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Sport on BBC HD

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 16:00 UK time, Friday, 12 June 2009

Given the passions in the comments on my last blog, I wanted to respond directly to some of the comments.

The sport v other programmes debate is an interesting one - and one we also have internally.

Between you, you represent the polarised opinions absolutely: If you love sport, you'd be happy to have not a lot else on BBC HD; if you don't, then the sport we already do is quite enough.

My views on our sports provision are that if we could direct more money into moving the events we are responsible for faster into HD we probably would. But Andrew Knight is mistaken in suggesting that decisions to broadcast sport in HD are cost neutral. They aren't. And since the money comes out of the general licence fee pot, rather than direct subscription income, we have to balance how we spend it across all interests and activities.

Video of BBC HD Sport trail from Freeview HD on Flickr.

As far as F1 goes, as some of you recognise, the situation is not a result of a lack of pressure from the BBC. I have no doubt that F1 will move to HD at some point, but I tend to focus my energies on the content where my work can make a real difference to the point at which it migrates to HD delivery.

Heilanner is just one of those who pleads for a mixed schedule - pace andrew knight, we do commission research and it suggests that actually what people want is a very wide range of programmes. So that's what we try to offer. I can say that over the coming months, we are moving across to HD a number of well known BBC brands. Some of them will take a little while to come to screen, but the next series of Ashes to Ashes and Waterloo Road will be made in HD, as will Mary Queen of Shops and The Restaurant, and Countryfile and the Culture Show will also be arriving soon. There will be more. I know the programme that all those who write on this blog seem to be waiting for is Top Gear. Conversations are going well, and I hope to have more news soon. As for Wednesday83's request about Casualty, the series will move when it moves filming locations to Wales where a new drama area is being built to accommodate the production. The team will probably begin working in HD in 2011 to deliver to air from 2012.

Finally, let me just correct the impression that samuel1984 gives of our children's content. Content for children is on air from 4 to 6 on weekdays, I believe not an unreasonable proportion of our schedule given that the BBC broadcasts 2 complete children's channels. Those hours are split reasonably evenly between content for younger children (from Cbeebies) and content for older children (CBBC). I wouldn't expect adults to enjoy these programmes particularly - although some of those that we are developing work well as family viewing . But I believe that I would be wrong not to include an offering for children in our mix, and also that you may well be underestimating the value that children who have grown up with games consoles and high resolution online graphics place on television picture quality.

I know there is a great deal of frustration - summed up by tagmclaren - around where our HD offer is going. I would hope that you understand that I'm hardly going to share work in progress with a public forum. What I will say is that:

1. the BBC will not be making all its programmes in HD by next year - that isn't what the original commitment was, and in any case - in my opinion - the promise that all peak programmes from BBC One and BBC Two would be in HD wasn't necessarily the best way forward.

2. We will be making more and more of our programmes in HD, and broadcasting them in HD. Excluding sport, I'm expecting to make 300 more hours of original programmes available in HD this year alone.

3. I am well aware of the overwhelming demand for more hours of broadcast from the BBC in HD. There are issues to be resolved around extending channel hours beyond the current limits, but the message from you, and the rest of our audience has been heard.

4. I think that broadcasting the whole of the BBC's channel portfolio in HD is a very long way off - you know better than most what capacity would be required to do that, and how fast compression is coming into help. But that doesn't mean that I believe we will only broadcast a single compilation channel for evermore. We would not want to develop an HD offer which could not suit all the available HD platforms, and the capacity limits on Freeview are therefore a limiting factor at the moment.

5. We also have to balance our ambitions for HD with all the other things which audiences value from the BBC - including making original programmes in the first place. I'm not sure any of you would want a multitude of HD channels from the BBC with nothing worth watching on them.

Whilst frustrating, I hope this clarifies the position - trust me, you'll be among the first to know once I am in a position to share work currently underway

Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision


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  • Comment number 1.

    I feel the BBC is to be congratulated for its commitment in bringing programmes in HD to our screens. It is keeping the BBC at the forefront of broadcast technology, which is where the BBC should be in my opinion.

    Having been lucky enough to watch HD broadcasts for some time it has been evident that the type of programmes that appear most to benefit from HD are 'nature' programmes. The improvement in Picture Quality in such programmes is much more noticeable than in, say, TV dramas or even movies. Sport in HD would be much welcomed but I'm yet to be convinced that sport viewing is improved greatly by being in HD.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the post Danielle. Much appreciated.

    I appreciate not everyone wants to see sport, how ever if you look at ratings for big sporting events then it does suggest that many people do want to watch sport.

    There is only 10 championship games next season to be shown by the BBC and as a viewer and lisence fee payer I expect such games to be available in HD. Why bother with the rights if there is no HD matches???

    Also there is only 5 big Snooker tournaments shown by the bbc (Grand Prix, Uk championships, The Masters, Welsh open (BBC WALES), and World Championships). Bearing in mind the BBC usually only shows the second week of the UK and theres only the world championships that will be over 2 weeks, Surely the BBC would be able to accomodate Snooker in HD. Even if you dont show this on the BBC HD channel you could sell the HD package to Eurosport.

    I know the BBC doesnt have an endless pot of money but its very annoying when such big sporting events are left in poor SD quality and money is instead invested elsewhere on such laughable things as the I Player.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks Danielle for the comments. It is appreciated and sounds encouraging.

    Deerwood, I am afraid I have to disagree with you. ALL programming benefits greatly from being in HD, not just nature programs.....and lets face it, although I too greatly appreciate the output from the natural history unit, it's had more than a fair crack at the HD whip!

  • Comment number 4.

    @ Deerwood "Sport in HD would be much welcomed but I'm yet to be convinced that sport viewing is improved greatly by being in HD"

    As viewer of Sky's HD golf coverage week on week and having to watch the BBC's SD coverage of the BWM a couple of weeks ago, brought home how much HD improves the game. It's so sad that for yet another year the greatest tournament of them all, The Open, is only getting SD coverage by the BBC.

    What must all the HD enabled countries throughout the world who take the BBC's coverage think? It is the only major (not Major) golf tournament in the world that is still not in HD.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thank you for your post. Sorry for miswording your positon. Thank you for clarifying the position. And it's great to hear you continue to source more shows in HD. The work being done at BBC HD is excellent and everyone deserves praise.

    But I want to point out I don't want Sport at the expense of everything else, just that sport that can be shown in HD be broadcast in HD.

    I should also point out that despite the great news of more HD programming there is no future news on sport like the upcoming Championship football games, though I do acknowledge you later mention that you will release future news as you can.

    People need a reason to invest in HD in the long term, sport is shown all year round which would make that investment viable.
    F1 is broadcast over nearly 8 months on average every 2 weeks. Tennis events are broadcast all year round and highlights of football. People need to see programming being broadcast all year round that will make them want to recieve BBC HD.

    While Ashes to Ashes, Waterloo Road, Countryfile and the Culture Show would benefit from HD I can't see the benefit of Mary Queen of Shops and The Restaurant being in HD.

    Drama or Art in HD will look great but would the inside of a shop or restaurant benefit rather than sport? If the BBC can shows the 6 nations in HD from various UK stadiums then why not the Autumn Internationals if it can bring us the inside of a shop?

    Oviously if the production company in making in HD then I understand that it may as well be broadcast in HD.

    Is it possible for people to know where to direct the wish to see F1 in HD within the BBC? Afterall the BBC itself has made a large investment in broadcasting F1 just like it does with other sports that it shows in HD.

    Also is it possible for the reseach to be published on this site?

    Also to cover points

    1. The BBC aims to broadcast everything in HD by 2012.So I would guess if it doesn't exsist some sort of timelime with the BBC Trust on how many HD channels are run and the issue of upscaling will be laid down at some point.

    2. Great news. Thanks to the hard work at BBC HD.

    3. If those issues revolve around the BBC Trust will BBC viewers get to tell the BBC Trust themselves what they think and want from the BBC?

    4. The BBC shouldn't limit what it does on cable or satellite because of current freeview limitations. Bandwidth will be always limited on freeview. That is a reality of the platform. Hopefully the BBC is pushing for spectrum so that it can match as close as possible its HD services on freeview compared to other platforms.
    On satellite and cable the BBC could easily broadcast all its services in HD with little difficulty.

    5. Of course, but as HD is now becoming an industry standard this issue will not be an issue as HD becomes the standard format for TV.

    Thank you for sharing your work. It is appreciated.

    @Deerwood - All I can say is ask someone who has viewed a sport on BBC,ITV,Eurosport or Sky Sports in HD.

  • Comment number 6.

    Thanks Danielle for the update and its good to hear of a few more shows moving over to HD. I notice there is still no mention that of BBC Question Time and The Big Questions on Sunday mornings being broadcast in HD which seems strange as both are produced exclusivly for the BBC by Mentorn media and are filmed in HD by Arqiva, surely if content is filmed and produced in HD the BBC should look to use it especially as this is one area of HD coverage e.g Religion and Politics that they currently lack in.
    Going forward for the next 12 months I believe that the BBC trust should look again at BBC HD funding and increase the money available to future proof the channel and to enable it to remain a well watched HD channel. Programme wise they need to look at moving a few core programmes into HD like Top Gear and apprentice

  • Comment number 7.

