.
If my satellite receiver does not have MHEG will I be able to receive FreeView in New Zealand?
Yes you can still receive the service. The service that is running now on Optus D1 will not change in format, it will still be a DVB free-to-air broadcast. All of the current 20,000 (at one estimate) or so FTA receivers that were out there before Freeview began will still be able to receive the service.
What is MPEG?
MPEG is an acronym for Moving Picture Experts Group (an International Standards Organisation/International Electro-technical Commission). This group works on compression technology, which allows audio and video to be compressed for use in broadcasting.
Current most satellite broadcasts in New Zealand are in MPEG-2, and all of the standard satellite receivers are capable of receiving MPEG-2 DVB broadcasts. However when now FreeView has launched Freeview|HD, their DTT (digital terrestrial) service, it uses the new MPEG-4 format. This will not affect satellite broadcasts for some years to come.
The new MPEG-4 format uses less bandwidth and allows for HD (high definition) broadcasts.
We already have Topfields HD satellite receivers. These Topfield HD satellite products receive both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, allowing you to future proof for the day HD is broadcast via satellite.