The completion of 'digital switchover' from analogue PAL to DVB-T in October 2012 left the UK as an effectively digital-only territory. BSkyB turned off its analogue satellite signals in 2001. Since 2008, all televisions in the UK have been sold with an inbuilt DVB-T tuner or a standalone set-top box.
Households in a small number areas formerly served by NTL, notably Milton Keynes, still have access to analogue cable signals. While Virgin Media turned off analogue signals in ex-Telewest areas in January 2012, a decade-long access dispute with BT has meant that Virgin Media has been unable to replace antiquated cabling unsuitable for transmission of DVB-C and other services.
Free To Air (FTA)
- Freeview (DVB-T and DVB-T2) - Mostly SD content, some HD content.
- Freesat (DVB-S and DVB-S2) - SD content and HD content.
- Virgin Media Cable (DVB-C) - merged NTL/Telewest, SD content, HD content provided via "on-demand" services
- Sky Satellite (DVB-S/S2) - Provides SD and HD content.
Obtaining TV listings
In the UK, there are two ways to populate the TV listings used by MythTV:
UK listings are best served by using the tv_grab_uk_rt grabber (Uk_xmltv), which uses a dedicated xmltv feed on the Radio Times website. It provides a full 14 days of data with detailed programme descriptions, film reviews and ratings.
EIT (EPG) data is available in various forms in the UK. For Freeview/DVB-T and Freesat/DVB-S services 7 days of data are provided. For Virgin Media, EPG is provided per channel for 3-4 days, and further 7 day listings are available on a channel marked only as "Home EPG", possibly for Virgin's own DVR solution "V+". Sky only broadcasts Now/Next information with advanced listings available via the OpenTV system.
MythTV does not seem to pick up correct channel assignments for every channel on Freeview/Freesat from broadcasted data, i.e. via a channel scan. There is a simple database change that can be completed to update the channels quickly as using the channel editor is very slow to make many changes. UK-DVB-Channels
Digital Television Platforms
- Main article: Freeview (DVB-T and DVB-T2) in the UK
The UK Freeview/DVB-T broadcast platform consists of 6 multiplexes and 1 multiplex supporting DVB-T2 for HD.
The platform is compliant to the DVB-T standard, and uses a UK specific profile of MHEG-5 to provide Interactive Services. MythTV supports both standards and can be received using a standard DVB-T capture card.
Virgin Media broadcasts standard DVB-C over their network. Most of the channels are encrypted with Nagravision and could be decoded with a standard CI and Nagravision CAM. Unfortunately, Virgin Media lock their Nagra cards to only work with the built-in CAMs in their STBs. There's no way to legally access encrypted channels from the Virgin Media network using this method; therefore, MythTV users must capture these channels via the STB with a analogue card (PVR-150/PVR-500 or HD-PVR).
Virgin Media do broadcast a number of channels which are unencrypted, via DVB-C and in some areas analogue, all the BBC channels, ITV and Channel 4. Using MythTV with these channels is legal, however Virgin Media terms and conditions do not allow any equipment other than that they supply to be connected to their cable network so by doing this you will be breaking their terms and conditions.
Freesat was launched on the 6th May 2008. It is a Free to View service operated by companies including the BBC and ITV as an alternative to Sky and a sister service to Freeview. Freesat promises more HD material and channels than Freeview. There is no subscription or viewing card required, all channels are broadcast without encryption and can be received with a standard DVB-S card.
Most channels available OTA in the UK are available via Freesat on the Astra satellite constellation unencrypted.
Five HD channels are made available at this time BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, ITV HD, STV HD and Channel 4 HD. A DVB-S2 card is required for the BBC and Channel 4 HD channels.
Sky Digital is a subscription satellite broadcast network run by British Sky Broadcasting which in turn is owned by News Corp.. Sky broadcasts on the SES Astra satellite system via DVB-S and DVB-S2 standards.
Sky Digital encrypts most broadcasts with VideoGuard, which is developed by NDS Ltd, a company also owned by News Corp. NDS have not allowed any licensed CAM modules for VideoGuard, preventing use in MythTV with DVB-S tuners. The only way to capture encrypted Sky broadcasts is via a STB, a valid subscription and an analogue capture card e.g. Hauppauge PVR-150.
Sky broadcast a number of High Definition channels, but their image quality is frequently described as poor compared to HD offerings from other Broadcasters such as the BBC. Sky HD compares more equally to high bitrate Standard Definition channels on Freeview. HD capture is not currently possible so recording of HD sources from Satellite is currently limited to Freesat.
For remote controlling a Sky or Sky+ box - the first two are a wired solution so do not have the usual unreliably/fiddly setup issues associated using infrared to control the STB:
- D-I-Y Sky rflink lirc mini howto
- prebuilt RS232 Sky rflink hardware / software - requires no drivers, no LIRC changes
- prebuilt infrared option
There is also a script to update the sky frequency numbers after the recent (28th Jan 2006) change.
Virgin Media STB
This page for the cable box control: 
Configuration for Virgin Media box control can be found in the LIRC remotes archive, The DI4000N config file will work for Samsung boxes, the older black Pace boxes have a seperate configuration.