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Broadcast regulator says No to hi-def Freeview

Tech News

News Supplying Robot
In a move which will shock some and surprise many, broadcast regulator Ofcom has rejected pleas to free up additional spectrum space for free-to-air high definition broadcasts when the analogue TV system is switched off in 2012.Both UK broadcasters and the electronics industry had petitioned for two more multiplexes to be made available, for either [...]
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Endeavour

Active Member
And there was me thinking OFCOM was supposed to protect the interests of the consumer. I must have missed the part where it got made part of the Treasury. :mad:

Hopefully, the lingering pains in the hands of the Telecoms giants from when they got their fingers burned by Brown on the 3G licenses will make them forget their chequebooks.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Ofcom has rejected pleas to free up additional spectrum space for free-to-air high definition broadcasts when the analogue TV system is switched off in 2012.
:eek: :eek: :eek: :mad: :mad: :mad: :thumbsdow :thumbsdow :thumbsdow

Outrageous decision - probably made by Civil Servants who aren't actually aware what HDTV is.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Would this have something to do with the decision to sell off some of the analogue bandwidth to the mobile phone operators?
 

Rob100

Well-known Member
That's not good news... I refuse to pay Sky's outrageous costs, so looks like the only HD stuff for me will come on disc or downloaded off the net.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
I'm afraid this does not come as a surprise. Mobile phone services will always be seen as an income generator. Perhaps the amount of mux space taken up by radio services might be the place to go. Although I admit it is convenient I suspect radio by Freeview is not something a lot of people use on a regular basis. We still have FM and, for all its sins, DAB digital radio. By dropping the radio service from Freeview I wonder if the system could support 3-4 HD channels.
 

Jakeh1969

Active Member
I'm afraid this does not come as a surprise. Mobile phone services will always be seen as an income generator. Perhaps the amount of mux space taken up by radio services might be the place to go. Although I admit it is convenient I suspect radio by Freeview is not something a lot of people use on a regular basis. We still have FM and, for all its sins, DAB digital radio. By dropping the radio service from Freeview I wonder if the system could support 3-4 HD channels.

Or drop off some of the minor freeview channels like QVC and ITV Play.... :devil: :D
 

rogerh

Active Member
. The regulator will invite consultation on its plans being finalizing them in the Summer of 2007.

Well lets hope they mean to take notice of those who contibute to the consultation!
I wonder if this is yet another example of the "Special Relationship" enjoyed between our Mr Blair and Mr Murdock??? It's handy that Freeview will be effecively held back so that more subscriptions can be sold:devil:
 
This reaction taken from NTSC-UK forum:

Now heres the interesting thing.

Whats going to happen with the tv license, when they shut off the signal my tv is an old sd one which means it wont be able to pick up any tv signals.

Now this isnt a problem for me as my tv has never had any programs as its a gaming only tv & has no arial going into it. So how are the bbc going to get round enforcing that POS license this time.
Does anyone know the answer?
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
This reaction taken from NTSC-UK forum:


Does anyone know the answer?

presumably once analogue transmissions cease in your area you will be given a voucher to redeem in a shop for a very very basic freeview receiver to enable you to receive TV and still pay for your licence...
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
In fact, if a TV is not used at all for reception of broadcast TV (not just BBC - any), and there aren't any Sky Boxes, Freeview Boxes, VCRs etc etc in use either, then a licence is not needed.
 

Mr Pumpkinhead

Active Member
The Executive summary of Ofcom’s review can be found here:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/summary/

I can see some sense in their view of free market vs. regulation but question some of there research findings, namely:

“1.39 High definition television, by contrast, was not identified in our research as a major source of broader value to society. A bigger choice of channels was rated more highly, for both citizen and consumer interests, and HD was seen mainly as a premium consumer product, similar to mobile television.”

I’m not sure who they asked and when, but I guess that wouldn’t be the response from these forums.

“1.79 This consultation, published on 19 December 2006, lasts for 13 weeks. The closing date for responses is 20 March 2007.”