    I have to say that I one of the people very much in the anti-sport camp.

    I know that I'm probably in several minoroties. I dislike sport. I barely watch anything not on BBC. So with the lack of Freeview HD any time soon, it falls to Freesat as my only sensible HD option. And "more sport" certainly doesn't make me want to jump up to shell out on installation.

    On the flip-side, Doctor Who going HD and Torchwood already being there is deinitely a temptation. Especially as I've just seen, via Blu-ray, how good Torchwood looks in HD. And more SF/cult/genre programming would have me there like a shot.
    But sport... well, that just leaves me hesitant to shell out on a new channel that would get me my chosen programming pre-empted by high-quality sport that I have no interest in.

    I know that I'm in the minority, here. But whilst BBC HD is still its own separate programming stream, and not simulcast, extra sport sounds like one more reason to settle down in the wait for HD Freeview.

  • Comment number 8.

    Danielle whilst I welcome your comments generally, I fail to see what the Freeview situation has to do with Freesat.

    Why should Freesat be held back because Freeview doesn't have the capacity for the same amount of HD?

    *Policies like that make myself and many other Freesat owners very angry with the BBC.*

    At the end of the day, HD can be downscaled for viewing on Freeview, and downscaled HD is better quality than native SD, so making it in HD originally is not a lost exercise. We all know the Freeview platform is ultimately going no-where because of the bandwidth sell off and the fact that it was never designated nor designed with capacity for HD in mind. So why should Freesat suffer as a result? We might as well all sell our boxes now if that's case. Its always been stated that content will not be exactly the same over both platforms so what's wrong with showing more HD on Freesat?

    As for sport, I agree about cost implications but it has to be said that the one thing Freesat lacks is a sports channel. There isn't a single sports channel on the whole Freesat. Why aren't we seeing a an Extreme Sports Channel? Another thing missing on Freesat is youth programming. Isn't that a requirement within the BBC's policy of broadcasting for all demographics? There are programmes for kids and programmes for adults but nothing in between. The fact that Extreme Sports appeal to both adults and youth and would provide sports content perhaps topped up with more conventional expensive content such as football or rugby (when available) means killing 2 birds with 1 stone and providing youth programming that also has adult appeal. Also, Extreme Sports content being less high profile is likely to be cheaper to obtain broadcasting rights for and the fact that Freesat has no youth programming gives you something to approach the BBC on with regards to funding as its not meeting its licensing requirements without.

    Finally, although this probably isn't traditionally for the BBC to take up the mantle on, perhaps it something they should approach the regulator about as it affects the platform and the future of FTA and that is with the current situation where channels are allegedly talking of going encrypted with Sky instead of remaining FTA (I'm talking allegedly ITV 2,3,4, Ch4, Ch5)isn't it time something was done to protect FTA tv and thus the content on the Freesat and Freeview platforms.

    This was my suggestion on another forum and surprisingly, even many Sky Subscribers were in favour:

    "Given all the current difficulties with funding for FTA tv in the UK, maybe its time for the regulator to step in to ensure the survival of FTA tv in the UK. The whole FTA problem is down to advertising and too much capacity being available, much of which is on Subscription TV channels.

    So, perhaps this is a regulator issue to ensure a healthy mixture of FTA and Pay TV continue to co-exist in the UK.

    Perhaps the way forward is for Pay TV Platforms such as Sky, Virgin etc to be banned across the board from commercial advertising in the UK. That way they'd be made to rely instead solely on their subscription incomes.

    That would shake the market up by making Pay TV truly Pay TV and creating much more advertising demand on FTA by effectively reducing the size of the available advertising platforms. This would ensure the survival of the FTA market.

    It also might have a positive effect on programme bidding wars, especially for Sports, as Pay TV Providers would have less funds with which to make the ridiculous bids we've seen in recent years that have all but frozen out the BBC / ITV from major sporting events."

    Perhaps Freesat could approach the regulator with this suggestion.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ Alsone. Danielle is employed by the BBC not Freesat. Don't forget the majority of BBC HD's audience is generated by 1st Sky HD, 2nd Virgin Media, 3rd Freesat and lastly other FTA STBs.

    Also, no one has suggested C4 and C5 will stop being FTA. It's the offshoots like More 4 and E4.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks for the update on where BBC HD is going Danielle... and ooh, I got a name-check!! it's great news that S3 of Ashes & Countryfile are coming to HD. I can't wait.

    so we're getting 300 hours of new stuff this year? I look forward to see what you're giving us.

  • Comment number 11.

    A very good blog, not in the sense of saying everything we wanted to hear but you've kept us upto date on a few things like Top Gear and named some new shows that will be in HD.

    I don't agree with point (4). We're not expecting 9 HD channels anytime soon but that is very different from talking about say BBC1, BBC2 and a separate HD channel. Danielle knows very well that the fourth freeview HD slot was filled the other day and that a fifth and final HD slot (which I hope the beeb bids for) won't be on for a long time, probably 2012. There are no public plans at the moment to ever go beyond Mux B. So I can't expect anyone to believe that in 3-6 years plus we'd still be on a maximum of 2 HD channels. It would be HD suicide for the beeb. I must hope and conclude that the beeb is in discussions to do something about this either in terms of migrating another mux or something up it's sleave to pinch a bit back from the digital dividend. Or perhaps it is some kind of marketing ploy for freeview to not talk it down that Danielle has been forced into as that launches fairly soon in some regions.

    @Derek500, plenty of people have suggested about ditching fta. It is not e4 that is the problem on astra 2D, it's the vast number of regional clones for the Beeb, ITV and channel 4. Unless of course someone gets Sky to vacate two or three transponders on 2D...

  • Comment number 12.

    @ Ropies "plenty of people have suggested about ditching fta. It is not e4 that is the problem on astra 2D, it's the vast number of regional clones for the Beeb, ITV and channel 4. Unless of course someone gets Sky to vacate two or three transponders on 2D..."

    It's nothing to do with satellite capacity. The talk is that with advertising revenue becoming smaller and smaller, channels like ITV2/3/4 and More4 E4, are considering becoming subscription channels.

  • Comment number 13.

    Yes it is to do with satellite capacity. You may be relatively new to all this but this sort of thing has been speculated on for years. We've already been through the wars with FTA, we don't need it happening again.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ropies, Derek is right.

    Although there is a problem with narrow footprint transponder capacity at 28.2E, the reason ITV (2,3,4), More4, E4, Ch4?, Ch4HD, FiveHD, Five? and there plus 1's are considering pulling out of FTA is allegedly because of a lack of money as a result of falling advertising revenues due to the large increase in the number of channels carrying advertising. ie. the UK advertising pot is only so large and its now being stretched very thinly over so many channels that its leaving some major FTA channels economically very fragile. ITV's financial position has been widely reported in the press as it's allegedly been close to bankruptcy.

    That's why I made my suggestion originally. It's a way of ensuring the survival of FTA tv by ensuring its economically viable by concentrating commercial advertising onto FTA providers only in the UK. It also has the other desirable side effect of reducing the amount Pay TV channels have to spend which in turn will mean that bidding for sports events will be likely to be lower in the future thus giving FTA providers such as the BBC and ITV more of a chance of being able to match the bids of the Pay TV service providers and thus more of a chance of securing the rights. Given many Sky subscribers don't like adverts anyway (surprisingly there was much support for this proposal from Sky Subscribers on the forum's I posted this on), everyone comes out a winner. FTA tv, FTA providers, Consumers through the continuing survival of existing FTA channels which might otherwise disappear and FTA providers who find they have more of a chance of matching Pay TV bids for major sporting events.

    This has to be the way forwards for UK FTA tv and Freesat / Freeview in particular. Otherwise, many of the channels that make FTA tv worth watching are simply going to disappear leaving Freesat / Freeview as nothing more than a joke. The position with a lack of winning bids for sporting rights will continue also. Its ridiculous, when you can't even watch your country play football without pay tv. The regulator / government restricting advertising through the licensing process to FTA platforms only, is the only viable way of increasing FTA revenues and preventing the collapse of FTA services in the UK.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ Ropies As long as all the BBC channels, ITV1, C4 and C5 are FTA, that's all that matters. If the rest became subscription channels then so be it.

    ITV, C4 and C5 will get more viewers and therefore a bigger share of the ever fragmenting advertising revenue, plus they can boost their income from the subscriptions plus advertising on their other channels.

    The BBC are very successful with this with their share in UKTV. UKTV brings millions of pounds of extra revenue into the BBC's coffers every year, giving them more money to spend on new programming.

    To back up my opinion, it's been reported recently, that because of the dire financial situation that ITV and C4 are in, the government are considering top slicing the License Fee and giving some to them.

  • Comment number 16.

    Alsone in post 14 is essentially on the money, however, there has been a big song and dance made about freeview and freesat and the national commercial's commitment to these platforms.

