Bbc Hd

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Alan Roberts
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A little bird has told me that there's now a BBC HD channel on Sky. Not in the EPG yet, and I don't know enough about Sky to help find it (I watch Freeview, refuse to pay the Dirty Digger for my tv). So, now the challenge is for you'se guys to go out there and find it :D

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

foxvideo
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http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/showthread.php?t=370416

Not read the whole thread, but if anyone knows where it is, someone there will.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
A little bird has told me that there's now a BBC HD channel on Sky. Not in the EPG yet, and I don't know enough about Sky to help find it (I watch Freeview, refuse to pay the Dirty Digger for my tv). So, now the challenge is for you'se guys to go out there and find it :D

I've managed to obtain a sample recorded from either that or the Freeview channel from Crystal Palace -- it's a 19mbit/s H264 stream (yes that is nineteen, not a typo) but I can't get it to play properly on my mac... ;(

Steven

harlequin
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heres the info from the file i have.

BBC HD Tests

Filesize: 415MB approx.

What we have here is probably a 'first' for ******* - high-definition television (HDTV)! On the Eurobird satellite (28.5 degrees East - and therefore theoretically receivable by anyone with Sky Digital) the BBC has been experimenting with HDTV (1080i, H.264 codec). Until very recently, thus test channel been rebroadcasting an 'upscaled' version of BBC1. When I checked this morning, though, it was carrying 'true' HD material - specifically clips of Planet Earth, which was originally made in high-def.

I've captured three minutes of these tests using TSReader (my PC contains a TechniSat SkyStar satellite card). What we have here is a transport stream carrying the H.264 video (1440x1080i, 50Hz) and MPEG-1, Layer 2 audio. This has been uploaded here purely for experimental purposes. As far as playback is concerned, VLC will only handle the audio. Elecard MPEG Player (with the H.264 codec pack) will play both, but even with a reasonably-fast PC there's a fair amount of 'stutter'. WinDVD 7 refuses to accept it outright! Note that software decoding of H.264 high-def video is very CPU-intensive

All of which is a pity, because the quality is stunning - this Planet Earth clip includes elephants playing in water, Antarctic penguins and some breathtaking space views of Earth. If you're prepared to download this torrent, expect to have a play around with it - and please don't forget to share your findings with the ****** community! It is not known for how long these transmissions will continue in their present state. The only reason I could receive and capture them at all is because the BBC has opted for standard DVB-S modulation. Although I've heard that they will continue to use this for a while, chances are that they will eventually change to DVB-S2. Sadly, no DVB-S2 tuner cards (which would allow unencrypted high-def programmes to be captured and shared) are current available.

If you have the relevant equipment and would like to experiment with reception of these HD trials for yourself, here are the reception details:

Satellite: Eurobird 28/5 degrees east
Frequency: 10847.00MHz, vertical polarisation
Modulation: DVB-S
Encryption status: Free-to-air
Symbol rate: 22000
Forward error connection: 5/6
Service ID: 6940
Program ID (H.264 video): 2318
Program ID (audio): 2319 (Dolby Digital, 2-channel); 2320 (MPEG-1 Layer 2, 2-channel)

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Alan Roberts
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My info came by mobile phone while I was driving round the M25 at about 18.00 today. My mole said the contract was signed at about 15.00, so the news was pretty hot.

BUT, since this is not a servivce, and has not yet and will not be announced as a service because it's a test transmission, they have the right to change the format at any time. And probably will. I'd expect the resolution to change from time to time, and the bit rate, and possibly even the compression system. And it may not get into the EPG. Don't expect to be able to sit and watch programmes on it, that's not what it's for. Yet.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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If anybody watches "Breakfast News" on BBC 1, then they had articles specifically about High Definition on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings this week (which just shows how much has changed in barely two years) led, as far as I could gather, by their launch of their trial channel, and in particular being able to watch the World Cup that way.

Thursdays item was more interesting, in that it seemed to have come about as a result of viewers e-mailing the programme to say they wanted to watch the World Cup in HD, had the right screen, but had been told (by Sky) that the demand had been such that they couldn't promise installation until after the final! I seem to remember them quoting Sky as saying "demand has exceeded our initial expectations", or similar. There's some evidence for that from http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?class=countries&subclass=0&id=1646 though presumably those who preordered well in advance should get their receivers in good time for the matches?

I don't remember anything on the Breakfast News pieces that is likely to come as an earthshattering revelation to anybody on these forums, but what did strike me is that it really does mark the whole subject as now firmly mainstream. Along with everything else they also gave the impression that it is a very desirable item, and I suspect the stories of short supply will only enhance the desirability. The impression was also that the BBC is now committed to HD, and sees it as the future.

infocus
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infocus wrote:
If anybody watches "Breakfast News" on BBC 1, then they had articles specifically about High Definition on both Wednesday and Thursday mornings this week .........

And if my brain had been in gear, I'd have looked at their website before posting that - see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/4752017.stm where you can read what was said and watch the reports for yourself. (Though in somewhat less than HD..... ;))

Ray Maher
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harlequin wrote:
heres the info from the file i have.

BBC HD Tests

Filesize: 415MB approx.

What we have here is probably a 'first' for ******* - high-definition television (HDTV)! On the Eurobird satellite (28.5 degrees East - and therefore theoretically receivable by anyone with Sky Digital) the BBC has been experimenting with HDTV (1080i, H.264 codec). Until very recently, thus test channel been rebroadcasting an 'upscaled' version of BBC1. When I checked this morning, though, it was carrying 'true' HD material - specifically clips of Planet Earth, which was originally made in high-def.

I've captured three minutes of these tests using TSReader (my PC contains a TechniSat SkyStar satellite card). What we have here is a transport stream carrying the H.264 video (1440x1080i, 50Hz) and MPEG-1, Layer 2 audio. This has been uploaded here purely for
experimental purposes. As far as playback is concerned, VLC will only handle the audio. Elecard MPEG Player (with the H.264 codec pack) will play both, but even with a reasonably-fast PC there's a fair amount of 'stutter'. WinDVD 7 refuses to accept it outright! Note that software decoding of H.264 high-def video is very CPU-intensive

All of which is a pity, because the quality is stunning - this Planet Earth clip includes elephants playing in water, Antarctic penguins and some breathtaking space views of
Earth. If you're prepared to download this torrent, expect to have a play around with it - and please don't forget to share your findings with the ****** community! It is not known for how long these transmissions will continue in their present state. The only reason I could receive and capture them at all is because the BBC has opted for standard DVB-S modulation. Although I've heard that they will continue to use this for a while, chances are that they will eventually change to DVB-S2. Sadly, no DVB-S2 tuner cards (which would allow unencrypted high-def programmes to be captured and shared) are current available.

If you have the relevant equipment and would like to experiment with reception of these HD trials for yourself, here are the reception details:

Satellite: Eurobird 28/5 degrees east
Frequency: 10847.00MHz, vertical polarisation
Modulation: DVB-S
Encryption status: Free-to-air
Symbol rate: 22000
Forward error connection: 5/6
Service ID: 6940
Program ID (H.264 video): 2318
Program ID (audio): 2319 (Dolby Digital, 2-channel); 2320 (MPEG-1 Layer 2, 2-channel)

I have had this frequency in my sky box for a week or two now but I don't think it can receive it.
I get there is a technical fault on this channel message.

The channels are TV DEV-0 ,1,2,3 and 4.

Ray Maher

Alan Roberts
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It's not just a matter of receiving the channel, you need the right decoder. Without a HD decoder, you'll probably get nothing.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

TerryMaher
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Alan Roberts wrote:
My info came by mobile phone while I was driving round the M25 at about 18.00 today. My mole said the contract was signed at about 15.00, so the news was pretty hot.

BUT, since this is not a servivce, and has not yet and will not be announced as a service because it's a test transmission, they have the right to change the format at any time. And probably will. I'd expect the resolution to change from time to time, and the bit rate, and possibly even the compression system. And it may not get into the EPG. Don't expect to be able to sit and watch programmes on it, that's not what it's for. Yet.

There is another article on the BBC website which seems to suggest it will be in the Sky EPG

Also a 'Whats on' guide

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4753607.stm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/whatson/search/daylist.cgi?service_id=2075&DAY=today

infocus
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TerryMaher wrote:
Also a 'Whats on' guide

Hmmm - hadn't seen that before. There's an awful lot of "not originated in HD" there, which worries me that people watching may think "it doesn't look that different to SD......". Then again, it won't have to suffer Freeview compression, so maybe it will look a lot better..... ;)

Alan Roberts
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Just wait and see what happens. For a service only one day old, you can't expect a lot. Yet.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

phez
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Can you confirm that the stream can be captured with a DVB-S card, and that I don't need an S2 card?

Alan Roberts
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No, I can't confirm that. And Norfolk is rather a long way outside the service area, which is Central London only, I thought I'd made that clear.

Today, I was at the BBC R&D Retired Staff annual bash at Kingswood. And I saw a demo of the trial barker. It looks really good. Currently at 20Mb/s, and 1080, with nearly all the source material 1080i or 1080psf (Genhis Khan was 720p though). I saw it on a 42" plasma (1366x768), at JVC17" crt monitor, and a 1920x1080 projector (image size about 100") . I saw no (repeat, no) compression artefacts at all. However, since Kingswood's well outside the planned service area, and they're using just a normal rooftop yagi, the picture did break up from time to time (at worst every few seconds, but never enough to lose the picture, just a few blocks got stuck for maybe hald a second). However, the plans are to explore the effects of lower bitrates and other coders, and 720p transmission as well. So, like I keep saying, nothing's guaranteed.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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The satellite transmissions (on Astra 2D) of the BBC HDTV trials are DVB-S for the present. They may change to DVB-S2 later.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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You can expect changes to virtually every parameter during these tests. That's why they're tests. And, unless you're an official part of the tests, you won't know what to expect. If that helps.........

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

Quote:
“A little bird has told me that there's now a BBC HD channel on Sky. Not in the EPG yet, and I don't know enough about Sky to help find it (I watch Freeview, refuse to pay the Dirty Digger for my tv). So, now the challenge is for you'se guys to go out there and find it”.

I am now receiving “BBC HD” via a Humax HDCI-2000 satellite receiver. The transmissions and the receiver have nothing to do with Sky, so there is no need at all to involve the “Dirty Digger”.

We are looking forward to “Planet Earth” and “Bleak House” in High Definition this weekend.

Station identification: BBC HD
Satellite: Astra 2D. Location: 28.2 degrees East
Transponder frequency: 10.847 GHz
Polarisation: Vertical
Transponder symbol rate: 22 megasymbols/second
Forward error correction ratio: 5/6

Alan

HallmarkProductions
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BBC HD is listed in the Sky programme listings now - Channel 145

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

stuart621
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It's also been on Telewest for a few days now. I don't have an HD TV but the picture can be used, although a message appears on screen pointing out that it is an HD channel and for best results you should change the output of your box and connect it to an HD TV.

I'm a little surprised at the fact there's a permanent onscreen logo, though and also that it it's not all visible. On my TV, the first half of it is off the left hand side of the screen. (I have my TV set to "Auto" so I get the correct aspect ratio for all channels whether they're in 4:3 or 16:9). Anyway, is the DOG a permanent feature? I'd be a bit miffed to spend over £1000 on an HD TV only to discover that HD channels had a DOG.

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
“I'm a little surprised at the fact there's a permanent onscreen logo, though and also that it it's not all visible. On my TV, the first half of it is off the left hand side of the screen. (I have my TV set to "Auto" so I get the correct aspect ratio for all channels whether they're in 4:3 or 16:9).”

The BBC HD Preview DoG, in the top left corner, should be completely visible on screen.
On my projector display, which has zero overscan, the left hand edge of the rectangle containing the first “B” in “BBC” is about half the rectangle’s height from the left hand edge of the screen. Also the tops of the rectangles are about the same distance (half a rectangle height) down from the top edge of the screen.

