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BBC HD: Picture Quality and Dolby Research

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Andy Quested Andy Quested | 11:17 UK time, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Over the months we have had many comments about the BBC HD channel on this blog, other chat rooms and directly to the BBC HD team.

Not all of them are negative in fact many of them are very positive.

Whenever I see negative technical comments I do always look at the issues.

dolbysurround190

Only last week hobwell spotted the 5.1/2.0 switching had stopped some time during the evening. I hadn't watched the stereo programme concerned and I didn't see the comment until 18:30 the following day but I watched the channel start and as I knew the first programme was stereo I was on the phone to the duty engineers in a few minutes. We had the problem fixed, put out an on air apology very quickly and I posted some comments in Danielle's DOG Blog!

(Dolby labs picture from deltamike on flickr)

Other comments on quality do take some investigation.

As a slight change to my usual commentary I wanted to share some of a reply I gave recently to a more general complaint about picture quality on the BBC HD channel.

It also allows me to introduce Rowan de Pomerai, a BBC Research graduate who is working with me for the next few months on a project to improve Dolby E sound on BBC HD.

Rowan has his own blog so you can keep up to date with his project and his thoughts there!

Here is an edited version of the response to the complaint:

"Thank you for your comments about the quality of programmes on the BBC HD Channel...

I want to assure you we do take picture quality very seriously and use a rigorous quality check before any programme delivered on tape is transmitted. Whenever we can we also work with studio and outside broadcast companies to make sure live programmes meet the highest standard too.

You mentioned Amazon was "colour merging". I am not sure what you mean by this but I have not seen anything similar on my home display. I have spotted one other post that compares Amazon to the Sky 1 series "Ross Kemp on..." saying the latter has much higher picture quality.

I have watched both series in HD and must say they are similar in several respects, they both have very good HD content mixed with standard definition material and some sequences that have obviously been shot under very challenging conditions.

I agree some of the low light and night sequences in Amazon are not up to the standard of the majority of the programme.

Programmes like Amazon will always have sequences where conditions mean no matter how good the broadcast technology, domestic cameras that are always much smaller and less conspicuous will be used to reduce risk to the crew with a resulting loss in picture quality.

We are always looking at new technologies that will improve the picture quality in challenging environments but it will take some time before it is uniformly high. In the mean time programmes must limit the amount of standard definition or low quality high definition to 25% of their duration.

Your comment about the Tudors is one I cannot understand or agree with. I still have the series on my PVR and watched quite a bit before writing this. The Tudors is extremely well shot, has very little if any video noise and is beautifully colour balanced.

If this programme looks poor on your television could I ask you to re-check your settings? I would recommend turning the sharpness setting to zero, not to use any of the preset picture modes and to turn off, or reduce to zero all picture enhancement options. I would also recommend turning the contrast setting of your set top box to medium or low before adjusting the brightness and contrast on your display.

If you are looking at some of the chat rooms commenting on the quality of the BBC's HD Channel you will have seen threads discussing our transmission bit rate. The channel's bit rate has remained constant at just over 16Mbs since early last year. I don't often recommend external websites but you might find this one interesting.

I am always watching the channel and do make recommendations to any programme that has variable or substandard sequences to see if we can improve it. All programmes have to meet the technical standards of the channel before they can be transmitted but occasionally even we are caught out by a problem that does not come to light until the actual transmission.

The quality of some several recent programmes has been outstanding. The Goldfrapp Electric Prom was one of the best I've seen, Tess Of The Durbervilles was beautifully shot and from the sections I've seen Little Dorrit should be stunning.

The range of programmes made in high definition will continue to increase over the next few years and we will explore what works and what is just not worth it until high definition is the normal mode of operation.

Many of our high definition programmes use the 25 frame progressive standard (film style). I know some people do not like this and think it degrades the resolution of the picture, while others think it contributes to the quality and style of the programme. This mode does actually have more resolution than the 25 frame interlace standard. Amazon, Silent Witness, Tess, in fact virtually all drama, Natural History and many documentaries use this standard.

silentwitness

Cranford, Silent Witness (right), Tess and other dramas are also using the latest large image format cameras. Theses cameras use a single image sensor that is about the same size as a 16:9 35mm film frame and gives the image a very shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field will put all but the key subject out of focus and allows a director to use focus as a story telling tool. Again some people think high definition pictures should be pin sharp from the nose of a person in close-up to the trees on the horizon, others find all this visual information distracting and a drama director will use focus to point you to the action they want you to watch.

Here lies another point of confusion; sharpness is not the same as resolution. A picture can be very sharp but contain very little detail. This is especially true in standard definition where electronic sharpening is added in cameras to make the image seem clearer. We do not encourage the use of electronic sharpening in high definition cameras and prefer images to look more natural.

I am currently working on an issue we (and other broadcasters) are having with the Dolby E signal that's used move up to eight channels of audio in the space of two. I have a research graduate from BBC Research working with me, this is very exciting as it is an opportunity not only to deal with problems but to delve deeply into the underlying technology and maybe make improvements that all broadcasters can benefit from. Rowan has his own blog and he will be posting comments on the project when he can - here is the latest.

To finish, there are many comments praising the quality of the HD Channel's quality. I am also aware of the many threads berating the channel's lack of quality, I do read them all and try to address some of the concerns in my blogs and as they come up.

If you would like to read more about BBC Research you can find them here

Yours sincerely...."

As I said at the begining of the letter we do take comments seriously and try to address complaints and enquiries. I hope this sparks off a lively debate and look forward to your thoughts on Rowan's work.

Andy Quested is Principal Technologist, HD, BBC FM&T.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    I know it's subjective, but the BBC HD channel seemed to lose it's "wow factor" after the trial finished last year.

    It always seemed to look light-years better than any other channel; in fact, it was the BBC HD demo that convinced me to get Sky HD. Now, in comparison to others it looks distinctly average.

    If you're saying that nothing technically has changed at the BBC, then it must simply be that the other channels have upped their game.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, I'm one of the 'some people' who remain unconvinced that motion portrayal at 25Hz is adequate. You say that film mode has higher resolution, but surely this is only true for stationary pictures. As soon as there is motion you must have motion judder and/or a drastic reduction in resolution, depending on how the exposure time for each frame is set. Also I hate the film effect subjectively - I find it gives a feeling of detachment or a dream-like effect, whereas proper video gives a feeling of 'being there'. Film effect is fine when used sparingly, say for a dream sequence or a flashback - just not for the whole time. Whilst realising that I am banging my head against a brick wall here, I note that there have been some documentaries with proper motion such as Atom, Alexei Sayle's Liverpool and The Story of Maths, so maybe there is an opposing force even at the Beeb.

