« Previous | Main | Next »

BBC HD: Interview with Danielle Nagler on Points of View

Post categories:

Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 08:55 UK time, Monday, 9 November 2009

Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD and a regular contributor to this blog was interviewed on yesterday's Points of View.

Among the topics covered was picture quality which has provoked a lively discussion on Danielle's previous posts.

Here's a link to the programme. The interview with Danielle is the first item. There's also an extended interview on the Points of View website (scroll down - it's the second video after the "Featured" heading).

There are discussions about the programme on the Points of View message board, Digital Spy and a post on Radio and Telly.

Keep your comments civil and within the house rules please.

Nick Reynolds is Social Media Executive, BBC Online


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Many thanks for the other links Nick.


  • Comment number 2.

    I look forward to an explanation why factual inaccuracies about bit rate were allowed to be broadcast by a senior manager at the BBC on a BBC programme.

    Such statements are made from a position of privilege and it is an abuse of that privilege to mis-inform a public who would invest such a position with a degree of trust.

  • Comment number 3.

    Has something happened over the last few days? The picture seems to have improved or is it my imagination?

  • Comment number 4.

    Sorry I forgot to mention,

    I'm not stupid, I understand the difference between crisp sharp images on one programme and a different kind of picture on a drama for example. That's not the issue. The issue has been what has alreadt been described which has nothing to do with the type of programme broadcast. How come out of around 35 HD channels, BBC HD is the only one people are having problems with? It can't be the viewers who are wrong surely?

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh but it is the Viewers who are wrong as Danielle literally pointed out on POV by practically calling us all liars when we say there are problems with the picture quality.

  • Comment number 6.

    Midzone1 - Danielle did not call anyone a liar. Moderate your tone please.

  • Comment number 7.

    Danielle did however deliberately obfuscate by misrepresenting the nature of the complaints and making factually inaccurate statements.

  • Comment number 8.

    Keep you comments civil ...

    Schoolboy typo there Nick

  • Comment number 9.

    .... and still no detailed rollout plans for Freeview HD. This is getting beyond a joke now. I still refuse to believe that the complexity of contract negotiations are behind this. It's just rediculous when the details of the transmitter programme for the introduction of UHF in the 1960's and 1970's and the extension of BBC 1 and ITV to UHF in the 1970's were signposted up to a year sometimes more in advance.

    .... some followup please?

  • Comment number 10.

    Looks like BBC HD TV is going to end up the same sort of joke that "near CD quality" DAB radio is. The picture quality has deteriorated significantly and no amount of denials from BBC staff is going to convince me otherwise.

  • Comment number 11.

    Let me give a very good example:

    Sky One HD broadcast an American crime drama called 'Cold Case'. The picture has a 'soft' look yet the picture quality is absolutely superb. It's still a stunning programme to watch yet the soft style is deliberate.

    So the argument that it's down to the individual programme is absolute rubbish.

  • Comment number 12.

    More questions were raised than answered.

    Digital on screen graphics are a commercial creation, why does BBC HD need to copy its commercial rivals? What public broadcasting need is there for it?

    BBC HD is also wrong to claim that by reducing the bit-rate they can help different styles of filming.
    Only the production company with its cameras can help create a certain style of filming.
    Reducing bit-rates has no effect on different styles other than to reduce the quality of all HD broadcasts.

    The BBC HD channel currently has the ability to boost its bit-rate to improve the channel as there is capacity. Enough spare capacity for exists not only to improve the current channel but there is enough to launch a second HD channel.

    The only current reason for reducing the picture is to test how low the bit-rate can be for future broadcast on freeview and satellite and viewers must complain.

  • Comment number 13.

    I've been following all of these comments on the various HD-related blog posts and have even posted once or twice.

    A couple of things:

    I'm amazed and very disheartened by the amount of comments that have been posted, but also encouraged by the dedication, persistance and strength of argument put forth by several people as well as their calm and well-worded posts. However, a couple of people are regularly posting inflammatory comments, which while I don't doubt are heartfelt and represent the poster's point of view, are actually weakening the argument and turning these comments into a slanging match. I do not wish to belong to an internet 'rabble' and this is why I haven't posted much of late. For the benefit of all, could we please read our own posts before posting them and try and make comments based on reasoned argument (whether technical or not).

    Now that I've got that off my chest, I'd like to just say that I missed POV (but will watch on the web later) but I gather from the comments on these blogs that many are unhappy with what was said. I'll have to see for myself before I comment on that.

    Anyway, to get things back on track, I'd like to restate what I feel is the case for BB HD's bitrates to be higher than at present.

    My belief is that the difference between SD and HD is simple. SD is a 'utilitarian' one-size fits all service designed to give access to the widest number of people in the most cost-effective manner possible. It is about ACCESS to programming and not picture quality. iPlayer falls into this category also - while the quality is good for web video, I doubt there is anyone who would choose to watch iPlayer specifically for its quality.

    HD is an entirely different proposition. It's all about quality delivery of programming and showing that programming in as good a light as possible. "HD," let's not forget, is even in the very name of the service. HD is not a new platform (but is almost being confused for one). It is a quality-based service that is delivered through existing platforms. There is no unique programming on BBC HD that can not be seen elsewhere, so if BBC HD doesn't deliver the promise of High Definition, then it is redundant, and the channel is little more than a time-shifted or "+1" type channel - merely an alternative place to watch BBC programmes. Viewing figures for HD are not going to go up unless there is word of mouth from people that rave about the quality. Simple as that I'm afraid.

    Sadly, it seems that the remit for BBC HD was written in different times, and most troubling is the difficulty with which we are being faced in getting the BBC to stick to this mission statement. At the end of the day we are customers and it is with our money that the BBC exists. (By the way I fully support the licence fee as I think at present we get pretty good value on the whole - it's just that BBC HD is not as good as it once was or as good as it should be).

    There was a discussion regarding the artistic merits of deliberate use of film grain and other picture 'looks' a while back which I'd like to address again only to say this: An HD transmission stream should be robust enough to be totally transparent to the picture source. What I mean by this is that the encoder should be sufficiently effective so that that complex areas of 'micro movement' such as grain, rain, mist and other particulate matter should not cause blocking artefacts. In its current form BBC HD is not transparent to source and therefore the encoding and transmission of this source is detracting from the quality of the image. If BBC HD is going to transmit a wide range of programming then simply put, the encoding and transmission process has to be much robust than at present. Under no circumstances should this process introduce aberrations into the image.

  • Comment number 14.

    By fixing the channels bandwidth it now means that the transponder is wasting bandwidth.

    There is enough transponder room on the transponder to create a red button HD stream.
    Currently bandwidth is wasted, enough for a red button HD channel and to unfix the bitrates.
    Such a red button HD stream could be provided to

    Sports viewers are also being let down, this issue wasn't covered that much.

    Sky Sports showed HD highlights of the Rugby League match France v Australia, this match went out in the early afternoon live on the BBC and could have been shown on BBC HD as it wouldn't have clashed with anything.

    BBC HD could have also shown highlights today of the England v Australia game which was shown in HD as well.

