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BBC HDTV: DOG Level

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 15:49 UK time, Friday, 1 August 2008

Hi, everyone.

logo_bbc_hd.pngAs Skywalker's noticed, I'm the new Head of BBC HD, taking over from Seetha. This is my first job in HD, and my first blog post, but I'll promise you that I'll try to do my best for you with both.

First of all, though: an apology. Turning up the level of the BBC HD DOG was not my first act on coming into the job - but it is probably the first thing that I need to apologise for.

Somehow or other, as some new channel branding was introduced last Saturday night, the level of the DOG got turned up from its usual semi-transparent state to 100% white. It wasn't supposed to happen and as soon as I became aware of it, we investigated and ensured the level was adjusted back down.

I agree with those viewers who contacted me - or, like Blake Connolly, posted on DigitalSpy - that the white DOG was extremely irritating and obtrusive, and I can promise you that - barring further technical glitches - it won't be reappearing in that form.

What I do want to do is to ask for your help in ensuring that BBC HD really works for its audiences. I can allay Bill Taylor's concerns - Andrew Marr's Britain from Above will be shown on BBC HD, and over the next month we're also giving lots of airtime to the first Olympics and Paralympics to be broadcast in HD, as well as showing the CBBC programme M I High.

Over the coming months, we have a huge range of programming to be shown on the channel, but I'm also keen to hear from you about the kinds of things you'd like to watch and when you'd like to watch them. Also do let me know when you watch something that you love, or hate, that you think works really well in HD, or that you think might just as well have been shown in SD. For the BBC, and for me in particular, there's lots to learn about migrating programmes to HD and making an HD channel work. Sometimes I'm going to want to try out new things which may not work. But I'd ask you to bear with me - and although I can't promise to always respond, I will try - let me know what you think.

Danielle Nagler is Head of HDTV, BBC Vision.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Danielle Nagler: I'm very pleased to find you blogging - welcome!

    I have a few questions and I have asked this of Freesat and the BBC Press Office and I have been told that it's your responsibility!

    Q1) When will the BBC HD service start doing the 9-hour a day service that the BBC Trust approved last year?

    Q2) My lovely Humax Foxsat HD box is currently connected to a SD TV. When I first tested it the pictures on BBC HD were lovely (in RGB). But the software updated and the output is now awful (composite only). I quizzed Humax and they told me:

    "Due to contractual obligations with content providers, we have had to disable the RGB scart and component outputs for protected HD content. The only way to view this protected content is via HDMI or composite output via scart."

    Would you be kind enough to tell them that the BBC's public service HD channel does not require being reduced to awful quality please?

    As for the DOG, on "Land of the Jaguar" last night.. it was hard to see the beasts entrance - the cat was behind the DOG.

    Briantist from ukfree.tv

  • Comment number 2.

    My HD coverage is here:

    http://www.ukfree.tv/freehdtv.php

  • Comment number 3.

    Another (technical) question for you...

    The new DVB-T2 MPEG4 terrestrial service, due to start in November 2009 is going to be a "third share of 30Mb/s" and is only going to be 720-line service. And it will eventually be a quater-of-30Mb/s service by 2012.

    The BBC HD service on satellite is 1080-line.

    Do you feel that Freeview HD will be "well regarded" as a three-channel 720-line service?

    Another question...

    Have you seen BBC HD on Virgin Media? It's in MPEG2 service and it looks bloody awful, no better than SD. What can be done about this?

    And..

    Do you see BBC HD as the BBC's 9th TV channel in the long run, or will we get all BBC one HD, TWO HD, three HD, FOUR HD etc in the longer term?

  • Comment number 4.

    I would love to see Top Gear in HD - some of the location filming is spectacular and would look even better in HD.

    Programmes I have most enjoyed on BBC HD include Wild China and Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture. These two programmes really benefited from the HD treatment. Glastonbury looked amazing too.

    Programmes which I feel don't really benefit much from HD include That Mitchell and Webb Look and The Visit. Although I enjoy both these programmes there is no real advantage to them being shown in HD.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm totally in love with "Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage" just looks lovely in HD. More Francesco da Mosto in HD!

  • Comment number 6.

    I second that Top Gear needs to be in HD but understand the cost involved and how many cameras are needed especially small HD cameras which aren't avaliable so much.

    I read a few months ago that Studio 4 at TVC is getting upgraded to HD for the autumn. The two main shows filmed there are Question of Sport and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross so will these be shown in HD in the near future?

    Also in the original plans for the channel The One Show was meant to be shown what happened to tis idea.

    I would also like to know when the channel plans on expanding to the full 9 hour schedule.

  • Comment number 7.

  • Comment number 8.

    Danielle thanks for blogging and welcome!

    I was pleased to find out that Britain from Above will be shown in BBC HD - my main concern was that it had a full BBC Press Pack release that said it was filled in HD, but did not explain how the multi-channel coverage (BBC1,2,4 and on-line) will be mapped on to BBC HD.

    I have seen the first HD broadcast and was impressed.

    I have yet to be convinced on the need for any DOG on BBC HD at all. What spin can you offer?

    Please consider increasing the bandwidth used on Sky BBC HD as the reduced bandwidth (from the max used in the trial) is noticeable.

    Please persist with 5.1 DD sound, we have been told of the technical difficulties and I believe live sound needs very competent sound engineering. When it works it does add another dimension to the programme!

    Although not a HD problem I have had several exchanges with the BBC about reduced picture quality on BBC1 and other SD channels when the BBC are making significant use of the red button to provide parallel programming (I have to accept that when I am attracted to the red button program I do not care about the reduced picture quality, just glad to see it). Your technical bods seem to think its my Sky reception problem as they monitor PQ and can see no problems and that your internal digital infrastructure is more than up to the job.

    My current reference channel is EuroSport HD, where the HD programming is good and the when SD programmes are broadcast on the HD channel the pictures are good. So I still think the BBC is making the wrong compromises (picture quality over numbers of parallel red button channels).

