HDTV progress abroad

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infocus
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Some recent surfing revealed some interesting facts about changing TV technology elsewhere in the world, especially connected with progress towards HDTV transmissions elsewhere, and it surprised me it hasn't been more generally reported.

In particular, I note the BBC reported on the 1st Dec 2003 that "Japanese viewers get digital TV" - ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3252992.stm ) and quoted that "The UK, US, Sweden, Australia and South Korea already have the technology."

Errr, not quite, BBC. Go directly to NHK ( http://www.nhk.or.jp/digital/en/ ) and one can see that what the Japanese have got on DTT is true High Definition broadcasting, and it appears that the plan is to turn off their analogue network by 2011 - when it seems Japan will be an HDTV country!

I know that the main Australian networks have also been simulcasting HDTV for some months now on DTT, and understand that they have also done successful trials with mobile SDTV reception, which the 2k carrier system used in the UK is not suited for.

Perhaps the BBC report should have said that the UK "already has an early, inferior version of the Japanese technology"!? I've further read about the blue laser DVD replacement formats being developed specifically for HDTV movies, and HD camcorders for the consumer - JVC already having product on sale.

It all makes me wonder why so little is normally heard of this in the UK. (Perhaps it could form a Computer Video article!?) Do the broadcasters here have any plans to move to HD, or will they be forced to anyway when "Eastenders" etc look poor alongside the latest feature film on Blu-Ray!? Any Australian readers have any comment on whats happening over there?

If it's a question of bandwidth, I would happily trade the majority of Freeview channels to get the major ones in HD!

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

Unfortunately the word digital & quality seem to come out in the same breath, whereas this is not the case, digital processing is just an encoding process and if done well will represent the signal faithfully. As we have come to see, we don't have the same old problems of generation loss, we now have new ones of data loss, quantization errors.

The new digital transmissions help make better use of the existing radio spectrum and of course help make more money, there is room in the spec to allow for better HD transmission, but it takes up more room, so instead of up to six TV channels in one group you can get one HD. Also bear in mind it will be all change on the equipment front and so more cost for us, and then what next ?

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

A bit more on the BBC site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3403493.stm

I would take the technical details with a bit of salt as anyone who writes

"Traditional analogue TV is made up of magnetic waves that are sent through the air, and it is a far from perfect technology."

yeah like the signals from Voyager, Sky, mobile phones, & Wi-Fi transmissions use the same method called Electromagnetic waves and they manage OK.

infocus
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Taken with my example, you would hope that the BBC would be more accurate technically - especially when writing about broadcasting issues!

The article does reinforce the point though - the manufacturers aren't spending all this money on development for the fun of it. They anticipate that within 5-10 years big money will be being spent, and must assume that content will be available. Apart from pre-recorded disc, Japan, Australia and the US have HDTV transmission plans, and maybe the increased availability of hardware will sway currently uncommitted countries when they come to decide.

So - to return to my original post - where does this leave the UK? Have we closed the stable door in favour of a load of extra (largely unwatched) channels? Will we produce programmes in HD in future for foreign sales, whilst we have to put up with viewing them in an inferior form?

Incidentally, in your original reply you said "bear in mind it will be all change on the equipment front and so more cost for us". My understanding from the Australian sites is that an HDTV RECEIVER (ie set top box) is not neccessarily any more expensive than one for SD, and will give an SD output. Hence on an analogue switch off, viewers are no worse off than they would be in the UK, and, of course, can buy an HD display as and when they choose. Just because a signal is broadcast in HD doesn't mean it HAS to be displayed on an expensive display.

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

"Just because a signal is broadcast in HD doesn't mean it HAS to be displayed on an expensive display."

Well..... in fact it does Infocus, otherwise what is the point. Remember our sets are 625 lines and a vertical resulution of an average TV of about 400 lines (VHS -240) nowhere near the 700 at TX end. So PAL viewed on good equipment at the head end would look incredible.
Lets look at film, that's High Def and yet when you get it on your TV you can see the difference, but you will never get the whole experience as the TV just cannot resolve it, even if you had a TV projector it would be no better. Apart from the resolution ,also the dynamic range of video s no where near film.

High Def in japan was I think 1250 lines so a visible difference, add to that more dynamic range and you can see why the whole TX chain needs to be changed including your home TV.

The leading company in the UK, who gave us Colour, Teletext, Nicam is the BBC who normally lead in this type of progress, but I believe the engineering dept is a former shadow of itself.

infocus
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Sorry, I should have been clearer - that sentence referred to when the analogue switch off happened.

You're quite right in that displaying the signal on an old tv wouldn't yield much benefit BUT would mean that people who couldn't afford a new set wouldn't be forced to buy one, whilst people who could afford an expensive display would reap the benefits. With the current situation UK viewers don't have the option of choosing an expensive/high quality option if they wish.

What I'm really trying to say is that a HD signal may be displayed to full effect on the main TV in a house, but can also be seen on cheap tv's in kitchens, bedrooms etc. A bit like being able to listen to CD's on a range of players. If you can afford expensive CD decks, fine, if not, you can still listen, albeit in lower fidelity.

Z Cheema
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The BBC did at one time consider Fractal TV, that way no matter what set you watched on, the signal would only decode to your resolution, and allowing up to very high res.
(http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/pracfrac.html)

Maybe we will see HD as technology progresses, but as it is of no commercial benefit to the TV companies they will not be in a hurry to move in that direction if no financial benefit is to be had. There is still the question of spec's

high quality radio is now available via DAB (another BBC lead), but not many commercial stations on it at the moment due to the limited amount of RX's out there, no doubt to change very soon as prices fall.

I went on one of the BBC test's listening to DAB on a coach , it was just like listening to your CD/Walkman player with a pair of headphones firmly attached, while the FM option you could hear the station fuzzing in and out to due multi path's and the stereo pilot hiss.

finger crossed for you, i to would like to see HD, perhaps we will get progressive TV first and then move on.

[This message has been edited by Z Cheema (edited 18 January 2004).]

Alan Roberts at work
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Don't get me started on fractals and Peano scanning.....

Japan has been broadcasting HDTV since the mid 1980s, in analogue until about a year ago when they adopted the ATSC system devised in and for the US. Korea isn't yet fully launched but has been doing test broadcasts fior about a year. Australia launched a year ago, using the European DVB model. The US has been doing HDTV in digits for a few years, and now has a significant proportion of its transmitters doing it. the main networks have been the slowest to take it up, because of the cost of changinging theirn infrastructures. the leaders were small stations who could set up a minimla system with a vtr, a switcher, a coder and transmitter.

Europe has no plans for HDTV transmission at present. There is no way it can be done terrestrially until analogue is switched off, there's not enough bandwidth available. There is a European HD transmitter, called Euro-1080, started this year but it carries only one demo channel and one programme channel. It's available to broadcasters to use as a demo/test system and is run by Alphacam who have a significant fleet of HD OB vehicles and a sizeable studio base. There are several other companies with HDTV facilities on te road, and most of the London production houses have HD facilities.

There's a lot of HD production going on, far more than you'd imagine, much of it is for drama where co-producers want an HD output. The domestic viewer gets a better picture because it starts off with better cameras, better set up.

HD in Europe can't get much further until transmission standards are agreed, and that's a problem because we have lots of countries. There's universal rejection of the US system for two reasons; the coding (ATSC) is not as good as DVB for mobile (i.e. portable) reception; it's founded on NTSC frame rates. Europe will go to 50Hz like Australia and China when HD happens. But it doesn't stop there, the US is mostly working at 1920x1080 pixels (59.94Hz interlaced or 29.97 progressive)(2-megapixel frames) transmitted at about 19.3Mb/s MPEG. Some European countries would go to 1920x1080 at 50 (or 25p), sopme want to go to 1280x720 at 50p (with no interlace ever), some want to go to 720x576 at 50p (the US also has 1280x720 at 60 and 720x483 at 59.94p). So there's a way to go before we can get some form of agreement.

My money's on 1920x1080 at 50 or 60 progressive, with interlace completely dropped. That's for transmission, sigbnal sources could be anything, with appropriate conversions. The displays are already at all sorts of standards, few of the US displays actually run at 1920x1080 apart from the crt based ones.

I can drone on like this for ever, but I have work to do. If it's of interest to anyone, please post here again and I'll happily keep it going, oherwise I'll nod off again.......

Z Cheema
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Most interesting and informative, nice to catch up on some details that have passed me by.

What news do you have on the fractal front, I had some software from a company called iterated i think, that allowed images to be fractelised.

Alan Roberts at work
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Fractal scanning is a way of compressing files. I tried one for home use, but the files were only slightly smaller than LZW TIFF so I threw it out (because the files are not universally decodable, you need the fractal decompressor) and hard drive sizes continue to grow, so file size is much less important (to me anyway).

LZW (at least when used in ZIP) is a one-dimensional compressor, it works on the bitstream, whereas processes designed for images work in 2-d and are able to compress a bit harder. It is totally lossless, you get out exactly what you put in. For software and algorithm transmission that's what you want, but for images you can often accept quite a lot of lossy compression because of the curious ways the eye works. JPEG depends on that, and works quite well at lowish compression rates. It's when we get greedy that it all goes wrong, and MPEG does it in 3-d to hit it much harder. There are newer algorithms that do much better, WM9 is remarkable for how small the files are, and how good they look.

infocus
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I, for one, would be very interested to hear more from you, Alan Roberts! Whilst I understand the principles, and the difference between progressive and interlaced, one thing has puzzled me. It appears that "progressive" seems to be a "good thing", so why are all HDTV standards not this way?

To be specific, there seem to be two favourite standards (in 50 HZ territories) - 720p (25Hz) and 1080i (50Hz) - so why not 1080p (25Hz), which I would assume to have the same data rate as 1080i (50Hz)? Also, can you point us towards any good technical, but not TOO technical, explanatory websites?

I have heard that one future pressure on European broadcasters will be next generation disc delivery, they won't be able to hold back for long when viewers get a much better product off disc than off air. You quote "there is no way it can be done terrestrially until analogue is switched off, there's not enough bandwidth available" - which raises two questions in my mind. Firstly, how therefore are the Americans, the Australians and the Japanese able to do it, and can we live in hope for once the analogue switch off does happen?!! My initial post was largely prompted by finding out how advanced the situation was in the leading countries, and I was also struck by what came across as the high level of viewer satisfaction in the US - seemingly far higher than that in the UK for DTT transmissions.

If you have any influence Alan, can I urge you to ask those responsible to at least start including a "would you want HDTV" question within general surveys. I suspect that one reason it is perceived in this country that "there is no general interest in HD" is because the public are never asked!

Alan Roberts at work
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The US and Australia can do it because they are very big countries with only one language (effectively). Europe is a tightly connected set of displarate countries, our terrestrial transmissions have to mesh with each other to avoid disruption. Plus, American and Japan are doing HDTV mostly by satellite, so is Korea but they intend to have a terrestrial srevice as well for mobile use.

The problems with standards is that of bit-rates. At 1080 image is about 2Mpixels, and 720 image is about 1Mpixels, so you can run 720 at twice the franme rate of 1080 for the same transmission bit-rate. Proscan is good for film, and for thjose programme genres that want a film look (i.e. jerky motion). Interlace is good for all else, until the displays get really big, and the you want proscan but at much faster than 25Hz. 720 hasn't really taken off in the US because their HD displays are all rather big, and they like the idea of more than 1000 lines, but 720 has its uses for sport and wildlife, where running it at 60 frames/sec gives really good motion portrayal albeit at lower resolution. Don't forget that in the US, they also call 480p HDTV.

720 really comes into its own as a capture format, because the top720p camera is the Panasonic Varicam which, although using heavy compression and spectrum folding, can delivery a reasonably facsimily of super16 film. The variable nature of the camera allows you to shoot at any frame rate between 4 and 60/sec, playing back at 25 or 24, so you can do much of the speed change tricks that wildlife shooting needs without going back to film.

We can't do HD inEurope until one of two things happen:

1 turn off analoguie channels to free spectrum space on analogue transmitters.
2 allocate new spectrum space for satellite broadcast.

In practice, there's quite a lot of channels available on sattelite already, but we'd need lots of it in Europe because of the multiplicity of countries and languages, it's a lot harder than in continent-wide countries like the US, Australia, and Japan, where "near neighbours" are a long way away; Eurpoean "near neighbours" can be next door. This is a big problem, not just for the number of channels needed, but because briadcasters negotiate transmission rights for programmes into specific audiences; if a broadcaster has the rights for a propgramme in, say, England only, then he has to avoid it being recieved in Wales, Scotland etc, not just France, Germany etc. That problem won't go away, ever.

infocus
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That's very interesting, Alan - I'm beginning to get the idea, though would need to see comparisons to fully understand! Do I interpret you correctly by saying that up to really big displays the definition of 720 is good enough, and using the bandwidth to reduce motion effects is of most importance. When you do get to really big displays, you need the resolution of 1080, but without the "jerkiness" of 25p - hence 1080i(50) if the bandwidth for 50p is just not available? I assume we're not just simply talking about "flicker", since presumably with 25p each frame can be repeated more than once - as in a cinema projector?

The day after I posted "....one future pressure on European broadcasters will be next generation disc delivery, they won't be able to hold back for long when viewers get a much better product off disc than off air" then lo and behold - "Computer Video" pops through my letterbox with the main title "Hi-Res revolution" and a review of the GR-PD1!! So will consumers really be content in future with not only watching HD off discs, but in their home movies as well, whilst broadcast offerings are still SD!?

Talking of that review, I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Hi-Res mode being quoted as 1280x659 pixels - 1280x720 seems a lot more likely, and is 16x9 with square pixels. Was it a misprint? I wasn't too sure about what was said about single v three CCD's either. My understanding was that the main reason for 3 CCD's and a splitter was for increased sensitivity for a given size of chip - as opposed to colour fidelity. Colour fidelity doesn't seem to be a problem for top end digital SLR's - who get round the sensitivity problem by having much larger CCD's than in consumer video cameras. But that's a digression - I suspect it won't be very long at all before other consumer HD models come along.

Regarding your last paragraph, what about cable? It's passed my road for the last 7years - HD would finally make a subscriber of me.

I started this post by saying that I just hadn't appreciated how big the subject had become in other parts of the world (especially the USA!) - some interesting links which well illustrate the point are at : http://www.ilovehdtv.com/hdtvmagazine/news.html

Typical of them are at http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/tech/article/0,1406,KNS_8976_2586683,00.html and at http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/15355.htm the New York Post comments how HDTV is at "tipping point". They talk of 5 million sales in the US this year - an interesting contrast to Digital take up in the UK!

Jim Bird
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Hi,

It’s difficult to think in terms of Hi-def TV when we are still having major problems moving from old fashioned analogue terrestrial TV to Lo-def digital TV in this country?

I can understand the need for capturing our footage in Hi-def for use in Hi-def TVs at a later date, but as for Hi-def broadcasting over here that seems to me to be a long way off.

Jim Bird.

infocus
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Hi Jim,

In a way, that's exactly my point, and until a week or so ago I've have said "I can't see it catching on."

What surprised me though (and caused me to post!) was how positive most of the public reaction abroad to HDTV seems to be - just look at the first of the three links above. I was flicking down that list of headlines and saw just one that seemed negative - "Public ambivalent on digital TV, says report" - then realised it was one of the few that referred to Freeview in the UK!

I do agree with what you say about the major problems with the transition to digital in the UK, but feel your point should be the opposite way round - if HD was part of the landscape it could add a big incentive to the takeup, as seems to be the US experience. Personally, I sometimes watch News24, the children sometimes watch CBBC, but I've yet to meet anybody who watches such as the shopping channels etc. Everybody I know who is really keen on the idea of multichannel TV (normally for sport) has bypassed Freeview and got Sky - most of them in analogue days. In the States big sporting occasions seem to be quite a catalyst for HD display sales.

Ian at LynxDV.com
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It's closer than you think
http://www.euro1080.tv/
Started broadcasting on the 1st Jan from one of the Astra Satellites, havn't really done anything about watching it myself but friends say the quality on the PC monitor is amazing.

Cheers
Ian

LynxDV.com

Alan Roberts at work
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Yep, Infocus' comments are right about rates/sizes/quality. HD won't make a lot of sense in Europe until the displays get so big that 625 looks awful, in the way that big screens in the US show how bad NTSC is.

Euro-1080 is a demo channel (or strictly a pair of demo channels) that the industry will use for presentations/events. It isn't really intended as a direct-to-home system. When I first saw it in action (at a Prom concert last year, I was in one of the HD trucks there), there was only one decoder in existence. Production of them is now getting under way but don't expect them to be consumer items, Euro-1080 isn't into that market.

infocus
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An interesting link to NHK's December 2003 report is at http://www.nhk.or.jp/pr/update/new/update68.pdf - under "Digital Update" they refer to their researchers investigating "super high resolution widescreen, with 4,000 scanning lines"! When can we expect that from the BBC, Alan? :) (Just think of Eastenders!)

I also finally found out more about the GR-PD1 at http://www.jvc-australia.com/!ProductFeatures/pics/GR-PD1_PDF.pdf and have posted a new topic within the CV forum. I do, however, believe that it does not record to tape anything higher than 576p - the figures quoted in the CV review refer to sensor pixels used to form the image - NOT recorded resolution. The above link also has some interesting data about the single CCD it uses, and the way it works, and I now begin to see how it may challenge a 3 CCD camera for sensitivity. Any comments, anyone?

Alan Roberts
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NHK's 4000 line camera is a lab prototype, immense, huge, gargantuan. It uses IMAX film lenses. There's no tape format that can cope with it, recording is to hard drive only. Since NHK started analogue HDTV in the 1980s, 20 years ago, you should expect them to be thinking about what happens next.

As far as HD in Europe's concerned though, it won't be broadcast until Europe-wide planning is agreed allowing all the 30-odd countries to do there own things. It took ages to get agreement for 625, HD will have to follow the same route, and the water's being muddied by the disparate wants of the countries (e.g. the existing HD countries are all doing 1080i and p, with a stated aim of ending up with only p at 50 or 60Hz, but Finland wants 576p at 50Hz, Sweden wants 720p at 50Hz, most others are not sufficiently interested to make decisions 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.

Alan McKeown
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Evidence that HDTV in Europe is slowly beginning?

http://www.areadvd.de/news/2004/200401/230120040003.shtml

Which being translated (sort of) doth say:

News from the DVD world

Premiere transfer NFL Superbowl into HDTV

23.01.2004 (ks)

As the first German TV sender premiere transfers the NFL
Superbowl on 1 February 2004 into HDTV. Michael Jachan of premiere enterprise communication indicated that premiere would take over the HDTV feed of the NFL. The HDTV transfer is to take place parallel to the normal DVB transfer on premiere sport. For this a further branch RA satellite transponder will presumably be used at short notice. In the discussion the transponder is 103 on the Sat position 19,2 degrees of east premiere the Superbowl with high security unencrypted into HDTV will for this at present transfer, since there are so far still no HDTV Sat hDTV-Sat Receiver with premiere certifying on the market.
The used transfer format will be presumably 1080i (1920 x of 1080 pixels). Whether in 50 cycles per second or 60 cycles per second one transmits, is not certain yet exactly. Premiere transfers simply the original NFL HDTV feed to English, since its own production of the premiere presentation is at present not yet in HDTV possible. The HDTV transfer will take presumably approximately four hours and against 00:40 o'clock on 1 February will begin. Premiere regards the HDTV transfer first of all as technique demonstration, which is supported also by the satellite operator Astra. A HDTV transfer of further sport events is quite conceivable. At the moment a general HDTV transfer of
premiere program contents is however still no topic. For this would have to be clarified in particular with the features still right and Lizenfragen with Hollywood hollywood-Studios, are called it by premiere. Potentially also interest exists to be able to transfer
possibly the football WM 2006 into HDTV with premiere. Since the
rights are however not yet assigned here, the topic is for the moment still pure speculation. The Superbowl transfer takes place in the USA at CBS and by Sony is gesponsert. In the USA the Superbowl belongs regularly to the TV Events of the yearly, with which the TV senders can obtain the highest advertising prices per Spot.

Alan

[This message has been edited by Alan McKeown (edited 26 January 2004).]

Ian at LynxDV.com
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quote:Originally posted by Alan Roberts at work:
Euro-1080 is a demo channel (or strictly a pair of demo channels) that the industry will use for presentations/events. It isn't really intended as a direct-to-home system. When I first saw it in action (at a Prom concert last year, I was in one of the HD trucks there), there was only one decoder in existence. Production of them is now getting under way but don't expect them to be consumer items, Euro-1080 isn't into that market.

According to what I've been told, you don't need a dedicated decoder to pick it up, just a dish, a £50 SkyStar 2 PCI card and a P4 system.

Cheers
Ian

LynxDV.com

infocus
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Two bits of interesting news now at http://www.definitionmagazine.com/ - the EU seems to be thinking again about HD, and do I detect hints that multi channel hasn't quite lived up to all it's early promise....?

Secondly, interesting news from Pinnacle, and since I understand Sony were one of the promoters of HDV, I'd be surprised if they didn't bring a product out. Be interesting to see what it will be, though!

Alan Roberts at work
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Ian, you could be right; I don't know, it's all too new.

Alan McKeown
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For those of you interested in High Definition Television (HDTV) in Europe in general and the UK in particular.

The Quali-TV HDTV “set-top-box” for the reception of Euro 1080 transmissions (QS 1080 IR) is scheduled to be available from late May 2004 from Parabolic Communications (with which I have no connection other than as a customer).

You will of course require a suitable HDTV-capable display to make full use of this receiver unit.

http://www.parabolic.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=199

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Be warned that Euro-1080 will remain "in-clear" only for as little longer. Many of the producers of HD pictures in Europe are worried about the rfree distribution of pictures for which transmission agreements have been agreed with specific broadcasters (not Euro-1080). For that reason, they're going to encrypt the channel, making it subscription. They PC cards that people have made work on the channel will suddenly stop working. Shame.

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 posted the URL: http://www.digitalvideoediting.com/2004/04_apr/features/psd3js6t.htm as a separate topic ("Sony at NAB") in the A/V hardware forum, but it's of some relevance here. I think it shows how far things have changed in only six months, looking back at the first posts here.

Sony seem to be implying that DVCAM will evolve into HDV, at least for acquisition. (In the medium term - DV for the consumer, HDV for the prosumer with SD output available, and the pro market.) Whilst that may happen more quickly in 60 Hz countries, I suspect it's inevitable in Europe as well. And when that happens, it just adds to the pressure on broadcasters to transmit HD.

If any Australians/Americans are reading this, it would be interesting to hear their views/experiences.

Alan Roberts
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I don't think that's a correct interpretation. I think that DVCAM will stay for quite a while yet, but HDV will attach to the lower end of HD rather than the upper end of SD, so people will be making more use of HDV to make cheap HD than to make expensive SD. Of course, as users' SD kit wears out and is replaced, the HDV format will be the natural progression. But I can't see that DVCAM will falter as a result of that for several years yet, because the vast majority of tv production is for low-budget cable channels who are unlikely to go to HD unless they are forced to.

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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The quote I was referring to was "From the perspective of applications, the applications of DVCam that are covered today in the SD world -- from the prosumer to the entry-level broadcaster -- we see perfectly covered by HDV as we start launching prosumer and probably some broadcast gear using HDV."

Perhaps I made a bit too much of it, but as in previous discussion on higher level systems, does any manufacturer want too many product ranges? Therefore phasing out DVCAM in favour of miniDV for the consumer, and HDV for such as "low-budget cable channels" could make perfect sense. Yes indeed, such as the latter "are unlikely to go to HD unless they are forced to" but HDV gives a good SD output. I think it depends on pricing, and if DVCAM gets phased out in favour of comparable HDV kit at comparable prices, I don't think anyone can complain. All this is much more relevant to the US, but such is the market we're likely to get dragged along behind.

Alan Roberts
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Yes, this is really crystal-ball gazing. I still think that bthe markets big enough to support DVCAM alongside HDV and HDTV, simply because of the amount of programming that's being made, but the writing's on the wall for digibeta as a capture format. It's a personal view, of course, and it's mine

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 Roberts
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For another view of HD in the UK, take a look at www.vmi.co.uk asnd download HDToday. I'm named in one item and was heavily involved in another, no prizes for working it out

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.

plettner
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In Australia, the commercial (free-to-air) stations were told they must transmit digital TV by last year. Before the dealine, no TV station could decide if they wanted if they wanted to transmit HDTV single channel, or multi-channel HDTV. Some wanted extra channels, and therefore transmit in standard definition. Other wanted the higher quality and digital sound. The communications minister at that time said, right, if you guys can't decide I'll decide for you - all station must send both SDTV and HDTV.
So now we have all the stations transmitting both Standard Definition and High Definition TV. The communications minister then quit. Thank goodness. He was an old-fart who wouldn't know the Internet from an episode of Happy Days.

infocus
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So, just to get this straight, are you saying the Internet and Happy Days are two separate things!?

Seriously though, what I was getting at was what the "early adopter in the Australian street" thinks of HDTV. I don't know how well you know the score in the UK, but Digital Terrestial broadcasting was initially launched here as a subscription service with the appeal of extra channels. As such it was a spectacular failure, and is now in it's third guise as a free to air service with fewer channels. There was (still is) a market for extra channels, but that is much better catered for by Sky satellite and cable - ON Digital and later ITV Digital rather fell between stools. I believe a similar model befell a very similar fate in Spain.

Australia has obviously gone down a different path, and I'm interested to hear what the general perception is and how successful it has been. From what I read, the US has also started HD transmission in a big way, and that seems to have caught the public imagination in a way that Freeview just has not in the UK - in spite of huge promotion from the BBC.

With tongue slightly in cheek, in another topic recently I posted "I understand "Neighbours" originally went to being produced 16:9 because of UK sales, long before 16:9 transmissions started in Australia. Ironic indeed if in the not too distant future "Eastenders" starts to be produced in HD for the Australian market, whilst we in the UK don't see the advantage for years!" Reading Alan Roberts recent vmi link, what do I see but a banner headline of the BBC trialing HD for future production of "Holby City", and remarks about no reason why all drama should not soon be shot on HD. So, plettner, you may indeed get to see every scar on Dirty Den's and Phil Mitchell's faces long before we in the UK do!!
:D

Alan Roberts
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You might find this link interesting ;)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp085.html

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.