    It's understandable that it would have been difficult to show the Wales v New Zealand match in HD because of the clash with Strictly Come Dancing but next year the BBC needs to work with Strictly Come Dancing and the BBC Sport department so Autumn Internationals can be shown in HD followed by Strictly Come Dancing.

    Also ITV had the perfect example of how to bring 6 nations rugby from Ireland,France and Italy and events like Formula One, The Grand National and other Rugby League and Union matches that the BBC has.

    They used an outside broadcast company, which you could clearly see today for the Northwich Victoria v Charlton game.
    They had 2 presenters on the pitch side working with those in the outside broadcast unit to help produce pre-game half-time and post game coverage in HD.
    The game was brought in HD with no studio needed to keep costs down on BBC HD and Sport could do this as well to bring more sports in HD.

    The BBC could work with local outside broadcast units for the Italy and France games and provide the HD coverage to those countries broadcasters to share the costs. While for Ireland games the BBC could send over a outside broadcast unit and produce the game in a similar fashion to the Northwich Victoria v Charlton game so all 6 nations games are brought in HD.

    Bringing more sport in HD like Formula One is far more important than daytime television shows like Flog it and The Unsellables.
    These are poor programmes especially The Unsellables which is just acting like an Estate Agent on BBC HD.
    There is little reason for Hole in the Wall as well. Viewers would rather see Merlin and Spooks.

    So far BBC HD is available in roughly 2.6 million homes or 12% of UK households. By the World Cup this could be 20% or even greater. Certainly by the end of next year with freesat and freeview HD and cable and satellite services it could be in more than 25% of homes.
    People just don't want poor daytime shows like Flog it and the Unsellables using money from the BBC HD budget, they want better shows.

    Can anyone explain why BBC HD is trying to claim that Life is a film? Look at the BARB listings.
    Is BBC HD trying to meet its sport and film quota by mis-labelling programmes?

  • Comment number 15.

    I watched the original POV on TV last night and have just watched the extended version online. It was amazing how Danielle could sit there and defend the picture quality and she acted like a politician in not answering the questions correctly as well as providing false information.
    I personally did not expect any different from the POV I knew that was what we were going to get,One thing I do hope is that now this issue has been aired on TV that more people who sit at home and are unhappy with the picture quality will contact the BBC to raise their complaint as there is possibly some who think it's just them but can see now its a widescale problem

  • Comment number 16.

    As I thought POV gave the issues lip service - the sequences were well edited together and Danielle gave scripted answers provided by others no doubt.

    I would like to see Danielle come and answer the many questions on this blog direct and stop hiding behind a smoke screen. I would think with all the reaction the channel is receiving the BBC HD Department is an interesting place to be working in today.

    I repeat my thoughts from yesterday - Danielle's proud achievements over the last year - and whilst the new shows are admirable the fact the station has lost viewers, the constant technical problems together with the awful picture quality are hardly things to be proud of. The station is a poor imitation of what it once was. I am sure questions will be asked if the BBC genuinely is concerned about it's product. HD on the BBC is becoming a joke within in the industry, and sadly as Channel Director the buck stops with Danielle.

    In addition my comments about Danielle calling us liars was a bit harsh - however she needs to take off her rose tinted glasses and deal with the criticisms and not just ignore them and hope they will go away. So many viewers can't be wrong. Maybe a trip to Specsavers is required?!?!?

  • Comment number 17.

    As bitrate does not effect quality why was it not reduced by 90%?

  • Comment number 18.

    * Affect not effect sorry!

  • Comment number 19.

    Given how many times POV have mentioned her appearance and invited questions on the POV message board, yesterday's appearance was a complete let down. We wanted, and we were led to believe we would get, answers, but all we got was a succession of pre-prepared, and, in some cases, factually incorrect waffle. Ms. Nagler obviously doesn't watch her own output, otherwise she would have seen the degradation in quality that has afflicted BBC HD.

    Just out of interest, does anyone know Ms. Nagler's background? All I can find that that she used to be head of the Director-General’s office.

  • Comment number 20.

    Danielle Nagler, who will report to the BBC controller of multiplatform and portfolio, Simon Nelson, joined the BBC in 1996 as a journalism trainee.

    She later led the BBC project team alongside the BBC2 controller, Roly Keating, working on charter renewal.

  • Comment number 21.

    Picture quality is an issue and is a technical and commercial issue and it is also never going to be fixed once and for all!

    For many viewers so long as the box in the corner flashes brightly they don't care (this must be the case or there would be far more complaints).

    I think the the problems stem from multiple transcoding, editing and switching, particularly live switching. It the analogue days so long as everything was gen-locked together switching took place between frames (actually fields?). If we assume everything is shot in 1920x1080 HD edited as such (uncompressed) and then transmitted there will still be problems as the bandwidth of the transmission system means that there will be substantial compression (and hence a loss of data not only in an individual frame but over a stream of frames as compression takes place in the time domain too.) This is inevitable. But quite a lot of material is not shot in 1920x1080 - uncompressed and uses such things a HDV (which actually compresses in both colour and luminance and to 1440 etc and then expands to 1920).

    Because the codecs used for transmission also compress over a range of frames (actually fields) there will inevitably be problems and I see no alternative than having to put up with them as it not only depends on the encoder used by the broadcaster but also the many different decoders in the viewers' TVs. That is life and live TV has even more problems relating to multiple transcoding and no time to do off-line re-encoding and optimising the image data! (Hence the football pitch looks really well mowed some of time - but this is just an illusion of the encoding system.)

    I shoot in (the pro version of) AVCHD which preserves more of the image data than HDV, but expand to uncompressed to edit giving me gigantic files but then I can edit frame by frame. I would like to shoot in 25p or 24p as it gives me more of the feel of film but transmission systems are mainly 50i (50 fields interlaced). I would also love to shoot in 2k or 4k and cinemascope 2.66:1.

    There is also another issue - HD needs more accurate focussing than SD as out of focus HD looks far worse than out of focus SD. (I can technically explain why, but I won't here) I am just trying to explain why some TV looks less than optimal from time to time! (And that is without considering the very narrow bandwidth and hence the low bit rate of many channels.)

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    Well THAT was the response?

    'No evidence that reducing the bitrate has an impact on quality or that there is an absolute relationship between bitrate and picture quality'

    As many have posted here bitrate we know it isn't the 'only' factor (in picture quality) and neither have most people here said there is an 'absolute relationship' between the two.

    It is the ability of the newer codec to maintain the previously high quality 'or even as we would like, improve on it (ie. not just maintain the 16Mb quality but get back to the 18-20Mb quality) when cut so savagely by 50% (not 40%) that we query.

    The issue was side-stepped by 'there is no evidence'

    Well that puts us in our place doesn't it!

    'we have a very active convsersation'

    What? We write, with 890 plus posts in that one thread alone - but the other side of this 'conversation' is rather less active!

    '...no...the slogan is HD - really great pictures'

    Well I'm not getting 'really great pictures' and I KNOW my TV can display such quality pictures if broadcast but that's not what I am seeing now.

    Very disappointed - 'stone walling at its best - but not in HD'

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 24.

