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Sky Hi-Def

bluemoonmcfc

Established Member
Went to john lewis tonight looking at lcd screens, and the guy helping me told me that sky had brought forward sky Hi-Def to september this year and not 2006, i asked him how he knew this and he said they had been told by sky is this just bull or do you think he's was just telling porky's.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
It's not unusual for a business to make public announcments which give them plenty of scope for delays, that way their share price isn't affected as it would be if they missed a launch date:)

Wouldn't surprise me in the least if a testing program (Similar to which SKY+ had) wasn't inplace before the end of the year and gearing up for a Spring consumer launch.
 

bluemoonmcfc

Established Member
Cheers well i better get saving then :)
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Yep - there are a couple of ways this could happen - and some have been rumoured (and some other rumours started this way?)

AIUI Sky have requested that some of their OB facilities providers - the people who provide OB trucks (Sky don't own their own) to cover football matches etc. - re-equip for HD coverage.

AIUI some trucks will be ready before 2006 - so can be used this year. Sky may want to do this on-location to gain experience with HD coverage - as some aspects of it are different to SD coverage (though unlike the US which went 16:9 as well as HD at the same time, Sky and other UK broadcasters are already familiar with shootign 16:9 - so that is one less thing to learn!) I suspect that seeing how the Sky Sports Interactive stuff (which may stay SD initially I guess) can be fed from HD OB units will be part of that learning curve.

Thus some Sky Sports may start being shot in HD this year. This is not the same thing as it being broadcast HD - it may be that the HD feed doesn't even leave the football ground. As viewers we'll benefit from better picture quality though on our SD feeds - as HD downconverted usually looks better than SD native.

Sky may also use this as a chance to pilot their HD transmission areas - so the HD signal could get back to Sky HQ but not be broadcast.

They could then pilot uplinking - though they could use recorded material for this prior to live feeds of "channels".

Finally they could pilot reception - but this will be MPEG4, DVB-S2 and encrypted, so I suspect unless you are a Sky beta-tester you won't get a chance to see it.

How far they get down the line this year - who knows? But "piloting HD" doesn't actually require the HD signal to go all the way to receivers.

(I bet they would like HD in the shops for Christmas though - especially if HD-DVD is also there by then.)
 

Desk

Prominent Member
Somethng that's been on my mind about Sky's HD plans...

Sky's HD service will serve as a supplement to the standard SD service, right? That is, the new equipement will still carry and output all the existing SD channels, plus the new HD channels, too?
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
It is expected that SKY HD will be either a standalone package and/or and addition to the existing packages.

It is unknown if the new HD STB (Probably SKY+ HD) will be able to handle the existing mpegII based SD channels but it is very likely, more details will emerge as and when SKY are ready and have decided on marketing:)
 

Chris Muriel

Distinguished Member
I will eat my hat if the $ky HD STB does not handle SD decoding.
Every DVB HD box I have come across (including a couple that are only available in the USA) can also handle standard old-fashioned DVB satellite signals.
The QualiTV, Integras and Zinwell HD STBs do this as does a PCI card coupled with a powerful enough PC (e.g. 3 GHz CPU) running MPEG decode software.

Chris Muriel, Manchester.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
If Sky want to continue to supply receivers with the DVB logo (all their current ones are DVB) then it will have to continue to support legacy MPEG2 at standard def (and I think at HD too)

I can't imagine Sky would require two receivers - one for HD and one for SD - especially if there are only a few HD channels to begin with.

Don't forget - Sky only transmit some of the channels on their platform. Large sections of the "Sky Digital" platform are encoded and transmitted independently of Sky - with the only link to Sky a data link to the uplink to provide Sky Encryption encoding data, and payment for encryption or just EPG access if they are FTA.

(The BBC, UKTV, Viacom - i.e. MTV, Channel Four/E4/FilmFour, ITV1/2/3/NC and most of the shopping channels are uplinked by people other than Sky AIUI - Sky can't force them to move to MPEG4 at SD)

I think you can take it as read that Sky HD receivers will be backwards compatible with MPEG2 (especially at standard def, and possibly at high def if they want the DVB logo)

Of course there is only limited capacity at 28.2 at the moment - though I think Sky will fight to launch their HD in the same orbital position. (Though in the US some DTV platforms have had to supply dual position dishes - or re-pan them to allow them to move orbital slots)
 

mjcairney

Distinguished Member
bluemoonmcfc said:
Went to john lewis tonight looking at lcd screens, and the guy helping me told me that sky had brought forward sky Hi-Def to september this year and not 2006, i asked him how he knew this and he said they had been told by sky is this just bull or do you think he's was just telling porky's.