    One more small request - those of us using certain receivers (mine is a Humax) find that BBC HD is not flagged as widescreen and so comes up as pillarbox, and has to be manually switched. I know this is arguably a receiver problem as it should assume all HD is widescreen, but is there any chance you could set the flag at your end?

  • Comment number 3.

    The problem with 25Hz Progressive pictures is they appear jerky on LCD TV's.

    Higher spec sets have interpolation technology to overcome this jerkiness.

    This can then introduce a shimmering halo affect around moving objects if the background has a lot of detail in it.

    I find interlaced pictures preferable for this reason.

    Andy, what is your opinion on the black level in programs?

    Little Dorrit & The Tudors both look more gray than black to me. Other programs like SCD are however fine.

    And yes, I have my TV correctly adjusted.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Andy - thank you for your detailed bog.

    I take accept your statement:-

    'Here lies another point of confusion; sharpness is not the same as resolution'

    I think I have misunderstood this myself at times.

    I was one of the posters who was disappionted with parts of 'Amazon' - but you explain the reason for that also.

    However, I can't believe that (although off-air now for 6 months) you didn't mention the less than great picture on the J Ross Friday Night Show.

    I also agree with 'digital_elysium' that a year ago the picture looked 'better' - and I do think the lowering of the bit-rate hasn't yet been made up for by better encoding.

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 5.

    You have not addressed the question of perceived reduction of BBC HD picture quality from the heights of the best during the HD Trials. What did change was the bit-rate from 19 to 16 Mbps!

  • Comment number 6.

    A quick answer to some of the questions:

    DavidJRob - the exposure time for a both interlace and progressive should be identical usually 1/50th or in film terms 108 degrees.

    There is no difference in resolution of individual frames but the faster the movement in the interlace image, the lower the resolution of the final frame when the two halves are reassembled.

    With a 25-frame progressive image the faster the movement the greater the “judder”.

    Frame rate is not a technical issue. The decision to us 25i or 25p is entirely editorial.

    smithap66 - My plasma has no motion interpolation so shows the image as we transmit it. If you do have a shimmering halo affect around moving objects have you tried adjusting the back light level? With any compression system there will be artifacts and it sounds like they are being amplified by to display. I have just check the Tudors, Little Dorrit and Barbara (from my PVR) and the black levels are close to screen black and if they are sat up it’s a very small amount.

    Daveac – unfortunate events meant we didn’t get the chance to demonstrate the changes. But as for the bit rate issue, in May 2007 we installed new encoders that improved picture quality (as demonstrated by the improvements noticed between Wimbledon 2006 and 2007) and have not moved since. We are always looking at newer more efficient transmission encoders though.

    Finally digiai-elysium Bill-Taylor and daveac - why can’t others catch up with our quality!!!


    Andy

  • Comment number 7.

    i 2nd Bill-Taylor's comment, reducing the bitrate from 19mbps to 16mbps isn't giving the viewer better quality at all, why is BBCHD on cable in mpeg2 17.6mbps 1920*1080i, why not mpeg4 with same bitrate and resolution, surely you can get virgin to roll out a software update to enable their players to play mpeg4, mpeg4 gives a greater colour range, better compression, less blockiness etc. In reality 17.6mbps ~ 13mbps mpeg4 which just isn't good enough.

    Jools holland often looks like it has grain added, like jonathon ross used to have which you appear to have fixed. Like with the movie "300" the director added grain into the film, seems like you do this for some shows but it looks REALLY bad.

    Regarding Amazon...

    I saw in some of the shots it showed the guy filming with another camera and the camera was only a 720p camera, why on earth arent you using 1080p cameras for 100% of BBCHD footage? they have been out for years! That will be why the quality doesnt seem to be the best. Its not like 1080p camera's are bigger and bulkier to carry around or anything, why use 720p and upscale, we pay a license fee for a reason, to get the best quality available at the time.

    We still havent had Stephen Fry on BBCHD, yet its out on bluray in 11days, why on earth is this? If you have stephen fry in HD why not air it? I'm sure you could put it in the place of some Planet Earth or Robin Hood old repeats.

    Do you plan on airing BBCHD in 1080p in the forseeable future?

    Why do you air BBCHD audio in 384kbps on satellite and 448kbps on cable? Why not both in 448kbps? If it is that Sky boxes cant decode 448 cant you get sky to issue a software update to be able to decode it? Why is satellite only gettin 1440*1080 resolution when cable gets 1920*1080?

    Please air BBCHD on cable and satellite in:

    448kbps audio
    1920*1080i MPEG4 19mbps

    and only use 1080p or 2k/4k cameras and not 720p at all.

    Thanks.

    p.s this blog is having some downtime it seems, page hasnt been working properly for about 15mins. Please give us the ability to edit own posts too, at the very least 10mins after posting as people make mistakes, missing words, typos etc.

  • Comment number 8.

    Andy, can you explain the motion blur noticed on some programs. Bonekickers was a prime example.

    Deliberatly slow electronic shutter speed to lessen the judder effect of 25p?

  • Comment number 9.

    Read with interest your comments Andy Quested, good to hear someone with some 'clout' and tech knowledge at BBC is watching the same programmes as us!

    So, is there any chance you could chase up who ever is supposed to be sorrting out subtitles of freesat HD please!

    And also do something about the 'abismeow' subtitles on many news programmes Look East local news is one of the worst.
    A live programme I can understand,it going wrong but when the report is obviously recorded and perhaps was even shown earlier in the day but still goes out later wrong, has to be unacceptable.

  • Comment number 10.

    Andy: I accept the others do not match BBC HD picture quality. I still think the reduction in bit-rate has not been compensated with the new encoders. Many thanks for your contributions and BBC HD.

    The BBC should be the Gold Standard, just being better than the rest is not enough. You should aim to provide what the technology can deliver and shame the rest to match it. BBC HD should be a showcase.

  • Comment number 11.

    Why isn't the BBC using DVB-S2 on satellite?
    It would mean more bandwidth would become avaliable.
    It would mean that no SD channels could no longer be shared on the transponder but it opens up the chance for the BBC to have a second high definition channel.