Unicorn
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Quote:
Ironic indeed if in the not too distant future "Eastenders" starts to be produced in HD for the Australian market, whilst we in the UK don't see the advantage for years!"

I can safely say that the lack of video resolution is _not_ the reason why I never watch 'Eastenders' .

And, while that's a joke, I think it does go a long way to explaining why HDTV adoption is likely to be real slow. There's simply very little on TV other than movies, nature shows, some very high-end drama or some sports where improved resolution will improve TV: most of the problems with TV are far more fundamental than that.

Personally there's no way I'll buy an HDTV, but I'll certainly be buying an HD-DVD drive for my PC once they're available.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Alan Roberts
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And there, in a nutshell, is the reason why European broadcasters are not showing any signs of eagerness to jump back into HDTV. They've tried it once and given up.

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.

plettner
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Hi Infocus,

Eastenders? Is that still running? I don't think we get that here anymore. We get "The Bill" (of which I'm a bit of a fan), and many other UK shows. Digital TV/HDTV is really only new, so the uptake hasn't been significant. Here, we need to get a decoder box, which you can pick up from K-Mart, Myer, or similar. But you can also choose to get a standard definition box. I think Standard Definition digital will probably pick up steam quikcer than HDTV. When HDTV decoder boxes come down in price, I'll be getting that.

One thing to remember, in Australia, we have 2 government funded stations, ABC and SBS, and then we have the commercial stations, TEN, Seven, Nine. On top of that in Sydney at least, there is a community station.

The government wants to switch off analogue TV in 2007 so one will need to buy a decoder or new TV.

Lastly, free-to-air means free-to-air. I got a shock in Germany when I lived there for a year and they wanted a monthly "Rundfunkgebuehr" (A TV fee). I belive in the UK it's the same.

plettner
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Oh, in regards to Neighbours. I don't know how far behind the series is there, but Connor (the Irish lad) finds out he is a father to the Asian chick who left a while ago.

Toadfish goes missing. Still no one knows where he is. Stuart is a little suspicious as to Toadie's whereabouts now that he's a copper. He suspects Rocco. :cool:

Lou owes Rocco (the Italian mafia guy) some money and decides to do a runner. He has an accident and is later found. He's OK now.

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Alan Roberts
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That's hardly news, the BBC's been "considering" distributing HDTV since 1987, when we got involved with HDMAC. There's nothing in that article to give any clue on dates or formats, HDTV isn't being taken seriously in Europe yet. What is news is that there's a public statement about it. It shows that it's on the table, but only as a discussion topic. For the past 17 years we worked on HD under a directive from the Board of Governors, that no money should be spent on HDTV if it's benefits could not be seen by the licence-payers, I agree with that and we've made HD programmes fror international sale that looked better to the SD viewer, so everybody wins.

The front-running standard being considered for Europe is currently 720P at 50Hz, more's the pity, not even proper HDTV. And this at a time when Japan's prototyping 1080/60P cameras and onwards up to 4k. The problem's all down to the size of our houses, you'd need to view HDTV at 1080 from about 3 times picture height to get the best from it, 5 times from 720, 0.7 times from 4k. So either you move the furniture or you get a bigger house. That's the scientific view, but personally I'd go for HDTV tomorrow if it was 1080, 720's ok as a capture standard when you need the flexibility of the Panasonic Varicam, but even after I've had days tweaking it, the camera only just matches up to a Sony 750, and even that doesn't do proper justice to 1080, you have to go to a Thomson Viper or Sony 950 for that.

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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I visited the US at the beginning of 2003 and tried whilst over there to see HD in action. So I went to the HD section of Fry's in Palo Alto expecting to be blown away by the picture quality.

I was.

Lots of huge HDTVs being fed... SD off a DVD player. Via Composite. Looked awful.

I wonder how fast the take up of HD will be when it's not displayed right in the stores.

Still from the UK point of view, I wonder if we'll end up leap frogging the current MPEG2 based HD system and get an MPEG4 (or WMV9 or whatver) based system. Which should allow nicer pictures for the same bitrate. I have a clip from 'Alias' captured from the HD transmission (1280x720 transmission, acquisition is 35mm) and it's breathtaking but the grain in the image does some weird things thanks to inadequate MPEG compression.

Steven

mooblie
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Quote:
Originally posted by StevenBagley:
.....I wonder how fast the take up of HD will be when it's not displayed right in the stores.....

Steven

This is reminiscent of recent years (and it still goes on now) of widescreen TVs here in UK being displayed in shops with the wrong aspect ratio set, resulting in Joe Public thinking "that's what widescreen TV is supposed to look like." Annoys the hell out of me.

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

Alan Roberts
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I can beat that chaps :D

I went to a meeting at a major indie post-prod house a few weeks ago, and they had loads of new plasmas showing off their corporate show-reel. The only problem was that it had been shot wide, eidted and finished as letter-box in 4:3, and then shown anamorphic on the wide plasmas. The result just looked unprofessional and silly. I told them about it

HD should be less of a problem for shape than dsigits has been, because there are no 4:3 HD picturedss, it's all wide. So all HD displays have to be wide, or to allow for wide pictures. The on ly problem will be the "compatible" output, the downconversion for showing on SD displays, they'll all have exactly the same problems that they have with digits now.

The interface between the decoder and the display should be simple, DVI is ubiquitous in the US now even though it's only an interim standard (the VGA connector was never designed to handle digits at 1.5Gb/s or more) and the new standard's only just emerging. The downconverted pics should be RGB, and we in Europe can connect them via SCART as RGB. The problem in the US is that SD tv sets have only rf and composite inputs, they never implemented RGB via SCART or anything else, so it's normal to see digital pictures decoded and fed to analoguie tv sets via composite NTSC or even via the aerial. At least we won't be granted that horror.

By the way, I've launched a private investigation to see how accurate the digi-spy story is, my first contacts have no idea who was being quoted, nor have I. Yet. I'll let you know what I find.

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.

mooblie
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Alan, do you think there a danger that the Yanks will unnecessarily invent some new video connector format that does the job of RGB connection, but isn't SCART, just because they didn't invent it first, or use it already?

I recall you saying once you didn't expect the obvious choice (FireWire) becoming common as a video interconnect, which I find dismaying.

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

StevenBagley
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I doubt they'll add RGB connectors to their (standard def) TVs now (they have component inputs anyway, which gives them the same quality -- mroe or less).

And they are better off without SCART, horrible connector, nice idea but they'd have been better off using a 25 pin D socket like computers do.

Remember that putting a firewire socket on a TV is no use for DV, unless the TV has a DV codec chip in it, which is unlikely to be the case.

Steven

infocus
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A while back Alan, you posted:

Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
......European broadcasters are not showing any signs of eagerness to jump back into HDTV. They've tried it once and given up.

Given up, or put into abeyance? And possibly now realising that it's time has come? I saw a very early demo of HDTV with a couple of colleagues, and we came away with "wow, I want THAT!" With hindsight the problem was the timing, it was (is) a product with huge "wow factor", but ten years ago hindsight now tells us that it could never have taken off then for reasons of cost. I want it, I'd pay extra for it, but not the premiums that would have been the case then.

All that's changed now. Enough people are prepared to pay serious money for big plasmas to show that, and the price of origination and display equipment is not so much of a premium as to deter purchasers - the US experience proves that. The problem now in Europe is bandwidth and getting product to the consumer.

Potentially it's a crucial issue for such as the BBC and ITV in the next decade. Sky have made huge inroads into the UK broadcast scene in the last decade, and this issue could accelerate that - bandwidth is less of an problem for them than for terrestial broadcasters. They make a lot of their money from pay per view, and pub etc screenings of major sports events on a big screen - and from what I've seen HD for this market can't come too soon. If they then choose to extend HD into Sky Movies, Sky One etc just at a time when big screens are becoming commonplace, HD-DVD is coming in, video games have HD outputs the implications for the BBC and ITV could be serious. I just don't think sitting back and hoping the whole thing will just go away is an option.

Referring to Alan McKeown's web link, one paragraph stood out at me: “Although it expected the service to become a viable proposition within the next five years, the BBC highlighted several reasons why it may not contribute towards switchover. - "If UK demand for HDTV emerged, it would be most likely to do so from existing digital TV adopters and so, initially, would not drive switchover.””

This gives the impression of a BBC whoose only interest is achieving analogue switchoff by whatever means possible, and b*g%%r what the licence payer wants! Another quote from the report is: "HDTV is not backwards compatible to any of the current digital receivers and so to consumers would represent another new platform". This I believe is in contrast to the Australian situation where SD boxes derive an SD output from the HD transmission. (Plettner: what's the difference in price roughly in Aus between HD and SD boxes at the moment?) In my very first post in this topic, commenting on the BBC's report of digital broadcasting in Japan, I said "Perhaps the BBC report should have said that the UK "already has an early, inferior version of the Japanese technology"!?" I see no reason to change that view now.

plettner
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An SDTV decoder box is around $300AUD (120 Pounds or so). HDTV decoders cost at least $1200. I think this may be a problem, all the punters will buy SDTV decoders (the quality is still supposed to be better than our analogue UHF and VHF) becuase of the lower cost. The TV stations will then complain that HDTV was a waste of money. This may result in them shutting down HDTV signals and then we'll be stuck with SDTV for the next 30 years.

The other thing to consider is what is currently broadcast at HD. Our news services are, and I guess movies and so forth would be also.

As I mentioned, our broadcasters are requried to broadcast SDTV and HDTV signals on top of the normal UHF/VHF analogue.

Pay TV is a different kettle of fish.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by plettner:
An SDTV decoder box is around $300AUD (120 Pounds or so). HDTV decoders cost at least $1200.

Well - that's surpised me! I've got a DTV card within the PC (Nebula DigiTV) which suppots HD where it exists (not here :( ) - cost? Well - just look at an Aus site http://www.digitalnow.com.au/products/dvbt.html fo Aus prices. I can only assume someone is charging a HUGE markup for putting the chips within a fancy box....... any explanations for why the HDTV decoders cost 4x SD ones?

Unicorn
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Quote:
I have a clip from 'Alias' captured from the HD transmission (1280x720 transmission, acquisition is 35mm) and it's breathtaking

I can't say I find 720 breathtaking: I was impressed the first time I saw such footage, but pretty soon realised that it's not that much better than PAL... after all, you're only talking 50% more lines, though presumably more horizontal resolution too. 1080 is really the minimum I'd want to see to bother with HD footage.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

plettner
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Dick Smith Electronics

Prices for HDTV are coming down. Here is one I found and it's a little less than $1200, but still compartively expensive to the TV Card option.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
By the way, I've launched a private investigation to see how accurate the digi-spy story is, my first contacts have no idea who was being quoted, nor have I. Yet. I'll let you know what I find.

This http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/publications/archive_2004/bbc_report_on_digital_switchover.htm report, page 5. It's actually a small part of the BBC's submission on the progress towards analogue switchoff

Alan Roberts
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Aha, now I see wheere it came from, it's a journalists rehash, taken out of context and blown up out of proportion. If you read paragraphs 104 onwards (Part 5), you'll how he got the words, but put it into context and you'll see that it's a piece of navel-gazing. Like I said originally, it isn't news, the BBC's been "considering" HDTV for over a decade, that doesn't mean it'll broadcast it soon, that'll only happen if a business model can be found that fits the currwent UK remit of public servive broadcasting. Don't hold your breath.

720 can be breathtaking, recent footage I've seen shot for NHU is staggeringly good, but then, I would say that wouldn't I? (Who set up the cameras and spent weeks making fine adjustments...). But I still think that 1080's the way to go. The US plan is to end up with 1080P at 60fps while Europe fiddles about with 720P at 50; I reckon we should adopy 1080P as the standard, with switchable frame rates, 25 for film, drama and upconversions, 50 for sport and LE. And not MPEG2 either, maybe MPEG4 or WMV9 or one of the h26* options. After all, any standard we start now ought to last at least 20 years, PAL has lasted 40, NTSC 50, 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.

infocus
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Well, can one have much faith in the government when one reads from non other than the DTI ( http://www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk/switchover/hdtv.html )that "Analogue HDTV has been implemented in Japan but has not proved a great success."

Errr, you would have thought that if any body within the UK would be aware of what was happening within Japan, especially with regard to HD DTT, it would be them! (See the very first post in this thread, from way back in January.) Their link also gives e-mail contact details, ("Contact Us") - perhaps some people may like to point them in the right direction....

Alan Roberts
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Ahem, the DTI paper's right. 100%.

Analogue HD was introduced in Japan as an experimental service many years ago but never reached significant sales even after many years of pushing. The HD MUSE analogue coding system was complex (yes, that's right, analogue compression) and very expensive to deal with, the decoder costs were high, so they never became affordable. It was an 1125/60 interlaced system with 1035 active lines, the Sony HDW700 was the last camera made for it, from which the 900, 750, 730 and 950 all derive. It grew very slowly despite major cash input from the Japanese government, the US overtook Japan in the first 6 months of digital transmission, so they switched off analogue HD last year (or was it the year before?, can't be sure) and relaunched in digits using the US ATSC 8-VSB system which immediately took off because decoders were already available in Japanese shops, made in Japan in bluk for the US market.

Analogue HD was doomed from the start, Europe knew that in 1987 when we started working on HDMAC for Europe, but the experience taught us a lot about HD, experience that the US capitalised on to launch digital 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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Well, the sentence is 100% right technically and in isolation, and I certainly don't dispute anything you say regarding the history, Alan - but 100% irrelevant in the context in which it's used. And 100% out of date. The rest of the DTI link is all about digital broadcasting - the rest of the site for that matter - so why refer to an out of date system, already superseded, and ignore the current situation? A bit like writing a report on TV nowadays, throwing in about the UK having adopted 405 line transmission, and ignoring PAL, DTT, satellite! The page is generally up to date, including mentioning Euro1080's launch in January, so why so behind the times regarding the Japanese situation? And therefore giving a misleading impression?

Alan Roberts
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Agreed, nothing it says is actually wrong, but there are holes. Perfhaps you'd like to vent some spleen on them by email? You can quote me if you like.

BTW, I can now confirm that the earlier piece is a misquote and has been taken out of context. Everything it says is true, but cannot be held to imply that there is actually any plan to broadcast or emit HD in the near future. The only implication you should take from it is that the BBC, like every other broadcaster, is keeping a weather eye on the rest of the world so that it knows what to do when it needs to. You can also read into that, that it will listen to opinions, so if you have them, make them to the appropriate people (i.e. not me, I've retired, but I can supply some pointers).

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Agreed, nothing it says is actually wrong, but there are holes. Perhaps you'd like to vent some spleen on them by email?

Done before I originally posted here! Still waiting for a reply. ;)

Rereading the page I linked to, the odder it seems. If they were aware of the current situation, you'd expect "Analogue HDTV WAS implemented" ... rather than "has been". I suspect their information is just very out of date, which is not very impressive really. As regards the comment that it has "not proved a great success", then in numerical terms this may be true due to the costs involved. BUT it may have been a big success in showing the man in the Japanese street what is available, such that when digital HDTV launched at an acceptable price it was taken up with enthusiasm.

Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
......the BBC, like every other broadcaster, is keeping a weather eye on the rest of the world ......it will listen to opinions, so if you have them, make them to the appropriate people (i.e. not me, I've retired, but I can supply some pointers).

I suspect the BBC is like many organisations in that odd complaints don't get taken too seriously, a few on the same subject get looked into, and a score or so are seen as a sign of a serious problem! With that in mind, would you like to publish your pointers here, and maybe others may like to use them as well.....

Alan Roberts
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Indeed, the wording is curious, but the message is correct; HD in the UK won't happen in a hurry even though programme-makers are getting going and selling content to other broadcasters successfully.

Anyway, about contacts, let me think about it, not that I don't want you to do it, but I want to be sure that I get the right route.

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 Roberts
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OK chaps, here's the beef.

If you want to contact the BBC officially to talk about it's policy on HDTV, you should email [email=andy.quested@bbc.co.uk]andy.quested@bbc.co.uk[/email]. Andy works in Production Modernisation at TV Centre and is the hub for the HD Support Group that advises Production (staff and indies working for the BBC) on the use of HD within the BBC. He's effectively been my direct line manager for the past 18 months and it's been a delight working with him.

It seems we now have a direct conduit into the BBC, so it's up to you to use it. :D

There now, I've been itching to do that for years.

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 Roberts
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Andy has read this thread and is happy to respond to emails.

Here's his reply : -

"All interesting.

Alan keeps me up to date with most of this. My view has to be personal
- if it's worth anything - I would rather wait for 1080/50p the images
are stunning. I don't think Europe has missed out, some of us
sometimes forget how good 576/50i actually is on screens up to 42".
Our average screen size hasn't reached 30" yet.

If we wait (but keep producing programmes in HD at no licence fee cost)
we could jump straight to 1080/50p using new codecs and leave the other
HD territories cold in terms of delivered quality.

Andy"

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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Maybe we'll be using the BBC's own Dirac codec to watch TV.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Could be. Wavelet coding results in data groups that can be compressed more heavily than MPEG since they aren't spatially aligned in blocks. The only problem is that the coder is rather more complex than MPEG, which has had far more spent on its development. So, although wavelet coding is an old idea, it still has a way to go before we get a decent commercial product.

Still, I'd like to see it happen; the prototype demos were impressive.

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.

cstv
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have to agree with Mr Quested i'm afraid. i have no desire to watch HDTV at home yet, at least not broadcast by the BBC.

Using it as a capture medium, now that's a different story not only does it improve quality of SD broadcasts, but it increases BBC funding from overseas buyers.

any thoughts on what will proliferate (is that the right word?) first, HD film distribution (to the home) in a format similar to DVD, or HDTV broadcast. My money would be on a DVD replacement, but that assumes that the practice of physical distribution continues as opposed to a download to some sort of home media system...

mark.

PS- how are we pronouncing Dirac? is it di as in die, or di as in distribution
i'm guessing the first, but you never can be sure... ;)

Alan Roberts
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Dirac is named after the Fench mathematician so it must be Di-rack (the i pronounced as in king). Hence propounded the impulse function that makes digital filters designable, the "delta-function" that has zero width but an area of unity.

HD capture and production is a no-brainer, it makes money and we get better programmes. My bet for the first actual HD programme release to the licence payer will be an HD DVD, free on the front cover of the Radio Times. Although not yet common even in the US, the HD DVD is hear already, and there's even a recordable HD DVD system (Sony "Blu-Ray") that went on sale at the end of last year. It hasn't swept the market yet, but it looks set to become the standard. It won't sell in Europe until big-screen, HD capable, displays are common in Dixons, and that really means flat panels of 40" diagonal or bigger. We're a few years away from that at present.

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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In French, “i” is pronounced as “e” is in English.
So I would think Dirac is pronounced “Dee-rack”.

Alan

cstv
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but who wants a 40" screen in the corner of the living room??? i certianly don't!

i can see a point to HD for cinema, conference, and even home cinema enthusiasts, but i don't want to watch the 6 o'clock news in HD!

BBC drama docos work well captured on HD, but i don't really want to have to build an extension to my house to fit the screen in. our 28" widescreen is plenty big enough, and gives quite nice results... Alan, what you said above, and the tables in your Rel white paper suggest that running a 1080 image at that size would see little or no visible difference... is that right, or are the larger screen sizes just the optimal? i find it hard to believe that you wouldn't experience a considerably better picture - assuming you don't stick it through NTL's mpeg encoding... ;)

mark

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
but who wants a 40" screen in the corner of the living room??? i certianly don't!

Judging by most branches of Currys, Dixons etc an awful lot of people! ;) And that's with SD displays, normally set up badly in the showroom!Probably me, when the price is right, and with wall mountable flat screens most rooms will be happy with a larger screen than in CRT days. OK, many people won't want 40" displays (yet!), but in the past many viewers were content with a 19" monochrome receiver - would that have been a valid reason for not introducing colour 625 line transmissions? And because most people listen to the radio on small portables, does that mean the introduction of FM shouldn't have been done?

What we are talking about here won't be mainstream for 10 to 20 years, but decisions taken now will be crucial to the future. My first glimpse of HD wasn't on a huge set, but the difference WAS noticeable - viewing distance is obviously important as well as screen size. I'd like to see more HD displays on public view, and when HD DVD's appear, that becomes much easier for retailers. With lower prices, that's when the broadcasters are going to come under public pressure.....

Alan Roberts
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Rhyme "Dirac" with "Chirac".

The previous 2 posts show exactly what I meant about size, takeup etc. Some will want it early, others will wait until it's cheap, yet others will refuse it until everything else is switched off.

My table of display sizes tells you how close you have to be, or how big the display has to be, for a pixel to be the same size at the eye. That assumes that the tv signal will be as well populated with content as SD is today, i.e. pretty well fully. HD as shown in the US doesn't fully populate the signal because the vast majority has been captured or produced on HDCAM; the equivalent on SD (720/576) would be 540 pixels for luma, 180 each for chroma, our digital SD is 720, 360 each for chroma.

Clearly HD is still at the formative stage, it'll take a while before anyone considers that fully-populated resolution is worth while, at present that would mean capture/production on HD-D5 or HDCAM-SR in 4:2:2 (1920, 960 each), or HDCAM-SR or hard drives in 4:4:4. The latter is the standard format for film post production now, because it makes for good blue/green screen keying.

Incidentally, it's interesting how much film production is posted at 25fps, even when shot at 24 on film or HD, and even when it's going to be printed back to film. It makes sense, because you get the live down-conversion to 625/50 for local viewing. A fair amount of "film" is now shot as HD video at 25fps just because you can get this live monitoring very cheaply on nthe studio foloor, it means you don't have to wait to see the dailies, you can feed lots of monitors very cheaply, and you can stand the studio doiwn as soon as you shout "Cut" rather than keeping everyone on stand-by until the dailies are shown next day.

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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Quote:                      
“but who wants a 40" screen in the corner of the living room?
i can see a point to HD for... home cinema enthusiasts, but i don't want to watch the 6 o'clock news in HD!”

I have been using a 1.9 m (75”) diagonal 16:9 screen for the past few months and I would certainly not want to go back to a 27” screen. The new screen is fixed to the wall and the projector is miniscule, so compared with the 27” monitor used previously the space taken up is actually less.

Something to be aware of is that such a projected picture is not just a magnified version of that on a conventional TV monitor. The projector, fed from a suitable DVD player, allows a digital feed (DVI) (better horizontal sharpness) and progressive scan (better vertical sharpness). The display of 1280 pixels/line x 720 lines yields a sharper picture with very much less visible structure, allowing comfortable viewing at 3.5 picture heights even from “625 line” DVDs. It is effectively a halfway stage between conventional SD and HDTV (sometimes referred to as extended definition television (EDTV)).

For the news and suchlike we have a 14” portable TV set.
HDTV and even EDTV should be reserved for “special” programmes and DVDs that you really want to watch!

The unwanted coding artefacts of present digital broadcasts are unacceptable with this size of screen whereas a good DVD is very acceptable.

The HDTV “jam tomorrow” prospect of 1080P from the BBC is OK but only if in the meantime the present SD encoding is markedly improved.

Alan

StevenBagley
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Quote:
The HDTV “jam tomorrow” prospect of 1080P from the BBC is OK but only if in the meantime the present SD encoding is markedly improved.

Absolutely, if digital TV in the UK was running at its full potential rather than the limp offering we have now then the need for HD wouldn't be so great. As it is, HD appears to be the only way we can get quality TV pictures back again (ignoring programmes like 'Diarmuid's Big Adventure' which look like it was shot with amateurs in full auto mode, certainly an exercise in how not to shoot TV judging by the first episode last week). Looking at BBC2 now the artefacts on the snooker balls are obvious...

But then 1080p really does sound nice...

Steven

Alan McKeown
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Quoting a “High Definition Magazine” report from the recent NAB convention in Las Vegas:

“Had a chat with BBC Resources' Andy King who was holed up in a room at the back of the South Hall and they announced with much glee their first high definition OB truck. This is quite significant for the BBC and although meant for their overseas market is still a rubber stamping of the format from within the hallowed halls. Their first gig is the Last Night of the Proms in September for NHK. Good news of the BBC less good for Alfacam who had been doing all of the BBC's HD OB work.”

Quoting an EE Times report:

“Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment will launch all its new titles on Blu-ray disks by early 2006 when the format is officially released, said Benjamin Feingold, president of the movie studio that is an affiliate of Sony Corp. Although no other studios have committed to a next-generation disk format, Feingold said it is time to make the shift in part due to a rising tide of high definition pay-per-view content on cable and satellite channels such as HBO and Showtime.

"By the time we launch there could be 25 million high-def displays in the market," said Feingold. "There's a huge pent-up demand for high definition content right now, but the DVD market is so big, most studios can't see it," he added.

Feingold noted that only a handful of studios backed DVD when it was first released in 1997, however it quickly became the fastest growing format in electronics history. "[Blu-ray] will be a mass market from the very beginning," he predicted.”

Alan

infocus
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One probably for Alan, and I feel I should know the answer! When these Blu-Rays are released, are they likely to be 1080/24p, the player then feeding 60i to the display? It occurs to me that aside from any regional coding, they could be playable anywhere - a European player feeding 50i from the same disc?

I've also heard conflicting things about compatability - will a Blu-Ray player in my living room be able to play back current DVD's?

Alan Roberts
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In the US, they'll play film at 23.98 with the usual 2:3 pull-down to get output at 59.94 interlaced as PsF with the strange morion jerkiness that many Americans is an essential part of the "film-look". The only Blu-Ray prototype deck I've seen in the UK did that, but there's no reason why a 50Hz version shouldn't play out at 50 without that complication.

I don't know about compatibility play-back, but if Sony want is to buy these things, then this sort of compatibility is essential.

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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Quote from the Blu-ray Disc founder’s web site:

“While production cost is extremely important to commercial content providers, of equal importance are compatibility with current DVD media and protection of digital content from piracy. In response to these concerns, while no blue-laser disc will be readable using a red-laser, combined blue/red drives and other devices will be perfectly feasible resulting in a full backwards compatibility with DVD. Several leading drive manufacturers have already proven this feasibility with drives for consumer products such as video recorders that can read and write both DVD and BD discs.”