    In my own case, I've got an HD FTA box (with CI) and a Sky HD Box with basic plus movie subs. It is extremely rare that I watch any channels that carry advertising during programmes because I find them intrusive and far too frequent. Where there is something I desperately want to see that is on a commercial channel, the FFWD button on the Sky box works wonders even though it means watching it after TX.

    I would not be averse to seeing ITV/C4 drop in prog adverts and "may" be prepared to pay for such, but I'd expect to see the quality of the output increase. Perhaps dropping a couple from the ITV 2/3/4 or the various +1's might help in cutting costs (although I am aware of the 3 slot EPG tie up).

    Now if Alsone's model were to be employed in any way shape or form, how would those that have spent (in some cases) £200+ to buy kit that has no CI or CAM capability, be able to receive the channels? Further, would the public at large "really" want this? How would anyone go about selling this to the already digitally converted and increasingly cash strapped man in the street?

    For the national commercial channels to survive something does need to be done, but I fear it may be too late for the current incumbents.

  • Comment number 17.

    @RayB, I think you misunderstood the proposal. I wasn't proposing that FTA TV should drop advertising but rather that Pay for View TV channels should not be allowed to carry commercial advertising thus concentrating commercial advertising entirely on the FTA channels that badly need the advertising revenue ie ITV, Ch4's, Ch5's, other more minor FTA.

    The bonus for Sky Customers is they would get an advert free service on all encrypted pay to view channels.

    The bonus for FTA customers is the FTA channels would be viable and there would be more chance of bidding successfully on sports and other premium content as Sky would have less to spend as they'd be subscription reliant only thus evening the playing field a little so both platforms had a chance of a more even share of the spoils when it came to sporting events.

    I'm not quite sure I understand the bit about the cam's as all the channels would essentially remain the same as they are now. The only difference would be advertising would be carried only on FTA channels.

  • Comment number 18.

    Is there any news on the upgraded encoder for BBC HD? I am watching Queen tennis right now and fast moving shots of the grass are pretty average (on a plasma tv)

  • Comment number 19.

    Danielle - I don't understand your comment linking freeview HD to other platforms:

    "We would not want to develop a HD offer which could not suit all the available HD platforms, and the capacity limits on Freeview are therefore a limiting factor at the moment."

    I hope this doesn't mean that when freeview HD launches, we get a downgrade in picture quality on the satellite platforms, just to accommodate freeview's reduced capacity. As Sky is showing satellite is allowing near perfect HD quality across a large number of channels and I hope it is BBC's aim to meet their technical standards.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ digitalscoobiedoo

    Freeview and satellite are transmitted separately. The picture quality of BBC HD on satellite won't be affected by bandwith on DTT.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ Alsone "The bonus for Sky Customers is they would get an advert free service on all encrypted pay to view channels"

    I'm sorry, but this 'banning' of ads on subscription TV is a total no go.

    1. If they can't take ads, then subs would need to rise to maintain programming.

    2. How will they fill the extra 15 or so minutes per hour which the ads took up? They would need to make more programmes, with less income!!

    3. When subs rise they will lose subscribers, which will have a detrimental effect on programming.

    4. It's a free market and we're talking about commercial TV. All you want to do is protect FTA commercial TV. No one has right to watch FTA TV apart from the BBC and commercial PSBs.

    5. The BBC will be affected by the loss of advertising revenue from their share in UKTV.

    6. To be honest, your reasons all seem to be a bit anti-Sky. If you want something, you've got to pay for it!!. If you go to a sporting event you pay to get in and watch it, why shouldn't TV be any different?

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    @Derek post 16.

    1. No Sky could simply spend less, subs wouldn't need to rise therefore. They could just bid less for sports programming which considering the way bidding has gone through the roof over the last 5-10 years, would be in everyone's interest and would just role back bidding to the position it was in several years ago.

    2. They could still have non commercial advertising ie. advertising for their own programming, channels, services, pre-views of upcoming programmes etc.

    3. No need to put up subs as I said in 1. Thus no need to lose subscribers and even if Sky rationalised its selection of Sports programming through more selective buying, considering they'd be likely to retain premium programming such as the Premiership over eg The Championship or England matches etc, they'd still be retaining the very reasons why people subscribe to Sky over and above FTA. Any sports programming they decided not to bid for and let go potentially to other bidders if bought FTA would still be available to Sky viewers via FTA channels so Sky subscribers actually lose out on nothing. The reason to stay with Sky is still there via the premium content but FTA customers potentially get access to some of the less premium sport content they simply haven't had access to since the sports bidding wars when to obscene levels.

    4. We're talking about regulation not total destruction of a free market. There are lots of examples in the country of regulations to protect protect certain groups / national interests. eg Positive discrimination in the employment context, in the broadcasting context, some restrictions on certain sporting events having to be shown at least in part on FTA tv. So nothing new here. Just an extension to existing licensing conditions and if applied to all pay tv channels and not just Sky, no-one is being singled out. Its governments job to ensure the national interest is protected and losing the many FTA channels that are potentially going to be forced to go encrypted due to lack of advertising revenues is not in the national interest as it will all but destroy Freeview and Freesat and thus FTA tv in this country.

    5. Maybe the BBC will suffer a small loss here, but what will be gained overall will be worth it. I'm sure there are ways which the BBC / government could look into making this up.

    6. TBH, we know each other from another forum Derek and I thinks its fair to say you seem to be very pro Sky. Generally there was much other support from Sky subscribers who actually hate advertising on Pay TV. I'm not actually against Sky - realise any such change would apply to all Pay for TV broadcasters eg Cable providers as well.

    All I'm actually in favour of is saving FTA tv which at the moment is on the verge of becoming very much smaller with regards to channel selection and which at the moment, is almost devoid of sport simply because the playing field when it comes to bidding is so uneven. To even it out and save majorly important FTA channels from going encrypted ie. ITV 2,3,4, Ch4 (?), E4, More4, Film4, 4HD, Five (?), Five HD is in everyone's interest.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ Alsone

    1. What sports has Sky outbid for apart from EPL and England Cricket. What other channels would be prepared to offer viewers the same comprehensive coverage of sports that Sky do? I can't imagine any other channel covering every European Tour Golf event for twenty hours per week (in HD too). What about county cricket? No channel in history has devoted as much airtime as Sky has. Sky show old BBC favourites like the Horse of the Year Show and Hickstead. Why don't the BBC bid for those any more? The list goes on and on. FTA TV has done itself no favours in sports coverage. They have only themselves to blame.

    2. I wouldn't expect subscription channels to show a 42 minute show and then have 18 minutes of promos would you? That's hardly going to keep viewers on board for the next show. Or do you think they should have breaks for the promos to fill an hour slot like they do with ads? I'm sure when the people you say want no ads on subscription channels, that's not what they want.

    3. To maintain current programming and have no ads will mean subs will have to rise. I go back to golf again. When Sky show golf, the ad breaks are full of golf related products, because the advertisers know that a good proportion of viewers are also golfers. Are you expecting Titleist or whoever to pay for their ads to be inserted in programmes where the chances of golfers watching are minimal?

    4. How can ITV2/3/4, More4, E4, Fiver etc. be classed as of National interest? Freeview and Freesat will not be affected, because after DSO they will be the only way for any non Sky/Cable viewer to watch the FTA PSB channels.
    Apart from the EPL what sports rights have been sold at obscene levels?

    5. The BBC receive tens of millions of pounds from UKTV. I read somewhere it was the equivalent of about £9 per license payer per year.

    6. FTA is devoid of sport, because FTA channels don't want to show it. When they have the rights, the BBC often give short shrift and stick it on 'red button' so that the masses won't phone in to complain that Eggheads isn't on!!

    C4 were just as bad with the cricket. They made the ECB bring the start time forward, so that they were finished playing before Hollyoaks started and they interuppted play for horse racing etc. C4 actually made a financial loss on covering the Test Matches.

    When you say devoid of sport, do you really mean devoid of the EPL?

  • Comment number 25.

    "@digitalscoobiedoo" I dont think the new encoders will be here anytime soon. The people at the beeb dont think theres anything wrong with the quality and they are more than happy with an average HD picture rather than Stunning HD pictures we used to see. youd think for such big sporting events that they would up the bit rate a little - but oh no. Not BBC HD. Heaven forbid we should have a quality HD picture like old times.

  • Comment number 26.

    Thanks for the update. Seeing Top Gear and The Restaurant in HD would be great for me, two of my favourite shows! And thankyou for the tennis this week, BBC HD just gets better and better!

  • Comment number 27.

    @ Danielle, digitalscoobydoo and Wednesday83.

    Ateme: http://www.ateme.com/bb/products.php5?Arg=1

    That's what others in allegedly the know say LUXE TV use. Better than BBC HD quality and LUXE HD run a bit rate of 6mbs compared to 16.5mbs on BBC HD!!!! Not sure model wise if its the 2100, 2200 or 3101. Point is, never seen any movement artefacts on LUXE on the occasions they have shown fast movement but even if BBC needed a higher bit rate for sport, there's a significant saving to be had.