    What's that old phrase - 'It's not what you know it's who you know'.

  • Comment number 25.

    Unfortunately it is not possible to watch the POV outsite the UK. I like the worldwide web :-( If statements are comming via video with conditional access I dont't need to read the response.

    In general I like this blog. Especially the technical explainations from Andy Quested.

    Please make the POV accessible from all over the world or publish additionally a print version of this. This would be great!

  • Comment number 26.

    I Suggest that all bloggers send a complaint as I did with regards to the incorrect statement Danielle made about Bitrates and picture quality.

  • Comment number 27.

    @NickReynolds: As you've closed the previous thread on picture quality


    it would be good if you could include a direct link to it in the preamble to this thread, as it contains evidence of technical problems that Danielle claimed doesn't exist (post 11 (compare post 12), and 194). (The evidence, that is, not the problems.) There are more examples on these blogs, but I'm sure they would be a helpful start for the interested newcomer to this issue.

  • Comment number 28.

    PS there have now been over 400 views of the first image, that of Dennis Lawson as Van Gogh might have rendered him. I hope that some of them were from The Look, the post-production house for Criminal Justice, and from the director of the show.

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    Andrew Knight asked re the DOG: "What public broadcasting need is there for it?"
    Danielle did answer that question on POV when she said some viewers need a DOG to help them navigate the channels.

  • Comment number 31.

    Because most viewers can't read an EPG!

    What rubbish - it's there for marketing and nothing more.

  • Comment number 32.

    trevorjharris - if you continue to accuse Danielle of 'lying' your comments will continue to be removed. No one on this thread calls anyone else a liar please.

  • Comment number 33.

    DN tells us the DOG is a navigation tool.

    So I challenge DN and any of her staff to give me the make and model number of any equipment used by viewers like us, that can render her HD broadcast on a screen, that does not bring up its own menu and information bar as soon as you start navigating.

    (These inbuilt navigation tools do a better and more comprehensive job than a DOG could ever do.)

    Come on the gauntlet is thrown........name me one.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have mixed feelings about the POV broadcast. I actually agree about the concept of picture 'sharpness' not being the same as 'detail'. I think the problem for some folks is that depth of field plays a role where a major part of the picture may not be 'in focus'.

    I think there is a misunderstanding about what constitutes the 'filmic' look. 24/25 fps pictures somehow do not convey - for me at least - a sense of realism. Certainly NOT 'dream-like for the mind' as the creatives would have you believe, simply LESS believable. 50i does give sense of live-ness but can introduce well known display defects especially on a progressive display under certain conditions on which I shall wane lyrical. There is MORE 'association' into a programme/feature with a higher picture rate (theoretically up to 72Hz).

    Higher frame rated HDTV has its own 'look' - better than film and SDTV. (bearing in mind the artifacts of both interlaced SD & Film when displayed by the respective mechanical and electronic means.)

    The creep of 25p has now adversely affected SD programmes, invoking specific negative emotional responses in me; particularly on factual programmes such as The Culture Show, Panorama, {dumbed down}Horizon{/dumbed down} etc. .
    Along with low spacial resolution (720x576), we now also suffer low temporal resolution too! The worst of ALL possible worlds. AND it's spreading.

    ** A note to the 'Creatives'**

    When I turn on the display in my room called 'Television', I'd like to watch live moving 'television' pictures with all the technical advantages that the medium of 'television' can bring, without the artifacts of a obsolescent mechanical based system.
    You may want to be the next Cecil B. De Milne, and build up your C.V. but you have forgotten your CURRENT brief as a TV executive to US, the 'television' viewers. If you are so in awe of mechanical devices being 'superior', I suggest you seek the 'authenticity' of a nipkow disc @ 30 lines, 7:3 ratio, 12.5fps with Celluloid and seek your authenticity there.

    P.S. Re: Garrow. People were hanged, not hung.

  • Comment number 35.

    I see no apology yet regarding the dreadful sound on SCD at the weekend or the DOG on Waterloo Road last week.

  • Comment number 36.

    Nick instead of removing the whole of trevorjharris comment why not just remove the offending sentence? There were other valid points that could have remained.

  • Comment number 37.

    Some more evidence. This time, Nature's Great Events, episode 3. As usual, you have to double click the image to get the full size version.

    First, codec artefacts:

    Old encoder
    New encoder

    Old encoder
    New encoder

    Also, more subtly, finer detail is preserved with the old encoder, e.g. the wildebeest's 'beard', the calf's nose:

    Old encoder
    New encoder

    The last one might look quite subtle, but the difference between the pictures is frequently obvious, with the 16 megs looking clearer and more stable. I'm sure the brain takes all this in, as surely as it does subliminal frames. As before, I picked out suitable demonstration sequences just from watching the images at a normal viewing distance.

    I've got some South Pacific and Yellowstone episodes as well. (I only seem to hang on to nature programmes for some reason.) I'll post images from them at some point, if more evidence is needed, but as you can imagine it's a bit time consuming.

  • Comment number 38.

    "There is no evidence that bitrate has an impact on picture quality or there is an absolute relationship between bitrate and picture quality" Danielle Nagler 8th November 2009

    I had my original post removed. I have tied to change the wording to comply with the BBC censorship.

    Just watched POV

    Wow the quote above must go down in history as most technically inacurate statement ever made by a BBC executive. Danielles comments clearly show that even if she has read our posts she certainly does not understand them.

    The first thing is that Danielle she is not technically qualified to say that picture quality is not related to bitrate. As far as I know the only qualification she has is as a Journalist. She catagorically stated that "there is no evidence that bitrate has an impact on picture quality or there is an absolute relationship between bitrate and picture quality". As any technical person will tell you picture quality is directly related the bitrate. This can be mathematically proven with analysis of the Discrete Cosine Transform used in the MPEG4 codec. A considerable amount of reseach has gone into the relationship between bitrate and picture quality and many of those papers have been referenced in these blogs.

    So why did Danielle make such a rediculous statement. It is possible she could have not of fully understood what her technical staff were saying to her. In any case I think she should have checked with her technical staff that the statement was correct. Whatever the reason she has mislead millions of viewers and should apologize. I think the BBC should also make a statement on the matter.

    Danielle also says she has a very active conversation on the HD Blog. Well Danielle this is a very "oneway" conversation as you never reply on your blog.

    Danielle then goes on to try and explain away the complaints as us requiring a "single look". She talks about picture information. Well Danielle information theory shows us that picture information is directly related to bitrate. She also talks about "depth". I am not sure what she means by this. An HD picture uses 24bits to decribe a pixel which is exactly the same as SD. SD and HD are made up of the same number of colours.

    Another word that Danielle used was the "Filmic". Well filmic usually refers to two aspects of most films and that is "depth of field" and frame rate. Film is normally shot on 35mm film which in combination with standard film lenses gives a certain depth of field in the pictures. Sometimes television cameras use special lenses to mimic that effect giving it a filmic look. The frame rate used in film is only 24 frames per second which gives films their characteristic flickering on movement. So what Danielle seem to be sugesting is that hd should have a single look and that is filmic. I think what she may have been trying to express is the use of soft lenses but this is used in both films and television and is not normally considered filmic.

