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BBC HD Update: DOG Patrol

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 19:10 UK time, Friday, 27 February 2009

Hello Everyone,

I'm sorry that you've been concerned about my demise. No - its not as bikenutt suggested that the questions are too difficult to answer.

But in terms of how I allocate my time, it seems most valuable to come on when I really have something to share with you, a difficult issue for me and the channel, or some news about developments. There is a lot happening, and I will have quite a few developments for you in the next couple of weeks

My time over the last month has been spent working on the future of the channel, our programming, and also on an interesting trip to the US to talk to broadcasters there who are further down the HD road. It is really useful to understand where we might be headed and obviously we want to make sure that the plans we make are likely to fit with where you - our existing, and I hope future audience - might want us to go.

I've also of course been busy on DOG patrol - making sure it doesn't appear where I've told you that it won't. In relation to that there have been questions from smithap66 about a DOG on 10 Days to War, and from paul_geaton about Nature's Great Events.

The decision I took was about the removal of the channel ident from drama and music programmes. Finding the DOG on those two is consistent with that since one is a current affairs/factual piece (albeit with some dramatisation around it), and the other is a natural history programme. So I do believe that - as promised - we have kept the DOG away from the programmes we committed to, and while I'm sorry about any irritation it may still be causing you, I did say that I did not plan to remove it from any other areas of programming for the time being.

There are also a couple of points raised about our sport content. Paul_geaton wanted to know why there was no surround sound on the Six Nations Rugby. We don't always put 5.1 on our sport output - it is an additional cost and one of those things that we weigh up on an event by event basis. Andrew Knight asks whether cost issues are conditioning our thinking about Formula 1 and HD - the answer is no, not really. A decision about F1 and HD sits primarily with the rights holder (F1/Bernie Ecclestone), rather than with the BBC. We are keen to do it as soon as possible.

Andrew Knight also asks about our plans for upscaled content and the migration of whole BBC channels into HD. The BBC wanted to offer a service that was HD in its entirety - that's why we have BBC HD for the time being, a channel which tries to bring together the best of the BBC's content in HD, with some obvious scheduling nightmares along the way when the "best" of one BBC channel clashes with the "best" on another.

Many other broadcasters have chosen instead to go down a route of simulcasting their main service, upscaling content where necessary. That is an easier option editorially in many ways - and maybe easier for you as an audience to find your way around. We didn't want to do that because we wanted to be able to offer you the content we felt could gain most from being made and shown in HD, wherever it was broadcast on the BBC. And any upscaled channel will inevitably at this point in our migration to HD contain a lot of non-HD content. I believe there will come a time when we do try to make at least one of our existing channels available in HD, but I hope that when we do so, non-HD content will be at a minimum so that the channel feels like a worthwhile HD viewing experience for you.

As I've suggested, there are some quite exciting things to share with you in the next few weeks - so I will be back.

Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Welcome back Danielle ;-)

    Thank you for addressing many or the points raised over the past few weeks.

    Of course, in time I expect HD versions of all BBC channels will be available simulcasting their SD brothers (or sisters), those of us who want it all now will have to wait I guess. Also (not your problem) but will be good to have ITV HD available via Sky.

    In the meantime however there have been many, many brilliant offerings on BBC HD, Nature's Great Events for me stands out. Also Damages, Hustle, Mad Men, Not Going Out are definately enhanced being HD.

    Shame about f1.

    Anyway, please keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello Danielle,

    I'm glad the questions being asked here aren't too difficult to answer. It's feedback from, and dialogue with, enthusiasts posting here that will help you and your team to shape the service for the general viewing public.

    I think you will agree that we all want the BBC's HD service to be the success it deserves to be.

    I thought tonight's Jonathan Ross looked very good indeed. The brace of U2 songs held up well with the camera pans and flashing lights with only minor noise on parts of the red background of the set.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for your longer blog piece this time. I agree with most of the things Andrew Knight says. I don't expect the beeb to agree with me as when digital services were first launched those channels were "spill over" channels with very limited hours just like BBC HD is now, so it's understandable you'd want to do the same thing again.

