All change for DTT when HD launches!

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by JohnKen, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    There is a mass of technical and background information about the BBC HD service becoming an approved channel from mid November on Satellite. But the question for Freeview viewers is what does it mean for them!

    These are the key links to the BBC Trust site and the Ofcom site:
    BBC HD Public Value Assessment:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/consult/hdtv/pva.pdf
    Full file list here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/framework/public_value_test/current_proposals.html
    Ofcom - Competetion Assessment:
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/tv/bbcmias/bbc_hdtv/
    NB Edit 07/20/09] - these links are now working - as are the corrected ones in the post below!!

    You should also see the presentation from the head of Ofcom on 19th October 2007:
    His slides are here:
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/speeches/2007/09/mediaslides.pdf
    His talk - in Windows Medai Player is here:
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/speeches/2007/09/briefing

    If you read / listen to these - you'll see that there are some key issues - all mainly to do with DTT capacity. Ofcom are doing a further consultation on a path to switch to MPEG4 and a new multiplexing method DVB-T2 - which will not be ready until 2009 or 10.
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2007/09/nr_20070918

    The interesting thing is the trouble the BBC Trust has gone to to look at the issue of ensuring "platform neutrality" - i.e the same hours on Satellite (and its new Spring 2008 Freesat service) and terrestrial Freesat. The key page to look at for the implications is page 111 of the BBC Trust PVT:

    The key conclusion is (page 112) - that "there is a high risk of public confusion in launching BBCHD as an overnight service on DTT" - using MPEG 2 and DVB-T multiplexing - if new boxes would be needed for an MPEG4 DVB-T2 mutliplex. In the end they say - there is not time in this PVT to sort this problem out - so they propose deferring on DTT - reviewing early in 2008 - with Ofcom conducting an early review of remixing the multiplexes and switching to DVB-T2.

    There is still a risk to the final decision to be taken by 21st November holding off launch until next year - until the DTT future technical issues are sorted. Only today Ofcom reiterated its view (whcih the BBC grudgingly accepted) that the post switchover position could fit up to 4 HD channels in the spectrum remaining after sell off - providing there was a rolling switch during Analogue Switch off to the new DVBT2 standard and MPEG4 for HD. From the Ofcom talk it would NOT [edited would] mean all current boxes and integrated DTT Tuners based on MPEG2 and DVBT would become redundant. It would provide the opportunity to add a new / replacement MPEG4 / DVBT2 box / television - with (as the BBC Trust note) the possibility - say by 2020 that the majority will have moved to the new standard and the DVBT / MPEG 2 multiplexes could do a switch to the more efficient standard. The plan I guess will be to make all new boxes & integrated DTT telly's compatible with both old and new standards. Its a fascinating debate in the Trust report & Ofcom's work.

    I've cross posted to a new thread on Sky HD .
     
  2. SamRadford

    SamRadford
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,965
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    N. Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +308
    Not impossible. We survived Sky's switch from analogue to digital - and from a different satellite position. :)
     
  3. maldonian

    maldonian
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    919
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Ratings:
    +91
    Your BBC Trust links are incomplete.

    Yes, but they ran the two in parallel for a period. That's not so easy when the new standard and the old standard have to share the same spectrum, as the current protracted switchover from ATT to DTT demonstrates. Ofcom ought to abandon(*), or at least shelve, their plan to auction every available scrap of freed-up spectrum as it becomes available, to give some elbow room for a phased switchover from MPEG2/DVBT to MPEG4/DVB-T2.

    (*) Preferably abandon, to make room for the HD channels that will inevitably be needed on DTT, and much more quickly than Ofcom seem to realise.
     
  4. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
  5. m.stephens

    m.stephens
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    609
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +44
    Any suggestion that current DVB-T STBs might become unusable within a few years would be a disaster. I do not believe the existing timetable for analogue switch-off is actually achievable - even now many people in the Border TV area do not know what is going on and they are supposed to lose analogue next year. The bulk of new TVs still only have analogue tuners built in and yet they have "HD Ready" plastered all over them. Mr & Mrs Average basically do not understand that digital isn't high definition - and neither do many of the people who are selling them a new TV.
     
  6. maldonian

    maldonian
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    919
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Ratings:
    +91
    Thank you, they work. The links in your previous post look like they were cut and pasted from shortened on-screen links with ... in the middle.

    Which is precisely why Ofcom should abandon or postpone plans to auction off the released spectrum. Their current aim is to auction spectrum region by region as it is released. Once auctioned it might not become available again for perhaps 15 or 20 years.

    If all the currently used channels were retained for DTT, the channels released by the analogue to digital switchover could be used for a viable parallel MPEG4 system. This would allow a gradual switchover with existing STBs remaining usable for a number of years.