    Still don't see why Freesat should be throttled by Freeview though when down scalings available. Seems to me this is political so as not to make Freeview look like the poor relation.

    Why not simply let the two platforms stand on their own strengths - Freesat for those who can't get Freeview or who want ultimate in HD content / quality solution, Freeview for those who want a simply want a cheap through an aerial solution.

  • Comment number 28.

    Wow... a HD post with 27 comments, and no mention of DOGs!...... Oops.


  • Comment number 29.

    Very Funny comment 28 from digital-elysium that,did make me laugh after a long day at the office.

    Excellent Blog Danielle lots of info and great news about the new programmes. Ashes to Ashes and Waterloo Road will raise the profile.Shame about Casualty, by 2012 we will have HD mobile phones.

    Please dont hold back Freesat, Sky HD & Virgin Media development because of Freeview limitations, the former are available now and Freeview HD will be years for most people.

    Casualty 1909 is a bit of a waste of HD as most of it is shot in dark dingy surroundings a bit like Anne Franks Diary was. Last of The Summer Wine on the other hand is excellent quality.

    Looking forward to Glastonbury & Wimbledon and once again South Pacific has been Fantastic.

    One question ,I see Life on Mars and the 1st Ashes to Ashes are now on Blu-Ray were these shot in HD? and if so why were they not transmitted in HD?

    Looking forward to more news soon especially about The Championship and The Open 2010, and also answers to the questions raised.

    Keep bringing us more & more programmes.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ SkyCaddie "One question ,I see Life on Mars and the 1st Ashes to Ashes are now on Blu-Ray were these shot in HD? and if so why were they not transmitted in HD?"

    They may be on Blu-Ray, but they're not HD. Read the customer reviews on Amazon. Not very positive.

  • Comment number 31.

    The problem with BBC HD is that not enough content on the channel is worth watching. All that is shown is repeats and other programmes that are not top hits. There are not enough programmes that are shown at the same time as the SD version on BBC one/two/three/four.

    Also, i would like to see Match of the Day (when it comes back on) in HD and the cricket 20/20 highlights as you could atleast make the highlights enjoyable to watch seeing as you do not show the actual live matches or games on BBC. So it would be nice to see the highlights in HD, instead of showing the same repeats over and over again.

    You might as well call BBC HD the 'BBC Repeat channel in HD'.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ high-def999 MOTD won't be in HD until the BBC move toy their new studios in Manchester in 2011. ATM there is no studio equipped for sports presentation in HD. Until then, all of BBC Sports HD coverage has to be produced as a 100% outside broadcast.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think the scheduling for the BBC HD channel is bizarre.

    I'm not talking about the lack of Formula 1 action which is baffling, as is Match of The Day's continued absence, but the fact that shows are often shown later in the week then when they first air on standard BBC channels. Gardeners World and the amazing South Pacific are great examples of this.

    Quite a few of the BBCs amazing natural history documentries don't feature on HD until the series is over and instead the HD channel shows older programming, why?

    As I have the ability to access BBC HD through my Sky box I'm often disappointed that I have to wait 3-4 days to watch a program.

    I'm also confused as to why programs aren't shown through the night from midnight till 6 am for example so people can record programs on their PVRs and watch them the following evening rather than waiting the standard 3-5 days for the BBC HD channel to catch up.

    Last years HD coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show was magnificent, with images so clear you felt you could smell the flowers, this year there was no HD coverage, how odd?

    The continued focus of period dramas doesn't realy suit the HD medium, the programming on the HD channel is regressing instead of improving

    Why are the BBC running a HD channel at only 50% power, where if they put their metaphorical foot down the channel could be amazing, instead of the half-assed attempt it is now.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry to go off topic, but is there any news regarding subtitling on BBC HD, particularly on the Virgin Media platform? We had subtitles for about a month on BBC HD, and then a week ago they just stopped again. Maybe you could address this and the question of text and interactive services in a future posting? Unfortunately your blog of late seems to have been somewhat hijacked by the F1/24hr sport/DOG debate

  • Comment number 35.

    @ Blue_Blood1

    Hardly baffling!! Fi isn't offered to broadcasters in HD and until they move to Manchester, the BBC have no facilities to make MOTD in HD.

    I thought Gardeners' World was an 8pm Friday simulcast?

    If I had to list my all time favourite programmes on BBC HD, Little Dorrit, Cranford and Bleak House would be near the top of the list. They were all perfect examples of what HD can do to enhance viewing.

  • Comment number 36.

    Danielle: Thanks for the information.

    Please reconsider your decision not to up-scale SD programming during the day when you are broadcasting the preview loop.

    My main reason is that the BBC seem to have a problem with their SD channels when they are using the red button that results in a very poor SD picture on the main channel. A good example is Royal Ascot currently live on BBC1. The picture is poor. I have raised this with BBC and have not had an adequate response. I have been told to contact Sky, even though I reported the same poor picture quality on Freeview and FreeSat!

    Most of the time BBC SD quality is good.

    Maybe using the HD channel could provide additional bandwidth as well as access to high capacity BBC infrastructure.

    Of course Ascot on HD would be preferable!!

    Thanks for all you and your team do to provide such a welcome HD service!

  • Comment number 37.

    @ Bill-Taylor "My main reason is that the BBC seem to have a problem with their SD channels when they are using the red button that results in a very poor SD picture on the main channel. A good example is Royal Ascot currently live on BBC1. The picture is poor."

    I can't understand why that should be. The red button streams don't share bandwidth with the main channels. In fact, they're broadcast from a different satellite.

  • Comment number 38.

    37@ I accept and understand this, but I guess there are problems with the BBC's digital infrastructure that means that when they are using the red button to multi-screen (as today) they can not produce the best SD quality they can and normally do. The BBC seem to have chosen quantity over quality!

    I accept that when I am interested in the red button program I am glad that it is available!

  • Comment number 39.

    Hello derek500 and Bill - I work in the red button team. Bitrates aren't my speciality (the BBC has a dedicated team for such things) however I do know how our satellite space is divided up.

    There are seven red button video streams (used by Sport) which sit by themselves and their use doesn't affect the main BBC channels in any way - other than the fact that obviously if they weren't there at all, it would be possible to put fewer channels in the same space and obviously bitrates would increase.

    There's also two additional red button streams which provide the News Multiscreen and some other services - these sit on the same parcel as space as BBC News, BBC Alba and BBC Parliament.

    Of course if the BBC red button streams weren't there, there would be more space overall, but only if the BBC was prepared to continue to pay for that space. However we do take picture quality seriously, and ours is usually higher than other channels.

    Our channels are broadcast at the full 720x576i resolution whilst many commercial channels are broadcast at 544x576i instead (the picture is stretched out by your set top box) and our bitrates are generally around 4000-4100 kbits/s which is again above most commercial channels.

    If you want to be really geeky, there's a great website where they measure bitrates on satellite channels at

    According to that if you want the absolute best BBC One and BBC Two bitrates on satellite, you'll need to tune to the Wales or Scotland versions which are broadcast around 4900 kbits/s. Of the English versions, BBC One East (West) and BBC One Channel Islands are at 4200 kbits/s. This will be due to the way the channels are split up between our seven transponders (basically bundles of channels) - the transponders those channels are on have slightly less on them.

  • Comment number 40.

    #39: Andrew thanks for the information. I view BBC1 East on sky (W).

    From the replies I have had from the BBC I accept my problem of poor picture quality at times when compared with what I normally get on BBC SD and other Sky SD channels is not down to a simple cause, but must be a combination of things. viz:

    * Live broadcasts, when the Red button is being used to show parallel live broadcasts
    * Not broadcast bit-rate, but may lie in other limitations in the BBC digital infrastructure
    * Depends on the cameras being used and whether they need radio to bring the pictures to the outside broadcast centre ie lack of sharpness that sometimes resembles a mobile phone (newer ones)
    * The poor picture is categorised by small pixel blurring when the picture contains significant movement.

    I have Freeview and Freesat available and have checked that the problem is visible on all of these digital channels!

    Are you saying you do not see any degradation of picture quality when viewing on a normal subscriber system (not BBC internal systems)?

    It is such a shame, as I am aware of what picture quality the BBC SD service can provide!

    I have HD and really enjoy the HD picture and 5.1 sound.

    I am not comparing HD with SD, just the sometimes poor SD picture quality which is not what I expect of the BBC digital TV service!

  • Comment number 41.

    The TV feeds I have at my desk are sourced off a "normal" satellite system from the roof of the building - okay, it's a system that allows for the distribution to hundreds of people in the building, but it's a normal satellite signal.

    You're probably right in that it's a combination of factors. For some people the TV set up will make some TV channels look pretty ropey - I looked at a TV in our office and found it looked awful recently, only to realise it was a widescreen TV where the set top box was cropping a widescreen picture to 4:3 then stretching it. Looked dreadful!

    For sport the big problems are fast movement and lots of detail, even if it's just millions of blades of grass on a football pitch. These really test the encoders. Static or slow moving pictures are a lot easier to encode well, and the results are generally better looking.

  • Comment number 42.