    I hope with your competitors getting a lot more serious about HD the last few weeks (Five and Film4) that you will be allocated a bigger budget than the £5 million I think it is at the moment or be granted longer hours or both.

    Other than the long term future of the channel which I and others have talked about on quite a few occasions I was wondering about a couple of things. Firstly some parts of the early schedule seem to be staying the same an awful lot i.e. In the Night Garden (and before that other children's programmes) and Doctors. I wondered whether this was a permanent thing and if so would other parts of the schedule times/day get distinctive programming genre to make the public get used to the channel, particularly new viewers? Also the BARB viewing figures for BBC HD. We all know what particular of your colleagues think on the matter but to me the figures scream out that the channel is not being promoted enough as programmes with high viewing figures in SD are not switching over to the HD version. I wondered how you saw promotion of the channel going forward so BBC HD could get top 10s say above 200,000 every week.

  • Comment number 4.

    Any chance of an update on the encoder situation Danielle? The channel still looks poor compared to many sky offerings and looks awful compared to what the channel was like operating with bandwith around 19/20 mpbs.

    Also in regards to shows such as, Not going out, Life of Riley, Friday Night With Ross and so forth, I appreciate that the tech guys have used the noise recuction feature but the shows still look very poor and the noise very visable. There is no way that Sky would commision one of their own made shows in HD when it looks so bad. Andy Quested often tells us the shows look so bad due to production, and if this is the case then why the hell has this not been fixed???

    The feeling I get with the BBC is that it just simply does not care about HD anymore. What with the poor encorders, poor bandwith rates for current encoders and also virtually no advertisment for the channel, it seems clear what the BBC think of the future of HD.

    Maybe you could have a chat with sky and ask them how its done???

    At the moment the channel just seems to have been left to rot and is dying a slow painful death.

  • Comment number 5.

    Given the massive amount of feedback from those who hate DOGs, what is the issue with removing them from more programmes? HD viewers, more than any other, know what they're watching and don't need that constant reminder. Programmes such as Nature's Great Events with its superb photography are ruined by the DOG.

    Regarding the issue of transmitting upscaled versions of SD programmes, the professional grade scalers that the BBC use to upscale SD material would give far better results than the scalers in domestic STBs. There would therefore be some picture quality advantage in doing this.

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't understand why the BBC has dropped its bit rate on HD as there is plenty of space left on that transponder which is not being used. Also why is the BBC still using DVB-S1 transmissions when they could use DVB-S2 which is used by Sky and gives a 30% increase in bandwidth. It just does not make sense. I do agree with wednesday83 that the BBC do need to keep up with encoder technology. You have some very good technical people at the Kingswood R&D department I am sure they could sort things out.

    The lack of 5.1 sound from the BBC is very noticable as compared with Sky. The impact of 5.1 can be easily demonstrated by watching a premiership football match and switching between 5.1 and stereo. Do you have a surround sound system at home Danielle?

    I don't understand the cost problem with 5.1 . I am sure all your HD OB units would be equiped with 5.1 its just a case wiring the mics. I understand that Sky have installed surround mikes at most of the premiereship venues.

    There is considerable demand for HD. Sky has always had a problem keeping up with demand. Freesat HD boxes have been selling very well.

    I must admit that I expected the BBC to have at least 2 HD channels by now. Infact there is is room on the current transponder for another channel which is currently duplicating BBC HD.

  • Comment number 7.

    Forgot to mention upscaling. I always watch upscalesd SD from channel 4 on 4HD. The improvement in quality is very noticable. The same applies to Eurosport HD which has alot of upscalled material. Keeping track of what is on BBC HD is a pain in the neck so I long for an upscalled version of BBC 1.

  • Comment number 8.

    As usual, lovely to hear from you Danielle.

    I agree with the comments about improved picture quality with upscaled SD, however I must say I prefer the BBC approach to that of Channel Four.