    The other confusion that comes out of this is picture sharpness. Bitrate reduction does reduce picture sharpness but it also creates artifacts such as blocking. Danielle seems to believe that it only sharpness that we are complaining about. Of cource soft lens and reduced depths of field reduces sharpness and this is not what we are complaing about. We are complaining about the bluring and artifacts caused by the codec. Photographic evidence has been produced on this board showing the difference between the 16mb/s and 9 mb/s pictures.

    Finally she comes up with the slogan "HD really great pictures". Well clearly to most peoples eyes this is not true. Why is it that Danielle is blind to the decrease in picture quality. I know from research that there is a wide variation of peoples perception of picture quality but is it possible that some people are almost blind to picture quality.

  • Comment number 39.

    #14 As you know BBC have an internal policy of not transferring 16mm shot programmes, Spooks and Merlin are both examples of which you quoted, into HD.

    Tonight at nine and throughout the week, the new drama Collision is on ITV HD. It was shot on 16mm and transferred to HD.

    It will be interesting to see people's comments on the PQ.

  • Comment number 40.

    Just watched the extended interview myself and Danielle got out her bat again and just kept prodding back to the bowler. Fact of the matter is, despite being part of the Eurovision set of broadcasters, the BBC are not adhering to Eurovision HD recommendations.

    Fireyab's excellent posts in the other thread and various screen grabs that he, tagmclaren and HD_Fan428 have provided are further evidence to what many, many, many others think; picture quality has been affected and very badly at that.

    Granted, I tuned in to Antiques Roadshow on Sunday and thought Lincoln Catherdral looked great and I thought this was a stark improvement over programmes on the HD channel in recent months (see, I can give praise when it is valid !).

    However, when you tune into Strictly and still find that the sound problems happened again, just like the Electric Proms the week before, you think, why bother?

    It completely ruins the enjoyment of the programme - although I thought the Electric Proms were upscaled in picture - and these types of problems were thought to be eradicated thanks to the stringent procedures that Andy Q alluded to in a post a while back.

    The sport and film remit was not even covered. When ITV can broadcast a showing of Northwich Victoria playing Charlton and the BBC cannot show their full quota of Championship matches in HD, it really is taking the biscuit.

    I thought the ITV HD coverage was miles better than the offering shown the last week on BBC HD; when the ball was moving there was very little blur evident. Yet on BBC HD, when the picture wasn't panning, it looked great, when it did, it was poor.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh and Nick, thanks for providing the links above.

    I agree with HD_Fan28; a link to the evidence provided should also be added with the other links for newcomers to this, so they can see for themselves and make their own conclusions.

  • Comment number 42.

    I heard a rumor that Danielle is watching her HD television through a scart cable. That might explain a few things!

  • Comment number 43.

    Post 42 - At last an explanation wonder if it is a CRT model?

  • Comment number 44.

    @ jtemplar
    Thanks for pointing this out.

    For BBC HD. From The Oxford Dictionary


    • verb 1 plan and direct the route or course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transport. 2 sail or travel over. 3 guide (a vessel or vehicle) over a specified route.

    — ORIGIN Latin navigare ‘to sail’.

    The DOG has nothing to do with the English world Navigate. It is on-screen advertising.

    People are clearly told what channel they are on when they select that channel via the EPG as the EPG contains the channel name.
    If they record the programme it tells them what channel they recorded from.
    People navigate to or away from a channel based on TV listings available or via an EPG, they already know what the channel is called.

    The DOG is a commercial creation, it has nothing to do with navigation so why is it on a public broadcaster.

    If the BBC is banned from product placements, advertising, and overtly plugging commercial products or services on air why is it being commercial by using a DOG.

    People on BBC Radio 4 aren't told every other minute what station they are tuned into, why does BBC HD or any other BBC channel need to do the same?

    In the wider World the DOG is a non-issue. It's a tiny technical insignificant issue.

    But viewers are being given a service with a lower resolution, lower bit-rate which is fixed when few other channels are fixed and being forced to see advertising of what channel they are on.
    There is also programming available in HD like Sport and shows that are made in HD studios right now that isn't going out in HD and films and TV programmes.

    Sport viewers are being let down again this weekend.

    Despite news that Welsh rugby games may be protected on free television the 7.30pm Friday game isn't going out in HD despite the fact it could as it would interrupt any live programming.

    It would only interupt minor shows like Flog It, a show where the funding should be spent elsewhere like Merlin or Spooks.

    The same goes for the Scotland v Fuji game, it goes out at 2.30pm on Saturday and would be available for broadcast for on BBC HD as it would clash with no other programming.

    The games will highly likely covered by outside broadcasts that can broadcast in HD so the games could go out on BBC HD. With it being a international football weekend there are no Premier League or Championship games that need covering in HD making the availability of HD outside broadcast greater than usual.

    Also as England games are shown in HD it is still possible for the BBC to bring HD highlights on the channel at the same time as BBC1 or 2.

  • Comment number 45.

    About DOGs.
    Danielle Nagler said "I do have to balance those who find it annoying with those that find it very usefull".

    Who exactly finds them usefull?. All we've got to do is press a button on the remote control and it will tell you what channel we're watching.

    Sorry to state the obvious BBC but when people decide to watch a certain programme the first thing they've got to do is know what channel it's on otherwise they won't be able to watch it, so how exactly can anyone not know what channel they're watching anyway.

    Best Quality ( Untrue)

    How can you say you use best quality when full HD is 1920 x 1080 and you tranmit at 1440 x 1080.

    Why do all other HD channels use sharp crisp images and you prefer soft fil images?

    All the links above are full of complaints, your own blog is full of complaints and yet still you ignore the issue.

    Bit rate does not affect picture quality ( untrue) if this is the case why not transmit at 1mbs and we can have 9 HD cahnnels?

    You dont listen Danielle and obviously have some sort of vision problem.

    Please dont come on TV and tell us we are all wrong.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why are the BBC tranmitting an exact copy of BBCHD from the same transponder wasting Bandwith when it is supposed to be so precious?? Still no Answer

    Why have we had no explanation or aplogy of the awful sound problems on SCD again this week, No announcement during, or at the end of the programme.I gather there were no such problems on BBC 1. Did the person checking the sound fall asleep again. checking the sound fall asleep again.

    Danielle's comments and sarcastic attitude on POV have just poured petrol on the fire.She really talks down to people, dismisses their views and incorrectly believes she is right and knows it all.

    Sadly she is very mistaken.

  • Comment number 47.

    #39, on the use of 16mm on Collision, ITV HD.

    I've just seen the opening few minutes, and this is not HD. If that's the best it can be then it completely vindicates the BBC's decision not to go down that path, IMHO.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    Nick, I get a lot of emails from people wishing to contribute to the debate about BBC HD PQ - ever since the BBC FOI team left my email address on the FOI response that I received from them, and published here:


    I'm actually pleased to receive them, but I'd like to draw to your attention to the fact that many report that they can't comment on the Blogs. They've usually registered but have then had snags with either the confirmation email, or signing-in after that. The number is quite significant, of course you wouldn't know that because they can't tell you, so hopefully by my passing it on you can launch an investigation.