    Regarding red button channels the quality is often appauling, take for example the french open, it airs as 544x576 which greatly affects the quality of tennis, also at the left and right sides of the screen there are white transparent lines which look horrible, why is this horrible sight on the left and right? please use 720x576 for the red button channels.

    Regarding danielle's comments about childrens tv on BBCHD that was a very poor excuse, the shows that air from 4-6pm are aimed at VERY young children who can barely form sentences yet, nevermind know the difference between HD and SD. The childrens shows that are aired 6-7.30pm ish are aimed at older children which i dont particularly have a problem with but we could use the 4-6pm slot for repeats and then we can have the repeats that air in the evening off and show new programmes or air repeats of shows that aired within the last 1 week.

    For example, jools holland airs on friday nights, there is NO repeat of this whatsoever! I often go out on friday nights and if i forget to record it i have to watch it on itunes, you air planet earth, robin hood, spooks code9 (which is awful in comparison to the proper spooks show) and other extremely old shows as repeats, why not with new shows?

    also last night's airing of South Pacific had the audio channels wrong for me on Virgin, there was no narrator audio track present.

    Why couldn't you buy the french open mens and womens final in HD, i'm sure you would have got loads of viewers! EurosportHD aired it but i dont have that channel, had to watch the BBC2 SD airing.

    The wimbledon roof opening special that aired around 1 month ago should have been filmed and broadcast in HD, you would only need around 8-10 cameras im sure and you re-aired it on BBCHD during queens club when it was raining and it was only SD, you would have then got your money's worth, you could air some of it during wimbledon in 2 weeks time when it rains too as it takes approx 30-40mins to close the roof and to change the air within centre court.

    On a side-note, please can you bring out more of your shows that are shown on BBCHD on bluray. Also bring out shows like The apprentice out on DVD, i'd love to buy series 1-5 boxset, i never saw series 1, the only way for me to watch it is to illegally download it. I'd love Mock the Week, Top Gear and many other shows on DVD too. Top Gear would sell millions of copies worldwide if you brought out all 11 or so series out on dvd. ITV and channel4 bring out a far greater percentage of their shows out on DVD. DVD is far better quality with 8mbps or so bitrate with progressive video and AC3 audio than 3-4mbps interlaced video and 192bit .mp2 audio.

    Why has stephen fry across america STILL not been shown on BBCHD? it came out on bluray around christmas time. It makes no sense to film something in HD and to not air it. Also you recently have started airing comedies that were on tv 1-2 years ago in SD on BBCHD, which is great BUT, why has it taken so long to air it on BBCHD? We have hours of repeats everyday, when didnt you air them within 1 month of them airing on BBC1/2/3/4?

  • Comment number 43.

    please ignore the comment about the missing narrator's audio on last night's south pacific, just changed some settings and audio is working fine now.

  • Comment number 44.

    #41 Andrew: Thanks for the reply. What I do not understand is that sometimes BBC SD can produce good quality coverage of live sport!

    The poor picture quality is comparable to some news feeds that must have been through the digital mill - Hence my hypothesis that there are limitations within the BBC's digital infrastructure that are compounded when the red button is being used to provide additional channels (eg the football with Ascot).

    I am fortunate to have HD, including Eurosport and Lux HD.

    I remain disappointed in the BBC SD picture quality which while infrequent it is galling when I can see what the BBC can achieve.

  • Comment number 45.

    samuel1984 - indeed on Freeview the resolution is 544x576. It was previously 720x576 however was reduced to allow BBC Parliament to go full screen (BBC Parliament is also 544x576). Unfortunately at the moment we just don't have the space to increase it back.

    Bill-Taylor - presence of red button content really shouldn't really make any difference. If there's extra video options, it's just a case of getting additional distribution enabled and piping it through to the playout area. As long as you can get enough pipes in, there shouldn't be a problem at all! The BBC has a large number of satellites and an extremely capable IT network that has been designed to allow us to make all programmes digitally rather than editing on tape - hence it has lots of capacity.

  • Comment number 46.

    At post 34, niallinialli refers to a problem about Virgin subtitles. I wasn't aware of this before, but I have had it checked out and yes, there was a problem which the BBC had not been alerted to, but it has now been fixed. Thanks for highlighting the issue.


  • Comment number 47.

    #45 Andrew: While accepting this I still do not understand why the BBC SD picture quality is so variable. I do not believe it is only me! My hypothesis stands that the BBC have to make picture quality compromises when they are showing live programming on the main channel and live program(s) via the red button. Remember I see the same poor picture quality on Sky, Freesat and Freeview digital platforms!

  • Comment number 48.


    There are major downsides, first other sources are taking away advertising revenue from the tv market.

    Stopping advertising on other channels doesn't mean the others can then double what they charge, they would be lucky to see an increase in revenue at all.

    Advertisng free channels would likely draw in more viewers meaning less viewers for advertising led channels.

    Advertisers could still

    -Sponsor a programme with credits at the start and end.
    -Sponsor an entire channel
    -Or in the future use product placement or logos that pop up now and again.

    The idea Sky or Setanta would just give up sports rights is also highly unlikely, people like a mix of sporting events.
    The Championship and England games are still very important to both broadcasters, and to those viewers.

    In the long term the BBC is likely to be the main source of FTA HD programming and as part of this its sports coverage needs to move into HD.

    The lowest priced HD box is around £95 before installation, a large amount to ask someone to spend for the odd series in HD.

    People need to know events year in year out will be in HD.

    While we know some shows in the future will be now made in HD there is for the time being no news on Championship football or the Rugby Autumn Internationals.

    It would be good to hear what the long term plans are for HD sport coverage when possible.

    And what other blogs on the BBC to write on to see F1 and other events shown in HD.

    Was there a reason why the Top Gear North Pole challenge was in HD and the current new series isn't?

  • Comment number 49.

    I would rather see adverts that that happening as well.

    Just like the DOG it would put people off viewing the service.

    -Or in the future use product placement or logos that pop up now and again.

  • Comment number 50.

    I still think, regardless of family viewing that children's programmes are as waste of airing time on BBC HD as children do not care about the quality of a programme; and often what is shown is not worth showing in HD from Cbeebies and CBBC. In particular IN THE NIGHT GARDEN! You are correct there is two channels already avaliable for children's content so why not stick to them, why do you have to use up BBC HD's valuable airing time.

    Also, I agree with Blue_Blood1, that why are programmes shown a few weeks after than the orignial programme in HD.

  • Comment number 51.

    why do the bitrates on bbc1 and bbc2 vary so much? Formula1 qualifying is 4mbps and yet football when aired is 4.5mbps. BBC3 airs spooks in a pitiful 3mbps and with an awful unneccessary pink bbc3 logo on. Formula1 also needs 4.5mbps just like football, there is high motion and action. Regarding BBC3 please just have bbc3 promo trailers like you do inbetween eps to show people its bbc3 as it is incredibly annoying having that dog too, same with bbc4. Enough people have complained about the dogs, its time to take action.

    and post no #50 is right, we shouldn't be wasting precious bbchd airtime with kids tv, we could use 4-6pm to air repeats of recent shows, then 6-6.30pm bbc news in hd, have hd studio cameras and a small number of outside broadcast cameras. Sky News HD is starting by the end of this year, would be embarrassing for the license payer to come 2nd to a 2nd-rate news channel. Of course you cant replace the 100's of correspondants' cameras around the world but you can do the studio cameras and scheduled news events like press conferences for murders and other things you can anticipate in advance you could film in hd. It would certainly make me want to watch the news more often. Also people who submit videos on youtube etc that are shown on bbc news are starting to be filmed in 720p and would look much nicer on bbchd.

  • Comment number 52.

    @ Andrew post 48

    I don't believe I said it they double what they could charge advertisers. The problem is that ITV and other companies have allegedly insufficient advertising in quantity to provide them with the funds they need to operate. Thus concentrating advertising on FTA would address that.

    On your second point, there's no evidence to suggest advertising would drive people to subscription. In the late 1980's when advertising on ITV was at its height, and Sky was operating, so were the viewing figures.

    With regards to your comment about circumventing the rules, it would be for the government / regulator to ensure that the rules couldn't be circumvented by covering those eventualities also.

    I don't believe Sky would give up Sports rights, merely rationalise spending and as Sports is one of the biggest spends, I think there's a possibility they might choose to concentrate their buying power on the high profile Sports events that bring in subscribers rather than some lesser sports.

    So far as recent comments about the internet taking away advertising rom FTA tv (made by a government minister) all I can say is that is Bull. I'm on the internet up to 18 hours per day , 7 days per week and I can't remember the last time time I saw an advert for a tv channel, programme or sporting event. So far as I'm concerned, the blame for advertising over capacity lies purely at the feet of the Pay TV providers as it is they who have introduced many thousands of channels into the UK and whilst this isn't all a bad thing, it is from an advertising perspective as it spreads the advertisers too thinly.

    If you are truly convinced that Sky wouldn't rationalise and spend less then another answer would be to place a levy of say 25% against the profits of Pay TV companies to support the FTA channels.