    I used to think so too. But now I think it's inevitable. It's being driven by the prospect of the digital dividend. Ofcom (or should I say the government) want to auction the released spectrum as soon as they can.

    But even with the planned timetable, MPEG2 DTT is likely to be out of date by 2012, overtaken by a tidal wave of HD technology. Even now, the vaste majority of living room size TVs being sold are HD ready, CRTs are dead, 1080p panels are poised to become the norm, HD and BR DVDs are on supermarket shelves, and HD broadcasting has started on satellite. By 2012 the majority of households will have HD capable TVs, probably 1080p, HD players and recorders will be the norm, and HD will be the norm for the main channels on satellite. DTT will be dead if it hasn't started phasing in HD - and not just one channel for a few hours overnight.
     
  7. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Sorry for the mix up on the links - I've discovered you cannot simply cut and paste a section from one post to another - any embedded links need to be replaced in full using the globe&chain icon from the Reply to Thread or Edit screens. When you submit the link you see is truncated, but the hidden HTML does the work, responding to the mouse click. I made the mistake of cutting and pasting between the cross posts. I started it in the Sky HD thread first (where it worked fine) - but failed as it was just copied in the DTT thread.

    We live and learn.

    It all works now!

    JohnKen
     
  8. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    27,778
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,190
    I agree. People just won't accept their STB's will be useless so quickly especially when there are people just getting into digital for the first time now.
     
  9. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Hi - just to bring everyone up to date - the BBC HD Channel has been backed by the BBC Trust - with the channel launching on Sky and Cable from 2st November. Between now and then there is a consultation on whether viewers on Freeview want it to launch as an overnight service - bearing in mind they will need another new box after switchover.

    The Press Release is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/2007/hdtv_provisional_conclusions.html

    and the full provisional decision is here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/consult/hdtv/provisional_conclusions.pdf:smashin:
     
  10. 68Eddie

    68Eddie
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
  11. bigtim

    bigtim
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Messages:
    844
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +60
    Only works with SD.

    It would need an HDMI cable out of it and back into the set to cope with HD (the sets digital tuners are SD only) There was a version like that in development but it wouldn't be so simple in operation - most TVs won't bring up the epg when they on the HDMI AV-IN channel.
     
  12. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    The migration of Freeview to HPEG4 and HD has been trailed at the Westminster Media Forum - in a speech by Ofcom Chief Exec:http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/mediaforum/default.aspx

    Digital Spy has the following summary:

    "Ofcom is to unveil an ambitious "migration path" that would transition Freeview from the current DVB-T transmission standard using MPEG-2 compression to the newer DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 standards by 2009, starting with a single multiplex.

    The media regulator has been insistent that the adoption of new technologies is its preferred way of delivering high definition content on digital terrestrial television rather than using spectrum freed up during the analogue switch-off process taking place through 2012. Parts of that spectrum are instead to be auctioned off.

    Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum yesterday evening, Richards refused to be drawn on how many broadcasters would be involved in the migration plan but admitted that the wholesale adoption of the new standards would require consumers to purchase new set top boxes.

    He did, however, state that any post-migration service would be free-to-air in line with the current Freeview model.

    The plan is expected to be published next month."

    DTG has this summary of Richard's speech:
    "Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards has reiterated the regulator's "platform neutral and pro-competition" approach to its Digital Dividend Review (DDR). Earlier this year Ofcom received 750 responses to a DDR consultation—among them were calls by public service broadcasters, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers to reserve some spectrum due to be liberated by digital switchover for high-definiton (HD) channels on Freeview.

    Delivering the annual Ofcom lecture yesterday, Richards said Ofcom was continuing to assess "whether there is a case of sufficient strength to persuade us to modify our starting point that a market-led approach is the best way of ensuring the efficient use of spectrum". "The challenge is to weigh an identified citizens' interest against the general efficiency of market mechanisms to ensure the best outcome for society as a whole," said Richards.

    "Let me be clear that Ofcom believes that HD offers an exciting improved experience for viewers. We are far from indifferent to HD, but we remain firmly platform neutral and pro-competition in our approach. We also remain open to argument and evidence for a non market allocation where there is an identifiable public interest that clearly outweighs the opportunity cost associated with it.

    "In terms of the DDR, we have yet to reach a conclusion, although, to date, we have not been persuaded of the argument that the best way to maximise the social and economic benefit of the released spectrum is simply to gift some or all of the released spectrum to broadcasters."

    Richards said Ofcom was working with broadcaters "to ensure that the spectrum they already have is used in as efficient a manner as possible". "And here we have a great opportunity. For some time now Ofcom has been developing a proposal which would enable us to clear an entire multiplex and convert this to an improved compression and transmission standard. If we can make this proposal work, then there is a very major prize.

    "Success would mean not only the doubling of capacity for one universally available multiplex, but also for the first time, a migration path for the entire Freeview platform which would offer an enormous increase in capacity.