    One such person has asked me to post the following:

    "would it not be possible for the BBC who transmit the preview loop which is on for 16 hours a day at a lowered bit rate and up the bit rate when the programmes start at 16:00, as they are saying that to continue transmitting at a higher bit rate is unsustainable, (too expensive) would this not make it more economical, John Lewis, Comet and Curry's are not running BBC HD previews at present so if they drop the bit rate of the previews it would not be a loss as they would make their saving there. this reduction of the bitrate is more about cut-backs than new technology, the BBC is making cut's all over the place and this is just one of many."

    I think it's a sensible proposal if we accept that the bitrate is "unsustainable", and then draw the logical conclusion that this is for financial reasons. If it's actually feasible to save bitrate costs by lowering the bandwidth, which must be why the BBC has done it, then why not take another leap and cut costs to the minimum when noone is watching (i.e. when the loop is on).

    Actually, why not just drop the Preview loop altogether and then spend the money saved on bitrate during those 15 hours on giving us the highest bitrate possible during the other 9.

    Of course, for this proposal to work you have to make a leap of faith and accept that bitrate and PQ are linked, which of course we now know is not correct. Thanks for letting me know Danielle.

  • Comment number 50.

    @ Sky caddie 45. Hit the nail on the head. Perfect post.

  • Comment number 51.

    paul_geaton - this blog post about the new signing in system on BBC blogs may be relevant to some of the people who have contacted you. Help pages are here. People having trouble logging in can also use this email: membership@bbc.co.uk.

  • Comment number 52.

    SkyCaddie - please moderate your tone.

  • Comment number 53.

    Nick, Instead of just removing posts, maybe you could explain your reasons??

    My post was not abusive and it was put very politely. Please can you explain what especially was not allowed??? Maybe because it was critical of Danielle which is now allowed??

    Im sorry Nick but Danielle had to expect some negative feedback and you can delete all the posts you like to hide to cover up for her, but the facts are people are unhappy and by deleting posts that are fair comments all you are doing is upsetting viewers even more.

    Theres a saying, you make your bed, you lay in it.

  • Comment number 54.

    @34. I agree with most of what Squegg wrote. Also, in the HD masters conference:


    Richard Salmon, Senior Research Engineer, at BBC Research, told the conference "If SD is acceptable at 50Hz, then full HDTV needs 150Hz, and “as resolution increases, we probably want at least 300Hz.”

    So I don't see why more and more programming is being made at half the rate we used to have in SD.

    Also in that document above, which is relevant to POV and the film look/broadcasting film content it says this:

    "While HDTV offers an ideal entertainment medium in terms of resolution and shape, conveying the ‘film look’ is difficult for digital TV said Andrén, as coding random grain consumes valuable bandwidth. Later BBC Head of Technology Andy Quested confirmed this point with the definitive statement, “The BBC does not transmit grain.”

    Yet film is made up of grain. To be transparent to the source surely it would need to have a bitrate high enough to be able to encode the grain?

    Though, as I said above, these "film-looks" are usually about low frame rates (even though film is capable of many frame rates), and as BBC research has said low frame rates are not what achieves high quality for HD, all it does is create motion artefacts.

    And since the statement by Richard Solomon of BBC research has said that for full HD we need 150hz, why is it that over 90% of BBC HD programmes are only at 25p, and when will we get a higher temporal resolution (or a much higher percentage of content with a high temporal resolution) instead half the temporal resolution we had in SD? Also, if the BBC iplayer was to start streaming/offering downloads of 1080p50 content, even initially at low bitrates, wouldn't that a marketing point as it would be doing something not possible with Blu-ray and not yet available from other UK broadcasters?

  • Comment number 55.

    wednesday83 - I didn't remove your last post. But I have had to warn you on several occasions about your tone. Let's stay on topic please and not start discussing individual moderation decisions.

  • Comment number 56.

    On 16mm:

    The problem with 16mm source was (when I last used it) that there insufficient sprocket holes to provide a stable image to the telecine. This shows itself up only when overlaying a digital image in analogue, but has very much worse effects in generating artefacts and ramps up the datarate because the frame is essentially jumping around (this means that more data is generated and in consequence the received quality is generally worse.)

    35mm film is immune from this - but the cameras are bigger and the film stock prices are far higher so most productions for TV cannot afford to shoot in 35mm.

    If only these producers would get into the digital age and use digital techniques to give them the 'feel' of film we would all get a better experience! It is only a story guys and girls and what is the point of shooting in 16mm (or super 16 generally) when the broadcast result would have had better pictures as a radio play!

  • Comment number 57.

    I thought the main problem with 16mm and Super 16 was the grain size relative to the frame size and ability to encode this at low TV bitrates? Also, if they want the best quality, don't they use film scanners instead of normal telecines now?

    Though I think that all future productions should be made on something better than Super 16 eg. 35mm or HD video, since that will mean better quality.

  • Comment number 58.

    I see that we are being told not to call people liars but if the information given is false and is obviously this way to confuse and mislead then why may we not use such a word as liar?

    On the subject of the POV interview I personally thought it was horrific, to say reducing the bitrate helps with the varied content styles is just incorrect, furthermore we don't complain because the images aren't crisp it is simply because the picture is verging on SD quality most of the time. This is not because some choose to shoot in more film styles it's because the bitrate is low meaning over compression leading to heavy blocking and just dire PQ. And however it was sugar coated on POV we were being called liars plain and simple by saying the picture quality had reduced since the bit rate and encoder change.. What ever happened to 18mbps?.. those where the days... (stares out into the night sky reminiscing of what once was)

  • Comment number 59.


    Not to usurp Nick but I would steer well clear of accusing someone of lying.


  • Comment number 60.

    A short P.S and a nod to HD1080

    I recently reviewed a demonstration of 3D HDTV and even at 60HZ, some scenes demonstrated motion artifacts; Sport and ESPECIALLY transferred 24p film (Avatar) - albeit with Pull Down contributing its own problems.

    I mention 72Hz for it is politically neutral as a candidate for a potential common interchange format (film OR TV). Capture at multiples at 144 and 288Hz might be useful in the future because using 150 and 300Hz ties us into legacy standards. (Again.)

  • Comment number 61.

    In post 58. At 11:11pm on 09 Nov 2009, David wrote:
    "the information given is false and is obviously this way to confuse and mislead"
    Danielle has previously revealed her position with regard to both bitrate and content when she stated "I know that for some who read this programmes are a second order issue, compared to the DOG and our broadcast bitrate"

    I said, at the time, I considered her comments to be rather, ill-considered and dismissive, given her position as Head of the Corporations High Definition channel.

    Prior to having a swipe at people 'more' interested in the technical aspects of HD programming, as opposed to 'content', Danielle had, in her previous blog, demonstrated how busy she had been putting together new channel idents - apparently much more important than the technical quality of the broadcast.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think POV revealed that Danielle is realy running the channel as her own personal station. She wants the picture to have the look she likes. The schedualing is was she thinks it should be. The DOG is to help her navigate the multitude of channels. The choice of program is the sort of programs she likes. As a result the BBC HD channel is failing in every way. It is failing technically, in programing, and scheduling and in the viewing figures.

