BBC HD channel poor choice

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by imigix, May 26, 2008.

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  1. imigix

    imigix
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    When we first got colour from the BBC they did not have a special colour channel. What was done for example BBC1 ran its normal progs. and when one was in colour you saw it in colour the rest you watched in mono. As time went along more and more colour was available. This is what should have happened with HD this would avoided this swapping about from channel to channel has we have now.
    Another thing is I looked at the BBC HD page on line today to check whats on and would you believe it under the channel guide to reception it tells you were to receive it on anything but Freesat.
    The BBC used to be second to none now everthing almost is contracted out even engineering and design and it sadly is worse for it.
    However I am not wanting to see it go I do not want adverts every few mins.
    I am happy to pay my licence its just used to be so much better.
     
  2. small358786

    small358786
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    But then not everyone has HD TVs already do they?
    A complete switch to HD overnight just wouldn't be fair,would it?
    I thinks its better to keep the channel seperate for now.
    On the www.bbc.co.uk/hd I see "How do I get BBC HD?" to the right,click it and it lists the providers,one of them being Freesat.
     
  3. Jonstone

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    I'm not exactly sure what you are saying.

    Obviously they can't have one channel for everyone as the huge majority no not have the equipment to receive hd broadcasts.

    If you are suggesting a simulcast hd channel thatr shows the same as bbc sd then you would get very little hd programming per night, in fact this option wouldn't work at all as not all bbc's hd output is from one channel.

    I know I am in a minority here, but tbh the public at large would receive greater overall benefit from increasing the bitrates on the sd channels rather than using the bandwidth for hd channels that hardly anyone watches. I know this will change over time, but in the long term I wonder if hd broadcasts will deteriorate ( much as sd ones have) to the point where we would all have been better off with lass compressed sd channels rather than over compressed hd ones. I would happily bet that the difference between an sd channel at 5-6 Mbps and an hd one at 10-12 Mbps isn't that great and that is what I believe we will end up with long term
     
  4. imigix

    imigix
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    Regards to your reply Small358786 the now HD channel would be BBC 1 transmitted at the same time as the land based BBC 1.
     
  5. small358786

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    I see,couldn't undertstand what you were getting at so had to guess.
    ITV HD is going to work like that apparently,if there is a HD version of the program available you will press the red button to access it.
    Personally I would prefer it as a seperate channel like BBC HD,makes me wonder how long it will take for the HD version of the program to start once you press that red button.
    If its anything like the current level of interacivity takes ITV will be on an ad-break by the time it gets going :D
     
  6. Jonstone

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    But what about programmes that the BBC currently show on the HD channel that are shown on BBC2 etc?
     
  7. imigix

    imigix
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    Well this is what I mean by planning, although it may seem to have been worked out in the last few weeks it will have been on the go for many years.
    All the early HD progs. should have been made for the most popular BBC channel ie one. Do not forget although there are many of us who are very interested in the advancement of HD on this site we are but a drop in the bucket to the general viewing public, so we need progs. to get the 9.6 million HD sets out there watching off air sap.
     
  8. Syphonic

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    You mean like the way SkyOne HD works? You watch as if you were watching normal Sky1, then when something like Gladiators or Lost comes on, it's in HD.

    This is exactly what BBC HD should do IMO.
     
  9. Stephen Neal

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    Except that many of the programmes that BBC HD show that are primarily shown on BBC Two, BBC Four etc. are made in HD anyway because of co-production deals. (Later..., Proms, Carols from Kings, most opera and ballet, quite a lot of documentaries)

    If you only had a BBC One HD simulcast you'd stop licence-fee payers from watching shows that are made in HD, in HD. The shows are made in HD because other HD broadcasters want to show them in HD - by having a "Best of..." BBC HD channel we get to see these productions in HD, if we just had a BBC One HD we wouldn't.

    Personally I've enjoyed quite a few BBC Two documentary series in HD on BBC HD, as well as quite a few music shows. I quite enjoyed Torchwood in HD as well - and neither series 1 (a BBC Three commission in HD) nor series 2 (a BBC Two commission in HD) would have been available in HD if we'd just had BBC One HD.