Much as I dislike DoGs, at least the BBC seem to have found a good use for them! Placed near the screen edge like this, they immediately show up all the displays which are wrongly set up (ie which are “overscanned “ or which are wrongly scaled to simulate overscan). Well done BBC (or Red Bee)!

Alan

stuart621
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I'm confused, then, as every other channel displays correctly - ie this is the only DOG which isn't all there. I know a lot of broadcasters put them in a 4:3 safe area (which is practically half way across the screen for widescreen owners!) but others (such as E4) put them in the top left and that certainly shows up OK on my TV.

I can't believe I'm concerned about a DOG being half missing! :)

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
“I'm confused, then, as every other channel displays correctly - ie this is the only DOG which isn't all there. I know a lot of broadcasters put them in a 4:3 safe area (which is practically half way across the screen for widescreen owners!) but others (such as E4) put them in the top left and that certainly shows up OK on my TV.”

The BBC HD DoG is all there on a correct display - one which displays the whole picture.

However nearly all domestic displays, including the latest plasma and LCD panel displays, deliberately cut the sides and top and bottom of the picture so they are not visible. This is of course entirely wrong design and is completely bizarre in the case of modern digital panels. It makes a nonsense of so called native resolution panels for 720p and 1080i or 1080p.

It would seem likely that your display is “overscanned” in this fashion. The BBC HD DoG is the only one close to the picture edge even on a correct display. The other channel DoGs are further away from the true edge and so visible in their entirety even on an overscanned display.

Alan

stuart621
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Thanks, Alan, that'll be what it is then. So will the DOG be there on the actual transmissions?

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
“So will the DOG be there on the actual transmissions?”

Well, we watched a couple of high definition “episodes” of “Planet Earth” last evening (“Mountains” and “Fresh Water”) and there was still a DoG. This read “BBC HD” and is similar to the “BBC HD Preview” DoG except that the “rectangles” had become squares. I suspect we will have to put up with something similar when BBC HD becomes an official BBC channel.

Most of the “Planet Earth” pictures were stunning in High Definition. I could not detect any digital compression artefacts whatsoever in the high definition pictures. Viewing was on a 76 inch diagonal 16:9 projection screen from a distance of 3.5 metres (a viewing distance of about 3.75 picture heights).

One can only hope that the BBC will maintain this level of picture quality when it comes to offer a regular high definition service.

Alan

stuart621
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I can't believe they're going to the bother of providing high definition pictures and then slapping a DOG over the top. I thought this was supposed to be a step forward!

Alan Roberts
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I tend to agree. DoGs are bad news, particularly for plasma displays. A lot of viewers have already complained bitterly to the right people about this, you're not alone.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

stuart621
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Alan Roberts wrote:
I tend to agree. DoGs are bad news, particularly for plasma displays. A lot of viewers have already complained bitterly to the right people about this, you're not alone.

I've seen this discussed on forums where the general concensus seems to be that people aren't too bothered by them. I don't imagine many of the people here would get away with sticking their company name in the corner of their wedding DVDs, somehow! :)

infocus
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stuart621 wrote:
........... the general concensus seems to be that people aren't too bothered by them.

I'd understood that when OnDigital first started, BBC1 and BBC2 both carried DoGs - the BBC thought it was a "good thing". Apparently the level of complaint was such that they were forced to remove them (they did, after all, want to encourage digital take up), too many people just watched the analogue version instead.

If DoGs bother you (and you won't be alone), write a letter of complaint. One letter on a subject may get ignored, a few get "noted", a deluge forces action. Same with most companies.

Alan Roberts
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I can leak that the inclusion of DoGs when ITV Digital started was fiercely opposed within the BBC. Lots of us were up in arms about it, and I suspect the same people still will be about the HD service. They have my full support, DoGs are rubbish.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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infocus wrote:
Hmmm - hadn't seen that before. There's an awful lot of "not originated in HD" there, which worries me that people watching may think "it doesn't look that different to SD......". Then again, it won't have to suffer Freeview compression, so maybe it will look a lot better..... ;)

We watched “New Tricks” last evening on BBC HD. The picture was about 2/3 the width and 2/3 the height of a full HDTV picture (ie. black borders around the “BBC1” picture). There was also a caption below the picture, in dark grey lettering, to the effect that “this BBC1 programme was not originated in high definition and if you want to see what HD really looks like watch the BBC HD preview” (that’s a paraphrase of course!)

So I think no one would be left in any doubt that they were not watching HDTV. Nevertheless, the picture quality was good, with no visible digital compression artefacts.

Alan

George Rankine
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Our (postponed) sky HD installation was fitted last Thurs and from memory all the Sky channels have DoGs as well (unfortunately I've been travelling since then) so it looks as if we'll be stuck with them.
Alan, I'd have thought that we don't have much influence on Sky (and that's probably an understatement!!) but have you a suggestion as to who the right person or dept. at the Beeb is?

At least we could do our little bit in complaining, particularly at this early stage.
George

Alan Roberts
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This is not the "right" person, but Andy Quested is a good start, andy.bbcperson.quested@bbc.co.uk.leaveitout. I've deliberately obsured the address that so that the web-trawlers won't find it. He's my line manager/paymaster for much of the consultancy work I do, but is horrendously busy, so often deletes whole batches of emails without reading them. If you want his attention, put my name in the subject line, he'll nail me anyway, but I can cope with it.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

George Rankine
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Thanks,Alan. I'll certainly take that up.
Cheers, George

Richard Payne
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Sorry if someone has posted this before but has anyone noticed this?

https://www.paceshop.com/shop/product/details/ds810xe-hd-set-top-box

£299 inc vat and the Dirty Digger gets nought.

Ray Maher
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But no hard disc for the same price.

Ray Maher

Alan Roberts
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And you can't buy the terrestrial box, they're made as a closed order so that Ofcom don't get worried.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

harlequin
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Ray Maher wrote:
But no hard disc for the same price.

Ray , I tend to only watch or record so i wouldn't need an onboard hard-drive , and i'm not sure how many hours in reality the sky+HD will record ........ , i can record to my present dvd-recorder with better theoretical quality than sky transmits on non-hd channels.

I am therefore more interested in buying a freeview receiver for HD , and keeping original sky box for the few programs i would still be watching from non-hd.

Any bets as to when sky will start killing off their own non-hd versions of their channels ?

I say 18 months max ....... everyone with a standard sky box would be way out of warranty and initial contract.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Ray Maher
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harlequin wrote:
Ray , I tend to only watch or record so i wouldn't need an onboard hard-drive , and i'm not sure how many hours in reality the sky+HD will record ........ , i can record to my present dvd-recorder with better theoretical quality than sky transmits on non-hd channels.

I am therefore more interested in buying a freeview receiver for HD , and keeping original sky box for the few programs i would still be watching from non-hd.

Any bets as to when sky will start killing off their own non-hd versions of their channels ?

I say 18 months max ....... everyone with a standard sky box would be way out of warranty and initial contract.

Freeview is out for me at the moment. In fact the only 6 channels I could get have been unobtainable for the last month or so. Reigate must be on the blink.

Ray Maher

Alan McKeown
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Ray Maher wrote:
But no hard disc for the same price.

But it’s not the same price. The Sky HD box (without a subscription to Sky) retails for about £399 and you are unlikely to be able to get one before September.

Alan

George Rankine
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I've got the Sky unit but I won't be home 'till Friday. If anyone wants me to check anything out, I'd be happy to do so then.
George

Alan McKeown
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The BBC HD DoG has now been moved further away from the picture edge, presumably as a concession to all those overscanned displays. Further evidence that the BBC is being dumbed down?

Alan

harlequin
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well how else would the sun readers know which channel they were watching ?

with the ammount of bbc programs on every other channel these days , it may be them enforcing the corporate identity ......... muppets .

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Alan Roberts
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The HD sat service officially started today. RT now identifies HD-originated programes (HD).

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Ray Maher
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Alan Roberts wrote:
The HD sat service officially started today. RT now identifies HD-originated programes (HD).

In 5 years we will look back and see another milestone in television history (colour,stereo,widescreen)

Ray Maher

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
The HD sat service officially started today. RT now identifies HD-originated programes (HD).

Although not very smoothly by accounts (problem with the 5.1 sound feed from Germany).

Steven

Alan Roberts
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There are sync problems, caused by the plethora of clever boxes through which is all goes. I'm not sure whether the HD Feeview's right, but BBC1 SD certainly wasn't.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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BBC HD is showing only about half of the World Cup Football matches. However, AIUI, all of the matches are available, in high definition, free-to-air, from M6 HD.

And you don’t have to put up with a yellow “BBC Sports” DoG!

Station: M6 HD
Satellite: Hotbird, location 13 degrees East
Transponder frequency: 10.834 GHz
Polarisation: Vertical
DVB-S
MPEG-4
Symbol rate: 27.5 megabits/second
Forward error correction ratio: 3/4

Alan

Alan Roberts
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BBC is showing, in HD, all the matches for which it has been granted the rights (in exchange for a stupidly large amount of money).

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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It has been interesting to have the opportunity to compare the BBC HD and BBC1 (SD) pictures during the simulcasts of the Football World Cup matches. The Humax HDCI-2000 has a “most recent” button, allowing direct “single key” selection between BBC HD and BBC1 (SD).

I was particularly interested to discover if we could see any difference between HD and SD at the equivalent of 10 feet from a 26 inch diagonal screen.
(10 feet is considered to be a typical home viewing distance)

Our screen is 76 inch diagonal, so the corresponding viewing distance is (76/26)* 10 feet, which is 29.2 feet. (Fortunately the room is 10 metres long).

I have to report that there was absolutely no way I (or my wife) could tell any difference whatsoever between the HD and SD pictures at this viewing distance (the BBC HD DoG ruled out a true blind test!).

Since 32” diagonal is also very popular as a screen size, we also tried viewing from (76/32)*10 feet = 23.75 feet and again one would be very hard pressed to see any difference even if you have 20/20 vision. (my eyesight, with spectacles, is slightly better than 20/20)

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Ahem, the "normal" viewing distance for SD is between 6 and 10 times picture height (not diagonal, and this is from surveys of consumer practice, not from straight science). The "normal" viewing distance for HD is accepted to be about 3 times picture height. At a distance of 3m (my personal distance here at home) I have a 28" SD set that's just fine, but at that distance I'd need a 37" display before I could see pixels at 720p (so I'd need a 1080 signal for a display bigger than 37"). With a 76" diagonal display, the height of the picture should be 37.266" high, so your nominal HD viewing distance should be 38*3=112", 9 feet 4 inches, call it 3m. On the same display, SD is normally expected to be viewed between 38*6=224" and 38*10=380", thats 18'8" (6m) to 31'8" (10m).

If you redo the experiment with these distances, I'd be amazed if you don't see a difference.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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Alan, I think you may have misunderstood. We have no trouble at all in seeing a marked difference between HD and SD at our normal viewing distance of 3.5 m (about 3.7 picture heights).

I was trying to confirm, in a practical way made possible by the BBC simulcasts, if someone with 20/20 vision, using a 26” or 32” (diagonal) screen would in fact see any difference between HD and SD if they were viewing from a typical 10 feet. The answer appears to be no, they will not benefit at all from HD.

While they could in principle sit much closer to the screen, in practice this is probably ruled out, especially if more than one person is viewing.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Ah, yes, I understand. And you're right, below a 32" set at 10 feet (3m) HD offers virtually nothing. HD needas big screens and big screens need HD.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Our normal viewing distance is about 9ft with a 32" CRT screen. I can't say I find the picture quality too bad, though Freeview artifacts are easily seen from time to time. (Much worse on some channels than others!)