    Having one channel where all the HD material is broadcast is preferable to missing-out on HD programming just because it appears on a channel not broadcasting in HD.

    C4HD showed Skins in HD last season because it was part of the C4 schedule - now Skins is on E4 we have no HD Skins.

    I wish Channel Four would either simulcast all their channels or do as the BBC do and have a dedicated C4 HD showing HD content from across their channel bouquet.

    Finally, I want to add my support to the comments about DOGs from Gary who suggests 'removing them from more programmes' - I would say Ditch The DOG completely .... please!

    john

  • Comment number 9.

    Danielle: Welcome back and thanks for all you and your team are doing.

    Please do not underestimate the value of 5.1 sound it adds another dimension to participating in the event when unable to attend.

    What will the BBC loose if the HD DOG is removed? [but thanks for what you have done so far]

    Showing up-scaled SD programmes on the HD channel would be a good experiment for those of us that believe the compression technology being used by BBC is not sufficient for the bandwidth allocated. If the up-scaled SD using the HD bandwidth is a significantly better picture, maybe the BBC's new Chief Technology Officer will get involved when he joins you in April.

    Thanks again for what the BBC is doing for HD.


  • Comment number 10.

    Regarding upscaling.

    I find that I no longer watch Channel Four on their SD channel on SKY (104) because the upscaled SD transmissions on SKY (140) look much better.

    Clearly the bandwidth allocated to HD can result in a much improved SD picture.

    I believe that the BBC HD channel should be used in the same manner.

    Obviously the emphasis should be on transmitting true HD material but it would make sense to run the HD channel in a similar manner to CH 4 becuase the difference between the SD stations and upscaled SD on HD transponders is night and day.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Danielle,

    Here's a simple question (but maybe not a simple answer).

    What is the rationale regarding films? I am bit mystified as to why some films are shown in HD on the BBC HD channel and some are not, espcially when you know that HD versions have been shown on Sky etc.

    We are heading to the bank holiday session and it would be great to see classic holiday films such as the great escape and the sound of music in HD.

    thanks

    iain

  • Comment number 12.

    Danielle,

    Thanks for you comments.

    However, I am not sure I am convinced by your argument regarding the cost issues with implementing 5.1 sound on the Rugby.

    As someone has already said most of the OB units are 5.1 equipped (or at the very least multi channel audio capable), the 5.1 mix can be sent down a stereo data line with dolby E, so is the cost of running in the cabling and extra microphones that great?

    Cant see it myself.

    Surround sound really does add an extra sense of atmosphere to live sporting events.

    The host broadcasters managed it very well for euro 2008, so why cant the BBC?

  • Comment number 13.

    I was watching two programmes the other day and an idea hit me.

    First I watched one of the Classic Star Trek episodes that have been redone from the film originals in 1080-line HD.

    Then I was watching "Civilization", now 40 years old. Programmes like that were made before "everything was done on videotape".

    I am wondering, how about dusting done some classic BBC factual series that were shot on colour film like "Civilization", "Life on Earth" and "The Ascent of Man" and giving them the HD treatment?

  • Comment number 14.

    With regard to the six nations, why is it that Ireland and Italy home games are not in HD? I understand it's the BBC doing coverage at both these venues, and a lot of the games involve home nations (e.g. is Italy vs. Wales any less worthy of being in HD than say Scotland vs. Italy?)

    Also any chance you could sort something out with your colleagues at France 2 to get HD feeds of the French home games next season? I believe they broadcast the games in HD on their own service.

  • Comment number 15.

    I've noticed that the channel is clearly called 'BBC HD', but when referred to in trailers, the voiceover always called it 'the BBC HD channel'. why is that, Danielle?

    Also, can't agree more on the issue of 5.1 sound - for films and sport events. HD may refer to the quality of the picture but most people with HD see such channels as 'premium quality' channels, in that the picture & sound quality will be of better than normal experience. Not having surround does remove something from the whole experience.

  • Comment number 16.