    In the short term the BBC could rent out room for another HD service until the arrival of BBC HD 2 which will come sooner or later as live HD sports events begin to clash and more programming becomes avaliable in HD as the BBC moves towards its 2010 target of everything being made in HD.

  • Comment number 12.

    Again Andy, thankyou very much for your highly detailed and informative posts. Sometimes BBC HD can appear to be a little 'unloved' and it's nice to know about the effort going on.

    Without wanting to be rude might I suggest to samuel1984 that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing? Firstly, it's not the BBC's responsibility to upgrade Virgin's network or equipment. Andy can confirm or deny, but I believe the BBC pass an uncompressed fibre feed to VM which they then do with as they please. Also, if you knew as much about this technology as you'd like people to think you do, you'd know that there's more to MPEG4 than a 'software upgrade'.

    Secondly, 720p HD cameras have been out for a while. Do you have any idea with an organisation the size of the BBC how much internal procedure slows things down? "No, I'm sorry, cancel all HD programs until every camera is up to some internet bloggers arbitrary standards".

    I do think that us Virgin Media users tend to be very demanding because BBC HD is our *only* live HD option (It's referred to as "The Shiny Channel" in our house!). Could you or Danielle enlighten us at some point as to how material gets passed to VM for HD VOD? Like will we every see Spooks: Code 9 (which I liked, even if nobody else did!) or Torchwood in HD:VOD?

    Oh, and thanks for the link to Rowan's blog.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Finally digiai-elysium Bill-Taylor and daveac - why can?t others catch up with our quality!!!"


    Indeed. But it's kind of like the "is my train moving, or is that other train moving?" conundrum.
    Is it just that other companies have come up to the quality of BBC HD, or is that BBC HD has descended to their level?

  • Comment number 14.

    Like others here I would like to register a vote against 25p. For me, it's the flicker that this adds to any movement in the picture that I find annoying. The issue here that that perception of flicker varies over quite a large range due to differences in Flicker Fusion Threshold between individuals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flicker_fusion_threshold

    The problem with this is that if the Producer or whoever makes the decision to use 25p doesn't notice the flicker, they cannot possibly know how annoying it is for someone who does notice it. I hate the "filmic" effect that is added to many programmes for the same reason.

    On a more "artistic" note, I feel that 25p and the filmic effect distances the viewer from the action. If Producers use 25p to make video look like film, it fails miserably. If you want it to look like film, shoot it on film.

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks for the recommendation to my website , Andy!

    Unfortunately I just measure and I can't watch the most HD-Channels, because they are scrambled.

    So I'm realy happy that I can receive BBC-HD here in Bonn. I'm looking forward for this friday night with Jonathan Ross and Jools Holland. I enjoy the brilliant picture in my home cinema with a 1080i DLP beamer on a 3.5m screen.

    Like some others I also expected a little bit more PQ from Jonathan Ross but I noticed an increase over the last shows.

    By the way, very interesting blog from the BBC. I miss something similar from the german public broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

    Oliver
    Admin of www.linowsat.de

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm struggling to relate this blog to Danielle's recent blog where she says..

    Quote "There are still elements affecting picture quality along the broadcast chain that we are working on ...I hope that, as we address them, the picture quality will improve across the channel. "

    I'm fine with the bitrate but I do think the picture quality is poor. Maybe its the encoding you are using? Take three examples from the past week.

    1. I watched Britain from the Air and the picture had loads of artefacts on moving grass shots.

    2. Any scene that involves movement , smoke and lights also fails the HD quality - Strictly come Dancing often has problems when the camera pans rapidly - watch the lights on the ceiling - I see artefacts if the camera moves quickly. And the overall studio picture is poor.

    3. My third example is the Coldplay scene on the HD Preview . Its grainy and just looks a mess

    My overall conclusion - a complex picture with movement doesn't work on BBC HD.

    Now all this could be my TV but why do some still scened programmes (like Antiques Roadshow) look ok , and other HD TV channels look better than the BBC?

    The bottom line is same TV, same settings, other HD channels just look far better most of the time.

  • Comment number 17.

    @Linosat
    I think you'll find Johnathon Ross is cancelled and its not the picture quality that caused it . His dirty mind has resulted in him being suspended for 12 weeks.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well thank you for finally getting onto picture quality Andy. I would like an answer on DVB-S2 and have asked before. There are only two worthless BBC variants on the transponder so I don't see why BBD HD can't go S2, kick those off the transponder and up the bitrates.

    Before you misunderstand my post I would like to say that technically, I think BBC HDs output is brilliant. The only programmes I have ever criticised were the infamous FA Cup semi final in 2008 (which was rectified for the final), the rugby and other live events such as I'd do anything. The Tudors and most of the others you mentioned are stunning. I own blu-rays, I've watched plenty of stuff in HD on tv. For me one of the joys of high definition is you can watch a film or something else and actually see the style and effects used and think how did they do that and what were they aiming for? I have seen stuff with deliberate grain, deliberate softness coupled with stunning colour and others that have insane sharpness. I have seen some older films in blu-ray and there has been a ridiculous amount of whinging about some of them.

    The halo affect around people as you call it happens. It happens on blu-ray too so don't feel too bad about it (some people notice it more than others). Playing around with settings and even 100Hz doesn't remove it sometimes. Some tvs are worse than others.

    However, I must take you up on your point about bitrates. You say you have updated the codecs in May 2007. We are aware of this. You have updated your bitrates, so has Sky :-). You seem to be saying that 16Mbs is an acceptable level without justification. I disagree fundamentally with this. There are two sets of well known sports channels that have similar bitrates. One set is praised, the other regarded as about the worst picture quality in the known world. So much so that there is an oft repeated myth that it has low bitrates (it actually has high standard def bitrates). We know one set of channels has slightly better but similar production techniques to the other channel. Therefore we must speculate it is the codecs. You have a similar problem. BBC HD is simply average on your current codecs that are inferior to the ones Sky uses. Simply repeating that you have high bitrates won't wash as we know your codecs aren't the best so you have to pump out at a higher bitrate. Sky rams 3 HD channels down some of it's transponders that are equal picture quality to yours. You have two BBC variants and 1HD channel on a transponder. Sometimes on some days the bitrate is pumped up on the other HD channels. So I am saying BBC HD doesn't compare so well. If you want to be regarded as equal you'd need more like 20Mbs. Other people feel the same.

