Channel 4 HD and Virgin Media

nialli

Active Member
I've just posted a long rant over on the VMHD blog about Channel 4 HD. Thought I'd post it here on the forum to see if others feel the same way.

Like all V+ customers, I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the wait for C4 HD content. Late last year, when the channel was launched on Sky, we were told that Virgin had secured the rights to the C4 HD as both a linear channel and for video on demand. Almost six months later and we're still waiting.
It may be a delay because of bandwidth restrictions. It may be because C4 itself isn't truly free-to-air quite just yet. It may be a technology restraint. It's most likely just not a priority in the days of marketing "super fast" broadband and "Mix It Up TV". Whatever. I feel like I'm still waiting for my last 2007 Christmas present...
But before we take to the streets burning effigies of Neil Berkett, have you seen what's actually showing in HD over on Channel 4? Pardon my french, but absolutely bugger all - six months after launch and there's still only a couple of films and a handful of US imports in HD. No homegrown HD programming whatsoever next week and, given that C4 has recently announced they're cutting back on the US stuff and focusing on UK programmes, that's pretty worrying.
In fact, Skins apart, I cannot recall any HD from these shores on C4 in 2008. Shameless? No. Peep Show? No. Even the weekly overstuffing of Ramsay and Oliver cookery entertaining, which uses very few cameras and can look sumptuous in HD, is still being shot in standard definition. Even I can pop down to John Lewis, buy myself an HD camcorder and make a better hash of it.
And because the HD channel's a C4 simulcast, HD shot shows on E4, More 4 and Film Four have no HD outlet whatsoever. Think how great an HD showcase taking the best of all four Four channels could be. But even on C4 new series of US imports like Smallville and ER , shot in HD but still being shown over here in SD, it's pathetically weak when compared to Sky One HD or even the often-maligned BBC HD.
Virgin Media should broadcast C4 HD as a priority to make a statement of intent with high definition services for its customers, but Channel 4 needs to make a similar statement by making an effort and delivering what it says on the tin: high definition programming.
Come on, chaps...before Christmas 2008 is upon us...
 

BikeNutt

Novice Member
It's so frustrating. I bought an HD Telly and moved to the TVDrive (as it was) 2 years ago in readiness for the World Cup. Great, I thought, 2 test channels - BBCHD & ITVHD. That's ok because the customer services people told me sky sports HD et al will be here by the end of the year (this is 2006 remember!). YEAH, RIGHT!! :mad:

It's akin to other companies moving to colour broadcasts and VM burying it's head in the sand and sticking with good ol' black and white. "There's no demand for colour. We can still sell advertising in black and white..." :rolleyes:

VM talks about growth potential. Surely HD is the biggest growth potential there is currently!? How many HDTV's are out there not being used to their full potential? jeez... :suicide:
 

jogon

Novice Member
Ermm, I don't think it's so much the cameras that the shows are broadcast on as an HD camcorder is not going to be anywhere near as good as camera equipment currently used to film programmes. 35mm film is still currently the best capture medium for HD broadcast. The mastering and production side of things needs to improve to broadcast more shows in higher definitition. Post production costs in HD are far higher and these costs need to be covered somewhere.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
Ermm, I don't think it's so much the cameras that the shows are broadcast on as an HD camcorder is not going to be anywhere near as good as camera equipment currently used to film programmes. 35mm film is still currently the best capture medium for HD broadcast. The mastering and production side of things needs to improve to broadcast more shows in higher definitition. Post production costs in HD are far higher and these costs need to be covered somewhere.
Interesting point. When Gardeners World kicked off their lastest HD series there was a short promo showing how the programme was made. You could clearly see an Arriflex Film camera.
 

nialli

Active Member
Ermm, I don't think it's so much the cameras that the shows are broadcast on as an HD camcorder is not going to be anywhere near as good as camera equipment currently used to film programmes. 35mm film is still currently the best capture medium for HD broadcast. The mastering and production side of things needs to improve to broadcast more shows in higher definitition. Post production costs in HD are far higher and these costs need to be covered somewhere.
I realise that ... I was being sarcastic. Feeble attempt at humour... :(
 

BikeNutt

Novice Member
Interesting point. When Gardeners World kicked off their lastest HD series there was a short promo showing how the programme was made. You could clearly see an Arriflex Film camera.
And GW does look superb in HD too. The colours and crispness of image are stunning. Due in part to the minimal camera movement.
 

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