Alan

infocus
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Should anybody wish to make their views known directly to government, http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/consultations/2004+current+consultations/bbc_digital_review_consult.htm may be of interest, and not just for HD matters. It's worth reading the terms of reference - whilst the consultation is more to do with content of BBC 3&4, childrens channels etc, future HD broadcasting just about comes under the terms. (A report will be submitted to the Secretary of State "......outlining any views....on how the new digital television services might develop in the future.")

It seems a little strange to me that it's the BBC under such scrutiny - as a viewer they seem to be trying a lot harder to maintain standards than most of their opposition.....? Interestingly, not only have I received no reply to an e-mail to a feedback address at digitaltelevision.gov.uk (see my post of 28 Apr), but that whole site appears to have been down for a while - or is it just me experiencing problems?

Alan Roberts
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The main problem is that the BBC's an easy target, always has been. It has to tread a tight-rope between the job of monitoring and calling the government to book, and not being so offensive that it loses the franchise. It's a hard job. But HMG's email responsivity doesn't surprise me at all.

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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Also from “High Definition Magazine” about the recent NAB ( http://www.definitionmagazine.com/ ):
"Had a canteen meet with the the Apple UK guys who were pretty knocked out with their company's announcements and .......so nobody will be able to hide from the HD wave that is coming. This is a great news for the format and will not be missed by the broadcasting powers that make HD decisions. As for broadcasting in HD I heard Marc Valentin of Thomson say that HD in Europe is only five years away, also I met someone who is booked to train France's TF1 staff in HD later this year, so things are gathering pace."

Alan Roberts
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Five years sound about right, it can't be any sooner. And it's nice to hear that France is taking training seriously, training BBC staff and indies has kept me busy for about 8 years now.

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

I have at last got a High Definition Television set top box (STB) installed and working. The HDTV picture quality, from Euro 1080 and also the Astra HD promotional channel, is excellent, with none of the annoying artefacts that plague the present standard-definition broadcast digital transmissions. It proves that when properly implemented, digital television can live up to its original promise.

Equipment employed:

Satellite antenna: Wavefrontier Toroidal 90 Gregorian.
HDTV receiver: Quali-TV QS 1080IR

DVI-D connection (720p 50 Hz) from HDTV receiver to projector via Gefen HDTV DVI-D switcher (to allow switching between DVD player (Yamakawa 365) and HDTV satellite receiver).

Connecting cables: DVI-D Gefen (2 X 2 m) and Lindy (1 X 5 m)

Video projector: Panasonic PT AE500E (1280 X 720 X 3 LCD)
Mains supply to projector is via a UPS.

Screen: Beamax, fixed frame, 16:9 aspect ratio. 1.9 m (diagonal)
Screen gain: 1.2 relative to a Lambertian surface.

Quad 44 / 405 audio amplification
2 X Quad ESL 63 loudspeakers.
(HDTV is specified to have surround sound)

Alan

StevenBagley
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Now was anyone expecting this...

Sky have announced they'll launch a HD service from 2006 in the UK.

BSkyB announces Free-To-Air and High Definition Television initiatives

BSkyB will again demonstrate its commitment to lead innovation in digital television with the development of a premium package of channels in the High Definition Television (HDTV) format. Following the successful launch by BSkyB of the UK's first digital television service, first interactive television service and first integrated Digital Video Recorder Sky+, the proposed introduction of HDTV to the digital satellite platform in 2006 will ensure that Sky customers continue to benefit from the most advanced television services available.

HDTV, delivering substantially superior picture quality than standard-definition television, is the preferred format for a growing number of US television productions in genres including sport, drama, entertainment and news. Its introduction to the UK is expected to strengthen further the differentiation between digital satellite and other television platforms and to appeal to the increasing number of consumers who seek to enhance their in-home audiovisual experience with equipment such as wide-screen televisions, plasma screens and home cinema systems.

The premium service will launch in 2006 with both a set of dedicated HD channels and access to selected events produced in HD format. Further details of BSkyB's proposed technology and programming offering in HDTV will be announced in due course. In addition to the package of channels to be offered by Sky, other broadcasters on the digital satellite platform will also be able to take advantage of its HDTV capabilities to provide an enhanced experience to their viewers.

Judging by FOX in the US using 480p as a HD service -- it'll be interesting to see what we get from Sky (576p anyone? ). And more interestingly how the BBC respond.

Lets hope we don't get lumbered with an out of date HD service in the UK and that Sky really innovate (MPEG4 transmission perhaps?) this time.

Steven

infocus
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On the 27 April, I posted on the subject of HD(with no inside knowledge, honest!)

"Potentially it's a crucial issue for such as the BBC and ITV in the next decade. Sky have made huge inroads into the UK broadcast scene in the last decade, and this issue could accelerate that - bandwidth is less of an problem for them than for terrestial broadcasters. They make a lot of their money from pay per view, and pub etc screenings of major sports events on a big screen - and from what I've seen HD for this market can't come too soon. If they then choose to extend HD into Sky Movies, Sky One etc just at a time when big screens are becoming commonplace, HD-DVD is coming in, video games have HD outputs the implications for the BBC and ITV could be serious. I just don't think sitting back and hoping the whole thing will just go away is an option."

I could not have foreseen just how prophetic that would be, or how quickly events would move. On it's report on the announcement the BBC states that "....Picture quality on the service is better, especially for sports and films, but, so far, the high cost of the new TV sets has deterred people in the US from buying them." Which shows just how out of touch the BBC now is. Everything I've read shows massive exponential growth in HD sales in the US.

StevenBagley
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I was talking to a friend in Atlanta this evening about this and he laughed at the bit in Sky's press release about HD taking off -- his exact comment was 'As If'. I suspect that it falls somewhere between Sky and BBC's comments.

But I agree that the BBC (and the other broadcasters) will need to react to this somehow. Which would mean making some of their flagship shows available in HD (via whatever platform). Maybe we'll see a BBC HD channel, which transmits a mixture of programs in HD that are also in SD on the main channels.

I imagine Sky's offerings will be (at first) imported US series, Movies and Sporting events. So the BBC could easily react with homegrown drama and documentaries in HD especially as some are already being made in HD eg the Natural History stuff, which would really showcase HD or programmes like 'Holby City' which have already experimented).

Also, as a lot of the BBC film drama is made by producing a physical cut negative, would mean that things like 'Pride and Prejudice' could be retelecined in HD (though whether the film stock used would actually resolve anymore detail than the SD version is another matter entirely).

I can't see the BBC sitting this one on the fence though.

The timing is interesting though -- 2006 would be the next World Cup, which Sky have no rights to show (at least in SD)...

Steven

infocus
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Well...... from http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/052304dnbushdtv.3d09d.html (you have to register) "Strong end-of-year sales forced the Consumer Electronics Association to increase its DTV sales projection from 4 million to 4.3 million units. It now projects 5.7 million digital television units will be sold this year, increasing to almost 23 million by 2007."

And other reports I've read give the same picture - one the promoters of digital TV in the UK can only envy! Yes, it's still in a minority, but I understand take up has been faster than for DVD at an equivalent stage after it's introduction. The negative view in the BBC article simply is not justified.

Perhaps Alan Roberts could tell us what his ex-colleagues really make of the announcement, and did they see it coming?

Alan Roberts
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Let's put this situation into context, using a lot of inside information.

HD in the US took off because it had already done so in Japan, the kit was reasonably priced and suited them (it largely runs at 59.94Hz, not 50Hz). While Japan has broadcast analogue HD for several years, it wasn't until the US decided to implement in one act, digital TV, widescreen and HDTV, that it took off there. Until then most US prodiction was analogue, a lot of it SVHS. It was all 4:3, much of it produced already NTSC coded. It looks awful on big screens.

In the meantime, Europe has largely gone digital in production, widescreen in the UK, Eire and some hotbeds of other European countries. We did that because, historically, we hada better system than the US (576 active lines rather than 487, and 5.5MHz bandwidth rather than 4.2) so our pictures always look a lot sharper than theirs. So their motive for HD is a lot greater than ours.

If you look at a map of the world (Snell & Wilcox have done this nicely), you'll see a large block (all the Americas, Japan, Australasia, Korea) have gone directly from analogue 4:3 SD production and broadcasting, straight into 16:9 HD digital broadcasting in one step. China is going to do the same, and I expect India to follow soon after. That leaves Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Russia, all 625-line countires, where the motive for HD is rather less. It's least in the UK because we've already got digits and widescreen running very successfully.

Sky are only promising one channel, by the year after next. They could do it in a fortnight if they wanted to, it isn't hard. the delay is to wait for the share price to rise so that new investors will contribute a cash sum for them to do it. The whole process is cost-neutral to Sky, they aren't a charity. The programming will be big sport and rock concerts for the first year, so ti won't be a continuous channel. That programming already exists, rock concerts are routinely shot in HD, as is a lot of sport.

The BBC is taking delivery of it's first batch of HD studio/OB cameras in a couple of weeks (I'm going to get paid to help them sort this out) and will have a digital HD OB van ready by IBC. BBC Music & Arts is already planning to make all big productions (e.g. Glyndebourne, Proms etc) in HD. Much of BBC Drama is already shot in HD and Natural History is making "Planet Earth" in HD because the co-producers won't pay otherwise.

So there's a lot of HD activity going on, it's just that you don't see it, all you see is programmes in SD that look better than they might (largely because the cameras are set up to my prescription). The BBC can't make programmes in HD unless someone else pays the extra cost that it incurs, it's a charter problem. When there's a broadcaster that can get the stuff out to the licence payers, all that will change. Already, the plans are for all drama to be HD by end 2006, and tape will be phased out at about the same time.

Honest chaps, all this really is going on, you don't see it because the programmes look good, but it's like a swan on a pond, all serene above water but furious paddling going on down below.

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.

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Already, the plans are for all drama to be HD by end 2006, and tape will be phased out at about the same time....

Hi
I edited (as an assistant) my first BBC colour footage in the summer of 1967 (Eastman Color negative, which came out streets ahead of Ektchrome Reversal stock in low-light documentary tests at that time). Later that year I worked as a vision mixer with the new but horrible Editec 2" Quad videotape assembly edit system.
I went on record when I stopped vision mixing and returned to the film cutting rooms with the bold statement "film will see me out for my lifetime".
I was wrong. My last documentary film was made in 1988, and I was made redundant from TV in 1993. (And got my first Premiere NLE system).

What I never had the slightest inkling of was that video tape wouldn't last to see my career out - I reach retirement age in 2007.

Not the slightest inkling.... ;)

Alan Roberts
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I think that tape will stay around as an archive medium, and as a delivery medium (i.e. you post the tape). But for organisations that capture edit and deliver all in-house (e.g. the main broadcasters), tape is well on the way out for editing already. The BBC's first desk-top editing systems using central servers is starting work in Bristol this week, editing can happen on a laptop using proxies from the server, only when the edit is complete does the real footage get loaded into an NLE like Avid for conforming. It never hits tape at all because the final playout is already from a central server, and has been for quite a while. Tape exists only when dealing with indies, or delivering to co-producers. The grand plan is for central servers to be accessible world-wide, so the NHU camera-man in Peru can download his footage via G3 phone, and do his first edit in the field, delivering the EDL the same way. The only need for tape is as a buffer between the camera and his laptop, and the Panasonic P2 and Sony XDCAM already obviate both of those.

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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Thanks Alan, a good resume, but one could read from it that whilst 5 years ago the UK had one of the best technical systems in the world, in 5 years time it will be inferior to India! (Let alone the US, Japan.......) And have we really got digits running successfully? Digital terrestial has been plagued by reception problems since it's introduction, and we seem saddled with a standard inferior to most other DVB countries - 2k v 8k. Granted the BBC and Freeview have improved matters, but the situations still far from ideal.

Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts The BBC can't make programmes in HD unless someone else pays the extra cost that it incurs, it's a charter problem. When there's a broadcaster that can get the stuff out to the licence payers, all that will change.

I see the first point, but why can't they or another party set up their own transmission channel, for which a higher licence fee may be payable? A comparable situation to the colour licence fee being greater than for monochrome. Or is that our forthcoming surprise for the next few months? Either way, whatever anyone may think of Sky, they've been very astute financially so far, and the significance of their move must be seen as high. I understand what you're saying about a lot happening behind the scenes, but as a viewer I'm only interested in what makes it into my home.

Quote:
Already, the plans are for all drama to be HD by end 2006, and tape will be phased out at about the same time.

All drama, soaps etc and all, or just high end drama? And with a move to HD production with it's higher data rate requirements, what do you envisage tape being phased out in favour of? I'd been expecting HDCAM as the next generation and tapeless the generation after.

StevenBagley
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Quote:
And with a move to HD production with it's higher data rate requirements, what do you envisage tape being phased out in favour of? I'd been expecting HDCAM as the next generation and tapeless the generation after.

Hard disk presumably -- the technology is already here. A modern Apple Powerbook with a Magma expansion box is powerful enough to capture HD to an external SCSI RAID array in a package that is portable. Modern SATA drives will probably remove the need for a SCSI RAID. 1Tb (4 250Gb drives) would give over 2hrs of footage at 1080 uncompressed. More if you accept compression, with HDCam coming in at 140Mbps (I think), a 120Gb harddrive can hold 160minutes of HD footage for £60, while a 40min HDCam tape is £35 or so...

But this opens up even more interesting possibilities, you could easily downconvert and create a DV compressed version on a firewire drive that could be plugged into the edit suite to do the offline. Production Assistants could be given tablet PCs that use wireless networks to add their notes as metadata directly on the captured files themselves.

It's already happening BBC R&D have their Orbit project looking at various bits and pieces, and software like 'Final Cut Pro' is already challenging the way shows are made, 'Ground Force' is regularly offlined in a cottage in Norfolk and in the US,' Scrubs' has virtually moved to producing the whole show in FCP. I wonder if we are on the brink of a change in TV production methods that'll do to the rest of TV production what NLE did to editting? I know whilst editing something earlier in the year for a producer who based in London that we were using MPEG4 compressed versions of the current edits that I uploaded to a web server to send rough cuts effectively and quickly to each other. He was then able to use MSN messenger to discuss points as with me as he watched the stream -- not only did this allow quick feedback, but I also had a log of the points he made to refer back to.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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There's too much here for a detailed response, but...

The BBC's busily trading on reputation for production content and technical quality. That's why it's still selling well in the US. Broadcasting's limited this only as far as the licence payers are concerned, the Sky bill for carrying BBC content was a major cost, and Freeview was a cheaper answer that got signals out to more viewers more quickly. It works, although I'm happy to agree that it's not good enough. I have Freeviw for two reasons, 16:9 and BBC4, otherwise my PAL pictures are significantly better.

As far as setting up new channels is concerned, there's no spectrum space in terrestrial (despite the plethora of crap channels, closing all of mthem would only make space for one decent HD channel) so it would have to be satellite, back to Sky? Or maybe one of the other Astras, like the latest unencrypted BBC transmissions. HD needs a lot of channel, about 19Mb/s, it's not something you can shoe-horn into a corner.

The plan is (at least that's what I was told on Wednesday by someone I trust) for all drama to go HD in 3-4 years time. Probably not soaps because there's no international market for them, but it would cover a lot of kids programming because it's drama. Tape'll last longer in HD than SD because of the numbers problem, but eventually, it'll all go. For capture and production.

HDCAM is 144Mb/s (ok, that's nit-picking), and terrabyte drives are down to 700USD now, so hard drive space is not a problem. It's bound to happen. The problem with hard drive storage is that it has to be removable so that you can reload, there's little worse than having to spend time downloading the camera drive so that you can start again. All the solid state, hard-drive, and optical systems already create lo-def proxy files so that you can do a quick/dirty edit without spending the time to move the big files around. That's been happening nfor about 18 months now, and is set to explode in the next couple of years. Wireless networking is already up and running, central servers holding the clips. Editors can work away doing the grind while the director sits in his office monitoring the output, maybe continents away. All this is already with us as technology, but hasn't supplanted everything yet, that costs money. Just remember that BBC Manchester does all its news editing in BetaSP, not even digits 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.

Alan McKeown
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Joined: May 9 2001

In case it hasn’t been mentioned before.
Euro 2004 in Portugal is being covered in HDTV.

Quote from the Alfacam website:

"Alfacam at the European Football Championshi4/6/2004
Alfacam covers all 31 football games for the host broadcaster RTP-EBS in HDTV and in SDI 625 at the same time. To ensure the high quality, seamless broadcasting and coverage of all the games, Alfacam will be present with 8 OB Vans, 4 Assist Trucks and 2 SNG Trucks.”

Alan

infocus
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Do we know if that is being transmitted anywhere in HD, and what percentage of the games it applies to?

Alan McKeown
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Unfortunately the matches are not available live on Euro1080 main channel. The Set top boxes with conditional access cards were about a month late being delivered so Euro1080 main channel is not yet encrypted as it would have to be to stand any chance of live transmission of Euro 2004. Hopefully it will be able cover some of the Olympics from Athens.

Euro 2004 may quite possibly be being carried live in HDTV to the US and Japan but I am not sure of this.

Quote from Euro1080:

Euro1080 is proud to announce that we will broadcast most games of the European Championship Football, EURO2004, in cinemas all over Europe. These games will brought to you through the Euro1080 Event Channel.

The live projections will be in High Definition, which means that the matches can be viewed with a superior picture and sound quality.

For reasons of television rights, those matches will not be broadcasted on our Main Channel. In the privacy of your home, you will still have to rely on the traditional TV stations to view EURO2004.

But if you want to participate in a unique experience, very close to actually being at the pitch, you can do so in the comfort of a cinema.

Cities in Europe where you can enjoy EURO2004 in a cinema :

Belgium
Brussels, Mons (Imagix)

Czech Republic
Prague (Slovansky Dum)

Hungary
Budapest (Palace MOMPark)

Latvia
Riga (Baltic Cinema)

Luxemburg
Luxemburg (Utopolis)

Portugal
Lisbon (Cinemas Millenium, Mariott Hotel Lisboa)

Sweden
Aseda (Aseda Folkets Hus)
Idre (Idre Kulturhus)
Örebrö (Conventum)
Oskarshamn (Oskarshamns Folkets Hus)
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Alan McKeown
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Rumour on the Web has it that there is presently a live transmission of Euro 2004 in HDTV from a satellite positioned at 22 degrees West. Unfortunately I am unable to confirm this as my antenna cannot see anything more than about 5 degrees West. There is a mountain blocking its view!

Alan

infocus
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A fairly basic question, but if these games (or any European material) are originated 1080i/50 and were to be transmitted in the States, would the broadcaster have to convert to 1080i/60? Or could they just be transmitted as originated and HDTV receivers are able to adapt? I understand the receivers can cope with differing line standards (480,720,1080) but are they fixed to 50Hz or 60Hz?

StevenBagley
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Quote:
A fairly basic question, but if these games (or any European material) are originated 1080i/50 and were to be transmitted in the States, would the broadcaster have to convert to 1080i/60? Or could they just be transmitted as originated and HDTV receivers are able to adapt? I understand the receivers can cope with differing line standards (480,720,1080) but are they fixed to 50Hz or 60Hz?

I think it'd have to be converted to 60Hz, to be compatible with people watching on NTSC TVs (downconverting in the box). Film material is transmitted with 3:2 pulldown at 60i/60p too as I understand it (got to feel sorry for Americans having to put up with that).

What is more of a problem though is that I don't think you can't get motion-estimation based that work in HD so the standards of conversion would be pretty poor compared to an Alchemist conversion. With football if this is the case I imagine you'd get a lot of motion blur.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Yep, the US can't broadcast 50Hz, the decoders won't work unless reprogrammed.

By the way, hot news: John Varney (Chief Technical Officer, BBC) has said that all BBC production will be HDTV by the end of the decade. That's not a command or instruction, just an observation.

And Sky really have no idea yet about how to do their recently announced HD channel. It seems Murdoch made a policy statement, rather than a release of details. There'll be a lot of head scratching in the next year before they tell us what they're going to do, but I guess they'll import reprogrammed DirectTV decoders from the US (DirectTV is owned by News Corp). If you look on the web, you'll find adverts for them in the US, a set of 5 decoders (for 5 tvs, displays) installed for $369, that makes them $79 each, so the going rate for them in the UK will be about £150 :(

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 Roberts
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[mixed metaphor]
Just been told about this document. It explains the official EBU position on HDTV. But, remember that it was written before Sky's announcement. I reckon the pidgeon loft must be in uproar across Europe at the moment :D I really do hope so, they can't keep their heads stuck in the sand too much longer.
[/mixed mataphor]

http://europa.eu.int/comm/avpolicy/legis/key_doc/legispdffiles/rollout.pdf

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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I get the feeling reading that they are hoping HD will just go away and leave them alone...

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Quite :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.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Yep, the US can't broadcast 50Hz, the decoders won't work unless reprogrammed.

In another thread you posted "Incidentally, the BBC truck's first job is 2 Prom concerts, one a rehearsal for the Last Night, which will be taken live in Japan in HD (at 1080/50i)."

Do we take it Japans system is more advanced?
And can their decoders still give an NTSC output with 1080/50i input?

Quote:
By the way, hot news: John Varney (Chief Technical Officer, BBC) has said that all BBC production will be HDTV by the end of the decade. That's not a command or instruction, just an observation.

Hmmmm. Which begs the question, when will it become mandatory for new equipment being ordered to to be HD - even if material being shot/edited with it is unlikely ever to be seen HD. We're talking chickens and eggs again, but I'm surprised to hear that BEFORE an announcement of an outlet channel. :confused:

StevenBagley
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Presumably it's a case that SD kit will be scarce by the end of the decade, with HD kit being the norm from the likes of Sony...

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Two things:

The US is highly isolationist. Anything they buy has to be right for broadcasting with no other effort. Therefore they will accept only 59.94i or 23.98psf (e.g. film-mode shot at 24psf or 25psf and slowed for replay). Japan is more pragmatic, NHK haver a prototype converter that will convert HD from 50 to 60 for their own use, highly sophisticated, motion adaptive, looks very good. They used it for the Last Night of the Proms last year.

John Varney's comment has to be read in a world where digital kit is multi-functional. Most of the HD kit we're using now is switchable, you can get SD out of the HD cameras and vtrs, all the HD switchers work perfectly happily at SD rates, so does all the distribution network. So his comment really means that before the end of this decade, you won't be able to buy digital production kit that won't do SD and HD. Thus all new installations will automatically be HDTV capable. All the digital OB trucks are being built this way, and HD kit is now coming in at very little more than SD digital kit was three years ago. It would be economic suicide to build a digital production facility that can't be switched to HD. SD kit will still be around, installed, but any new kit will be HD capable. By the way, the first piece of kit to work this way was a plasma panel fitted with a digital input by Richard Stevens some years ago (BBC R&D, shared my office last year), the same input circuit would run at SD or HD without being told what it was, that's why the pix looked so good, no analogue anywhere.

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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Quote:                      
“Yep, the US can't broadcast 50Hz, the decoders won't work unless reprogrammed.”

Interestingly, there has very recently been a software update for the “Euro1080” set top boxes, to allow them to correctly process 60 Hz transmissions (in addition to 50 Hz).

Rather oddly for a European channel, the Astra High Definition demo. material (from Pioneer) is in “60 Hz”. As such, it plays very jerkily on 50 Hz receivers. With the update, both 50 Hz (from Euro1080) and 60 Hz (from Astra HD) material play correctly.

I assume that if the “political” will was there, this could be achieved with US STBs also. So technically there would seem to be no barrier to the direct exchange of 50 Hz and 60 Hz programmes, always provided that the home display systems can cope.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Exactly right, you got it. It's only software.

I've long held the view that broadcasters should not standards-convert maqterial for broadcast, but should just put it out at the shooting rate. My tv sets will all show NTSC correctly, and two out of three VHS decks will replay NTSC as well (OK, they're SVHS and the other's an ancient Philips VHS).

I still hold the view that we no longer need standards in broadcasting, now that we've got digital pipelines. All we need to agree on is the form of compression, so that all decoders will work. Then we could supply the pipeline with any resolution at any frame rate, knowing that the display will not mess it up as happens with standards conversion. It would mean that we could put films out at the rigbht speed (24Hz) instead of 4% fast, and let the display work out what to do with it. There's a similar body of opinion min the US, that wants to get rid of the truly grotesque 2:3 pull-down they do, by displaying it at 72Hz with, effectively a triple-bladed shutter (this is like our 100Hz tv sets, effectively using a 4-blade shutter for film, 2-blade for tv).

WM9 is the nearest we've got to what I want. It works at any resolution and frame rate. The output resolution is no concern of the coder, because it's dynamic, if the picture isn't big enough, you just grab a corner and enlarge it. And it's far more efficient than MPEG2 or MPEG4.

I really hope that we see the comp[lete death of tv standards in the next few years, so that we can produce at any resolution and rate, code it and traqnsmit it, the decoders sorting out how mto handle it. TV will then and only nthen have fully matured.

My 2 pen'orth.

BTW, these views represent those of quite a few BBC people, but not that of the BBC or any other broadcaster. They are only just beginning to understand the full implications of WM9 (and the BBC R&R Dirac codec).

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 Roberts
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BTW, I've just heard that ITV are planning to join in the funding/control of Freeview. It's about time they woke up and joined in, Freeview now reaches more homes than all cable delivery systems put together.

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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Good news about ITV and Freeview.

More on HDTV in Europe.
Quoted from SES ASTRA:

Betzdorf, June 21st, 2004

 

HDTV SPECIFICATIONS AND TIMETABLE AGREED BY SES ASTRA AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS FROM ALL OVER EUROPE

"HDTV" label for display devices to be launched in collaboration with major industry partners

SES ASTRA, an SES GLOBAL company (Euronext Paris, Luxembourg and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges: SESG), in a concerted effort with more than sixty of its European broadcast customers, hardware manufacturers and other industry partners, at their second European HDTV Forum session held on the 17th of June at SES ASTRA's headquarters in Luxembourg, have agreed on the technical aspects and the timetable for the introduction of HDTV (High Definition Television) services in Europe via the ASTRA Satellite System.