Point is though that if wall mounted I'd like (and intend to get! :) ) a screen bigger than 32", and reckon the room could probably stand something up to 50" - definately 42". At which point I see HD as definately necessary. A bit of a chicken and egg - we're putting off getting a big screen until HD is (widely) available, and putting off HD until there is enough content broadcast to make it (plus screen) a worthwhile purchase.

I'd find a 26" screen at 10ft a bit on the small side now, and suspect that wall mounting is having quite a big influence in encouraging people to go for bigger screens. That and falling costs!

Alan McKeown
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The ”Trooping the Colour” ceremony, from Horse Guards Parade in London, is being televised live in High Definition on BBC HD this Saturday (17 June). HDTV coverage starts at 10h30 BST.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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That'll be a BBC truck with Sony HDC950s then.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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I suppose this may well be the first live high definition outside broadcast from the BBC to be actually transmitted to the British public. If so, another milestone.

(I think TOTC has been used for Eureka 95 demonstrations etc., but no public broadcast).

Alan

Alan Roberts
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We shot the Changing Of The Guard in mid July 1988, using the truck we'd just (nearly) finished and newly delivered KCH1000 cameras. Recorded onto a quadriga of D1s and with no means of checking that we had ghood recordings. The quadriga driver was only pary-finished, the replay part didn't work until late August, in time for IBC in Brighton. By 1989 we were shooting Wimbledon Centre Court as a closed circuit demo to several HD displays around the place. It wasn't until about 1992 that we had a codec that could get HD transmitted (to IBC, by then moved to Amsterdam) where the audience was arguably either more or less public.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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As expected, the “Trooping of the Colour” ceremony last Saturday made for very good high definition viewing.

While the coverage from Horse guards Parade was by HD cameras and looked excellent, the shots from the Palace and the Mall and the flypast looked liked upconverted SD. There was no caption to say that this was the case however, which was a bit naughty. The long-shot looking up the full length of the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, which would have been a magnificent shot in HD, looked particularly “SD”. It almost looked like the lens was faulty.

Alan

Alan McKeown
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The Children’s “Party at the Palace” is on BBC HD next Sunday, 25 June, commencing at 18h00 BST.

Alan

Alan McKeown
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BBC HD seems to be evolving quite nicely as new series shot in HD become available. This coming week, for example, we have:

The amazing Mrs. Pritchard (Tuesday, 21h00)
The Green, Green, Grass (Friday, 20h30)
Galapagos (Friday. 21h00)
Robin Hood (Saturday, 19h05)

There is also live football on Saturday (16h45), England v. Macedonia.

These BBC HD programs are broadcast simultaneously with BBC1 / BBC2.

If this ramping up of the programme choice continues, BBC HD should be ready to become an “official” BBC channel next year.
Let’s hope so.

Alan

The-Video-Compa...
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Does Robin Hood start this Saturday?

Same As It Ever Was! :(

SimonMW
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Quote:
BBC HD should be ready to become an “official” BBC channel next year

Yeah, that would be nice. But it would be nicer if I didn't have to either have someone drill holes in my walls or window frames and attach a dinner plate to the side of my house, or have to move to a very large town or city so I can get cable.

Apart from that it sounds lovely.

Alan McKeown
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The-Video-Company.co.uk wrote:
Does Robin Hood start this Saturday?

Yes. “Robin Hood” starts this Saturday 07 October at 19h05, on BBC HD. (and BBC One!)

Alan

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Yeah, that would be nice. But it would be nicer if I didn't have to either have someone drill holes in my walls or window frames and attach a dinner plate to the side of my house, or have to move to a very large town or city so I can get cable.

Simon, you don't need to have the dish visible -- mine is discreetly hidden behind a bush in the garden and is out of sight unless you go looking for it. I have to do a bit of pruning now and again to keep the bush under control.

And the picture quality is stunning, films are in their original aspect ratio, and there's normally something interesting to watch every night.

The only problem is I'm sure it can't last.

Steven

The-Video-Compa...
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Better ask the wife to record it then. :D

Same As It Ever Was! :(

Alan Roberts
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I've seen ep#1 of Robin Hood, shown at the end of the BBC HD event I was at on Thursday. Sound mix was too heavy, one mistake in makeup and a few shots that definitely weren't sharp enough for me. But the pace of it is breath-taking, Keith Allen is superb as the Sheriff.

Last year about 1% of BBC production was HD. This year it's about 3%, and I expect it to be about 10% next year. This has to happen if they're to meet the 100% target by 2010. These figures aren't mine, they came from that course. And I told Andy Quested (Principle Technologist, Production, HD) that I'll not get HD at home until the BBC officially announces a service, he's been banging on at me for a while now to get kitted up but I still refuse to pay Murdoch for what I don't want.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
that I'll not get HD at home until the BBC officially announces a service, he's been banging on at me for a while now to get kitted up but I still refuse to pay Murdoch for what I don't want.

It's actually cheaper to get it without paying Murdoch anything, than to subscribe to Sky HD :)

Humax HDCI2000 decoder is about £229 (and meets the spec on the BBC website for reception) and a dish can be had for £20. Assuming you don't mind fitting it yourself, which took me about an hour or so.

Murdoch wants £300 just for the decoder...

Steven

infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
And I told Andy Quested (Principle Technologist, Production, HD) that I'll not get HD at home until the BBC officially announces a service, he's been banging on at me for a while now to get kitted up but I still refuse to pay Murdoch for what I don't want.

Sounds to me that maybe they should provide the kit for you...... ;)

Quote:
Last year about 1% of BBC production was HD. This year it's about 3%, and I expect it to be about 10% next year.

Presumably it's being somewhat held back waiting for the next generation of pro camera technology? Currently pro HD = tape, and I'd not expect them to be wanting to invest more heavily in new tape cameras than absolutely necessary?

Alan Roberts
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:D couldn't possibly comment.

Yes, I know I can get kitted without paying Murdoch, but there is no official BBC service yet, only a Freeview trial and an incomplete single sat channel. When it happens for real, then I'll jump.

The current push in HD is to get most of drama off film and into HD. That doesn't need heavy investment because most drama productions rent kit anyway, it's only when "continuing" dramas (Casualty, Holby, East Enders etc) go HD that real investment matters, for the broadcasters. I expect that to start happening next year. Next generation hardware is certainly being monitored for appropriate progress, and if my expectations are right there will be a big investment next year. The problem is that I don't know which way it will go yet.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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I've just been forwarded a link to this discussion, which others may find interesting: http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/showthread.php?t=429789

In particular, the document linked to in the first post, which gives a very interesting insight into the BBCs intentions re HD broadcasting (p81-84), which seem far more positive than I've seen expressed elsewhere. A later post emphasises that it should best be seen as a deliberate "devils advocate" document questioning the BBCs intentions, but I have to generally agree with the feelings in post #4, especially the last paragraph.

Alan Roberts
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Quite so, it's pretty much what I've been saying for a while. Being now retired, I can't be held to represent the Beeb, but I see a real keenness to get on with it and a belief that not being involved HD production and broadcasting in 3 years time would result in disaster for the BBC, being wholly left behind by the local competition. But it's nice to see confirmation of the number of 8MHz slots coming free after switch-over, enough to get on with it if MPEG4 (or better) is used for HD.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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I see that “Torchwood” (the spin-off from “Dr. Who”) is to be shown on BBC HD late this month (simulcast with BBC THREE). Let’s hope that the new “Dr. Who” series will also be in HD and broadcast on BBC HD.

Other simulcasts on BBC HD in the next few weeks include:

“Great British Summer” (series narrated by Alan Titchmarsh)
(simulcast with BBC ONE)

“Into the West” (simulcast with BBC TWO)

“Planet Earth” (the second tranche of episodes)
(simulcast with BBC ONE)

"Jam and Jerusalem"
(simulcast with BBC ONE)

Alan

StevenBagley
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Alan McKeown wrote:
I see that “Torchwood” (the spin-off from “Dr. Who”) is to be shown on BBC HD late this month (simulcast with BBC THREE). Let’s hope that the new “Dr. Who” series will also be in HD and broadcast on BBC HD.

Dr Who is SD still, apparantly there isn't enough time to render it all in HD.

I've finally got around to building a PC capable of recording the HD stream now, although playback is a little tricky especially getting the PC framerate locked to 25fps and the codecs to output at a fixed frequency.

Steven

StevenBagley
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Apparently, the terrestrial BBC HD tests are now broadcasting in 720p50. Lets hope the viewers complain about the softer images they'll be getting.

Steven

SimonMW
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I doubt it.

This morning on the news when they were talking about the release of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD even one of the younger people to give a response said "What's the point?"

Over all the years of shooting video, I have quite often had people say to me "wow, great picture quality" for stuff that I have shot and have been less than happy with. I'm not sure that most people even know the meaning of great picture quality.

Add to that the fact that most of the HD displays they will be watching BBC HD on will be around 768 lines anyway, and the switch to 720p may give false results.

SimonMW
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Actually, referring to Torchwood, mentioned in an earlier post, Alan, do you know anything more about what happened with that? What with all the stuff about the Panasonic cameras.

I can't say that I have been too impressed with the trailers for Torchwood. It looks teribly 'vdeo' like to me, and it seems that they have shot a lot of it using a 1/25th shutter for a horrible smeary motion look.

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Add to that the fact that most of the HD displays they will be watching BBC HD on will be around 768 lines anyway, and the switch to 720p may give false results.

My display has 768 lines and feeding it a 720p signal versus 1080i gives a noticeably softer image -- remember that with overscan you are seeing something akin to a 648 line image being scaled up to fill those 768 as opposed to an 800-1080 odd line image being scaled to fit it.

Steven

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Actually, referring to Torchwood, mentioned in an earlier post, Alan, do you know anything more about what happened with that? What with all the stuff about the Panasonic cameras.

As far as I'm aware, the first block (episodes 1 and 2) were shot on the Panasonic HDX400 and Varicam and graded on a Pandora grading system. Later production blocks have all been shot on the Sony HDW-F750P and graded with a Baselight.

Quote:
I can't say that I have been too impressed with the trailers for Torchwood. It looks teribly 'vdeo' like to me, and it seems that they have shot a lot of it using a 1/25th shutter for a horrible smeary motion look.

That comment has been mentioned before as being a problem with the first couple of episodes.

Steven

DVdoctor
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It does look like BBC is starting down the path of US broadcasters. I wonder if they are being influenced by the sports originated material from the US that is 720p Espn, most of ABC and Fox http://www.hdsportsguide.com/

Sharyn

StevenBagley
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dvdoctoress wrote:
It does look like BBC is starting down the path of US broadcasters. I wonder if they are being influenced by the sports originated material from the US that is 720p Espn, most of ABC and Fox http://www.hdsportsguide.com/

I doubt it since all sports production in the UK is done with 1080i cameras (I don't think the BBC's HDC-950 can output 720p), and US sport material is of zero interest to the BBC. Also BBC policy is to produce everything in 1080i anyway, regardless of input or output format.

At the moment, it is only an extended technical test (made available to a few hundred public viewers in London) that is running at 720p and I know that decision has been done for technical reasons (to see how it compresses better and what public reaction to it is).

The BBC's satellite service is still 1080i and I suspect will always be 1080i since it has to compete alongside Sky's 1080i HD service (as I understand it, Sky's tests showed that the public preferred 1080i over 720p for sports in the UK...)

Steven

DVdoctor
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While the BBC might not be interested in US sporting events, it might be interested in events from US companies from around the world. I agree that Sky using 1080i certainly is a factor.

Anyway who knows with the License battles going on, the government might just sell off BBC to Microsoft or Google or Disney or ???? ;-))))) Who would have thought Thames water would be owned by the Aussies

Sharyn

StevenBagley
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dvdoctoress wrote:
Anyway who knows with the License battles going on, the government might just sell off BBC to Microsoft or Google or Disney or ???? ;-))))) Who would have thought Thames water would be owned by the Aussies

How can the Government sell off something it doesn't own???

