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BBC HD Summer Fixtures

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 10:56 UK time, Monday, 27 July 2009


Yes - I share the frustration on The Open this year.

I keep asking the question and getting the same answer from the various parties involved, so it is safe to confirm to you that it will be in HD starting from next year.

But I also want to bring you news of programmes coming to BBC HD rather sooner.

Knowing the enjoyment that many of you get from the US series Heroes, which we've shown over three series now together with BBC Two, we're going to be offering those of you who didn't have HD at the time - or just hadn't caught up with the programme - another chance to watch series one of Heroes on Saturday nights. We'll be running a double bill of Heroes at 11.30 every weekend, starting with this, ahead of the start of series 4 (again on BBC Two and BBC HD) which should be in October.


Other summer fixtures include our Music Festival season with sets from across the country on Thursday nights at 10.30. The range will be pretty broad and while I'm sure not to everyone's taste, I hope you'll find something in there to enjoy. We've also got Friday night films, running at 10.30, through to the Autumn when Jonathan Ross will be back for another series.

If you are going away this summer, I hope the separation from your HD set won't be too painful - and there's always BBC iPlayer. And for those of you that are at home I do hope you'll sample what we have to offer.

Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision

All Danielle's HD posts

Danielle's post Sport on HD

"BBC Open Golf Coverage" from Digital Spy Forums


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  • Comment number 1.

    Great! Films are now going to be aired on friday nights on BBC HD. This is the type of programming we want from BBC HD. And by the way BBC iplayer cannot be accessed when abroad, which is highly annoying!

  • Comment number 2.

    Could you get some answers as to the timetable for FreeviewHD please? All we know for sure is Winter Hill TX will be up and running on 2-Dec-2009. No dates going forward have been announced so far.


  • Comment number 3.

    I've got Sky HD for films, but I do enjoy the 'BBC Films' like "The History Boys" and "Starter for 10" which never came to Sky.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great news on Heroes. Series 1 was aired before I got HD.

    Also good news about the Open. Are there any plans to broadcast any of the Australian or French Open tennis in HD next year? (Even if you just did Andy Murray's matches or the final that would be a good start)

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Danielle Thanks for the confirmation of The Open in HD next year, thats great news. I forgive you for Totally Saturday. Enjoying On Thin Ice and Dragon's Den keep up the good work and enjoy your Summer Holiday.

  • Comment number 6.

    For ChrisCornwall here is the unoffical roll out plan for Freeview HD.

    Crystal Palace - December 2009

    Black Hill (Glasgow & Edinburgh) April 2010

    Pontop Pike (Tyneside & Sunderland) April 2010

    Emley Moor ( Leeds, Bradford, Mid Yorks) May 2010

    Sutton Coldfield - Lichfield ( West Midlands) May 2010

    This is yet to be confirmed by Danielle & team at the moment.

  • Comment number 7.

    What films can we expect to see on Friday nights then???

  • Comment number 8.

    Good to hear that the Open golf will be in HD next year, but that is along time to wait. I still do not understand why neither the French Open Tennis or the World swimming championships were in HD when an HD feed was available. I would guess the extra cost would have been minimal.

    Glad to see a few films have been added.

    Sky News is going HD in the spring next year does the BBC have any plans for BBC news?

  • Comment number 9.

    #6 - Thanks, I'd like the official word and details of Border, Westcountry and Wales which will complete (or be close to completion) DSO shortly too.

  • Comment number 10.

    Unfortunately Danielle iPlayer is not always there, if you're going abroad for longer than a week at least...

  • Comment number 11.

    The Freeview HD rollout is, officially

    - from Winter Hill onways, at switchover multiplex "HD" BBC B will be carried on ALL transmitters, both the current Freeview ones and the switched-over relays;

    -> Wenvoe, Mendip and Durris all switch next year anyway.

    - anywhere switched over before Winter Hill (December 2009) will have the "HD" BBC B multiplex 12 months from switchover.

    -> Stockland Hill, Calbeck, Caradon Hill will have switched this year, so they get the HD service in the "plus one year rule" (Sandale closed).

    in addition, the "BBC B HD multiplex" will be broadcast AT LOW POWER from selected transmitters before switchover. These are as per #6 list.

    -> Crysal Palace, which we know is getting the service in November, and then the list of remaining main transmitters would be:

    Sandy Heath*, Sutton Coldfield (via Lichfield May 2010);

    Emley Moor (May 2010);

    Belmont*, Bilsdale*, Black Hill (April 2010), Divis*, Oxford*, Pontop Pike (April 2010), Rowridge*;

    Hannington*, Sudbury*, Tacolneston* and Waltham*

    * = HD at switchover, not before.

  • Comment number 12.

    Perhaps Briantist is better informed than me. What's "official" about these dates? Can you add a link?

    This blog post may be relevant.

  • Comment number 13.

    @trevorjharris "I still do not understand why neither the French Open Tennis or the World swimming championships were in HD when an HD feed was available. I would guess the extra cost would have been minimal."