    As you can guess I am a fan of HD and what the BBC has achieved.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Danielle.

    Please just get rid of the dog.

    I have been very disappointed with BBC HD as it has become evening after evening of repeats. Much of the sport, films or drama is still not in HD.

    I think it was also a mistake not to have a BBC1 HD. I find I have to check to see if something is in HD everytime I want to watch some thing on BBC. Even more confusuing is that you often put the HD version on at a different time or even a different day.

    You also need more than one channel. With the Olympics there is more than enough to fill several HD channels 24 hours a day. By the way Eurosport HD is going to be on for 24 hours so you will have some competition this year.

    Does the BBC have a goal for the amount of HD it produces and if so what is it.

    My vote is for Dr Who to be made in HD what ever the cost.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'd be interested to know the justification for the DOGs too. I don't find them massively annoying, but it does seem unnecessary - you don't tell us what programme we're watching all the time, which is surely more relevant than what channel...

    We should consider ourselves lucky that we don't have DOGs like they do in the US, that frequently fill the entire bottom third, animate, have full videos (across the bottom third) and so on. Perhaps the BBC's fairly moderate DOGs have kept the UK's broadcasters from going this far...

    I'd also be interested to know what the BBC's long-term plans for HD are. Surely BBC HD is only a short term channel, with all the channels being HD within 5 or 10 years... I know there are technical issues for this, but providing HDTV owners with only one channel of content 'designed' for their TVs seems to somewhat reduce their value.

  • Comment number 11.

    I Think It Is About Time The BBC Started Putting Out HD On Freeview As Companies Are Selling Freeview HD Boxes

  • Comment number 12.

    Another quick point ... when will there be subtitles for BBC HD on Freesat?

  • Comment number 13.

    I just got BBC HD on Freesat. Great quality, but for me it is totally RUINED by the on-screen logo, transparent or not. PLEASE get rid of it! It is unnecessary. I know which channel I'm watching, I don't need to be reminded with a distracting logo which spoils the viewing experience for me. I would rather watch the HD programmes in SD on BBC1 or BBC 2 without the logo.

  • Comment number 14.

    Top Gear And F1 Please!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Another vote against the on-screen station ident. It's not on BBC1 or 2 so how is it justified for HD ?
    As regards programme material, why dont the Beeb insist that ALL independent productions be produced in HD ?

  • Comment number 16.

    At least you got DOG free channels in the UK.

    Here in Switzerland all our channels carry a DOG.

  • Comment number 17.

    Again, thanks for your swift reply to my e-mail the other evening about the BBC HD DOG being at 100% brightness.

    However, I'd like to add my voice for its total removal. We're watching an HD channel, and we don't need the picture cluttered up with on-screen furniture which ruin the look that the director was trying to achieve.

    You could take a leaf out of Sky's book from several years ago on their movie channels - they showed the DOG during the ad break and trails between films, and turned the DOG off during the film itself.

    In the digital multi-channel age, we don't need to be told constantly what channel we're watching, we only have to press one button for the digibox to tell us (and also tells us what's coming up next!)

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with Briantist above about BBC HD picture quality out of the Scart socket into a SD TV. Would the BBC please explain what's happening.

  • Comment number 19.

    Congratulations on becoming the Head of BBC HD, I hope you enjoy your new role.

    I would like to echo the sentiments of JdNthLdnN9 earlier and would very much like to see Formula 1 coverage in HD.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congratulations on becoming head of BBCHD.

    To answer your question first, the things I've enjoyed are (in more or less order of greatness) Planet Earth, Lark Rise to Candleford, Wild China, The Tudors, Euro 2008, Indiana Jones films (sadly not all of them), Mad Men and quite a few others.

    Things I think were a bit of a waste of time in HD are the talent tv competitions such as I'd do anything and the choir one. Not only does it not add much but for example on Nancy, although live tv is much more difficult the quality was atrocious and had pixelisation running all the way across the screen looking as bad as the infamous F.A. Cup Semi Final. Mitchell and Webb should be shot in HD for those lucrative exports and future blu-ray sales for the BBC but I don't particularly think it should be on BBC HD even though I enjoy the show greatly. I'm a bit dubious about these "wild" food programmes that are scheduled for the moment too.

    Programmes I think should be in HD and are not are as follows. Top Gear, I know people from the beeb go on about yeah it's difficult to shoot particular bits of the prog in HD, we all understand that but people would accept 80% of the show in HD like happens say on Nat Geo, History Channel etc. I know there are difficulties but you're killing off potential revenue by not doing it and your viewer ratings would go through the roof. F1 would be great although due to hour restrictions I have my doubts if it'll ever be on BBC HD for the forseeable future. I think the beeb missed a trick not shooting the snooker in HD. It's live coverage you have problems and shooting an "easier" event on paper would surely give you practice, the snooker final also has high viewer ratings. Any major drama should be made in HD as if it's not you'll be kicking yourselves in years to come.

    I very much agree with briantist and others about the bandwidth for BBC HD. I'm very concerned about ofcom's fudge and vagueness about how well the freeview plan for HD on freeview on mux B will work, the numbers just don't add upto me and will see and almighty squeeze. I'm also somewhat annoyed that as I know BBC HD will not be more than 9hrs there will likely be bandwidth flushed down the toilet with gigantic wastage, the other hours of the day.

    My question that I have asked people before Q1(briantist) is when will BBC HD get upto the 9hrs average that it's licence allows? No I don't mean Sundays, everybody already know it's longer on that day but when will the weekday average equal 9hrs? I asked Seetha Kumar on this before and she said that by September it would be 5hrs and seems to have kept her word there. My point is it's taken about half a year to get from 4hrs to 5hrs, so how much longer till the full 9hrs?