Steven

DVdoctor
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HAA THOUGHT THAT WOULD CREATE A WIND UP

That subtle difference of US vs UK where we look at We the People, so things that are owned by us as citizens are infact owned by government. It is not unlike selling a public corporation, in effect even though it is owned by the share holders (license holders) it can be "sold" by someone with little or no actual ownership if they can get the shareholder to go along with it.

In all seriousness it is an interesting situation, not a government department, not a public corportation, the board of trustees starting in January, appointed by the Queen. Not saying this would ever happen but I wonder if someone clever decided like they did with insurance mutual societies and building societies to make an offer to the public to pay every license holder a set amount,or trade it for shares and then do away with the license fee if they would get enough people to go along with it.

I wonder what the license holders reaction would be to an offer for 300 sterling and no more fees?
I do think in all serioiusness that the license model is becoming more difficult to manage expecially with the lack of geographic barriers for content and audience.
Sharyn

StevenBagley
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I think you need to read Peter Fincham's speech to the RTS society...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/speeches/stories/fincham_rts.shtml

Interesting statistic, in houses where there is more choice, BBC One's share is increasing...

Steven

DVdoctor
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There is little doubt that the product delivered is good, and that demand is high, so bbc1 share of viewers going up makes sense

The issue is does the funding model make the most sense, does that fact that the increase in value of the entity really never can be monitized and there is little access to capital markets?
so you get into the debate in increasing license fees beyond inflation , funding for expansion and additional ventures.

Fundamentally with our ability to deliver TV on a global basis, does the license fee model make the most sense?

Sharyn

Alan Roberts
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Simon, I won't comment on Torchwood until I'm free to do so.

Steven, you're exactly right. 720 looks soft on all the HD displays I've seen, compared to 1080 i or psf. Remember that 720 is only 1280 pixels wide (960 if it's Varicam like Robin Hood) while 1080 is 1440 wide. That makes a big enough difference to see quite easily.

The EBU's stance is that 720p/50 is a good transmission format, but Sky have gone for 1080 because the public prefer it, and all the stuff I come into contact with is edited at 1080 even if it's shot at 720. I think the EBU's got it wrong, they should be working flat out on ways to get 1080p/50 transmitted, and let both 720p/50 and 1080i(or psf)/25 coexist until then.

The US experience of 720 is quite irrelevant to all of this.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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“Strictly Come Dancing” comes to BBC HD from this Saturday, 28 October at 17h45 (BST). (simulcast with BBC ONE).

Alan

Alan Roberts
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And "Fear Of Fanny" tonight, BBC4 21.00.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
And "Fear Of Fanny" tonight, BBC4 21.00.

I don't think that (or the excellent Mrs Beeton from last week) are being transmitted till november in HD.

Not surprised about Strictly Come Dancing, a studio based show like that seems a prime candidate for HD (although I suppose all the practice footage will still be DV, or have they switched to the HVX200?)

Steven

Alan Roberts
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I'd guess that the practice stuff would be Z1, not sure whether that'd be HDV or DV though.

BTW, Mrs. Beeton is super16, not HD.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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Alan Roberts wrote:
BTW, Mrs. Beeton is super16, not HD.

Interesting, that'd make it the first super16 piece to get an airing on BBCHD then -- I'm sure they said they weren't going to show any S16 stuff at one point. (it's scheduled for a week on friday)

Steven

SimonMW
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I find it interesting. Because Arri, with their new scanning technology and new film types, are marketing S16 as high def via digital intermediate.

Why are some saying S16 is not HD, while companies such as Arri are saying the opposite?

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
I find it interesting. Because Arri, with their new scanning technology and new film types, are marketing S16 as high def via digital intermediate.

Well you only have to look at Spooks (shot S16) and compare it with anything shot on HD at the SD level and even there you can see the difference. The big problem is noise in the image -- which film people call grain and get fixated over.

I'm sure that if you use a high-end film scanner then you can get HD which matches HD camera-originated material, but if you are going to spend that much money why on earth are you using 16mm in the first place?

Quote:
Why are some saying S16 is not HD, while companies such as Arri are saying the opposite?

Because the companies pushing S16 have a vested interest in film? :)

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Correct on all counts.

The problem with super16 in HD is nothing to do with the resolution, although it does fall short of what a good HD camera can deliver. It's the effect of grain on the transmission compression. When I put a frame of 16mm under a microscope a few years ago, I counted around 200 grains in each pixel (of SD resolution), the grain strucrure itself is tiny and shouldn't be visible, but it becomes visible when the grains migrate towards each other under ionic attraction in the emulsion when wet. So, the more it;s processed, the grainier it getts, like when pushed to put the speed up. The effect when put through a telecine is a random noise pattern that changes frame by frame, not field by field (although there is a field by field pattern that comes from the telecine if the gain has to tweaked to coirrect exposure). The size of the grain "clumps" is rather larger than the pixel, even in SD, and the transmission compressor gets awfully worried and busily tries to code it, while inconveniently forgetting about the real resolution that's only visible if you filter out the grain (and that takes temporal filtering, spatial won't do it).

So, poor old MPEG2 and 4 spend a lot of bits on trying to code the grain, which leaves too few for the real picture. Skin tones flatten out into plastic sheet, as does grass. It looks bad even on SD, let alone HD, digital transmission.

Arri are right in that super16, when sensible used, is ok for HD, but not for HDTV. The TV coders can't afford the bit-rate, but shooting super16 for printing to film via digital inter processing is absolutely fine, so long as nobody tries to compress it.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Alan McKeown
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“Fear of Fanny” (a dramatisation of the career of Fanny Cradock) is to be shown on BBC HD on Thursday 02 November at 21h00.

Alan

SimonMW
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Are they in 720p mode at the moment? I checked it out on some demo displays in H Prestons the other day and it seemed much softer than the last time I viewed it.

Alan Roberts
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The test transmissions will routinely be trying both 1080 and 720. And, remember that significant amounts of HD material is shot at 720 anyway, because the Varicam has the best film-look of the lot so far.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Are they in 720p mode at the moment? I checked it out on some demo displays in H Prestons the other day and it seemed much softer than the last time I viewed it.

H Prestons are well outside London iirc, and so will be showing the Sat feed which is very much 1080i still (at 20mbps).

Watching 'Strictly Come Dancing' is interesting, the upconvert SD bits (clips from last weeks shows, behind the scenes) are quite obvious. What is surprising though is that all the captions are upconverted from SD.

Other than that -- the difference between BBC1 and BBC HD is huge.

Steven

Ed Stradling
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StevenBagley wrote:
Well you only have to look at Spooks (shot S16) and compare it with anything shot on HD at the SD level and even there you can see the difference. The big problem is noise in the image -- which film people call grain and get fixated over.

I'm finding this with a lot of the HD DVDs I'm watching - particularly pre-2000 films. I assume they are using the negs not the prints and that the films must have been shot 35mm (we're talking "The Fugitive", "Full Metal Jacket" and a few others. The extra detail is there but so much grain!

Not so Troy, which presumably would have been edited digitally from a modern neg transfer.

Alan Roberts
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That's about it, supwer16 is limited by grain visibility. Even in Vision 2 stock the results look poor when scanned for HD, and cause severe blocking in transmission coding. That's why DiscoveryHD and BBC won't accept it as the main source for HD programmes, it counts as part of the 25% (for BBC, 15% for DiscoveryHD) up-conversion content.

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Well yesterday, I took delivery of a 37" LCD Tv and was looking forward to watching Torchwood in HD last night. Unfortunately, my attempts to link up my TV drive to the TV via HDMI proved completely unsuccessful. So, after a fairly long chat with somebody at Telewest, they agreed to send somebody out today.

The guy arrived at lunchtime and diagnosed a faulty box so he kindly gave me a new on (in the process taking away all the recorded programmes I had stored on the old one!) :(

Anyway, after having to work late tonight, I finally managed to settle down to watch some true HD material when I got in at 9 o' clock. I must admit, I was pretty disappointed to begin with.

BBC HD had two episodes of Sinchronicity while ITV HD were showing The Company of Wolves. To my eye, both looked fairly grainy and didn't seem much better than all the SD programmes I'd watched yesterday.

Fortunately, now that the BBC HD preview is back running, I'm finally beginning to see what HD is all about, with clips from The Blue Planet, Rome and Bleak House. All of these were stunning.

So why, then, did Sinchronicity not look so good? Is it just because it's pretty grainy anyway and mostly takes place in low light conditions?

StevenBagley
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stuart621 wrote:
So why, then, did Sinchronicity not look so good? Is it just because it's pretty grainy anyway and mostly takes place in low light conditions?

I've a feeling that Sinchronicity might have been shot on the Panasonic HDX400, and so would be upconverted from 1280x720 in the camera to 1080i, mainly because it doesn't look like a picture from a Sony. (I could be completely wrong though), but the HD pictures are a huge improvement over the 576i BBC3 transmission.

It certainly looks nicer than the first couple of Torchwood episodes did.

Steven

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StevenBagley wrote:

It certainly looks nicer than the first couple of Torchwood episodes did.

Steven

Yes, they also had a trailer for Torchwood with a compilation of clips from a number of episodes. The quality did seem very variable. The Cyberwoman ones looked pretty good, though. That's the next episode IIRC.

stuart621
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On another forum, somebody suggested that the BBC HD channel would be coming to an end soon. I'm probably missing something very obvious here but why does there need to be a separate channel for HD?

Before I got my HD TV, I could still tune into the BBC and ITV HD channels, although obviously the content would appear on my TV as SD. Could the BBC and ITV not transmit HD channels on their existing channels, allowing people with HD equipment to see it in that format and everyone else would have it in SD?

As I say, there is probably a very good reason why this wouldn't work but I can't quite think what it might be. :-)

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stuart621 wrote:
Before I got my HD TV, I could still tune into the BBC and ITV HD channels, although obviously the content would appear on my TV as SD. Could the BBC and ITV not transmit HD channels on their existing channels, allowing people with HD equipment to see it in that format and everyone else would have it in SD?

)

No. The BBC HD transmissions require a different receiver (set top box, STB) as they use MPEG-4 compression (as opposed to MPEG-2 for SD).

BBC HD transmissions also have a wider RF bandwidth than the SD ones and may eventually use DVB-S2 (as opposed to DVB-S). Present SD STBs cannot demodulate DVB-S2.

I think to display BBC HD in SD you must have been using an HD STB which was downscaling the video to SD.

Alan

stuart621
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Alan McKeown wrote:
No. The BBC HD transmissions require a different receiver (set top box, STB) as they use MPEG-4 compression (as opposed to MPEG-2 for SD).

BBC HD transmissions also have a wider RF bandwidth than the SD ones and may eventually use DVB-S2 (as opposed to DVB-S). Present SD STBs cannot demodulate DVB-S2.

I think to display BBC HD in SD you must have been using an HD STB which was downscaling the video to SD.

Alan

Yes, I was using a Telewest TV Drive. I didn't realise that other STBs wouldn't be able to display the HD content in SD. Oh well, I knew there had to be a good reason! :)

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The BBC HD trial has always been described as lasting a year, which would be up in June or so.

The question is, will that be the end of the BBC transmitting HD material? Personally, I doubt it since that would be leaving the HD market dominated by BSkyB (and so the BBC could find itself without a reduced marketshare when it does get into HD properly).

My suspicion (and this me just guessing) is that BBC HD will continue as a channel on satellite and cable, but that it'll consist solely of simulcast (and delayed simulcasts where clashes happen) of material on the 6 main channels basically stuff where the HD version is available at no extra cost, (e.g. Strictly Come Dancing being made in a HD equipped studio at TVC).