    As the majority of BBC HD viewers watch via Sky HD and as Eurosport is included in the basic £10 mix, all Sky HD viewers were able to watch both of these events in HD.

    I suppose if they were just taking the feed it would still be expensive, but of course the BBC send presentation to the events as well which would put the cost up even more.

    Personally, I would prefer the BBC to spend their HD budget on programming that is exclusively shown on the BBC. There's little point duplicating for the minority, who don't watch via Sky. Of course events that take a lot of broadcasting hours like the Olympics and IAAF can be justified.

  • Comment number 14.

    #12 thanks NR. It really is frustrating that in these days of complex contracts that the timetable is kept so under wraps. In the good old 1970's new transmitter development dates were known and made public months (indeed years) in advance. So much for progress.

    The BBC, Commercial sector, DMOL, Digital UK, Arqiva, Ofcom et al need to get their act together and publish the timetable imminently, albeit with caveats about planning etc.

  • Comment number 15.

    14# cont .... or will a Freedom of Information request be required to get the information, as was required with DAB expansion?

  • Comment number 16.

    Well Chris I would hope not - although I should say we are running a bit off topic here.

  • Comment number 17.

    #16 - Ok I'll give it a rest, but the answers have not been forthcoming on other comments to 'relevant' threads, such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/06/whats_happening_with_freeview.html . Freeview is an important market for BBC HD and as viewers of the platform who are contemplating buying equipment need to be able to budget accordingly in advance for the expenditure. The timetable is therefore crucial to that process, if we are to get in at the start.

  • Comment number 18.

    @derek500. Citing Sky HD does something is no sane ultimate reason for justifying a particular policy. It is among the aims of the people doing these blogs as well as many others that the service of which you continually refer to and plug at every opportunity isn't the totally dominant one for viewers of BBC HD and you know this perfectly well. Taken to it's ultimate conclusion, PSBs duplicate what paytv ones do, you know where this is heading...

    @Nick Reynolds, I'd like to hear why talking about freeview HD is deemed off topic when someone else can bang on about Sky HD and even have semi-direct product plugs in their posts? I would mirror what ChrisCornwall has said, it is very much in BBC HD's interest to get HD take up on the platforms other than the one mentioned on here all the time...

    Really glad that films are getting a definite slot every week for a bit. Good call and restoring a bit of the diversity the channel prides itself on.


  • Comment number 19.

    I can see exactly where Derek500 is coming from in relation to the Swimming championships and I have to aggree.

    This sport is covered Eurosport HD, a channel who has greater picture quality and is not a premium channel. No disrespect to the sport, but how many people are really going to watch Swimming??? I wouldnt have thought Swimming was going to set the ratings on fire. Why invest in something most of your viewers can already easily watch.

    Now in regards to Snooker, The BBC really need to get this filmed in HD. Even if the BBc wont show this in HD at least they can give the feed to Eurosport.

    Also Im looking forward to the Music shows. Hopefully we may get some decent bands on.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ OP Danielle

    Like the picture. Looks great without a logo in the corner.

    As for extending HD for freeview, it's very nice, but before any money is thrown at it, the relay transmitters should be upgraded to the same standard as main transmitters, so every viewer can receive the same SD channels.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ ropies. I'm only quoting facts. More people watch BBC HD through Sky HD than any other provider and when BSkyB's Q4 results are published on Thursday, the gap will be shown to have widened even more.

    Of course that's good news for all BBC HD viewers. The more licence payers watching BBC HD, the more money the channel will get.

    As for the Swimming, the BBC don't really care about it. Whilst I was watching Gemma Spofforth winning her gold medal and breaking a world record in HD on Eurosport, BBC2 was showing Celebrity Cash in the Attic and history was relegated to 'red button'.

  • Comment number 22.

    Of course I agree that the swimming is probably not value for money at this point in time for BBC HD I just don't see the point waffling on about other things. That said I think the BBC should continue to look at the very long list of possible sports other than the big events such as Olympics and Football World Cup and think what can we do. That's very much in line with OB units and the Snooker sort of thinking.

    On the topic of sport, for all the (almost endless) complaints about (the small amount of) sport on BBC HD, Wimbledon smashed the ratings record for the channel by miles (270,000) and interestingly enough after some very poor ratings for the channel after this notched up some great viewing figures for Torchwood. So well done and it shows you what you can do.

    I reiterate, a film on at a fixed time every week is a nice little spinner to keep the channel ticking over the summer and in the interest of balance for the channel, a healthy thing - there has been a lack of films. I think your Heroes idea might go down quite well too.

  • Comment number 23.

    NickReynolds: I confirmed all but the last four dates in brackets with the Ofcom press office. The last four are from a normally very reliable source. The Crystal Palace date came from someone in the BBC.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ ropies
    "It is among the aims of the people doing these blogs as well as many others that the service of which you continually refer to and plug at every opportunity isn't the totally dominant one for viewers of BBC HD and you know this perfectly well."

