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Your blog is really very informative and well written. I've enjoyed reading and learning from you!

Nice to know that you find it useful.

 

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After I bought my Little Giant Ladder, my friends showed me similar ladders they have.

Multi Purpose Ladder

This is a "M" shaped ladder which can be adapted to 13 different configurations. It weighs 14.5 kg and can reach 3.8 m (12.5 ft) when fully extended.

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Telescopic Ladder

I don't know the name for this ladder. It works like mine except that there are 4 telescopic sections and these sections are adjacent to one another. Mine has only two telescopic sections and one is totally within the other. No idea about the weight and maximum height but I know it can be straightened to be a step ladder.

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I came across this shop which claims to sell all kinds of ladders: http://www.cycc.com.sg

 

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Digital TV

A while back, Asking4Help asked me here whether it was a good idea to buy a digital TV. I had no idea. But few days back, my TV reception went to this:

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I had to find a solution. So I read up on digital TV and discovered many things I did not know.

Should I buy a Digital TV?

Well, if you are buying a TV now, you should buy a digital TV or specially one with the DVB-T2 (Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial) standard. The benefits are summarised by Mediacorp as follows:

    • Better quality pictures (e.g High Definition TV and even 3 Dimensional TV)
    • Superior sound (e.g. surround sound)
    • Electronic programme guides where you can find out more information about the TV programmes
    • Multi-language subtitles (where available)

We are told that DVB-T2 is adopted as the industry standard in key European and Asian countries. It offers higher efficiency, robustness and flexibility, enabling efficient use of valuable terrestrial spectrum for the delivery of audio, video and data services to fixed, portable and mobile devices.

Finally, sometime after December 2015, existing analogue TV signals will be cut. Thereafter, you will not be able to watch TV unless you are able to receive the Digital TV signals!

Edited by kstoh
 

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What if my TV is not Digital?

You can buy a DVB-T2 digital set top box and connect to your TV. I saw one at NTUC Xtra for $129 and was thinking of buying it.

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Until I realised that things were not so simple .....

What about the Antenna?

I mistakenly thought you could just plug the DVB-T2 digital set top box to the existing SCV point but no. Mediacorp's digital tv signals are carried over the air, and not via the SCV cable or OpenNet fibre networks. So, just like fashion, we go one big round back to the old fashion days of a separate portable indoor antenna. Just that instead of the old rabbit ear antenna the newer digital tv antenna looks more stylo mylo. The antenna must be the UHF antenna able to receive the DVB-T2 signals which will be broadcast in the UHF channels 21~69 (470~862 MHz). The DVB-T2 digital set top box shown above came with a free antenna.

What about StarHub or SingTel Mio TV subscribers?

If you are a StarHub TV or SingTel mio TV subscriber, you do not need to do anything as you can receive and watch the MediaCorp TV channels in digital quality through your pay TV service. However, if you have TV sets not connected to the pay-TV service, you will need to purchase an indoor antenna and DVB-T2 digital set-top box to connect to your current TV. If your TV set is a DVB-T2 Integrated Digital TV or IDTV, you will just need the antenna.

 

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Why is our existing TV or OpenNet fibre network not used to carry the Digital TV signals?

This is the joint explanation by MDA and HDB.

MR PHUA Kok Hee suggested using either the national fibre network or HDB's rooftop antenna system to carry the new digital TV signals ("More questions on digital TV"; Dec 21).

We had considered the options raised by Mr Phua in implementing the terrestrial digital TV network for Singapore. To watch MediaCorp's digital free-to-air (FTA) channels via the commercially run OpenNet fibre network, households will need to subscribe to a paid service provided by a pay-TV operator (SingTel mio TV or StarHub TV) where monthly charges apply.

The HDB rooftop master antenna television (MATV) system, on the other hand, was designed to receive analogue TV signals and is not able to receive digital TV signals. Upgrading the MATV system is very costly and requires an overhaul of the wiring to the TV points in most homes. The rewiring will be intrusive and cause inconvenience to households. Hence, HDB has no plans to upgrade the MATV system.

With the terrestrial digital TV network that MediaCorp is rolling out, households can watch FTA TV programmes in high definition without the need to pay monthly charges. They can do so by connecting either an integrated digital TV with built-in DVB-T2 tuner to an indoor antenna or, if their existing TV is not DVB-T2 compliant, to a DVB-T2 digital set-top box and an indoor antenna.

