« Previous | Main | Next »

BBC ONE HD: test transmissions

Post categories:

Andy Quested Andy Quested | 12:49 UK time, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

So... many of you have found the test transmissions!

I've also noticed there's been a lot of speculation about what we are up to for the last few days and we thought it would be good idea to let you know what's been happening and will be happening before BBC One HD launches on Wednesday.

We are, as you may have guessed, in test mode at the moment. Testing is not just about delivery of sound and pictures going through the chain from our playout provider through to the encoders. It is to check the service works on all platforms especially all the DTT transmitters and about testing Subtitles, Audio Description, Audio Channel Continuity, AV sync, Green Button services, Surround/Stereo switching, Up and Down Conversion ...

Our playout service is run by Red Bee Media, Siemens are responsible for managing the encoders and Arqiva manage the DTT transmitters. Virgin Media handle their own encoding so we send an uncompressed HD SDI signal from Red Bee to their coding site. Finally Siemens manage the satellite transmission bundle for Freesat and Sky.

The Red Bee engineers are currently rebuilding the BBC One playout suite in two stages. Stage 1 goes on air on the 3rd November and once this is up and running the tough job of rebuilding BBC One's complete playout suite in HD begins! The reason for doing a two stage rebuild is to get the channel on air in time for Christmas.

In the Stage 1 build, the HD service is a separate path that piggy-backs onto BBC One SD. The SD channel is completely unaffected by the changes in Stage 1. Because it is a piggy-back service some of the functions will be limited, for example some of the junctions between programmes will be simpler on the HD version than the SD. When the Stage 2 build is completed, BBC One will be HD; the SD channel will be derived from a down conversion of the HD version.

What are we up to then with the tests?

Subtitles - During Stage 1, BBC One HD will use the subtitling data from the SD service. To make sure this works properly we need to test the link and the timing between the subtitles and the images. This is why you have seen some random subtitles from BBC One SD over the HD promo!

Audio Description - We have been using Doctors to check how the audio description service works. The timing of AD service is critical as the AD audio MUST be in sync with both the HD and SD services irrespective of the timing difference between the two signals (some HD processing takes longer than SD especially if we have to compensate for Dolby E encoding and decoding.

Audio Channel Continuity - seems obvious but we need to make sure Left Surround comes out of the Left Surround Speaker etc.! We also check Stereo/Surround switching and the Stereo Mix-down (when you listen to a surround sound programme via a TV's stereo speakers).

AV Sync - this is a subject close to my heart. As many of you know I was an editor for many years and can see AV sync errors very quickly! Some of you may have noticed the sync signal interrupting the HD Channel's promo for long periods. I am using the opportunity to check the HD Channel to find out why we have some small differences between stereo and surround programmes. It's only a few milliseconds but we need to understand what's causing the difference. As a reminder the EBU standards are +10 to -20ms for the equivalent processing and we are well within that.

For BBC One HD we have the added complication of the delay caused by up-converting SD programmes. This adds a yet another 40ms of video delay to one of the possible paths through playout

A word of warning here; as we are adjusting the AV sync on BBC One HD, I cannot guarantee the AV sync signal is correct at the moment; we may be adjusting AV delays while it's going out and if you make any changes during the tests you could end up with up to a 40ms (1 frame) error. The signal on BBC HD is correct and measured at about -4ms in the transmitted transport stream.

Up-conversion - BBC One HD, just like ITV 1 HD, C4 HD Sky 1 HD etc, will be a simulcast channel so all SD programmes will be up-converted for the HD service. Up-converters don't just change the video from SD to HD; they also have to move timecode from the SD position usually in the vertical sync interval (VITC) to a VANC (Vertical ANCillary) data package. Up-converters may also have to change any embedded subtitle packages and move (shuffle) embedded audio tracks to cope with stereo and surround track positions.

Down-conversion - Viewers of BBC One SD will see SD programmes up-converted then down-converted. The criteria we set for the up/down converters was based on the quality of an SD source shown on the SD service - in other words, what was the most transparent process!

STB Compatibility - the BBC HD and BBC One HD channels must work on all DTT and D-Satellite so quite a lot of testing is about making sure the service is totally compatible and all the additional services work.

Over the next couple of days we will be tidying up and loose ends before the service becomes visible on the EPGs. Please remember to check and re-do any series links as we are changing the channel some programmes are transmitted on (BBC One HD from BBC HD) and changing the channel number of BBC HD.

Andy Quested is Head of Technology, BBC HD & 3D, BBC Future Media & Technology

N.B: You can also follow Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD on Twitter @naglerhd


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent post - thank-you. Do you know what the implication on EPG's is likely to be? Your talk of up then down-converting makes me wonder whether - on Sky for example - channel 101 will deliver HD content if you have HD, and SD if you don't? In an ideal world where simulcast on HD is happening, I would prefer to see the HD channel as the primary channel for the station within the EPG (and the SD channel becomes the secondary channel - in case you want to record it and use less space for example) - but I guess that's going to be down to the service provider?

  • Comment number 2.

    Why are you using the up-down process for the SD channel instead of just using the SD source?