    By taking the attitude that we are all a bunch of idiots she is diging herself into a deeper and deeper hole. Eventually the channel will be everything she wants it to be but unfortunatly she will be the only one left watching.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 62, I doubt Danielle even watches BBC HD never mind having a view on the looks.

  • Comment number 64.

    @paul_geaton Post 49

    Roughly every satellite transponder has 33mbps of capacity.

    BBC HD is using around 9mbps fixed while the two MPEG2 channels will only use around 4.5mbps.

    So roughly half the capacity is being wasted.

    It would be possible to have 2 HD channels, BBC HD and a red button HD stream unfixed but roughly working at 12mbps while the two MPEG2 channels work at 4.5.

    BBC HD is still testing on its transponder with a service information descriptor or SID of 3495 on top of its usual SID channel of 3490.

    Perhaps it is a place holder for a future red button HD stream to come soon?
    The Winter Olympics is still going to cause huge scheduling issues and so will The World Cup.
    Such a stream can be provided on cable and possibly via borrowing space on Freeview HD.

    Cutting the HD hours outside of broadcast would cut the average bandwidth per day, but if BBC HD plans to extend its hours at the weekends to cover more sport and show other programming in the future then it would only be a temporary measure.

    By fixing the channels bandwidth it is wasting a large amount of bandwidth on the transponder.

  • Comment number 65.

    Andy, I know you are overseas at the moment and missing out on the (sometimes) heated and vigorous debate (?) going on here following Danielle's appearance on POV, and don't get back into work until Wednesday (that was well timed). By the time you return this comment will have disappeared amongst the (probably) hundreds that will follow.

    However, should you come across it, firstly welcome back to the madhouse, secondly, I wonder if you can recall writing this:

    "Thursday, 6 November 2008 - Over the months we have had many comments about the BBC HD channel on this blog, other chat rooms and directly to the BBC HD team. Not all of them are negative in fact many of them are very positive."

    There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, not to mention 678 posts on your PQ Blog, 895 on Danielle's, 226 related ones in her Day in the Life...Blog and now 64 more here. Not all of them negative, true, but I think you'll find that about 99% of them are.

    Nick has kindly provided here some links to some of the other websites were there have been negative comments. Although these links are just a drop in the ocean, e.g. on Digital Spy alone you'll find dozens of threads discussing the poor picture quality of BBC HD and probably none praising it.

    That state of affairs really saddens me, particularly when I think of the hard work that so many BBC employees and contractors, cameramen, producers, sound men, etc. must be putting in day-in and day-out trying their best to make the channel, and it's HD products, a success.

    In the light of that I'd just like to ask you what could be going wrong, and what do you think can, and hopefully will, be done about it now? A simple enough question, don't spend too long mulling it over. Just jump on here and post a quick comment. I would genuinely really appreciate that.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 65, I think what could be done to sort out the issues is someone at BBC have the bottle to admit Danielle has failed at BBC HD and move Danielle to a department she would be able to excel at. Im sure there must be a department that she is suited to???

    Unless Danielle is replaced as Head of BBC HD then the channel has no future for me. How can it suceed when the channel boss is totally ignoring the comments of its viewers and going on national TV denying theres a problem when everyone can see there is a problem. It needs someone who understands HD to be in charge.

  • Comment number 67.


    "John Lewis, Comet and Curry's are not running BBC HD previews at present"

    Not entirely true.
    It was either Comet or Curry's in Barnstaple, two weeks ago, where I saw the BBC HD Preview on a pretty large sized screen. (40"+)

    Looked clear to me. In fact, it looked clearer at 40" than a DVD upscales on my more modest 22" screen. At a much larger screen size, the picture resolution actually seemed to be appropriate to the size of the screen.

    And with all the fuss there's been on here for the past year or more, you can be certain that I spent a good few minutes looking closely at it.

    Were there a sub-12-month option of going HD (long story, out of my control), I'd switch tomorrow.

  • Comment number 68.

    Can I ask everyone and in particular Wednesday83 (again) to moderate their tone.

    Firstly calling someone a liar is both a breach of the house rules and potentially defamatory.

    Secondly you may disagree with the decisions made but a statements like "Danielle never watches the channel" is absurd and untrue. I have not linked to other non BBC conversations about this subject because they contain offensive language and unpleasant personal abuse. Let's not go down that road please.

    Thirdly can we stay on topic - which is the POV interview. This is not a general discussion about all the ins and outs of HD kit etc.

  • Comment number 69.

    Fair enough Nick. Keeping on topic then, on POV Danielle said "There's no evidence that that reducing the bitrate has an impact on picture quality".

    I've posted some more image captures from another programme transmitted before and after the encoder changes above, post 37. These are directly from the broadcast bitstream, not a photograph of a TV picture, so this is what people receive in their homes before their TV gets hold of it.

    It seems to me that this is clear evidence that the picture has deteriorated since the change, sometimes alarmingly (I'm thinking of the zebra image). I would like to know if and how Danielle can maintain her position in the light of such evidence. (This isn't the first comparison I've posted.)

    I'd also like to know how these examples can be reconciled with the BBC Trusts's remit for the channel, that it "should deliver a very high quality technical service to viewers, by adhering to, or seeking to exceed, industry standards for picture resolution."

    I can post more evidence, but is it really needed?

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick, indeed some do need to moderate their tone but most is born out of sheer frustration. Surely its not beyond someone in authority from the BBC besides yourself to comment on whats been said in the blog? In the hundreds of preceeding posts Ive seen nothing at all.
    Not too much to ask surely?

  • Comment number 71.

    I've been lurking here and on the other now closed blogs for some time and have followed the debate with interest. I've been watching BBC HD for over two years and although I am not knowledgeable on the technical aspects if HD transmission, I have good enough eyesight and can recognise that what I am seeing on my screen is not what it was. I have only now decided to comment after watching the now infamous interview with the head of BBC HD on POV. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't, in my opinion, the patronising, supercilious hubris we were treated to on Sunday.

    A great many people have taken the time to post here and elsewhere and to prepare comparative evidence and put forward detailed technical data which was dismissed out of hand. I think we deserve better. There will be many viewers who are not aware of these forums and who possibly have become dissatisfied with their BBC HD viewing experience. They too deserve better.

    BTW did anyone spot the magical jacket Paul Martin was wearing on the recent Flog It! episode? When he stood still his jacked was a resplendent pin-stripe couture. Then whenever he moved the stripes magically disappeared only to return when he stopped! Now that IS using bit rate reduction and compression inadequacies to bring new artistic effect to our screens in a very imaginative way! (please excuse the sarcasm).

  • Comment number 72.

    best just to forget it all, on the evidence of what's been posted here, the problem is not technical, it is one of managerial competence (or lack thereof) and 'jockeying for position'.

  • Comment number 73.

