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BBC HD TV Update: Jonathan Ross in HD

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 14:24 UK time, Friday, 5 September 2008

Hi everyone, things are moving fast on BBC HD and I just wanted to give you an update.

Jonathan Ross has been working in our new HD studio this week, and his first show goes out tonight. Do watch to see what impact HD has on the look - and of course on Jonathan and the Four Poofs. Getting the show into HD is a key part of trying to make good our promise that we'll bring you the very best programmes that the BBC has to offer across our channels in HD. Like him or loathe him, JR is undoubtedly the best in class when it comes to that kind of entertainment.


I hope that you will find other innovations through the autumn in a number of programming areas, and can also tell you that BBC HD will be on air for longer. We'll be starting our schedule at 7pm on weeknights and earlier at the weekends throughout September and, I hope, further increasing the hours toward the end of the year.

Finally, I've started some work to look at the question of DOGs to help me to make a decision about what we should do on a subject I know many of you feel strongly about. No promises as to the outcome, but I wanted you to know that it's underway.

Danielle Nagler is Head of HDTV, BBC Vision.


  • Comment number 1.

    Johnathan Ross in HD how can the BBC justify the cost of the makeup!!!!

    As for the DOGS just switch it off and reduce the BBC's carbon footprint

  • Comment number 2.

    Hearing about any new programs coming to BBC HD is always a good thing, but I am still sometimes disappointed by the sheer amount of repeats that occur on BBC HD.

    I was looking a few weeks ahead on the BBC HD schedule and on Tuesday 11th of this month BBC One is showing American Beauty while BBC HD is showing a repeats of Lost Land Of The Jaguar, some Jools Holland and a repeat of Bonekickers.

    When a film like that is scheduled for BBC One is the attempt made to get a HD master from the distributor? American Beauty is an amazing film in every regard not least in it's Oscar winning cinematography which would look amazing on BBC HD. Yet while it shows in SD, BBC HD viewers are watching repeats. Again.

    Surely films such as this are a fantastic way to show off how good your HD channel can be without resorting to hours upon hours of repeats?

    Oh and the DOG? The way I see it is this: To watch BBC HD you need a TV system that will tell you the channel you are watching when you select it. Therefore the DOG is POINTLESS. Get Rid Of It.

  • Comment number 3.

    Brilliant, Jonathan Ross should look great in HD. I hope the trend continues, maybe some Mock the week or Have I got news too?

    As for the DOG - HD is about quality and I'm sure after spending hundreds of pounds on HD equipment nobody wants the picture made worse by an unnecessary logo in the corner of the screen.

  • Comment number 4.

    Really good to see the channel is starting to expand, and I have to agree with the previous post - Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You would also be near the top of my list for studio-based shows to go HD.

    On DOGs, while I'd love to see the back of them, it's great to see that you're taking the subject seriously, something that not all channels seem to do.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks for keeping us informed via this blog.

    The extra trasmission hours are also very welcome.

    Kelly Brook looked lovely in HD :-)

    As for the DOG - keep pushing it further and further left - that's right - until it's off the screen.

    Any chance of Andy Murray in the US Open Tennis semi-final in HD?

    Or the final if he makes it?

    Or the final in HD anyway?

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 6.

    Danielle Nagler: If you really, really must DOG, the ones on the iPlayer (small, at the top left and just three letters) are more acceptable.

    Thanks for getting the 7pm start in.

    Also, did you know that BSkyB are using a company called RDM to try and block Freesat HD installations?

  • Comment number 7.

    daveac (comment #5): Sky have the TV rights to the US Open, which is shown on Sky Sports HD3.

    I can't help thinking Jonathan Ross is a strange choice for an HD programme, as wonderful as it is, it is after all just a chat show. Though I assume one of the primary reasons for choosing this show is to test the studio out.

    As for the DOGs, is there really much investigation needed? I've yet to see a positive comment on DOGs anywhere, so if you can show us the research that suggests DOGs are necessary then do so, otherwise just listen to the viewers and set a trend in the industry by getting rid of them from ALL BBC channels.

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    Have only just noticed this blog so a chance to do two things. Firstly to send my thanks for the best HD broadcaster there is. Thank you for putting out some superb shows, sports and films over the past year or so - it has been superb!

    Secondly a subject close to my heart and even nearer to my eyes! DOGs - I have been complaining and moaning about these for ages and it is such a pleasure to see someone from a broadcaster actually raise the issue and to seek views.