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for posting Andy. Things are really building up on Danielles blog even before the channel starts.

    Danielle has said that statistical multiplexing will not be used. Please can you tell us what the transmission mode will be used?

    I notice that Virgin is fed an SDI feed. As there is no such thing 1440x1080 SDI does that mean Virgin gets the full 1920x1080 video? Do they transmit 1920x1080.

    I must admit I don't like the upscale downscale plan. Surely the are better ways of doing this. This will mean

    720x576 -> 1920x1080 -> 1440x1080 -> 720x576

    How are you going to manage the dreaded DOG in the stage 2 of the upgrade. How do you keep the DOG in the kennel for SD.

    Danielle has just revealed on twitter that the DOG is being mandated by the "marketing department". It seems that Dannielle has little or no influence on the DOG.

  • Comment number 4.

    By the way Andy congratulations on your new title

    Head of Technology, BBC HD & 3D, BBC Future Media & Technology

    There was alot of speculation you had moved onto greener pastures. Danielle has made it clear that the BBC has no plans to start a 3D channel so it is a bit odd that the BBC is creating all these posts for a channel which does not exist.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dear xpositor thank you for your post. At the moment 101 (Sky) will be BBC One SD and 143 BBC One HD. One day I hope 101 will be HD if you have and HD STB but SD with an SD STB (just like 101 gives you your own BBC One region or Nation). I don't know how long this will take and if it's possible on all platforms.

    Dear CompactDistance thanks for your post too. During stage 1 this is exactly what will happen but in stage 2 BBC One will be HD and we hope the number of HD programmes will grow as the new buildings open (Salford and the new W1 centre). This will just leave archive programmes in SD. We have to time all services exactly and doing this across two separate video and audio chains is not easy - making the whole BBC One play out chain HD keeps everything very tight.


  • Comment number 6.

    Dear trevorjharris thanks for the post. Starting at the back - no new post, just more to do. My HD job existed before the HD Channel - For 3D there is a lot more work to do channel or none!!

    Re Virgin - they take an SDI feed and encode it to MPEG2 HD at around 16-17Mbs. We have exhausted the 1440 - 1920 issues though in other blogs though.

    As for the SD path. We have tested the path quite rigorously and it is no different to SD inserts into HD programmes that go out on SD channels (say that quickly!)


  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Andy, nice to have you back.
    Re: Trevor's comment, Danielle has said that statistical multiplexing will not be used. Please can you tell us what the transmission mode will be used? can you please clarify.


  • Comment number 8.

    Following on from the comments about the multiplexing, Danielle said it "should deliver the best possible pictures providing the two channels are not playing exactly the same programme at the same time - that isn't intended to happen"

    But with only two channels being multiplexed surely contention for bandwidth could occur if both are showing complex scenes at the same time, not just the same scene.


  • Comment number 9.

    Love it! HD coming soon as standard!

    With all these acronymns and TLAs I reckon Mitch Benn could write a new song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3q2iZuU5WM


  • Comment number 10.

    There are rumours doing the rounds that the BBC have sublet space on the HD transponder to Channel 4 for Channel 4 HD for Freesat...
    I remain sceptical... Very....

  • Comment number 11.

    @Mark Kenny

    Great song! it is a pity that the BBC is no longer "ours" it belongs to the BBC Executives and government departments who now have full control. It is a great reminder of how many great programs the BBC use to make.


    I do not think this is likley. The reason channel 4 HD is not on Freesat is because it would be uneconomic with such a small number of viewers. The BBC would have to charge Channel 4 for its space.

    As for statistical multiplexing we need Andy to clear this up. I certainly expect the picture quality of the BBC HD channels to drop further in quality. The BBC has now moved the 2 SD channels off of the HD multiplex. This means that the multiplex could move to DVB-S2 giving 25% more space. I am very suprised they did not do it before starting BBC1 HD.

    It looks as though BBC 1 HD is going to be the most controversial new channel ever. Picture quality, lack of surround sound, DOG, local news, lack of HD content......

    Mind you the opening night of BBC2 was a pretty big disaster. When they switched it on it caused massive powercut across London!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    #3 trevorjharris & #7 zubeirp

    "Danielle has said that statistical multiplexing will not be used. Please can you tell us what the transmission mode will be used?"

    #8 citizenloz

    "But with only two channels being multiplexed surely contention for bandwidth could occur if both are showing complex scenes at the same time, not just the same scene.


    Let me offer a speculative answer until an official one appears:

    On the DSAT transponder, both BBC HD and 6941 (to become BBC ONE HD) are currently operating in VBR mode, albeit both capped at just over 15 Mbps each. They currently do not need to be statistically multiplexed as, with no other channels using that transponder, they can both peak to their set maximum simultaneously and still be well within the bandwidth capacity of the transponder.

    If that is an incorrect assessment, I would welcome being officially corrected.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great to have you back Andy.

    Will the info banner advise us what is HD and what is Upscaled?

    Update:I see at last this is now on Virgin who swopped channels days ago and did not have this info on. I assume DSat will also show this.

    Looking forward to see what the upscaling looks like, C4, Five, and ITV do an excellent job I hope The BBC is as good if not better.