    Other than that my comments are again similar to earlier about is BBC HD a 9th tv channel or will there be more. I think there aren't enough premieres or exclusive content on BBC HD to make it a 9th channel, it's the conundrum that BBC Choice/BBC3 struggled with for years before finally resolving it. Although BBC HD has started to be mentioned I don't feel the beeb are pushy enough about it. For some reason this year is the year people on the street have started talking about HD and asking questions and you need more references to your own service ala sky - pans on what's on bbc tonight (also on BBC HD...).

    My other question is when will catch-up VOD be available for BBC HD i.e. iPlayer net/virgin media/other?

    Lastly, briantist I have read your website for quite sometime and it is excellent but your slur on virgin media can not go unanswered. BBC HD on virgin looks just as good as on satellite. As bitrates have fallen it's declined equally on all platforms. As for mpeg-2, well yeah, that's what the cablecos are licenced to use and it was telewest that developed the tv drive and there were good reasons at the time they developed the system the way they di. In a post-merged company these reasons apparently make no sense to outsiders.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Danielle.

    I would like the DOG to go - but if it's staying then why can't it move further into the corner?

    HD flat panel TVs have little overscan (mine also does 'exact scan') Smaller would be better too - no DOG would be best.

    Why hasn't the Golf been shown in HD?

    I'm pleased the Proms are on BBC HD

    Cheers, daveac

    PS - sorry I sent this as an email first.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hello Danielle and congratulations,

    I'm one of those who would love to see the DOG disappear during the programmes.

    I know BBC HD has to promote itself but feel that the daytime prom session and the gaps between programmes are the best times for this.

    As a fan of much of the BBC's output I find it a little sad that the only clean HD broadcasts are now provided by Sky Movies/Artsworld.

    Best regards to all,
    John

  • Comment number 23.

    i think hd is super, my wife and i have enjoyed the "lost land of the jaguar" the pictures were superb! we can wait for more programs to enjoy. I love footy so i have been indulging myself since i bought my freesat thee months ago. Also "Francesco cruise" and the " China" program was great. sorry getting a bit excited. thank you anyway.

  • Comment number 24.

    Danielle,

    Congrats! to your first job in HD on BBC!....

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Danielle, It's nice to know you will promise . . . (first para). When may we expect this promise?

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Danielle,
    You say "I'll promise . . . " So when may we expect you to make this promise?
    Pinoman

  • Comment number 27.

    Welcome Danielle !

    Trevorjharris has it spot on. Channel4HD has only been live for a couple of months and already the service far exceeds that from BBCHD. BBC1 HD would be much better.

    For example - the Final afternoon of the British open golf championship (one of the few premier sports events with rights still held by the Beeb). Nothing on the HD channel and just the bog standard stuff on low res. The BBC are able to do it as they have proved with Euro 2008 and Wimbledon but unless they extend the scope of HD as widely as possible they will have irate viewers like myself who would prefer the rights to go to Sky where I know I'd be guaranteed HD and a better level of production.

    Please, Please get the olympics right otherwise people will want to see that go to Sky as well.

    Please can you explain how the BBC is light years behind Sky and already behind Channel4 despite the 2 year headstart ?

    Best wishes in your new post and I hope that you'll make a palpable difference.

    Regards

    Phil SS

  • Comment number 28.

    You say

    "...there's lots to learn about migrating programmes to HD and making an HD channel work."


    I think that this is definately an issue. Bonekickers on BBC HD has shown that filming in HD can result in pictures far worse than SD.

    Can you please look into the issues with smearing and lack of detail that have plagued Bonekickers(especially on movement) and ensure that the HD budget is not wasted on programmes that aren't fit for broadcast.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have also complained about the BBC HD DOG before and have received the usual standard response from the BBC along the lines of "... it is important in the new multi-channel era to have easily identifiable screen branding etc...."

    But I totally disagree. Surely it is more important to give viewers what they want if you want to keep them and many people are asking for the DOG to be removed. I have yet to see a single person speaking up for the DOG other than a BBC executive.

    If it's on a wall it's called graffiti but if it's on my tv set it's called "branding".

    Please get rid of the DOG so that the viewers can enjoy the programmes in high definition without the ugly disfiguring scar that is the DOG.

  • Comment number 30.

    Tough job to take on, hope you succeed.

    I'm concerned that those of us who bought a whole load of expensive SD digital kit in order to be 'ready for the switchover' will be getting a reduced quality of service in order to make space for the HD on Freeview. I am already a little put out by the low image quality of Digital TV (I live in an area that has very good analogue reception and the picture was much better), but to have the space avaialble to SD broadcasts reduced even further would be a mistake I think.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'd also like to add my weight to the removal of the DOG. We are intelligent people. We know what channel we are watching because we tuned our set into that channel in the first place.

  • Comment number 32.

    Pinoman - Danielle has said she will write another blog post by the end of the week.

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 33.

    Welcome, Danielle, and congratulations! I look forward to reading your responses to suggestions made via this blog.

    I too wish to support what seems to be a unanimous plea for the removal of the DOG.

    All the while the BBC's HD transmissions are confined to the present single channel the content should please favour the type of programmes which benefit most from HD - eg. sport, music, art, natural history, architecture, etc - where fine detail is really appreciated.

  • Comment number 34.

    The most important thing for me is to know if a programme broadcast on a BBC SD channel is going to be shown on the BBC HD channel at some point.

    It's so frustrating to watch a programme on BBC1, only to find a few weeks later that it's in glorious HD on the BBC HD channel. I'd rather wait a few weeks to see it in HD, rather than watch it in SD in the first place.

    A simple online list of everything scheduled to be shown on BBC HD over the next few months would be helpful.

  • Comment number 35.

    I would also call for DOG Removal, but it does feel like banging my head against a brick wall as it's been on the go for so long now!

    I was really pleased to see Spooks Code 9 was going to be on BBC HD, but a bit disappointed that it's going to run 2 hours AFTER it's been on BBC 3... why should we have to wait 2 hours to see something in HD? isn't this reducing choice?

