Posted by: englishdubai | October 3, 2009

My Pipe has Expanded

I was looking at some old posts as I tidied up this site earlier today and nearly a year ago I was very pleased about getting 12 Mbps internet. Du has continued to work on its network and as the result of the their investment into their backbone they are now offering improved services.

The first thing I got excited about was an upgrade (at no extra cost) from 12 Mbps to 24 Mbps. Despite it being expensive ($204 a month) at least I have the option to choose this service. Below is a chart of the different offerings:

Having had this speed for a couple of months I am overall really pleased with the service. Typical web browsing is a good experience and HD streaming sites like Revision 3 are now a joy to visit. I have benchmarked the speed and I can easily achieve full line speed late in the evenings. I think there is some traffic shaping but I rarely see anything less that 16Mbps at peak times. The best bit – there are no bandwidth caps. I didn’t realise just how good this was till I was in the UK recently and realised that you pay dearly for having a true unlimited download package from an ISP. Now if only I could get a service with really low latency – I would be ecstatic.

The more recent service that I am happy to see is the introduction of a High Definition (HD) TV service. When I left the UK mid 2006 HD was something that had yet to be launched to the general public and in the interim three years has become defacto with most of my friends (even my Mum has HD TV now!)

The DU HD TV service involves getting new decoders and an engineer to come and install them. After a four week wait I got them installed last weekend. The set top box appears to be a Tatung model with the added bonus of acting as a PVR allowing the recording of TV shows for viewing later (I didn’t realise how much I had missed simple VCR functionality). It looks quite slick:

The good thing is that the new HD box has HDMI output for easy hook up into the rest of my home cinema gear. The options for HD display are 720p and 1080i and with the right HD content the output is really quite decent. Below is a photo (excuse the light reflection) of “Chuck and Larry” from the Showtime HD channel and it is on a par with DVD quality.

If I look at the three key areas for HD TV I rate the picture to be a really good improvement, the sound to be an excellent improvement and the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) to be a huge step forward. Now with picture in picture channel surfing and easy to set-up recording of shows it is very friendly in use. The downside of all the promise of HD TV is that there is still a lot of content in regular standard definition which now looks even worse in direct comparison.

It is great to see the service provides Du and Etisalat now bringing these offerings to consumers in Dubai and pulling home entertainment onto a par with other parts of the world. I am interested to see what else is in the pipeline maybe 50Mbps home internet or a wider variety of HD content – either way it is all upside for the regular Joe.


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