    While we're on the subject of bitrates I would like to bring up a related point. Multiplex B on freeview is to be handed over for 3 high definition channels by Ofcom from November 2009. I have read some of the Ofcom documents and it makes it clear that the resources would be split more or less equally in theory. Depending on who you believe with DVB-T2 a reconstituted Mux would have 31 or 35Mbs. It will also be MPEG-4. BBC HD uses about 16mbs. 35/3 = a lot less than 16Mbs. Your thoughts? The cynic in me says that as no one has explained this that the bbc would eventually write some new codecs for satellite and work on all the terrestrial stuff and that the bitrates would get beaten down and beaten down to a poorer picture quality to fit on freeview. That or freeview would be inferior to satellite.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ropies
    The BBCs stated position is that it aims to cut the bitrate of the HD channel further so I concur with your concerns.

    (source - avforums, a BBC email reply to a complaint posted to the forum clearly stated the intention to further to cut the bitrate for "efficiencies")

  • Comment number 20.

    efficiences my ass, more like to reduce the bandwidth needed for virgin to their oversubscribed full to capacity network which throttles you for more hours of 9am-12pm then doesnt throttle you. Which the govt would stop letting these companies screw with it's customers.

  • Comment number 21.

    @digitalscoobiedoo thanks, I don't read avforums broadcaster related sections much. I'm aware there are others disgruntled on there certainly.

    Samuel1984, as has already been said here and elsewhere virgin media have MPEG-2 because the V+ and more importantly when it was the tvdrive from telewest was MPEG-2. It was chosen for reasons to do with telewest's plans of which there is information out there. These plans have little to do with the post merged company so look a lot more strange than they did at the time.

    I forgot to mention I thought Britain from the Air was bad. Great concept of a programme. Far too much pixelisation.

  • Comment number 22.

    Andy:

    Just finished watching Strictly...

    Thanks to all of BBC HD.

    Reduced DOG is ok. PQ impressive!!

    Please keep fighting for more resources for BBC HD as a flagship for BBC Technology and innovation.

  • Comment number 23.

    We have had BBC HD for about a week together with other HD channels on free to air. We have noticed that the BBC channel alone has a habit of losing visual and audio for about 3 seconds from time to time. This was particularly noticeable on the remembrance parade this morning. It seemed to me that this happens when there is a camera switch. Can anyone throw a light on this?

  • Comment number 24.

    johnrydal. I have checked and there is no record of service interruption (i don't get the full report until tomorrow though). Can you tell me which service you have (Sat or Cable) and if Sat what set top box

    Andy

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Andy. The service is satellite with a Technomate TM-6900 HD COMBO free to air receiver.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi johnrydal. This is not a Sky or Freesat unit so i do not know how compatible it is with our service. We have had no other reports of this fault over the last week. If it continues please let me know but i think it you will need to contact the retailer.

    Andy

  • Comment number 27.

    no horizon in hd tonight:( there was a horizon about 2 months ago in hd, dont have a clue why this 1 aint in hd:(

    BBCHD is way too inconsistent. Jools holland full show on tues sometimes, sometimes not.

    Its like you are using a twister wheel to pick what to show on BBCHD.

  • Comment number 28.

    What's the BBC position on switching to DVB-S2? It would provide more bandwidth for BBC HD.

    The BBC could allow Astra to sub let out space to two other HD channels until the BBC needs more bandwidth for itself, it could fit four on a DVB-S2 transponder but it could instead boost the BBC HD bitrate instead.

  • Comment number 29.

    using DVB-S2 and having 2 channels would be great, but its clear for us to see that BBC isnt making its most popular shows in HD due to cost e.g Top Gear, Spooks etc so i doubt they'll want to make another channel. I shall have to dream of BBCHD1 & BBCHD2 in 20mbps.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes,

    Isnt it about time that bbchd stared expanding it's content with some of the more popular shows including those mentioned above?

    Danielle, what is the BBCs official future policy toward HD?

    To keep it as a limited channel broadcasting only a select range of programs, or to migrate all program making to HD?

    If migration to HD is the policy, then how are you going to broadcast it?


  • Comment number 31.

    Have just joined this discussion area and finding it fascinating. I have had BBC HD on Sky for about 1 year and apart from the constant filling of air time with repeats such as Robin Hood, Candleford, etc the content is very good and the picture quality awesome on my Sony Bravia 40 inch. I look forward to the BBC expanding programme material to the full 9 hours instead of this awful "Preview"

    I notice that people here talk about 2.0 and 5.1 sound. I have 5.1 surround sound but cannot see how I can see whether it is being transmitted on BBC HD unless I have the surround system switched on. All programmes appear to show they are 'S' for stereo on the Sky HD EPG programme information. Other channels show the sound as DS or DD. Can anybody help me understand ?

  • Comment number 32.

    The BBCs policy on HD seems to be use as little bandwith as possible to make the pictures look as poor as they can to save money (my view).

    Everyone knoes the bitrate needs to be increased to 20mbps but it wont happen as the BBC dont give a toss in my view. The BBC looked amazing when it ran at 20 MPBS but as soon as the Bitrate dropped the quality dropped with it.

    Andy and Danielle will try and fob you all off with excuses about production and so forth when they both know full well its down to the encoders and reduced bandwith.

    remind me what we pay our license fee for again????

  • Comment number 33.

    Andy: Do the BBC have any plans to use 720p for high action HD?

  • Comment number 34.

    Re my previous post (no.2 on this page), I notice that the issue of 'no widescreen flag' has been fixed. If you did that Andy, thanks very much!

    I would also be interested in a reply to Bill Taylor's question (no. 33) about 720p. There appear to be no progressive transmissions to the UK on any channel, which in view of the fact that no natively interlaced HD displays are available, does seem odd.

  • Comment number 35.

    Dear DavidJRob Thanks for the post, we did check the switching - we found nothing wrong but reset it just in case.

    And to you and Bill-Taylor - although 720 is HD for transmission, the international standards say it's not for programme exchange. Most of the HD programmes we make are 1080p25 (recorded, post produced and delivered 1080psf25) so are at the highest possible quality. Other programmes are 1080i25 so we have them in the archive at a standard that the rest of the world accepts as HD.

    Andy

  • Comment number 36.

    Andy: Thanks for the reply.

    It was my understanding that 720P/60 is used by USA for HD sport as it is better at high motion. It was discussed during the launch of HD as the partner to 1080i depending on the prime object of the programming.

    Can you comment on some of the Wildlife programmes broadcast by BBC clearly showed 720p cameras being used.

    Thanks again to all involved in BBC HD.