    Sky HD has added another 291,000 homes in the last quarter. That's more than Freesat HD has achieved since it's launch.

    All the more reason for BBC HD not to duplicate HD coverage with Sky/Eurosport etc.

  • Comment number 25.

    #24 - Sorry have to disagree, FTA viewers have as much right to acquired content as have those who choose to pay for such material, even if the genre and possibly the same content is covered on the Pay platform simultaneously.

  • Comment number 26.

    #24 - I disagree also. The public need to be protected from Sky monopolising content.

  • Comment number 27.

    i agree about the swimming, i wanted to watch that on BBCHD or at the least BBC2, instead i had to watch it on the red button which is a poor 544x576i quality, the highlights are aired on BBC2 the day after for 1hr in regular 720x576i resolution but i think some of the races aren't aired on that. Its on eurosporthd, surely you could air the 1hr highlights program on BBCHD or even the live feed. Swimming in SD looks very poor as splashing water is incredibly pixelated especially at low bitrates. The olympic swimming on BBCHD last year was incredible, there are only 2 world championships per year and swimming has become rather popular since we won 2 gold medals and michael phelps becoming the greatest olympian of all time.

    not having the French Open in HD was unforgivable. US Open Tennis is on in 1 month, PLEASE air murray's matches on BBCHD and also the semi's and finals of the mens and womens in HD.

  • Comment number 28.

    Don't Sky have exclusive rights to the US Open?

  • Comment number 29.

    I don't know if anyone from the beeb reads this but... When are Top Gear and Match of The Day going to be on the HD channel? They are two of the top rated shows, so surely it makes sense?... All the Premiership games are filmed in HD, so I'm hoping, fingers crossed, that this season is the time for HD. Please.


  • Comment number 30.

    Dave - I read your comments and so does Danielle. You might be interested in this post by Danielle.

  • Comment number 31.

    #25 & 26

    I agree, but when resources are tight why duplicate coverage when the vast majority of BBC HD viewers can see HD coverage of the same events on other channels?

    If the BBC have any spare money in their sports' budget, let them spend it on their own coverage e.g. The Ladies' British Open on this week.

  • Comment number 32.

    I posted this in the DOG Patrol thread but no-one has responded. Andy Q are you out there? :)

    I've noticed that the DOG on iPlayer HD via Virgin Media flickers which is VERY annoying. Why is that? I'm sure it was not always like this

    As if DOGs aren't horendous enough, one that flickers draws your eye to it like a moth to a flame. An example is the episode of Hotel Babylon currently on catch-up.

  • Comment number 33.

    #31 Because those who choose not to pay should not be deprived of the opportunity to view. Availability of material on pay platforms SHOULD NOT be driving the decision whether to or whether not to show material FTA either in SD or HD.

  • Comment number 34.

    I am here BikeNutt. I didn't see the post until yesterday and looked today on our work box. It was doing something odd on one programme but not on another. Is it doing it on every programme?


  • Comment number 35.


    I'm not disagreeing with you, but if resources are limited, surely the BBC should be producing BBC programmes in HD rather than paying extra to show feeds in HD which are available to the majority on other channels.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi Andy,

    I'll need to check some other progs but I would say I've seen this at least 3 times and on different programmes over the last couple of weeks. As I recall Coast was another example.

    Possibly due to the flickering, the DOG intensity also seems to be about 80% whereas online is looks nearer to 40%

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 - I'll reword it then - BBC-HD should only look at other FTA channels on free platforms when considering it's output.

    Content on pay platforms is not a business for comparison.

    The BBC's metrics should ignore that content wholly when deciding what goes on BBC-HD. Naturally following on from that, budget in it's production and acquisition costs should be consumed as appropriate to fulfil that metric comparison.

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Andy,

    I've just checked this/last weeks HD versions of: Dragon's Den, Jonathan Ross, On Thin Ice & Who Do You Think You are? and all exhibit the flickering DOG so I would guess it's probably all content.


  • Comment number 39.

    Dear BikeNutt - I will get this over to the VIrgin iPlayer team ASAP.


  • Comment number 40.


    Thanks for listening to us and I'm really glad that you're now putting some films on, at last, and dogless too; I'm so pleased. However, I have to say that I've just watched the History Boys and I was very disappointed to note that the picture quality didn't seem to be particularly good. In fact, if it wasn't on BBC HD I'd have been sure that it was only an SD picture. Is it because of the low bandwidth and poor encoders that Wednesday83 always speaks of? Or was there some other reason? If so, what?

    Also, as head of BBC HD, if you were frustrated about not showing the Open in HD too why don't you explain to us what your reason was? Everyone from the tournament Organisers, the US TV channels, you and many of your viewers, seems to have wanted it to be shown in HD, so there must have been something that prevented you from doing so. What could that have been?