    There's plenty of music in Natures Great Events. Some I know would like to turn it off, but for me it adds to the visuals. Also there are some great subwoofer moments which pep up the dramatic impact. Is there really not enough drama and music in this programme to alert the dog patrol of a needed removals duty?

  • Comment number 17.

    Thanks for the update. If DOG removal is to happen gradually, nature programmes are a good candidate as the DOG can detract from the stunning images on shows like the wonderful Nature's Great Events. Simpler to just completely get rid of it though.

    I support the calls for as much 5.1 as possible, definitely part of the enhanced HD experience.

    I'm personally not bothered about having upscaled SD on the HD channel, as I wouldn't want to fill up my Sky+ disk with non-HD material when the improvement in quality is not great (on my modest set-up). I prefer knowing that programmes on the HD channel are true HD. But if lots of other people want it, I suppose I could just make the extra effort to check if something's HD before recording it!

    I don't think F1 will be any less boring in HD - I'd much rather have MOTD, more rugby internationals, tennis and golf.

  • Comment number 18.

    #17

    Just to be clear. I do not want the BBC HD channel to be used for up-scaling SD, other than as an experiment to see how poor some of the BBC SD pictures are and whether this is in some part due to lack of bandwidth available to the main program, as it is used (abused) to provide additional red button services (additional picture channels).

    I am in favour of red-button services, but not at the expense of trashing the primary picture.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Danielle

    Please would you ask BBC Digital to publishsomething about BBC HD and the AD services on Ceefax page 697 and Red Button Help page 9990: both are silent about these digital-only services.

  • Comment number 20.

    So many months on and dispite an almost 100% continued call by the paying viewers for removel of DOGS, they are still with us, Why?

    Some contributers to the Forum even feel obliged to say 'thank you' to the head of HD that sometimes the Dog is removed for certain programes, Why?

    The vast majority of the viewing public who pay for the BBC do not want DOGS at anytime or at the very least want the option to 'click' them off are not being listend to and again I ask Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    There is one question I would love Danielle to answer and that is. Who is it that insists on there being a logo on any of the HD programmes.

    Why are they so insistent on this totally unnecessary branding, on a channel supposedly dedicated to providing the best picture quality possible. It is such a nonsensical notion, I find it difficult to understand how anyone who cares about TV could contemplate such a silly idea.

  • Comment number 22.

    ok why was the last episode of The Green Green Grass not on HD?

  • Comment number 23.

    @LogoHater:
    Aah, but you're assuming that those who make the decisions care about TV.

    In my experience, the marketing types who make the final calls are more bothered about their marketing and getting "brand awareness" out there that nothing else matters. And in any given organisation, it's usually people like Danielle caught in the middle.

    Some of us will never be happy whilst any channel has any sort of additional onscreen content. But that doesn't change the fact that getting even some content DOG-free is a major acheivement. It's a very worthy start.

    I just hope that, one day, upper marketing types in all TV stations will realise that DOGs are uneccesary and unwanted.

  • Comment number 24.

    Danielle,

    DITCH THE DOG!

    please.

  • Comment number 25.

    Danielle, more important than the dogs and probably the main reason many viewers stay away from BBC HD, ENCODERS AND BANDWITH.

    The channel simply looks poor compared to other HD channels and probably a reason many people just dont bother with BBC HD. We all know the encoders simply cannott perform well at the current bandwith. TRheres plenty of bandwith available on the transponder so either increase the bandwith back to 19/20mbps or purchase new encoders which would allow you to stay around the level you are.

    I know the BBC dont care about HD but some viewers do care. Its the main reason I got an HD TV for.

    The BBC needs to realise that more and more people are going HD and soon the BBC will be far behind.

    When theres something on BBC1 /2 and its available in HD tell the viewers this. Advertise it. What about local BBC radio - instead of advertising the same breakfast radio show over and over again why not get them to plug the HD channel a little??

    But the main problem has to be the Picture Quality and I know by getting this sorted many viewers will eventually tune in.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well, most of the time it looks just fine here.