  • Comment number 37.

    Dear Bill-Taylor

    The Varicam has an "exemption" from the rule as it is still the only camera able to shoot NHU programmes in the way a simple Super16 film camera does. We clearly state the this camera will not be allowed as soon as a 1080 version is available.

    I cannot comment about the US and Sport more than to say NBC is 1080i29.97. Th US has been pushing very hard for 1080 to be the standard for all international event and programme exchange as well. I do know several US broadcaster are looking closely at 1080p59.94.

    Andy

  • Comment number 38.

    Many thanks for responding

  • Comment number 39.

    "All programmes appear to show they are 'S' for stereo on the Sky HD EPG programme information."

    The 'S' is for subtitles NOT stereo!!

    BBC HD, like Sky, don't flag a stereo programme.

    They do however, use DD for DD 5.1, even though technically every programme on an HD channel is in DD - albeit a lot of the time DD2.0 (stereo).

  • Comment number 40.

    Andyquested, your and Bill Taylor's comments about varicam are interesting. I was wondering whether there was some kind of list of wildlife programmes shot on this. The reason I ask is there has been a lot of speculation in the past about programmes like Blue Planet and Life in Cold blood and yes/no/sort of answers speculated about whether they were shot in HD.

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear ropies

    Blue Planet & Life in Cold Blood were not HD. The list of HD NHU programmes shot on the Varicam is now very large and is still growing. It would be safe to assume just about every wildlife programme shown on the channel has used the Varicam for some if not most of the HD shooting. We will continue to use the Varicam for some time as there is no viable 1080 alternative yet.

    Andy

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes, I am aware they weren't described as HD. The reason I asked was Blue Planet is available on virgin media on demand as "HD" and is allegedly upscaled. It looks so good I've always wondered whether it was shot fully in SD or some better equipment in between. Thanks for your answer though, many of these things do look pretty good.

  • Comment number 43.

    Interesting to see that Test Card W is now included in the preview loop, albeit only for 90 seconds. I did request this back in 2006, so everything comes to he who waits!

    It would be useful to know what resolution the frequency gratings correspond to. Currently I am getting the first 3 gratings with a trace of the 4th, this on a 1366x768 screen.

    For anyone wanting to check this out, the last few items leading up to the test card currently are:

    Little Dorrit
    Britannia
    Kids' Quiz
    Anne Frank
    Gardeners' World
    Joanna Lumley
    Burt Bacharach
    The Streets
    TEST CARD

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear DavidJRon

    I am preparing a new blog now and there is another sync check test signal to come as soon as Rowan has completed tests on the reserve broadcast chain

    Full details of how to use them both soon

    Andy

  • Comment number 45.

    As others have suggested, can we have a scheduled test card so that it can be recorded and played back as required? Thx

  • Comment number 46.

    Dear BikeNutt

    Unfortunately not at the moment. The position depends on the "off air" time of the channel. You should be able to record it if you start a manual record 1 hour (better make it 55 mins for safety) after the channel programmes finish for about 15 mins.

    Andy

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks Andy - didn't think to do a manual record (Virgin V+). Cheers.

  • Comment number 48.

    Andy - I've noticed for quite a while now that there is a 'pop' from the surround speakers whenever there is a change from 2.0 to 5.1. It's not loud enough to damage the speakers but it is very noticeable and quite annoying. Is there anything that can be done in the broadcast to mask this? (I'm assuming it's not my equipment as there has been discussion on the topic of 2.0 to 5.1 before) Thx.

  • Comment number 49.

    Dear BikeNutt

    I will check - mine was clean last night but can you let me know what set top box you have, what AV amp and how you connect between the two. Also one this we have noticed, if we are not switching cleanly the change from 3/2 to 2/0 on an AV amps front panel is about 1/2 a second after the transition, if the domestic equipment is causing it the change is on the transition.

    Last thing, we record all the output - can you remember a particular junction that popped?

    Andy

  • Comment number 50.

    Andy - it's a Virgin Media V+ STB connected to a Marantz SR5002 via HDMI (both video & audio). I apply 30ms of delay to get the lip sync perfect.

    It happens at the beginning and end of any programme broadcast in 2.0 on changeover to/from the HD logo intro thingy (don't know the technical term for it). Thx.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just checked a recording of last weeks Apparitions and it did it then as an example.

    I'm starting to think it may be my equipment after all though as the 'pop' does does not increase in volume even if I crank the amp volume up to 'silly' levels. Does this make sense?

  • Comment number 52.

    @ DavidJRob - Thanks for listing the stuff before the test card. I switched on this afternoon and The Streets was playing. I did a manual record just as it finished so I now have a neat 2 minute recording of the test card which I can keep without wasting HDD space! Thx

  • Comment number 53.

    Hello Andy,
    As a yet-to-be HD viewer would you please list the main standards used by the BBC when transmitting in HD now and how/when this might change in the future. Having looked at the HD Freesat satellite receiver specifications it seems 720p and 1080i are the only ones supported. Yet many TV Displays are now sold with 1080p as well. I would like to know whether a TV receiver with 1366x768-720p/1080i will match the HD transmitted formats for some time into the future. Presumably the only 1920x1080-1080p HD signal source at present is that from Bluray DVD players and games consoles? I am anxious to avoid buying equipment which has standards not required for off-air/cable reception. Also can you say whether the VirginMedia cable HD signal is degraded over that received from a HD Freesat receiver? Apologies for taking you back to basics like this but very little concrete technical information seems to be available generally. penworx.

  • Comment number 54.

    Dear penworx

    I am sorry not to answer quickly. I am writing the next blog (mentioned by Danielle) and finishing testing the test signals.

    Just a couple of very quick answers. 1080 and 720 are both considered to be HD as far as transmission standards bodies are concerned. All set top boxes and HD Ready TV can handle both standards even if they say 1080p.

    Below about 42" (with current display technology) it is debatable if full 1920 x 1080 display panel has any benefit the scaling technology is more important. 1366x768 displays are 16:9 so scaling is proportional to the aspect ratio of the image.

    I always say "buy the display that suites you" look at HD in both interlace (sport) and progressive (film and docs) AND watch SD on it too - especially if it has a built in Freeview tuner.

    There should be little difference between BBC HD on any broadcast platform. Virgin receive a direct feed of the HD signal from our play-out area. They use MPEG2 so the pictures may occasionally look different but it shouldn't be significant. The set top box, display and the connection between then can affect picture quality significantly.