Due to the eye-catching higher resolution compared to standard definition broadcasts, HDTV offers a compelling new viewing experience, notably on state-of-the-art flat screen displays and home cinemas, which are being installed at an increasing rate in European homes.

HDTV is already a reality in countries like the United States and Japan, where more than 6 million households currently receive HDTV broadcasts and all major broadcasters offer full-fledged HDTV services.

SES ASTRA pioneered the transmission of HDTV services in Europe with EURO 1080. Europe's first dedicated HDTV offer has been broadcasting via the ASTRA satellite system at 19.2° East since January 1st, 2004. In the meantime, the interest in HDTV has gained considerable momentum in several European countries under the ASTRA footprint. The latest pan-European HDTV initiative undertaken by ASTRA and renowned industry partners is expected to trigger a rapid deployment of the new technology across various European markets, with additional HDTV channels expected to launch as early as this year on the ASTRA Satellite System.

To ensure a uniform roll-out and avoid a fragmentation of the nascent market in Europe, SES ASTRA and its industry partners have agreed on the minimum technical specifications for HDTV broadcasts, based on e.g. the open MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 AVC standards. These technical specifications include:
- HDTV ready displays need a minimum of 720 lines vertical resolution
- Scan formats of 720P50 and 1080i25 for HDTV
- Standard interfaces for peripheral equipment

SES ASTRA and its industry partners have also agreed on the launch of an "HDTV" label which will be deployed to identify future-proof HDTV displays. The label is intended to ensure consumer confidence when acquiring new display devices and will be used in the upcoming HDTV marketing campaigns of the different manufacturers promoting the pan-European HDTV initiative.

Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA, states: "So far, Europe has been trailing countries like the United States with respect to the introduction of HDTV services. At the same time, sales of flat screen displays have been booming. Independent research institutes actually suggest that in a few years tens of millions of HD enabled TV sets will be deployed in the different European countries. By agreeing on minimal technical specifications and building on open standards, SES ASTRA and its partners from the broadcast and hardware industry intend to ensure that the roll-out of HDTV services in Europe kick-starts as early as this year."

For further information please contact:

Yves Feltes
Press Relations, SES ASTRA
Tel +352 710 725 311
Yves.Feltes@ses-global.com
www.ses-astra.com

Alan Roberts
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Yes, that Astra statement is very clear and accurate. It's exactly what I've been saying for ages, HD'll take off only when the displays get big, and into homes, and only then will the broiadcasters wake up and get on with it. Just pray that the 720/50P pushers don't get their own way, what we need to end up with is 1080/50P or 1080/60P, and the best way to get there is via interlace first. Launching a 720/50P service could be a major disaster in my opinion.

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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Quote:
Launching a 720/50P service could be a major disaster in my opinion.

Why do some people think it would be a good idea -- just short sightedness (ie it looks as good now and uses less bandwidth) or something more fundamental?

Steven

Alan Roberts
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It's because they can do it now, very shortsighted in my opinion.

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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Quote:
Launching a 720/50P service could be a major disaster in my opinion.

I think I remember you saying that Sony don't support 720 - only 1080. Does that not make 1080 a more likely bet? ;)

I've just been looking back over the first few posts in this topic, and even though I was one of the most bullish, I'm still astonished at the speed with which announcements have been made. I shall be very surprised if the BBC sit on the fence for much longer now. When organisations such as Astra are this committed and quote statistics like "Independent research institutes actually suggest that in a few years tens of millions of HD enabled TV sets will be deployed in the different European countries" the subject has to be seen very seriously.

Regarding the comments about ITV and Freeview, I seem to recall stories (before my time!) of an earlier ITV wanting to convert much earlier to colour, and supporting 405 line NTSC as the future standard for the UK. Hmmm.

Regarding the earlier talk about standards, and being able to transmit 24fps, letting the receiver show it at 72Hz, I assume this only applies to CRT displays? Can one assume that for Plasmas and LCDs they can just display 24 frames as is without flicker, as they don't have to rely on a scanning spot?

Alan Roberts
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Several points:

Yes, Sony don't to 720P. They have eyes on the future at 1080/60P. 720P is only an interim format until 1080P/50 or 60 becomes a reality (Sony showed a prototype 1080/60P camcorder at NAB this year). 720P is popular in the US for sport, because the motion's much better than 1080 can do, yet. 720P's also popular in production because Panasonic have the world's only variable speed camcorder (except the specialist high-speed stuff, and that doesn't really count). So 1080's the way to go, 720P has to be a dead duck unless it's a junior partner to 1080 until 1080/50 or 60P can be broadcast. That's my view.

I'm not surprised at the speed of progress, remember I've been in the HDTV game for nearly 30 years, it looks slow to me. Europe has been debating for about 5 years now, ever since the US actually got on with it. There's lots of HD production capability in Europe, mostly in the UK, so we know how to do it. The only issue is access to bandwidth, and Sky have it in spades, and the will to do it when they can make money from it. National broadcasters won't join in until they have government or commercial mandates to do so. For example, the BBC's rules are that no licence-payers' money shall be spent on HDTV production if they see no benefit from it. That means co-producers bear any extra costs, although I could easily argue that the licence-payer gets a better progamme from HD production, but it all gets a bit political.

405 NTSC was indeed on the cards for the UK a long time before 625 and PAL. The remnants of the research kit were still in use at BBC R&D when I joined them in 1968. Unifying Europe on 625 was the best possible choice (405 had only 2MHz luma bandwidth, 625 has 5 or 5.5MHz, 6MHz in China), and Dr. Bruch didn't produce the final, delay-line, proposal until about two weeks before the EBU decision was made. It was a very tight run thing. But the decider was the freeing up of UHF channels which could be allocated in 8MHz chunks instead of the measly spectral space available in Bands I and III in the UK.

You've hit exactly my point about display rates. If the display doesn't flicker when running at a low rate, why should the transmission have to deliver a faster rate? Plasmas and lcds don't flicker, so they can show pictures at the native rate. However, plasmas don't show the native rate anyway because of the multiple sub-field modulation. And remember that motion portrayal on a crt is good because the spot forms a modulated delta-function, a Dirac pulse, which has Sinc function temporal response, while lcds and plasmas turn the pixels on for much longer and suffer from motion blur as a result. Display technology still has a long way to go before crts are fully ousted.

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 Roberts
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I'll add to all that, that 720P may well survive as the consumer, intro, level for HDTV. The HDV format is the key to this, a series of cameras that do either or both of 1440x1080/50i (or 59.94i) and 1280x720P at one or more of 25,30,50 and 60Hz. All versions are 4:2:0 so make sense at this level, and are MPEG compressed to less than 25Mb/s on tape. They also do conventional SD either directly from the camera, or a little less well from a downconversion of the recording.

This is the technology we'll see first in Europe, at affordable prices. The JVC HD10 is the first, Sony have shown a mockup of their version which looks and works like a PD170 and will be priced a little higher. JVC are aiming a joe public, Sony at low-end pro. Panasonic haven't announced yet, but they can't be far behind.

Once cameras like these (not the JVC PD10, that's an aberration inj my view) are in the shops at sensible prices, we'll have people making better pictures than they can get from any broadcaster. At that point, the broadcasters will have no choice, they'll have to go HD. The only real issues are when and how.

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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I can see a problem with transmitting everything at native rate -- how would the broadcasters move from a 25fps film to a 50fps sports programme, (assuming they keep the style of continuity used now -- with fades and such between the shows).

OF course if it means a return to a more upmarket style of presentation that we used to have then maybe it'll be a good thing...

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Think several years ahead. All transmission is digital, so there are frame buffers (many) at each end of the broadcast pipeline. The broadcaster can simply switch to a new frame rate, synchronously, via this buffer, and the coder flags the new stream as being at the new rate. The decoder detects that flag in time and formats the output in the best way that the display can cope with. If it's a crt, there'll be a frame amplitude bump as it changes speed, but all lcds, plasmas and projectors could simply carry on as normal.

Most programming would still be at a single rate, 25Hz psf or 50Hz i, and fades are simple since we currently transmit films as though they were interlaced, that's what psf means (progressive with segmented frames). The only problem would come when a programme is sourced at a different frame rate, like getting F1 GP coverage from any of the 59.94Hz/NTSC type countries. It would be a small price to pay for not having to standards-convert anything. The option would still be there to show films 4% fast, or at the "correct" speed.

I really can't see that there's a big problem. It would make the transmission system totally transparent, and therefore useable world-wide. We'd have a genuine single world-wide system so the benefits of big markets would be there for everybody.

Does that sound nice? I know it's pie in the sky and will probably never happen, but I can dream can't I?

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.

mooblie
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
........It would make the transmission system totally transparent, and therefore useable world-wide. We'd have a genuine single world-wide system so the benefits of big markets would be there for everybody.

Does that sound nice? I know it's pie in the sky and will probably never happen, but I can dream can't I?

Well, it did happen with the CD audio format - I know it's not broadcast, but it is a worldwide common digital distribution standard.

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

Alan McKeown
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Press release Euro1080

"Euro1080s' MAIN CHANNEL becomes HD1

Euro1080, the first European High Definition TV station, will re-brand its two channels: from September 1st on, the MAIN CHANNEL, the channel available to the public all over Europe via satellite, will be called HD1 whereas the EVENT CHANNEL, the cinema-channel, will be called HDe.

The MAIN CHANNEL is in the air since January 1st , 2004. It started with a demonstration period, showing that HDTV is available in Europe, with some 180 hours content in loop spread over 8 months.

The real start for the end-user will be on September 1st, offering 500 hours of new content over 4 months : a great mix of rock music, sports, lifestyle, concerts and operas. A new logo, a new look & feel and the new name HD1 will highlight this.
From December 1st, there will be 5 languages available both via subtitling and on a commentary track, enabling fiction, documentaries and more sports.

Meanwhile HDe has also started, and brings all EURO2004 football games to cinemas in more than 14 countries. For the fall, some spectacular LIVE are programmed, and will be announced soon.

Euro1080 remains the corporate name, which will be used in the contacts with partners, shareholders, investors and all businesslike matters. But from September onwards, HD1 will be the reference channel for High Definition Television in Europe.

We foresee a press conference on 23rd or 24th August in Belgium to announce all details about the programs that you will be able to enjoy on both HD1 as HDe.
Let us now if you want to be invited."

Alan McKeown
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Extract from Pace News release.
 
29 June 2004

Pace Sets Direction for Future of European Digital TV - IBC 2004 -

IBC 2004
10-14 September 2004
Amsterdam
Hall 1 Stand 420       

......“ Visitors will also see how Pace has drawn on its pioneering US HDTV experience to develop Europe’s first range of HDTV cable and satellite boxes. HD is rapidly moving up the agenda of all major European payTV operators. At IBC, Pace will demonstrate the compelling HD features that are proving a winner with US viewers including better quality picture. Operators will also see how HDTV enables them to differentiate their service offerings from competing platforms and generate revenues from premium HDTV channels.

“We are delighted to bring our unrivalled HDTV & PVR experience to European broadcasters at IBC 2004,” commented Neil Gaydon, Pace’s Worldwide Sales & Marketing Director. “HD and PVR are happening now and broadcasters cannot afford to ignore it. The key components for a successful European HDTV service are coming together - Euro1080’s service launch this year means real, compelling HDTV content and services are now available.”

infocus
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It had to happen – today I saw my first true HDTV in a high street retail store in the UK, or to be precise, a very large branch of Comet. And it was superb. I commented upon it to the salesman, and was interested to find that I was not the first to do so!

It is made by Sagem, screen size 50”, has a native resolution of 1280x720, has no less than 9 (yes, 9!) video inputs and 2 PC inputs, and uses DLP technology. I had heard of this, but also hearing the “back projection” words had not been anticipating much. All I will say is forget every back projection TV you’ve ever seen in the past!

Interestingly, the pictures being shown were coming from a PC beneath it, periodically displaying “WMV HD” overlaid. Compared to all the surrounding plasma and LCD screens showing BBC/ITV in a variety of aspect ratios and shapes ( ) the difference couldn’t have been more marked – it absolutely blew them away for clarity and realism. If anyone has any doubts about whether HD’s worth it, I urge them to see if their local Comet has the same demo going.

And the price…… under £3,000….! Very competitive compared to all the other large plasmas etc surrounding it.

Alan, a while back you gave a reference to one of your ex-colleagues – have you kept them up to date with recent discussions here? And any comment from them about these subjects? I find the lack of public comment, even acceptance of it's existence, from the BBC totally extraordinary in the light of all these other announcements.

Alan Roberts
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Yes, I'm in more or less constant touch with the people who matter. The chap who pays me most for freelance work is in Geneva this week at an EBU meeting talking about HDTV for Europe. I regularly keep him posted with what goes on here, but he hardly needs it, he and his boss (both at the EBU this week) are very well aware of what it all means and of the difficulties we will face in getting a service up and running. They'll both be integrally involved in it anyway.

Be assured, you get HDTV news on this board as soon as I get it, provided I'm free to release 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.

infocus
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Just to dot i's, I'm not questioning their lack of technical knowledge or about other companys announcements, my comments about keeping them up to date with discussions here were concerning attitudes expressed - I sense a feeling of "why's the BBC being so publicly quiet about all this"? (I believe ITV will just along with whatever the BBC decides, if I seem to be ignoring them.) I also emphasise I'm referring to transmission, not production, I know from your previous posts what the situation is there.

I've heard stories that TF1 in particular are very keen on HD transmission in Europe, and France may use DTT for that rather than the multi channel Freeview model. At http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,9865256%255E15306,00.html news also that at least one of the three Australian commercial networks doesn't want digital multi-channeling - thinks it just doesn't make a business case.

Which all comes back to the idea of using DTT to transmit less channels than Freeview, but in HD, and for viewers who want loads of channels, there's Sky and cable. Simple. Any comment to that from official channels!?

Alan Roberts
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The latest view is that even when analogue is switched off there won't be enough terrestrial spectrum for HDTV. The BBC will probably get 2 more multiplexes, potentially enough for 2 HD channels (or 4 if the more efficient coders like Dirac or WM are used). The Beeb's been keeping an eye on this for a long time, but hasn't got spectrum space for HDTV. It'll have to go on satellite. There are meetings going in in the EBU right now, talking about all this and trying to figure out how to do it.

Big countries like the USA and Australia are a lot measier to deal with, they don't have the saturation terrestrial coverage that Europe has, and for good reason. Europe had to go that way because of the language and borders problem, it had to be possible to restrict coverage to nations. In a big country, that doesn't apply, especially when the population is either sparse of collected in a small number of sites, like the US. Vast areas of the US have no tv at all apart from satellite because population density is too low for profits to be made. So it was a lot more sensible to go to a bird for HDTV, no so easy in Europe.

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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Although surely one compressed HD channel takes up less freqency space than one PAL analogue signal? And does COFDM not allow a multi transmitter network without using several frequencies per network? Then come switch off what's to stop straight analogue for HD replacement? Is it not the desire to use terrestial bandwidth for many more channels that's the problem - rather than them being just on cable/Sky?

Regarding satellite, whilst I can't see it being the answer for filling in digital coverage (what happens to TV's in bedrooms, kitchens etc) for HD it would be fine. I can see having one dish for the main HD set in the house, and SD DTT for all the rest.

Anybody else seen the Sagem set demoed yet? Now one of those plus a Blu-Ray deck! Interesting about the PC connectivity as well, which makes me think it could become a must have for those into gaming.

Alan Roberts
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The US ATSC system codes each HD channel with a maximum of 19.63Mb/s, that's just about one 8MHz PAL channel. Better coders can do it in less but are not yet approved.

But analogue switch-off isn't going to be a bonanza in bandwidth, most of the spectrum is already allocated to next-generation video phones. Like it or not, broadcasting's not high on the priority list for spectrum allocation at present.

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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Another European HDTV demonstration channel, "HD Forum", has started transmitting.

It’s on the Hot-Bird satellite group at 13 degrees East.
11.013 GHz horizontally polarised.
Symbol rate is 19.53 megasymbols/second.

Alan

infocus
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I regret I won't be able to see it, but what bit rate are they using, out of interest? And 1080i or 720p?

Alan Roberts
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Sounds very like 19.53Mb/s, the same as ATCS in the US. And that probably makes it 1080. Whether it's i or psf depends on the frame rate and image source, I'd guess 1080/50i, with some material supplied and transmitted as 25psf. Either way, you get output signals that will drive an interlaced display, just like we get for SDTV.

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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The bit rate the same as the symbol rate? Am I correct in thinking the data rate is dependent on symbol rate, type of modulation, and error correction?

Alan Roberts
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Put it like this:

There are lots of decoders about that will decode 19.53Mb/s transmissions. They're less than $60 in the US if you know where to look for them. I seriously doubt that anyone'd start up a service in Europe that couldn't be decoded by the cheap boxes, it wouldn't make sense. Euro1080 boxes are very similar but cost a lot more (so far), they'll work up to about 30Mb/s IIRC. A service working at any hogher bit rate will need yet another decoder box, not good a good idea when the market is so small.

Where did the spec. come from, can the numbers be relied upon? 50Mb/s is effectively contribution quality as long as the GoP is, say, 6 frames, a 19.53M symbol rate would turn in much higher bit rates than that, so I can't see it making much 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
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 symbol rate quoted is for the transponder. I obtained it originally from:

http://www.satcodx1.com/0130/uke/

I agree that it is odd that it is 19.53 Mbaud but it seems to work when that figure is entered into the Euro1080 HDTV STB.

FEC is 2/3, so assuming the modulation to be QPSK, the information data rate should be:

19.53 Msymbol/s * 2 bit/symbol * 2/3 = 26.04 Mbit/s

The symbol rate for the Euro1080 transponder and also for the Astra HD transponder is 27.5 Msymbol/s. The FEC ratio is 3/4.

so the information data rate in these cases should be:

27.5 Msymbol/s * 2 bit/symbol * 3/4 = 41.25 Mbit/s

The pictures from “HD Forum” are excellent. I think, as Alan suggests, they are 1920 * 1080 interlaced. They are all 50 Hz, even an excerpt from “CSI Miami”.

There are some excellent sports excerpts of Formula One (motor racing) and Football (England v France at Euro 2004). And much more besides.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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OK, I'll go along with that.

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.

davemitch
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Just got back from qualifying at Silverstone, spied the 1080 HDTV trucks in the TV compound, so they must be feeding it somewhere!

Dave Mitchell Lenovo Z570 laptop, iPhone, dodgy old Sony Hi8 handycam

harlequin
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Quote:
Originally posted by davemitch:
Just got back from qualifying at Silverstone, spied the 1080 HDTV trucks in the TV compound, so they must be feeding it somewhere!

probably the 'f1' satellite channel.
and for dvd's of this years races.

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

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
The symbol rate quoted is for the transponder. .......FEC is 2/3, so assuming the modulation to be QPSK, the information data rate should be:

19.53 Msymbol/s * 2 bit/symbol * 2/3 = 26.04 Mbit/s

Not yet having a satellite receiver this may be a dumb question for you Alan, but how much do you have to "tell" the receiver, and how much can it work out for itself?

Obviously you have to tell it frequency and polarisation, and by the sound of it symbol rate - does it work out modulation and FEC by itself, and if so, does it then display that?

Alan Roberts
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It works it all out for itself, you just select the channel. It would be madness for it to need human intervention, the average user wouldn't have a clue.

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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Fair enough for the average Sky user, but Alan McKeown started this off by talking about an HDTV HotBird transmission, so presumably has a motorised dish, and also presumably this needs a bit more manual driving? And technical knowledge.

Alan McKeown
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I do not have a motorised dish as such but rather a multi-satellite fixed dish. This covers a geostationary arc range of 40 degrees. It can be fitted with up to 16 LNB units but I have fitted only 4.

These 4 cover:
The Astra 2 group at 28.2 degrees East
The Astra 1 group at 19.2 degrees East
The Hot-Bird group at 13.0 degrees East
The Sirius group at 5.0 degrees East

The LNBs are selected using a 4-way DiSEqC (Digital Satellite Equipment Control) switch located near the antenna. This switch is controlled by low-frequency (burst modulated 22 kHz) coded signals passed along the coaxial cable linking LNB intermediate frequency outputs to the indoor receiver.

Advantages of a fixed over a motorised dish are:

Near instantaneous channel selection between channels from different satellite locations.

Silent. Motors can be noisy.

Potentially can provide simultaneous feeds from all satellite locations to separate receivers. This is not practical in my case as the antenna is 100 m from the house, so I have only a single coaxial cable.

Modern satellite receivers have provision for automatic scanning of all the channels from all the locations. The scan provides a list of the channels by name and in numbered order. There is a favourites selection list for your most used channels. There are well over 2000 channels from these 4 locations alone with many hundreds of transponders, so programming each transponder individually is not usually practical. However each transponder may be programmed individually if required and for that you need the satellite group location, the carrier frequency, the polarisation (horizontal or vertical for linear polarised signals or right hand or left hand rotation for circularly polarised signals) and the symbol rate.

The above comments do not apply to SKY set top boxes (STBs) which are a law unto themselves. They have no DiSEqC switching facility and are awkward to use in a multi-satellite set-up.

Incidentally, the “Euro 1080” HDTV STB also receives all the free-to-air SD channels (including all BBC) providing everything from a PAL (composite) output to upconverted 720p or 1080i DVI outputs.

There are as yet no HDTV transmissions from 28.2 degrees East (the home of SKY, BBC and ITV chans 4 and 5)

There are 2 HDTV transmissions from 19.2 degrees East.
“Euro1080” from Astra 1H and “Astra HD” from Astra 1F.

There is 1 HDTV transmission from 13 degrees East.
“HD Forum” from Hot-Bird 6.

There are also occasional HDTV transmissions from Sirius and Atlantic-Birds 1 and 2.

Alan

StevenBagley
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In case anyone is interested,

Horizon about the first olympians on Friday night (BBC2 9pm) was acquired on HD, though posted in 576i according to the Mill's website, apparantly the HD image eased the FX work by allowing them to reframe the image due to the higher resolution.

And more bizarrely, the CBBC 'The Mysti Show' (saturdays BBC2 10am) is apparently being shot on 3 Sony HDW750s (more details on Sony's business web site.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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The Mysti Show has been HD for a while now. Perhaps I shouldn't say this out loud, but the Controller of CBBC is married to the chap who's responsible for getting HD shooting off the ground across the Corporation. So, getting tests done in CBBC has been easier than it might have been. You can expect to see quite a lot more programming shot in HD, simply because the BBC has just bought a set of HD cameras for it's own first* HD OB van, to debut on the Last Night of the Proms.

* Actually, the first BBC HD OB van was built in 1988 at R&D, Kingswood Warren, by a small team that had me in it. 2 cameras (BTS KCH1000) and one digital, uncompressed recorder (4 Sony D1s and a multiplexer). It was kept functional until about 1996.

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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Were the first experimental HD recordings (in the UK at least) not on 4 separate 1" C format analogue recordings, or was that never built into a van?

Alan Roberts
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In the UK, the first digital HD recordings were made at BBC R&D using 4 D1 machines. I was there. At that time, there were only analogue alternatives, a Sony machine based on 3/4" tape travelling at really silly speed (The Ginger Tree), and the hope of an uncompressed digital machine from Bosch that never really happened. It later emerged as the D6. BTS had an analogue machine based on B format tape, using a twin channel recording system to get the bandwidth. It was over 2m high and open-reel. Didn't last long, although lots of material got recorded by non-BBC people (ITV, RAI, CCETT etc).

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
... the first digital HD recordings were made at BBC R&D .....

I think what I saw was a demo of the ANALOGUE predecessor to that. Again the signal was split between four machines (1" C format) to spread the bandwidth (time-code locked) and I seem to remember that each recording could be played in it's own right as a PAL signal. The idea was edit one tape on a conventional suite, conform the other three versions, play all four edits locked together, and hey presto an analogue HDTV signal!

I was blown away by the image even then (cameras were tube based), but did wonder about the economics/practicalities...... Now it's the transmission bandwidth that's the real problem, and consumer HD cameras are on the horizon - how times change.

Alan Roberts
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I don't know of any organisation that multpilexed analogue vtrs, anywhere in the world. I do know about the quaduplex D1 (known in Europe as a "quadriga", meaning a chariot drawn by 4 horses, as on the Brandenburg Gate). That was developed by a team at BBC R&D in 1988, at the same time that I was commissioning the van they went into. At that time, ITVA had one analogue 1" Bosch HD machine (based on their B format machines, 34 heads on the drum), and they were the only other HD operator in the UK at the time. Philips went on to produce an alternative to our quadriga, multiplexing 4 D1s in a slightly different way, but still fully digital. RAI later dumped their analogue Bosch machines and went D1 quadriga, as did CCETT.

Subsequently BTS produced a 4:1 compressor that worked onto standard D1 or D5 machines, still in use at Kingswood Warren until all the archive material has ben cross-converted to 1080. The D1 multiplexer did Wimbledon several times, Edinburgh Tattoo, a trip to Paris, football, many demonstrations and so on.

Any idea where you saw this analogue multiplexing system? Just being curious, because I'm not inclined to belive it until I see some evidence. I've been deep in HDTV for many years, and that one's new to me.

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.

cstv
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that explains why the Mysti show looks so good... and the content's not really that bad for modern kids' tv. They could've chosen a much worse product to test HD on.

The FX on last night's Horrizon was hardly worth making in HD. it wasn't realistic enough to be immersive so just became off-putting.

F1 on the other hand is ideal for HD - loads of money and viewers who like their gadgets... ;)

StevenBagley
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Quote:
that explains why the Mysti show looks so good... and the content's not really that bad for modern kids' tv. They could've chosen a much worse product to test HD on.

Yea, for saturday morning kids TV it's quite amusing. Though I'm pretty sure a lot of the outside stuff is filmised DV though. And it certainly looked soft compared to Horizon, I wonder if they are saving money by using SD lenses on the cameras?

Quote:
The FX on last night's Horrizon was hardly worth making in HD. it wasn't realistic enough to be immersive so just became off-putting.