    Can you comment on post 10 re C4HD on the transponder for Freesat? This would be excellent news.

    Love the new title hope you dont have to say that everytime you answer the phone, you must also have a big door to The Office to fit all that on :-)

  • Comment number 14.

    #12, burnlea: your speculation makes the most sense to me. Unfortunately it doesn't gel with Danielle Nagler's statement where she said the two channels "will be managed flexibly alongside each other, so that the bitrate available to the two channels combined can be shared between them" before going on to say "For more technical readers, this is not statistical multiplexing, but similar to it."


    So either Danielle has made a mistake or there is some new process in play. I have to say I hope it's the latter since I've pursued this question on the TV blog out of a genuine sense of interest, which was piqued because the passage was so precisely written. I really didn't intend harassing a non-technical person, but it will look like that if it turns out it was a mistake.

    Time, or Andy, will tell...

  • Comment number 15.

    VBR on satellite has never made any sense to me. It does make sence on DVDs in that it gives the best quality for the given disk size. In broadcasting if you have 15mb/s you might as well use it all at CBR rather than transmitting null bits like the BBC does. Statistical Multiplexing does make sense however but I as have pointed out before the benifits are minimal with just two channels in the multiplex. As it seems that the BBC is not going to add any more channels for several years they should use all the bits there are.

  • Comment number 16.

    Will the DOG be removed on "quality" programming? If not, I'll be watching the SD version. PLEASE don't let the marketing men win. Defacing good quality pictures with a totally unnecessary DOG should not be allowed.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am very excited about this! Its funny really but just a few months ago I didn't see what all the fuss was about with HD, but after spending a few hours in front of my sisters new 50" HD with all the bells and whistles, my views on the matter soon changed!

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear Mark Kenny - thanks for the post. I'm afraid TLAs come with the job so sorry but Mitch is much better on his own site http://mitchbenn.com/

    Wear the t-shirt with pride!

    To all - re statmux...Although the two channels are actually statmuxed, two channels don't really make one as you all know. So take your pick what you call it on DSat - DTT is a statmux though!

    Dear trevorjharris - like the take on the power failure on the first night of BBC Two - still the old national grid was given the schedules on a Saturday night back then!

    Dear SkyCaddie - up conversion is as good as the up convertor and the source material so we will keep looking at it to make sure the original quality is maintained as best we can.

    As for DOGs - they are on the move. If anyone carse to watch the BBC HD Channel preview tonight (tomorrow morning) the DOG is wandering to the left by about 100 pixels - other DOG comments can go to Danielle's blog!!


  • Comment number 19.

    Dear jamesculvers - thanks for the post and welcome. Hope you watched "Later" tonight. It was looking really good. Tomorrow is a busy day but I hope by 19:00 we will go live!


  • Comment number 20.

    When is Freeview's EPG going to be filled? Shame that it's missing, people's planned recordings should have been thought of. That's the big downer of the day for me.

    People wanting to record tomorrow evening's programmes have no guidance at present.

  • Comment number 21.

    .... and please ensure that these EPGs show when a programme is HD sourced or upscaled SD.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks for posting Andy - alway glad to read your posts.

    If the DOG has to stay I'm glad it's moving more to the side - Is there any chance of it moving a litle higher too?

    My 42 in Toshiba LCD offers 1:1 pixel maping (which I prefer to use and which readers here will realise means no overscan) takes the DOG well inside the picture frame.

    On the BBC iPlayer the DOG is in the exact corner of the picture and whlist I realise you need to allow some spacing into the frame it seems as though your still expecting widescreen TVs to overscan by 10% or more.

    Talking about DOGs - I watched The Sarah Jane Adventures on CBBC today because I didn't want to wait and was appalled by the Moving solid coloured DOG which was well into the picture - so much so that it obscured actors faces at certain points in the show.

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 23.

    #20 It's arrived ... better late than never! Can get programming at last.

    #21 Still no indication as to whether the source material is USSD or HD though which is poor.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ Andy Quested

    Next year F1 will go HD. When a outside HD broadcast puts graphics in the 16:9 area will the BBC opt out of down converting the HD feed to normal and pick up a separate 4:3 feed with 4:3 graphics or will it tell viewers to switch to letterbox mode so they can see the whole screen with the graphics in 16:9?

    It would look bad if the advanced HD service has to be ruined for 4:3 viewers.

    Also if a Rugby match or F1 race is provided in 5.1 but the BBC team is working in 2.0 will you allow the audio to be switched during the programme? Again it wouldn't look great with the BBC HD site telling viewers they should invest in 5.1 when getting HD and then providing them with a poor 2.0 option when a 5.1 option is possible.

    Having looked at the BBC One HD video online for tonights launch why is the One in BBC vastly bigger than the BBC and HD part. Surely the size of the One part should be reduced to the same size as the rest and surely for sports,drama and documentaries the logo should not be shown at all.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good to hear from you again Andy, was beginning to think you weren't coming back.

    Saw a little of the BBC HD reel in the test transmission (recorded yesterday I think) and it looked really excellent, better than on BBC HD. I also heard that at least one stb needs a firmware update for BBC One HD, does this mean you have some new encoder setup or firmware improving picture quality?