Steven

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StevenBagley wrote:
The BBC HD trial has always been described as lasting a year, which would be up in June or so.

The question is, will that be the end of the BBC transmitting HD material? Personally, I doubt it since that would be leaving the HD market dominated by BSkyB (and so the BBC could find itself without a reduced marketshare when it does get into HD properly).

My suspicion (and this me just guessing) is that BBC HD will continue as a channel on satellite and cable, but that it'll consist solely of simulcast (and delayed simulcasts where clashes happen) of material on the 6 main channels basically stuff where the HD version is available at no extra cost, (e.g. Strictly Come Dancing being made in a HD equipped studio at TVC).

Steven

That would suit me! :)

I believe, though, that Telewest (or Virgin Media as they will soon be called), are trying to push their HD content more through VOD rather than discrete channels. Either way, as long as the BBC (and others) continue to provide programmes in HD things will be fine.

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The Freeview transmissions are tests, and the test period officially comes to an end next summer. But the satellite transmissions will probably stay on because they're not seen as a "public service" transmission like terrestrial, since extra kit is needed. HD transmission on the Freeview system is a major problem because there aren't enough multiplexes available, the space needed for them is currently occupied by analogue tv. When that's switched off, terrestrial HD beomes possible, but not with lots of channels because each HD channel needs a minimum of 3 times the data rate of SD, and preferably much more.

The future of HD for the UK is satellite and cable, with very limited terrestrial coverage.

In my opinion.

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The report on the DTT HD tests is available

http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/pdf/dtt_hdtrial.pdf

It makes for interesting reading, but doesn't really say anything surprising.

Steven

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Nothing we didn't expect, but it's real evidence. Now wait for the decisions and announcements.

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Alan Roberts wrote:
Nothing we didn't expect, but it's real evidence.

Although I'm surprised at the wish for the News to be in HD.

Quote:
Now wait for the decisions and announcements.

I think they will have to come soon and on a much quicker timescale than expected, unless they really want the market stolen by Sky...

Maybe the solution is for the Freesat service the BBC and ITV keep mentioning to become a reality and for the boxes to be HD capable, or at least upgradeable to HD by an additional plugin card.

Steven

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News is HD in Japan, it was just about the first continuing programme to go HD. Given the propensity for Japanese TV to use high-key flat lighting, it looks like you'd expect it to. The reporters contribute in HD, relativgely little SD content. When we go HD for News, the studio will be HD but much of the contributions will still be SD or even phone footage, and I expect few people to notice because actuality footage is expected to look dire.

But I agree about the timescale, I reckon it'll have to happen here before NAB or we'll look like we've lost another year to the US.

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drgagx
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The report mentions trialling SD using mpeg4 ilo mpeg2. If there was a change entirely to mpeg4 (for both HD and SD) would this mean that existing mpeg2 based stbs were obsolete and useless?

Alan McKeown
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drgagx wrote:
If there was a change entirely to mpeg4 (for both HD and SD) would this mean that existing mpeg2 based stbs were obsolete and useless?

Yes!

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Just so. In France, SD DTV is MPEG2, HD is MPEG4, and the first generatyion of boxes do decode it correctly. I'd be infavour of getting out of MPEG2 as soon as possible for broadcasting, it's ineffient and ugly when it fails. MPEG4 is better, but wavelet compression (e.g. JPEG2000 for digi-cinema) is far better.

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infocus
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drgagx wrote:
The report mentions trialling SD using mpeg4 ilo mpeg2. If there was a change entirely to mpeg4 (for both HD and SD) would this mean that existing mpeg2 based stbs were obsolete and useless?

It's not just a change to MPEG4 that will render some existing boxes useless - the early ones (ie OnDigital) only supported 2k operation, not 2k and 8k as all subsequent ones do. That's one other factor that's holding Freeview back in the UK at the moment - it HAS to be transmitted 2k. It has been stated that it will move to 8k come analogue switchoff, so expect all early Freeview boxes to become obsolete at the same time as analogue TVs! (If they are still working.)

As far as the announcement goes, then yes, few surprises to most of us. It's worth remembering how relatively recently the BBC were generally denying any likelihood of an early move to HD transmission - I think StevenBagley gets it spot on when he suggests they are worried about getting left even further behind by Sky.

Regarding News, then I'm also surprised that it was an area where the triallists most saw a benefit to HD. I also agree with Alan that it would seem likely for the studios to go first, with filmed inserts etc gradually going that way to follow. That is what happened with widescreen - a true widescreen studio, with most reports initially insert from 4:3 original. (And still the case with much foreign material from other broadcasters.)

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The big problem with news in HD, is the fact that it would be news reports in HD. Quite frankly, the possibility of turning the TV on to be fed live HD pictures from war zones is not something I want. It was pretty harrowing seeing some of the yukky overcompressed SD pictures on July 7th of patients arriving at the hospitals in London (most of which probably should never have been transmitted anyway).

As I understand it, BBC HD tests on Casualty and Holby City showed that they would need to be very careful when shooting in HD since the prosthetic injuries could look too realistic and make the viewers ill. I'm certain that news reports would be even worse.

infocus wrote:
I think StevenBagley gets it spot on when he suggests they are worried about getting left even further behind by Sky.

Yes, although I think the BBC managed to steal Sky's thunder somewhat by launching a free trial service which (judging by people's post on internet forums) was offering the viewer more than Sky's pay service (and with better picture quality too!).

Steven

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It seems to me, as a mere viewer, that terrestial broadcasters and the BBC in particular are in a tight corner - or should that be up the creek without a paddle?

The expectation of the viewers of the trial is that HD should/will arrive in a year or two. The reality, as I understand it, is that it is several years away. Terrestial TV will increasingly look old and clunky compared with satellite HD (if you choose to pay for it) and BluRay/HD DV films (if you choose to buy the player and dvds) and HD personal video/digital stills (if you choose to do that) on HD ready TVs. The compulsion that you pay an even higher licence fee and, potentially, replace your existing stb just for SD transmission, let alone for HD, will alienate many people.

In my opinion the terrestial broadcasters` business models require serious rethinking.

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Certainly, the BBC regards HD broadcasting not just as an inevitability but as a means of survival. It has to go HD, there's no if about it, only a when. Many of the issues have been rummaged enough now, and production levels are high enough to make a service possible although the BBC has a history of not officially launching new technology until it's mature (e.g. colour didn't start until an entire channel was colour, not just a few programmes, same with stereo and widescreen).

The real issue for the BBC is the permission to do it. They're getting away with it on satellite because it doesn't count as a service, so you can expect launches to be there, not terrestrial. Only when analogues switches off can there be enough spectrum for HD terrestrial, and then only if permission is granted because there's still the prospect of the existing analogue channels (and the unused adjacent channels that are kept empty to maintain the performance of the filled ones) being sold off for other services. HMG has to get its finger out and point the way or it won't happen.

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Presumably in the short term, it is in the BBC, ITV and C4s interest to make sure there is a free HD platform (via satellite) available for people to view.

With careful selection of transponders, it should be possible for them to launch an HD (and SD for that matter) service, that doesn't require the LNB to be switched between various polarization and frequency ranges and so the signal could be split and distributed around the house.

Couple that with a compact satellite antenna (bring back the Squarial?) and a cheap but modular decoder and you'd have a Freesat service that could offer HD and SD services. E.g. a base SD decoder with DVB-S2 tuner fitted, but that had an expansion bus that allowed an upgrade card to be fitted containing an HDMI socket and the relevant H264 decoder.

If they don't do something like that, then all the BBC HD (and ITV, C4, five etc) channels will do is offer people a bigger incentive to get Sky.

Steven

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StevenBagley wrote:
Presumably in the short term, it is in the BBC, ITV and C4s interest to make sure there is a free HD platform (via satellite)

..and cable! :)

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And that's the full situation in a nutshell. BBC knows it has no alternative in order to survive, and ITV/Ch4/Ch5 are being swept along. The enigneering isn't that hard, it can all be done, the only outstanding problems are the official approvals and the funding. If that happens, then I'll be one of the early adopters, if not, then I'll wait (because I refuse to go the Sky route to HD).

Cable's not ubiquitous though. I can see the top of CP mast, and satellites are available nearly everywhere, but cable comes nowhere near my village. The concept of Public Service Broadcasting implies universal availbility, and cable doesn't do that.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
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simond83
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I'm lucky enough to have been selected to be on the trail. Unfortunately though, i got given the iCan box, which had a fair few problems. Sound kept on dropping out and after discussions with the people running the trial, they asked me to send it back to them so they can get a whole load of them repaired in Poland at the same time.

That was 2 and a half months ago!!!!! They said it would take 4 weeks to repair at first, which i still thought was too long, but as i get to keep the box, i'd rather a working one than a duff one at the end.

Anyway.....i want my box back! But, it's still in Poland and they're not sure if i'm going to get it back at all. They're waiting for the ok (BBC possibly) to see if the trail is going to go on longer than December.

Can some one confirm how long the trail is going to last for (Alan?) coz i really want to watch HD!!!!!

Si

Alan Roberts
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No, I can't confirm anything. I'm well and truly outside this loop, and that's fine by me. I often talk to people involved, and they drip-feed me what they want to and I pass it on. I'd expect the satellite "service" to continue, while the Freeview test might continue. But, far more importantly, I'd expect announcements in the coming months (particularly before NAB) about formal launching of services. And that's based on my opinion, not on any inside information.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
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simond83
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Thanks Alan. One more question however!! Just seen Planet Earth again and i was wonding who they sent into space for the 'Planet Earth' shots???

Alan Roberts
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Cgi :)

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simond83
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CGI!!! Blimey, thats very good GCI. Who did it? I use to work at framestore and can normally tell, but i was unsure on this one. Good job i can ask you for the answers!!! Thanks again.

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I can't guarantee it's CGI, but I'd be amazed if it wasn't simply because the budget never stretches far enough.

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StevenBagley
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Remember that there are accurate sat photos of the Earth and I suspect enough geographic data to build a pretty accurate model of the earth.

And they can use the satellite photos as textures on it to get it looking right.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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That's what I mean by CGI, I doubt they drew the whole thing.

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Steamage
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I wonder if Michael Grade's move from BBC to ITV may actually help here? Getting a workable HD service, with consumer hardware that is expandable or upgradable in the future, is in both ITV's and BBC's interest. Despite Murdoch having a share-holding in ITV, Sky is the enemy and the "proper" broadcasters will only survive if they co-operate on broadcasting standards.

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Would be nice if we could do what they did in South Korea and just have a Government directive to install fibre to home in every household in the country for 72Mbit broadband access everywhere. Then there would be no problem delivering HD to people!

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I think Sky's move into ITV was to spoil it for Branson. Remember that their contract for News comes up for renewal soon, and Sky outbid ITN in the last war for contracts (was it Ch4 or 5? can't remember), so I suspect this is a move to kill ITN. The thin end of the wedge is getting thicker.

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dave carnegie
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What is the best way to view BBC HD without having to go via the Murdoch route, like many just feel if it`s Sky it`s to much like hard work to trust them

dave carnegie

dave carnegie
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Are there any other HD services about which are non-Sky

dave carnegie

Alan McKeown
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dave carnegie wrote:
What is the best way to view BBC HD without having to go via the Murdoch route, like many just feel if it`s Sky it`s to much like hard work to trust them

I use a Humax HDCI-2000 which is an HD satellite receiver (set top box (STB)). There is also a Pace HD STB available now and other HD STBs are likely soon.

BBC HD is the only non-Sky HD service transmitted at present from the cluster of satellites around 28.2 / 28.5 degrees East. However there are many other HD services, some encrypted some free, from other orbital locations. You would need a motorised antenna (or, as I have, a multiple LNB antenna) in order to receive these in addition to BBC HD.