Oh I dunno -- it was depressing how much better the HD drama segments looked over the interviews which were filmised Digibeta. I don't see how anyone can claim now that there isn't a definite advantage to licence fee viewers from filming in HD

Steven

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Any idea where you saw this analogue multiplexing system?

Errr, at a building you may remember, and it may even have been you who gave the demo! From your last post I'm now convinced my memory must have played tricks regarding the recording medium, strange, I'm sure I could remember reel to reel, but it must be 13-14 years ago...! We'd been employed for the day to film the very first DAB demos, and that filming over, got shown an HD recording of the Edinburgh tattoo. The cameraman and myself were both very impressed, and came away thinking "that'll be worth waiting for". I later heard of the abandonment of HD-MAC, but in a way wasn't too surprised - HD ten or so years ago was impressive, but viable....? That's why all the recent news from overseas that caused me to first start this topic interested me so much - I may have forgotten the tape format, but not the Wow feeling that the pictures caused, and was (am) annoyed that after all the UK's early work it's people overseas who are now beginning to reap the benefits.

More on the Sagem TV - I had to go back to the same shop for a microwave recently, and whilst waiting for that to arrive spoke to a couple of salesmen about the TV. In brief, it had been commented on A LOT by customers, has now been "promoted" to a much higher profile within the shop, and has also already achieved higher than expected sales for a product in that category. Even more revealing was that they were aware of the coming of HD programmes via satellite in 2006, when I asked about material to watch. (Yes, I know you can get it now, we're talking mass market and Sky here!) I still await the announcement from the BBC of HD transmissions, I just can't believe they can let Sky corner the market unchallenged, and with the BBC origination plans so well advanced......?

But in the meantime I can always watch food go round and round in the microwave.......

Alan Roberts
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OK, what you saw was footage that I racked in Edinburgh, shot on 2 BTS KCH1000 cameras and recorded on the D1 quadriga. Some later Edinburgh footage was shot on 2 or 3 BTS LDK9000 cameras onto BTS compressed single D1s. Never any analogue. And it may well have been me doing the demo.

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 wonder if I trust my memory at all now , but I'm sure what I saw was from tube cameras. By then CCD cameras were the norm for general use(mainly BVW200's), and I won't forget the first time I ever saw a broadcast CCD camera on a test card either! That was the only downside I recall with that HD demo - some low light lag and comet tailing, camera features we'd almost forgotten about, even then!

Am I right in thinking it was 1250 lines being proposed then - including blanking, I don't know how many active lines that translates to?

Alan Roberts
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Yes, it would probably have been tubed cameras. The BTS KCH1000 had 3 1" saticons. It was a big camera and made really nice pictures. The camera's "image enhancer" (i.e. detail enhancement controller) had a 54MHz clock, as did the quad D1, so the sampling was 1440. The line structure was precisely double 625 (i.e. 1250), making up/down-conversion really easy, so we got 1152 lines, non-square pixels. Although having an even number of lines, it was interlaced, the fields were of 624.5 and 625.5 lines, achievend by moving the field sync around. Line syncs were trisync, the first time this had been done and now universally adpoted for HDTV systems.

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.

cstv
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Quote:
I don't see how anyone can claim now that there isn't a definite advantage to licence fee viewers from filming in HD

Especially since most of that horrizon prog was then re-hashed by Channel4 a few nights later for a similar programme... that really confused me! Is HD so expensive that the BBC have to sell footage to their rivals a few days after they've broadcast it?

mark.

Alan Roberts
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There is a lucrative market for "repurposing" material. Usually only within each organisation, but money talks these days.

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.

Richard Payne
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Canopus were showing us their Edius HD system last week just as one of or old customers walked by. His name is Brian Woodfield and he remembered operating the early 'HD VCR' for the BBC in the 80's and he thought it was 'Trooping the Colour' he was recording.

infocus
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Is Edius HD primarily intended for the forthcoming HDV format, or will it natively edit HDCAM/DVCPRO HD? At the risk of repitition, what still intrigues me is with all these up and coming means of getting HD material on a home display (Blu-Ray, HDV, video games etc) what will the reaction be in a decades time if broadcast TV is still only SD?

Alan Roberts
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"Trooping the Colour" was the second outing for the system, about July 1988. It can't have been June, the truck wasn't finished, and it can't have been September, it was at Brighton doing IBC (with me inside it).

Until a week before we'd got only short camera cables, but we knew we'd need them to be longer for normal work. I'd just got the extra 1oom lengths in and tested them, but had never tried them as a single long cable. We'd got permission to put the van on the Palace parade ground (that was another first) and rigged ready, but I couldn't get the cameras to fire up. We could hear the band approachign down the Mall while I was arguing with the riggers that we had to change camera cables (in the ducts), but even then they didn't work. It wasn't until we took the most direct route and ended with only 100m cable on each camera that it all started to work. By then the band was really close. Normally we only lined the cameras up after 45 minutes, so that they'd be stable, this time we were recording about 90 seconds after switchon, so I had to keep taking one camera out at a time to get them lined up.

I learned a lot about OBs on that shoot. BTW, one of the cameramen was Chris Bretnall, who now runs the tv system at Covent Garden Opera House and also works for Alfacam, who run Euro1080.

We got the recording

Incidentally, when we made these recordings, we couldn't replay them, the playback part of the mutiplexer wasn't finished. So we just had to trust the system. Adrenalin's a wonderful substance.

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.

Richard Payne
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Quote:
Originally posted by infocus:
Is Edius HD primarily intended for the forthcoming HDV format, or will it natively edit HDCAM/DVCPRO HD?

Edius HD is out now and will edit HDCAM and DVCPRO HD. It will either capture uncompressed or edit in the same native format as the compression onto tape - it gives the choice (If I understood correctly.)

Alan Roberts
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Certainly that would make sense. Since the compressors are rather heavy, you want to keep the number of regenerations to a minimum. Exactly the same as DV (5:1, DVCProHD is 6.7:1, HDCAM is 4.3:1) where all the editors edit the compressed stream, regenerating only if rendering's needed.

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Line syncs were trisync, the first time this had been done and now universally adpoted for HDTV systems.

Meant to query this at the time - can you explain trisync? I'd not heard the term before.

Alan Roberts
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OK.

Conventional syncs are now called "bi-sync". They are a two-level signal. Zero volts is the rest state, -0.3 volts is the sync excursion. the reference point is half-way down the leading (down-going) edge. Line syncs are 4.7 microseconds wide at line-rate, field syncs are groups of almost-half-line-length pulses, also negative going. You can only tell a line pulse from a field pulse by waiting, the line sync completes before the field sync does.

Tri-syncs have three levels. Zero volts is again the rest state. Each line pulse starts from zero, goes to +0.3 volts, then down to -0.3 volts, then back to the rest state. The timing reference is the central zero-crossing. This way, the timing reference does not depend on the sync amplitude, or on the dc content. HD needs much greater timing stability than bi-syncs can deliver, so tri-syncs were invented to cope. The field sync is a single half-line-length bi-sync pulse in the same waveform, but it's content disturbs the dc of the signal insignificantly, so you still get great accuracy.

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.

mooblie
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Does this mean the black level clamp is a thing of the past?

(Pause while I look for the Graemlin for "ironic laugh".)

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

Alan Roberts
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As far as sync separation's concerned, yes, the clamp isn't needed, just an ac coupling.

If the signal's composite, you detect the negative edge in the usual way and preclamp to video. Then extract correct timing from the zero crossing and then do a proper clamping and so on....

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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Thanks - presumably this is all becoming less relevant in the digital world? But am I right in assuming the standard connection from the receiver to display is currently analogue component, and hence the need for trisync?

Latest rumours seem to indicate France is the latest country tending towards using digital terrestial for HD and a few extra channels, rather than lots of channels. Also likely to use MPEG-4.

Anyone heard any more news of the Sony HDV camera, prototype shown at NAB?

Alan Roberts
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Yes, less relevant in digits, except that all signals are analogue at some stage, the entry to the adc. At that point a precise timing reference is needed, and you get that from syncs. Can't get away from it, except where it's done in the camera.

France has been the European leader in HD since 1987, it was Mitterand who pushed for the Eureka95 project in the first place. I only hope they don't decide on 720/50P as the standard, I want it to be fully open, so that the coder'll take whatever's thrown at it.

When my NDAs run out, I can tell you more about HDV, another 8 months. But keep a close eye on the reports from IBC in September. Nudge nudge.

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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Wink, wink..... ;) Hope this won't be too painful for my wallet....

Alan Roberts
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It will, prices are expected to be a premium above the PD170.

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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Yet another HDTV test transmission.
From an Astra satellite at 19.2 degrees East.

I briefly saw this last week. If I remember correctly it had shots of a biplane, a steam locomotive, old-fashioned signal box and a manor-house type building.

It was this latter that caught my attention for it looked rather like Kingswood Warren.

Unfortunately, the pictures were very jerkily displayed with my receiving set-up which is intended for 1080i. I think this test sequence was possibly in 720P.

Could this be BBC sourced test material?

Alan

Alan Roberts
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That sounds like the BBC R&D compilation we did from footage at the Bluebell Line and Old Warden. We closed Bluebell for a day and ran it like a train set, including the shot inside the signal box (lots of brass handles and a loco idling past the wobbly windows). The aerial footage is from a helicopter, I racked the camera for exposure and balance (BTS LDK9000, 3ccd 1" studio camera) using only a waveform monitor (no pictures). It was recorded onto a D1 (the BTS short version) and BTS 4:1 compressor, all powered from 24V using mains inverters, killing sets of vehicle traction batteries in about 20 minutes.

The building could be either KW, or a NT property (was it in open grounds or were there lots of flowers around?).

It was all shot at 1250/50 (i.e. 1152/50i in modern parlance) and has been downconverted to 1080/50i using a custom converter designed by Richard Russell, and extremely clever and competent guy who worked in the next office to me. You might remember him from BBC Basic.

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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Many thanks for the interesting information, Alan.

Your description of the “wobbly windows” in the signal box confirms that what I saw was indeed the BBC R&D recording!

Alan

Alan Roberts
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More snippets from deep memory.

The last flight in the Old Warden sequence was the AVRO triplane. Only 3 were built, all within 2 years of the Wright's first flight. All 3 crashed killing their pilots. The Old Warden plane is a replica built for "Those Magnificent Men...". It has neither elevators nor ailerons, control is by warping the wings. They don't even get it out of the hangar when the wind's above 10mph, and it doesn't fly when wind's above 5. All day, the wind gradually dropped, until the two pilots (plane and chopper (Keith from Castle Air, he who does lots of tv stuff)) agreed, but the plane pilot said "I don't mind you flying in formation with me, but not in the same county". Max speed 43mph (it has an oversized engine to do just that, the originals were slower), stalls at 37. We flew the chopper about 30 feet away just behind the wing, the closeup shots show just what a white-knuckle ride it must have been for the pilot. At times the chopper was flying sideways and tilted over to get the shots. I've a lot of respect for Keith. The cameraman (Roger Prior, pipe firmly clamped between the teeth) was strapped into a sprung camera-mount half out of the doorway (the door taken off).

In the debrief over tea and other stuff afterwards, the pilot told us that he only flies these things about once a year. He was happy with that because it meant he could never be complacent about it.

I had 6 chopper trips that day, and I got paid for it as well. Earlier in the week I was racking the same camera in the cab of an 8 litre American flatbed truck (Ford Ranchero, 6-wheel 3-speed automatic, modded by Grip House to take the load) at 65mph going round Silverstone with racing carts. The truck weighed over 3 tons, 27 feet long with a generator on a platform stuck out over the back, camera on a 16 foot jib swung by two very big guys on the flatbed, camera operator on a seat on top of the cab, sound man (Ian Lieper) belted onto the flatbed with all his kit mounted outside.

I got paid for that day as well. And I got the pix to prove it

TV can be real fun

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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Thanks again for the reminiscences, Alan.

Sorry, yes, it was a tri-plane, not a bi-plane (I think!).

I have a hazy memory (from about 30 years ago) of seeing an AVRO triplane at the Science museum in London (suspended from the ceiling I think).

Alan

Alan McKeown
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On the “HD Forum” channel (Atlantic Bird 2 at 8 degrees West)
from 19:35 BST this evening, Tuesday, August 24, 2004.

"Ce soir, pour la première fois à 20h35, le match de football Monaco / Gorica (Slovénie) diffusé sur M6 est tourné en HD pour être diffusé sur le canal expérimental HD (HD Forum) sur Hot Bird. cette diffusion en clair est accessible uniquement avec un terminal HD."

Alan Roberts
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The thing that worries me about all this European activity is that the EBU seems determined to force 720p on us, rather than 1080. There's a specialist committee set up to establish what's needed, and I know most of the chaps on it, but I haven't a clue why they're doing this. We all know, at least those of mus who've seen it, that 1080's far better and has a future, but this maverick committee is hell bent on pushing 720p. The Americans are alternating between hoots of laughter and tears of commiseration. I just hope that the chief perpetrator retires before he can do too much more damage.

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.

mooblie
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Can we start a campaign? Bob! Can CV Mag help?

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

StevenBagley
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But will the EBU get a chance to set a standard? Or will the system be up and running before they've decided

I can't see Sky going for 720p, as 1080 is a bigger number so they can sell it based on that, especially as most people still think of the current system as 625 line... Especially as Euro1080 is already transmitting (and their market will be aware of it)

The BBC seem to be acquiring exclusively on Sony kit which means 1080, so why would they consider a 720p broadcast system?

I hope we don't get 720p either and I can see why we'd want it... After all it isn't that much different in data rate (88MB/s to 98MB/s), especially if you adopt the Australian/HDCam compromise res of 1440x1080 so just what is the benefit as the majority of stuff will be captured with 1080i cameras.

Steven

infocus
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Upon returning from holiday......

I'd think any attempt to set a standard that Sony aren't making kit for is doomed to failure - in Steven's words, the system will be up and running before the EBU decide. Sony already have a very nice HD market in the States and the Far East, and I believe Sky buy Sony gear. Anbody remember HD-MAC being proposed as the European satellite transmission system?! To Alan - any theories why they are interested in going down this route?

And following on from mooblie, if Bob is across this, what about some more in CV about HD in general? I've learnt a lot about the subject in the past year largely from this site, and feel it may be a general interest topic to the readership. It can be useful to get a feel for where the industry may be heading, even if not directly relevant at the moment. At the moment "HDV" etc get mentioned from time to time, but perhaps there needs to be an overview item?

Also to Alan - roughly when was the test material you described shot?

Alan Roberts
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Test material was shot in Nordic countries about 3 years ago using Thomson LDK6000 cameras recording 1080/50i. Also some footage shot about the same time in Italy, same kit. Some later footage was shot in the UK using Panasonic Varicam (native 720/60p, shot by me for other purposes and slowed to 720/50p, there is no 720/50p kit worldwide despite the EBU wanting to use it).

One of the fallacies in the EBU argument arises from using non-720/50p originated test material. They're assuming that programmes will be made on 1080/50i and converted to 720/50p. Provided the cameras are set up to be soft, it works well enough, but the 1080 material thus shot isn't good enough for international sales. Add the fact that the majority of 1080 material being shot in the uk is at 25psf for international sale, and the 720p argument falls flat on its face.

The other fallacy is that 720p is good enough for Europe. This is based on custom and practice in European homes. We habitually sit about 3m (9 feet) from the tele irrespective of its size. The same's true in the US. UK tv sets are (so far) smaller than US by as much as 50%, so we don't need 1080. Thus goes the argument. It falls over when the shops start selling flat panels at the sort of prices offered in the US, they'll sell here like hot cakes. Just look at any of the US retailers' web sites and you'll see what I mean. You can get a 5-decoder setup for $399, installed (i.e. 5 HDTV decoders, one for each room/tv set) and decent projectors are at about $1k. Put that in Dixons and you'd get killed in the rush. The EBU view is that we won't buy projectors (front or back) and that we aren't going to get panels significantly higher resolution than 768 lines, so 720p's just fine. Problem is that there are already 1080 line panels in the shops in the US and more's promised soon. Mac displays are already around at 1920x1200, projectors will do 1440x1024 for under £2.5k in the UK now. The EBU group is turning a blind eye to all the US experience. If I could get HD onto a 1080-line panel in my home, bigger than 42", for the prices paid in the US, I'd do it tomorrow and be really pissed off with the EBU for sending me pictures that are inferior to HD DVD.

The third big fallacy is that we need a standard. The US has 18 HDTV standards, everything from 1080/60p via 1080/59.94i and 1080/24psf to 720p/60. Not all the combinations are used, only 1080 at 23.98psf and 59.94i and 720 at 60p are popular. 480p has some afficionados, but not many. 720p is regarded as adequate only for news and for sports events where the rapid motion is handled better. I can't see any reason for us not going the same way, the decoders and transmission chains already exist, the decoders accept anything and output at 1080, 720 or 480 depending on the display. Why shouldn't we do the same? The only argument for a standard that I can see as being relevant is in the transmission. The US did that already, programme chains carry flags to say what the source standard is, and it all works. Why should we want to be left out of this game?

Wanna start a fight? ;)

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.

cstv
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now that is a novel idea Alan - do something the same way as the US!

it's taken me about and hour to find it, but we discussed "format independency" a while ago...

see here...

Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------Originally posted by dhphy:
I envisaged some kind of set top player that could read what ever information was on the card decode it and disply it.
Dave
--------------------------------------------------

This contraption already exists... it's called a PC... stick it on top of your TV and design YET ANOTHER remote control to add to the collection and you're there!

In fact, you could probably loose all the other remote controls and just have a keyboard... or maybe voice commands... ahh, digital integration, that'll be the day!

what it needs is for the entire country to IGNORE what the big manuyfacturers are telling them is "the next big thing" and just buy what they want and do what they want with it - build you own PC that reads every possible storage media and will use any codec software you give it. Get a decent AV input/output system and it's the dream box...

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
They're assuming that programmes will be made on 1080/50i and converted to 720/50p. Provided the cameras are set up to be soft, it works well enough, ...........

Errr.... I'm now wondering what planet they are on - conversions are fair enough when they need to be done, but what on earth is the point of setting up a system which always imposes a conversion? Especially when it's an interlace to progressive one?

Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Wanna start a fight? ;)

Definately not ..... what you say makes overall sense, BUT dare I ask why NOT set a standard? At least a loose one that would allow for (say) 1080/50p in the future, and MPEG4 compression?

Your arguments are fine for self contained programmes, and the transmission chain, but consider a big international event with many countries sending their own facilities and also pooling material. That sort of thing is bad enough at the moment with NTSC/PAL, let alone tape format problems. If in future European broadcasters then become split with differing flavours of HD, the pooling problems can only get worse. At least component solved many of the PAL/SECAM issues regarding pooling tapes.

Alan McKeown
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HDTV station HD-1 launched today.

http://www.hd-1.tv/

Alan

Alan Roberts
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I feel that the the EBU decision will be 720p/50 ONLY. And that wouild be a disaster. What I'm proposing is that we get 720p/50 AND 1080i/50 or 1080psf/25. The US decided to let the market decide. It largely has, 1080 rules. So the only way we can play in the same sandpit is to have 1080. If the EBU persists with 720, the only way forward will be a dual/multiple standard, like already works in the US.

We're rapidly approching a time when scanning standards are irrelevant, because more and more programme deilivery will be on demand via broadband to PC equipped displays. At that point, the originating standard is irrelevant if WM9 or equivalent is used, the decoder scaler simply rescans the data to the required output standard. I've seen HD encoded this way at all sorts of standards, and it all works very nicely. I can't see any reason for freezing on a single, easy-to-do standard, when the future is already exploding with "standards" on kit we already have and is getting cheaper by Moore's Law.

The EBU approach is really bonkers.

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
I feel that the the EBU decision will be 720p/50 ONLY. And that wouild be a disaster. What I'm proposing is that we get 720p/50 AND 1080i/50 or 1080psf/25.

I agree wholeheartedly with those statements (with the door open for the future, 1080p/50, maybe?), but can I ask what the EBU is proposing standards for - origination, interchange, distribution, transmission, or the lot?

The multi standard argument is fine for the last two points, but for broadcaster interchange and for origination, standards are of value. For a facilities company or freelance cameraman it would be expensive to have multiple sets of kit, used according to client - bad enough with differing SD tape formats at the moment. An origination standard would give more confidence to companies about to invest in HD gear. But, yes, it should be 1080, and since that seems to be the way the main manufacturers and early adopters are driving the market, I feel the EBU decisions will only muddy waters and slow rollout generally.

I'd understood from previous posts that transmission spectrum and it's allocation was the real problem to be sorted - shouldn't this be what the EBU are devoting their primary energies to?

Alan Roberts
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Spot on, the EBU should be worrying about upgradable compression algorithms and usage of spectrum. To be fair, that's mostly what it's doing anyway, but most of those decisions actually come from the ITU and not the broadcasters. The problem is that the EBU is pushing 720p/50 for distribution, on the assumption that material will be shot 1080/50i and converted by the broadcaster. The problem is that 720 kit is cheaper than 1080, so programme-makers will feel pushed to making prgrammes in 720, and they'll have no international sales value. I don't mind having 720 in the standard as long as 1080 is as well, simply because the broadcasters will all go for 1080, simply so that they can attract co-production money.

My argument about abandoning standards doesn't mean you can't have production standards, clearly they are a good idea, and 1080 is the logical one at present. But distribution will not always be by monolithic broadcasters, VoD will change all that, and for this sort of narrow-casting there does not need to be a rigorous standard, only flexible coder/decoders. VoD will go out on braodband to PCs and PC-based tv systems, which will simply rescale the the signal to the display size, just like it already does with WM9 etc.

Adopting standards allows for manufacturers to produce kit economically, but it stifles progress. Now that the good codecs have acceptable scalers, that need seems a little less important, because you could produce at anything between 1080p/50 and 525i and code it in the native scanning standard for distribution, allowing the decoder manufacturer to do the appropriate scaling. There are already some big lcd panels with 1920x1080 pixels, and projectors have been there for some time, so why would anyone want to broadcast 720 to them? All the experimental HD broadcasting in Europe is 1080, Australia is 1080 (no 720), Korea and Japan are 1080-only. In those countries, 720p is regarded as EDTV, suitable only for low-budget shooting upconverted to 1080, except when Varicam is used (until there's a 1080 varicam, that is).

I can ramble like this for ages, I think I should shut up for a bit now

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
..... I think I should shut up for a bit now

I'm sure there will be more to say on this topic in 8 days time. ;) Will you be going to IBC yourself?

As regards standards, Beta SP was a good time for cameramen - you knew what to buy, and knew that most potential clients would want it! Only PAL and NTSC to worry about. Hence concerns about not just differing recording formats, but resolution formats as well.

Alan McKeown
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Friday, September 10, 2004
SES ASTRA/ High Definition TV for Germany and Austria/ Premiere to Launch Three HDTV Channels on 1 November 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Business Wire

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation : BETZDORF, Luxembourg & MUNICH, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 9, 2004-- HDTV Package Includes Sport, Films and Documentaries Co-Operation With SES ASTRA Kofler: "Premiere Subscribers Are Bound to Be Impressed By HDTV"
Premiere is to start broadcasting its first programmes in high-definition TV format (HDTV) from 1 November 2005 onwards. The Munich-based pay-TV operator will transmit HDTV content on three dedicated channels for sport, film and documentaries. The programmes will be broadcast in digital format via the ASTRA satellite system at 19.2 degrees East. This has been agreed in principle between Premiere and SES ASTRA. Premiere also later intends to introduce its HDTV package on cable networks.

By comparison with conventional TV standards, HDTV offers unprecedented picture quality with high resolution, sharply focused images and deep colour saturation. "Our subscribers are bound to be impressed by Premiere HDTV. They will discover a new dimension of TV", declared Premiere's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Georg Kofler, at the opening of the IBC trade fair in Amsterdam. Kofler: "With HDTV, fans of cinema and documentaries will be able to discern details that they would never have been able to see before, in every sense of the word. The picture is sharper and more brilliant than either on DVD or the cinema screen. Premiere HDTV brings sports enthusiasts even closer to the heart of the action during live transmissions. The dynamic image reproduction reinforces the impression of actually 'being there'."

The introduction of HDTV underlines Premiere's role as the pioneer of digital TV in Germany. Premiere was the first German broadcasting company to transmit a major sporting event live in HDTV format when, on 2 February 2004, visitors to the Berlin Sony Center were able to watch a live HDTV transmission of the final of the North American football league (NFL) championships at the Super Bowl. Immediately after this successful field test, the company set to work on preparations for introducing HDTV as a regular service. At present, the technical specifications for HDTV receivers suitable for Premiere are being set up. HDTV material is also an important factor in the licensing business. "The launch of HDTV on Premiere will give considerable impetus to the digital TV market in Germany," says Kofler. "We expect it to provide a strong boost to hardware manufacturers and the TV production sector." The marketing of HDTV receivers suitable for Premiere is scheduled to begin during the run-up to the Christmas season 2005.

Industry experts expect to see HDTV take off in Europe in a big way over the next few years, particularly in Germany, France and the UK. Euroconsult in Paris forecasts sales of over 15 million HDTV compatible television sets in Western Europe by 2008. "Until now, Europe has been seriously trailing behind countries such as the USA and Japan with regards to the introduction of HDTV. It is therefore particularly gratifying to see that Premiere will be starting to broadcast HDTV programmes via ASTRA as early as next year. This is an important milestone in our concerted efforts to promote the introduction of HDTV in the most important European market for TV", remarks Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. Even before the IBC show opened its doors, Europe's leading content providers and equipment vendors had reached an agreement with SES ASTRA concerning the technical standards, the timetable and a logo for the launch of HDTV in Europe. Premiere will implement its HDTV services in compliance with these guidelines.