    I think I'm going to prefer Stage 1 BBC One HD to Stage 2, "simpler programme junctions" sounds like less squeeze and stretch credits graphics and hopefully no coming next graphics over the previous show!

    Either way, it great getting more BBC in HD, there's very little I watch now that isn't HD or at least upscaled.

  • Comment number 26.

    #post 24 by F1

    The size of the DOG has been replied to on the TV Blog thread

    #post111 Daniellenagler wrote:-

    'However, I have good news. The final version of the DOG will be significantly smaller, and located further out on the screen.'


    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 27.

    Sky News HD transmit additional graphics on its HD channel which looks fantastic. We will have to wait to see what F1 will do. We do know that in F1 loads of graphical information is available but not released by F1. There is an issue here though the BBC only use 1440x1080 where as the rest of the world uses 1920x1080. This is very importent with graphics as we can see with Sky News HD and the fuzzy graphics on BBC HD.

  • Comment number 28.

    @24 F1 raises a good point that Andy could perhaps address.

    AIUI from Andy's blog, SD will be a down-conversion from HD.
    Does that mean any graphic on HD have to be SD 'safe'? That is legible in SD?
    If so, that presumably rules out having a Sky News HD like scenario where the HD version of the news carries more information than the SD version.
    So, we can't expect a F1 presentation on BBC One HD that has enhanced graphics which many F1 enthusiasts would appreciate, because it also has to work on SD.
    The answer of course would be to put that enhanced feed on BBC HD.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hello Andy, great to see you back and great to hear the news about BBC One HD.

    Do the BBC have any timescales and %age targets for ensuring newly produced material meets HD-compliance standards?

    I'm looking forward to seeing the F1 on BBC One HD, even if it is only an upscale at this stage. ITV1 HD shows what a better job the broadcast scaler equipment does than my Humax box.
    Hopefully with the BBC being one of the two international broadcasters to carry the additional FOM feeds, we should continue to get a nice, comprehensive F1 service!!
    Any chances of getting a low-bandwidth (similar to iPlayer) HD feed for Red Button services?

  • Comment number 30.

    Sorry been a bit busy today

    60 mins to go and I hope I've remembered everything! EPGs all there at last, channel numbers correct.

    As News will not be in HD until the new W1 building opens I wont discuss here.

    As for captions, we have been 14:9 safe for some time as this covers analogue as well as digital - HD has nothing to do with aspect. I don't think we will change safe areas until after switchovers complete.

    More tomorrow


  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Andy

    Both Sky and Virgin Media showing HD info for Full HD programmes in info banner but this is not happening on Freesat.

  • Comment number 32.

    Well apart from the lack of continuity things are looking good on Freeview, the dog is puppy sized, thankfully. Just need the HD programming differentiated from the upscaled on the EPG, which I believe is coming, and things will be OK.

  • Comment number 33.

    Welcome back Mr Quested . Andy could please explain why since the bbc channels reshuffle and the two standard channels left transponder 50 bbc1hd test started have we lost some detail notable egg heads, the one show and the hairy bikers cook off which where exceptional before, are now looking a bit soft, those shows or any that had a great picture, i was able to see fine pixals if i was close-up to the tv set, which is there no more i waited until bbc1hd was on offically to see if one channel would peak upto 17mbs as it would two weeks ago now we only peak at 14mbs, Andy what is the reason for this?

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear soul4real thanks for the post, I think we have exhausted this discussion in other blogs.


  • Comment number 35.

    @Andy Quested

    What will happen if you are handed a F1 race with graphics in 16:9 and with 5.1?
    Will you opt out of the 16:9 feed and put in the standard 4:3 feed for SD viewers and treat HD viewers with the service they should get?

    Also would you allow the F1 race or any other sports to be shown in 5.1 and allow the pre and post BBC coverage to switch to 2.0, unless of course the BBC team also plan to use 5.1.
    That way if the BBC team is only using 2.0 viewers can still enjoy 5.1 during the event.

    Is there a reason why the One part of the BBC One HD logo bigger than the BBC part?
    Can't the One part be reduced to the same size as the BBC part?

    Why also is the BBC part of the BBC HD logo not the same size as the BBC logo on BBC One HD? Can you please reduce the size of the BBC HD logo to match it on the new channel.

    Thanks. Well done on a good channel launch to the BBC.

  • Comment number 36.

    #34 Andy Quested

    "I think we have exhausted this discussion in other blogs."

    The question soul4real raised was related to parameter changes to the DSAT encoding/transmission chain that were made when there was no active BBC HD picture quality blog to ask at the time. An explanation for raising the VBR upper limit for BBC HD on DSAT from just above 16 Mbps to just above 17 Mbps and then dropping it to around 15 Mbps, all in the past few weeks, would be of great interest to some of the readers of this blog.

  • Comment number 37.

    Dear burnlea thanks for the post. As I said we have exhausted this discussion in other blogs


  • Comment number 38.

    Just in case you're unaware here's a link to a video of Danielle going behind the scenes at BBC ONE HD.

  • Comment number 39.