    Really pleased BBC Has hung onto Heroes, and that it's in HD - smashing.

    I get it through Virgin Media, and think it looks fantastic - hardly "Bloody awful" as another poster put...

  • Comment number 36.

    I particularly enjoy high production value dramas, e.g Mad Men, Heroes and the event coverage, Proms, Chelsea Flower Show, Glastonbury etc.
    No real need for HD for comedy shows although it's all increased content for the channel I suppose.
    For heavens sake get rid of the DOG though.
    I gave up on Kill Bill vol.1 because of it a few weeks back and found it very intrusive in The Tudors. It is a significant negative for the channel.




  • Comment number 37.

    I would also add my name to the list dissenting against the presence (in any form) of the DOG!!

    My general comments would be: excellent job so far but still more needed!

    I think that BBC HD is currently the most varied HD channel available in the UK (as it should be), but it does lack somewhat in volume and there seem to be a large number of repeats.

    People will always complain vigorously when their pet interest (be it a particular sport, drama, soap, or whatever else) is not shown in HD, and it is impossible to satisfy everybody. I think that, as long as the BBC is showing a continuing expansion in breadth of HD programming then you are doing your job at this point in time. (For instance, I have heard that the next series of Top Gear will be in HD, hoping that is true and it would be another diverse prong to the BBC HD service).

    I think that one area (and others have mentioned this) that can be improved for the viewer is the scheduling of HD broadcasts - sometimes bearing no relation to the SD broadcast of the same program. I understand that there may be clashes but generally there should be an effort to simulcast where an HD version is available IMHO.

    Steve

  • Comment number 38.

    I actually think the BBC are doing very well with the amount of content on BBC HD given there has been no specific rise in the licence fee to cope with the additional costs of HD production and infrastructure (I seem to remember there was somewhat of a hike in the early days of digital).

    However, given the unique way the BBC is funded, you have no excuse for DOG's. Try all you want with the hogwash that the other channels try to peddle about 'brand identity' it holds no water. There isn't a single licence fee payer out there who wants the things and the viewers wishes are consistently ignored. At least you're scrapping the ECP's.

    Keep working on 5.1. One of the main reasons I bought Sky+ in the early days was 5.1 sound on movie channels. I'm more motivated by sound as opposed to picture and on Virgin Media I have no way of knowing whether a BBC HD program is going to be 5.1 or not. Could this be looked in to?

  • Comment number 39.

    Welcome and good luck in your new role, the HD viewing public is currently quite demanding and we have high expectations of the service - but that sould be an advantadge to you as the BBC is an acknowledged world leading broadcaster, so your high standards will be envied.

    I love the HD channel and 99% of the content we see, many others have posted about higher bit rates and the 'wish list' of programmes to be made in HD.

    I think we would all like to see the bit rate returned to the original days of BBC HD, there really was a noticable difference and I am convinced that the superior broadcasts of the early days helped the HD public push through the public consultation for its approved long term future. Once the channel received approval the bit rates started to slip, is that really a co-incidence?

    The BBC's live sports presentations have been breathtaking (Wimbledon, football and the golf as an example) and I'm really looking forward to the Olympic broadcasts this year, so let's have more of the sport coverage on HD - my personal favourties would be F1 next year, Oz Open tennis and Roland Garros (which were both broadcast in HD in Europe and the US this year, so why not us?).

    As an earlier poster mentioned, there have been some great BBC produced broadcasts, Glastonbury, Concert for Diana etc. and your use of segments of these broadcasts is most welcome for the casual viewer, therefore as the channel is still mostly in 'preview' loop I would suggest that some of these many 'preview' hours are used for showing more of these segments, the tennis, the concerts and the one-off's. Yes the schedule will be random and not to everyone's taste but it would be a better use of the 'preview' time and a greater showcase of the BBC's capabilities.

    In summary, keep it up, give us more of it and I for one look forward to the service growing over the coming months under your stewardship.

  • Comment number 40.

    The Olympics start on Wednesday with the womens football. I see that Eurosport is covering this in HD and the BBC is only covering it on Interactive. This does not bode well for the BBC HD coverage of the Olympics. The BBC still has not published a detailed coverage schedule dispite saying it would be available 7 days before the start.

  • Comment number 41.

    The BBC press release about the olympics and hd has been available from their press office for yonks, it is both extensive and available. As for detailed listings, more detailed listings have appeared from where I get my tv listings from...

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Danielle,

    Same view on the DOG here I`m afraid get rid asap.

    With regard to what I would like to see in HD more of the same please but would like to add my name to the list wanting next seasons F1 in HD.

    One more thing, the scheduling thing...why do we have to wait for a programme to air on the HD channel ? Theres nothing more frustrating than having to wait to see something when the HD channel is showing yet another repeat ! Surely the HD channel should be the flagship of the BBC and as such should get at least parity with the SD channels.

    All the best

    Kevin.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Danielle,

    Good luck in your new role.

    I would like to add my vote to the DOG campaign. (I would call it the anti-DOG campaign, but there is obviously no pro-DOG lobby outside the BBC marketing department, so there is no need for a differentiator.)

    Put bluntly, we neither need nor want a DOG on ANY BBC channel! Its presence on BBC HD is, quite simply, an affront to the quality of the channel's content.

    With regard to content, I would like to see more drama on HD (Lark Rise to Candleford was superb), more documentary stuff (like Wild China, Planet Earth, etc.), and more films.

    I understand that a repeat cycle is necessary now that more people have access to BBC HD via FreeSat, but surely these could encroach into preview time a little, allowing more space for new material.

    Quality is generally good, but switching to better compression algorithms would surely improve things, even considering the current bitrate. BBC HD was by far the best quality HD channel available via Sky when it was first broadcast. That, regrettably, is no longer the case.

    You've done the right thing by starting a blog, but there will be a lot of people waiting to find out if you actually listen. Getting rid of the DOG during programmes would give us all a lot of confidence in you.