    Try standing back from the screen a bit :-)

  • Comment number 27.

    OK, the picture quality may not perfect, but there is a far more important consideration.

    Content.

    It's no good having the best PQ if there is nothing worth watching!

    To me at the moment, the most useful thing the BBC could be doing is increasing the quantity and range of HD programming as quickly as possible.

    On the promotion front, I wonder where BBCHD would be if the BBC put as much effort/money/advertising into it as it does for iplayer.....?

  • Comment number 28.

    F1 speculation here: -

    http://www.hdtvuk.tv/2009/03/abu_dhabi_formu.html#more

    OK, only 1 race but it's a start...

  • Comment number 29.

    I still find it hard to believe that the BBC continues with DOGs on any channel.

    My most important consideration for upgrading to HD is to get away from them. So, until they have completely disappeared from the BBC HD channel I shal stay with SD.

    It really is that important to me. Not that the marketing people at the top care.

  • Comment number 30.

    Welcome back Danielle,

    I wish to say that currently i am happy with what the DOG is on and not on. Bar the slip ups that have happened occasionally i think it's fair to say that it doesn't effect my viewing too much. There has been a slight drop in PQ over the last few months but it is comparable to other channels some are better some are worse. However I do feel that the BBC being a public institution should have the best picture quality of all channels.

    I'm far more concerned about content on the BBC HD channel. It is a great shame about F1 not being in HD this year (or only the hope of the last race being so) If there was a way to petition Bernie and the FOM I'd do it in a heart beat...

    Is there to be any motor sport broadcast in HD this year on the BBC as there is very little (if any at times) motorsport on any channel in the UK! Maybe the BBC should look into this and take the lead!

    Finally i noticed that Glastonbury was filmed in HD last year and shown on the channel I was wondering if there was any plans to film T in the Park in HD this year and broadcast it in HD. As the BBC is already heavily involved in the event (Radio1, Radio Scotland and BBC2) It is one of the largest music events this year and is the only event of it's size in Scotland so i think Scotland deserves a HD broadcast of it's large event. It's currently artist wise one of the most diverse.

    Also is there any update if the next season of Top Gear which starts shortly be in HD.. i know it's asked before every season ever since this channel was set up in fact so just wondering when the bullet will be bitten and do the honorable of shooting BBC2 most viewed program in HighDef and broadcasting it on BBC HD! This or F1 would be the biggest adverts for BBC HD's technology. The viewing figures back it up.

  • Comment number 31.

    OK Why no 5.1 sound for England v France Rugby Union?

  • Comment number 32.

    Praise where praise is due, it is only fair!

    Number 1 Dectectives Agency was supurb: Picture, Sound and Content.

    Well done and many thanks to all concerned. Just shows what can be done.

  • Comment number 33.

    Regarding F1 in HD. I'm puzzled by the Odeon cinema chain advertising the races live and in High Definition. How are they managing this if, as is said, there is no feed available???

  • Comment number 34.

    I thought Danielle might be interested in this exchange, if she has not already seen it:
    Yellowstone HD Dog:

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=1005399

    john

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm excited to hear that HD is somewhat be available, but disappointed with it's slow progress. More important is the issue with 5.1 surround sound. Watching a concert without this capability is like listen to music on a transistor radio.

    Having a great picture (in HD) just doesn't cut it when the sound quality is not up to par. Just like Mike's comment said: "Not having surround does remove something from the whole experience"

    Stephen
    Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi, I was just watching Jonathon Ross on BBC HD and quite enjoying the picture quality. It was about 45 mins in before I realised why - it's DOGless. That's the thing about a DOG for me, when it's up there on screen it's the main thing my eye is drawn to and I can't forget about it (and get driven nuts) but when it's not I just relax and enjoy the programme.

    By the way, looking for the right place to put this comment I stumbled on another by mwbennett where he said, on the subject of chat shows, "I'd far rather that documentaries and drama programmes were in HD than the fleeting-interest shows like JR (much as I enjoy watching the programme!)". I have to say, I entirely agree with him.