    @Andy Quested

    Will the BBC One logo be taken off during sports broadcasts and for major drama and natural history shows like it is done on BBC HD?

    There is little need for the HD logo during spot as the BBC always put the BBC logo next to the clock and F1 already has its own logo.

    Are there any plans for for audio changes between 5.1 and 2.0 if F1 races are provided in 5.1 but the BBC pre and post coverage is in 2.0 and if other sports are available in 5.1 but not the BBC team or studio? There is a few months to work out how to make it work and to decide what to do if F1 provides graphics in 16:9 which could mean having to pick up a separate 4:3 feed so HD viewers get the best picture possible.

  • Comment number 40.

    All started smoothly and HD picture looked good.

    The news that followed The Apprentice seemed no different to BBC1 I know most of the footage was from America re the elections but I thought the upscaling was rubbish and very poor. Compare this to say Fraiser on C4HD which is also from American TV and there is no comparision. Very Very disapointed please take a look at this. I will be interested in other peoples opinion of the upscaling.

  • Comment number 41.

    BBC ONE HD...
    I have looked and looked at this for 3 hours now.....
    Picture Quality is still only good on close up shots, as soon as
    the camera pans out a bit the PQ starts to fall apart, yes again
    that BBC HD soft look, which lacks detail, To me the medium to wide
    angle camera shots look very disapointing, there is a total lack
    of resoltion in the picture, that i am seeing on the wide shots
    that look washed out and soft.
    To me BBC ONE HD still is not the best looking HD . I have seen
    far better looking HD on ITV HD that looks cleaner and sharper..

  • Comment number 42.

    Dear 128fish - this blog is about the testing of BBC One HD. The picture quality issues have been dealt with by the BBC Trust, Which?, the ITU testing and a visit. Our pictures are clearly HD and the issue of sharpness to which you refer, is purely subjective and has been covered by other blogs in great detail.

    Dear SkyCaddie. I will be looking at the up (and then down) conversion quality throughout phase1 so thanks very much for the comment


  • Comment number 43.

    I notice that Channel 4 HD and ITV 1 HD only display the "HD" 'dog' when the material is actually HD. Of course, BBC HD does the same too - since everything on BBC HD is in HD.

    Adding the BBC ONE HD dog to SD material is misleading: it's not; and I'm sure falls foul of some editorial compliance form somewhere or other (or even, if we're being miserable, the Trades Descriptions Act). What would make more sense is to add it only during HD programming: just like your commercial colleagues do. (Well, except for Sky, but who knows what they do).

    Does BBC Weather move out of the broom cupboard in TVC when News moves to W1? Seems that the weather maps are prime candidates for a move to HD...

  • Comment number 44.

    Andy Quested blog 42
    So you say this Blog is all about the testing of BBC ONE HD, and i can
    not talk about Picture Quality on BBC ONE HD....
    and you say the the Quality issues have been dealt with by the BBC TRUST.
    Andy that is not the way i see things. Picture Quality on BBC HD and
    BBC ONE HD is still not right and you will not talk about it....

  • Comment number 45.


    The picture quality issue has not been dealt with. In summary the Trust's responce was totally unsatisfactory they did not even investigate the issues properly. The so called "Which" report turned out to be a complete sham after finding out how they did thier test. The ITU tests were also shown to be performed in a very uncontrolled way.

    Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Tonight on the Wallace and Grommit there were black and white shots which displayed the worst blocking I have ever seen even on the BBC. The issue is not subjective. These artifacts have been photographed and are plain to see.

    @James Cridland

    Sky Sports does remove the HD logo on programs which are not in HD.

    I notice that the BBC has started to use the term "true HD". There is no such thing, its is either upscaled SD or just plain HD.

  • Comment number 46.

    Dear trevorjharris thank you for the post. I am sorry you feel this way but that is your opinion.


  • Comment number 47.

    Hi, I've not needed to comment on BBC HD picture quality before as I've not had an issue with it......until last night! Lacklustre HD at best on The Apprentice, especially on the London Skyline shots which usually look stunning. Mosquitoing now evident around objects like the DOG and static captions (ie Children In Need)and compression blocking in fast moving scenes. Very poor and needs urgently addressing!

  • Comment number 48.

    @30 Andy Quested wrote:

    As for captions, we have been 14:9 safe for some time as this covers analogue as well as digital - HD has nothing to do with aspect. I don't think we will change safe areas until after switchovers complete.

    Sorry Andy, but if that was in response to my question @28, I wasn't referring to the safe area as you have with 14:9, but to the legibility of the graphics downscaled from HD to SD - hence I put it as "SD Safe".

    Whereas Sky News for example simply transmits two separate SD and HD channels with different content, if the BBC One news is just a downscaled version of BBC One HD news, then I assume that the HD version could never contain more detail than can be rendered legibly in SD.

    In a programme that might have lots of graphics - Horizon for example - are producers asked to make programmes in HD, but also to ensure that graphics remain legible in SD (thus missing an opportunity to convey greater information.

  • Comment number 49.

    trevorjharris and others - the picture quality of BBC HD has been extensively discussed on this blog for more than a year and elsewhere. The BBC Trust has now made its decision about BBC HD PQ. I'm going to rule picture quality of BBC HD off topic on this post from now on and remove any further comments about it. Please keep the conversation civil.