    We're better off sticking with Sky for HD material. You get what you pay for. I've yet to see anything on BBC HD match Sky Sports HD for PQ. Sky are also far more pro-active in taking HD feeds when available, and moving stuff onto HD channels where possible - Barack Obama's inauguration on Sky Arts HD for example

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    .... In the interview Danielle claimed theres no proof lowering bit rates affects quality, maybe she just does not understand and was given wrong info on her script.

    She also hinted lowering bit rates helps artistic decisions my the programme makers. Again maybe she was given wrong info on her script.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ post 70, Its very hard to get people to comment on posts. We get into trouble for what we say when we have a valid reason yet people at BBC HD just sit silent and let Nick tell us off.

  • Comment number 77.

    Given that just about every piece of technical documentation I can find confirms that bitrate is related to picture quality (otherwise why don't they just drop BBC HD to 1Mb/sec) Ms Nagler's statement that "there is no evidence that bitrate has an impact on picture quality or there is an absolute relationship between bitrate and picture quality" can have only two logical conclusions:

    1. She was deliberately not telling the truth.

    2. She has been technically misinformed.

    Given that we can hopefully discount No. 1, should she not be compelled to issue a retraction of her incorrect statement and provide us with correct information?

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 77, If she genuinely did not know about bit rates affecting quality, then how can she be in charge of an HD channel????

    I just don't get it. Surely Danielle knows at least that much?

  • Comment number 79.

    And also as well, who actually wrote her script for the interview?? Surely they should have done their research.

  • Comment number 80.

    #57. HD1080 wrote:

    "I thought the main problem with 16mm and Super 16 was the grain size relative to the frame size and ability to encode this at low TV bitrates?"

    My experience has shown me that the inter-frame micro movements of the film in the gate of the "projector" between frames has a significant effect of the quantity of data in an image stream.

    The human brain simply ignores the lack of absolute registration when viewing 16mm film and 16 mm film analogue scanned, but as soon as the film is digitised these little movements of apparently still objects generate extra data (for the same perceived quality). Hence the problem with compression schemes that encode differences between frames rather than just every frame. This pushes up the necessary bitrates for the same quality, or conversely for a given bitrate the quality is lower.

    Grain can be a problem but most film shot properly, light properly and developed properly has a far higher resolution (and lower grain size) than is resoled by digital scanning. (Try the sums and compare that with the inter-frame differences resulting from the gate jitter caused by 16mm film's relative lack of sprocket holes.) There is a good reason for not using 16mm (apart from the cost!) If the same image streams were created from a digital source the necessary data rate to achieve the same visual perceived quality if far lower - but producers still like the feel of film. (Even though Hollywood (where they all want to work!) is moving to digital end to end production and delivery!

  • Comment number 81.

    Good interview, shame about the content. However what has really irked me over the past 24 hours is this story ....


    In which elememts of the Freeview rollout are revealed to a Magazine, PRIOR to an official Press Release, by a senior BBC Employee. Official Channels should be used for this information and not given selectively to magazines in interviews.

    It does nothing to the credibility of the Corporation as I pointed out in a read, but as yet not replied to, email I sent to the individual concerned last night.

    HD is important so please no more leaks like this one please.

  • Comment number 82.

    Post #37


    Needs replying to by someone at the BBC, and not a forum mod.

    There is no debate until this is taken on board and answered by the Beeb

    Danielle (or someone else)
    Why has this deterioration of PQ been ignored, and why is the Beeb sticking theirs heads in the sand over this issue.

    I got BBCHD, soon after Sky launched their service, I then left for a year and came back to the service recently, and the difference between then and now is huge.

    Also, is this a blog or propoganda I was under the impression a blog offered a 2 way form of communication with ample opportunity for the blog author to respond to comments?

  • Comment number 83.

    Id like to watch the extended interview that some have mentioned on POV. Can somebody post a link to it or is the iplayer version the long one?
    Perhaps as it relates to the channel it could be repeated on BBC HD at some time. I know its SD but the Dog will tell us that it is really HD

  • Comment number 84.

    AndyQ: Please tell us what you told DN that made her feel confident in saying that there is no evidence that reducing the bit-rate has reduced the Picture Quality of received BBC HD.

    Andy: If you have been replaced by DN, with some Technical HD expert that backs up her statement, please let us know who it is and what qualifications/ experience they have to provide such technical engineering advice.

  • Comment number 85.

    It now seems that if BBC HD isn't unfixed then BBC HD will look better on Freeview HD than satellite. As stated before enough capacity is being wasted on satellite to unfix BBC HD and launch a second red button stream via DVB-S. And keeping the current 2 MPEG-2 channels.

    Hot of the EBU press. Freeview HD will work on 256QAM with inner coding of 2/3 which will provide roughly 41Mbit/s.
    That is roughly the same as satellite if you take 33Mbit/s and add in the 30% codec improvement.
    The EBU document shows statistical multiplexing is more efficient.

    Infact Andy Quested has already released this information.

    Just in case the slides are pulled down the slides confirm on Freeview HD Ofcom Mode 7 will be used and will provide 40.2Mbits/s to 98.5% of the country.
    This would mean 4 HD channels could launch and run un-fixed using the latest MPEG-4 improvements and look as good as BBC HD before it was fixed on satellite.
    Infact with Five not launching the BBC could even ask to run a red button HD stream using the capacity Five isn't using, or borrow capacity of ITV HD when it isn't running.

    Fixing BBC HD has been pointless, DVB-T2 can now support 4 unfixed HD 1980x1080i at 25 frames.

    If BBC HD isn't unfixed it will look better via Freeview HD.

    Someone has wrongly done the calculations, by fixing BBC HD at such a low bit-rate and with only having 2 other MPEG-2 channels half the satellite transponder space is being wasted. Enough to unfix BBC HD and launch a red button HD stream.


    In the UK the position of a HD controller is a new job as well so there is a steep learning curve. Replacing them would just set back the whole project, mistakes will be made but they can be learnt from.

    They have the information from this post now to show how fixing BBC HD isn't needed and how enough capacity is being wasted to launch a red button channel on satellite, it could also be launched via cable as well and perhaps Freeview HD.

    This is who BBC HD report to.

  • Comment number 86.

    The slides say the Freeview HD information was confirmed on the 1st of October.

    So now BBC HD know that Freeview HD has such a large bandwidth to play with and by using the latest MEPG-4 coders each of the 4 potention HD channels will look better than BBC HD on satellite if it stays fixed.

    As the EBU recommend in its conclusion ''Furthermore, the conclusion can be drawn that broadcasters only benefit from a transition to MPEG-
    4 and/or DVB-T2 under the assumption that this application of more frequency-efficient techniques
    can be used by them for an improved programme offer in terms of higher quality (HD) and/or a larger
    number of programmes.''

    Page 15.

    So it seems questionable why BBC HD on satellite needs to be fixed as the EBU recommends that channels aren't fixed in order to get the best out of the available technology.

    Since half the satellite transponder space is being wasted the best isn't being realised from BBC HD via satellite, there is enough to launch a red button HD stream for various clashes like when a sport broadcast in HD clashes with a live programme.

  • Comment number 87.