    Finally, I don't want to have to get personal but Derek500 is really beginning to annoy me on these Blogs. As someone else has noted here already, he is quite blatantly plugging Sky (if you don't believe me, just check out his previous comments). Why? Does he work for them or something? And why do the moderators allow him to keep doing this when they stop others from expressing their opinions? Please ignore his recommendation that the BBC should not show things on BBC HD that are already available on Sky HD. I, like many others I'm sure, don't have Sky, and won't ever get it. It really cheeses me off that, owing to Sky, I can't now watch the Test cricket or the Lions on the BBC where it belongs (or Lost on Ch 4), and I really think that it should be prevented from creaming off anything more from the British TV licence payers, and viewing public, and restricting our freedom of choice.

    What I'm sure eveyone wants is for the BBC to put more effort into making HD TV the default viewing medium than any other broadcaster, Sky included. At the moment, to me, that seems to be a long way off but I'm sure you're trying your best. Do keep up your efforts towards the day when BBC HD gives us more films, more sports, more music (all kinds), more original programming, more 5.1 sound and more HD hours than Sky. And, of course, HD Top Gear (by the way - is there any news on when we can expect that?)

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm sorry if you think I plug Sky, but I'm a realist not an idealist. HD is in a small minority of homes at present and you can't expect the BBC to spend the licence payers' money on something that 90% of them can't receive. Note, Sky charge an extra fee for HD so non HD viewers aren't subsidising HD viewers.

    Thirty odd years ago the BBC did something similar when the colour licence was introduced, same principle.

    As more licence payers become HD enabled the BBC will no doubt up the HD budget.

    The horrible truth for you, is that it is Sky that are pushing HD forward in this country, with 14% of its 9m+ subscribers with HD.

    The additional 291,000 homes that Sky HD added in the last quarter is good news for all BBC HD viewers and I'm sure Danielle is over the moon that her channel can now be received in more and more homes.

  • Comment number 42.


    You say

    "but when resources are tight why duplicate coverage when the vast majority of BBC HD viewers can see HD coverage of the same events on other channels?"

    Because the BBC is there to provide a public service, one which is there to cater for everyone.

    Thats why there is a protected sports list. To stop SKY monopolising content, distorting the market, and charging people who are prepared to pay to watch it and therefore restricting access to said sport by the general public.

    Has the cost of watching football gone up or down since Sky came along?

    I used to have SKY, don't hate it, but think it is poor value for money. I dont want to have to shell out another £25 a month to sky to see these sports. Nor do many others

  • Comment number 43.

    Sky isn't the only platform. Remember freeview HD will be here soon and that user base over time will become as large as skys.

    If you look at this on page 8 you will see skys subscription trend is actually slowing down.

    Note that DTT has as many users as sky


  • Comment number 44.

    @derek500 wrote: Sky charge an extra fee for HD so non HD viewers aren't subsidising HD viewers.

    Is that really the reason? It seems to me that Sky charge an extra fee for absolutely everything, and that's what really puts me off.

    I say this because I actually did look into it getting it once and I found that paying to get the Sky kit and subscription is not the end of the story. Next you have to pay for a different package to see the things that you actually want to, then you have to pay again to see anything that's remotely popular, and then you pay again to see it in HD. Then, when you've paid through the nose for all of that you have to sit through hours of adverts too which, whenever I've seen the Sky channels at someone else's house, seem to be on for longer than the programmes.

    Keep plugging Sky here if you like but I don't think you'll ever convince me to get it.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ tagmclaren

    We're talking HD on this blog and Sky's HD userbase has more than doubled in the last year.

    As for DTT, people will of course need to buy a new TV or STB in order to watch HD broadcasts on Freeview, so that will limit uptake.

    As for pricing of Sky, I get a full month's HD package, with loads of HD sports, HD films, HD Drama, HD Opera, HD Music, HD Documentaries all for the price of one ticket for one day at a Test Match. Plus the ability to watch the free BBC HD, C4 HD and ITV HD. Is that so expensive?

    @ paul-geaton

    I will never convince you to get Sky, you need to do that yourself.

    If you want to watch Test Cricket, The Lions tour or Lost it's the only way to do it. The BBC have even left Test Cricket off their proposed new 'Crown Jewels' list.

    Don't forget Sky also cover the away test matches live and in HD. Before Sky these were never shown!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Whilst still in the minority, Virgin Media are likely to increase their HD customer base thanks to (finally!!) adding additional linear HD channels to their line-up. And at no extra cost to those on the existing XL package.

    Not an immediate threat to Sky, granted, but it is bound to increase BBCHD viewing figures from a source other than Sky so the potential exists to even the playing field somewhat.

  • Comment number 47.

    The More sport Sky Has the better in my view. Its just a shame the world cup will be shared between the sub standard ITV and BBC.

    The last Euro championships looked very poor on BBC HD. And unless the HD team do the right thing and change encoders or up bandwith then we are sadly going to be in for more of the same thing.

  • Comment number 48.

    Danielle, please can you air a 2hr or so highlights package of the swimming world championships on BBCHD, i and many others would be extremely greatful. All of phelps' races, all the british swimmers' races, all of pelegrini's races and other races that were great or that had big upsets, i'd really appreciate it and so would many others. I dont have eurosport HD:(

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks for your work AndyQuested. iPlayer was doing the flickering thing still last night on my iPlayer (on programmes added last night) just I didn't have the chance to post.