    Kind Regards

    Jerry

  • Comment number 44.

    I would like to add my support to the BBC indicating when a programme is first broadcast that it is planned to be on the HD channel later. If known at the time, an indication of when it will be on would be nice.

  • Comment number 45.

  • Comment number 46.

    Please, please keep the DOG (they are for life and not just for Christmas).

    How else can you rub a friend's nose in it that they don't have HD ?

  • Comment number 47.

    The detailed Olympic Schedule is now up on bbc.co.uk. But guess what no information about HD. The BBC seems very reluctant to promote HD what is going on? Please can you add the HD schedule to these pages.

  • Comment number 48.

    Agree with the points about the DOG. The new idents are pretty horrible too, BBC HD worked better as a classy, understated compliment (in terms of branding) to the other channels rather than the tacky 1990s SKY TV style ident thats there now

  • Comment number 49.

    Another vote to get rid of the DOG. Anyone who has taken the time and trouble and also paid extra to get HD knows exactly what they're watching. They don't need to be constantly reminded. I often watch programmes in SD rather than HD because I would rather watch without the annoying and distracting DOG in the corner.

    Danielle, if you're reading this, you acknowledge above that the peak white DOG was "extremely irritating and obtrusive". The "normal" DOG is only slightly less irritating and obtrusive. Please respond to the overwhelming public opinion above and do something constructive about it and make a (very welcome) mark in your new role.

  • Comment number 50.

    Having splashed out hard earned money on a new HD box and Dish to get freesat HD am so very disapointed to find there are no subtitles available on the service.
    For hard of hearing and deaf people this makes the service of no use. There is nothing on the freesat leaflet to say it's not available, on the Humax box it says 'one click for subtitles' and the staff in the shop never warned me of a problem.
    Now having looked at loads of web sites/blogs etc I see the problem has been around for some months with a promise to fix but no date, could be months, say the BBC!
    Why? SKY can do it!
    Mal.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hmm no DOG if possible but not too fussed.

    Just make sure somebodies checking the service and making sure the sound is correct and all the aspect ratios are right.

    Thankfully Bonekickers was 5.1 tonight and didn't have me checking all my settings on the PC to find out that it was actual broadcast with stereo. Arrggghh

    Anyway minor niggles, more stuff, dump the preview bits and starting showing more there's not enough HD stuff.
    And can we have the schedule on the home page as just as another channel and not a link and then a rummage to find out whats on.
    Many Thanks

  • Comment number 52.

    Yet another reply to support the removal of the irritating and unnecessary DOG on HD (and all BBC channels).
    It must be crystal clear that there is overwhelming support for a DOGless service - how about some intelligent and positive response to take account of this viewer feedback?

  • Comment number 53.

    I would like to add my voice to the requests for the removal of the HD bug. The BBC has had bugs on BBC1 and 2 in the past (when Sky Digital launched) and they where removed due to complaints from viewers. It is about time BBC HD did the same. Digital channels do not require branding as the EPG and banner tells viewers what they are watching and those lovely idents between programmes do that job too. Please listen to your licence payers and get it removed. If you want to do a poll feel free, I can't see many people voting to keep it.

    As for BBC HD vs BBC1 HD I would vote for the current channel. BBC HD allows you to schedule HD only conent from BBC1.2, 3 and 4 rather than upscalling SD content like C4 does. If you had the space and money then a BBC1 HD as well would be good like Channel4HD, but for the time being I am happy with the current channel.

  • Comment number 54.

    Please do ditch the DOGs - make the BBC distinctive.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just to change the subject why are the BBC not transmiting the womens football in HD. It is only available on interactive with a very poor picture quality. The extra cost must be minimal as you already have a commetry and it doesn't clash with anything.

    Eurosport HD did transmit it in HD with 5.1 surround sound. The picture quality was rather spoilt by the very obvious haze. I think this is going to be rather damaging to China.

    The long shots of the stadium showed how pathetic Wembly Stadium looks in comparison.

  • Comment number 56.

    I complained about the DOG via BBC complaints and was told
    "This is because, in the forthcoming competitive multi-channel environment, it was felt important to ensure that viewers could quickly identify their watching our services. As the number of channels grows, this branding aspect is likely to become increasingly significant."
    Surely its possible to have a clean screen for film or drama productions. As has been said earlier SKY do this on their movie channels and one can press a button to find out what channel one is watching.

  • Comment number 57.

    Thankyou for inviting our comments. I have purchased a new LCD HD Ready TV to receive the best possible picture, but I have held upgrading because of On Screen Graphics. I find this practice irritating and very distracting. I have actually switched off because of this intrusion
    I am not concerned with commercial channels, which I seldom watch, but I do expect the BBC to be above ruining our enjoyment of their programmes with this unwanted marketing ploy.
    In the past the BBC has always been very sensitive to the way it has presented itself. I hope this will continue because BBC viewers are intelligent enough to know which channel they are watching and paying for.

  • Comment number 58.

    "This is because, in the forthcoming competitive multi-channel environment, it was felt important to ensure that viewers could quickly identify their watching our services. As the number of channels grows, this branding aspect is likely to become increasingly significant."

    But... when you change channel the TV or set top box shows the channel.

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree with the others who feel that DOGs are unnecessary on BBC channels including BBC HD. The use of the latter is particularly odd since surely the one thing any viewer of BBC HD will know when it comes to the fact they are watching BBC HD is the fact that they have a great big £1000 hole in their bank balance from the TV and digibox(!)

    Too many broadcasters are ruining their channels with the same junk that their digiboxes already tell them (and which omes up when they CHANGE to that channel), which makes all the waffle about "In a competitive multi-channel environment..." just that - waffle!

    Anyone with a brain knows what channel they're watching anyway - and the BBC were shouted down with DOGs on BBC1 and BBC2 in the early days of digital satellite, and as Officer Dibble says in msg 54 above, make the BBC distinctive by dropping them.