    For me DOGs are an absolutely pointless intrusion serving no benefit to the viewer. Sky typically reply to comments such as this by saying 'our viewers want them or it makes it possible for viewers to know which channel they are watching in this day and age of having hundreds of channels'. Are you kidding - there is something there called the electronic programme guide or the info button - press it and you will see what it it you are watching. In reality there are probably there to stop piracy etc.,

    Another side effect of DOGs is the potential burn in for Plasma screens. BBC ones are not so bad but have you seen the Disney ones? Surprising the kids can see any of the show behind the huge DOG they employ.

    So come on BBC. Take a stand and make your superb service even better and remove the DOGs. If the BBC did this then perhaps the lower quality options out there might also start to take notice. If you have to use them (to satisfy the content owners) then why not show them for the first 20 seconds or so then fade them out?

    Here's hoping they will be gone for good soon!

    Many thanks, Mike

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks for the update.

    DOGs RiP please.

    Please state why you can not return to 19Mbits/s transmission rate as in the trials. We can see the difference!

    Please keep working on DD 5.1 sound.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm in agreement with Bill-Taylor on 'bitrate'

    There have been some comments (digital Spy Forums) about the picture quality on the J. Ross show.

    Kelly Brook looked lovely on closeups - but maybe because of the lighting of this sort of show 'colour spots etc,' - the picture had a slight 'granular' look to it.

    I do worry about the reduction from 19Mbs to 16.5. - flocks of birds and running water still test the system.

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 12.

    #7 pauljarvis86 - Just a thought, but a lot of people documentaries feature archive clips from old talk shows such as Parky and Wogan. Assuming in 10-20 years everything will be in HD, having archive HD clips available from JR will be quite useful.

    On the subject of DOGS - I'd go along with everyone else and request that you take them off. I make an active choice to watch the BBC and get the name pop-up for a few seconds when I switch to the channel. That's all I need.

  • Comment number 13.

    On the subject of DOGS and your making a decision...

    In the nicest possible way, please don't forget the BBC is funded by us, the public.

    It is abundantly clear that the public do not want DOGS on screen in any shape or form.

    Please do what the people putting the money up for the BBC want, and just get rid of the stupid intrusive DOGS!

  • Comment number 14.

    Lets get the picture quality sorted before we get into a big debate on DOGS please. Thats far more important in my opinion

    I think there are picture quality problems with BBC HD. When watching the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony I was shocked to see blocking artefacts on flashing lights, fast moving pictures, smoke etc during the ceremony, especially shots after fireworks when smoke is clearing.

    I believe this is an issue with the compression BBC HD is using. The BBC is broadcasting at around 16Mbs I understand which is lower than that required for true HD

  • Comment number 15.

    Having made my DOGS Point earlier, perhaps I should address the Jonathon Ross thing.

    Whilst it's great to get more HD programming, a chat show isn't really something that is my highest priority for HD.

    I'd far rather that documentaries and drama programmes were in HD than the fleeting-interest shows like JR (much as I enjoy watching the programme!).

    I can understand why shows like JR would be those produced in HD first though - it has to be so much easier and cheaper to introduce HD to a studio-based controlled environment, with limited camera angles required and highly controllable lighting than the more difficult location work.

  • Comment number 16.

    Please put the DOG to sleep ASAP.

  • Comment number 17.

    DOGS ? - Crumbs ? - Master's table even BBC? Jesus what is the world coming to? High Definition if you ask me.

  • Comment number 18.

    On a completely unrelated topic, the programme "Johanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights" simultaneously showed off the best and worst of BBC HD.

    In well-lit, day-time scenes of Norwegian fjords the picture clarity was breath-taking... some of the best I have seen on any HD transmission so far. I found myself turning to the rest of the family and saying "See! Told you it's worth the extra £10 a month!!"

    In darker scenes, it was grainy with a number of artefacts on screen. Given that the programme was primarily about a spectacular event that occurs at night... the anticipated visual feast of seeing the Northern Lights in HD was somewhat of an anti-climax.

    I can only assume, as has already been posted, the transmission rates are the cause of this irregularity.

  • Comment number 19.

    What's going on with BBC HD? Jonathan Ross was a yet another example of recent HD programming being well below par in picture quality.

    There was just so much grain, which just shouldn't be there in a well lit studio production. The recent Last Choir Standing suffered from similar problems, as did I'd Do Anything.

    I had a peek at Last of the Summer Wine, last night and that looked as good as ever, so I doubt it's a bitrate/bandwidth issue.

    Sky's 'studio' HD is second to none. I understand Noel Edmond's live Sky1 show is coming from TVC next Sunday, it will be interesting to see what PQ we get on that.