Alan

infocus
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dave carnegie wrote:
Are there any other HD services about which are non-Sky

If you can get cable, that's another possibility. Though most of the content at the moment is still Sky channels. The expectation is that will change quite quickly, if for no other reason than the BBC won't want to permit Sky to do something that it isn't! ITV etc will then likely follow the BBC, but the problem then is how do they deliver it - with terrestial not generally viable for a few years at best. Cable becomes an obvious alternative to satellite.

StevenBagley
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Alan McKeown wrote:
I use a Humax HDCI-2000 which is an HD satellite receiver (set top box (STB)). There is also a Pace HD STB available now and other HD STBs are likely soon.

Another vote for the Humax here, I've got one here that works a charm.

A third option is to insert a PCI satellite card into a high(ish)-spec PC and use that to decode the signal. You also gain the advantage of being able to record the HD streams if you so wish.

Steven

stuart621
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infocus wrote:
If you can get cable, that's another possibility. Though most of the content at the moment is still Sky channels. The expectation is that will change quite quickly, if for no other reason than the BBC won't want to permit Sky to do something that it isn't! ITV etc will then likely follow the BBC, but the problem then is how do they deliver it - with terrestial not generally viable for a few years at best. Cable becomes an obvious alternative to satellite.

Yes, I too use cable and as well as BBC HD, there are also a number of HD programmes available as VoD and some pay services.

Hopefully the HD content will increase soon. ITV HD recently completed its first phase - presumably that means there will be a second at some point...

stuart621
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Well, it seems like the BBC is pulling out a few stops with the HD schedule over the Christmas period (schedule here).

Hopefully this is an indication of things to come.

Alan Roberts
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Worth noting that "Pride", although a cinema feature film, was shot in HDCAM.

I'm pretty sure you're right, in that this is a sign of things to come. There are lots of people beavering away at the BBC, both inside and out, trying to get HD services up and running as soon as permission is granted on a "value for money" basis as required by HMG. There's no shortage of will to do it, only the legalities and money. And, no, you won't get any more inside info out of me, so don't bother asking :)

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stuart621
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Alan Roberts wrote:
And, no, you won't get any morfe inside info out of me, so don't bother asking :)

As if anyone would dare! :)

Alan Roberts
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News report in today's Guardian; the broadcasters will have to bid commercially against the mobile phone lobby for use of freed UHF spectrum after analogue switch-off. The implication is that the existing analogue channels would be allowed to re-engineer as HD (one HD-content channel per rf channel, unless coding gets a whole lot better real soon now), but that the "taboo" channels (those that are still kept empty to avoid analogue adjacent channel interference) would go up for sale after the switch-over. It's these unused channels that would allow for significant expansion of HD terrestrial broadcasting. The Ofcom statement concludes that the great Brirtish viewing public would far rather see many more SD channels launched than a few decent HD ones; I don't know where they get that view from.

I expect there to me more on this in the next few days.

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StevenBagley
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Idiots...

I've a feeling that by the end of 2007 they are going to be left with egg on their faces as consumer demand for HD hots up.

But I've a feeling that this coupled with the acknowledgment that even after switch-off 10% of viewers won't be able to get Freeview means that terrestrial broadcasting in the UK is a dying medium.

So what we need is the BBC and ITV to forget Freesat, and to launch FreeHD, a HD/SD system that costs £100 for a receiver and dish (but one that doesn't look like a dish -- e.g. something akin to the old BSB squarials) and that can easily be split and shared among several receivers (easy to do if you are careful with the polarization of the channels).

Steven

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In a nutshell; you're good at this :D

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StevenBagley
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The other option is for IP delivery of HD over broadband, which could get high enough ADSL speeds for one channel, but of course can be switched at the exchange (rather than sending x channels to everyone, you send the one channel they want to watch).

Of course, that limits you to one TV per phone line.

Steven

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If the powers that be don't wake up, we really will be left behind. The likes of Ofcom will be left looking extremely stupid indeed. The tragedy being that once the existing bandwidth is auctioned off, there is pretty much no going back.

HD over IP is a possibility. But for 100% coverage of the UK, forget it, ever. It is certainly an alternative, but only for those lucky enough to live close enough to an exchange to get fast enough speeds.

Looks like satellite is the only way that HD will reach the masses in the UK. But if the BBC want an increase in license fee money for a service that is looking increasingly difficult to deliver via terrestrial means, they could also end up looking bad too. Who has the deepest pockets? The BBC, or the large mobile companies?

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Broadband is already being investigated as a delivery method, but it can't be considered as a broadcasting means simply because large parts of the audience will not be able to get it even if they want to. It would have to work over conventional copper, not video cable, simply because copper gets everywhere, while cable doesn't come within a mile of my home (and I'm inside the M25, so what price the Orkneys?)

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infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
The implication is that the existing analogue channels would be allowed to re-engineer as HD (one HD-content channel per rf channel, unless coding gets a whole lot better real soon now), but that the "taboo" channels (those that are still kept empty to avoid analogue adjacent channel interference) would go up for sale after the switch-over.

Forgive me for wanting to dot i's and cross t's, but are you saying the likelihood seems to be that the existing analogue terrestial channels will be likely allowed to broadcast HD terrestially, but no others? (So four/five terrestial HD channels, but likely no more.) In fact, if use is made of single frequency networks, then surely more than four HD channels can exist using the channels used for four analogue channels?

And yes, what Steven is saying regarding satellite is very sensible.

I wonder if Ofcom have been into a high street shop recently. I'm coming very close to buying my own flat screen TV, and talking to one salesman was left in no doubt that HDready TVs seem to be flying off the shelves, with HD seen as a bigger draw than such as mobile TV.

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infocus wrote:
I wonder if Ofcom have been into a high street shop recently. I'm coming very close to buying my own flat screen TV, and talking to one salesman was left in no doubt that HDready TVs seem to be flying off the shelves, with HD seen as a bigger draw than such as mobile TV.

8 out of 10 sets being sold are HD Ready according to one BBC News article I saw.

What's the betting that we'll be switching away from MPEG2 over DVB-T to MPEG4 before the transition from analogue has finished...

Steven

mooblie
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I was talking to a "member of the public" recently, and he clearly demonstrated an understandable, and maybe quite common, misunderstanding: he assumed that the analogue switch off is the same thing as the arrival of HD broadcasting, and so you need to buy an HD-ready set soon.

Those people buying sets now that are HD-ready, but WITHOUT inbuilt Freeview tuners, are in for a nasty shock when they find out soon they're NOT kitted out for analogue switch off...

Someone has their work cut out in educating the public PROPERLY about all this - just not sure who. It's becoming a mess, and will likely turn into a national fiasco.

Martin - DVdoctor in moderation. Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

SimonMW
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There are similar perceptions in the US. Many people equate the analogue switch off with going fully HD.

Luckily I don't watch television that much. So the only thing that matters to me really is the mass adoption of HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, or something equivalent (solid state film distribution anyone?)

StevenBagley
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mooblie wrote:
Those people buying sets now that are HD-ready, but WITHOUT inbuilt Freeview tuners, are in for a nasty shock when they find out soon they're NOT kitted out for analogue switch off...

On the other hand, they won't be stuck with a TV that cost more and has an obsolete decoder built-in in ten years... :)

Quote:
Someone has their work cut out in educating the public PROPERLY about all this - just not sure who. It's becoming a mess, and will likely turn into a national fiasco.

According to the government, it is the BBC's job... But the BBC can't do it until there is a free HD alternative to Murdoch. Otherwise the BBC would be effectively giving Sky free airtime.

Steven

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According to the givernment, it is indeed the BBC's job, and the government expects them to do it at no cost to the licence payer. Neat trick.

It's far from clear exactly how Ofcom sees the future, the Guardian's article implied that the existing analogue channels could become HD, but, since this is only the beginning of the negotiations, I confidently expect all hell to break loose before the final solution happens.

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SimonMW
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Speaking to a friend of mine who works with BT (he is working on ITV's tapeless workflow/central storage/distribution system), the Government (namely Maggie) put the brakes on something that could have meant easy delivery of High Def to every home in the UK. BT had actually intended to install fibre connections directly to all homes many years ago, but with the caveat that they should be allowed to pipe television down the connection (it was the only decent way to cover the cost). So every one of us could have had 72mbit internet connections by now. High def delivery would have been a breeze.

These days it would be impossible to do. Far too expensive. So, thanks to one Government the UK will probably stay in the dark ages of internet connections for the rest of eternity :(

mooblie
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Why "far too expensive" today, but not in the eighties?

I seem to recall Heseltine at that time justifying why BT's licence should NOT allow them to transmit entertainment, (hence no fibre to every home today) but I didn't see the logic then, nor now.

Nobody had heard of the internet then, it just shows how entire landscapes change at the highest levels of infrastructure, and quite quickly.

Martin - DVdoctor in moderation. Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

PaulD
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hi
The cable comapnies paid for the rights, and brought fibre to every street's distribution box in their TV-based inner-city franchise areas in the early 90s - ie they cherry-picked the areas of least cost to install fibre, and ignored everywhere else. I doubt that BT 'wanted' 'everywhere else' ;)

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Quote:
Why "far too expensive" today, but not in the eighties?

Because broadcasting TV was one way they'd recoup the cost. These days there are far too many slices of the pie taken by Sky, the cable companies etc etc.

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I've just been told that Match of the Day has been plugging the HD coverage of the FA Cup 3rd round on BBC1 this evening, including use of the BBC HD logo.

I wonder if this means that the BBC is committed to continuing HD transmission, since if it were a trial that was going to come to an end there wouldn't be much point advertising it so widely.

Also, it seems that pretty much all of the BBC's new drama serials starting this week are also being shown in HD (with the annoying exception of 'Waking the Dead').

I suspect it would be a safe prediction to make that 2007 is likely to be the year of HD for the UK.

Steven

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Waking The Dead is still super16, and the grain it produces is too much for the HD compressors, so it doesn't get scanned at HD.

BBC's position looks at two different requirements: making HD programmes, and transmitting them. The published statement about production is that all will be HD by the end of this decade, i.e. 4 more years to completion. This is largely because the BBC needs the international sales market in order to survive, that's why drama went first, it has the biggest international sales potential. Luckily, there's a decent sized corpus of controllers in the Beeb who see the longer futture, and so have invested in studio/OB HD acquisition which is how Dancing/Jools/Sport happens in HD. The rate of change is accelerating rapidly. But broadcast is a different matter, because it demands more data bandwidth than is available within Freeview. HD broadcast within the UK can't happen until HMG agrees the cost/benefit of it for the viewer, and there's no concensus on that yet. The recent tests were successful in that they established that a system could be started, but the report on it prompted HMG to claim that Joe Public wants more channels rather than better pictures, so the battle continues.

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infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
The rate of change is accelerating rapidly. But broadcast is a different matter, because it demands more data bandwidth than is available within Freeview. HD broadcast within the UK can't happen until HMG agrees the cost/benefit of it for the viewer, .............

What you leave implied is that you are referring to the terrestial broadcasters, and especially the BBC. Because of course HD broadcast within the UK has now been happening regularly and commercially for over 6 months now - Sky HD. And that's the real problem for the BBC, IMO. Only a couple of years ago they were able to take a laid back attitude to HD - "it's very nice, but can we really be bovverred.....?"

That changed the moment Sky HD was announced. I just don't see they can possibly afford for Sky to be transmitting an ever increasing number of channels in HD whilst they aren't, even if it has to be HD only via satellite and cable for now.

The other change that 2007 will bring is the arrival of mid price range HD tapeless cameras from Panasonic and Grass Valley. At the moment there's a whole range of work for which no suitable HD camera exists (at least if you have a 2/3" lens investment) - that will change within a few months.