    Fact is the FTA channels can't be expected to be compete and survive in a market where the Pay TV channels not only get funding through subscription, but also are in a position to take away FTA TV's funding through advertising, whether that happens intentionally or by accident.

    FTA ie Public Service Broadcasting needs to be protected as without it the vast majority of people (including some of the most vulnerable) in this country would be left without a tv service and even a return to the old days of 5 mediocre channels is simply unacceptable.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ alsone You're having a laugh again!! Why should pay tv pay a levy to help FTA? For a top 100 PLC BSkyB's profit is not at all excessive, compared to turnover. Don't forget the majority of BSkyB's shareholders are institutional and private investors, and the vast majority of the population will no doubt have a tiny share of their profits.

    To say that the five main channels are mediocre is ridiculous. They are what makes British TV one of the best services in the world.

    Pay TV channels are not taking away advertising form FTA channels!!

    Advertisers pay in relation to the number of viewers a programme gets.

    How will making pay TV advert free give more viewers to FTA channels? If anything it will make the advert free channels more attractive.

    Why do you continue with your total ignorance of how TV works in your personal against pay TV?

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks for posting Danielle, it's good to see that your following the discussions generated by your blogs. I can't wait to hear the result of the work you currently have underway, it sounds as though it'll be something we've all been waiting for.

    Although the topic of Alsone and derek500's ongoing conversation, re: FTA and Pay TV, is not something over which Danielle has control I'm reading it with interest and wanted to comment. Personally, I think there are too many of these new channels - with not much of any worth on them.

    I think that broadcasters should now go back to the 5 main ones, plus BBC4, and get rid of all the others. The couple of good programmes which are currently spread thinly across the new channels (e.g. Curb your enthusiasm) could be shifted back to the core, and the bandwidth which would be saved across all broadcasting platforms could be used to allow everything on the 6 core channels to be broadcast in HD (or upscaled when not produced in HD) and 5.1 surround sound.

    The commercial stations' advertisers would be happier because they could focus their efforts and get more audience for their money. I'm sure the viewers would love it too; concentrated high quality TV vice the diluted dross we currently experience.

    As I'm writing this, another idea has occured to me that takes me back to the main topic of this Danielle's post and flows on from a comment I made in an earlier post about the mediocrity of BBC3's scheduling. By ditching BBC3 there'd be an option opened up for the BBC to respond to all the sports lovers without alienating those who hate sports. BBC3 could be relauched as BBC Sport HD, with 24/7 Sport all shown in HD, to supplement the other 6 HD channels.

    7 HD channels in all, with something for everyone! I don't think anyone could complain about that.

  • Comment number 55.

    my comment is, whilst i understand about F1 etc, and the BBC bleats on about great sporting coverage, licence fee, blah, blah. What do they do on the HD channel, show Wimbledon none stop, is this a joke, you are showing what is considered a minority sport non - stop on your flagship HD channel, whilst sport that most people watch is ignored by HD. Is this one of the reasons the BBC is sinking faster than the titanic, I dont know. I dont watch sky TV myself, but I admire sky TV, as to what they put on their HD channels, their is something for everyone, not just for a minority to watch foor 2 weeks of the year. C'mon BBC, get with it, the colonial past is long gone, and its time to move with the times.

  • Comment number 56.

    @thomasrut Wimbledon may be considered a minority sport in your eyes, but it's not.

    Checking last year's BARB figures Wimbledon featured several times in the Top Ten ratings of both BBC1 and BBC2.

  • Comment number 57.

    yep, tennis is great, can't wait for wimbledon on bbchd this year. just a shame the french and australian open finals werent shown on bbchd:( BBC seems to think that british people only like tennis played in britain but thats not the case, i love all grand slams.

  • Comment number 58.

    I,m not having a go at tennis in particular, each and everyone has their own favourite sport that they want to see, and mine isnt formula 1 either, what I am trying to point out is that sport on HD should be shared out equally, the excuse earlier about latency speeds ect for transmission falls flat on its face when it says it need 4.5mbs for football, and 4 for formula 1 ( just examples ), and that its difficult to broadcast because of motion ect, what about tennis then, do they stand around all day, no! please BBC, stop coming up with lame excuses. I want to see other sports, is the world cup next year going to be in HD, ITV broadcast champions league in HD no problem, and its free as well. Theirs no point in looking at ratings either, as their are so many channels available, and so much to watch, that even the most mundane programme can make the top ten, chrikey, even the teletubbies made it one year. Anyway, enough said, BBC, share out your sporting HD please, or at least the programmes you put on HD, for instance, that programme about those ex soldiers in Iraq that was shown on BBC on monday and tuesday, that would look awesome on HD, but is it, no!, we have to have programmes like casualty 1899 or whatever, oh! please!

  • Comment number 59.

    i agree about those crappy shows, spooks code 9, casualty 1909 and stuff, they are truly awful.

    if bbc has the right for world cup or atleast some of the matches you can guarantee they will be shown on bbchd.

    No top gear in hd which starts tonight:( very dissapointing seeing as how popular top gear is worldwide and how few episodes there are per series, can't understand why that wasn't filmed in hd, same with the apprentice. strictly come dancing results wasnt even in hd last year which was a joke, its in the same studio and uses very few cameras, there's no excuse for something like that.

    btw, todays f1 race was 4.13mbps, why is it not 4.5mbps like football!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    I really just wish the BBC would drop the HD preview. Many of the other HD channels, particularly the documentary channels have little or no more content. They are basically a 4 hourly loop, but thats better than the meaningless HD preview, which may show something your interested in, randomly, for 5 minutes.

  • Comment number 61.

    no top gear in HD is a joke, the most popular programme on bbc2 as well, just goes to show doesn't it!!

  • Comment number 62.

    No Top Gear in HD hahaha. Good old BBC. Another top show that the BBC Ignore. I guess with you ignoring all the top shows that its a cost issue??

    What is most disturbing though is tomorrow sees the start of Wimbledon and the BBC appear not to be increasing the bit rate for the event.

    If only we could have an election to Vote new bosses in to BBC HD.

    Nothing against you at all Danielle, how ever the bandwith issues needs to be resolved and you appear not to be interested in this at all. Wimbledon is one of the 4 slams of the tennis season. BBC HD should treat the sport and its fans with respect. Why not up the bandwith to 20 mbps for 2 weeks??? Imagine the good press youd get.

  • Comment number 63.

    i agree wednesday, Danielle has been awful, its a dictatorship not a publicly run channel, she decides what to do and ignores our countless posts about DOGS, no top gear etc etc. Just if we could get someone really famous to fight our cause and get 30,000 ppl to write in and complain, its about the only way danielle will change things to how WE the licence payers want.

    And yes the bitrate is way too low, the bbc's encoders are incredibly poor in comparison to sky's and then she makes the awful excuse that she wants the public's money to be fully stretched out by not spending more on newer encoders, everyone can see through her lies, it needs to stop. Oh and the good old 1 about the bbc asking consumers and the majority saying they liked the dog, thats a complete lie. Why would you remove the dog on scripted tv shows do those viewers know what channel they are watching and documentary viewers dont?

    Think i might start a facebook group to protest, i'm sure we can get a few thousand people to join. We should rename the channel to IRANHD, pretty similar style of dictatorship i think.

    I'm going to put in a freedom of information request for the information that danielle said that people were asked if they liked the DOG and the majority said yes. I'll keep you guys posted on the outcome.

  • Comment number 64.

    samuel1984 - please moderate your language (i.e. accusing people of lying/dictatorship). Danielle may not have agreed with every single thing you have said, but she has engaged with you in good faith on this blog. Also she has not ignored the DOGs issue, as you can see by reading this post

  • Comment number 65.

    Danielle: Thanks for having the DOG set so low for Wimbledon. It does not intrude, but I still do not accept that the BBC needs any DOG.

  • Comment number 66.

    nick i think we both know that not a single person in the last 9 months has said they want the DOG therefore keeping it is going against what the license payers want, which can only possibly be described as being a dictatorship of the channel. She has made awful excuses about maximising the length of the encoders to be fair to us which we all know isn't true. She is the head of the BBCHD channel, she needs to make a greater effort into securing a way higher budget than the pitiful amount that it currently receives. There are no repeats of many popular shows such as later with jools holland etc and yet we have 2yr old repeats of some shows and not a single person has posted saying they like the kids tv on bbchd, quite the opposite.

    The BBC is supposed to represent the views of the license payer and adhere to complaints made which we have done in these blog posts but they have been ignored and not addressed.

    Anyway i'll keep people posted on the outcome of the freedom of information request.

  • Comment number 67.

    I'd like to add, i have no complaints filming kids tv in HD as the bbc will be able to sell those shows abroad for quite alot of money, however, they do not need to be shown on BBCHD, the responses from the forums clearly show that the viewers dont want the kids shows airing.

    I'm not complaining about formula1 not being in HD as that seems to be berny eccleston's fault in not letting people have it in HD, but match of the day should certainly be in HD, all premiership matches are filmed in HD, the bbc would just needs a handful of studio cameras for the studio talk from gary linekar etc. Football is our nation's number1 sport and yet we have so little of it on BBCHD.