  • Comment number 20.

    You only have to watch a movie with a DOG on the screen to realise how stupid they are - they frequently obliterate the picture - just seeing an actor with the TV station's logo embossed onto their forehead shows how they detract from the viewing experience.
    My vote is NO DOGs!

  • Comment number 21.

    Strictly Come Dancing

    The above was in HD last year but the openingepisodeisn't this year.Whats happening.hope this is just the first programme not aired in HD

  • Comment number 22.

    I have just recently acquired access to BBC HD (freesat) and wish to join the list of people complaining about the HD dog. To be fair I have watched a lot of programmes in the same vein as planet earth and did not find the dog particulary intrusive. However with drama productions and also the recent Northern Lights I found the dog to be so intrusive as to seriously impact on the enjoyment of the programme. Looking carefully I believe that the problem arises when the dog background changes from a light colour to dark colour, this has the effect of dramatically enhancing the dog contrast and visiblity and the sudden change draws the eye to the dog and therefore away from the main action. If the BBC wish to continue using this largely useless gimmick please attempt to automatically change the dog tranluscence in respect of its background to maintain the same level of visibility

  • Comment number 23.

    Continuing the discussion of BBC HD.

    I have just finished watching Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights on Sky HD.

    I truly enjoyable experience: Vision, Sound and story. Joanna was enchanting. Thanks to all concerned!

    Please explain why the experience was cut short by the continuity voice reminding us of what was on next. It cancelled out the atmosphere the programme created. This annoys me as much as the continued use of DOGS.

    Please revisit the use of continuity voices before the programme ends. BBC HD is not a normal channel so does not need it (I do not believe any channels need it and are harmed!)

  • Comment number 24.

    I prefer Dogs to Jonathan Ross.

  • Comment number 25.

    Many thanks for the Paralympics on HD all day.

  • Comment number 26.

    So what is going on? The picture quality of the second JR Show was as bad as the first, yet Sky1 use your facilities and Noel's HQ was picture perfect, just as HD should be.

    BTW, Tess of the D'Urbervilles was as good HD as I've seen and the first costume drama BBC HD has done in DD5.1. Well done.

    Can you explain wht JR and other LE shows from TVC are such bad quality?

  • Comment number 27.

    Last Night of the Proms: Excellent HD Picture Quality and DD 5.1 Surround Sound.

    Many thanks to all concerned.

  • Comment number 28.

    Is Merlin to be aired on BBC HD?.

  • Comment number 29.

    Last night of the proms was quite good except for Alans microphone went a bit fully at the end. BUT The DOG obscured the name places on the screen. Later on they did move the DOG to the right hand side. So GET RID OF THE DOG.

  • Comment number 30.

    Danielle, what's the 'official' reason for the Strictly Come Dancing results' show not being in HD?

  • Comment number 31.

    Danielle, I was just looking through the Radio Times website to try and find out what the schedule for Heroes season 3 on BBC HD is going to be and there appears to be a major problem.

    I hope this is merely a problem with the Radio Times listing but according to them on Wednesday the 1st of October BBC3 and BBC HD are screening an episode of Heroes Season 3 called "The Butterfly Effect". Now this is 9 days after the series starts showing in the US which is fine, but rather alarming is the fact that "The Butterfly Effect" is the 2nd episode of Season 3. Apparently we get to see epsiode 2 before we find out what happens in episode 1?

    Also episode 1 ("The Second Coming") is currently scheduled to screen BBC3 only, 2 days after episode 2 is first shown on BBC 3 and BBC HD. So BBC 3 viewers get to see episode 1 but BBC HD viewers don't?

    The net result of this is that when BBC viewers get to the end of episode 1 (this is if they watch things in order and have recorded episode 2 to watch after viewing episode 1) on Friday the 3rd of October. The US viewers will have already seen episode 3 and be 3 days away from episode 4.

    I thought that the BBC paid exclusive rights for Heroes so that we we wouldn't end up being potentially 2 epsiodes and weeks behind the US when it came to airing the show? And also so that the series would air in the right order?

  • Comment number 32.

    Danielle: It seems to have gone quiet on the DOG front. How long have you given your team to research the problem?

    My understanding was that the BBC has decided to use the HD DOG to indicate when they are broadcasting HD content. I was surprised to see a trailer of a BBC HD programme shown on BBC1 that included the preview HD DOG. SKY HD channels only use their HD DOG when they are broadcasting HD content. Eurosport have chosen to use an additional DOG (Full HD) to indicate when they are broadcasting HD content.