I believe they are going to start HD broadcasts to pubs as a trial later in 2005 and the real HD broadcasts start in 2006.

Cheers,

Martin.
 
M

Master Rahl

Guest
Stephen Neal said:
Of course there is only limited capacity at 28.2 at the moment - though I think Sky will fight to launch their HD in the same orbital position. (Though in the US some DTV platforms have had to supply dual position dishes - or re-pan them to allow them to move orbital slots)
DishNetwork requires 3 sattelites for all the channels. 110, 119, and 61.5. The 110 and 119 can be received with one dish with two LNBs. The 61.5 satellite requires a second dish.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Master Rahl said:
DishNetwork requires 3 sattelites for all the channels. 110, 119, and 61.5. The 110 and 119 can be received with one dish with two LNBs. The 61.5 satellite requires a second dish.

Yep - does the UK benefit from having fewer regional variations than the US?

In the UK there are fewer than 30 regional variations of either BBC One or ITV1, and fewer than 10 regional variations of Channel 4 (with C4 only differing in advert content)

AIUI there are quite a number of "HD locals" being uplinked on satellite in the US - whereas we don't have as many of these to bother with?
 
M

Master Rahl

Guest
Yes. At least 22 regional varieties of ABC, FOX, NBC, ABC, UPN, WB, PBS, and CBS.

It starts at channel number 7220 and runs through to 9356. A lot of the locals are on 61.5, meaning, you need a second dish.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Master Rahl said:
Yes. At least 22 regional varieties of ABC, FOX, NBC, ABC, UPN, WB, PBS, and CBS.

It starts at channel number 7220 and runs through to 9356. A lot of the locals are on 61.5, meaning, you need a second dish.

And those are all HD variations - or are they SD versions?

Presumably this all gets really messy if you are running a dual-tuner DirecTivo or similar?

Do you have to feed 2xLNB feeds from each LNB to the receiver (a total of 6?) - or does the receiver not allow dual recording of certain channel combinations ? (Or do you use multiswitches at the dish end, so you have a feed per tuner running from the dish with a multi-way switch at the dish selecting between the various LNB feeds for each tuner feed?)
 
M

Master Rahl

Guest
Stephen Neal said:
And those are all HD variations - or are they SD versions?

Presumably this all gets really messy if you are running a dual-tuner DirecTivo or similar?

Do you have to feed 2xLNB feeds from each LNB to the receiver (a total of 6?) - or does the receiver not allow dual recording of certain channel combinations ? (Or do you use multiswitches at the dish end, so you have a feed per tuner running from the dish with a multi-way switch at the dish selecting between the various LNB feeds for each tuner feed?)
Each LNB is dual, meaning, two receivers can directly connect to one satellite. However, because there are 3 LNBs, usually what happens is a combination of multiswitches and disecq switches. Disecq allows your receiver to "switch" between four satellites by sending a pulse A, B, C, or D through the cable. A multiswitch combines the HI and LO frequences of an LNB into one cable. You need one multiswitch per LNB and one disecq switch per receiver.

I'm a satelite enthusiast and I have um, modified our stuff at home significantly. I have taken the standard equipment down and replaced it with my own.

This dish can receive all 8 or 9 satellites that DishNetworks have, plus 7 other satelites. It goes through a bunch of switches and stuff, and ends up so that we have six receivers in total. The DishNetwork satelites and the rest are separated, so two cables go to each cable box in each room with TV ability.

I myself have VOOM too (the rest of my family don't have HDTVs), plus a motorized dish, a big C-band dish, and three other smaller dishes for my hobby.

t90.jpg



The regional varieties are all in SD, and some are in HD. I believe DishNet is planning on launching a few more satellites to provide all regional stations in HD in order to compete with cable companies.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Yep - we have Diseq over here as well. Used to control motorised dish positioners and multiple LNB switches.