    "This proposal holds out the prospect of HD services on Freeview, using existing capacity, as early as late 2009 and at far lower cost than any alternative proposal.

    For us it means a far more efficient use of scarce spectrum and supports our duty to promote competition in the communications sector."

    Richards said Ofcom would set out its proposals "later this year"."


    I'll post a link to the speech as soon as it appears on the OFCOM website:http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/speeches/2007/. Its not there yet - though his June speech to them was published.
     
  13. m.stephens

    m.stephens
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    609
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +44
    Now this will be interesting. My reading of "one universally available multiplex" is Mux 1,2 or B alias PSB 1,2 and 3 since Mux A, C and D will never be universally available. It would really put a smile on the faces of the inhabitants of Whitehaven to be told that around 1/3 of the digital services they have just got will disappear in 2 years time because all the boxes they have just bought aren't compatible.
     
  14. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    HI - I don't think you can read it that one of the Public Multiplexes will switch to the MPEG4 + DVB-T2 standard - but that they will squeeze 3 into two using lower bit rate DVB -T1. Compression techniques are improving all the time - with higher quality at lower bit rates. The freed multiplex would become the home of 4 HD channels - BBCHD, ITV1, Ch4HD and Ch5HD(?) + other packages such as the new Sky proposal (possibly with SkyHD). As the changeover happens - this would role out nationally freeing more space. MPEG2 - DVBS1 would only switch when say 90% of boxes had already become MPEG4 / DVB2 compatible - around 2015 to 2020 depending on take up. Meanwhile all boxes produced from late 2008 would have to be MPEG4 and MPEG 2 compatible and DVB-T1 and T2 compatible. This would mean all the high population areas will be switching when the new multi-standard boxes are the only ones on the market. The model will remain mainly a Free to view one.

    I'm pretty sure that's what will be in the annoucement next month - and will be the subject of the usual Ofcom consultation. Only when that's complete will the BBC Trust review starting on Freeview.
     
  15. m.stephens

    m.stephens
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    609
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +44
    So we are agreed that the mux to be freed up would be one of the 3 PSB muxes but your view is that they would simply cram the displaced SD services on to the 2 remaining PSB muxes at presumably around 2/3 of the existing bit rate - so we could end up with a situation like DAB where the quality of the SD digital transmissions is worse than the existing analogue ones.

    Not exactly guaranteed to keep the existing switchover timetable on track.
     
  16. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Well yes - I'm making what I call an "inspired guess" - from what was published yesterday about the Westminster talk - and what was said in the BBC HD decision and the use of Freeview. I can think of no other way of "freeing up" a multiplex to go MPEG4/DVBT-2 than putting what was previously on it on the 2 remaining PSB multiplexes. As I understand it - after Switchover in each region there is another spare multiplex available - which can add more HD and / or bump up bandwidth again. My guess though is that that would logically also become an MPEG4/DVBS-2 multiplex. (I think I read somewhere that you can mix DVB-T2 and DVB-T on the same MUX - but DVB-T can't be used with MPEG4. [I need to check that though.] I'm also not sure if that would be regarded as PSB and included at all sites - or just at the Main sites which get all the COM muxes too.

    I don't see how moving stuff onto 2 muxes at a lower bit rate would in any way affect the changeover timetable - they change stuff across the muxes quite often (i.e BBC Radio has switched only recently) - it just needs a rescan for some boxes. Once the mux is cleared it just relaunches with the new standard - which can be provided universally when the DVB-T2 Standard is internationally ratified (soon), with the further MUX rolled out alongside switchover. This gives most of the UK capacity for several HD Terrestrial services.

    That's NOT to say that I don't personally think that postponing part of the "digital dividend" by adding at least another MUX for HD services after switchover is complete - should not be mandated - as the PSB's advocate. But non of this affects switchover - just what happens on what timescale for getting the UK onto MPEG4/DVBT-2. Adding an extra national MUX after 2012 would enable a planned phased switch to MPEG4/DVB-T2 somewhat sooner. Lots of other EU countries are using MPEG4 already for HD services.
     
  17. m.stephens

    m.stephens
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    609
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +44
    Basically by providing another reason for consumers not to spend money just yet. A situation where the basic channels are broadcast at lower quality on digital than their analogue equivalent makes DVB-T almost unsellable given that the bulk of the other Freeview channels are either not worth watching or simply preview or repeat the main channels anyway.
     
  18. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    For a really interesting take on how the switch would work - see this article on the UKFreeTV site: http://www.ukfree.tv/fullstory.php?storyid=1107051316.