    (This is what annoys me about C4HD - whilst I like the high quality SD upconversions - I get very annoyed when HD shows are on E4 and More4 but I can't watch them in HD...)
     
  10. derek500

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    Or C4 programmes like ER where they haven't bought an HD copy!!

    And last night's 'Life After People'. Shown in HD on Anytime and History Channel HD but in SD last night on C4HD.
     
  11. jwball

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    Speaking of which, does anyone have an idea when C4HD will arrive on freesat?
     
  12. son_t

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  13. YellowSphere

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    BBC didn't want to do a simulcast HD channel, they wanted to make sure everything they showed was actual HD programming. I personally commend that decision in the long term.
     
  14. Bachstrad

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    The resultant four hours of repeats and the constant preview loop doesn't cut it for me I'm afraid. It's been two years already, how long do you want?

    IMHO BBC HD is now worse as a 'Channel', than it was during the 'Trial'!

    Of course if you're a dedicated fan of Bleak House and Jools Holland and don't mind watching them again .... and again ..... and again .... and again, you'll love BBC HD! (Well at least for the first month you have it, until the HD wow factor wears off).

    ATB

    Max
     
  15. son_t

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    They could attempt to show more movies on BBCHD. Movies are guaranteed ready for HD broadcasting...

    I like the showing of Indiana Jones in BBCHD recently... more of the same please...
     
  16. Stephen Neal

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    Yep - but only if the studios/distributors provide HD masters at a reasonable cost, if at all...
     
  17. Stephen Neal

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    But as we approach Wimbledon, Euro 2008 and the Olympics I'd rather watch all these events in HD on BBC HD, not just the bits shown on BBC One. If BBC One are showing an SD Wimbledon court and BBC Two an HD court I want to see the HD court on BBC HD, not the SD one...

    Similarly, I don't want to have to wait for BBC One to show Glastonbury before I see it in HD.

    Until almost all shows on BBC One are made, commissioned or acquired in HD - which given the licence fee settlement is likely to take longer than first hoped (going HD whilst production budgets for shows are being cut significantly each year is a difficult task...) - then the "Best of" solution has to be better than a mainly SD-upconvert service.

    If people don't like the quality of BBC SD services that is a different issue to arguing for a simulcast of SD stuff upconverted to HD to improve it.
     
  18. derek500

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    "Shake me up Judy" has become a catchphrase in our house!!
     
  19. derek500

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    Luckily I have Sky HD for my films.

    I would prefer the BBC to be spending their limited HD budget on their own programmes.
     
  20. snaithg

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    Haven't you got this the wrong way round?

    Surely having a single BBC HD channel is the correct choice in the shorter term, whilst there is a lack of quality HD material on the BBC family of channels.

    In the longer term when more HD content becomes available and HD becomes "mainstream" then the whole suite of BBC channels should have HD equivalents and effectively simulcast their wares.


    Graham.
     
  21. son_t

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    Couldn't the BBC visit the Blu-ray rental shop? :D :D :D
     
  22. Stephen Neal

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    No - BluRay is not suitable for HD broadcast use, just as DVD isn't suitable for SD broadcast use. BluRay bitrates are too low (broadcast HD VT masters run at between 180 and 440Mbs not the 15-30Mbs that BluRay uses), and the frame rate (24p) is wrong for 50i broadcast...

    Also - the presence of a BluRay release may preclude distributors from providing broadcasters with a high quality master...
     
  23. Peter Galbavy

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    While the original proposal was tounge in cheek (I hope) I would like to perhaps ask for some clarification here... Surely you mean the VT source is uncompressed while the BluRay bit rate is the compressed rate. While the transmission stream is then compressed in real time for broadcast (at whatever dynamic broadcast bitrate the channel chooses), the underlying uncompressed rate is going to be very similar.
     
  24. son_t

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    Yes, it was... can't people see the :D :D :D ?
     
  25. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Sure

    No - there is no uncompressed VT format in widespread use. All HD VTRs use compression.

    A 1920x1080 4:2:2 source has a video rate of approx 800Mbs if you just carry active video - HD-SDI runs higher than this as it also carries horizontal and vertical blanking periods at the same sampling rate and these are used to carry multiple channels of uncompressed embedded audio etc..