    Below is a link to the POV board on this topic:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/F1951566?thread=5439003

    And two questions - how long will it be before ALL BBC programmes are made and broadcast in HD? And why is it that although a show like Doctors is shot in HD, that it's not broadcast as such?

  • Comment number 60.

    I wonder if the BBC is reluctant to show too much in HD because it could spoil their viewing figures. For instance if Dr Who was shown in HD would BBC 1 loose some of its audience and there for spoil the viewing figures for BBC 1. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi

    Another vote for complete dog removal. They are extremely irritating and serve no purpose.

    I still have no understanding of why the BBC feels that dogs are an effective marketing or branding tool.

    I watch programs, NOT channels.

    If, for example, The Tudors was on channel 4 I would be tuned to channel 4! Having a dog in the corner reminding me it's BBCHD doesn't make me loyal to the channel, the organisation or indeed increase the hours I watch it.

    When I tune to BBC1, 2 or HD I KNOW I have done so.

    I feel the BBC should aim to differentiate itself from the general morass of other channels by the quality and content of it's programming, not by on screen branding.

    By the way, I can't wait until HD is full time, love picture, love the sound.

  • Comment number 62.

    The overwhelming negative reaction to the presence of the dog seen here is representative of anyone I have ever spoken to on the subject (even my 71 year old Mother!)

    So remember to formally complain and hope that the bbc stops ignoring this subject.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml

  • Comment number 63.

    I have just remembered to cancel my planned recording of "The Tudors" on "HD"
    and re-set it for dog less BBC2. I would rather see the screenplay as it should be seen.
    Incidentally, the references to Andrew Marr's Britain from Above leads me to question, how "Marred" will it be?

  • Comment number 64.

    If you decide to persist with the DOG on HD. Please be more reactive to the brigthness levels during the programme.

    DOGS that seem not to be intrusive during normal parts of the programme, light up like a light bulb when the scene is dark. This is intrusive and gets in the way of what the programme makers are trying to achive (do they not have a say in what the BBC are doing to their production).

    So please get rid of all DOGS! If you can not then set then to a level that will not intrude during the low brightness parts of the programme!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Could someone advise me as to why my post to this blog is not being displayed?

  • Comment number 66.


    Perhaps HD should "trial" a period of time without dogs to see if anyone
    complains for them to be put back? :)

  • Comment number 67.

    Shame Olympics HD DD 5.1 failed within minutes of start

  • Comment number 68.

    The Olympics opening ceremony would have been the perfect opportunity to go DOG less. An epic production like that deserves to be seen without any distractions.

  • Comment number 69.

    I chose to stay wth Eurosport DD 5.1

  • Comment number 70.

    I switched over to Eurosport as well just to get the 5.1 which added considerably to the atmosphere. I thought the commentry was much more informative as well. Why are the beeb having so many problems with 5.1 they use to be so good at the technical stuff. The interviews in the stadium were drowned out by the background noise and they were clearly using the wrong sort of microphones. It also looked to me as though they could have done with some noise cancelling headphones. It looks as though cutbacks are begin to have a big impact on quality.

  • Comment number 71.

    Watched the BBC HD coverage of the opening of the Olympics, as that's what I got the box and dish for!
    Of course no subtitles and that blasted logo or 'dog' thing in the way. Thought the commentary quite naff but could not hear most of it anyway!
    But why oh why after it ended, did someone decide to show a documentry on dubious sports trainning methods of children in China. Surely not needed on this special day,it's been on before and is it not time to let the Host Nation have a bit of respect for two weeks, why we are all trying to enjoy the spectical they are trying to give the World.
    Come on BBC show the Olympics all the time on HD and the openning on a tape loop when nothing else on.

  • Comment number 72.

    I have to say although I don't know who is responsible for the pictures (the beeb or the home nation) the olympics coverage again has been great picture qualilty wise just like the European Championships was. This is such a change from the various live events on BBC HD where the picture was below standard - FA Cup Semi Final, Golf, talent shows, etc.

    The DOG is annoying, if anyone wants to watch the logo under normal circumstances they have 19hrs a day to watch the loop with the logo and spiel on to work out it's BBC HD :-D.

  • Comment number 73.

    Please Please remove the DOG from BBC HD

    It is very annoying and can often totaly spoil the program.

    All those hours wasted creating dark atmospheric sceens spoilt by a big broght DOG

    I always kno exactly which channel i am watchingthats what the EPG is for.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hi Danielle, As another of those viewers who gets intensely annoyed by DOGS I shall not be forking out any cash for BBC HD only to add to this irritation.

    Why can't braodcasters realise that we tune to a channel to watch the programme and do not need to be constantly reminded of the channel we are watching, after all we tuned to it in the first place!

    DOGS are distracting and very annoying in fact BBC Three's new "ident" is so bad we no longer watch that channel.

    When you read a newspaper or a book, or listen to the radio do you need somebody to constantly prod you and shout out what publication or station you are trying to enjoy? Of course not, so why on earth should TV viewers be treated with such contempt?

    DOGS should not be necessary as the EPG shows what channel you are tuned to should you forget and need reminding.

  • Comment number 75.

    Hi,

    Firstly, congratulations on your new post and for being so fast off the mark with the blog.
    Secondly:
    I have to agree with other poster, the dog must be removed. Reasons have been stated over and over on here so I wont go in to them. again.

    As for future programing in HD:

    We as a family enjoy the Saturday night entertainment shows from studio one (please work on the sound).
    The drama output has been fine but split screen drama eg. Spooks would really work well in HD.

    I posted before and had no reply as to why Doctors could not be shown on BBCHD?
    You repeat so many programs;would it not be possible to show this drama from December last year (when it went HD),at say 7pm weeknights? An omnibus at weekends not just to bulk out the hours but to give people who work during the day a chance to see this program?!

    Lastly:
    PLEASE turn up the bit rate to what it was when BBCHD first started as a trail channel.
    The picture then was wonderful.