    Final comment here is that the show would surely be suited to 5.1 Surround Sound, which works so well on Jools Holland's. You tell me in your intro that you can't do the rugby in 5.1 owing to the cost but last Sep you mentioned that Jonathon Ross is being made in a brand new studio. Surely you've equipped it with microphones all around. I'm not a fan of Spandau Ballet (they're on at the moment) but I think I'd be enjoying them a whole lot more if you had the glorious 5.1 effect you get with Jools Holland's programme. If it is a cost issue, perhaps you should get Jonathon to buy you the necessary equipment out of his, reputedly, enormous BBC salary.

  • Comment number 37.

    Why do we have to put up with the stupid HD dog at all, even if there has been some sort of compromise that removes the worst aspects of it?

    The whole point of HD is to provide a better picture. Why spoil it with a dog?

    All satellite sets and boxes give you the channel details when you change channels so its not needed for channel navigation.

    As for branding, why is the BBC emulating all the cheap shopping and living channels? Surely the brand is the superb picture and sound? The dog just demeans the brand. If you want to develop the brand put more programmes out in HD and retire the dog.

    Also, if the dog is so good for a tv channel and required for identification, why don't we have one on BBC1 and BBC2? After all, they are identical to the HD channel in all respects as regards navigation. There are 17 different regional versions of BBC1 on Freesat and non of these seem to need a dog to help me navigate them. If a dog is not necessary on BBC1 remove the dog from BBC HD. Alternatively,if it really is so necessary on HD lets have a dog on BBC1 and BBC2 and see how the viewing masses like it.

  • Comment number 38.

    And now it's on Wimbledon. It may be very faint, but nontheless, it's present.

    It is so frustratingly pointless.

  • Comment number 39.

    More important is the issue with 5.1 surround sound. Watching a concert without this capability is like listen to music on a transistor radio!

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] London

  • Comment number 40.

    I was surprised and *very* disappointed to see the DOG on Freefall last night. It also seemed bigger and/or more opaque than it used to be.

    Why was this? Was it a mistake? To call this programme 'factual' would be ridiculous.

  • Comment number 41.

    To HD_fan428 - if the DOG was on Freefall that was a mistake. It was a drama by any definition, including the BBC's, and therefore the DOG should have come off. As I think I've said previously, DOG removal depends on people putting the right commands in the system and actioning them - it is not automated and so it does sometimes go wrong. I'll take a look and see what happened in this case.

    Danielle

  • Comment number 42.

    As regards the drama Freefall, it's not a case of 'if' - the HD DOG it was most definitely there and as a previous poster states far more opaque than it sometimes appears and therefore very noticable and most definitely not 'right in the corner' of the screen. In fact, it distracted me so much I switched over to BBC1 to see a clean DOG-free but HD-less picture. What a complete waste of time & money all round.

    I still for the life of me cannot understand why HD viewers have to be plagued by the HD DOG on ANY programme, regardless of genre. We are not idiots, we have invested good money equipment-wise in order to view HD, and it stands to reason that we will know which channel we are watching.

    I deeply resent my licence money being spent on corporate branding technology that is of no personal benefit but is a major irritant to me. I can identify any channel I am watching by calling up an info bar for a few seconds if I ever feel the need to and I am free to cancel out the info bar anytime I want to, leaving a clean screen. Now, if the BBC would like to put my licence money towards providing a technology that enables the viewer to override a DOG I will be more than happy for them to do so. Alas, I feel that this is a sad pipe dream as it would benefit the viewer and not the Corporation. And we can't have that, can we?

  • Comment number 43.

    While you do graffiti the screen with DOGs, make the system opt IN, rather than opt OUT.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hello Danielle,
    although we would all love to see more BBC content in HD, I think you are completely right to stick to broadcasting "true" HD content rather than upscaling standard def content. I amongst many others was wondering why the Open Golf from Turnberry was not shown in HD. I guess this kind of tournement requires many cameras, and I suspect that the BBC is not equiped for such a large outside broadcast HD event. Is this the case?