Anyone fancy setting up an online petition?
 

paul-av-tech

Active Member
In fact, if a TV is not used at all for reception of broadcast TV (not just BBC - any), and there aren't any Sky Boxes, Freeview Boxes, VCRs etc etc in use either, then a licence is not needed.

Wireless Telegraphy Act states:

<snip>

363 Licence required for use of TV receiver

(1) A television receiver must not be installed or used unless the installation and use of the receiver is authorised by a licence under this Part.

<endsnip>

If a TV has a tuner unit capable of reception - even though it is not being used for this purpose - it 'could' lead to prosecution. It would be advisable to use a dedicated monitor without reception capability.

I seem to remember many years ago a case where a tv and vcr were being used for playback of pre-recorded material. As the appliances were capable of reception the owner was successfully prosecuted.
 

Jonstone

Well-known Member
The Executive summary of Ofcom’s review can be found here:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/summary/

I can see some sense in their view of free market vs. regulation but question some of there research findings, namely:

“1.39 High definition television, by contrast, was not identified in our research as a major source of broader value to society. A bigger choice of channels was rated more highly, for both citizen and consumer interests, and HD was seen mainly as a premium consumer product, similar to mobile television.”

I’m not sure who they asked and when, but I guess that wouldn’t be the response from these forums.

“1.79 This consultation, published on 19 December 2006, lasts for 13 weeks. The closing date for responses is 20 March 2007.”

Anyone fancy setting up an online petition?

That wouldn't be the response from these forums but then these forums are hardly representative of the general public to whom hd is currently not important.

The important word there though is 'currently'. By 2012 the price of hd ready large screen televisions will have dropped to a point that vastly increases their ownership so hd broadcasting will be important in the future so to rule it out on freeview now would be very short sighted
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
What an appalling decision, mind you perhaps they could concentrate on giving freeview to everyone. Some of us still can't receive it despite being the FIRST area to have analogue turn off in 2007.
 

mitchec1

Distinguished Member
Ofcom do need to get their heads out of their backsides and take another look.
They should be looking getting freeview out across all of the country and getting HD out on freeview.

DCMS should be looking at this one everyone should be able to benefit from HD.

Even though I've got Sky HD this decision is worst possible outcome for the HD/ Digital community.

Ofcom should hang their head in shame
 
G

GarethE

Guest
Ofcom do need to get their heads out of their backsides and take another look.
They should be looking getting freeview out across all of the country and getting HD out on freeview.

DCMS should be looking at this one everyone should be able to benefit from HD.

Even though I've got Sky HD this decision is worst possible outcome for the HD/ Digital community.

Ofcom should hang their head in shame
OFCOM have far from made up their mind, this is simply a standard consultation document. If you also go on to read para 1.40 it says-

"1.40 It is possible, of course, that attitudes to an innovation like HD may change. In time, consumers and citizens may come to expect some HD content to be available to everyone free of charge, just as colour is now. But the evidence that this will happen is not strong right now."

I would suggest that anyone who wants to share their views with OFCOM does so using the official route at the following link-

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/244504/

It's not to late to lobby OFCOM on this so I hope this information helps.
 
If OFCOM are acting in our interests, then why is it that channels like BidUp TV, QVC, ITV Play etc are allowed to suck up valuable bandwidth on the Freeview platform? Why not kick them off and get some HDTV on there?

Even the +1 channels from Channel Four, as useful as they can be, aren't essential.
 

Scoobiesnacks

Active Member
Thanks, just sent them this. Forgive me if I repeat anything or make clumsy mistakes, was in a hurry.

I do not agree with the proposals relating to High Definition Television (HDTV).

OFCOM's identification of HDTV as a premium consumer product, in my opinion, fails to take into account the ever-changing world of consumer electronics. Particularly in recent years, prices for panel-based (LCD/Plasma) HDTV sets have been plummeting. As technology becomes more cost-efficient and refined, it is hard to imagine that this will stop.

In addition, screen sizes are growing larger and larger - with the knowledge that 40", 50" and even 60" sets are available (although currently at a premium), the majority of people would probably agree that a 32-inch television set is no longer a large screen size.