Alan Roberts
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Quite so, but the BBC's position is still that the majority (vast majority) of it's licence-paying viewers still receive terrestrial tv, and we're only just passing the 50% point to digits. So there has to be at least a token terrestrial HD service to go with the expandable satellite services. Also, bear in mind that the BBC HD sat transmissions are still not a "service" as such, they're a simulcast of main channels when the originating programme is already HD.

When the BBC announces a full HD service, then I'll tool up for it, but not until.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
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Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

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Hopefully either Robin Hood will use peope who can act, and scriptwriters that can write scripts if it ever dares to come back again. But as well as that I hope the BBC has learnt that video cameras in a forest with sunlight coming through is not a good match for a standard video camera. I hope they start using the Viper more now that Summer Wine has lead the way.

Alan, could they not de-grain the S16 transfers? De-graining technology these days is pretty darn good. Might not be perfect, but might help programmes that are already in existence.

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mid price range HD tapeless cameras from Panasonic and Grass Valley

Regarding the latter don't hold your breath. That camera seems to be going through more issues than a Tony Blair press conference.

StevenBagley
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SimonMW wrote:
Alan, could they not de-grain the S16 transfers? De-graining technology these days is pretty darn good. Might not be perfect, but might help programmes that are already in existence.

But that will just add it's own artefacts and make everything look artificial.

The problem of S16 was really hit home by the transmission of 'Deep Blue'. The S16 material in that just looks hideous, grain the size of footballs and all moving in weird directions and looking as if it had been laid on top of the image with the image moving behind it. If you tried to degrain it, I suspect you'd remove too much detail so it wouldn't look like HD.

And it seems perverse to shoot on a medium that needs so much post-processing to get it looking ok when you can shoot in HD and get nicer pictures for less. Personally, I much prefer the look of the Sony HD cameras to Super16 anyday. In fact, I'd probably have to say I prefer the look of filmised Digibeta quite often too. The lack of grain, nicer colourimetry and sharpness making for more realistic images in my opinion.

Steven

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I was referring to stuff that had already been shot. Spooks is a prime example. Dunno why things are so grainy though. All I hear from DP's from around the world is how modern S16 stocks are just as grainless as 35mm. What stocks are they shooting on?

Alan Roberts
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Let's start comparing like with like. Super16 grain is awesome when you use the high-speed stocks (Varicam is around 640 ASA, HDCAMs are around 300 ASA). No amount of grain-reduction of 320 ASSA neg gets it low enough to avoid serious blocking in the transmission coders. The demos I've seen were using the current best tk with grain reduction, and it was still dire.

I state it that way, because it's the way it's used. Sure, you can get decent grain if you shoot 50 or 64 ASA stock, but nobody can afford the budget for the lighting. I was recently involved in tests for a feature shoot, and we ended up advising to drop HD and shoot on film, and to use super16 only if they could use 50 ASA stock. They decided to go with 3-perf 35, and not to go faster than 320 ASA. That was the right decision for the right reason.

HD is only another acquisition medium, it's not a holy grail in itself. It should be used when it's appropriate, and not for fashion reasons.

Now, the difference between Varicam shooting and Viper is only one of resolution and coding; both cameras can capture 11 stops of contrast range (I've measured both). However, many Viper shoots use 10-bit log recording (12-bit would be far better) so there's no attempt to match to a display gamma until it gets into post. That gives an overall curve more like film than does Varicam in it's most commonly used mode. But Varicam has also film gamma curves that effectively do the same job; the problems with it are of judging exposure (because this variant of gamma curve appears to be 1.5 stops less sensitive, but isn't) and quantisation in recording (because Varicam is 8-bit DVCProHD, 100MB/s, whereas Viper is often recorded onto HDCAM-SR at 440MB/s).

Viper shooting costs a lot more, and is a lot harder to do outside a studio because of all the trailing kit and high power consumption. You need a significantly bigger budget to go this way, and most broadcast programming can't afford to do it.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

dave carnegie
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Am I right in believing that the great classics like Minder, Sweeny, Proffessionals and all those dodgy telerecordings which are flying about on UK Gold an such like are not going to see the light of day of HD TV. There is a God afer all.
Alan how will they get around showing WW2 and other archieve stuff in programes. It does seem that they will have to start originating progs. for the HD channels instead of plundering the vaults for something to put between the adverts.

dave carnegie

kseth
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BBC HDTV report

Just to let you know, we've managed to get the Beeb to come to VideoForum again this year to give a talk on their latest thinking about the rollout of HDTV and their view of DV and HDV (and what they've learnt from recent HD trials).

Check out http://www.videoforum.co.uk/page.cfm/Link=9/t=m/goSection=5 for times etc.

Kieron

Alan Roberts
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I reckon you won't see much 4:3 old tv on an HD channel, unless it's specifically badged as such. Certainly there can be no attempt to pass it off as HD. When Blue Planet had such success in SD that international sales wanted it in HD, we (they) rescanned all the original negs to rebuild it. There were some excpetions, such as the long shot of an albatross taking off from Soth Georgia (that was orignally on 16mm, but the neg stock was in such poor condition that they used a BetaSP copy and upscaled from that, including cropping for 16:9, so it looks very soft and grainy but is still a superb shot).

There's some agreement between the broadcasters on the use of archive material. Any programme that's clearly examining archive will be fine, provided the continuity/interviews/updates etc are all proper HD. If the entire programme is to be "sold" as HD, then there's a quota maximum of non-HD originated material; for DiscoveryHD that's about 15% and not more than 60 seconds at a time; for the BBC I think it's currently 20 or 25%, not certain. For this purpose, non-HD means SD, 16mm, super16mm, HDV or any other camera format of 1"/2 or less. DiscoveryHD justify this approach by aiming to be the channel, in the midst of others doing HD, that always gives the "wow" factor when you flip through channels. BBC's justification is that DiscoveryHD is a good customer.

Does that make sense?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
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Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

PaulD
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dave carnegie wrote:
...how will they get around showing WW2 and other archieve stuff in programes.

Hi
Some of the WW2 stuff is still available on film, and if of significance maybe could be re-telecined at HD resolution - good 35mm film will benefit from this.

A lot has been recently telecined to DigiBeta in the last 10 years or so, and is good quality SD. British newsreels were done with the aid of a Lottery grant, which is why you can view the whole of the Pathe archive at low res on the ITN website.

Colour footage (the US forces shot in color from as early as the Battle of Midway in mid-1942) was often 16mm, and won't benefit from re-telecineing, so electronic up-resing is the only way to go.

The trouble is that a lot of the historical archive from WW2 was originally edited in the late-60s/70s, when the tape-to-tape transfers/edits were often abysmal quality. Most of the original color footage had become B&W by then.

So today's programme makers need to go back or forward to better quality sources.

Actually you have to go back to basics more often than not, because the standard of identification of footage was often woefully poor before the digital age, so footage was used willy nilly whether accurately identified or not.

One solution to using archive in HD production is to do a modern equivalent to what the editors of the Woodstock movie (1969) did with their 16mm footage - framed it onto only part of the widescreen HD image.

dave carnegie
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My own experiences with old archive film has sometime caused panic especially on opening can and find film bubbling away quite nicely.
The major problem is the fact it can be a very bad dupe, jumping about, flicker, and I don’t know what sort of problem will be caused if the speed is corrected. Even you can get back to original negative one can not be certain as to quality.
Alan, what would old colour stuff like the Frieze-Green material transmit like.
Even stuff which looks great. For example; 1923 Cecil B DeMille Ten Commandments would suffer from speed correction.
What would the Coronation Telerecording look like on transmission.

So saying the quality seen has sometimes been amazing on projection from film on old film

dave carnegie

Alan Roberts
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Interestingly, ancient 2-colour film surfaced only last year and was shown, restored, on a Dan Cruickshank BBC prog. That was a slow-frame, alternating magenta/cyan filtering and flickered like mad when it moved, but was a fascinating glimpse into a dead-end technology. And the Coronation tk-rec is often shown as archive, and looks pretty grim.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
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PaulD
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Hi
The Coronation of 1953 was B&W for the BBC's live/telerecorded showing. The newsreels (Pathe etc) shot in 35mm colour, and this has all been transferred to DigiBeta - the exteriors look OK but interiors are quite grainy. A cinema release feature film was shown from all the 35mm colour footage.

The Coronation of 1937 has some exterior footage of the golden coach going to and from the palace shot in 35mm Dufaycolor - an adititve process with coloured filter stripes on the reversal original filmstock. This film was so slow it couldn't be used for interiors, so the rest of that Coronation was B&W.
http://itnsource.co.uk/en/Search/ShotListNonDigitised/?db=bpathe&quicksearchquery=coronation%25201937%2520colour&seldates=all&dbCat=all&sort=SYSDATE%3anumberdecreasing&format=&pageNum=1&ref=%2fBpathe%2f1937%2f01%2f01%2fBP010137120105.htm&links=CORON%2c1937%2cCOLOUR&duration=&rating=0&thumb=%2fimg%2fassets%2fno_preview_available_pathe.png

infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
That was a slow-frame, alternating magenta/cyan filtering and flickered like mad when it moved, but was a fascinating glimpse into a dead-end technology.

Flickered like mad when it moved, but better than severe flickering ALL the time, which I believe is what happened in the cinema - alternate magenta/cyan frames. For TV I believe they averaged the frames out, so fine on static shots, but coloured trails on moving objects. And I don't seem to remember many pans........ And we worry about MPEG artifacts!

Alan Roberts
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S'right. I've seen some of this stuff projected for real and it's dire. But, when it was originally made and shown, the projectors were all much dimmer than we have now, so the eye's rather wonderful adaption abilities smoothed out the flicker. The Weber-Fechner curves and work done by Hecht and Schlaer in 1936 clearly show this; flicker is more visible when the frequency is low/brightness high/modulation depth high, so at low brightness or high frequency or low mod depth it's less of a problem. Cinema brightnesses have gone up by a factor of about 10 since I was a kid, as have tv brigthesses, so we're much more troubled by flicker now than they were in 1907.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
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dave carnegie
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Alan, I know this might be going out the room, but if there was a classic HD movie channel how serious would the problem be with stuff like 42 street, HellsAngels and such like. stuff that Warners and John Lowry have done is amazing so there should not be much problem there.
Have you seen the job done on "Mystery of the Wax Musuem" 1931 2 strip Technicolor which is on DVD of Horrors of the Wax Musuem". Would be a shame for all great stuff not to be available.

dave carnegie

Alan Roberts
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There'd be absolutely no problem with them. The only thing at issue is whether a programme (specifically made for tv showing) can be classed as HD or not. Films are fine because they were made for optical cinema projection, but no-one pretends that they're HDTV.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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According to the Media Guardian website, it seems Sky is to launch a four-channel pay-TV service on DTT using MPEG4 to replace its three Sky channels on Freeview. This is obviously going to need a new STB that can decode both MPEG2 and MPEG4 to receive them. http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,2008782,00.html

But then the interesting thing will happen, if Sky's service proves successful (and the inclusion of Premiership football suggests it could be) there will come a point where other channel providers on DTT realise that they could fit more channels in by using MPEG4 instead of MPEG2. We could well end up needing to start the transition away from the current DTT platform to its MPEG4-based successor before we've moved away from analogue... To me, it suggests that a radical rethink is going to be needed about the digital transition before it starts. Especially when you add in the public's expressed desire for HD services on DTT, if Freeview ends up migrating to MPEG4 then suddenly the prospect of the HD via DTT becomes easier. Indeed, one could argue that any DTT box given out by the government via the BBC to help transition needs to be MPEG4 capable.