    As for all these sky comments. If freeview HD takes off (which is a big if, as I have serious doubts about it) then it will do a great deal for BBC HD viewing figures. The issue is content. It's fairly well known that a lot of people want the terrestrial five in HD, when someone comes along and tells them BBC HD is 9hrs a day, ITV HD is a red button service that C4 isn't even on there it is understandable they are somewhat disappointed and say they'll wait a few years.

  • Comment number 50.


    I am talking about HD too.

    That why I referred to freeview HD. Which will over time have the same user base DTT.

    As I said Sky isn't the only HD platform the BBC serves. It is of no consequence that it is currently the most popular. The BBC has a responsiblity to serve those platforms too.

    Or are you saying us users of other platforms should go without or subscribe to sky?

  • Comment number 51.


    It will be a long, long time before all the DTT user base have bought additional HD equipment and don't forget all Sky HD users have DTT as all HD sets have it built in.

    I've never said other platforms should go without some HD programmes or subsbcribe to Sky.

    My point was the BBC should look first at its own programming before offering HD on programmes that can be viewed by the majority of BBC HD's viewers.

    Surely the OFCOM protected rights events should be given first dibs of the HD spending budget, as these can't be shown by other broadcasters. The Grand National, The Derby, The Open (confirmed from 2010)come to mind.

    Why when Sky/BBC share golf tournaments (new arrangement from 2009 Thursday/Friday Sky, weekend BBC) do they use BBC's SD facilities and not European Tour Productions' HD kit? It's doesn't look good for the Corporation when the Sky commentators have to apologise for the lack of HD and blame the BBC.

  • Comment number 52.

    The consequence of using your logic is that the current Freesat users would go without.

    Sorry, unacceptable.

    Sky already has enough of a monopoly.

    The freesat user base is growing and when HD on freeview arrives it won't be long before that starts growing too.

    Sorry SKY isn't everything.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ tagmclaren

    Sorry you've lost me. Go without what?

  • Comment number 54.

    Correct me if I am wrong but you are saying that if something is being shown on a SKY channel then it should not be shown on BBCHD.

    So anybody who watches BBCHD on a non SKY platform will not get to see said content.

    As I said SKY is not the only platform or consideration, even if it is the current dominant HD service provider.

  • Comment number 55.


    The discussion started with the World Swimming Championships and basically as the BBC aren't fully covering it i.e. red button and stuff, I said it seemed silly spending a very limited HD budget to cover it in HD when the majority of BBC HD viewers can watch it in HD elsewhere.

    This does not apply of course to major sports events that the BBC go all out with their coverage and give a UK 'angle' like the Olympics, World Cup etc.

  • Comment number 56.

    I was referring to your #13 comment which basically says the minority (not that its that small) who don't use SKY don't deserve to have those sports covered.

  • Comment number 57.

    on BBCHD

  • Comment number 58.

    which I find quite objectionable.

    With attitudes like that it is no wonder people are questioning Skys monoploy.

  • Comment number 59.

    tagmclaren, no disrespect to the sport, but swimming is not exactly a major sport and hardly sets the ratings alive.

    All Derek500 is doing is stating the obvious which is that most BBC HD viewers at the moment come from sky. Its a fact. Most BBC HD viewers in that case will have access to Eurosport HD. Ok there are a few who wont, but those that will have access certainly out number those that don't.

    When the BBC HD fund is tiny to start with, why would they waste money on covering something most of their viewers can watch already??? It was bad enough we could not have the open Golf in HD, and wasting precious money on something already accessible to many would just not be a sensible way to use the budget.

    The argument is nothing to do with skys so called monopoly, its just common sense.

  • Comment number 60.

    The type of sport or ratings are not relevant here with this principle.

    Just because something is available on a SKY subscription channel is no reason not to make available on a BBC channel.

    Otherwise you have to start saying the same even with popular content surely? It's still duplication and therefore wasted LF money by your logic.

    I am not actually arguing the validity of the BBC spending on the particular events mentioned.

    The BBC is a public service broadcaster. That public includes non sky subscribers. Or are you saying that the BBC shouldn't cater for freesat, freeview HD when it arrives

    So, how many non sky platform users are needed for it becomes valid for the BBC to duplicate content?

    You could even argue if sky users want to pay a subscription for content that is already on the BBC then surely thats up to them?

  • Comment number 61.

    BTW from the information I have access to, Sky HD has about 1.3 million subscribers as of July 31st.

    Freesat has over 250000 HD users as of March. Based on the previous quarters growth ther could by now be 300000 users.

    Not counting non freesat platform users of course.

  • Comment number 62.

    Im not saying never show an HD broadcast when its available on another channel in HD, but when its something like Swimming that not too many people appear to watch and its available elsewhere then thats when I believe they should not bother with paying for an HD broadcast.

    If its something big like the Olympics then yes of course they should get the HD broadcast and give the choice.