    HD VTRs in broadcast use range from :


    HDV - 18-25Mbs MPEG2 at 4:2:0 (I think) with 1280x720 or 1440x1080 sampling. Camcorder format widely used in broadcast applications as quality too low. Not deemed HD quality by most broadcasters - and if used counted as SD material for quota purposes.

    XDCam HD / P2 - Long GOP MPEG2 (1920x1080, 1440x1080 and 1280x720) and H264 AVC compression at between 18 and 50Mbs (may be slightly out on this) Different versions use 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 Interframe compression. Camcorder format usually used only for acquisition not delivery.

    DVC Pro HD / DVC Pro 100 - 100Mbs 4:2:2 intraframe DV compression (including subsampling to 960x720, 1280x1080 and 1440x1080 depending on frame/field rate) Camcorder format mainly used for acquisition not delivery.

    HDCam - around 144 Mbs Intraframe compresion using 3:1:1 subsampling using 1440x1080 as a result. Used for both acquisition and delivery (and the BBC standard transmission format until later this year) The oldest and probably most widespread HD format. (HDCam is not a million miles away from SD Digital Betacam)

    HD-D5 - around 270 Mbs Intraframe compression using 4:2:2 1920x1080. (A modification of the SD D5 format originally used by C4 for delivery when they ditched 1" analogue) Used only for editing and delivery - not a real acquisition system other than as a studio VTR. Until recently the highest quality practical HD VTR.

    HDCam SR - 440Mbs or 880Mbs compressed MPEG4 (NOT AVC H264 AIUI) intraframe (I think). 4:2:2 at 440Mbs or 4:4:4 or dual 4:2:2 (for 3D or poss 1080/50p p or 60p) at 880Mbs. Currently the highest qualty HD VTR format in widespread use. Not really a camcorder format but there are high end dockable recorders for digital cinema applications. Widely used for mastering. Standard VT format for Sky, and soon to the BBC HD delivery format.

    D6/Digital Voodoo - obsolete uncompresed 4:2:2 VTR based on the D1/D2 tape transport (i.e. 3/4") Lossless recording of 1080i (and 720p?) material (not sure if 8 or 10 bit) but very large and cumbersome and not massively used outside digital cinema applications.

    So - as you can see every broadcast VTR format uses compression of one sort or another.

    These days most channels ingest from VT to server and then playout from server. The VTR usually decompresses from its internally compressed format back to uncompressed HD-SDI (just as it will have been fed and internally compressed to make the recording). This uncompressed HD-SDI will then be recompressed in the server - at somewhere between 50 and 200Mbs using various compression schemes (including MPEG2) - when it will be decompressed again for replay, pass through the playout system and then be recompressed at 10-20Mbs H264 in the UK for broadcast.

    The only potential source of uncompressed HD that is fed directly to the BBC HD H264 encoders is a live studio show fed via uncompressed circuits - if they exist between TVC and Red Bee (not sure if they do - but I would hope so). This could be a live studio show or possibly a live football match fed via uncompressed fibre (though I think most fibres used are compressed)

    Any show delivered on tape, or by satellite, will have been compressed during the recording or uplink process.

    The highest quality pictures are maintained by keeping compression as light as possible, and where multiple compression schemes are used the upstream compression should be less and less the higher up the chain you go. (i.e. Source VTR less compressed than transmission server. Transmission server less compressed than final H264 encoder etc.)
     
  26. Bachstrad

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    I'm not necessarily arguing for a simulcast channel, I'm merely pointing out that after two years the BBC HD channel is naff. Four hours of repeats and a preview loop all with inherent sound issues just isn't good enough. In fact it's worse than the 'trial' as I originally pointed out.

    You make a good case for a BBC HD Sports channel, but that's not going to happen is it? They can't even show all their 'crown jewells' events (e.g. The Open) in HD. Tonight's England match isn't in HD either, last year it would have been. I have three dedicated HD sports channels where sport is covered properly and in depth. Something the BBC will never be able to do sadly .... we're just leaving The Open now for the 3.45 at Sandown! :mad:

    It's all very well defending the BBC if there is something to defend about BBC HD, at the moment there isn't IMHO. I've been watching BBC HD for two years and it's sadly lacking!