    You can't really excuse these problems, she needs to be more pro-active in lobbying to securing higher funds from the bbc trust and needs to spend the money in the right areas and shows that are filmed in hd should be aired in HD eg Stephen Fry Across America (which is out on bluray and STILL hasn't been aired on BBCHD).

  • Comment number 68.

    @samuel1984 It's not right to attack workers and the allegations aren't true.

    If there is any proof that BBC HD listens then this blog is proof as Danielle kindly took the time to write it after my previous blog posts.

    I'm sure the wish of viewers to see F1 in HD as well as other sports is noted as well as Top Gear and the removal of the DOG.

    @Alsone post 52

    Simply by stopping certain channels showing adverts would have no benefit for free to air channels.

    If they can't advertise on certain channels they certainly won't spend any more on the channels that still carry adverts.

    What posts by Alsone highlight is how important a role BBC HD has for free to air services and the need for the BBC to cover a wide range of events including sport.

    While its great to see Wimbledon in HD both Ascot and the T20 World Cup wern't avaliable in HD, despite the latter being broadcast in HD.

    Neither was Top Gear as well.

    With Championship coverage starting in several weeks times and other sports coverage in the near future and other BBC shows it would good to hear what Summer,Autumn and Winter Sports coverage the BBC will bring.

  • Comment number 69.

    @samuel1984 ....but match of the day should certainly be in HD, all premiership matches are filmed in HD, the bbc would just needs a handful of studio cameras for the studio talk from gary linekar etc. Football is our nation's number1 sport and yet we have so little of it on BBCHD.

    As has been pointed out many times, the BBC have no studios equipped with facilites needed to make MOTD in HD - you need more than a few HD cameras, you also need a complete editing suite to mix the HD feeds. New studios are currently being built and when they're ready I'm sure MOTD will be in HD.

    Sky I believe only have two such studios and they are kept very busy, so much so that their golf which is shown live during the day in HD is only shown in SD in the studio based highlights programme.

  • Comment number 70.

    editing wouldn't need to be in a suite at each stadium, match of the day airs hours after therefore the bbc can edit the football matches in an outside broadcast vehicle that they have at football matches they dont need to do it inside the stadiums.

    Live matches yeah you may be right, you'd need some seriously long cables to reach to outside broadcast vehicles, obviously wembley stadium will have these facilities built in which is why we get to watch some big events from there. For non-live football an outside broadcast vehicle would be absolutely fine though.

    BBCHD has been going for several years, such facilites should already be in place, its not a new channel. As for shows like the apprentice its just crazy, there cant be more than 12 cameras used, they should ask Sir Alan sugar if he'd like to donate to make it in HD.

  • Comment number 71.

    I love HD on BBC, the fact they only transmit content that was filmed in HD is a boon over some of the other rubbish pertaining to be HD.

    Just settled down to see how Wimbledon looked in HD, and it looks good, but why on earth is the camera man waving his camera back and forth when filming from the back of the court? He only needs to stay still, we can see everything from where he is. I'm not sure if its because its such great qulity but this waving back and forthe is making me feel sea sick, please ask the director to stop him.

  • Comment number 72.

    i agree fanofhd, they do this for all bbc tennis, i like it sometimes as its more zoomed in, its easier to see if a ball goes out of the lines or not but that should only be done on slow shots like a lob. They should zoom out a little and only move it side to side when the ball is hit to the very side of the court requiring the player to go out of the court as constantly moving side to side makes it blurrier and you dont get to see the blades of grass in hd when there is motion.

    p.s there were quite a few transmission problems with the video in today's tennis for which you put an onscreen text apology, hope it doesnt happen again.

  • Comment number 73.

    Just want to say the Wimbledon coverage has been top notch and its great to have all the courts in HD. Well done for that.

    The quality of picture is very good when still, particulary the highlights show from the roof. The channel struggles with fast movement though but its to be expected I guess with dated encoders and not enough bandwith to support.

    Also got to say tonights repeat of Joan rivers at the Appolo was much better than most Appolo shows. Maybe the BBc should consider filming more shows this way?? Virtually no noise and the colours were very vibrant compared to usual.

  • Comment number 74.

    # samuel1984 mentions problems with yesterday's Wimbledon. Andy Quested (with the long job title of Principal Technologist, HD, BBC Future Media & Technology) has asked us to reply on his behalf:

    "I'm at the HD Masters so can't add a post. I saw a comment this morning about a picture fault yesterday. I have found out it was a faulty radio camera link that caused video and audio break-up. Can you add a comment from me?"

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm also enjoying the Wimbledon coverage, but I agree that sometimes there is unnecessary camera movement and zooming that causes motion blur. This is true of other sports coverage - perhaps directors need to be more aware that there is a huge difference between the HD picture when the camera is still, and when it is moving. If there was more effort to keep cameras still, and when camera movement or zooming is necessary, to do it slowly, it would make a big improvement to the viewing experience.

  • Comment number 76.

    Dear All

    Some of the camera movement you refer to is needed to maintain the action in the 4:3 safe area. We are required to do this as host broadcaster for Wimbledon. Wider shots are not the answer either as the action would be a bit small on a 4:3 screen. Until the word is all 16:9 we have to oblige.


  • Comment number 77.

    cant you just zoom out slightly and ask the cameramen not to move the camera when it isn't completely necessary as 70% of the time it isn't necessary to move the camera left and right.

    Apart from that and a few broadcast feed problems the wimbledon coverage has been good.

    btw, regarding queens club, you're director was showing replays after nearly every shot in slow motion and that meant missing throwing the ball in the air on serves and sometimes hitting the ball which is incredibly annoying, hope you can have a word about that and make sure it doesnt happen in wimbledon this year, i dont remember it happening this year at wimbledon but definately dont want it to. Also please get some more microphones around the players' seats so we can hear arguments between them and the umpires. Directional microphones to aim at the players would be good too as they often joke around or query umpire decisions and we can't hear what the players are saying.


  • Comment number 78.

    @ paul_geaton
    I agree that scrapping one bbc channel to increase the bandwidth to the other channels for evening primetime is a good idea. But it would be much better to keep bbc three and scrap bbc four, especially as bbc three has 3x the audience share of bbc four (according to barb).

    Things that are currently sheduled for bbc could be moved over to bbc two late night/early morning slot instead of simulcasting bbc news 24 at that time.

    With regards to sport on BBC HD, most sport (ignoring european/international football, and late evening tennis games) goes on at a tiem when bbc hd is doing previews or not much anyway. move the kids stuff to 9am-12pm, and then it would be possible to have HD sport all afternoon till 6pm, followed by the usual assortment of hd drama / entertainment in the evening, no one loses anything, and there is more HD stuff.Finally then do repeats of stuff in the early hours of the morning (maybe simulcasting HD versions of the stuff on the former bbc 4 channel as mentioned above).

  • Comment number 79.

    Just a suggestion Danielle for Next years Glastonbury, instead of the BBC taking over 400 staff to the festival, maybe the bbc cust cut the staff half if not more and invest the savings in Championship HD football instead???

    If we dont get HD championship football this season then please step down from your job Danielle.

  • Comment number 80.

    On the subject of Wimbledon quality, I noticed that during slow mo shots on the HD station there was an odd strobing effect. It wasn't too distracting, but did look a bit odd. Is this inherant in the technology or some sort of fault?

  • Comment number 81.

    I cant find any more recent thread on which to comment. (MOAN really) I have also submitted a general complaint ot the BBC. As Wimbledon came to an end, I realised that it might be worth getting Freesat HD. I dont want to subscribe to Sky HD - I have a lapsed subscription to Sky, and I am happy watching loads of stuff generally - the Red Button service is generally great on the BBC.
    However, when I really started looking into it, I am absolutely amazed by how little content the BBC have on HD. I dont understand the comments about the 9hr broadcasting. I don't understand why you are limited to 9hrs - is this technical or finance? But even more I dont understand why half of this is Kid's programming. I mean. come on.
    I've put this on the Sports Blog, because I expected to see the Open Golf was going to be on HD, and I would have bought it for that. But it's not on.
    In other threads it has been pointed out just how many HD Ready sets are being sold - well any new TV is HD Ready now isnt it, so there will be a tremendous unsatisfied user base out there.
    I expect the BBC to be leading this, not pussyfooting around with some token coverage. Even Channel 4 seem to have more/better content than the BBC. Provide the content, and users will go for it. Lots of users!
    You manage to spend fortunes on i-Players, syndicated RSS feeds (I subscribe to quite a few radio podcasts), but you are neglecting the real key flagship innovation of the last few years. Its REAL hard to understand why.

  • Comment number 82.

    I was pleased to see news of the BBC's live coverage of the Championship campaign due to start with Newcastle United's opening-day trip to West Bromwich Albion on 8 August.

    Is there any news yet on the possibility of HD coverage of these games?