    We are still working on the specifications for the terrestrial HD service, but again no service should look significantly different. You could say the later the service is specified, the more we know and the better the design!

    Hope this helps

    Andy

  • Comment number 55.

    Andy wrote:

    "...look at HD in both interlace (sport) and progressive (film and docs)..."

    I don't quite understand this statement. First, shouldn't it be the other way round (progressive is better for sport because more resolution is delivered on fast movement)?

    Secondly, how can we look at progressive when there are no transmissions?

  • Comment number 56.

    Just thought, did you mean progressive @ 25Hz? If so, I'm not sure whether most displays would recognise this as progressive. Would they not treat all 1080@25 as interlaced? Or is there a progressive flag in the transmission?

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear DavidJRob

    We use a format actually called psf (progressive segmented frame). It splits a progressive frame into two - each has the same temporal information but different vertical information. So a progressive image captured by a camera at 25 frames a second is split into two fields.

    This process sits a progressive image in an interlace signal. We hope one day to transmit the 25 frame flag so TVs can reconstruct the frame (do the opposite of the process in the camera) - but not yet!

    You were correct to assume 25fps progressive - it will be a while before 50p is a viable TV format

    Andy

  • Comment number 58.

    Ditto the comments earlier about 25p vs 50i. I find the stuttery motion of 25p quite irritating, as if the picture is faulty - and this is far worse on a large screen in HD.

    (And yes, I find fast pans and movement even more objectionable in the cinema!).

    Different eyes see differently. I also find DLPs unwatchable - I can see the rainbows easily, while other people can't see them at all.

    50i HD doesn't have to look like trash - it can have smooth movement _and_ high production values, good lighting, sensible colour grading etc. I wish BBC HD carried more of it!

    I realise it's an editorial decision - but I'm guessing you tell the same people not to add bags of fake grain for artistic effect, because it'll mess up the encoding - it would be nice for someone to pass on the message that 25p film-like stuttery movement upsets some viewers.

    Cheers,
    David.

  • Comment number 59.

    Dear 2Bdecided

    If you think about 1080p25 vs 1080i25 you will realise the p version has half the motion so is a lot easier to encode! It also has full resolution so more details than the i verison

    Andy

  • Comment number 60.

    Andy. Have just discovered this blog while googling lip sync issues that I've been having. Great blog! The BBC HD service has easily had the best lip sync since I started receiving an HD service from Sky a couple of weeks ago - it's been pretty much faultless, and tonights programme The Medicis: Makers of Modern Art was a joy - superb pictures and sound! Some of the HD content from Sky has had awful lip sync problems, especially on Sky Sports HD1, where the sound persistently lags behind the picture. Do you or anyone else have experience of this issue? Are there any internet forums that I can look at?

  • Comment number 61.

    Dear MarkyMark47

    Thanks for your kind comments they are much appreciated. I hope to have the next blog up either tomorrow or early next week that goes through the line up of your TV using the Test Card and the yet to be transmitted AV sync test signal. If you hang on I think it will cause a lot of comment and links to other forum discussions!!

    Andy

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi Andy,
    I just have a question regarding HD frame rates, blu-ray is mastered at 1080p/24, my new 1080p lcd can except this frame rate "24fps Compatible. Enables the display of a 24 frames per second input at the native frame rate of the TV (50/100 Hz".
    So my tv is doing a frame conversion? i thought to get 25fps from a 24fps source the framerate has to be speed up by 4.1%.
    I bought a full hd tv and a blu-ray for the 1:1 pixel mapping, the quality of the pictures are impressive but im not to happy with the 24fps frame rate especially regarding characters during a scene, i can see a trail as they move especially around there heads, is this error called edge enhancement? which some people seem to call the "halo" effect. If i set my blu-ray to output 1080i/60 the errors seem to be not quite as noticable or am i going mad?

  • Comment number 63.

    Hello Andy,
    Thanks for your reply blog#54 to my inquiry. Your statement "Below about 42" (with current display technology) it is debatable if full 1920 x 1080 display panel has any benefit; the scaling technology is more important" got me thinking. If at sizes below 42" (diagonal) the display pixel size is small compared with the smallest transmitted image element then surely this must be equally true of larger display sizes. Blog#52 above mentions the new 16:9 Test Card which presumably must contain the smallest elements and if these are larger than the pixel size (which for a 32" display is 0.5x0.5mm approx. actual size) then what improvement is available by using yet smaller pixels? Perhaps you could also say a little more about what to look for in the scaling technology and the effect it has on perceived picture quality. Many thanks and Happy Xmas, penworx.

  • Comment number 64.

    Dear penworx

    Now - you open a can of pixels here! By "current display technology" I point at not only new technologies (OLED etc) but at the steady improvement to existing LCD and Plasma panels. Some of my BBC Research colleagues could speak (and often do to me) for hours on the subject.

    I will try to get one of them to contribute - that is if Nick allows it!

    Andy

  • Comment number 65.

    Glad to see films are now on BBC HD. So have hooked my Freesat box to the Hi-Fi.

    Watched ‘Sin City’ First impressions were pretty good. Great PQ. However, there appears to be some kind of audio compression, as the dynamics appeared restricted. This in comparison to my DVD audio output.

    Is this the case? Or maybe it’s all down to my freesat box?

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear delphiplasma

    Thanks for your post. Just like penworx in post 63 you open another dynamic range can here.

    There are many complaints to the BBC about dynamic range and TV does have to limit the audio to a fairly small one.

    We cannot transmit anything like the dynamic range of a DVD.

    There is a parallel here with the pictures. One thing we decided to do from the start of the channel was to show movies in the aspect ration they were made in when we either had it in the library or could get a copy from the distributor - and we have had complaints about the black bars!

    I am looking closely at a similar option for the audio (not the full cinema mix but maybe closer to the DVD) but we must find a way of transmitting a TV level version within the same signal.

    Andy

  • Comment number 67.

    @ delphiplasma.

    "Watched ?Sin City? First impressions were pretty good. Great PQ. However, there appears to be some kind of audio compression, as the dynamics appeared restricted. This in comparison to my DVD audio output."

    Perhaps if BBC HD had broadcast the filim with a DD5.1 soundtrack as the EPG suggested it would be, rather than in stereo, it would have sounded better?

  • Comment number 68.

    Andy,

    Just some feedback on the new encoders.

    Watching Wildest Dreams the well lit scenes seemed OK, however the "performance review" scenes which were less well lit had what looked like camera noise.

