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HD via Freeview in 2006 ?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by RecordablDVDfan, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Is'nt this feasable ? I'm sure they could free up space for 1 HD channel at least by dropping the shopping and kids channels ?

    Of course I realize that a new box will be needed but DTT HD reception is all there is in Australia where I'm on my hols at the moment

    Btw I see here in Oz that Loewe do a very nice HD 37" LCD HD TV now, display looked awesome from a channel 7 demo feed
     
  2. jgrg

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    I think it is possible, but will probably happen after the analogue switch-off, which is several years away. I think each analogue channel will free up the space occupied by each freeview multiplex these days. Each multiplex has enough bandwidth for about 4 high quality standard definition channels, which is maybe two HD channels.

    But I think the several years gap may be an advantage, because the algorithms to deliver HDTV will have improved by then. If we went to HD now we would be stuck with MPEG2, which is fine, but there are ways of getting better pictures out of the same bandwidth.

    We may see a BBC "freesat" HD service before then. The BBC are one of the world's largest producers of HD content.

    James
     
  3. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Oz have had HD since 2001, don't see why we have to wait until 2012 and probably beyond for HD. THere are so many junk channels on Sky and now Freeview which are wasting heeps of bandwidth, TV should be about quality not quantity
     
  4. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Yep - HD via satellite is likely to be the first UK service to launch I expect.

    Whilst it might be possible to convert an existing Freeview mux to HD - 18Mbs should be enough for an MPEG4 HD service and possibly an SD MPEG2 as well (to remain compatible with existing boxes) - I don't see a market for people to buy new Freeview boxes for a single HD channel. ALternatively the Freeview and BBC muxes might be able to revert to 64QAM if they can increase power after analogue switch-off to allow them to deliver 24Mbs rather than 18. (This would give the BBC 12Mbs extra capacity across their 2 muxes, enough for a single MPEG4 HD stream ?)

    If spectrum becomes available after analogue shutdown in 2012 - then possibly things will change - the govt might sell the area it is freeing up to an HDTV operation, and I believe C4 and ITV are lobbying for a mux each rather than sharing a single mux as they do now, so that they match the current BBC / ITV / C4 analogue spectrum mix ?
     
  5. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Whilst I agree that I don't particularly enjoy the shopping channels - they are paying for the right to broadcast on the Freeview muxes, so I suspect you can't just drop them until their contract is up for renewal. AIUI it isn't cheap to broadcast on Freeview, so I suspect any prospective HD broadcaster would need deep pockets if they wanted to buy the shopping channels out.

    As for the kids channels - CBeebies is a major driving force for Freeview take-up AIUI - as it is commercial-free, high quality and deemed "a good thing" by many Freeview viewers with pre-school children. As it shares the same capacity with BBC Four (as BBC Three does with CBBC) then you'd either have HD only in the daytime, or have to kick BBC Four off as well surely?
     
  6. JayX

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    i seriously don't see the fuss about getting HD signals onto freeview.

    HD is about the best signal possible for those people with the best equipment. freeview is the bare minimum service that exists in order to get analog turned off... they don't offer virtually anything more than bare DTT, so why people are presuming they would or should offer HD content is beyond me. if you have a normal tv, no sound system and can't tell when you're displaying 16x9 content on a 4x3 tv, then freeview SDTV is fine for you, and thats exactly their customer base. for those people who bought £1000+ tvs and expensive AV gear... to then hook it up to a freeview box is comparable to putting fluffy dice in your ferrari.

    satellite is displaying HD content now, and there's set plans for sky's integration of the services in 2006. i'm sure the cable channels will also follow thru. HD movies are available in WMV form, and the future of the HD DVD as a whole is being decided as we speak. so with all that going on.. do we REALLY need freeview HDTV ? all you're gonna get is I Used to Be A Celebrity, Get Me Back on TV at 5x the resolution anyway.. do we really want that?!
     
  7. djsat2

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    Id imagine that by the time it comes to broadcasting HD on DTT that video codecs will have got to a point where several HD channels will fit on each frequency. I presume the BBC will push for their own DIRAC codec to be used as i dont really understand why else they would be developing it (apart from internet streaming of their new content i suppose). I thought that 2012 was the deadline for the last analogue signals to be turned off, id image that long before that some channels will have already given up their analogue frquencies. Look at 5 for example, they porbably have better coverage through freeview right now and as more and more people get digiboxes they're analogue frequencies will soon become obsolete. Im sure ITV will be willing to save some money by not bradcasting in ATV as soon as the numbers make it possible as well.
     
  8. joys_R_us

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    sky already decided on MPEG4 or VC-1 so no need to wait...
     