Alan McKeown
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“BBC Broadcast Transmits First HD Broadcast from the Broadcast Centre to IBC in Amsterdam”

http://e-pressroom.com/cgi-bin/ibc_ep_release04.cgi?db_id=4258&doctype=txt

Transmissions are from:

E-bird at 33 degrees East
11.679 GHz Vertical polarisation
Symbol rate: 24.411 megabaud
FEC: 2/3

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Well, we did that about 11 years ago, in the Eureka 1250 system, from Wimbledon to IBC. I was there, racking the cameras. We had a mobile up-link at Wimbledon, did that for several years. This operation's different though, it's using a BBC digital OB truck-full of Sony HDC950s and working at 1080/50i. The pictures you've been seeing from the Proms this year have mostly come through this truck from the HD cameras, but the productions have all been in SD. Last night was the first HD operation as such at the Proms. Tonight is officially the "first" because NHK will take the HD pictures. With anything like luck, I'll be in the truck tonight to see it all happen. I'll let you know.

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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Quote:
With anything like luck, I'll be in the truck tonight to see it all happen. I'll let you know.

And to pick up the pieces when something crashes?

Currently got BBC2 on and the pictures look lovely -- though there is some increased interline twitter like was present on Euro2004. I can only imagine what the pics are like on a HD monitor...

Can't we have all TV like this?

Steve

StevenBagley
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cstv
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so, just been watching the last night and i definitely cannot tell it's shot in HD. I know it's broadcast in SD, and i'm watching on an SD TV (well, 3 actually) but i was really was hoping to be impressed. It's strange, because i was impressed last year but since then i think my expectations must have rocketed! i blame Alan and his HD projector - nothing impresses me since i saw that... Alan, you and Andy ruined my life :( ...in a good way :D

mark.

btw, who's idea was the low angle shot of the soloists??? it just looks cheap... i know how we all love reality TV, but i don't want to be able to see the lights burning through the CCDs!

Geecee
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Sit back and enjoy it :D :D

Alan Roberts
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I was there in the truck, squeezed in behind the Vision Supervisor. He had a 17" HDJVC monitor less than 3H away, and a Sony 14" at 3H. The main stack has two Sony 24" HD monitors but the prod/direction team are too far away for them to be all that useful.

It all worked. Nothing (serious) went wrong. As is usual on any complex OB, some cables failed, monitors went down, stuff needed re-powering, but nothing you'd ever see on the transmission.

Ideally, you'd see no difference in SD, but in practice the HDC950 cameras handle contrast better, so there's less black crushing and white clipping. Not as extreme as the setup I always recommend for PSC/film, but much better thyan normal SD, they're learning well. I expect Graeme will diswcover just how good these cameras are in the next few months, and the shooting style of some programmes might change a little, for the better, as a result.

I'll not comment on camera angles, but Dan on the low-level front camera has been doing that job for several years now. He does what the Director tells him to. Personally, I don't like the low-angle shot, but it's not my decision. Neither do I like the amount of use they made of the jib camera at the top, once you've seen that shot you just think "there it is again" and it showed just how much dust there is on the brass lighting fittings.

I really enjoyed the show, particularly when we heard on intercom "Glasgow's cancelled" and Graeme reply "what, the show or the city?". It was a very relaxed and comfortable show, everybody (in engineering) happy with the kit and getting on with making a show.

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

Sadly, Last Night of the Proms was not broadcast in HDTV on the 33 degrees East Satellite feed to the IBC. I’m sure the original HD pictures were very good.

At 19:30 yesterday evening, I switched to LNOTP on BBC2, having just watched a concert programme in HD.
This was not a good idea as the SD picture initially looked very disappointing.
However the interval pictures from Hyde Park etc. looked even worse and it was a relief to return to the Albert hall for the second part of the concert.
By the end I had gotten used to SD again and thought the pictures not too bad!

Tonight we watched “Summer Nights in Leipzig” on HD-1.
This was a concert from Leipzig main square and similar in principle to “Proms in the Park”.

The Leipzig pictures were superb. What a difference HD makes!

Alan

infocus
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I've just got back from IBC a hour or so ago, and an article in the IBC newspaper caught my eye - you may be interested in going to http://hugecgi.com/cgi-bin/ibc_dailynews1.cgi?db_id=22655&issue=4 where a certain Andy King talks about HD and the BBC. And even mentions a certain OB truck.......

Two extracts from the interview stood out at me:

"The interesting thing is that we'll be refurbishing some studios next year and the method depends on price of HD kit," said King. "We bought 24 cameras earlier this year and they'll probably be the last SD cameras we'll buy for studios."
King said the agreed BBC plan is to make a complete HD transition by 2012.

and even more so:
Asked where the BBC might be when the UK starts HDTV transmissions in 2006 (by BskyB), King stressed the BBC is already working extensively in HD. .........."The BBC has no official view just yet: but a special strategy committee, and I sit on it, is due to make its recommendations by March 2005 with a plan and timetable. 2006 isn't just about what Sky might do, it's also the World Cup," explained King.

which translates to me as "we got caught with our pants down, and are desperately working out how to catch up" ;) - or is that too cynical? I await March 2005 with GREAT interest, and do wonder if that date was fixed before or after the Sky announcement!

Even I was surprised at just how big an issue HDTV was there, affecting nearly every stand to a greater or lesser extent. I spent a while at the Sony and Panasonic stands, and whilst their obvious HD products were there, a lot of mention was made of future roadmaps for HD development of P2 and XDCAM. Equally, HDV seemed to get more of a mention on the Sony stand than DVCAM. I now suspect it will not be possible to buy a worthwhile SD only camera in only a couple of years, so Andy King's first quote is not surprising at all.

Also in Saturdays edition of the IBC news was the EBU announcement of the intention to commit to 720p as a standard - but I now read some backtracking. We shall see.

On the DVB stand new codec transmission was demonstrated - VC1 and H264 at about 8Mb, and, yes, it did look good.

I could write a lot more, but after two days trudging the exhibition halls, feel badly in need of rest. One things for sure, if I thought HD was a good idea before I went, after seeing various displays I now have no doubt whatsoever. I got to the screening in the D-cinema yesterday afternoon of various sample material, shown on Sonys new 4k projector. After that, the thought of every single film projector being ripped out and replaced seems like a good idea - and a couple of years ago I'd never have believed I'd be saying that!

StevenBagley
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Quote:
Also in Saturdays edition of the IBC news was the EBU announcement of the intention to commit to 720p as a standard - but I now read some backtracking. We shall see.

Regarding the EBU, I found a link to this new article by the EBU on HD in Europe and why to go 720p -- though I've not had chance to read it fully yet...

http://www.ebu.ch/trev_home.html

Steven

infocus
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At IBC I was led to understand they looked at two main issues - bitrate, and scaling for display. The first is understandable, though I'd say I'd rather have fewer, better, channels. The argument regarding scaling seems to based on it being better to have one high quality 1080 to 720 scaler at the broadcaster, than lots of cheaper ones, one per display.

OK, so I asked the question, "what if displays become 1080 native"? At that point I think much of the EBU's argument goes away.

Alan Roberts
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The BBC's not been caught with it's pants down, the thinking's been going on for several years. That's why there's such a large amount of programme-making going on in HD, and why I did little other than work on HDTV since the early 80s. We monitored progress in Japan and the US very closely, and have been actively cooperating with other broadcasters around the world in HDTV for over a decade. BUT, it's only in the last 12 months that HDTV programme-making has acquired enough momentum in the UK for it to become mainstream. And the UK's far ahead of the rest of Europe in this. This time last year, Sony UK were selling 2 HDW750s a week in the UK. This year, new hire companies are buying them in quantity, VMI now operate (I think) 12 HD cameras, all at Digibeta hire rates, and Barry still can only just supply the demand.

So, no, we aren't embarassed, it's just that HDTV will cost money, and in the run up charter renewal, all funding leaks have to be closely examined to see if they're cost effective. The current view is very firmly that HD is a requirement for the UK, as soon as transmission bandwidth can be allocated and systems agreed. The EBU work is putting a big spanner in that process in my opinion, but at least the EBU's actually doing something about it now (the EBU has always had huge inertia, mostly because it's composed of diosparate nations with widely differing agendas, getting agreement is a slow business, I know, I've been there).

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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Quote:
The argument regarding scaling seems to based on it being better to have one high quality 1080 to 720 scaler at the broadcaster, than lots of cheaper ones, one per display.

Except it denies the consumer (and the manufacturer for that matter) the right to buy (and sell) 1080i gear to get the better picture.

It all seems to be based on the assumption that technology won't improve -- when I suspect it's far more likely that by 2006, all panels will be 1080 native. A friend bought a Sony Laptop with a 17" 1920x1200 panel for £1800 and there is no reason why the technology in that laptop couldn't be reconfigured to act as an HD display with an upgradeable software-driven 1080i to1080p scaler and that's today's technology. Who knows what we'll be on sale next year...

Steven

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
The BBC's not been caught with it's pants down, the thinking's been going on for several years. ............So, no, we aren't embarassed, it's just that HDTV will cost money, and in the run up charter renewal, all funding leaks have to be closely examined to see if they're cost effective. The current view is very firmly that HD is a requirement for the UK, as soon as transmission bandwidth can be allocated and systems agreed.

Hmmmm. If I seem hard on the BBC, at least they are way ahead of ITV et al, though it does seem increasingly that it's Sky who are more and more setting the pace, be it HDTV or 24 hour news. Still, as with News24, once the BBC get it into their corporate head that "we can't let them corner this market", they seem to go for it with gusto, so lets hope that does now happen with HD.

The licence payers money argment doesn't really hold up in this context, otherwise how is it explained that vast sums are spent on the new digital channels, still unable to be received by most licence payers?

I don't for a moment dispute your technical abilities, Alan, but whilst "(BBC) thinking may have been going on for several years", that "thinking" seems to have been "sometime.... maybe..... in the future....." The production aspect seems to have been driven by external markets, rather than any desire internally, which at least your work helped facilitate.

It may be worth looking back in this topic to see how far matters have changed in a very short space of time. On the 19 January you posted "Europe has no plans for HDTV transmission at present.", and on the 26 April "And there, in a nutshell, is the reason why European broadcasters are not showing any signs of eagerness to jump back into HDTV. They've tried it once and given up." The discussions in this topic over the 27-29 April also now make fascinating reading with the benefit of hindsight, and there seems little doubt that the BBC's current view is very different to what it was only a few months ago. I can only speculate, but it seems very coincidental that Sky's announcement had nothing to do with this about face.

I note Andy Quested within the BBC gave a reply to this topic on the 29 April. Is there any chance of an update from him now?

Alan Roberts
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I worked very closely with Andy's Quested and King fcor several years just before I retired, and they both still pay me as a consultant. I'm well aware of what's going on in the BBC in HD, and have been well enough connected with the thinking for over a decade. The Board of Governors made a ruling that no licence payers' money should be spent on HD proramming that they could see the benefit of, that stopped much of the work, but the better programmes we can make using HDTV put it all back in the balance.

The BBC isn't dragging any feet on HD, it tried to launch HDTV over a decade ago and even paid BA for a satellite deal. It cost lots to get out of that deal when the EBU and ITU killed HDMAC development in favour of multi-channel DTV. Just as soon as channel space is made available at reasonable cost, and standards are agreed, you'll all get HD.

Oh, and by the way, nigh on 90% of you can get DTV, that's hardly a minority. All you have to do is get a decoder.

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.

cstv
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Quote:
Oh, and by the way, nigh on 90% of you can get DTV, that's hardly a minority. All you have to do is get a decoder.

we're back to a situation were "getting a decoder" would be a lot easier if hardware manufacturers built them into the kit that they would otherwise be connected to (TVs & recording devices). A lot of people aren't going to invest even a small amount in a decoder unless they have to, and it'll be the government that's caught with its pants down when it comes to analogue switch off.

stat's show that over 50% of households in the UK now have digital TV, but that doesn't take into account the number of other, analogue TVs in those households. It's not as simple as just getting a decoder... but that's another matter...

what sort of broadcast infrastructure would be proposed for HDTV? would it be broadcast alongside SD signals in the same bandwidth, or would a new section of the spectrum have to be allocated? i thought we'd sold it all off to mobile networks... or is Alan's narrowcast more likely, and if so, how would it work?

mark

Alan Roberts
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Most likely scenario for transmission is in digits by satellite, because there isn't enough terrestrial bandwidth available. And that's partly due to the pressure for bandwidth for picture phones. Who operates the channels and how revenue is collected to run them, is still under discussion.

DTV boxes are now almost cheap enough to have them in Asda as a casual purchase. The biggest opposition to DTV seems to be inertia rather than cost. I'm not going to argue the point though.

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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Why not bring back the squarial and transmit via satellite After all unless it's in the same frequency space as normal TV channels people will need a new aerial for it, so it might as well come via satellite or cable especially as the old squarial's would be more discrete than some of the TV aerials required for DTT.

Make sure that all the channels transmit in the same frequency band and polarization and you remove the problem about distributing it around the house as well.

Steven

PaulD
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Hi
However a pack of frozen prawns doesn't come with lengthy instructions about consulting a aerial installation company to arrange for an appropriate aerial aligned on a appropriate transmitter (at plumber call-out prices no doubt!)
Wander down any street and look at the mish-mash of legacy corroding aluminium on people's roofs...

The only person I know who's wife impulse bought a digi-box (in a major english port city) had to take it back because they couldn't receive an adequate signal strength because of the hills - though they got an analogue picture.
Or has the transmitter network been completely updated recently to cope with this?

Alan Roberts
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If you want to see just what can be done in HD, at a sensible price, just take a look at the new CBBC serial "Shoebox Zoo". This was shot on HD (Sony HDW750) at 1080/25psf. All the graphics was done using the HD material and downconverted for SD broadcast. When the project started there was no outlet for the HDTV, it was a purely SD programme, made in HD to get the graphics better.

I helped set this up and spent happy days in Edinburgh getting it all to go before letting them loose on it. The results speak for themselves.

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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There's a trailer for it on the BBC website

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/shoeboxzoo/

Looks like it could be a fun show.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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The trailer's been showing on BBC 1 for 2 days now.

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.

cstv
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yeah, i saw the trailer yesterday. it looked mildly amusing until i saw the name, and that just confused me... :confused: anyhow, i'll have to watch a bit of it now!

Alan McKeown
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From HD-1 website:

Jean Michel Jarre Live on HD1

Forbidden City - Beijing
On 10 October 2004, Jean Michel Jarre will open the 'Year of France' in China with a large concert in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Year of France
The 'Year of France' is a series of cultural manifestations in China, to be held from October 2004 until July 2005 and is the successor to the 'Year of China' in France which was held from October 2003 until July 2004.

The opening of the 'Year of France' on 10 October 2004 will coincide with the visit of French President Jacques Chirac to Beijing and will, amongst others, feature the spectacular Jean Michel Jarre concert and a presentation by the aerial display team of the French Air Force, the 'Patrouille de France', who also opened Jean Michel's 1995 'Concert for Tolerance' with a fly over at the Eiffel Tower. As usual, Jean Michel Jarre will cooperate with several Chinese musical and visual artists to make the concert a unique experience.

Surround
This concert will be completely surrounding the visitors. Not only will the sound come from all directions, but the projections will also be surrounding the spectators in the Forbidden City, as giant projection screens will be erected around the audience!

TV Broadcast
Tens of thousands of people will be able to watch Jean Michel's concert in the Forbidden City itself and on several giant video screens throughout Beijing. The concert will also be broadcast live on Chinese TV, allowing hundreds of millions of people throughout the country to view the concert as well. French electronics company Thomson has been contracted to relay several events of the 'Year of France' in China to Europe in HD format, including Jean Michel Jarre's concert. Pan European HDTV station 'HD1' will broadcast the concert live on October 10, starting 13:00 CET.

cstv
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Had a thought re. the EBU's discussions on an HD standard... aren't they going to be influenced in some way by HD1 etc?

Alan Roberts
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Not necessarily. The EBU position is that the 720p issue raised by TQE is "work in progress" and does not represent any EBU opinion or view. The EBU will ponder and ecide next year, TQE's work will be presented, but there is every chance that it could be completely ignored, or acted upon, it all depends who's on the committees and what they expect to get from them. The experimental transmissions from HD1, TF1, Euro1080 etc are just that, experiments. Sky don't know what to do or how to do it yet. There are lots of people trying to work it all out, and I've no doubt sensible decisions will be made.

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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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
Had a thought re. the EBU's discussions on an HD standard... aren't they going to be influenced in some way by HD1 etc?

If you want to read more about it first hand, try these three links from news at the IBC.

Last Saturday saw IBC news reporting Mike Croll, head of the BBC's image department at Kingswood Warren, and chair of the EBU BTQE Group:
“This proposal (720p 50 HD) has been 'almost unanimously' supported by the European broadcast industry. ……….. Croll commented. "The dominant broadcast equipment manufacturers are supporting the EBU initiative and are demonstrating the way their equipment connects efficiently to the 720p 50 delivery format."”
(See http://hugecgi.com/cgi-bin/ibc_dailynews1.cgi?db_id=22555&issue=3 )

However, Croll was roundly contradicted in the same issue of the same paper by John Ive of perhaps the most dominant broadcast equipment manufacturer: “Sony has expressed concern about yesterday's EBU announcement regarding the latter's HD strategy proposal and the fact that it represents exclusively one technical standard - 720P 50………..”
(See http://hugecgi.com/cgi-bin/ibc_dailynews1.cgi?db_id=22545&issue=3 )

Then two days later another story appeared, the EBU seeming to distance itself from Mike Croll’s remarks:
“Phil Laven, director of the EBU's technical department, stressed in a public HDTV forum on Sunday afternoon that the earlier comments from the EBU's BTQE committee of public broadcasters, apparently supporting a 1920x720p transmission standard, were not the last words on the subject. "It is a work in progress. The EBU has not endorsed the recommendations………..Laven was courteous, but his statement reflected a growing anxiety amongst broadcasters that adopting 720p 50 could be a backward step.”
(See http://hugecgi.com/cgi-bin/ibc_dailynews1.cgi?db_id=22712&issue=5 )

So interesting to wait and see…… and if not Sony, just who are the “dominant broadcast equipment manufacturers” that Mr Croll refers to? And let’s not forget that D-MAC was recommended as the direct to home satellite broadcasting system a long time ago, and did Sky take any notice? If Sky now consider 1080 better suits their needs, does anybody really think they will take note of the EBU?

Alan McKeown
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“apparently supporting a 1920x720p transmission standard”

Is this another new standard?
Whatever happened to “square pixels”?

Alan

infocus
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I took the 1920 as a misprint, and believe the EBU are proposing 1280x720.

From what I heard at IBC, the EBU's BTQE recommendation was based on three premises:

1.Keep the bitrate as low as possible.

2.Progressive is better than interlaced.

3.Displays are 720, so why scale in every display? (With possibly cheap chip.) Have one high quality rescaler at the broadcaster and TX 720.

2&3 are becoming shakier by the week. 2 may be valid, but eyes are being set on 1080p, and the increasing likelihood of displays on sale being 1080 resolution completely destroys the last argument. 1 is harder to argue with, except that if a fundamental change is to take place, it should be revolutionary - if the change only brings slight improvement (but at great upheaval), is it worth it?

I believe the committee has been pondering for two or three years, and suspect that half the problem is the playng field has changed during that time, especially regarding displays. That's more or less what Sony seems to be saying in the second link.

Sony also seem to regard the forthcoming satellite channels as more than experimental - to further quote from the second link above:
"The EBU represents public service broadcasters but these terrestrial broadcasters are 24 months behind several private European satellite broadcasters in terms of getting HDTV to air. "It seems inconceivable that after private broadcasters launch services in 2005/6 based on the 1080 standard, some two years later broadcasters can successfully or enthusiastically launch a service offering inferior resolution," said Ive."

Alan Roberts
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TQE has a problem. It believes it's own hype.

There are no 720p display panels, the nearest is 768, so scaling, the elimination of which is the reason why TQE wants to go to 720p, will still be needed. All the major manufacturers of flat panels either already have or are developing native 1080 panels, and at least one has told me that they will not use a scaler for incoming 1080 signals, therefore the pictures will be pixel-mapped to the display.

There is no way that you should accept the TQE position as being representative of the EBU or any broadcaster, it is only the view of some of the individuals on TQE. Sky is going to 1080, and the BBC will follow. By the end of next year there will be 10 1080 channels in Europe, and no 720 channels. TQE's chasing of 720 is a waste of time, no-one's going to follow them.

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
There are no 720p display panels, the nearest is 768, so scaling, the elimination of which is the reason why TQE wants to go to 720p, will still be needed.

Not quite so.... I've found a link to the Sagem TV that so impressed me in an earlier post (the "Axium"), and on that page ( http://www.sagem.com/nso/uk/eng/spec/dlp-sagemaxium-en.shtml ), under "features" and in "brochure" it states that it has a native 1280x720 resolution. I'm pretty sure I have seen other 720 displays, but don't have the details. I suspect TQE were aware of these, but in the 2-3 years their work has been in progress they haven't realised how things have moved on.

Not that this changes most of the points you make, which I fully agree with - no doubt any future AxiumII will be 1080 native!

The other argument put to me ( in favour of 1080) was of bitrate. The counter argument (as my last post) was why bother to bring in a new system if the benefits aren't significant?

cstv
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Infocus... how can the bit rate argument be in favour of 1080 over 720? i'm confused...

anyhow, this bit rate thing annoys me! i realise that lower bitrate = more channels = more money, but why does anyone care? from an advertising point of view there is more advertising airtime to be sold but this ignores the fact that there are a finite number of viewers and thus viewing hours. Therefore there must be a finite value of TV advertising and spreading it over more channels just lowers the value per minute. It's possible to argue that if you give people more channels then they watch more TV - does anyone know of any statistics for that? This idea that more channels offers more choice is highly debatable. All we've gained from sky digital's huge range of channels is about 10 different styles of programme each replecated on several channels. What makes people watch TV is quality (and very popular eg, Big Brother) programming

For the BBC though, the number of channels should be beside the point. I think the number of channels they have at the moment is probably as far as they need to go - it would be nice if all BBC channels were 24hour, and if they could open up the full capabilities of BBCi to more viewers.

So bitrate needn't be so much of an issue, and that's even before you take into account new compression techniques and the quite likely situation that HD would be braodcast on sattelite where bandwidth isn't so much of an issue.

Still, this whole idea of HD broadcast assumes that people want HD at home. It is of course a fantastic idea for acquisition, cinema, other big-screen projections and export to the states and japan, but for most people PAL will do. Do we really want a lifesize Mysti (shot partially in HD) in your livingroom? actually, don't answer that... ;)

mark - lowering the tone :rolleyes:

infocus
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Quote:
Infocus... how can the bit rate argument be in favour of 1080 over 720? i'm confused...

Errr (putting on sackcloth) don't be - my mind said one thing, my fingers typed another - sorry!

I agree with your next three paragraphs, but suspect that TV transmission is little to do with what the viewers want, more now with "how can I make a profit"? (With public service broadcasters trying to please all, and ending up upsetting all!) If you were a wannabee shoping channel, would you accept being told "there are already x, and we'd prefer to split the profits amongst x, rather than x+1!? But as a consumer it's only the most significant channels that really need HD - BBC1&2, ITV and Channel 4 would be top of my list.

An hour or so ago, a copy of "High Definition" magazine fell through my letterbox, with a story titled "BBC Announce Full High Definition Production by 2010" on page 8. Now the bad news - it reports on presentations to the recent "Sweet HD" Festival, and includes: "There was no mention of the corporation transmitting HD now or even in 2011 because of the cost implications to license holders."

There is a photograph of Andy Quested in front of a powerpoint presentation entitled "Building public value" (I can't take slogans like that seriously nowadays) and it's just possible to make out some of the text on the slide:
It would be hard to justify the necessary investment of licence fee to initially serve a small number of consumers

It is very, very difficult to take that seriously either, when one considers the sums of money (licence payers (ie, my) money) spent recently in launching the digital TV and (especially) radio channels. To say nothing of the BBC online services. Don't get me wrong - I approve of the BBC's internet presence, but how it can apply that sentence to HD, whilst happily spending other vast sums of money on digital services leaves me speechless. Unlike BBC3 & 4, HD only involves transmission money, it's already accepted that production is going HD!

Even if you accept the argument, what's to stop them following the route that led to colour broadcasting? Pay a supplement to the licence fee to be able to receive the HD version?

Quote:
Still, this whole idea of HD broadcast assumes that people want HD at home. ........for most people PAL will do.

The last phrase may be true - but should we therefore always work to the lowest common denominator? For most people AM radio is good enough, was introducing FM a waste of time? Most people perhaps never listen to local radio, should we therefore abandon that? Go to any big retailer and look at the TV displays, see how many large screens there are - they wouldn't stock them if people didn't buy them, and why should all these people be deprived of the quality to make them look their best? Especially if they are willing to pay more for it?

StevenBagley
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Quote:
Still, this whole idea of HD broadcast assumes that people want HD at home. It is of course a fantastic idea for acquisition, cinema, other big-screen projections and export to the states and japan, but for most people PAL will do.

Actually I don't think 576i does do, certainly watching the Proms the other night there were some big wide shots that should have looked lovely, yet suffered due to a lack of detail (on a 28" widescreen viewed from about 2.5m away). Increase the display size to 32 or 36" and the lack of detail would be even more evident than it is at 28". So if people are going to use the type of shots that come naturally to a 16:9 display, it'd be nice to have some detail in them.

Having said that comparing a 720p clip of the Two Towers with the 576i DVD release on a 17" PC monitor at close range the other night didn't show much improvement -- indeed my brother (non-technical) couldn't see any differences till I pointed them out to him. Which I guess will make it hard to sell 720p to people if they can't see the difference between it and 576i material (or well encoded 576i material), but that LOTR is film-originated so the high frequency content is going to be attenuated even in SD land (if I've read Alan's papers correctly) and I suspect with pure HD material (like the Proms) the difference would be more evident.

Quote:
Do we really want a lifesize Mysti (shot partially in HD) in your livingroom? actually, don't answer that...

;)

Steven

cstv
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Steven, thanks for pointing out my incorrect use of the term PAL so subtly... ;)

and infocus has a point, apart from the AM/FM thing... think of FM and digital radio - does anyone really care? the BBC are still desperately tryign to give DAB radios away and i still haven't met a single person who owns one... you're probably right though, HD would sell, but would only really be of use for certain channels/progs. News in HD just seems silly, although it is being done in certain parts of the world.