    It was certainly struggling with the noise and showed artifacts when viewed close up.

    Not particularly noticeable from normal viewing distance.

    When watching "Who do you think you are" last night compression artifacts were clearly visible.

    Specifically a scene where david Mitchell was on a boat, 30 mins in. Not specifically on the water, but mainly noticeable on his face and hills in the background.

    Also the scene immediately after where he is sat on the quay. There are several fades. These fades really struggled.

    Watching Live At The Appollo on the preview loop showed noise/artifacts on his jacket and floor.

    Also compared the Nick Cave sequence on the preview loop to a recording I had made some weeks back. I have to say I struggled to tell much difference between the two.

    So, is noise in original source affecting this encoder more than the original, especially with the lower bitrate?

  • Comment number 69.

    "Many of our high definition programmes use the 25 frame progressive standard (film style). I know some people do not like this and think it degrades the resolution of the picture, while others think it contributes to the quality and style of the programme".

    I am also one of those who very much dislike the 25p frame rate. And think 50i or 50p is much better.

    In fact the BBC's own white paper shows that low frame rates give much lower motion resolution and negate any improvment in the spatial resolution of television. Here is the BBC white paper that is calling for much higher frame rates: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp-pdf-files/WHP169.pdf - I find the 25p to look fake, juddery and jerky and much lower quality, as well as much lower in temporal resolution.

  • Comment number 70.

    Dear HD1080

    Thanks for the post. Ever since HD started frame rate has always been considered to be an editorial and not a technical issue. Actually a 1080p25 acquired frame has more resolution than a 1080i25. It is true that the vast majority of HD programmes are produced using the 1080p25 format and I assume this will continue until cinema moves from 24p to a higher frame rate!!

    Andy

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Andy - Some more feedback on the new encoders - Watching tonight's repeat of 'Coast', about 21 minutes in there was a scene where they were writing in the sand with stones - there were all sorts of weird compression artifacts in the shadows on the sand which weren't there in the first showing on Tuesday (presumably using on the old encoders). Looked to me like the new encoders are really struggling...

    I noticed dodgy fades and transitions on last nights 'Who Do You Think You are?' as well.

  • Comment number 72.

    @tagmcclaren

    I agree with your comments about Preview, Wild Dreams and Who you you think you are. I saw the same quality problems on another tv

    To put this in context Eurosport HD is running at 19550. BBC HD is half that.

  • Comment number 73.

    "Actually a 1080p25 acquired frame has more resolution than a 1080i25"

    Don't both have exactly the same resolution, assuming there is no filtering. I know 1080i25 has 540 fields per second but in 1 frame both will have the same amount of lines/resolution (ie. 1080 lines). I know that half the lines in the 1080i frame will be from a different moment in time (which is why 1080i gives better motion, and doesn't look jerky/juddery and actually looks better on todays LCDs) but it's still the same resolution in each frame.

    Can you please tell me when we will have 1080p50 Freeview HD decoders and broadcasts? Have you read the BBC's white paper on high frame rate television I linked to above, and if so, do you agree with the points raised in the paper/what are your views, and when do you think we will have high frame rate television (eg. 100fps or above), seeing as, as the paper suggests, the higher the frame rate, not only does it look better and give more motion resolution, but is relatively easier to compress as there is less frame-to-frame variation and temporal aliasing than normal and so will lead to higher compression ratios.

    Have you read the article entitled "Act Now for 1080p50" in which the project manager of the EBU recommends the use of 1080p50, and states it will not require higher bitrates than 1080/50i?
    http://tvbeurope.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1790

    What are the BBCs views this and when will we have this TV format? Thank you.

  • Comment number 74.

    When I said "1080i25 has 540 fields per second" I meant "1080i25 has 540 lines in each field" ie. 1/50th of a second (I'm sure you know what I mean :)). It would be good if these blogs had an edit option. :)

  • Comment number 75.

    More Feedback on the new encoder - The fade to black from the BBC HD ident before 'Spanish Flu - the forgotten fallen' tonight was very blocky.

  • Comment number 76.

    Dear jordanrowland

    I have asked some of our coding experts to look at fades but this coder is better than the older one (which also had an audio issue - now resolved)

    Andy

  • Comment number 77.

    I've posted a complaint on the picture quality to BBC Points of View. Other people are already chipping into the discussion - please join the debate
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/F1951566?thread=6819732

  • Comment number 78.

    Hi Andy - thanks for that - Is it useful for us to provide examples of where/when we're seeing issues or are general observations more useful?

    On the old encoder we used to see rows of fine horizontal lines on fades to black, on the new encoder it's more like blockiness we see on Standard definition digital TV.

  • Comment number 79.

    Dear digitalscoobiedoo

    Re your comment on the Summer Fixtures blog - I am reading comments but they mostly lack example. Jordan has provided useful feedback for me to look at and pass on.

  • Comment number 80.

    My initial impressions are that any source material that has noise (camera or whatever) are really making the encoder struggle.

    Just gone to a well lit scene in Spanish flu from a poorly lit and noisy one and the issues I see disapear.

  • Comment number 81.

    Dear tagmclaren

    Thanks for the post - there is another explanation for visible noise. Do you remember the Angel Falls shot from Planet Earth that was used as a "Great Moments" promo? Everyone remembered it from the series but when it was shown after the previous coder update there were complaints the coders were degrading the pictures - actually the shot is very noisy due to a technical issue in the helicopter and the coder up-grade passed the noise instead of "mushing" (new coder technical term) it into the picture.

    Reggie looking good at the moment

    Andy

  • Comment number 82.

    Andy- I would point out wood grain on the desk in the office in Spanish Flu - the lead actor's office scenes in the first 15 mins of the production when they are sitting down talking to each other . Noticeable artefacts at quite a normal distance for me I'm afraid (ie I don't have to go close up to see the problems)

  • Comment number 83.

    Another one for you - Rick Stein's dark navy shirt in the market scenes tonight had artefacts.

  • Comment number 84.

    Reggie seems generally fine.

    I'm sure this isn't my imagination, but I see flickering from time to time. Seems to happen randomly, no obvious reason. I did see it whilst reggie was pruning the bush, across the house.

    Another observation, don't know if it's my imagination.

    Over the past few months I had increased the fine detail (sharpness) control slightly on my video processor. I do use very low levels BTW.

    With the new encoder I have reduced it again as if the picture is very slightly sharper.

