BBC HD very poor surroun sound!

esta56

Novice Member
Why is it that anything I watch on BBC HD that my amp indicates it is receiving a surround 5.1 signal - drama, documentary, film - is completely lack lustre. It maybe just me but I can't hear any effects though sound is definitely coming through all the speakers. Most DVD's or films I have on my PC when played through the same amp sound so much better, usually with clear effect/sub elements. I just don't hear anything like the same on the HD channel. Is there a setting or is it a 'feature' of the broadcast. Not impressed to date.

Any thoughts, input, opinion?
 

trapster

Novice Member
hi

i have already posted with regard to this as i am sure many others have too.

i find that when i watch bbc hd i have to turn up the amp around 30% more its not a virgin problem i dont think.

all sd channels are fine just hd channel
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
I know what you mean.
The sound that accompanied the original logo inbetween the loops really rocked the house, with cracking front to back effects and deep bass, so it shows the ability is there, IMO.
I'm wondering if they've cut the sound bitrate to try and keep the picture quality up as much as possible? Or cut the Dynamic range?

I wouldn't say it's totally lacklustre, as it's a definite improvement on PL11, but I agree, it's not as good as a DVD etc.
 

numbercruncher

Novice Member
The problem is that they're broadcasting stereo (2.0) material as 5.1 but only feeding sound to the L and R channels. This screws with most amps which can easily "upgrade" a 2 channel signal to 5.1, but won't touch a signal which is already 5.1.

It's a PITA and violates Dolby standards: they should be switching between 2.0 and 5.1 for each program. Very little is 5.1 (such as the logo or preview sequences, Planet Earth and Torchwood), so most programs (stereo) end up sounding rubbish: hollow and distant with no centre channel or rears.

I've complained here, but got the somewhat unhelpful reply:
I understand you are experiencing problems with the BBC HD sound stream.

I can inform you that we are aware of this issue and are looking to getting
it right. However the mislabelling 'solves' another issue we have to fix in
the meantime.
Please complain via http://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/recep_feedback.shtml. If enough of us do, they should sort it.;)
 

esta56

Novice Member
Thanks for the explanation Numbercruncher. It all makes sense now why I can't hear any rear effects or subwoofer activity. It certainly doesn't seem the best way for the BBC to promote HD!

Time to complain then!!...........
 

splatz

Novice Member
It really is hit and miss as to what is actually broadcast in true 5.1. The 'I'd Do Anything' program is broadcast in true 5.1 and does sound great when the audience applauses etc with the correct speakers reacting.

Sometimes they will switch off the 5.1 for one episode of a program then switch it back on when the program is repeated. Defies logic!

Time to start complaining!

The problem is that they're broadcasting stereo (2.0) material as 5.1 but only feeding sound to the L and R channels. This screws with most amps which can easily "upgrade" a 2 channel signal to 5.1, but won't touch a signal which is already 5.1.

It's a PITA and violates Dolby standards: they should be switching between 2.0 and 5.1 for each program. Very little is 5.1 (such as the logo or preview sequences, Planet Earth and Torchwood), so most programs (stereo) end up sounding rubbish: hollow and distant with no centre channel or rears.

I've complained here, but got the somewhat unhelpful reply:


Please complain via http://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/recep_feedback.shtml. If enough of us do, they should sort it.;)
 

SpamJavelin

Active Member
This thread has saved at least half of my remaining hair from being pulled out!

Went out and bought a SPDIF cable to watch the cup final (don't care who wins) and have been expecting much better sound - WRONG!!!

Have turned the HDMI override off again and the sound is much better - even if it's only ProLogic 2 :)

Will complain bitterly to the Beeb. - [EDIT - just did]
 

esta56

Novice Member
For those who are interested, I have had a reply from the BBC which I don't fully understand. If they don't support 5.1 then why does my amp think it is recieving a 5.1 signal? Though it never registers the 5.1 signal as Dolby!!!?

Here is the reply..........

"Thank you for your e-mail.