I like the licence fee premium idea. it's a much fairer way of doing things. and start it on BBC2, noone likes bbc1 anyway... :D

ps, is the simpsons HD yet?

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
and infocus has a point, apart from the AM/FM thing...

Just to dot the i's, I do think introducing FM was a good idea - but if they'd applied the same rules about licence payers money as in the earlier quote, how could they have developed that as a system "for a small number of initial listeners"!? Exactly the same argument applies to most of the broadcasting improvements of the past, DAB being only the most recent, and I do believe the growth in HD takeup will dwarf that of DAB. What do they think licence payers are going to feel in 2010, when they begin to realise that foreigners are watching BBC programmes in far higher quality than the home audience!?!

Quote:
ps, is the simpsons HD yet?

Don't know about that, I'd assumed it to be on film? I have just heard that "Enterprise" has gone HD - "first major US episodic turns away from film for digital".

StevenBagley
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. News in HD just seems silly, although it is being done in certain parts of the world.

That's a very good point actually -- I know last year when the Iraq war started, I'd just got my home cinema projector and so was watching (virtually) everything on it (unlike now when I use it about once a week for a movie with friends/family) and I found watching the news an interesting experience for all the wrong reasons. It started to stop feeling real and feel more like a movie. In the end, I had to go back to watching it on the telly. Whether it's just a psychological thing that you'd eventually get used, or not -- I do feel that current News trends are in danger of distancing us from the reality of what they report because it's becoming almost like reality TV. I think HD if used unwisely could add to that problem, would watching the storming of Baghdad in HD with 5.1 surround sound (which would be the next logical step) really feel any different to a movie?

A life-sized Mysti, or Blue Peter, or Horizon I can cope with, but the News needs to be handled carefully or it'll lose it's power. Having said that, the recent '50 years of BBC News' is one of the most harrowing bits of TV I've ever watched even the modern day stuff so perhaps they are getting it right.

Quote:
I like the licence fee premium idea. it's a much fairer way of doing things. and start it on BBC2, noone likes bbc1 anyway...

I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a BBC HD channel launched first that carries the HD originated stuff only with it's own schedule rather than attempting to launch a HD versions of BBC1 and 2. Although launching BBC1HD and BBC2HD (perhaps with sensible globe-based BBC1 id breaks ) would certainly tell the public that this is the future...

As for the Simpsons, as Fox has only just learnt that 480p is not HD I doubt it is. Is it even 16:9 yet? Though is the animation style in the Simpsons like to look any difference made in HD to an HD upconversion?

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Just for the record, I bought a DAB radio last weekend. Because my wife was getting fed up with the tatty little transistor wireless we'd got in the kitchen and she likes listening to the rugby/football on R5Live when cooking. As a portable radio, it's fine, 50-odd channels, mostly rubbish, but now we can get the interesting stuff (e.g. BBC7) without having to have a Freeview box on.

Please keep this discussion going, it's getting interesting now. I can't post too often because people keep on pressing wads of money in my hands and wanting me to do things for them, even though I've retired (4 days away from home and 2 days working at home, all in the past 7 days).

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Please keep this discussion going, it's getting interesting now.

It's the inside knowledge we want, all most of us can post is speculation, comment and what we read! Talking of which, and returning to "High Definition" magazine, in the editorial the subject of Europe and 720p comes up: "This (720p and the EBU) is short sighted to say the least if one considers the billion dollar factory being built by Samsung and Sony to make large 1.87 x 2.2m 1920x1080 HD displays". It goes on to comment on the likelihood of another $900 factory by other manufacturers.

Thinking of the Ceefax thread that's also running, there's yet something else that would never have seen the light of day if the BBC had then considered "it would be hard to justify the necessary investment of licence fee to initially serve a small number of consumers"

Quote:
I can't post too often because people keep on pressing wads of money in my hands and wanting me to do things for them, .......

We're not getting back to "Eastenders", (HD or SD) are we.....? :D

Alan Roberts
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Most definitely not, there's more to life than Eastenders

But, you're getting pretty well all the inside info that I can spread. There's some that I can't, yet, but it doesn't affect this discussion. Sky has said they'll go 1080, there will be around 10 1080 channels in Europe by this time next year. 720 won't get a look in. The EBU isn't considering 1080, it has started considering at all yet, that comes later (probably too late to affect the startups that'll define what we eventually get).

Don't get worked up over this 720 business, it'll go away and get buried. Real soon now :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.

cstv
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really? a whole factory for just $900 dollars? that's impressive! What are sony spending the other $9,999,100 on? maybe it's a big "SONY" sign to stick on the wall...

Back to the point - How long have we had colour, 576i TV broadcasts for? I ask because it's interesting that technology takes such great leaps so close together these days (ok, so i wasn't around for whatever the days that weren't these ones were, but nonetheless...) and i wonder how quickly things will continue to happen...

I assume we've had colour, 576i TV broadcasts for a while now, but just recently we've jumped to digtal, and relatively soon we'll be going to HD (fingers crossed). Mobile phones went from not existing, to analogue, to digital, to photo, to video, seemingly overnight! or was that jsut because the technology was in its infantcy and more scope was being found all the time?

What can we expect post-HD from TV (if you'll even be able to call it that) in the future? will holograms be the next big thing? i can't see video on demand being a big thing for all broadcasts, simply because people don't always want to choose - it's stressful. Is 3D next, or just more and more resolution on 2 dimensions?

mark.

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
“How long have we had colour, 576i TV broadcasts for?”

We have had PAL colour 575i TV broadcasts since June 1967.

Only BBC-2 was in colour (and even then most broadcasts were monochrome) as it was at that time the only 575i channel in the UK.

BBC-1 and ITV started 575i UHF transmissions in 1969 which were in PAL colour from their inception. Previously they had broadcast 377i in VHF bands 1 and 3.

There were very few colour TV receivers available in 1967. The first sets cost the best part of the equivalent of £10 000 in today's money. Needless to say I couldn’t afford one!

So I built my own.

Alan

cstv
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you're far too resourceful for my liking, Alan... ;) have you still got it?

so we've had colour TV, as we know it, for a while with minimal change - teletext, VHS and satellite are the only real technological advancements i can think of in that 30 year period. Yet in the last 5 years or so we've got digital broadcasting, surround sound, DVD, Hard drive recorders, interactive TV, and soon we're likely to get HD. It's all moving a bit fast!

Alan Roberts
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Historically, tv standards last about 40 years. But, as I keep on saying, I think we're about to lose the concept of "the standard", we're going to be in a bigger melting pot, with standards coming and going with only short lives. There will be a small range of shooting standards because the broadcasters need to exchange programmes economically, but I can't see any need fror a single worldwide unified standard any more. Codecs like WM9 seem to work happily at any resolution, and I can't see why the same approach shouldn't happen for tv, just transmit the digits and get the decoder to scale it, if needed.

And if you think things are moving quickly now, just wait a few years. The only thing stopping progress now is our failure to buy the goods, that's why G3 never happened. Keep waqtching this space.....

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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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
really? a whole factory for just $900 dollars? that's impressive! What are sony spending the other $9,999,100 on?

The other $899,999,100 actually! This is what happens when I can't copy and paste, and actually have to type quotes in by hand! It should, of course, have been $900million. My apologies.

And strange you should mention "is 3D next" - "High Definition" magazine has a lot about exactly that, including five pages about filming "Ghosts of the Abyss" and the forthcoming project "Aliens of the Deep". If you haven't seen the former, it's filmed on the Titanic, has been showing at IMAX cinemas in 3D and is worth seeing.

I don't think anyone is seriously thinking of it for general use yet, but IMAX, exhibitions, and rides are venues being proposed at the moment.

Incidentally, when was the 625 line monochrome standard first developed? I knew the rough dates of UK TV history, but what was happening in the rest of Europe in the fifties - did they start off with 625 line?

Alan Roberts
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You might be a bit surprised to learn that "Ghosts.." is shot in HDTV, using a Sony HDCAM-SR recorder prototype. It records two 4:2:2 HD signals at 1920 (not the 3:1:1 HDCAM version) pixels and 12 audio channels. 880Mb/s. They're selling like hot cakes in the US.

Germany had 441 lines when we had 405, France had 819. It was the disparity between standards that led to Eurovision and convergence on 625. I'll look up the dates when I've got time.

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.

cstv
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without wanting to be pedantic, are you sure it's not $9,999,100?

i'm not quite sure why i asked about 576 - i was of course thinking of 625... odd.

"The only thing stopping progress now is our failure to buy the goods"

Exactly, which is why i think we'll have problems with HD in the UK. Yes, there will be a minority of people who like gadgetry and pubs will project it onto their big screens, but i can't see joe bloggs being all that interested.

PR will help, in fact High Definition is already being bounced around as a buzz word even where no TV is involved. Kodak rebranded their ISO 200 film a few years ago to "High Definition", and Intel have High Definition audio chips... But G3 had a huge ad campaign and didn't really get anywhere, probably because people want a phone that they can phone people on! they're not really that fussed about video conferencing. Instant messaging software can be used for voice and video communication but most people stick with text.

In the eyes of the general viewing public there's very little wrong with 625i PAL so unless there are huge, fundamental changes and they can be assured that they won't have to upgrade again in another 5 years i really can't see it happening. And nothing will happen unless the manufacturers make a box, like Alan suggests, that can decode and scale anything. Obviously they wont do this because they like to sell new products - If you make a product that moves with technology people wont buy a new one! Equally if you make a TV system that forces people to buy a product before the old one breaks the consumer is unhappy...

PaulD
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Hi
Surely 625i monochrome came into existance publicly-speaking with the start of BBC2 on the night of the big west London (including TV Centre) power cut in early 1964 IIRC.

It remains in my memory because whilst the whole of west London was blacked out that evening I was filming a student movie (on 16mm B&W) just behind Selfridges with a generator and a full lighting rig - thus being the only lit up place in the area...

Alan McKeown
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The “625 line” (575i) 25 frames per second, interlaced system officially dates from 1948 when it was proposed by Walther Gerber as a European standard. It had been developed in Germany from 1946 by Möller and Urtel.

625 line transmissions were well established in continental Europe years before 1964.

Alan

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
“i'm not quite sure why i asked about 576 - i was of course thinking of 625... odd.”

SDTV

405 line interlaced may be referred to as 377i.
377 scan lines make up the actual picture; two interlaced fields of 188.5 lines each.

625 line interlaced “analogue” may be referred to as 575i.
575 scan lines make up the actual picture, two interlaced fields of 287.5 lines each.

625 line interlaced “digital” is also referred to as 576i.
There are 576 scan lines making up the actual picture - two interlaced fields of 288 lines per field.

HDTV

750 line progressive “digital” is usually referred to as 720p.
720 scan lines make up the actual picture.

1125 line interlaced “digital” is usually referred to as 1080i.
1080 scan lines make up the actual picture. Two interlaced fields of 540 lines each.

1125 line progressive “digital” is usually referred to as 1080p.
1080 scan lines make up the actual picture.

Alan

cstv
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thanks Alan!

i didn't realise HD standards had extra lines too... obviously there are HD CRTs so you need vertical blanking - i'd just never thought about it!

i finally got around to watching some HD WM9 - WOW! i downloaded the 720p version of Microsoft's trailer for Windows Media Player 10. It's stunning! the video that is, not the product... ;)

Having said that, the 320x180 streaming version looks pretty good too, so long as you keep it small.

mark.

ps - They have got a 1080p version but my machine isn't fast enough and my display can't go higher than 1280x1024.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
without wanting to be pedantic, are you sure it's not $9,999,100?

I think so - $900 million less $900?

Quote:
.....there will be a minority of people who like gadgetry and pubs will project it onto their big screens, but i can't see joe bloggs being all that interested.

I think you may be in for a big shock. I spent an hour or so in Tottenham Court Road this afternoon looking for something else, but whilst there went into a big store with one of the biggest selections of large flat screens I've seen. They had two proper HD demos there from different manufacturers, one from a PVR type device, and the Sony demo from a Japanese Blu-Ray machine. (Itself locked away and out of sight!) Frankly they were stunning, the more so by being next to two monitors displaying News24, and in the 5 minutes I was there attracted quite a few other interested people. I believe the plans are for similar demonstration setups to be rolled out in other locations - so keep your eye on your local Sony store! The salesman said the interest in them had already been huge, including a number of offers to buy the not-for-sale Blu-Ray machine, let alone the screens! I'd be prepared to have a bigger screen size mounted on a wall, when it's flat and no longer a big box on a stand.

In the eyes of the general viewing public there may well be very little wrong with 625i PAL at present - but what about when side by side demonstrations become commonplace, rather than at the very highest end stores?

To Alan – I was aware of France and 819 lines (little used I believe?), but had never heard of the 441 line standard before. Were there any others, or did all other countries broadcast 625 from the start? You did say that we’re “getting pretty well all the inside info that (you) can spread”, but what I find confusing is that there seem to be such conflicting public messages coming from the BBC. (And nothing from the other UK terrestrial broadcasters.) In Edinburgh the BBC’s message seemed decidedly pessimistic – “no mention of the corporation transmitting HD now or even in 2011 because of the cost implications to license holders”, whereas from Andy King at IBC the tone was far more optimistic – “…… a special strategy committee, and I sit on it, is due to make its recommendations by March 2005 with a plan and timetable.” Any comments you feel free to make about that?

cstv
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the side by side comparison is something i hadn't thougth of and it will encourage uptake. but what do you do in the interim when only some programming is broadcast in HD with the rest in SD? To get the most from HD you need a big screen and it looks great, but SD on that same big screen would be dissapointing. Maybe displays could be set to show SD pictures on a smaller area of the screen?

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
To get the most from HD you need a big screen and it looks great, but SD on that same big screen would be dissapointing.

Well.... yes, but a lot depends on content. I (and I suspect the majority) would rather watch a superb drama with a great story in SD (or VHS, come to that) than ..... (fill in the gap yourself, I'll suggest "Changing Rooms" ;) ) in HD on the latest 1080 big screen! What WILL happen, albeit slowly at first, is that "marginal" broadcast programmes will be forsaken by the early adopters in favour of an HD film on satellite, which they may previously not have bothered with. If the broadcasters don't react, the cumulative effect of this will be a gradual decline in their viewing numbers. In the very first post on the topic I said "...will (the broadcasters) be forced to (move to HD) anyway when "Eastenders" etc look poor alongside the latest feature film on Blu-Ray"? If you follow a programme religiously, you'll put up with how it's broadcast, but if it's a case of "what's on TV tonight" that's when HD will draw viewers away.

I really encourage you to try to see one of these demos. Yesterday, part of the Blu-Ray demo showed a clip from a western, left side in SD, right in HD. If I really wanted to see the content, I'd accept the left hand version... but would pay extra money to see the right hand. And it's the amount of money that will dictate just how many people feel the same.

Big screens is only part of the story anyway. Earlier on I'd been looking at LCD monitors/TVs. Some were displaying standard TV pictures, others computer screen savers ("Marine aquarium", I think). Typically they were 17 inch, and I was left in no doubt that the difference in resolution is easily seen even on that screen size. So how long before we start seeing SD/HD side by side on these displays? With computers easily able to generate the images?

But in essence, I don't just "want to watch HD" - I want to watch the prrogrammes I want to see in HD. And that's why to me all this hardware is the minor part of the story, what is far more important is when BBC/ITV/CH4 will start their broadcasts. Mi'lud, I rest my case......

Alan Roberts
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I can't really add much more at this stage. Andy King's in the right place to know what's going on, I've worked with him for years now, if he says there are discussions, then there are. He'll tell me what gets decided when it happens. I'm no longer privy to much of the discussions (I retired in April) but I'm still in regular touch with most of the influential people (they pay me to do freelance stuff for them).

I'll post what I can release, when I'm told that I can. Until then, you'll just have to wait.

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.

cstv
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Changing Rooms could never go HD - think of all the changes that set designers/builders are having to make and then multiply that by about 400! :D

i've seen an HD demo that Alan Roberts and Andy Quested ran on an HD projector and the difference is stunning. Equally, i ran the WM9 HD demo on my 17" LCD monitor and that looked stunning too!

Sorry for being so negative, i'm just making sure this is as exciting as i think it should be. i'm pretty much convinced now - no further questions your honour ;) ...well, for the moment...

Alan Roberts
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Actually, programmes like "Changing Rooms" are candidates for HD. "Life Style" programming sells very well in the US, and they want everything in HD. When HDV cameras and systems are available, it could well be the programme genre that fully launches HD in Europe.

I saw ep.1 of Shoe Box Zoo today, recognised some scenes as being the ones shot when I was with the crew. Clearly, they've stuck with the "look" I set for them, I'm now calling that "semi-film" because I've now got a "full-film" look setting for HD cameras that really blows your socks off. I'm not saying how I do it because I haven't been paid for the work 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.

harlequin
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oh goody ...... crap presenters and a crap tv series getting the best technology.

will this mean that they will have to hide their mistakes better as the cameras may pick them up easier.

SORRY , but i can think of far better uses for high definition cameras ...... and they don't include Laurence Llewelyn Bowen.

Gary MacKenzie

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

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

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cstv
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surely bbc's natural history and wildlife progs sell best abroad? and they've been edging towards HD for a few years now. wasn't a lot of the under water stuff for Blue Planet shot HD?

missed Shoe Box Zoo today but i did see a bit about it on BBC breakfast in the week. They seemed to concentrate on the concept and the animation rather than the HD side of things though.

not sure i like the idea of a film-look for HD, Alan. I know it's often done to compliment the feel of the story but film often looks very soft and grainy. I'm much happier with crystal clear pictures that HD, with a good lens, does really well. Well done for making video look like film though!

Alan Roberts
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Gary : I can think of better uses for HD than home improvements as well, but if the co-producers are prepared to pay for it, or rathe won't pay unless it's HD, then why not? Everything's going to end up shot in HD within the next 5 years anyway, so we might as well start somewhere. Budget limits will always stop such programmes spending sensibly on HD, so they'll have to be HDV to start off with. If it happens, of course.

Mark : It's a toss up between drama and wildlife for foreign sales. Drama does very well. Very little of Blue Planet was shot in HD, most was super 16, some 35, lots of archive and a fair amount of digibeta (in 625 and 525). Much of the underwater stuff was normal digibeta, but some of the very deep stuff (the "black smokers") was HD.

As far as getting a film look's concerned, it's not something I'm all that keen on. Mostly, the programme-makers want a film look for artistic purposes because they believe that a video look is "too real" and they want to distance the audience from their output. I find this argument truly bizarre, but they've got the money, so.....

The first thing they want is the jerky motion of repeated images, that's easy in HD, you just shoot 25psf. In SD it's a lot harder because the decent broadcast cameras don't do psf, so they shoot with a good camera and use an ARC process to get the film-motion (it's not just dropping fields, there's a lot more to it than that). Except for some newest SD cameras that actually do psf properly.

The second thing they want, and they don't often know what they mean when they ask for it, is decent contrast handling. "Video clips hard at peak white and does muddy shadows" is tghe conventional statement, but I get round that by manipulating the gamma curve, using all the available tweaks, you can see the results in "Rock Face", "Shoe Box Zoo", and dozens more. But that still leaves highlights unduly compressed by the knee, so I've now got a new trick that does it properly, but it's a secert for now.

Video shot this way always needs to be graded, because the pictures traight out of the camera don't look that good, the latest trick leaves actually leaves them looking rather nasty. But the aim isn't to make nice pictures from the camera, but to get the scene captured and handed on to the colourist who then manipulates images using far more sophisticated controls than are available either in cameras or any affordbale NLE.

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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sorry alan , i was just venting my anger at the technology they throw at throwaway tv , compared to the lack of technology they are willing to put into 'cult' tv.

i remember so many ideas that don't 'appear' to be being used.

tomorrows world showed two spwecifically

a 3d positioning system for cameras which allowed virtual sets etc to be created.
unless the technology is now embedded in cameras , i don't see many on tv.

second was a laser reader for old lp's which didn't suffer from crackles etc because it was light reading the grooves and not a needle

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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Gary, that 3d tracking system is being used far more often than you imagine. The fact that you can't see it happening shows just how good it is. This is one of the really big growth areas in top-end tv development, lots of money going into it, and you never see just how good it is because you're not supposed to.

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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Quote:
second was a laser reader for old lp's which didn't suffer from crackles etc because it was light reading the grooves and not a needle

That was a flawed device though -- while the needle will plough through the dirt, the laser would play it and so the records had to be extremely clean. Unfortunately the machines used to clean the records did more damage than a needle would...

Quote:
Except for some newest SD cameras that actually do psf properly.

I'm surprised this has never been added to Digibeta cameras (At least I don't think it has), but I guess it's not in Sony's interest to do that as it'd undercut sales of the HDW-F750P...

Steven

cstv
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3D positioning for virtual sets is used all over place. I assume largely for cost reasons because generally speaking it looks a bit pants. T4's Popworld have been using it for a few years now to make people feel sick by keeping the camera moving very slowly through the whole show! It was used in the BBC's Euro/local election coverage and for Battlefield Britain... I think it was used for FightBox (very odd programme) and is used on BBC news occasionally...

I assume we're talking about the same thing here -bassically chromakey that can move without the need for computer controlled camera mounts. It works using markers on the walls of the studio to work out where the camera is.

harlequin
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the one tomorrows world showed off used fixed tracking on a 'false ceiling' coupled to what i assume was a transponder unit on the camera.

tomorrows world were great at telling you about new technology but would always blank out company names , so you couldn't work out whose company made the kit , except if it was a short or long name , due to ammount of black gaffer tape used to cover up the name.

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

StevenBagley
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Quote:
he one tomorrows world showed off used fixed tracking on a 'false ceiling' coupled to what i assume was a transponder unit on the camera.

You mean this then

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/virtual/index.shtml

Steven

Alan McKeown
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Quote:

“I was aware of France and 819 lines (little used I believe?), but had never heard of the 441 line standard before. Were there any others, or did all other countries broadcast 625 from the start?”

441 lines was used in the USA and Germany from 1937 to about 1940.

455 lines was used by the French at about this time. They were “persuaded” by the Germans to change to 441 lines for a few years during the early 1940s !

USA standardised on 525 lines from 1940. The 625 line system was essentially a “Europeanised copy” of the NTSC standard and was officially proposed in 1948.

Regarding “modern” HDTV, work on an 1125 line system was begun by NHK (Japan) in 1968.

The line and field scan rates have to be locked together. The “analogue” division processes used only allowed division by odd numbers (3, 5, 7, etc.).

405 = 3*3*3*3*5

441 = 3*3*7*7

455 = 5*7*13

525 = 3*5*5*7

625 = 5*5*5*5

819 = 3*3*7*13

Alan

Alan Roberts
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There are several commercial versions, the latest Kingswood system (under develoment) does it the other way round, using fixed cameras to work out where objects are and tell the software what to draw. Oops, maybe I shouldn't have said that, but it was shown at Open Day so I should be ok.

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.

cstv
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Open Day? as in the Kingswood Warren open day? i thought that was just showing of the architecture of the building? if i'd known they were showing off kit i might have taken a look. or was this a different open day, Alan?

Alan Roberts
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The Warren's open on the architecural open days, but there's a series of technical open days as well when projects and wares are displayed. I used to do the HDTV demos, but I suspect you might have guessed that

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.

cstv
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Oh, i didn't realise they had technical open days - i take it they're publicised on the BBC website somewhere...?

Alan Roberts
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'sright. You need to apply for an invitation, or to know someone who works there (not me any more, I retired ) They happen during the summer in alternate years (at least that's what they used to do). You should contact Peter Shelswell at KW for more info.

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.

cstv
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i just might do that, Alan. Thanks!

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
Quote:
455 lines was used by the French at about this time. They were “persuaded” by the Germans to change to 441 lines for a few years during the early 1940s !

All very interesting! I have a dim and distant memory of hearing that the French 819 line system came about due to some French engineers during the war not wanting to help the German war effort, but not to be seen to be doing nothing. They thought TV standards reasonably uncontroversial! Can anybody confirm or deny the story? Did they not have to close down TV transmissions during the war anyway, for the same reasons as the UK?

I believe whilst it may have had good resolution in the vertical direction, to achieve comparable horizontal was beyond the technology of the day, and would have required large bandwidth anyway. The 625 system was a better hor-vert compromise for a reasonable channel bandwidth.

Alan Roberts
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I can confirm that only 405 and 819 received the accolade of CCIR nomenclature. The other "standards" didn't last long enough to make it onto the pages of standards documents.

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 819 line system was indeed developed during the war years. But it was the Germans who had the last word as it was the 625 line system developed in Germany and later the PAL colour system (also developed in Germany) which would become the eventual standards. Both the 405 line and 819 line standards are long gone.

Doubling the number of scan lines requires a quadrupling of the video bandwidth to also double the horizontal resolution.

The 405 line system had a video bandwidth of 3 MHz whereas the 819 line system had a nominal video bandwidth of 10 MHz.

The channel bandwidths were 5 MHz and 14 MHz respectively.

The characteristic I disliked most about the 405 line system was not so much the coarse line structure, annoying though that was but the infuriating 10.125 kHz whistle from the line time-base and line-scan components!

Alan

Alan Roberts
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And don't forget that no-one ever made a camera that could fill the 819 bandwidth, nor could monitors display 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.

infocus
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A few searches revealed a few intresting pages, and it's interesting to muse on "what ifs" in the light of todays situation.

For example, from http://www.sptv.demon.co.uk/405colour/
"As late as 1965, ITV were lobbying heavily for the adoption of 405 line NTSC Colour. It would have made a lot of commercial sense. If today's political climate had existed then, the government would very likely have chosen 405 Colour because of these commercial benefits."
and
"Advantages:
We would have had much more space for more TV channels for many years.
BBC 1 and ITV would have remained on VHF, and the majority of our TV viewing would have been in NTSC on VHF, as it still is today (2001) in the U.S.A.
The UHF bands would have had space for 6 or 7 networks, (instead of the 4 or 5 we have today) meaning 8 or 9 networks in total.
In 1989, Sky television could have been offered 1 or 2 of the unused UHF networks, and there would still have been room for a complete "Channel 5" network 10 years later.
In the Digital world, 405 would have allowed twice as many channels in the same bandwidth, and Digital Terrestrial TV could have been a true rival to Digital Satellite, having an almost equal number of available channels."