    Also the colours seem more natural. Again could obviously be a figment of my imagination! ;-)

  • Comment number 85.

    Reggie was pretty similar to the original broadcast a few months ago - I did spot that in the opening animation, the characters on the railway platform appeared to 'fade in' in stages, rather than smoothly - I'm sure they faded in smoothly in the original broadcast. It's a small thing I know, but it adds to the general impression that the new coder does not cope well with fades.

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear tagmclaren - I didn't see any flickering but can't say I was looking hard at that point - re your other points, the images should be sharper, one thing MPEG4 coders do is soften images as they start to struggle so you should see that less with the new one. HOWEVER the balance between artefacts and softness is critical. I would expect an improvement in colour coding too.

    Dear jordanrowland - I sent a note this evening about mixes/fades.

    On a general point, has anyone checked to see if AV sync via the test signal is still the same? I had to change a display at work today by 20ms but as I couldn't remember the original number I don't know if someone else had changed it. The new coder converts from Dolby E to Dolby D internally so we have lost an external decoder/encoder from the chain. On pre change tests everything was fine but there is nothing like an on-air test to prove the point!

    Last thing - Tom Jones is looking very good. But looking at the power lines in the wide shots I can see a combination of compression aretfacts and interlace aliasing both virtually invisible with the previous coder because it softened the pictures. What is really interesting is the compression artefacts look like a combination of transmission, play-out, post and acquisition codec concatenation - I may need to recommend a bit of filtering!!!!

    Andy

  • Comment number 87.

    Dear digitalscoobiedoo - thanks for the POV post:


    "I do not trust BBC HD to get this right because I've had the channel for a while now and the constant message from the Technical team is that "it must be your tv settings, it looks ok to us" (no doubt while they are watching on £4000 tvs.)"

    No - I have a 50 Panasonic plasma and two 22 UMC (1920x1080) TVs at home and several different size (32" up to 65") Sony, Samsung, Panasonic LCD/Plasma TVs at work (and access to a very interesting 32" CRT - but I only tend to watch broadcast HD on this).

    I still have to get people to remove the SCART lead from home set-ups and tell then that the "vivid" setting is only to be used for doing toast

    Andy

  • Comment number 88.

    @Andyquested
    Excuse my frustration but to give with one hand (new encoder) and to take away with the other (cut bitrate) just isn't fair imo. A bit more bitrate would not be the end of the world, it can't harm the picture. Cutting the bitrate must harm the picture.

  • Comment number 89.

    Can someone say when 1080p50 Freeview HD decoders will be made available please? Do we need to wait till the expected life of the first lot of Freeview HD decoders is over till the 1080p50 ones are available? And how long do you think that will be? 3-10 years or less?

  • Comment number 90.

    Andy can you please confirm the situation with the football tomorrow. Can you please let us know the plans for the match in regards to bandwith. 1 day left and its rather important considering its teh first game. Thanks.

  • Comment number 91.

    Wednesday, why would it be different?

  • Comment number 92.

    Andy, Performed a sound sync test from a recording made on the 6th.

    Set up Humax HDR > Panasonic TH42PZ80 plasma. Using plasma speakers.
    Picture leads sound by 26ms
    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/lh/photo/7Vm2p9xF8PV2eQgNZXNNww?feat=directlink

    Humax HDR > DVDO ISCAN VP50pro > Tag AV32RDP AV amp. Using surround spk.
    picture leads sound by 9 ms
    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/lh/photo/NPRZF1ALccPLp_ga9tgYZg?feat=directlink

    Note the video processor sends 50p to the plasma and inserts 68ms delay. No account made for plasma input lag.

    So, no real change when going through the AV amp from the previous encoder.

    However when inputting directly to the plasma there seems to have been an increase of around 10 ms??????

    Note there has been an over the air firmware update to the plasma since the last time I tested.

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear tagmaclaren - thanks for this. I have just had confirmation the transport stream is showing around a 1ms AV difference i.e. 19ms tighter than the EBU recommendation! As the new unit in fully integrated I expect it to be far more stable and fairly immune to "finger trouble"!!

    Andy

  • Comment number 94.

    Andy,

    I can also cofirm jordanrowlands observation about the characters on the railway platform.

    This may be related to the flickering I have observed.

  • Comment number 95.

    Why would what be different??? The bandwith for the football??? Its obvious is it not??

    Surely BBC HD are not going to premier the launch of championsip football in HD using a mere 9mbps??? its clear the quality will not get anywhere near stunning at that rate.

    Surely they will up the rate for sport???

  • Comment number 96.

    Dear wednesday83

    Thanks for your comments over the last 24 hours! I assume you watched the Tom Jones session last night and saw how good the pictures looked and how tight the AV sync was - this bodes well for the football tomorrow. My concern for tomorrow is the MPEG2 link back to Television Centre

    Andy

  • Comment number 97.

    So in other words Andy BBC HD are going to lanch the football and not increase the bandwith???

    A question for you Andy, why do you think sky up the bit rates for Sport???

    Also who is in charge of deciding what bit rates are used???

  • Comment number 98.

    Wednesday,

    Why don't you take an objective approach to this change and like the rest of us report back observations and highlight problems.

    Apart from the issues people have highlighted, so far it seems that there has been little change and some things ARE actually looking better.

    Note my comments about colour and sharpness.

    Also why has it been dropped?

    Andy?

    Is it to save bandwidth and therefore cost? (I would have a tantrum)

    Is it to allow more HD channels on the transponder? (one can only hope)

    Is it to allow more SD channels on the transponder? (again a tantrum)

    Wednesday, I am sure you are aware of the issue with space on the transponder and Astra 2D.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes I am aware of space issues with transponders, but at the end of the day whats the point in HD channels with bandwith is just going to be so low.

    Do honestly believe football can look good on 9MBPS??? Not a chance in hell.

    Ive often admitted some things look good on BBC HD. Dragons den looks fantatsic. Ive no issue with slow paces well lit shows.

    And going back to the space issue, theres no other BBC HD channel as of yet so why not launch the new encoder with stunning quality and get people talking posotively about BBC HD again.

    Ive been watching the BBC HD loop today and to be fair quite a lot of it looks quite good. But its not as good as it could and it certainly struggling with fast movement.

  • Comment number 100.

    Does it have to be another BBCHD channel?

    There are rumours going around, but they are probably not true.

    Yes, if nothing useful was going to be done with the freed up space I would agree with you. Hence my question to Andy.

 

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