The new High Definition standard does allow for the use of surround formats and the BBC does use various formats on some programmes on the satellite service. Other than this. Only pre-recorded media such as DVD, or some SD commercial satellite channels have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate full multi-channel Digital Surround Sound.

The BBC does not currently support Dolby digital 5:1 on our broadcasts due to a technology issue.

We are working to improve the surround sound format available to BBC HD viewers and thank you for reporting this issue to us which has been registered and made available to our Reception Advice team..

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your thoughts.

Regards

Audrie
BBC Information"


Any thoughts?
 

numbercruncher

Novice Member
I'm not surprised you don't understand it, "Other than this." isn't a complete sentence, there's no such thing as Dolby digital 5:1, and it's not just the "satellite service" which has BBC HD.

BBC HD does transmit a Dolby Digital 5.1 stream all the time - that's part of the problem. If it were plain stereo PCM or Dolby Digital 2.0, your amp wouldn't be confused.

Hopefully the message will get to the right people eventually. I don't think your correspondent will be able to sort the problem ;)
 

Rich Marshall

Well-known Member
"Thank you for your e-mail.
Only pre-recorded media such as DVD, or some SD commercial satellite channels have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate full multi-channel Digital Surround Sound.

The BBC does not currently support Dolby digital 5:1 on our broadcasts due to a technology issue.


Audrie
BBC Information"


Any thoughts?

That's total crap! What a liar!!

For example 'Later with Jooles Holland is almost always in 5.1 DD, sometimes even the live show is full 5.1 (when the work experience lad on the technical desk remembers to press the right button)
 

splatz

Novice Member
So is the I'd Do Anything program, Torchwood and the BBCHD logo sequence that appears between programs. So they are talking rubbish.

That's total crap! What a liar!!

For example 'Later with Jooles Holland is almost always in 5.1 DD, sometimes even the live show is full 5.1 (when the work experience lad on the technical desk remembers to press the right button)
 

cammy

Active Member
That's total crap! What a liar!!

For example 'Later with Jooles Holland is almost always in 5.1 DD, sometimes even the live show is full 5.1 (when the work experience lad on the technical desk remembers to press the right button)
what about the films the've broadcast in 5.1 such as pirates of the carribbean!
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
That's total crap! What a liar!!

For example 'Later with Jooles Holland is almost always in 5.1 DD, sometimes even the live show is full 5.1 (when the work experience lad on the technical desk remembers to press the right button)
That's a somewhat harsh way of talking on these forums.

I know what you're saying, but that way of commenting won't be tolerated for long mate, trust me ;)

I agree, the capability is there, but it really is experimental and they are playing around to see what they can get away with, IMO.
 

SpamJavelin

Active Member
Just had the same, "The BBC does not currently support Dolby digital 5:1 on our broadcasts due to a technology issue." email.

I agree with drivinscool and don't think his language is that harsh given the incompetent response. Mind you, big organisations are pretty poor at providing decent responses to technical questions IMHO and it's more or less what I expected.

I'm sure they will sort it out in the end but it's daft that, given the recent advertising campaign for HD, they haven't got it sorted.
 

splatz

Novice Member
On every episode of the Chelsea Flow Show this week (wife watches it ;)) the presenters make a reference to watching the program on BBC HD to "experience the programme in full cinematic splendour".

So on the one hand the BBC is making all these messages, promoting their HD service, but on the other hand it looks like they still have some technical challenges to over come.

For me, the cinematic experience is both sound and vision, so come on BBC - pull your finger out. It is a shame they chose to answer questions so poorly.
 

beaker656

Novice Member
I have just had the same reply

Dear beaker656

Thank you for your e-mail to BBC Information.

The BBC does not currently support Dolby digital 5:1 on our broadcasts due to a technology issue. We are working to improve the surround sound format available to BBC HD viewers and thank you for reporting this issue to us which has been registered and made available to our Reception Advice team.

Thank you again for contacting the BBC.

Regards

Chris
BBC Information

Text book answer to try to fob you off
 

SpamJavelin

Active Member
5.1 working beautifully on the footy! (something other than repeats on HD at last)

I wonder if they have 'fixed' the problem?
 

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