Sky + installs are normally based on a Quad LNB - 4 outputs, each independently switched up the LNB feed between Hi/Lo band and H/V polarisation. Two feeds go to the twin tuners of the Sky + PVR box (to allow independent tuning of two channels irrespective of polarisation or frequency band) with the third and fourth available to feed two more standalone receivers in other rooms, or a second Sky +.

There are also fixed output Quad LNBs on-sale for multi-dwelling use mainly. These output Hi/H, Hi/V, Lo/H and Lo/V on their four outputs, to feed receiver controlled switches, so that the right feed can be selected by a connected receiver for each switch output.

It all gets very complicated when you go for multiple LNBs pointed at different satellites, also with multiple outputs for different receivers...
 

andybryant

Standard Member
Stephen Neal said:
AIUI Sky have requested that some of their OB facilities providers - the people who provide OB trucks (Sky don't own their own) to cover football matches etc. - re-equip for HD coverage.

That would make a lot of sense even if Sky were not planning to broadcast the feeds in this country. If they're re-selling the content to somewhere like Japan, then in order to be competitive they'll need to be capturing in HD.

This is what the BBC are doing today, in order to continue to sell abroad.

A.
 

Nick_UK

Banned
Has anyone got any ideas on the spare capacity on the Astra sats ? There's no indication on the Lyngsat site of any HDTV tests, and the bandwidth will have to be found somewhere.
 

Tim13

Standard Member
Has anyone got any ideas on the spare capacity on the Astra sats ? There's no indication on the Lyngsat site of any HDTV tests, and the bandwidth will have to be found somewhere.

This is smething that's been bugging me for a while. Tp1 (11.720H) and a couple of others are still free but not too sure if sufficient space to launch a dozen or so HDTV channels. Is further capacity expected at 28.2E in the next few months?
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
SKY will probably only need 2 full transponders to launch a viable subscription HD service using a modern codec, considering the amount of capacity given to SBO that may be a cheap source of capacity if indeed SKY are not in a position to aquire more.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Tim13 said:
This is smething that's been bugging me for a while. Tp1 (11.720H) and a couple of others are still free but not too sure if sufficient space to launch a dozen or so HDTV channels. Is further capacity expected at 28.2E in the next few months?

AIUI Astra 2C is due to move from the Astra 1 position (where it has been covering for Astra 1K - which didn't launch successfully?) at some point in the next year or two.

However there is still spare capacity at 28.2 - and Sky may only need a couple of transponders to provide a basic HD service. If they are using MPEG4 instead of MPEG2 then they may only need 2-3 times the bandwith they currently use for a single MPEG2 SD channel, rather than the 4-6 times they would need with MPEG2 at HD.

As others have posted, they could reduce the number of Box Office services if they really had to I guess.
 

Tim13

Standard Member
However there is still spare capacity at 28.2 - and Sky may only need a couple of transponders to provide a basic HD service. If they are using MPEG4 instead of MPEG2 then they may only need 2-3 times the bandwith they currently use for a single MPEG2 SD channel, rather than the 4-6 times they would need with MPEG2 at HD.
The recent press release from Euro1080 / HD1 here suggests that Sky will use MPEG4 and indeed that Euro1080 will launch new channels in that format in the next few years.

Tim
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
Interesting reading, certainly does seem to be a solid link between Euro1080 and BSKYB. It won't hurt SKY at all to have HD1 and HD2 via their STB without the need for another dish or multi-lnb setup.

Getting the big five terrestrials involved would be even better though:)
 

Nick_UK

Banned
Stephen Neal said:
AIUI Astra 2C is due to move from the Astra 1 position (where it has been covering for Astra 1K - which didn't launch successfully?) at some point in the next year or two.

Moving Astra 2C won't solve anything - there's only a certain number of frequencies available at any given satellite position, and they're all covered by existing satellites at 28.2E.

One thing is immediately obvious - there just isn't room for the number of HD channels that some people have suggested will be there when the service starts next year.
 

mjcairney

Distinguished Member
Nick_UK said:
Moving Astra 2C won't solve anything - there's only a certain number of frequencies available at any given satellite position, and they're all covered by existing satellites at 28.2E.

One thing is immediately obvious - there just isn't room for the number of HD channels that some people have suggested will be there when the service starts next year.

No doubt I'm missing something here, but where does the good old USA get all its space for its HD broadcasts?

Cheers,

Martin.
 

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