Similarly, the resolution of today's panel-based TVs is growing, to the extent that a "Full HD" 1920x1080 resolution panel is already affordable to many and will almost certainly become the standard for all but the smallest screen sizes in the future. The 720x576 resolution of current Standard Definition Television can be hard to endure on the large, high-resolution screens of the future - particularly when the high bandwidth to number of channels ratio is taken into account (too many channels are compressed into too small a space, with the picture quality suffering greatly as a result).

These two points relating to resolution and screen size, in my opinion, make your comparison of HDTV as a &#8220;premium consumer product&#8221; similar to mobile television, a poorly thought out one. My understanding is that video-capable mobile telephones have a low screen resolution as well as the obviously small screen. By comparison, HDTV is close to a necessity on large, high-resolution screens. The decisions made by OFCOM regarding frequency allocation must surely be future-proofed, which makes your analysis of HDTV as a &#8220;premium consumer product&#8221; less important, as in the technology world, today's premium products are often affordable to all in a matter of years. I find it astonishing that OFCOM could be this short-sighted.

My second point relates to the fact that OFCOM have decided that a larger selection of channels would be more highly regarded than higher picture quality. It is my opinion that, particularly in the United Kingdom, consumers very much have a "quality rather than quantity" attitude to television services. It is also arguably difficult to justify the existence of many of the additional channels that currently consume space on the Freeview platform - especially in the age of internet shopping, how can OFCOM *possibly* justify making room for potentially more shopping/"bid up" channels rather than offering consumers the greater picture quality they will expect from their new displays?
Lastly, the proposal document claims that the evidence for customers expecting free-to-air HDTV services to be delivered into their homes is &#8220;not strong right now&#8221;. This is particularly interesting, as the results of the consumer HDTV tests carried out in London by the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Five, have come to a much different conclusion. If I recall correctly, over 90&#37; of the respondents explicitly stated that they expected HDTV to be available over the air. Granted, the people taking place in this survey already had HDTVs so could probably be described as a mix of enthusiasts, early adopters, and people who had bought HD because it is already the standard for new displays. This, however, still does not explain the differences in your findings with theirs and I suggest that you re-evaluate.

Limiting the natural progression of television pictures would, in my opinion, be a tremendous mistake and will only disadvantage the UK and its consumers. In the United States, their new ATSC television standard already delivers HD channels over the air. This is despite the fact that most consumers there rely on Cable television for their TV signal. In a country such as the UK, where roof-top aerials are favoured, it would in my opinion make no sense not to accommodate at least some HD programming.
 

Scoobiesnacks

Active Member
The Executive summary of Ofcom’s review can be found here:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/summary/

I can see some sense in their view of free market vs. regulation but question some of there research findings, namely:

“1.39 High definition television, by contrast, was not identified in our research as a major source of broader value to society. A bigger choice of channels was rated more highly, for both citizen and consumer interests, and HD was seen mainly as a premium consumer product, similar to mobile television.”

I’m not sure who they asked and when, but I guess that wouldn’t be the response from these forums.

“1.79 This consultation, published on 19 December 2006, lasts for 13 weeks. The closing date for responses is 20 March 2007.”

Anyone fancy setting up an online petition?


There is already an online petition that I've found here

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/openhdtv/
 

Mr Pumpkinhead

Active Member
From the Keynote speech given at MIPTV:

“It's critical that Freeview evolves as a compelling and competitive alternative to cable and satellite – in its response to Ofcom's Digital Dividend Review, the BBC argues for the allocation of spectrum to Public Service Broadcasters to develop free-to-air, universally available HD channels on Freeview.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/speeches/stories/highfield_miptv.shtml
 
I'm not sure what it is, but whenever I see or hear the name "Tessa Jowel" I immediately think "out of touch" and dare I say it, "mildly incompetent". This doesn't help.

So, what exactly IS their plan? They've told us what they aren't going to allow to happen, but not what we should expect to see. Do they seriously believe that HDTV is a flash in the pan, are the honestly planning on having us watch 720x576 MPEG-2 for the next few decades? Or do they think that watching TV on a phone is seriously going to take off?

I'm just baffled, HDTV is the obvious upgrade path.
 

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