On the other hand, it also suggests Sky are worried that there penetration of the pay-TV market is reaching its natural limit with people choosing other providers (Virgin Media -- look at the timing of the announcement, BT Vision) or just free channels (Freeview) instead of Sky.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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All the HD stuff is already MPEG4, so that makes sense. But, purely personally, I'd love to see them move away from MPEG altogether, into JPEG2000 or some other wavelet system, simply because wavelt compression fails much more gracefully (it goes soft) than does MPEG (it falls into heaps of bricks).

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Is JPEG2000 possible in an inter-frame version, or intra frame only?

Alan Roberts
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At present it's only intra-frame as far as I'm aware, and is the compressor of choice for the film industry. But there's nothing to stop it expanding into inter-frame, just like the original JPEG did, with MPJEG and then MPEG. The important feature is wavelet compression and not DCT.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
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infocus
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Understood. Though it then seems like distribution is quite a way off, both for broadcast or for disc delivery, though not for digital cinema.

The only question it leaves in my mind is whether JPEG2000 acquisition and post, then MPEG4 transmission gives a worse problem regarding cascading compression systems than being with MPEG4 (AVC) throughout?

nattt
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I think the worst codec concatenation issues occur with block based codecs. I don't see the logic in keeping in a certain codec family throughout production if it's a block based codec, because one small move in your image, and everything goes into new blocks and you start on that steep slope that leads to lower quality.

JPEG2000 being not based upon blocks, has immense advantages in this regard. Also, that you can encode multiple qualities and extract multiple resolutions is fantastic as the resolution of recorded images increases.

nattress.com - Filters for FCP & Color
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Alan Roberts
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Exactly right. The only problem is that hardware wavelet coders seem to be more demanding in grunt and power consumption, making them less likely in camcorders (with the notable exception of the Infinity, and others in pipelines).

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
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Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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nattt wrote:
I don't see the logic in keeping in a certain codec family throughout production if it's a block based codec, because one small move in your image, and everything goes into new blocks and you start on that steep slope that leads to lower quality.

Ahhh! Interesting, and makes sense when put like that. Thanks, this is the sort of thing that really needs much more publicity. Am I right in thinking Infinity and Red are the only two cameras so far announced that plan to use wavelet?

This also helps to explain the power issues with Infinity I suppose. May even make the power consumption worth it.

Alan Roberts
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I;m not sure whether that explains the power situation, but I hope it does. And as far as I'm aware, only Infinity exists as a camera with wavelets, and the only other declared camera with wavelets is RED. There may be others coming through that we're not told about. For example, Panasonic have been hinting at a new codec for DVCProHD, data still to be at or below 100Mb/s and packaged to handle the same way, but no details admitted yet.

BBC R&D did a study a while ago, looking at concanetating codecs. They concluded that it always makes sense to make the heaviest compression first, and then to use lightere compressions down the line. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what's routinely done. This was done with MPEG2 at various bitrates, because contribution is usually at 8 or 11, and final emission is between 4.5 and 2.5. The problem is that we never know exactly how material is going to be used, and the final emission is always the one hardest squeezed because of spectrum space limitations.

It's almost always better to mix codecs rather than continue with the same one, when concatenating. So it makes sense to use a different codec in post work from either capture or delivery. This ensures that the arfefacts of each don't stack up precisely on top of each other. Form a purely philosphical point of view, wavelet compression should procude far fewer artefacts when it goes wrong, even after concatenation, simple because much of the artefacts pruced are simply a softening of the picture. Take that, plus the lovely feature that you can extract from the data stream at the resolution you need, and you find it;s the perfect system to use for final emission, where what the viewer needs is a signal that exactly pixel-maps to his display. So you could transmit 720 or 1080 (or SD) in the same data stream, and the decoder could always delivery 1366x768 to the average display, or whatever.

Is that nice or what?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

nattt
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I don't think it relates to power consumption. I think that's probably more with all the other stuff the Infinity tries to do, as it has multiple compression families on board etc. But it's hard to tell long distance.

It makes sense that the heaviest compression would work best on the highest quality data. And yes, that's completely opposite to how broadcast works, with the last stage generally being the strongest compression.

I think also, that a wavelet acquisition would work very well with a future compression to MPEG2 or h.264 or whatever.

However, wavelets for distribution would be cool too. However, the extraction is power of 2 based, so, for instance with RED, if you record 4k, you have quick access to 2k, 1k, 0.5k etc.

Graeme

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Rob James
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Wavelet compression has been knocking about for years. Has its time finally come? I rather hope so!

Rob The picture is only there to keep the sound in sync

infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
Panasonic have been hinting at a new codec for DVCProHD, data still to be at or below 100Mb/s and packaged to handle the same way, but no details admitted yet.

There have been more than hints about their next range using AVC-Intra at a choice of 50 or 100Mbs, though only in the more expensive camera in their range. Or are you thinking about something different?

Quote:
So it makes sense to use a different codec in post work from either capture or delivery. This ensures that the arfefacts of each don't stack up precisely on top of each other.

Interesting - I'd sort of assumed the opposite, that each codec would throw a different something away, and keeping to the same system would mean that each coding would then try to throw away something that had already been thrown away, if you see what I mean.

In which case, since broadcast and delivery via disc seems most likely to be via AVC, then the new Panasonic series has gone down in my opinion from having the most desirable (AVC-Intra) compression system, to one less desirable.

Steamage
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All this talk of wavelet compression reminds me that BBC R&D are working on such a codec, called Dirac. Just had a quick look at their web-site and it looks like the technology is ready for use. Does anyone know of any real-world applications, yet? How does it actually compare with JPEG2000 or MPEG-4/AVC?

Crystal ball time: If Freeview and/or HD broadcasting go MPEG4, will they later be replaced by a wavelet codec, resulting in yet more expense and upheaval for the consumer, or will the broadcasters stick with one "good enough" technology?

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

harlequin
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I thought dirac was for the webstreaming stuff ........

Gary MacKenzie

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Alan Roberts
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As far as I'm aware, Dirac will be used for internal distribution and post work. There are no mplanms for broadcast. MPEG4 is still MPEG (in that it still uses DCT coding on a block structure, which is the single most objectionable property of all the flavours MPEGs, or at least H.264 is). Wavelet compression works on the whole picture, such that there are no blocks, and that means that when it goes wrong, the picture just goes soft. MPEG4 has less-well defined block structure, in that the block assignements are dynamic (I think) but it still makes sharp blocks when it fails, and the one thing you can be certain of in broadcasting as that the coding will be trimmed until it does go wrong, because that's how you squeeze ever more channels in.

Wavelets are much more cpu intensive than MPEG, so you need more grunt to do it well. That's the main reason for the industry's reluctance to take it up. But, since digital cinema doesn't have that constraint, it's adopted the JPEG2000 variant. And all credit to Thomson/GV for using it in Infinity.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?class=countries&subclass=0&id=2257 - no huge surprises, but interesting to see the current situation in print officially.

Alan Roberts
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Quite so, I've heard much of that in privileged situations, so it's nice to see it published.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Alan Roberts
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Interesting. France announced over 18 months ago that HD in France would be MPEG4 (H.264 )and SD would be MPEG2 (H.262), so the manufacturers have had time to do something about it. Meanwhile, the UK terrestrials are still considering options and testing. Ho hum.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

StevenBagley
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The BBC Trust has given their backing to the Freesat platform.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/27_02_2007.html

Interestingly, there is this comment in the press release

Quote:
The service would be future-proofed, through the designing in of high definition and personal video recorder compatibility, and would be marketed through retail outlets and via the internet.

Which is a pretty interesting indication of the direction the BBC sees things going.

Steven

SimonMW
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Future Proofed and Technology. There's an oxymoron if ever I saw one.

infocus
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I'm not sure how dense I'm being, but what does what the BBC is now talking about bring extra to the table that isn't already provided for here - http://www.freesatfromsky.co.uk/?pID=1 ?

I tend to agree with your last remark, Simon, but at least you can try to future proof yourself for the next big foreseeable change. Better one step than none at all?

StevenBagley
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infocus wrote:
I'm not sure how dense I'm being, but what does what the BBC is now talking about bring extra to the table that isn't already provided for here - http://www.freesatfromsky.co.uk/?pID=1 ?

It means an open platform where people can buy boxes from whoever they like at cost price. It will probably also mean the removal of encryption from Channel 4 and five, which currently means that no one without a Sky Digital box can view them.

If they are really sensible they'd make sure that the transponders used are grouped together using the same polarisation and frequency band which would mean that the signal from the dish could be split and distributed to multiple boxes in the home as easily as a signal from your aerial can.

And most importantly, it will be Murdoch-free. Freesatfromsky is important to Murdoch because it gets Sky Digital capable equipment into people's homes and a Sky viewing card to decode Channel 4 and five. This makes it very easy to entice them up to a Sky Digital package.

Quote:
I tend to agree with your last remark, Simon, but at least you can try to future proof yourself for the next big foreseeable change. Better one step than none at all?

Well you could do more than that by building an expandable system a la a PC rather than just bunging an HDMI output and H264 decoder in it.

Steven

infocus
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Thanks Simon. Though I think that if I bought a Freesat box (initially for Free to air) I'd actually want the possibility to add a Sky card at a later date if I so wished. I take the point that it is a more "guaranteed" service than that via Sky. Is the intention for it to be from the same orbital position as the current Sky service?

It then begs the question of what will happen to the existing service via Sky. If BBC/ITV/Ch5 etc stay on that, it seems a waste of bandwidth.

And the HD on Freeview issue seems to be hotting up - http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?class=countries&subclass=0&id=2278 - who would have thought 2/3 years ago that things would develop so quickly?

SimonMW
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Just found this article by the MP in question;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1984966,00.html

infocus
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One interesting quote in that article is "It also looks likely that the BBC will have to buy additional spectrum so that high definition TV (HDTV) can be offered on digital terrestrial television and not just be available to Sky subscribers."

Given who the author is (chair of the all-party parliamentary BBC group), it's noteworthy that he is making the assumption that if Ofcom don't ring fence HD Freeview spectrum, then the BBC will have to buy it, rather than confine HD to satellite/cable only.

Alan Roberts
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Surely, the existing digital satellite SD transmissions of BBC are already away from Sky? I thought that happened a couple of years or so ago, and were now being carried on an Astra bird sited close to the Sky set so that dish realignment wasn't needed. The story at the time was that the BBC objected to the existing prices, and the projected future hiked prices that Sky were charging for handling BBC content.

If that's true, then it's a no-brainer that Freesat will go there rather than on a bird carrying Sky.

As a aside, isn't it interesting that Sky charges other broadcasters (BBC/ITV/Ch4/5) for carrying their content, but demands to be paid by other carriers (NTL/Virgin) for handling theirs?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

stuart621
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Alan Roberts wrote:
As a aside, isn't it interesting that Sky charges other broadcasters (BBC/ITV/Ch4/5) for carrying their content, but demands to be paid by other carriers (NTL/Virgin) for handling theirs?

Indeed! As a Virgin Media (unbeknown to Sky there's no such company as NTL/Virgin) customer I'm absolutely devastated by the loss of that high quality entertainment channel, Sky One and the fantastically unsensational Sky News.

Oh - seems I missed the word "not" out of that last sentence! :)

simond83
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infocus wrote:
I'm not sure how dense I'm being, but what does what the BBC is now talking about bring extra to the table that isn't already provided for here - http://www.freesatfromsky.co.uk/?pID=1 ?

I tend to agree with your last remark, Simon, but at least you can try to future proof yourself for the next big foreseeable change. Better one step than none at all?

I'm guessing that the technology will be completly different. Most likely MPG4.

Alan Roberts
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New HD channels will certainly be MPEG4 (H.264 or a variant of that), but SD channels will remain MPEG2 (H.262). Sky's attempts to screw yet more cash out of the viewer by moving occupying existing SD Freeview channels with MPEG4-coded channels seems like an extremely stupid idea to me. Who's going to buy a new box just to view a few channels on less-than-totsal coverage?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.