    ATB

    Max
     
  27. Stephen Neal

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    Yep - though remember that the trial ran when the Beeb had a bit more money to splash around - and doing the Olympics and Euro 2008 and in HD isn't going to be low cost. There is a finite amount of money for HD production - BBC HD has a relatively small operating budget to fund the difference between SD and HD production costs for the shows it commissions the HD bit of. (AIUI BBC HD pay for some shows that would otherwise be made in SD to be made in HD, as well as showing shows that would be made in HD anyway as a result of co-production with HD partners?)

    The licence fee is universal - as HD reception becomes more widespread the BBC can justify spending more on HD production. Remember that the BBC started colour TV with BBC Two at Wimbledon in 1967, but it wasn't until the mid 1970s that all shows were made in colour... (ISTR that the Norwich studios were the last to convert in around 1974?)

    Hardly - how many times a week is there an HD sporting event for the BBC to show? There are peaks and troughs of HD sport - and getting a single HD channel past the BBC Trust and their Public Value Test took long enough...

    Golf is notoriously hard to do properly in HD (in the US for many years it has been "HD" in name only with many holes covered in SD with SD wireless cameras and only the cabled cameras operating in HD - though this is now changing) - and it costs a lot to do it properly in HD... Contracts for resource provision at these kinds of events may be made over multiple numbers of years - and it may be that switching to HD has to wait until the resourcing contract is up for renewal.

    People here seem to think that the BBC have a blank cheque to fund HD content - they don't. BBC HD has a finite - and AIUI relatively modest - budget.

    I have no idea if the trial had more or less funding than the channel has now... Could well be that it had more...

    And I suspect you pay a lot more than £150/year for the pleasure of those channels... In fact you pay Sky an additional £120/year just for the pleasure of watching these channels in HD rather than SD...

    With the demise of Grandstand this is less likely to happen - and The Open is carried as a Press Red service allowing you to watch continuing coverage whilst the linear channels switch away - albeit in SD.

    It is a lot better than nothing at all... How much original production are ITV, C4 and Five providing in HD?
     
  28. Bachstrad

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    So why bother? If they can't afford it, why provide a half-hearted service that only gives four hours of mainly repeats? Why not wait until they can do the job properly?

    They may have been at the forefront of the change to colour transmissions, I remember it well. However, they are in the rearguard when it comes to HD, Sky have led the way and continue to do so. In fact it may be down to Sky's launch of their HD service, that the BBC felt it had to rush in to launch their HD trial ahead of when they could actually afford to fund it.

    You were making a case for it by advocating the BBC HD channel as the main vehicle for uninterrupted coverage of The Olympics & Euro 2008, I'm just saying a BBC Sports Channel isn't going to happen.


    But everyone else does do it in HD. This is The Open we're talking about, not a Challenge Tour event. It's one of the BBC's exclusive sports coverage events, one in which they could provide HD coverage and feed it to the world to offset the expense. They have the exclusive coverage because The Open is considered to be one of the 'Crown Jewels' of British Sport.


    May be it did, if the funding isn't adequate then I don't see the point in 'passing it off' as a channel, it's woefully inadequate IMHO.


    I pay £55 a month plus £10 for multiroom, so £2 a day. That gives me a value for money TV service, unlike my license fee. As TV is our main source of entertainment, I consider £2 a day an irrelevance particularly as that fuels my expensive TV with the HD content it deserves.

    Yes, in SD ... not good enough when we're talking about one of the four Golf Majors and the other three are available in HD.

    I suspect ITV are producing some, the others probably little, or none! But what has that to do with BBC HD. ITV are going to only offer their HD via the 'red button' and CH4 HD is a simulcast channel that hides the fact that it has next to no HD programs with exceptional upscaled SD material. AFAIK, CH 5 don't have an HD channel. The BBC do have an HD channel and IMHO it's woefully inadequate, with all programs flagging DD5.1 when very few are transmitting in that format at all. This makes some soundtracks almost unbearable. The 'cock up' during Eurovision made it even worse and they couldn't even be bothered to screen an apology.