    But in a time when shows such as Open Golf, Top gear, Eastenders, casualty and Holby City are not even HD, theres no way the BBC should waste money on HD swimming when available elsewhere.

  • Comment number 63.

    Yes, I accept your points here. I am also frustrated at the lack of the top programs in HD.

    Again I am not arguing the validity of the BBC paying for the sports mentioned.

    Just against the idea that just because a SKY channel carries it means the BBC shouldn't.

    As the figures show there are actually quite a lot of non sky BBCHD users. IMHO the gap will reduce dramatically once freeview HD gets going.

  • Comment number 64.

    BTW - Although again I am not saying the BBC definitely should cover the events mentioned, it actually IS part of the BBCs remit to cater for minority / small audiences. Even on BBCHD.

  • Comment number 65.

    Virgin Media had circa 612,000 V+ (i.e. HD boxes) in customer homes as at 31/03/09. These same customers will have access to BBCHD but not sky's premium HD channels.

    If Freesat has 250,000 customers, that's approaching 0.9m non-Sky viewers capable of watching BBCHD. That 1.3m Sky figure (as at 31/07/09) doesn't seem so impressive now does it?

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear tagmclaren

    You may want to factor in the time each service has been available for and compare or extrapolate!


  • Comment number 67.

    I didn't intend my post #40 to prompt a full-scale debate between derek500 and tagmaclaren, but my thanks to the latter for backing me up. To reiterate the point, just because Sky has something on in HD there is absolutely no reason why the BBC shouldn't also be allowed to show it; not to do so would be ridiculous and would exclude millions of Brits from their right to access new HD programmes, of which the BBC show too few anyway.

    I am confused by derek500's argument though, as he seems to be suggesting that the BBC is wasting scarce HD resources by showing the swimming in HD. Well if the BBC are showing it in HD, I can't find it on my telly. It's on BBC2 now but I can't see it anywhere in the BBC HD schedule. I wish I could!

    While I'm commenting here, thanks Danielle for last night's music programmes. A great evening of entertainment, at last, and the picture quality was back up to a good standard too, particularly after the other night's hiccup with the History Boys. I thought the programme on Handel was particularly good, as was the excellent 5.1 sound on the Proms.

    And, whilst just looking at your scedules, I see that Wallander episode 2 is on in HD tonight. As I said before in an earlier post, I couldn't understand why you weren't simulcasting the Wallander repeats that they've been showing on BBC4 for the last month now with an HD version. Perhaps you read that comment and decided to put that situation right, albeit with a few weeks delay. If so thanks, though it's a shame that there wasn't any publicity for the decision, which meant that I never realised and actually missed episode 1 last week.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ paul_geaton

    Re The History Boys. The BBC have an internal policy that programmes filmed on 16mm film will not be post produced in HD for broadcast for quality reasons.

    This is why many BBC programmes like Ashes to Ashes and Merlin aren't shown in HD.

    The History Boys was filmed on 16mm and the distributor has scanned an HD copy for broadcast.

    This could be why the PQ was not up to scatch and the BBC's policy of 35mm minimum is correct.

  • Comment number 69.

    Dear derek500

    You have it spot on.

  • Comment number 70.

    Thanks to you both re: answer my History Boys PQ question, I love it when I get an instant answer on these blogs. By the way Danielle, my wife's really enjoying Desperate Romantics and although it doesn't float my boat I have to admit that the PQ on it is great.

  • Comment number 71.

    Further to my post #67, now that I've just watched your version of the Wallander programmes in HD I've realised that it's a totally different series to the one being shown on BBC4. I'm sorry that I complained to you that you weren't simulcasting it, it all makes sense now, and so my thanks for the repeat of the HD series which I missed first time round.

    All in all, it was another very good day's entertainment on BBC HD, so well done. You've really impressed me with your choice of programmes this weekend.

    Just a couple of comments, when you commission shows in HD please try and get them to make them with 5.1 sound too. I think HD and 5.1 should always be part of an integrated package, and if theyre going to the bother of making something in HD then using 5.1 sound too should be the default.

    Also, regarding scheduling it would be good if your top evening programmes were on a little earlier so that they're finished by midnight, especially when the following day is a work day. With such a good line up today I realise this would have meant a 1530 start, but perhaps you should seriously consider starting earlier at the weekends. In fact, with a much earlier start you could have found time to put on some of the sport that lots of people are calling for. If you could do that for us then I'd be really really impressed.

  • Comment number 72.

    Great coverage of the MGM Musical Classics' Prom on Saturday. PQ and 5.1 both stunning. Well done to all (except the person who failed to put DD on the EPG).

    Wouldn't be surprised to see it top your ratings for last week.

  • Comment number 73.

    NickReynolds: I forgot to say, here's the "proof" for some of the other sites: http://blog.wotsat.com/page/whatsat?entry=cities_in_scotland_north_east

  • Comment number 74.

