"Walk Like An Egyptian"
Belgacom needs to get its act together, or their digital TV will fail miserably.
Digital TV has arrived in Flanders, offered by your favourite ex-monopolistic telco. Sadly, it's a sorry mess.
For one thing, finding out how much it is going to cost you* to have digital TV on your screen is not as simple as surfing to a webpage. First you need a Belgacom ADSL connection. Price: 40 euro/month. You may get it installed for free if you sign up for 12 months, and maybe even get a modem for free if you sign up for 18 months.
Not immediately clear is if the modem you freely receive signing up for a longer duration is the modem NEEDED for Belgacom TV. One assumes you need a modem/router that reserves dedicated bandwitdh needed for the TV channel.
One hopes the bandwith required for TV content does not count as your ip bandwitdh, cos everything over your monthly quota is 1 euro/gigabyte. A few movies at MPEG-2 compression rates and you're over that, paying 5 euro a movie in bandwith costs alone. Belgacom also anticipates the question of people already having an ADSL connection: "Will watching TV degrade with my download speed?" Sadly, clicking that very link brings you not to the answer, but a general troubleshooting page. If you persist, you may find out that you'll need close to 90% of your adsl bandwidth to watch TV.
Say you manage to get hold of your Philips modem-router, the next part is renting a decoder with remote: 6 euro/month. From the manual, we glean that the decoder has following interfaces: two RJ45 (one needed to connect to the router), one (!) scart, two mini-din interfaces, two USB, one coax, what looks like audio out, one phonelike connector, and bluetooth or IR or some other wireless connection. Our guess is the default model has only capacity for a single tuner, so no taping and watching another channel. Clearly the 2nd RJ45 is not intended to daisy chain another decoder, at least for the moment, as you'll need one ADSL connection for each TV.
Having paid for the bandwidth AND decoder, there still is, in the immortal words of Holland's finest, "Geen bal op de TV" (f*ck-all on TV). How much is actual content gonna set you back?
Well, you get 35 channels for free funtil september 30th, and will pay an undetermined amount after that. If you signed up for a 12 or 18month ADSL contract, Belgacom will have you by your short hairs. Mind you, almost 40% of those channels are crappy French channels, with important Dutch or English channels missing.
Video on demand will set you back 2 to 6 euro for a movie, 8 euro fo a single football match. Prices for some football channels are also available:
All Foot : 25 EUR / month
Top Foot : 15 EUR / month
ViaCalcio: 15 EUR / month
Final Conclusion: wait for Belgacom to get their sh*t together before you get involved in this.
*: Navigation is cookie-based, so nu url's, you haver to surf and grope. Way to Go, Belgacom!