    Sorry, I couldn't even begin to defend the BBC as you do. The return for my license fee is very poor indeed IMHO.

    ATB

    Max
     
  29. Stephen Neal

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    I guess thye have to start somewhere - and can you imagine how many people would have complained if they had decided to stop after the trial period had ended. I'd rather watch some BBC live sport and some BBC drama in HD than none.

    I agree it is less than a perfect service - but the funding is less than perfect as well.

    Well don't forget there was a colour licence fee that paid for the switch to colour. There has been no equivalent HD licence fee - or even a digital licence fee...

    Wasn't quite sure what the point you were making was :(

    But is every other broadcaster that does it in HD a non-commercial, publically funded one that can't accept programme sponsorship?

    And until recently even US Golf has been only partially in HD - and some of it is still in SD...

    I very much suspect that if it were zero cost to the BBC to do it, and they were able to within their current contracts, they would.

    My understanding is that it is likely to be covered in HD next year... Does that mean the BBC should close the BBC HD service for a year?

    The BBC don't make money from selling sports coverage to other broadcasters - that is the province of the sports rights holders... The BBC don't sell the coverage - the rights holders do. The BBC are just contracted to provide the host broadcast coverage by the rights holders.

    Yes - and because ITV, Channel Four (and now Five) decided not to bid for it.

    As was stated in the original Public Value Test submissions - the amount of HD content is likely to increase year on year. The non-trial service has only been running for 6 months after all...

    Yep - if you are happy to spend nearly £800/year on subscription TV that is your right. However to expect the BBC to deliver similar levels of HD sport and other content at £150/year is asking quite a lot - particularly when the BBC licence fee funds more original production than any other TV or Radio service in the UK - and a lot more HD than any of the other terrestrials.

    But then again - Sky's not doing much HD interactive yet are they?

    Yep - my comparison with BBC HD is with ITV, C4 and Five - the other terrestrials. I'd rather have BBC HD than not. It could be better, and no doubt will continue to improve as more and more shows are commissioned in HD.

    Don't forget that it took a while for BBC HD to be approved as a full service. Until it was approved no shows could be commissioned in HD for BBC HD only (just the HD co-pros could be made in HD) - the HD trial was extended to cover the gap between the end of the formal trial and the decision about the launch of the approved service. Given that many shows run on a 6-12 month commissioning period - there is a commissioning gap currently - particularly in documentary, but also in drama. Hopefully now that BBC HD is up and running they will be able to commission more HD shows over the next 12 months.

    Nothing in broadcasting is instant - particularly when discussing long-term commissions, or long-term rights contracts. (Wimbledon was 4:3 long after most other events were 16:9 because the multi-year rights contract was for 4:3 coverage...)

    As for the 5.1/2.0 issues - this is exactly the same as at least one US network... Far from ideal I know.

    Yep - I agree that was a really poor fowl-up of the highest order. Very poor that it happened, that it took so long to sort, and that no apology was made. (though I suspect that the tiny audience figures for HD channels meant that the production team didn't feel that the disruption to the 90%+ SD audience was warranted - and BBC HD doesn't have live continuity, so the best they could have done was a caption - if that)


    I'm not saying the BBC is perfect - far from it. What I am saying is that I'd rather have the current BBC HD service than not have it. Sure we'd all like more HD content on it - and we're all impatient to have as many of the shows and events we like covered in HD. However to expect everything to happen in such a short timescale is just not realistic.

    It is right to ask whether the Beeb should be doing HD at all given the current licence fee settlement - but given that the Beeb are making stuff in HD for co-production reasons anyway it is probably justified running an HD service to make these shows available to the people who paid for them until more domestically funded HD production becomes financially feasible.
     
  30. YellowSphere

    YellowSphere
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    I should point out that I was in no-way commending the way the BBC is handling how they show content on the HD channel, but that I agree with them that a simulcast is not the way to go. The main reason for this is that it confuses consumers hugely. I agree with many other views aired here for and against how the BBC is currently running BBC HD.

    However, whilst anyone can tell whether something is in colour or not, people have a much harder time discerning SD and HD. We all know the stories of people thinking they're getting HD through their freeview aerial whilst watching ITV 4 because they bought an HD Ready set.
     

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