  • Comment number 76.

    Following on from #69: While I stayed with Eurosport HD for the Opening 5.1 sound. I have since watched BBC HD coverage on Sky + by recording all and selecting what I want to see.

    Thanks for the coverage.

  • Comment number 77.

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

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 78.

    I have never met anyone who likes DOGs and most viewers think they are unnessary. Moreover, we only need to press a button on the remote to confirm which channel we are on. I say: get rid of DOGs. This is especially important for HD TV since given the high quality of the pictures only a vandal would want to 'spray' a DOG on it. If channels must have DOGs then let them last for no more than 10 seconds at the start of a programme as a reminder - but only the seriously amnesiac really needs that. DOGs are just a fad, a fashion of the digital 'mode' that have no real function - except for vandals.

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi Danielle,

    I have several comments to make:

    1. Like many others have said, remove the dog. Its is annoying and onscreen logos are always of concern to plasma owners even though most modern plasmas don't suffer screen burn. That said, how many still have the ones 2 or 3 years old? Enough I would have thought. Onscreen logos simply aren't needed and just irritate / risk tv damage.

    2. One of the major reasons for the accelerating take up of Freesat is the free, HD service. In fact I'd say to most, even outside of a Freeview reception area, its the major reason for purchasing Freesat. I live outside a Freeview area and the only reason I'm considering Freesat is because of HD, otherwise I'd simply wait for switch over and the power increase to see if I could receive Freeview, and put up a huge terrestrial aerial array if problems persisted. Like many others, HD is the one and only reason for me to switch.

    3. With 2) in mind, its disappointing to see the current level of HD programming. In my opinion, both the BBC and the BBC trust have severely understimated the demand for HD tv in the UK. There are over 10 million households at the latest estimates that have HD ready tv's and yet currently content is limited to a few programs each day. This is something that needs to be addressed and on a positive note its good to see you are starting to look at this by starting this blog.

    4. I am someone who has taken part in discussions over on the JoinFreesat forums for a while and one of the premiere desires of most, is to see a FULL HD PROGRAMMING SERVICE on Freesat ASAP. In fact most would like to see this 24/7 not a limited 9 hour service when it does come. Maybe the trust need to re-examine this issue in the light of the high HD tv ownership figures as its clear that HD tv ownership and expectations of HD programming have arrived perhaps much quicker than many at the trust expected.

    5. Another thing that should be considered given the high HD tv ownership levels, is switching the red button around. Why not get a full schedule of programming in HD ASAP and then make SD red button only? What better way to send the mesage that you're up with the times, and what better way to promote further HD tv ownership than signalling that HD tv has truly arrived.

    6. Freesat needs more promotion (especially the HD aspect). Many people aren't aware of its existance, those that are often get confused between Sky Freesat and BBC Freesat - many people on blogs have bought Sky boxes expecting BBC Freesat and then come on asking questions because they can't understand where the BBC Freesat stuff is - on the Joinfreesat forums I even posted a photo of a major specialist retailer selling Sky Freesat boxes on top of a BBC Freesat promotional cubes!! Its here: http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/4514/freesatpu0.jpg . That still continues and that photo was taken in June.

    Its in-advisiable to allow the situation to continue where 2 rival services have the same name. Also, advertising the arrival of free HD TV, can only be positive for HD take up as whole.

    7. The BBC trust need to reconsider the position regarding Freesat funding as a whole with a view to massively increasing the funding available.

    When Freesat was 1st conceived it was to be as a secondary service to supplement Freeview for those who couldn't receive Freeview after switchover because of their geographical location. However, since the emergance of HD TV as a technology, we now know that because of Bandwidth problems - Freeview allegedly is only ever going to be able to host 4 HD channels and then only at low bit rates, this means that Freeview is essentially out dated already and a dead duck in the water. Bearing in mind that Freesat is likely to become the Premier Service for Free UK TV for this reason, it seems sensible that the BBC Trust should now reconsider its funding to enable Freesat to further its growth towards more quality programming. I know currently channels pay to join Freesat, but maybe the BBC should consider the position of paying for some programming to bring some Premium Pay Content to the masses for free. Many feel that free UK tv has been the poor relation to Sky for way too long as whereas the BBC cannot perhaps compete at every level, many fail to see why it can't at least match Sky for some content and obtain mirrored but differnet content for others.

    8. Finally, as for the channels / programming I'd like to see in HD on the Freesat service are as follows:

    - BBC Top Gear
    - Coast (assuming it isn't already)
    - All Natural History Progammes
    - All Sporting Events
    - All Fims
    - BBC News (specifically as well the news reporters footage)
    - Documentaries such as Trawlermen and Seaside Rescue that involves a lot of scenary

    As for channels I'd like to see added:

    - Extreme Channel - the BBC currently has NO coverage of any extreme sports what so ever and many of these sports look wonderful in HD

    - Setanta - I know there was some talk about Setanta joining Freesat as a free service. Maybe Setanta could become the 1st publically purchased pay channel to become freely available? If not maybe they could be persuaded to join and provide a limited free service eg. 2 Premiership matches a week and all England games plus whatever sport they also see fit to add. This would allow them to still get independant subscriptions from those who wanted eg. The whole Premiership or coverage of particluar teams week in week out, whilst providing something of interest to those who were quite happy to see an occasional match. Again sport is ideally suited to HD.

    - Quality Movie Channels.

    - Nat Geographic and Discovery would be nice additions although I understand funding might again be required here and also they might have exclusive contracts with Sky.

    Al


  • Comment number 80.

    Just wanted to clarify that where I say Full HD Programming in point 4) above I mean a full hd service (in 720P) not full hd resolution.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's no wonder Freesat is still a bit of a mystery to many, the box and dish have only been available through a few big name stores (they make more money if you buy Sky) The local aerial installers have not been able to do it. The chap I have been using for last 24 years has only just been able to get a few of the boxes and the required approval from Freesat.