  • Comment number 50.

    #47 Owen

    "Lacklustre HD at best on The Apprentice, especially on the London Skyline shots which usually look stunning. Mosquitoing now evident around objects like the DOG and static captions (ie Children In Need)and compression blocking in fast moving scenes"

    I have to agree with your observations about The Apprentice. Given that a maximum bitrate of 15 Mbps seems to have been set on satellite for the new BBC One HD channel to match that of the BBC HD channel, its only to be expected. Early episodes of The Apprentice in this current series were broadcast on the BBC HD channel with a maximum bitrate of about 17.2 Mbps.

    We now have HD quantity from the BBC but sadly not HD quality.

  • Comment number 51.

    I was disappointed to see the DOG stayed on BBC One HD during the film last night. I was hoping the same policy of removing the DOG for films, drama and some other shows on BBC HD would be kept for the new channel.

    Talking of BBC HD the logo was present during the showing of Luther last night. Please tell me that was a mistake and not a change of policy for the DOG on that channel.

  • Comment number 52.

    Dear burnlea - thanks for the post. The visit and ITU test were very conclusive. Which? provided the "pudding" test referred to by trevorjharris and Nicks post deals with the rest. As he says the bit rate issue is closed.

    Dear citizenloz - thanks for the post. We have a minimum font height of 40 HD lines for captions. This ensures legibly on all screen sizes as well as down conversion


  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Andy,

    As I've commented on Danielle's post, you need urgently to address the HD flagging on Freeview AND THE BBC WEBSITE. You must declare on all platforms programmes made in HD to differentiate between Upscaled and Native HD material. Not doing this leads the BBC open to covering up upscaling of SD content allegations, which I'm sure the Corporation doesn't want.

  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

    128fish and others - picture quality is off topic on this blog post.

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick Reynolds,
    So what can i talk about then, DOGs and the Weather may be then.????

  • Comment number 57.

    Talking of DOGs Danielle Nagler has just confirmed that the DOGs are now permenantly in place on BBC One HD and BBC HD.


  • Comment number 58.

    Andy Quested,
    Can you please tell me if i was seeing native HD on BBC ONE HD last
    night or 1440i ?????.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    Dear burnlea - thank you for the post. The discussion on picture quality based on encoding numbers is not the topic of this blog.

    We have let you know what the purpose of the tests going on before the channel was made visible in EPGs so that you could comment on what was going on.


  • Comment number 61.

    @ Andy Quested
    AV Sync - this is a subject close to my heart. As many of you know I was an editor for many years and can see AV sync errors very quickly! Some of you may have noticed the sync signal interrupting the HD Channel's promo for long periods. I am using the opportunity to check the HD Channel to find out why we have some small differences between stereo and surround programmes.

    Other broadcasters now are able to switch during advert breaks from 5.1 to 2.0 with no problem.

    Also when they are in a studio with 2.0 they managed to bring the event like a football game in 5.1.

    When F1 is in 5.1 next year will the BBC be able to bring the race in 5.1 even if the BBC team before and after the race only work in 2.0?

    It would be a big loss for F1 viewers if they have to remain with 2.0 because of the BBC side using 2.0 when the race is provided in 5.1.

    The same would apply for Rugby where Sky provides England internationals in HD but the BBC don't because its studio team use 2.0. Can viewers expect the next 6 nations to be in 5.1?

  • Comment number 62.

    Dear 128fish - thanks for the post.

    By "native HD" I assume you mean the original format. That will depend on the camera or recorder used for the programme.

    DVCPro HD cameras/recorders are 960x720 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DV

    HDCam cameras/recorders are 1440x1080 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDCAM

    AVC-Intra (100) cameras/recorders are 1920x1080 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVC-Intra

    XDCam (50) cameras/recorders are 1920x1080 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XDCAM

    The channel transmits at 1440x1080 as BBC HD (and discussed in other blogs)


  • Comment number 63.

    Dear F1 - thanks for the post. We have always been able to switch 5.1 to 2.0 but, like all other broadcasters, we have to make sure the multiple paths a programme can take all have the same AV sync relationship. We are the only channel that transmits a test signal that not only allows you to line up home equipment accurately but demonstrates how well we are doing for all the world (UK) to see. At the moment both BBC HD and BBC One HD are around 0 to -4ms (audio lag).

    I don't know what will be happening with F1 yet but sure I will do soon! As for other Sport programmes, we do encourage 5.1 whenever we possibly can


  • Comment number 64.

    @Andy Quested
    Thanks. Well cone on a good launch for BBC One HD.

    Another issue with F1 going HD next year is if a race overruns its BBC One slot and moves to BBC Two like it did 2 weeks ago and like it did last year would it be as easy to switch from BBC One HD to BBC HD as it is to switch from BBC One to BBC Two or is that something you need to look at?

    With you being able to switch between 2.0 and 5.1 does that mean during the F1 race, when the F1 logo is on screen which starts a few minutes before the race and ends with the podium, if it is provided in 5.1 you can provide it in 5.1 while the pre and post race BBC coverage is provided in 2.0?