  9. MartinImber

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    Freeview is not some poor mans system - it is actually a very good system, there is no forced designs - you can choose the decoder you want - no subscriptions - and the picture is good
     
  10. JayX

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    i disagree. ONDigital was a good system, it allowed a mixture of pay content and free to air content across a dishless and cableless network. Freeview is the bare minimum of what could be done. it's not awful, but its pretty much for people who only wanted bbc and itv 10 years ago, rather than people who want a choice of channels etc.

    and there's no "decoder" in freeview, just a receiver (unless you're talking about topuptv which is just.. bleh. i hope they go bust very quickly and free up the mux space until more FTA channels that are actually worth watching can replace them).

    i think freeview does what it does well, but its not there to deliver HD content to people with high end systems, its there to fulfill the requirement for DTT across the nation before a time limit. you don't wear a £600 suit to go and eat at mcdonalds do you :)
     
  11. 1080 jawbreaker

    1080 jawbreaker
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    the freeview mpeg2 decoder will choke with hdtv res/bandwidth
     
  12. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Sorry - that is incorrect. There is an MPEG2 decoder in every Freeview set top box. It decodes the received MPEG2 data stream to component digital video, which is usually then matrixed to RGB and DAed, or coded to composite/s-video.

    You are confusing "decoding" with "decrypting". The Freeview channels are not encrypted, so no decryption is required. However they are encoded in MPEG2, so a decoder is...
     
  13. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Yep - most standard Freeview receivers won't cope with resolutions higher than 720x576.

    However there are DVB-T receivers for the Australian market, which would be easy to modify for the UK market (if they need it at all), which CAN cope with DVB-T carrying 1920x1080 HD - as well as 1440x1080 - as that is what is broadcast on their equivalent of Freeview, in addition to 720x576 interlaced and progressive.
     
  14. 1080 jawbreaker

    1080 jawbreaker
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    ya can get dvb-t pci cards for about £40 these rely on your cpu to decode rather than the more expensive hardware mpeg2 decoders so HDTV is no problem as long as your cpu can handle it. Dont expect any hd on freeview anytime soon though.

    Im using a dvb-s with ci interface for euro 1080 and hdforum via sat. works like a charm. cpu is earning its keep :) hdforum using higher bandwidth and it shows :)
     
  15. Rob20

    Rob20
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    I think it's more likely we'll see hidef material broadcasted via BB connection than on freeview anytime soon. I've read that Hi-Def won't be viable till analogue switch off sometime 2012. In Japan the Govt. spent £1 billion developing hidef tv. Won't happen here that's for sure. Too busy wasting it on dumb projects like the dome. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Mr.D

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    Yes I reckon this is what the beeb will do.
     
  17. Ikki

    Ikki
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    The only thing that OZ HD STB's would need for UK use is the addition of the MHEG5 engine for interactive services and the 7 day epg.

    As for the 'Freeview is for the poor' attitude - I think that the poor soul that suggested this is somewhat misguided and needs to come down off his pedestal. Not everyone wants to blindly feed Murdoch with hard earned cash. Who is the fool here?
     
  18. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Yes it's appuling how the sub for sky just goes up and up. Our spineless soft Govt should have put a cap on prices ages ago. I hate to think what daft cost HD will be. Freeview is great IMO problem is I can't get it where I am :lease:
     
  19. brendan_dj

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    If they do decide to broadcast a couple of channels in High Definition on the Freeview platform, will the digital media-box on the Pioneer 435XDE be able to decode and display it?

    Brendan
     
  20. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Really the Govt should force all 5 main channels to have an HD version on DTT like in Australia and obviously FTA. It's pointless having QVC and the like on Freeview total waste of bandwidth

    How many channels could be HD if say 10 SD ones remained on Freeview ?
    Say it's 2012 and all analogue tx's had been tuened off how much space then for HD can anyone work out ?!
     
  21. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    I think everyone is getting a little ahead of themselves here. Sky have announced that at least one Sky channel will be in HD by 2006. As far as I'm aware, none of the other broadcasters have announced a start date for HDTV. The BBC have said that they expect the majority of their output to be in HD by 2010.

    As for the government getting involved, that is a bit of a joke. They don't even want to get involved in the (premature) switch-off of analogue TV, let alone the future of HDTV.

    P.S. Not everyone in Oz seems to be enthralled with HDTV read this

    There is a price to be paid for being first :thumbsdow
     
  22. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Yes forget out spineless Govt although ofcom could come with some proposel perhaps in a few years

    I know HDTV in Oz does vary in standards used. I was suprised that their freeview equivelent only broadcasts HD versions of their 5 main channels which is going the other way, no news channels or anything, only these can be viewed via Satellite, using Murdoch's 'Sky' system. The menus etc are just the same as a UK Sky box btw LOL!
     
  23. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Assuming the 6 multiplexes stayed as is, then you'd have 4x18Mbs and 2x24Mbs muxes.

    If you use MPEG2 for HD then you need about 18Mbs to deliver a high quality 1080/50i signal (in the US they sometimes drop below this when they multicast - and this is a cause for some complaint amongst HD fans)

    If this were the case then you'd get 1 HD service in each BBC/Freeview mux (which are 18Mbs) with no SD as well. So 4 HD and no SD - not even a simulcast of the HD service for those with existing Freeview receivers that weren't HD compatible.