    Danielle, you bring us news here of programmes coming to HD soon but make no mention of Mad Men. I can't wait for you to show Season 3, which I understand is premiering very soon in the USA (in a matter of days). Please tell me that you'll be bringing it to us without delay. It has to be the best american import I've ever seen on your channel. It has such a great storyline, clever subtle comedy and a visual style and superb period music that just have to be seen and heard in HD and 5.1 surround sound. If there is a delay, please repeat all 26 episodes from seasons 1 and 2 for us in such a way that they conclude just as season 3 starts.

  • Comment number 75.

    5th August - why has the bandwidth been cut (again)? Picture is no good.

  • Comment number 76.

    Please do not forget about the value of 5.1 sound [BBC and Sky]

  • Comment number 77.

    @ paul_geaton

    Agree about Mad Men. Come on BBC HD, air these shows as soon as possible after US transmssion, your competitors do it and it reduces illegal downloads.

    Just seen another Theatre Live in HD on 'the other side' and the producer Linda Agran said 'this is the sort of drama the BBC should be doing'. Couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 78.

    Has the bandwith been lowered again? Its looked pretty much the usual average quality to me and linowsat doesnt show any changes.

    My main worries are when free view HD starts. It will be running on stupid low bit rates and ive a bad feeling the BBc will want the same quality accross all plat forms.

    can someone at BBC HD confirm if the free view HD launch will have any bearings on the HD channel via sky??? For the sake of the channel its to hope not.

  • Comment number 79.

    I really hope thats not true. Though I suspect BBC are testing how low they can go without overwhelming complaints.

    Yes the bandwidth has been reduced yet again :(. Most folks won't notice of course because they're comparing it to SD quality.

    But watching HD preview tonight just briefly - Comedy Roadshow and Later with Jules both had dreadful picture quality. Lots of noise. And the scene where the lorry goes over the bridge at speed actually broke up.

    I'll give them a chance to bed this down though.

  • Comment number 80.

    Just seen the posts about new encoders. Its great news about new encoders, awful news about the bandwith reduction. No one at BBC HD can justify using only 9mbps when theres only one HD channel.

    We have championship football on Saturday and BBC HD need to get this right or be a total laughing stock. Running it at 9mbps is going to destroy the football. You have to up the bandwith saturday to at least 14mbps+.

    If you are serioulsy going to be running the football at only 9mbps on saturday then i hope the football is taken away from BBC.

    Andy Quested can you pelase confirm the plans for bandwith when we have football and other sports on???

  • Comment number 81.

    I am not amused by the latest stunt by BBC HD. BBC HD is supposed to be a serious channel and running on 9Mbs on those encoders is not a good policy. I am not amused at being proven right, with this joke that will criple HD just to squeeze things on Mux B on freeview and no good reason ruin things for all other platforms. Unless this means the launch of two more BBC HD channels in the nearish future on tx50 I'm not amused at all. What a shambles, taking a big positive (new encoders) and ruining it. Also not really that happy with denials not so long ago about that buying in new encoders would not be value for money.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hopefully the BBC HD team will see sense and up the bandwith ASAP. The problem is i just dont have faith in the people in charge.

    Maybe BBC staff should claim expenses for extra bandwith???

  • Comment number 83.

    According to this


    Yes The Bandwith has been lowered Come on Danielle what is going on? All this progress this year then this>

    Going to check out the picture now.

    Last night Wildest Dreams looked excellent mind on both Virgin and Sky.

    Hope we are not losing out because of Freeview HD.

    Can Andy promise us that Freeview HD will deliver a top quality picture?

    Will check picture now and report back.

  • Comment number 84.

    Here is a post by Andy on another forum on the subject

    Thread: BBC HD New Encoder?
    View Single Post
    Old Yesterday, 23:41 #35
    Andy Quested
    Forum Member

    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 90

    New encoders up and running today (around 02:00 this morning) but there is a bit more work to do to get the full network up. There should be no significant change in quality, many programmes should look better in fact. We are looking at ways of dealing with the noise issue on some programmes and formats (e.g. Super16 and cameras/recorders using less than 50Mbs).

    More details to follow later


  • Comment number 85.

    I think we are off-topic here. This post is not about encoders and bandwidth.

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear All

    The new encoders went on-air yesterday morning after long testing. Linowsat does show the current bit rate http://www.linowsat.de/0282/bitrate/2050/6940.html

    I have watched quite a bit of the channel at it is looking good so far. Hope to do a blog on the coder change soon.

    Just as a reminder, we judge the quality of images on well adjusted domestic screens at normal viewing distance http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/12/a_christmas_present_from_the_h.html


  • Comment number 87.

    Checked Picture and to me it looks worse with a lot of noise in the background and in dark scenes. OK its early days so hopefully Andy and the team ca improve things.

    The promblem is Nick untill Andy posted at 8.45 nobody told us this was going to happen or had happened, is this the big secrecy act again?

    Once again we had to find it out ourselves first.

  • Comment number 88.


    Please check your set-up at home, nothing will have change during the promo. Not sure what you mean by "is this the big secrecy act again?" our bit rate seems to be the most public thing in the forums!