    Could the BBC broadcast this test signal during the regional TV break so viewers can check if the TV set and audio equipment is working ok?
    That way viewers can have the chance to see if they need to adjust the TV set or audio equipment they have to get the best picture and sound.

  • Comment number 65.

    Unless of course the BBC F1 team also work in 5.1 which would be great to go with the F1 coverage.

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear F1 - thanks again. The BBC One/BBC HD switch is being discussed (and certainly one to post on Danielle's blog!) We have talked about Wimbledon but no "other" BBC One BBC Two overlaps.

    Again re F1 and surround - I don't know yet!!


  • Comment number 67.

    Any answer on the EPG issue on Freeview and the BBC Website yet?

  • Comment number 68.

    @ Andy Quested


    F1 overlaps would need to be discussed. Only 2 weeks ago during a race BBC One had to switch to BBC Two because of rain and the same happened last year. If that meant a loss of BBC One HD pictures because BBC HD could not switch viewers wouldn't be happy. Many weren't happy when it switched just from BBC One to BBC Two.

    It would also be good if BBC HD can show the Friday practices on BBC HD as there is currently no way to record them as they take place during the day.
    It would also be good to see the Saturday practice and F1 Forum be shown in HD as well on BBC HD as BBC One and BBC One HD will only show the race and qualifying.

    There is only just over 4 months to go until the 2011 season starts so hopefully you can find out about F1 being in HD and decide if the BBC team will also use 5.1 or switch to 2.0 before and after the race so viewers can have the race in 5.1

    Could you look at providing the audio and picture tests during the regional break so viewers can make sure any picture or sound problems are not with the sets they have?

  • Comment number 69.

    Dear ChrisCornwall - thanks for the posts. I have made some enquiries but no response yet


  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    @49 Nick Reynolds wrote:
    "The BBC Trust has now made its decision about BBC HD PQ."

    Hi Nick. Can you post a link to that decision please so that I and others can read it. I don't seem to be able find it on the BBC Trust site.


  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    citizenloz - it's hard to find on the Trust's website - but this is it.

  • Comment number 75.

    Andy Quested
    Thank you Andy so the bottom line is that BBC HD and the new BBC ONE HD
    channel still only transmits at the lower Quatlity resoltion. which i
    can see, and the fact is that 1440 x 1080i looks sub standand when most
    other broadcaster use 1920 x 1080i ...........

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    @74. At 4:34pm on 04 Nov 2010, Nick Reynolds wrote:
    citizenloz - it's hard to find on the Trust's website - but this is it.

    Sorry Nick, but that isn't the Trust's website.

    Is that their final published position then? If so, why isn't it on the trust's site? They are supposed to publish their rulings within a certain period I understood.

  • Comment number 78.

    Dear citizenloz thanks for the posts - I know you all know the BBC Trust sent the documents to Paul. Nick's link point the results on that site http://www.zen97962.zen.co.uk/

    Dear 128fish - thankyou for the comments but you know this was all covered in previous blogs. As well at the testing for BBC One HD, I am quite happy to talk about cameras etc in this blog but hope to do a camera in next.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thanks for all the respones Andy and for looking into the upscaling.

    eastenders looked better tonight but even Danielle agreed on her current blog post that last night US election coverage in the 10 o Clock news was not good.

    Thanks for chasing up HD info on the website, Freesat etc I notice it has also disapeared from Virgin Media. This issue needs to be sorted.

  • Comment number 80.

    Andy Quested blog 78
    Is there any point talking about cameras and how good they are ,
    Andy if you talk cameras we will end up talking about Picture
    Quality, and Nick Reynolds has told me PQ is off Topic......

  • Comment number 81.

    Dear 128fish - the issue off topic is anything to do with the Trust reply on quality from the encoders. We are always looking at ways to improve programmes and make more programmes in HD.


  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    @Andy Quested

    You mentioned your next topic is cameras.

    Right now on Autumnwatch on BBC HD there is a feature on the Orkney Islands looking at starlings. It is about 25 minutes in if you need to find it.

    The cameraman is clearly seen using a camera that says 720 Progressive throughout the scene.
    Why is this camera being used if the BBC won't let shows like Merlin be shown in HD when they are in other countries?

    Why is the BBC HD logo letter size much bigger than the the BBC One HD logo, will the letter size be reduced to match the smaller size?

  • Comment number 84.

    Why is BBC HD making excuses, first it's the viewers, then it's the camera's and then the style/look of the programming.. what next. ITV HD doesn't pose this problem, they are not making excuses. Their pic quality is superb. Why cant the BBC match this? Somebody seriously needs to answer these questions without the spin.

  • Comment number 85.

    Dear zubeirp - thanks for the post but I'm a bit confused - what excuses and what about style look or cameras?

    Dear F1 - the BBC HD delivery guide has a caveat for Variable frame rate cameras used on NHU programmes since Planet Earth. Merlin is Super16 film which is not an HD format


  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Andy, still awake. Sorry, I meant when pic quality was discussed, factors such as camera's/ style etc. were mentioned to be a detriment to the output of some programming. And why does the HD channel on the other side do not have such issues as BBC HD. I watch with a critical eye, and can't put my finger on any programming they have shown that is poor HD.

