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New pay TV provider VuTV tackles compatibility issues with Whitelist Approach

As new pay TV provider VuTV from Synapse prepares to launch, the company is making sure there isn't a repeat of the compatibility problems that have dogged other streamed channels on the Freeview HD platform.

Manufacturers are currently using Synapse's test channel on Freeview 790 to check that their Freeview HD certified devices are compatible with VuTV as part of thorough pre-testing on various models before the service goes live. Once tested, manufacturers are notifying Synapse TV with details to form the basis of a whitelist of compatible devices.

 "As a rule of thumb", stated Mike Alexander, Business Manager at Synapse's joint owner S&T, "devices that can access 4Music's red button channels [via channel 18] are more likely to be whitelisted."

He explained that Synapse TV was "taking a whitelist approach" to individual makes and models of Freeview HD equipment to avoid the compatibility problems that have previously dogged other streamed channels on Freeview, where some devices struggled to access some or all of the internet delivered channels with some receivers subsequently blacklisted, leading to confusion among viewers as to which devices did actually work with the streamed channels.

Mike Alexander stated that their approach would reduce the number of viewers contacting VuTV, the manufacturer of the device or Freeview about compatibility problems or devices crashing.

Synapse TV is working with DTG Testing, the organisation responsible for ensuring that Freeview and Freeview HD devices conform to certain standards, to overcome any problems with compatibility.

VuTV will use MHEG-IC technology to deliver the streamed channels via a portal on the Freeview channel guide. S&T already provide MHEG drivers to many leading manufacturers of Freeview TVs and Freeview+ recorders.

Once VuTV goes live, viewers will be invited to visit channel 238 first to ensure their device is compatible before registering to subscribe online. Payments will taken online, rather than via their TV remote.