    This blog is for other comments though so can I point all further comments to the Picture Quality blog



  • Comment number 89.

    Why is it that the BBC broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contests in HD but the EBU / CMC are still refusing to allow us to BUY these on Blu-ray in HD and only sells low definition DVDs? Could the BBC help about that please.

  • Comment number 90.

    Please could the BBC also tell us when we will be getting 1080p50 programming on Freeview HD, and when all programmes will be shot at 1080p50 or higher, since 25fps is much too juddery and jerky.

    There is an excellent BBC white paper about all the advantages of even higher frame rates at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp-pdf-files/WHP169.pdf - so is there any possiblity we will have even higher frame rates in the future, since the BBC white paper demonstrates the how much better it would be on modern progressive displays.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 91.

    @Andy - the overwhelming number of posts I am reading say the picture quality has worsened yet again. In fact, I've not read one user post saying the picture is better.

  • Comment number 92.

    I just wanted to add my voice to those who are experiencing picture quality issues with the new encoder. I've been seeing some real problems last night and tonight, specifics of which I've been posting on Andy's HD picture quality blog. Hopefully some of these can be addressed by changing setting on the encoder - It would be a shame if the work you've been putting in over recent months to address quality gripes was undone by the new encoder and bitrate cut.

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear jordanrowland

    I am watching "Spanish Flu" at the moment and it is looking very good - including the archive material, any comments?


  • Comment number 94.

    Hi Andy -

    First impressions on 'Spanish Flu' are quite good - a bit of grain on low-light scenes but I think that's in the production. I'll post if I spot any specifics.

    Generally I'm finding that video-look productions rather than film-look productions are suffering more issues. I'm expecting issues to be more apparent on 'Reggie Perrin'.

  • Comment number 95.

    As requested -

    The fade at the end into the caption 'The Forgotten Fallen' didn't look smooth.

  • Comment number 96.

    I love how Andy Quested always believes the picture looks great and nothing wrong and its everyone elses TV Sets.

    No offence but Ive had enough of BBC HD staff. Time for an entire new team at BBC HD who actually give a damn about picture quality.

    Why the hell lower the bandwith so low just because you have changed encoders??? Do you realise that Eurosport HD is running on same sort of encoders and up to 20mbps??? The results are stunning.

    The change of encoders was a perfect chance for BBC to make a stance on quality and leave the bandwith as it was giving fantastic quality. Instead its been totally ruined by a team who for me seem hell bent on ruining the channel. You could have easily left the bandwith at 16mbps and enjoyed the posotive comments about the quality. Instead youve made many viewers angry.

    BBC HD had no reason to reduce the bandwith.


    people should stop watching the channel in protest.

  • Comment number 97.

    I agree with wednesday83. Andy, please tell us why you dropped the bitrate. I just don't understand why you didn't keep it the same and then bask in the glory of the praise you'd have received for getting the new encoders. Do you have another agenda?

  • Comment number 98.

    Sky One HD 14532 kbps
    BBC HD 9722

  • Comment number 99.

    The Agenda seems to be to make the channel low to average quality so when BBC HD hits free view all platforms are the same. BBC is a very politically correct company and it would not be fair for free view customers to have lower quality than sky customers *sighs*.

    What BBC HD needs is someone in charge who will say "I want the best I can get".

    Theres no reason at all for the bandwith reduction, absolutely none.

    We need answers before saturdays footy match as anyone with half a braincell knows you cannott broadcast excellent quality football on such low bit rates.

  • Comment number 100.

    > Theres no reason at all for the bandwith reduction,
    > absolutely none.

    Have you seen their budget for the year?
    Or their upcoming plans?
    Or their testing methods for the new encoders?
    Or their orders from senior management?

    You have no idea for their reasons. Granted, neither do I. But just because there are no reasons that you can see, or that you would agree with, doesn't mean there are no reasons at all.
    It just means there are none you'd accept, which actually makes it less likely for them to want to give answers. Why spend time explaining reasoning to people who are dead-set on things being a certain way? If all you expect them to counter with is "But you should do it this way, anyway" then it's a waste of breath. (Been there, done that, save explanations for the understanding types these days)

    > What BBC HD needs is someone in charge who will say
    > "I want the best I can get".

    And sometimes, working technically, the best you can get still isn't good enough for the end user. Whether realistically (system fails) or not (user wants a a phoenix, but budget is chicken-feed), sometimes the end-user expectations just are not acheivable.
    Heck, maybe this itself is a compromise. For all we know, maybe they were told to drop the bandwidth this low and they said only with the better encoders? Or maybe not, but we just don't know.

    Problem is, there's a bit of "Boy Who Cried Wolf" now.
    From the looks of it, there has been an actual reduction in quality this time around.
    Sadly, the voices complaining are mainly the same ones who've been making the exact same complaints and demands all year - even with the former bandwidth. Now is the time when the complaints need to be heard, but they'll be hitting mental filters.


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