Households will encounter less inconvenience and more flexibility in placing their TV set without the need to search for a fixed TV point.

Edited by kstoh
 

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So can we switch to Digital TV now?

Yes and no.

Since December 2013, while all seven MediaCorp channels are broadcast in digital, four channels are also broadcast in HD – Channel 5, Channel 8, Suria and Vasantham. The remaining three: Channel NewsAsia, Channel U and okto will be upgraded to HD by 2016.

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However, what was initially not clear to me is that there is a roll out schedule and not all parts of Singapore have indoor coverage yet. My house is in Bedok area and according to the map, digital tv roll out for Bedok will only be in 2015 / 2016.

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However, MediaCorp webpage mentioned that "Rooftop reception is available island-wide from December 2013" and if you look at the map, some parts of Singapore (Tuas, Changi) have no indoor reception roll out date. When I called the MediaCorp hotline, the person who answered the call could not explain this. He referred me to a technical guy who explained that outdoor reception via roof top reception should be available for the whole of Singapore (including Tuas, Changi) since December 2013. He also mentioned that if your house or apartment is high enough, your antenna is powerful (and not the free one that I mentioned earlier) and your antenna position is near the window, you may well be able to receive Digital TV now. He specifically stated that some users in Bedok in landed housing have been able to receive Digital TV.

Edited by kstoh
 

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My Final Solution

In end, I just went to my neighbourhood hardware store and bought a $15.90 CATV signal amplifier.

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Seems to work fine!

From this:

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To this:

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Edited by kstoh
 
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Wall Mounted TV and Soundbar - Concealing the Wires

illidann asked me how I concealed my wires. This requires some planning.

Basically, you need a "MRT Tunnel" with one opening at the bottom where the console will be mounted and where the power and other cables (from SCV, DVD, network etc) go in and another opening at the top where the cables come out to the TV. If you have a wall mounted soundbar, then you need an intermediate opening between the two openings. Do not under-estimate the number and size of wires that need to pass through. In my experience, the tunnel needs to be at least the size of an air-conditioning trunking, and the openings for the TV and console needs to be the size of those table computer cable holes (round, big size). The one for the soundbar can be smaller.

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If you are doing some feature wall, then you lay the marble/fitles/bricks over the wall except for the openings. The bottom opening will be covered by the TV console. The top opening will be covered by the TV.

This was my original plan. I was going to lay travertine marble over the wall. However, I changed my mind.

Edited by kstoh
 

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I decided to build some kind of wooden feature wall. This would allow me to hide the many switches on the side of the wall.

This is the other way to have the "MRT Tunnel". If for some reason you cannot dig the tunnel in the wall, you build a wooden structure on top of the wall, and you provide a space for the wires to run inside the structure.

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. . . do note that based on the heating element alone, this type of heater requires a very powerful heating element. The Bennington C600 website puts the power rating at 4.5 kW to 12 kW. Compare this to Rheem storage heaters with a power rating of only 1.8 kW to 4.8 kW (tanks from 25L to 400L).

Does this mean a higher electricity consumption, and hence, bill, Kstoh?

 

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Does this mean a higher electricity consumption, and hence, bill, Kstoh?

Not necessarily the case as it depends on your usage pattern.

If you switch on both a 4.5 kW Instant heater and a 1.8 kW storage heater for one hour, the instant heater will consume 2.5 times more power at 4.5 kWh as compared to the storage heater at 1.8 kWh. However, the nature of the instant heater is such that you power on only when you use it. So, if you need to take a 10 min shower, you will switch on the instant heater for only 10 mins. For storage heaters, many users have the habit of turning on the storage heater 5 to 30 mins before use, in order to heat up the water in the tank.

Assuming you switched on the storage heater for 20 mins before use, and then use it for another 10 mins (total 30 mins), the energy consumption is actually slightly more than the instant heater (0.9 kWh as compared to 0.75 kWh). The current electricity rate should be 0.2568 per kWh, so the difference is only about 4 cents for this one use. I hope my calculations are correct!

 
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That’s very helpful. Thanks, Kstoh! This heater sounds good; I believe I shall be getting it. (I wish I could find post-renovation reviews of it though.)

 

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