So, this whole thread is not a new argument! I can only be thankful that "todays political climate" did not prevail in the 60's. (Digital 405 line!?) But if 405, why not PAL at least? The question also comes up of why did the UK not follow Europe with the 625 line system after the war. Apparently, the BBC did not want to upset the few customers who had bought TVs before the war. Of course, this decision saddled us with an inferior system to the rest of the world for the next twenty years, and the change when it finally did come was far more difficult.

It reminds me of my mother telling me that after the war there were calls for Britain to adopt driving on the right hand side of the road. With no complicated motorway junctions or one way systems, and most signs having been taken down to confuse any invading enemy, it would have been relatively simple and cheap. Just think of the benefits today, both economic and in terms of saving accidents. But I suppose few people then would even guess how commonplace taking cars to and from Europe would become, let alone the import/export benefits to be had.

But back to television, and lots of interesting history at: http://www.bvws.org.uk/405alive/index.html if you have the time!

Alan Roberts
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The BBC was experimenting with 405 NTSC well before ITV were, I saw the kit when I joined BBC R&D in 1968. It was ancient even then. 405 PAL would not have made sense because of the half-vertical chroma resolution. We were at a time when Eurovision was on the march and we all wanted to exchange programmes, so a single European standard made sense. 625 was the obvious choice, but only because Bands IV and V were opened up. There was a big EBU meeting at Kingswood to decide the colour standard, and demonstrations of options were made for the meeting. NTSC was the preferred option until only a short while before the meeting. Dr. Bruch (Bosch, he also later produced the cyclic field blanking variation that ensured that the colour burst was always in the same phase for the first appearance of it in each field) produced the PAL idea and it was built into existing NTSC coders in a few days. PAL was demonstrated and clearly won even though the decoders were effectively unmodified NTSC boxes with just the subcarrier frequency changed.

It was several years before delay lines were cheap enough to put in TV sets; until then, the vertical averaging was done in the eye. Sony refused to use delay lines in TV sets for many years so that they didn't have to pay for use of the patent; that's why the sets had a "tint" control. It was only when delay lines were in universal use that the "Hanover bars" effect went away (the result of phase errors rotating the subcarrier, seen as line-by-line saturation errors rather than hue errors as would appear in NTSC).

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 is worth noting that the 405 line 4:3 system had a potential horizontal resolution of 360 lines/picture height (l/ph) whereas the present DVB 625 16:9 system (as broadcast by the BBC) has a horizontal resolution of 395 l/ph at best.

For comparison, the modern HDTV standards:

750 line (720p) has 720 l/ph potential horizontal resolution.

1125 line (1080i) has 1080 l/ph potential horizontal resolution

Alan

Richard Payne
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
3D positioning for virtual sets is used all over place. I assume largely for cost reasons because generally speaking it looks a bit pants. T4's Popworld have been using it for a few years now to make people feel sick by keeping the camera moving very slowly through the whole show! It was used in the BBC's Euro/local election coverage and for Battlefield Britain... I think it was used for FightBox (very odd programme) and is used on BBC news occasionally...

I assume we're talking about the same thing here -bassically chromakey that can move without the need for computer controlled camera mounts. It works using markers on the walls of the studio to work out where the camera is.

http://www.seriousmagic.com/ukvidsamples.cfm?from=y

This program handles virtual sets and camera moves from a locked off position and doesn't break the bank. The demo video has more cheese than Cheedar but stick with it as its quite an impressive bit of software.

cstv
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"because the tools at hand, should never limit the vision inside!"

Wow! can you feel the brie?

looks quite clever though!

harlequin
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Quote:
Originally posted by StevenBagley:

quote:he one tomorrows world showed off used fixed tracking on a 'false ceiling' coupled to what i assume was a transponder unit on the camera.

You mean this then

http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/virtual/index.shtml

Steven

thanks .... will read it on monday at work.

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 McKeown
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The BBC production “Pride- the law of the Savannah” is scheduled to be shown by Pro Sieben in HDTV on Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 19:00 BST.

Astra 19.2 degrees East
Transponder 103
12.460 GHz
Horizontal polarisation
Symbol rate 27.5 megabaud
FEC 3/4

Video is 1080i (50 Hz)
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1

Alan

Alan Roberts
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WATCH THAT PROGRAMME :D

I know lots about it and how it was done, and many of the pople involved. It's good.

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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Thanks Alan for the information and recommendation.

My Wife thought she had seen the programme’s title before and that it had been broadcast on BBC-4, but she wasn’t sure. Certainly neither of us have seen the programme itself, even in low definition

We look forward to seeing it for the first time and in High Definition, as nature intended all television to be!

It will be the first time we will have seen a BBC programme in HDTV!

Alan

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
It will be the first time we will have seen a BBC programme in HDTV!

But hopefully not the last.......!? How has it come about, and who are "Pro Sieben"?

harlequin
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'pro sieben' are 'pro7' if i'm not mistaken ..... a rather good german tv station.

http://www.prosieben.de/index.php

were on analogue sky and showed many usa series that others didn't.

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 McKeown
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That’s correct, Gary.

As I understand it, the “Pride” programme is a BBC / Pro Sieben Co-Production.

Alan

infocus
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More info about "Pride" at this address (Page 13)

Alan Roberts
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Yep, that's the one.

I nearly fell over when I saw the first rushes 2 years ago, the pictures are truly stunning (and John used my settings for the 900, or at least that's what he started from). The odd thing is that, after the first 10 minutes or so, the lions totally ignored the large trundling rock that followed them around; they first tried to eat it, then climb on it. But once they worked out that it wasn't a threat, they ignored it. Some of the footage was shot from as close as one foot from the teeth of a lion eating a zebra, you can see the dribble, but it was the sight of the dung-beetles clambering out of the grass to tidy the place up that got the biggest set of cheers when we showed it at Kendal Avenue. The camera lenms was fitted with an "anti-lick" filter because feline tongues are very rough. No kit was damaged on the shoot, unlike the previous elephant shoot when all manner of stuff was stamped on, kicked, thrown in the river.....

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 opera “Aida” (Verdi) is to be shown live from the Monnaie theatre in Brussels, by HD-1 on Friday, October 15 2004, commencing 19:00 BST.

Video is 1080i (50 Hz)
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1

Alan

Alan McKeown
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I have seen an HDTV trailer for “Pride” which looks impressive.
Unfortunately the lions spoke German. I hope we will be able to persuade them to speak English on Thursday.

The facility to select language does exist on the receiver though I do not know if this will be activated.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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It hadn't occurred to me that there might be a German version, but since it's going out on a German channel, I don't see why it wouldn't be. I didn't know it was ready for transmission, let alone that there's a German version.

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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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
Unfortunately the lions spoke German. I hope we will be able to persuade them to speak English on Thursday.

Wow - I can't wait for HD! In SD all you get are roaring sounds...... ;) :D

Alan McKeown
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“EBU Technical Recommendation R112 - 2004
EBU statement on HDTV standards
EBU Committee First Issued Revised Re-issued Technical Committee 10.2004
Keywords: HDTV, Emission, progressive scanning, interlaced scanning

The EBU Technical Committee recommends that EMISSION standards for HDTV should be based on progressive scanning: 720p/50 is currently the optimum solution, but 1080p/50 is an attractive option for the longer term.

Although there are strong technical arguments in favour of progressive scanning for emission, the EBU Technical Committee recognises that some broadcasters might wish to broadcast 1080i programme material.

As consumer electronics equipment (e.g. set-top boxes and displays) will accept both 720p and 1080i formats, broadcasters will be able to select either of these formats – even on a programme-by-programme basis.

Taking into account that production and emission standards do not need to be identical, further EBU studies on PRODUCTION standards for HDTV in Europe are in progress. This work is not intended to result in a recommendation for a single standard for HDTV production. “

Alan Roberts
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Yes, that's the correct statement. It was leaked to me 5 days ago. It leaves the door open for 1080 to get to the home. Since film is a "progressive" format, amd much of European HD production is shot in 1080/25psf, it makes most sense to transmit it in 1080 rather than downconvert it to 720 and repeat each frame. This option allows a 1080i format to carry either 1080i material which will have similar overall resolution to 720p, or film-type higher-res material. It assumes that the decoder will accept a flag of some sort to tell it that the picture is 25psf and not 50i, and do the correct thing for the display (which will be different for each type of display).

This decision is what I've been fighting for since 1988. I have a niced rosy feeling at present

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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Amazing - it seems common sense has prevailed for once! Just difficult to see why there was ever an argument.

One thing still confuses me. I understand that to get over the "jerkiness", 50p is better than 25p, but for 1080 thats not yet realistic - hence 50i. But if much HD production is 1080/25psf, then why not 25p? Would that not compress more easily?

StevenBagley
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Quote:
One thing still confuses me. I understand that to get over the "jerkiness", 50p is better than 25p, but for 1080 thats not yet realistic - hence 50i. But if much HD production is 1080/25psf, then why not 25p? Would that not compress more easily?

1080/25p transmission would not give the motion rendition that people expect for live material (e.g. sports, music concerts etc). However, 1080/50i does allow this motion rendition and transmits 25psf material identically to a 25p transmission.

Presumably it just requires a flag in the stream to tell the boxes to do some vertical filtering on the 25psf signal to remove interline frequencies before passing it to CRT displays -- in much the same way that they'll use a flag telling them they are receiving 1080/50i material to deinterlace and rescale it for progressive devices.

Steven

Alan McKeown
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Re. the ProSiebenSat HD broadcast of "Pride - Das Gesetz der Savanne" (Pride - The Law of the Savannah) this evening.

The lions did not speak in English. They did not speak in German. They did not even roar. For alas there was no audio at all of any kind that I could decode. I presume someone had forgotten to set the correct “flag”. Very disappointing as the pictures looked great, but were not really watchable for long with no sound.

I noticed on the opening credits, Robbie Coltrane, Sean Bean, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and John Hurt among the “cast” list, presumably their voices only.

Alan

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by StevenBagley:
1080/25p transmission would not give the motion rendition that people expect for live material (e.g. sports, music concerts etc). However, 1080/50i does allow this motion rendition and transmits 25psf material identically to a 25p transmission.

My point was not why 50i instead of 25p, but rather why 25psf instead of 25p? (When the latter would presumably be easier to compress.) Hence transmit 1080/50i or 1080/25p according to source.

StevenBagley
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I think 25psf in a 50i transmission would be identical to a 25p transmission but with different MPEG header flags set.

Steven

Alan Roberts
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Let's get this sorted out before we get too confused.

720/50p has great motion portrayal because every frame is transmitted complete. It's spatial resolution of 1280x720 is good enough for displays up to about 40" viewed at 2.5 metres. It's raw data rate is 1280*720*50=46.08Mpixels/second. At 10-bit, 422, you need 921.6Mb/s. But, 720/50p is not an ITU standard (yet).

1080/50i has equally great motion portrayal if the viewer is not too close to the screen, just like conventional tv. Fields of 540 lines are transmitted at 50Hz, two fields are needed to get a full frame. It's spatial resolution of 1920x1080 is good enough for displays up to about 65" viewed at 2.5 metres. It's raw data rate is 51.84Mpixels/second. At 10-bit, 422, you need 1.0356Gb/s. 1080/50i is an ITU and SMPTE standard. You don't get as much value for money from 1080/i because it cannot carry full vertical information, Takashi Fujio of NHK measured a factor of about 0.6, that may be a little mean, if we assume a 2/3 "interlace factor", then 1080i can carry 720 scene samples vertically, the same as 720p. This also means that 1/3 of the transmitted bits do not carry significant scenic information, so you get only more horizontal detail, not vertical, than 720p.

1080/25psf is used only for getting a film look. It tgakes prgressively scanned frames from the camera ar 25/second and delivers them as two fields at 50/second, interlaced. The signal travels exactly as though it were interlaced. The data rates are the same as for 1080/50i, but you get the full vertical resolution so no bit-rate is wasted. 1080/psf is not an ITU or SMPTE standard because it doesn't need to be, it's actually an interlaced standard, only the content is progressive.

1080/50p does it right. Every 1/50 second, you get a new full progressive frame. Raw pixel rate is 103,86Mpixels/second, and you need 2.0736Gb/s for 10-bit 422.

1080/25p is perfect for film but rubbish for everything else. Transmitted frames need to be repeated to avoid flicker, so everything has film motion unless you have an extremely clever decoder that draws intermediate frames using motion adaption. That's highly unlikely in consumer kit.

Clearly, 1080/50p is where we'd like to get to, but at over 2Gb/s it's a bit expensive at present. There's only one HD camera that'll do it, in prototype, and recording can't be done on tape yet. That will change.

So, with a bit-budget of about 1Gb/s, what's the best compromise? 720/50p is fine for the intermediate displays we've got at present, but there's a new 65" 1920x1080 tv set just launched in Japan last week, and we know of work on 100" panels. So displays are going to get bigger and cheaper within the first years of life of any standard we adopt. So fixing exclusively on 720 would be a mistake at this stage. Clearly we're going to need 1080/50p eventually, but how do we get to it?

1080/50i works well. In the US a huge proportion of the HD production is 1080/24psf (which is near enough to 25psf, we just play the tape faster), so there's a large installed base of production kit that we can use already. They handle it in the same way that they handle film on SD but they've got a new option, to transmit it at 24*p and let the decoder sort it out, either with a 2:3 pulldown to get to 60*Hz or 3:3 to get 72Hz which really doesn't flicker. The rest of production is at 1080/60*i which works exactly like 1080/50i. 1080/60p is at the top of the list of standards in the ATSC, it's the final aim point; 1080/50p should have the same status for us, it's what we want but we can't afford it yet.

1080/50i or 1080/25psf is a good compromise for now. It can carry film at full resolution provdied the decoder reads carried flags to tell it how to deal with it. 720p alone is not sufficiently forward-thinking, but as an alternative to 1080/50i it's just fine. For now.

Did that help?

* In the US, for ease of convertion to NTSC, they run it all 0.1% slow, so material shot at 24psf is shown at 23.976 for 2:3 conversion to 59.94 rather than 60Hz.

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'm sure several of you will have seen it, but in case not, at this link from the EBU, a couple of interesting articles by John Ive of Sony, and David Wood of the EBU Project Group B/TQE.

Interesting to compare two paragraphs. At the bottom of page 5, John Ive says "All the major manufacturers have announced that the next generation of television displays will follow the 1920x1080 common image format. This is the first time that screen sizes are to be video centric rather than computer centric."

In David Woods report, a somewhat different view: "The display manufacturers tell us that the "core" flat panel...... should be the "WideXGA" flat panel, which is a 768-line progressively scanned display. This is a key assumption, and it should be clearly stated that we have to rely here on information received from outside sourcs."

And I don't see how both of them can be right......

infocus
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Thanks for a great pull together, Alan, but the whole concept of Psf for HD still worries me. I understand it as a way of getting progressive images over an interlaced only system, on current DV cameras for example, when the recording system is interlaced, and it's the only way to do it.

But for HD, isn't the progressive ability there from the start - if displays will handle 720p and 1080/50i, then why not 1080/25p, and in which case why then bother with 25Psf at all? Surely splitting it into fields hinders compression?

Yes, 1080/50p must be the ultimate goal, which then begs the question if I buy a display in the next couple of years, will it be able to handle 50p when it comes along? Conversely, if there become a large number of displays in circulation NOT able to handle 50p, will broadcasters ever be able to transmit it, without having to simulcast 50i as well?

Alan Roberts
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You've missed a couple of point.

First, psf. It came for free in equipment that was originally designed only to do interlace. It costs no more to do psf than i. Doing p costs a lot more because there isn't a formal standard for it; if you deliver 25p to a display it will flicker like you can't imagine, there needs to be processing to prevent it. If you deliver psf to a display, it doesn't flicker, it just works. psf is a sensible way to deliver p, because it works with no processing in an i channel.

Second, displays are no longer tailored to specific standards, that's why we can feely mix 720 and 1080 on the same display. The display has a scaler, all flat panels do (except some that I'm told will switch it off if the incoming standard pixel-matches the display). So a display has only to accept the transmitted signal, the scaler does the rest. If it (a panel with scaler) can do 1080/50i, it can do 1080/25psf and 1080/50p. It's the scaler that has to do the hard part, not the display itself. Whether a way will be found to transmit 50p is such a way that a first-generation 50i decoder/scaler can deal with it remains to be seen, but it won't be the display that has the problem.

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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Quote:

"1080/50p does it right..... Raw pixel rate is 1.0386Gpixels/second”

Isn’t that a little excessive?

Alan

Alan Roberts
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Yup, corrected. A slipped zero.

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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Apparently the HDTV transmission of “Pride” last evening was actually the “English” version which makes it all the more galling that I could not get the sound to work.

There was a simultaneous broadcast in SD (letterboxed 4:3) which had the “German” version of the soundtrack.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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So it had to be settings in either the tranmission or your decoder then. Personally, I'm much more interested in the pictures than the sound, it was the first time anything big had been shot in HD using my camera settings. The (ungraded) rushes were astounding but I've seen nothing more of it since 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.

infocus
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I assume you're certain it was the transmission, and not your receiver? Sounds like a phone call to Pro7 is called for, if only to let them know that people were interested in the transmission!

Regarding the Psf points, I'm just surprised that if a scaler can convert 1080/720 to a 768 display, its not able to "deflicker" 25p.

Alan McKeown
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Quote:
                     
“I assume you're certain it was the transmission, and not your receiver?”

No, I’m not at all certain that it was the transmission but the other two regular HDTV station’s sound signals work fine even when they are transmitting Dolby Digital.

In the “early” days (about four or five months ago!) it was not unusual to loose the audio when the transmission changed from stereo to surround or vice-versa. This could be cured by rescanning the relevant transponder. In recent months this problem no longer shows up but whether this is due to the broadcasters getting their act together or my updating of the receiver firmware (via the internet), I know not.

It may be (though it seems unlikely) that from ProSieben there is an output only on the optical fibre connector intended to feed an AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) amplifier but as I have no AC-3 system (only plain stereo) at the moment, I am unable to check that.

The ProSiebenSat HD channel is still broadcasting in 1080i (an upconverted version of their SD programming, but still soundless as far as I am concerned!). Hopefully the problem will be sorted out before the next showing of “Pride” (whenever that may be)!

Alan

Alan Roberts
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First, look at it simplisticly.

At 1080/50i or 1080/25psf, there are 50 images per second, albeit with only half vertical resolution. The display needs 50 images per second, so all that's needed is to do some spatial re-sampling to get from 540 lines to whatever the display needs. At 720, the same happens but the whole frame's available.

At 25p, there are only 25 images per second, so each has to be shown, then held in memory and reshown. That doesn't happen in any of the decoders in use for ATSC etc as far as I'm aware. It's not hard to do, but it has to be done. But it's not just a matter of "de-flickering" because you're still left with film motion, so it won't do for news, sport, light entertainment etc, but it's fine for feature films, some drama, some documentaries and wildlife. If the decoders get built with the ability to repeat frames, then it doesn't matter whether it's 25psf or 25p, the result's the same, but a crt display would need no processing to show 25psf but would need a frame store to show 25p.

In practice it's not that simple because scaling from a single field isn't very good, usually a 3-field filter does a better job using some tricks that I'm not at liberty to tell you about.

And, by the way, there are already displat panels in the range 1024x1024 to 1920x1080 on the market, so the displays to do better than 720 are already avaibale, alberity scarce and expensive.

For programme-making, 25psf holds the crown for drama, wildlife, and anything else that woiuld otherwise be shot on film and needs a film look. Production in psf is a darn sight easier than 25p for exactly the same reasons, display during shooting or editing can use any 1080/50i unit because it works, no extra processing needed.

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 Roberts
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Joined: May 3 1999

I suggest we call this thread full and start a new one, because what we're actually talking about now is HD in Europe. I'll open it with a few quotes from this thread.

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.

cstv
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Joined: Jul 26 2002

just a quick link to the new thread that Alan set up...

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

I got back yesterday from a week working in the States, and thought it worth posting about what I found there on this subject. Since America hasn’t "belonged" to Europe for over two hundred years, I thought I’d better temporarily return to this topic……. ;)

No sooner had we cleared immigration and headed to the bookstall in search of maps, than the subject first arose – one of the first magazines I saw proclaimed it as an “HDTV special!” For the next few days, physically no sign at all of anything other than 4:3 NTSC tellys, with the occasional widescreen plasma in bars etc displaying stretched pictures – depressingly like the UK, it seemed! There were a few newspaper and TV ads for TV products, and in those retailers seemed keen to boast about anything which could have “HD” put in the spec.

Eventually there were a few free daytime hours, giving me the chance to do a little shopping, and suddenly found myself outside a fairly large shop selling TV’s. Going in was like entering an Aladdins cage. Every screen in the front section was a plasma or LCD, and every one was displaying true HD – what a change from the average UK store with a poor RF distribution, and showing stretched pictures on the widescreen sets!

I got to chat with a (very knowledgeable) salesman for quite a while. Their store was more upmarket than the really big chains, but not too exclusive, and was part of a chain of about 200. They were concentrating almost exclusively on HD, and my understanding is that the current situation is that whilst HD sales are numerically still in the minority, they are where the money is, and where the growth is seen. In that store there were only about 4-5 conventional TVs, sitting rather forlornly in a corner, and there THEY were the ones with the wrong shaped picture – all squashed up! I understand that most of the big TV retailers tend to be in out of town malls, and that whilst most of their stock still is conventional “pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap”, they are increasingly selling HD stock.

We later saw a big Sony store in another big mall, and the picture was repeated here. In the TV section it was either big HD displays (including the biggest plasma I've ever seen, and only $20,000 to you, sir), or sexy little LCD screens.

So what does all this prove? On the one hand, if you live in the States, you can sit at home now with an HD receiver and enjoy quite a lot of HD programming, and this trend is expected to accelerate. On the other, they (like the UK) have a huge legacy problem, and whilst there is talk of analogue shutdown quite soon, I find it difficult to see how it’s going to happen. Cable is much more prevalent than here, so possibly that may help – perhaps broadcast TV will become HD only, leaving cable to solve the majority of the legacy problem? I’d be very interested in comments from any Americans on what I’ve written, and how accurately (or not) they think it reflects the situation.

Finally, from the latest “HDTV news, Mark Schubin” that Alan Roberts posted, this link gives an overview of the situation in Canada, which seems to be halfway between the States and the UK – and where the UK is likely to be in 2-3 years time. I can’t finish any better than by leaving it to the opening and closing comments from that author:
“High definition TV is all the buzz in the consumer electronics world, and justifiably so.”
and
“HD is definitely the future of television, whether transmitted via satellite, cable, or (eventually) the Internet, and I can't wait until it finally becomes ubiquitous.
Unfortunately, that won't happen overnight.”

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
Quote:
Originally posted by cstv:
Oh, i didn't realise they had technical open days - i take it they're publicised on the BBC website somewhere...?

Cstv - going back a little bit, and referring to Kingswood Warren, but you may be interested in the following link. Open days. Happy viewing!

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
infocus wrote:
I know that the main Australian networks have also been simulcasting HDTV for some months now on DTT, ...................

I've further read about the blue laser DVD replacement formats being developed specifically for HDTV movies, and HD camcorders for the consumer - JVC already having product on sale.

It all makes me wonder why so little is normally heard of this in the UK. (Perhaps it could form a Computer Video article!?) Do the broadcasters here have any plans to move to HD, or will they be forced to anyway when "Eastenders" etc look poor alongside the latest feature film on Blu-Ray!? Any Australian readers have any comment on whats happening over there?

Not much more than 18 months ago (!) I started this topic off with those remarks, at a time when the letters "HD" were hardly mentioned. How times change!

I've just come back from a spell in Australia, and it was interesting to see for myself how the situation was developing over there. Certainly HD sets were nowhere to be seen in any of the motels we stayed at, and neither did either of the two friends we stayed with have such a set. (They are far from the "early adopter" stereotype, though!) Interestingly though, both of them were well aware of it, and also interesting was how even with them "digital TV" seemed to be synonomous with "high quality" in a way that it has singularly failed to be in the UK.

In a major Melbourne department store, I made a point of going into the electronics section, and at first sight it seemed little different from a comparable UK equivalent. That includes the fairly dreadful RF feed giving a grainy image on most of the sets...... There seemed a higher percentage of CRT sets than in the UK, and certainly more of them seemed still to be 4:3. Finally, in one corner ("Home cinema") every one of the large plasmas/LCDs was displaying off air HD, and I can't emphasise too much how different they looked to the rest of the shop. I got to talk to a (knowledgeable) salesman there, who was also interested about the situation in the UK. His complaint was the lack of inbuilt digital tuners (sound familiar?), but he said that their HD sales were good, and most relevantly, ramping up quickly. He told me that generally public interest was high, it was just a question of affordability, and that the signal is far from universally available. Generally it seems that uptake has been good, compared to other new technologies, and given how recently it has been introduced.

Now just back in the UK, I went into my local Currys today and couldn't help but notice the large LG display of about 6-7 HD ready monitors, including a 60" plasma. The pictures on them looked stunning, especially compared to the fuzzy RF distribution throughout the rest of the shop, and it was little surprise to find an anonymous looking box at the back feeding component to all of them. It was interesting also to see the reaction of a couple in the shop, and from the snippet I overheard they had gone in to buy a Samsung model, but seemed won over to a LG set. Strange that! ;) (I foresee manufacturers increasingly putting in their own signal sources.)

The publicity about Sky also seems to be ramping up, though I think it's a month or two before it will get really intense. I came back to the UK fully expecting the BBC to have announced it's own HD plans at IBC, and was surprised no such thing happened. I'm not sure if they are being very clever (letting Sky do the spadework, then justifying the spending of public money by being seen to be answering the public demand) or very stupid (letting Sky steal a march, and losing the "we're the best" crown).

Reading through this thread again, only about a year ago the opinion was that HD would come in Europe, but was likely to be at least five years away. What a difference a year makes!

Alan Roberts
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Joined: May 3 1999

Sorry chaps, I've been a bit lax recently. I'll start posting Mark's memoes again this week (I've got all the backlog on file).

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.