  • Comment number 83.

    just imagine what had happened today after the formula 1 qualifying ( which was by far the best for years ), BBC had shown the golf in HD, another minority sport takes centre stage, I just think someone in the BBC saw this might happen and cancelled the golf, cynical, maybe??, but lately popular sport is not covered. Are the championship games going to be in HD, hmmm, I think not, probably moves too fast for BBC HD.

  • Comment number 84.

    My 2 year old nephew really apprecites having "in The Night Garden" available in HD - he often comments on the clarity of colour and the fact that you can see every blade of plastic grass.

    No doubt the BBC are keeping the youngsters happy for the inevitable licence fee debate in 2030!

    Sarcasm aside, it's time to stop the excuses - if the BBC can't supply sport in high def like it's rivals, then it is time to give up the rights to a proper broadcaster. I am sure it could spend the money it saves on another US import like Heroes or The Wire to entertain us at 11pm on a Monday evening!

    Oops, I said sarcasm aside! Sorry!

  • Comment number 85.

    @gemma-the-husky wrote: Its REAL hard to understand why.

    Welcome to the club, but I don't think anyone is listening. I got my Freesat 6 months ago. I've been moaning on here ever since but you won't get any response - and nothing will change.

  • Comment number 86.

    I can't believe I'm just about to sit down and watch the open at the fantastic picturesque turnberry course - but not on HD. No excuses - it should be on HD - end of story. You have to realise that anyone with hd now only watches sd when they have to - my viewing hours of bbc and itv have plunged as a result and will continue to especially when the the BBC couldnt prioritise the open for its hd channel - great longterm strategic thinking - well done everybody.

  • Comment number 87.

    Wha I dont understand is why the hell the BBC are bidding for big sporting events when they have no intention of doing them in HD. A total disgrace. Please resign Danielle and take everyone else at BBC HD with you.

  • Comment number 88.

    just a thought, could BBC not sell the rights to sky before the weekend???

  • Comment number 89.

    Nick, when Danielle goes quiet it usually needs a little prompt from you to get her to respond. I think we ought to have an explanation, at least, of why the Open isn't in HD. Then, while she's blogging, she may also want to answer some of the many questions, or respond to the comments, that have arisen following her little survey to find out why on earth we would want to watch Top Gear in HD. Crumbs, enough people took their precious time to comment and to try and help her understand.

  • Comment number 90.

    @theopeninhd-doh wrote: "I can't believe I'm just about to sit down and watch the open at the fantastic picturesque turnberry course - but not on HD. No excuses - it should be in HD - end of story."

    I'm with you on that. I googled for a BBC explanation, but just came up with this:

    It concludes with the comment: "The BBC's deal with the Royal & Ancient doesn't expire until 2011 and the BBC has a long history with the event. Still, R&A boss Peter Dawson has to be frustrated with the BBC's inability to present the game's oldest and arguably most important tournament in a state-of-the-art format. Next contract, the R&A needs to make sure it gets the best broadcast possible, which means dropping the BBC."

    Now that would be a shame because I won't get Sky.

  • Comment number 91.

    paul_geaton - I know Danielle reads all comments and I also know she had some good feedback by email to her Top Gear post.

    She did say to me that she was planning another post reasonably soon, but you may have to be a little bit patient.

  • Comment number 92.

    Open News according to the Update on Paul Geaton's link The Open will be in HD next year. Might just let you off Danielle. Please can we have news on The Championship Games. Thanks for Coast in HD.


  • Comment number 93.

    Thanks Nick, I look forward to Danielle's post. I'm particularly keen to see what news she has about getting TG to us in HD ASAP.

    SkyCaddie, thanks for spotting the update to the Open link I posted. I don't think it'd do any harm for me to quote it here in full as it seems to give a plausible explanation as to why we're not getting it in HD this year, which I suppose is the next best thing to us getting it from the horse's mouth.

    At least there is some hope for next year, but personally I can't understand why the Beeb couldn't just put all the Wimbeldon kit back into its trucks and drive those straight up to the R&A this year.

    I have to laugh at the comments the americans are leaving on their site about how backward us Brits are not to be showing it in HD. It makes the comments on these blogs seem quite tame by comparison. All those who think that the HD channel isn't doing enough for us, having recently gone to Freesat in the expectation of lots of HD programming, might want to give them a read.

    Anyway here's the update: "On the high definition point, we have had a lot of discussion with BBC about their introduction schedule for high definition. We have an absolute guarantee that it will be introduced next year. There's a huge investment being made by the BBC on the trucks and the mixing units required for high definition which are being delivered later this year. And so it will be fully high definition in 2010.

    Would we have preferred it this year? Yes. But we have to understand that these things cost a lot of money and can take time. So we're looking forward to it next year, and I'm quite sure this year's coverage is going to be very adequate."

  • Comment number 94.

    "very adequate" now that's an endorsement.

    Actually, I just came back to say how much I enjoyed the Rick Stein programme. Great locations, stunning pictures, let's have more of that sort of thing please.

  • Comment number 95.

    The lack of The Open in HD is very sad. Not so bad for Freesat viewers as HD sports are still few and far between and for them SD is the norm.

    Pity us poor Sky HD viewers who enjoy 34 golf tournaments a year in HD. For us HD is the norm and makes the BBC's SD almost unwatchable!!

    Even the BBC commentators are struggling to see the ball.

  • Comment number 96.

    The Quality of the Open is a disgrace. Cannott believe a big sporting event was allowed to be filmed in SD. Its 2009 bbc not 1909. All sport should be axed from BBC. Speaking of the axe, when will we hear about new BBC HD management????

  • Comment number 97.

    I have just joined to complain that the Open Golf Championship is not being broadcast in HD. I have just read Danielle statement and many of the comments from frustrated Golf (sports)fans. Have to say I agree with most of the critics, it just isnt good enough. How does a crummy little channel like Channel 4 manage to push all of its content out in HD? Accepted that much of it is 'upscaled' but it is still better than SD. Back to golf dont bother with the slo mo nature shots and shots from the sea with boats and stuff because its rubbish in SD! Thank god for Sky Sports the Ashes is brilliant in full HD and yes I know I am paying the extra tenner a month for the HD channels and yes I would pay a sub to the BBC if it meant more HD content - anyone else willing to pay or is the license fee enough for everyone???

  • Comment number 98.

    The argument that sports programmes must be limited in their coverage on HD to allow other programmes air time does not stand up to even cursory scrutiny.

    The Scottish Open Golf Championship of a few weeks ago was given a derisory two days coverage, the last two days out of the four played, and none of it was shown in HD.

    Was this to allow non-sports fans a chance to watch their favourite progemmes in HD?

    Not a bit of it!

    Throughout the day when the golf was being played, the BBC HD channel was broadcasting, not programmes, but forthcoming attractions!

    That's right, advertisements for forthcoming programmes!

    Those who are responsible for this kind of farce should be removed from their positions.

    Because of what I am going to say, I must stress that I do not work for Sky TV, nor do I have any connection with that company at all except as a subscription payer.

    Indeed, I sometimes get irritated by the monthly subscription, however Sky at least have their fingers on the pulse of what the viewer wants and caters for it.

    We at least have the right to decide if we want to subscribe to Sky, and that is not something we can do with the BBC.

    This is an organisation which is quite happy to put pensioners in prison for having a TV and not paying the license fee, regardless of whether they can afford it.

    If they can't, I suppose the corporation feels they should just read a book.

    The BBC have reached a stage where they need to be privatised.

    When the post office had a monopoly on telephone lines and you wanted a phone installed, you were told, at least in Scotland, that it would take a couple of years on the waiting list, and you could have any colour of phone you wanted as long as it was black, and when your name came to the top of the waiting list, you would be put on a party line; you had to share with a neighbour!

    I presume, if the post office still had that monopoly, nothing much would have changed.

    I have paid my TV license fee for the last thirty odd years through clenched teeth.

    If the politicians in this country had any backbone, they would remove the license fee from the BBC, and let those amateurs presently running it go out to work for a living.

  • Comment number 99.

    I understand that the bbc can't please everybody all of the time, but what I don't understand is such a big fuss is made every weekend the grand prix is on and its not available in HD!. Surely this being one of the bbc's flagship sports shows you would have thought it was a given that Hd would be available, even eurosport offers a better service. Also am I right in saying that match of the day is'nt in HD, what goes on?.

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick, apologies for posting this comment in two separate Blogs, but it wasn't clear to me which was the most appropriate, this one or the Summer Fixtures one.

    I wanted to congratulate England who have won the Ashes, hoorah, but also to add that I hardly noticed since I don't have Sky. I just caught the headline on the internet. What a shame it wasn't shown on BBC TV in HD. What enjoyment I could have had this summer! Actually, I think it's a national disgrace that the BBC didn't even bid for the rights.

    As a public service channel, paid for by us the licence payers, the BBC should be doing its best to encourage sport in this country. I really hope that the tiny minority of people who subscribe to, and pay through the nose for, Sky Sports enjoyed the privelege! Perhaps, next time round, the movers and shakers in Government, the BBC and the ECB will see sense and permit the rest of the nation to share their experience.

    Unfortunately, I don't think the whole country will be celebrating the victory, like in 2005, because I think this time round it's passed most people by!


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