    It explains that - contrary to my comments about dropping 'bit rate' - they will switch some of the non PSB content on the PSB muxes to the COM muxes - to free up a full PSB Mux post switchover to carry new MPEG4, DVB-T2 content - e,g HD. This is a benefit of the switch from 64QAM to 16QAM. All quite technical - but would not appear to be a lowering of present quality or a reduction of current service levels. The stages are region by region introduction of an HD dedicated MUX (PSB3) - with eventaul switch of all MUXes to DVB-T2 MPEG4 from 2017. Dual boxes with MPEG2/4 and DVBT1 & 2 capability will need to be around by 2009 - though the full DVB-T2 spec is not yet agreed - just the outline of its capabilities.
     
  19. JohnKen

    JohnKen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Looks like all the hints have come true when you read the massive amount of detail now released:
    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dttfuture/summary/

    Highlights from the Exec Summary are:
    1.14 We have identified two technical advances that together could result in a very significant increase in the DTT platform's capacity. These relate to improvements in the standards used (a) for coding (compressing) information, to squeeze as much as possible into a given amount of spectrum, and (b) in its physical transmission" (MPEG4 & DVB-T2)

    1.22 using the extra capacity available on DTT at DSO, a whole multiplex could be converted to use the new technical standards, MPEG-4 and DVB-T2. It explains how this can be done without requiring either a reduction in the number or picture quality of services carried on the platform, or any additional spectrum – while still enabling a significant gain in the depth and variety of services available on DTT"

    1.33 We propose that one multiplex should be cleared of existing services in order to be upgraded to the new technologies, MPEG-4 and DVB-T2. We propose that these new technologies should be introduced together, to reap the combined benefits and to avoid a proliferation of different types of consumer equipment for free-to-air DTT services in the UK.

    1.34 We suggest that the multiplex selected should be one of those presently carrying fewest services on the platform, in order to minimise the scale of platform reorganisation required. We also suggest that it should be one of the PSB multiplexes, as these will be available to 98.5% of the population from DSO. This will ensure that the new services are universally available.

    1.35 These two factors point to selection of Multiplex B, which is operated by BBC Free to View Ltd. Under our proposals, the BBC would continue to operate the multiplex but it would be cleared of existing services (which comprise BBC4/CBeebies, BBC Parliament, three interactive video services, ten radio and two data services). These services would be accommodated elsewhere.

    1.36 Our analysis suggests that the multiplex could be upgraded to use new technologies from late 2009 or early 2010. This would mean that new services (such as HD channels) could be made available in time for DSO in the Granada region. The new services and new consumer equipment could then be available, as an additional option for DTT viewers, as DSO occurs in most UK nations and regions. (The new services would, of course, also be made available in Border and West Country shortly after DSO in those regions, probably in late 2009 or 2010.)

    1.37 We propose that the services displaced from Multiplex B should be accommodated on the other two PSB multiplexes. These are Multiplex 1 (also operated by the BBC) and Multiplex 2 (operated by Digital 3 and 4).

    1.40 As a result of this reorganisation, some non-PSB services are likely to be displaced from Multiplex 2 in order to make room for PSB services, which need to be available universally. ... We estimate that ... one UK-wide commercial service will need to be displaced from Multiplex 2 to accommodate a BBC service; however, Five's departure from Multiplex A will free up a slot for another commercial service on that multiplex; another commercial service on Multiplex 2 will not be available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in order to ensure PSB capacity is available to carry S4C, GDS and TG4.

    1.45 Our proposals are:
    to invite the organisations with PSB status (principally the BBC, the Channel 3, 4 and 5 licensees, and S4C) to put forward proposals for the use of the capacity;
    • to hold a comparative selection process that provides a fair, transparent and objective means of deciding between these proposals, using criteria that reflect the three key objectives above;
    • to award capacity in blocks that are large enough to offer an HD service, but to give PSBs the flexibility to propose different options for the balance between HD and SD services (for example, in different parts of the day);
    • to award three such blocks next year, for services to begin in late 2009/early 2010; to award a fourth block in 2010, for services to begin in 2012.
    These proposals will create the opportunity for PSB broadcasters to offer three HD services on the DTT platform from 2009 or 2010, and four from 2012 – or to offer a mix of new HD and SD services.

    1.48 In the long-term, the benefits of upgrading the DTT platform will be greatest if we can achieve a ‘virtuous circle' in which more and more consumers have equipment using the new technologies, more and more services are made available in this way, and the cost of equipment with the new technologies keeps falling.

    1.51 .... it is very important that PSB services continue to be available universally to DTT viewers who have existing equipment. This means that, for the foreseeable future, we think that the multiplexes carrying existing PSB services (Multiplexes 1 and 2, under these proposals) must be required to continue operating in DVB-T and MPEG-2.

    To find out more check out the full consultation - http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dttfuture/dttfuture.pdf and the facinating technical Annex: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dttfuture/report.pdf

    Cheers - enjoy the read.:thumbsup:
     

Share This Page

Loading...