    The delay in you responding to the remove DOG request implies to me that you have hit a brick wall that you are embarrassed to share with us?

    Hope to hear from you soon (and the removal of the HD DOG please).

  • Comment number 33.

    Danielle has responded to some of your comments in this post.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 34.

    There's some wonderful stuff on BBC HD (eg Tess, Bruce Parry, Later).

    A couple of annoyances that I'm sure the BBC will sort out:

    1. The DOG - completely pointless and ruins some of the beautiful images - so much so that I've watched some things on non-HD just to get rid of it.

    2. Some strange timings - it makes it difficult to plan sometimes when things aren't simulcast. Sometimes I've watched something in non-HD only to find out that it's on HD on a different day. Episode one of Heroes is just on BBC2 but episode 2 is on HD straight afterwards??!?

  • Comment number 35.

    Just got HD installed (via Sat) and BBC HD looks great.

    But is unwatchable due the sound being permanently out of sync - it runs significantly behind the picture.

    Looking at other forums etc it seems that this is a common problem. Can this be sorted please?

    Whoever needs to get it sorted (BBC and/or Sky) can we get a resolution please?

  • Comment number 36.

    I hope this blog entry is still being read now as of 11th Oct.

    I'm worried about the BBC HD picture quality as it does often seem to be poorer than it was.

    Tonight I caught the end of 'Last of the Summer Wine' - and in the 'full daylight' scene it looked as good as I remember it being.

    'Strictly Come Dancing' was better than 'Friday Night with R Ross' and although it was not the best of pictures it is Live and J Ross show isn't.

    Then after watching 'Merlin' (getting better) on BBC 1 - because it is unfortunately made in SD not HD - I switched back to BBC HD and caught the end of 'Torchwood.'

    But I have to say I didn't think the picture tonight on 'Torchwood' was as good as I remembered it being.

    And lately - although I'm enjoying 'Amazon' as a programme - often it looks more DVD quality than HD.

    I'm sorry to say these things but I do believe because some SD can look so bad (thankfully not often on the main channels) - that HD seems to be heading towards 'SD for Big TVs' - rather than the best of broadcasting.

    I say all this as someone who watches a higher percentage of BBC programming now than in recent years because of the overall high standard of shows.

    Well done on that. Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 37.

    Watched Little Dorrit last night in glorious HD and no distracting dog, really enjoyed it. Many many thanks to Danielle.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.


    I'd like to take this opportunity to give you some more feedback about BBC HD.

    Firstly, I'd like to say how wonderful the picture was for the BBC's programme Natural World "Mountains of the Monsoon".

    This is the single best picture I've ever seen over HD broadcast and in places it looked like Blu Ray, congratulations!

    On the negative side, unfortunately, the vast majority of HD material doesn't even come close to this standard and ranges from poor to good.

    eg. The BBC ran a HD advert over Christmas featuring a polar bear sliding down a glacier. What a bad advert for BBC HD!! The picture was terrible, extremely soft!

    All I can say really is can the BBC try to standardise the cameras, lenses and codes / bit rates used in the Natural World Mountains of the Monsoon across BBC HD production service because it really was sublime.

    Even Oceans, which is good in quality doesn't come close to Natural World Mountains of the Monsoon in picture quality, which say something for the equipment and production techniques used.

    The BBC need to learn from this and adopt them across the board.

  • Comment number 42.

    Just wanted to add as well, the BBC should take a look at Luxe HD on FTA Astra 2D.

    It absolutely sets the standard for HD - Blu Ray quality at times and far ahead of the BBC at this time.

  • Comment number 43.

    Dear Alsone

    Thank you for your post. Can I point you at another blog


    and this one:


    We make a very wide range of programmes in high definition and not everyone will like the style or content of all of them. I have seen the polar bear shot sequence in Planet Earth many time and it is an amazingly good piece of television and under normal viewing conditions is very high quality.

    I hope this helps


    I hope

  • Comment number 44.

    Well again I was disappointed with the picture on Jonathan Ross - Friday 13th Feb 09 - is it all the 'purple?' because switching between standard Freeview and BBC HD on FreeSat - there was a difference - BUT it wasn't a great difference.

    A good show with good guests - but I might as well have watched it in SD.

    TV - Toshiba 42Z3030 with PACE HD Sat system.

    Sorry, daveac

  • Comment number 45.

    Also episode 1 ("The Second Coming") is currently scheduled to screen BBC3 only, 2 days after episode 2 is first shown on BBC 3 and BBC HD. So BBC 3 viewers get to see episode 1 but BBC HD viewers don't. http://www.birsesver.com


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