Update 2008-05-12: Seetha replies to comments in this post.
I am the Head of High Definition TV for the BBC, and this is the first of what I hope will be an occasional series of blog posts.
Ever since the service was launched, first as a trial and then as a fledgling channel on 1st December 2007, my team and I have been getting feedback from emails, letters and occasionally blogs and other internet discussions. The feedback from them has been helpful. (Of course, it occasionally helps that I am a glass-half-full kind of person!)
There was an example in April in the Digital Spy Forums. Bfg20 said he would not have known that The Invisibles was a HD programme if HDfan had not alerted fellow bloggers. Yet, Hdfan is unsure why it is not being shown at the same time as BBC ONE.
The reason is that BBC HD is a showcase channel and we aim to show the best of the HD programmes from across ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR. Heroes is being simulcast with BBCs TWO and THREE and we want to ensure an uninterrupted run, so we chose to broadcast The Invisibles at a different time.
We only show programmes which have been originally made in high definition and do not "up convert" whole programmes on BBC HD (i.e., we don't change programmes that were not originally made in HD into HD formats). It was a tough decision at the time, especially when the programme titles at our disposal was quite limited. But in two years, we have gradually built up our hours of programming and are slowly increasing our scheduled hours. We have four hours every weekday, with longer hours over the weekend and extended hours for live events. In September, we hope to show five hours of programming every day.
We need to get much better at communicating our schedules. Our website is now updated and our schedules will be published regularly. We're looking at the possibility of an email alert service for our schedule.
One of the exciting aspects of working on a new growing service - and one with a long future - is getting the foundations right. Sometimes, the pace of growth is slow, and the steps we take can only be baby ones. Our Principal Technologist Andy Quested has written an action-packed blog post about starting a HDTV service from scratch, which will be published tomorrow on the BBC Internet Blog.
By any standards, the HD world has been event-rich over the last two years. With Freesat today and Freeview in the future, the next phase promises to be just as busy. Incidentally, I'd like to squash the mounting speculation in some blogs: BBC HD will not be exclusive to Freesat. We are and will remain platform-neutral.
Our aim is for BBC HD to be a fantastic high-quality service and for you who watch it to absolutely love it. We know that you want many more programmes and we would love to have many more hours of programming than we have now. However, to get you a full schedule of nine hours will take a little bit more time.
There is a lot of great stuff coming up. For the first ever time, there is the Olympics in HD; the Eurovision Song Contest; Wild China; the Chelsea Flower Show; Euro 200; Tiger Spy in the Jungle; Natural World; Radio 1's Big Weekend; Expedition Guyana; Glastonbury' Who Do You Think You Are?; Ching's Chinese Kitchen; Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage; Ray Mears Goes Wild; Secrets of the Forbidden City; Gardener's World and The Proms - apart from, of course, old favourites such as Torchwood, Silent Witness and Hotel Babylon.
If you'd like to ask me any questions about the service, please do and I'll do my best to answer them.
Seetha Kumar is Head of HDTV, BBC Vision.