  • Comment number 87.

    Andy Quested,
    You told me tonight that the picture Quality add been fixed..
    so i turned on BBC ONE HD and tried to watch Reggie Perrin,
    my sky information button say it was HD. But it looked like
    very poor Quality to me , yes Andy very soft looking, with a Total
    lack of detail. and you tell me how good the PQ is.

    You will say i am off Topic again.....

  • Comment number 88.

    Dear 128fish - thanks for the post, You don't say what was wrong though - I only watched a short section last night but even at 1h it look good


  • Comment number 89.

    @Andy Quested.
    Thanks for the information.

    How long is the NHU caveat valid for? Is there a point where all cameras must be 1080i?

    Do you know of any wireless cameras that are valid for 1080i and are roughly the same size as the current on board F1 cameras? Currently the F1 boss is saying he can't find a supplier of such equipment. Maybe the World leader BBC has something that could help or someone at the NHU does.

    Do some companies like the one that make Merlin refuse to go HD because the BBC only provide a 1 year deal? Maybe the BBC should consider a multi year deal if they switch to HD, and invest more in the script writing team.

    On caveats again when do you envisage installing the next generation of DVB-T2 equipment to upgrade BBC HD and BBC One HD to use 1920x1080i so Satellite and DTT can join Cable and broadcast in this resolution?
    The next set of improvements will give enough capacity to allow it to happen.

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    128 fish - I watched a just a few seconds of Reggie Perrin on an old 14" portable CRT TV that sits next to my PC, and even on that it looked terrible. I don't think this was due to any any technical issues. It's because the Producers added one of the numerous forms of filmic/filmised type effects to it, presumably in an effort to make it look more American.

    I hate the poorer versions of these effects, as do many others, and thankfully they are dying out, but a few Producers still seem to be hanging on to them.

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    Dear GaryB007 thankyou for the post, although you don't like the way the programme was produced at least you have shown this is not an HD matter


  • Comment number 95.

    Andy - This is one of very few HD programmes I've seen that uses one of the the poorer quality versions of this effect - it's similar to that normally used for SD programmes. Most other HD content that I've seen uses a higher quality version which gives the same basic film(ish) effect but doesn't introduce the softening, flicker and strobing on movement seen in Reggie Perrin. Do you have any idea if this is because of lack of availability of suitable kit or a is it production decision?

  • Comment number 96.

    Dear GaryB007 - thanks for the post. Our delivery requirements forbid the use of film effect. If a producer wants to use 25 frame (film motion) then they must use cameras that operate in 25 frame mode. Again though, this is an editorial decision not a technical flaw


  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    @Andy. This seems to contradict other things I've read and seen. As an example, Casualty/Holby started using the effect a while back to great POV forum outcry. The Producer then stated (on POV I believe) that they applied a 70% film effect or some similar wording. In addition, when out-takes of Casualty/Holby were shown on "Auntie's Bloomers", they were clean, interlaced video. Both of these would suggest that it was shot interlaced and then the film effect was added in PP. Have delivery requirements changed since then?

    There is also a great variation in these effects, from the very subtle to the garish strobing/jagged lines version used on most of the packages in "The One Show" and "Watchdog". If these are all shot at 25p, then why is there such a massive variation in their on-screen appearance? Are there other factors involved here (possibly shutter settings)?

    As an example of just about the worst film effect/25p picture I've seen recently, I caught a few minutes of the recorded interview with Brooke Kinsella on the Politics Show last weekend. The picture quality was abysmal, with jagged diagonal lines, and strobing on movement. I was surprised that it was considered for for broadcast. This contained all the hallmarks of the poorest version of the effect.

    Among other things, I assess picture quality of TVs, projectors and other kit for a living, so I am probably more critical than most, though hopefully not as critical as those who carry out the technical reviews before broadcast.

    I know we're a bit OT here, though I guess there is a tenuous connection with HD, but hopefully I can have just this one more post.

  • Comment number 99.

    Dear GaryB007 Thanks for the post. The ban on film effect only applies to HD programmes (my job title explains!). The most commonly used SD cameras only shoot interlace or "pseudo" 25p. Most HD cameras have 1080i25 and 1080p25 (or more accurately 1080psf/25) options and this is allowed.

    Our measurements show 1080p/25 has more resolution in a frame than 10801/25 as there is no motion between the two half frames. But if a DoP wants to use 25p they must follow film rules for camera movement and lighting, if you just set the camera to 25p mode and shoot as 25i it will look bad and I will look unimpressed!

    We do try and catch all programmes shot i and converted in post production to p and they have to be re edited. Some programmes that shoot p and use i material from other sources can add film motion to maintain style BUT material treated this way is counted as part of the 25% SD allowance.

    I can only point you back to the programmes if you have comments on use of film FX on SD programmes


  • Comment number 100.

    Still no HD banner on Freesat and now disapeared off Virgin. SKY have this info.

    I thought the BBC stood for equality on all platforms.Please can we have this info soon.


Page 1 of 3

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.