    You'd get a further 2 HD services in the SDN/Five and ITV/C4 (i.e. non-Freeview) muxes, plus have about 12Mbs left over. This would be enough for 3-4 SD services in OK quality - though not great.

    So 6 HD and 3-4 SD, or you could go for 5 HD and about 8 SD services. (Which would allow you approx 3 extra services in SD assuming you simulcast HD and SD versions of the 5 main terrestrials for existing Freeview compatibility...)

    You could reduce the HD services to 15Mbs and squeeze in a few more SD services in the Freeview/BBC 18Mbs muxes, though this would compromise HD quality if MPEG2 and 1080/50i were used. Possibly marginally better if 720/50p were used.

    You might be able to get below 15Mbs if you ditched MPEG2 and went for MPEG4 - which makes sense if there are no existing HD receivers out there (and I believe is what France plans for HD and/or pay-TV on DTT, keeping only FTA SD DTT in MPEG2?) However you really would have to retain the existing SD MPEG2 system in the UK for Freeview - and continue with the mainstream digital channels (BBC One-Four/CBBC/CBeebies/News 24, ITV1/2/3/NC, C4, Five etc.) as this is often the reason people have gone for Freeview. I suspect QVC/BidTV/PriceDrop/IdealWorld etc. are less vital to many (though they do pay for their space)...

    You could also revert the Freeview/BBC muxes from 18Mbs robust modulation to the less robust 24Mbs system that the non-Freeview muxes use, though this would reduce the receivability of the services to some. (There are some people who don't get good ITV/C4/Five/SDN services because of the higher data rate/more difficult to receive signal)
     
  24. RecordablDVDfan

    RecordablDVDfan
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    Very interesting. Thanks for explaining
     
  25. St_ve

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    I have a Xpert DTV-DVB-T PCI freeview digital card feeding my Optoma RD50" DLP set
    not sure what all the letters stand for but the picture quality is loads better than Telewest cable True Lies ITV Wendsday was very good DVD quality & some of the BBC
    wildlife programs i've seen are near hidef quality. Freeview has its problems some programes can get very jerky but at it's best it's very very good.It's about time cable stopped shovelling endless channells down our throats & concentrated more on delivering quality programes.
     
  26. Stephen Neal

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    ITV1 on Freeview is (or certainly used to be) a higher resolution (720x576) than on DSat (544x576) and also a higher bit rate. If your cable feed is derived from the satellite version then the quality will be lower than Freeview.

    ITVs 2 and 3 on DSat are so poor that on occasions they are unwatchable. Abbamania 2 was on one of them recently - and on DSat it was just a soft mushy mess of blocks. Couldn't watch it - and that was on a regular 28" 50Hz TV set. On a plasma, LCD or 100Hz set which make MPEG2 artefacts more visible it must have been horrendous.
     
  27. thegeby

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    Stephen Neal said:

    Looking at the announcements from the chipmakers, it seems that MPEG4 (AVC) chips will almost automatically include MPEG2 and in many cases VC-1 as well. This means that there is a built-in obsolesence in most present DVB-T boxes. I understand that nobody wants to rock the boat in managing an analog to digital transition, but I would not expect too much mileage from a freeview box. Moral: Buy a cheap set-top tuner/decoder.

    The transition to HD actually makes sense in the context of flat screen TVs. In the near future (18-24 months?) HD-capable AVC decoder chips will be in mass production. Even in our dream scenarios 32" LCD's will cost a bundle and the marginal cost on integrating AVC capability will be a fraction of the price.

    Nobody will feel sorry if a number of early adopters get burnt (sorry fellows :hiya: ), as long as a future MPEG2 to MPEG4 set-top box upgrade can be managed for Grannie's CRT.

    End result? We may well have both HD and MPEG4 by 2012, when mainstream users have switched over to LCD/Plasma/OLED/SED. I have seen AVC 720p at 6Mb/s undistinguishable from 15Mb/s MPEG2. Add margins for variations in bitrate and factor in improvements within the codec, and 2 HD channels within a multiplex may well be within reach sooner than you think.

    Just think of it, Stephen, BBC News 24 in glorious HD ;)
     
  28. CKNA

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    If you think that any SD programs can come near HD than you have not seen HD. No SD program can come close to true HD no matter how good it is.
     
  29. CKNA

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    6MB/s AVC looking as good as 15Mb/s MPEG2 maybe in non real time. In reality any realtime MPEG4 encoding can provide 50% bandwith savings, and that is the best scenerio. Average savings are estimated at around 30%-35%. DirecTV in US will be the first to use MPEG4 H.264 AVC DVB-S2 standard starting in June this year.
     
  30. St_ve

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    Have downloaded & watched several wma trailers
    Coral reef adventure 1081 was one & is probably the best quality i've ever seen but the Congo bbc2 last Sunday was a lot closer to that than telewest ever gets to the best freeview programes.
     

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