    Thanks to Andrew Knight for yet another insightful couple of posts!

  • Comment number 88.


    On Pages 1 and 144 of this weeks Radio Times, it says they are taking questions for "You Ask The Questions" to be put to Sir Michael Lyons. Questions should be sent to radio.times@bbc.co.uk"

    I think it's worth keeping in mind Nick's guidelines on civility and houserules though. We may well get a response if we stick to the PQ/bitrate issue and not randomly call for public sackings of BBC Managers.

    Nick - please delete if you feel this is off topic.


  • Comment number 89.

    Vote here for BBCHD quality the vote is on the right. Not looking good at the moment.


    Did I hear Danielle say she engaged vigorously with us, no comments so far on this blog. Surely not another untrue statement?

    Also nice to see that when Andy is away no one has stepped in and commented on the awful sound problems on SCD.Nice to see you work as a team at BBCHD.I apologise Andy for saying you have not replied and await your return, your so called colleagues are obviously lost without you.

    Question for your return Andy is it true what the above posts state that Freeview HD will be better than Satellite or Cable? I suspect so ,another body blow.

  • Comment number 90.

    @89 Skycaddie

    I imagine that even though people have to buy another box for Freeview HD, there will be a much bigger take up for that than Freesat, perhaps that may explain the perception that more resource is being pushed in that direction. Purely speculative of course.


  • Comment number 91.

    @89 Skycaddie

    Missed the bit that made it relevant here! If bitrate and PQ are not linked then why is the Freeview HD rate higher? Surely it should match the Freesat one leaving room/space for future services and channels?

  • Comment number 92.

    Thanks for the information Andrew 85 & 86. I wish Andy was as informative.

    Sorry Andy but another question for you.Is DVB-S2 more effecient? If so why do the BBC not use this it seems all SKY HD channels are tramsmitted using DVB-S2 and I assume Freesat boxes can work with this?

  • Comment number 93.

    Just on a point of information Danielle doesn't report to Simon Nelson. I believe she reports to Roly Keating.

  • Comment number 94.

    #88 Thanks Kyle, a great spot and good advice too. Nick, it's not off topic at all, in fact it's completely relevant to the points that Danielle was attempting to address on POV, so don't delete it.

    I really hope that the likes of @Andrew Knight and @Fireyab9, and the rest of us, can all take some time to compose one very pertinent question each for Sir Michael. As Chairman of the BBC Trust, who "set the course for the BBC...(&) represent the public who own and pay for (it)", just one well framed and incisive question to him has got to be worth dozens of comments aimed at Danielle (on a Blog that doesn't even appear to be read by her).

    Kyle, is their a deadline for sending these questions, or guidelines on how long they can be?

    #85 Andrew, more great posts but I can't believe that the BBC put the man responsible for the development of DAB digital radio in charge of supervising the BBC HD channel controller. I think I read somewhere that "The sound quality of current DAB services is — both subjectively and technically — inferior to that achievable with FM, varying from just about acceptable to utterly atrocious, depending on the bit-rate allocated to each service. DAB was conceived to use bit-rates at least twice as high as those often employed now". Fancy that!

  • Comment number 95.

    #93, thanks for clarifying Nick. I can breathe a sigh of relief.

  • Comment number 96.

    @88, I wouldnt exactly say its random calling for Danielles head. Theres a valid reason. The quality of BBC HD has been poor for far too long now and Danielle is the boss. In any line of business the buck stops with the person in charge. Danielle could use her powers to sort the issues out but instead all she does is deny theres a problem and tries to fob everyone off.
    The reason I would like to see Danielle replaced is because its clear the BBC HD channel needs someone in charge who knows about HD and has a passion for improving quality. The comments made by her on points of view show that she is not technical minded about HD.

    Since Danielle has been in charge of BBC HD the quality of picture has got worse and worse with no commitment to sorting the issue out.

    Maybe Andy Quested could be promoted???

  • Comment number 97.

    So Danielle and Simon report to Roly Keating and Erik Huggers who is the boss of Andy Quested. Rory and Erik reports to Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision who reports to Mark Thompson.

    Simon Lloyd has joined as part of a marketing position on the board that oversees Andy Quested. But although he is on this board he reports to head of communications Sharon Baylay.


    Andy Quested needs to be put on the board. You can't have the head of technology being in a lower position than someone who is on the board of an important department when they actually report to someone else in another department.

    It seems to imply Marketing and Communications is more important than the picture quality which won't go down well. People are spending good money on updating TV sets throughout the UK and they would at least expect the head of the department for getting the best possible HD and 5.1 service out there has an equal footing on the board.

    That point is even greater when Andy is actually responsible for the physical running of the service and is one of the most important people in the department. The BBC aims to run in HD from 2012 as his department plays an important role in that.

    It would also make more sense for Danielle to report to Jana Bennett as BBC HD is actually a on-going programme to transform all BBC and BBC Worldwide joint venture channels over to HD.

    The radio times will only want short snappy questions, but I think you should push through with the letter to the Trust.

    Will they allow third parties to write within your response?

    The latest information on the Freeview HD platform shows that left unresolved BBC HD on Freeview HD will end up better than on satellite.

  • Comment number 98.


    Danielle reports to Roly Keating who reports to Erik Huggers who is the boss of Andy Quested. Roly and Erik reports to Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision who reports to Mark Thompson.

    The FOI release never named who put forward the cut in the bit-rate, see Post 85/86.

    Replacing anyone want solve any of the issues you raise, at least the current staff are being informed of why the fixed bitrate isn't needed and why it is wasting so much transponder space. Enough to launch a red button HD stream and unfix BBC HD.

    Another industry article that shows that only equipment can produce a filmic look and not bit-rates.

    ''The second season of Twentieth Century Fox Television’s hour-long thriller, “Dollhouse,” is being shot with the Panasonic VariCam 3700 solid-state P2 HD camcorder.

    The AJ-HPX3700 combines VariCam’s filmic-look, variable frame rates and subtle tone control with master-quality, 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC-Intra recording as well as dual-link RGB 4:4:4 output. ''


  • Comment number 99.

    #83: the iPlayer version is the long one. At least it doesn't contain the calumny, as the broadcast version did, of transforming the viewer comment (good one zubeirp :)) that there has been a 40% decrease in bitrate into a question which equates that with a 40% reduction in picture quality.

    I can think of one post that did make that assertion on the blogs, way back when, but it's not a view that any informed person (including the the rest of zubeirp's message, and remaining approx. 2000 posts) would want to argue for. The problems, while obvious, are a bit more subtle than that!

    If Ms Nagler was badly briefed, so was Mr Vine.

  • Comment number 100.

    @ SkyCaddie Post 92

    The BBC doesn't need DVB-S2 until it needs to broadcast 4 HD channels.

    For now there is enough capacity via DVB-B and the latest MPEG 4 enconders for BBC HD, a red button HD stream for when live sport clashes with strictly come dancing and other programming like extended coverage of The Winter Olympics, The World Cup and The Commonwealth games.
    And there is enough space to leave the two MPEG2 channels on the transponder.


Page 1 of 2

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.