    Buy the way still no subtitles on Freesat BBC HD!!

  • Comment number 82.

    BBC HD really needs something more than just the preview when its off air. The HD Preview is quite monotonous after a while.

    I remember back to the 1980s when Channel 4 was still in its own infancy. They used their off air time during school holidays to show a service called Landscape and a google brought up their website. It would appear they are launching a HD service and are looking for interested broadcasters.

    Well if anyone remembers the King Emperor Penguins, in tune to Pachelbel's Canon or the canal boat across the viaduct will know exactly what I mean.

    I think it would benefit BBC HD to have such a service - an alternative to Sky Arts "Aquarivision". The BBC could have access to some new new material in between the info preview sections maybe - or even schedule it in the same way Channel 4 did in the 80's - who knows?

    Reading their forum it appears they are looking for HD outlets to take the service and are asking for those who remember the SD service to contact their broadcasters.

    So come on Danielle and BBC HD - don't miss out on an opportunity to expand your programming and at the same time perhaps show something a little different that would help BBC HD stand out?

  • Comment number 83.

    Just revisiting this page, I can't find the reply to it on here now, but why is it that Doctors is filmed in HD but, according to the reply I got at the time (and I hope I'm quoting it correctly),Doctors is not post-processed in HD?

    It sounds like Half-a-job Harry's in charge of that show and there's no point post-processing a soap opera later on because by the time they get round to it - especially if it's not even within the same week in time for an omnibus - the storyline will have moved on considerably.

  • Comment number 84.

    Back in August, it's now 21 October, the new lady boss of BBC HD said, on this Forum, that she would look at the issue re the pointless Dog on HD,well despite all the negative comments posted (none for it) it's still there and we are still having to look at it; why?

    Still no subtitles on Freesat HD. (BBC will fix soon as poss they keep saying, months ago)

    The endless boring trallers telling us how wonderful HD is are ridiculous,why not show actual programmes? Might as well go back to test card days!!

    Thank heaven for a good book!

  • Comment number 85.

    malcombtvhd - you clearly missed Danielle's blog post about DOGs yesterday. Here it is.

    Nick Reynolds (Editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 86.

    Danielle's post concedes that she has taken "the politican's option" of retaining the DOG for many programmes rather than removing it altogether.

    So, as Malcolmtvhd said, we are indeed still having to look at it.

  • Comment number 87.

    Danielle,

    You made a promise regarding the HD DOG - please could you see fit to either see it through or inform us why it hasn't been completed. I can understand why it is present for what I'd call "Trade Tests" (which I'd like to see downgraded).

    It is great to see In The Night Garden finally on HD. Having children's programming on HD proves the BBC is at the forefront as an international public service broadcaster.

    Why are some programs like Spooks not shown on HD the same evening as output on BBC1?

    BBC HD could be so much better with little extra investment - you have an increasing amound of content - just please show it!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    What happened with Bert Bacharch at the Electric Proms when BBC HD managed to broadcast the BBC2 (not HD) output!

    We were not informed during the program that it might be repeated in full HD (given you've got so much free time at the moment). So could it be repeated please in full HD, surround sound glory?

  • Comment number 89.

    I thought broadcasting The Queen's speech WITH a DOG was a disgrace. The idea the BBC should wish to place commercial branding on The Queen's broadcast is extremely disrespectful to Her Majesty and patronising to viewers.

    Come-on BBC Ditch The DOG!

  • Comment number 90.

    I wrote to the BBC before Christmas regarding a problem with the way BBC HD is being broadcast which means I (and many others) cannot watch it with my Set Top Box.

    I received a reply from BBC Information (attached below) confirming the fault and mentioning that it would be fixed after the Christmas change freeze, but the transmission is still faulty.

    Please could you confirm that you are still intending to rectify the faulty broadcast which is not in line with DVB standards so that I (and many others) can access the service?

    --

    Dear Sir

    Thank you for drawing this to our attention and we apologise for the
    disruption that this has caused to your reception.

    The BBC does advise viewers wanting to receive our services via satellite
    either to do so using Sky or Freesat receivers. As we do not test
    reception of our services on any other satellite receivers, we cannot
    promise glitch-free reception on receivers not made for the Sky or Freesat
    platforms.

    Nevertheless we do aim to comply with recognised broadcast standards such
    as those from the DVB and we can confirm that our current broadcasts are
    not compliant in the way that you have indicated. You are correct that Sky
    and Freesat receivers are agnostic to this particular signalling and that
    is why this was not picked up in our testing of our coders following a
    recent upgrade.

    We are working with our system suppliers and will aim to correct this
    signalling as soon as possible. However unfortunately this will not be
    until the new year as we are heading into the Christmas 'lockdown' where we
    make no changes to our platforms to ensure they remain stable.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

    ----Original Message-----

    Describe the problem: Recently there appears to have been some changes
    in the way that the Dolby Digital (AC3) track on BBC HD is being
    broadcast. It is causing serious problems with my set top box (Real
    MultiMedia Avantgarde). We have done some analysis and it appears that
    the AC3 track is currently being broadcast in a PES packet stream with
    an ID of 0xc0, which we believe is incorrect. The DVB standard specifies
    that AC3 should be broadcast with a id of 0xbd. Perhaps some other set
    top boxes ignore the id and process the stream based on content, but it
    causes severe problems with mine, including stuttering picture and no
    audio.

    Please could someone look into this? It happened about a week ago and I
    have never had problems receiving BBC HD previously.

    Also, all of my other channels with AC3, including SKY HD are absolutely
    fine with this system.

    Thanks for your help.


  • Comment number 91.

    Christmas has long gone since the commitment was made to correct 'as soon as possible' the audio flag error highlighted in the previous post. It's still the same as far as I can tell.

    What's going on? I thought the BBC was supposed to be platform neutral?

  • Comment number 92.

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

 

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