  • Comment number 45.

    I ended up watching the Proms last night on HD. There was, as is usual with live music, no DOG. It was excellentatmospheric and involving. It was followed by The Birth of British Music, and back came the logo with a sharp example of why I think it is so objectionable. It destroys immediacy, constantly reminding you that you are watching a representation and interfering with your engagement with what is being represented. The contrast with my experience of the previous music programme was stark, and the sense of lost potential so frustrating, that I switched off after a bit.

    I started to wonder again what the DOG is for. The official line still is that it helps people know which channel they are watching. While such a way of expressing it is regularly greeted with incredulity on threads like this, I supposed the real concern is with brand recognition and that people should be constantly reminded of what they are getting for their licence fee in the hope it will maintain their consent for it. However, what is the best method of justifying the existence of the BBC? An internal estimate of brand recognition based on some sort of Q and A research, or viewing figures? DOGs will never increase an audience size but they can reduce it for the above reason.

    I want the BBC to flourish and keep doing the great things it does, but surely it will best to that by making the programmes, and not getting dragged into wrongheaded and self-destructive ways of measuring success. Especially on HD.

    But anyway, all of this may be over fairly soon. Because of the complaints, the DOGs on BBC 1 and 2 didnt last a week (as I recall) when digital transmissions started. I know its rolling out more slowly, but wait till freeview HD arrives and well see how the DOG fares then.

  • Comment number 46.

    I know there is no such word as 'excellentatmospheric'. The software has kindly deleted the dash that was supposed to be there.

  • Comment number 47.

    In fact, it's taken out all the apostrophes as well, though previewing this current message shows it's retained them this time. Not sure what's going on there...

  • Comment number 48.

    Come on Danielle, answer my questions.
    1. Why does the HD channel need a dog and BBC 1 and BBC2 does not?
    2. Why do we need to see the channel name when every piece of equipment that can view the HD channel has an "Info" button to allow us to see the channel details?
    3. Why spoil the picture?

  • Comment number 49.

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

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

  • Comment number 50.

    I believe the reason for the DOG is simple, but misplaced. As with BBCs 3,4, CBBC, Parliament, etc. BBC HD is a purely digital channel. As such, it lends itself much more readily to be 'ripped'. The shows that are broadcast can then be shared via the internet, burned to a DVD and sold, or the entire channel can be re-streamed online. This is obviously undesirable for the Beeb, because they lose control of their copyright.
    The DOG is embedded in the picture, meaning that any ripped programmes can be readily identifiable as being sourced from the BBC, and the corporation then has the evidence to take legal action.

    As has been mentioned, the process was attempted with BBC1 and 2, but a public panning forced a quick u-turn. Why such an outcry was considered justified for the flagship channels, but unjustified for other channels has never been explained.

    What is most frustrating is the BBCs lack of honesty in explaining the "true" reason for the DOG. The idea that we need reminding of which channel we are watching is such a miserable excuse that you can sense the heart-sinking embarrasement of people like Danielle who have to try and peddle this garbage to the public. And frankly, it just doesn't wash anyway.
    The iPlayer DOGs every stream. Following the BBC party-line, this is there to remind us which channel we are watching. Err... I'm watching iPlayer!! I know I am. I just made a deliberate choice to navigate to the website, choose a programme and then watch it. It blows the idea of a DOG as a "navigational aid" out of the water.

    So... challenge to the BBC: come clean about the purpose of the DOG, ditch the lame excuses, and let's have a real debate about it.

  • Comment number 51.

    It doesn't really matter what the real reasons for the DOG are, the BBC along with all the other broadcasters have no intention of listening to the people who pay their wages.

  • Comment number 52.

    I've been reading these Blogs for months now and have never seen a plausible reason as to why the BBC wants us to have a DOG on its HD channel, despite the universal vehement protest. At #50, however, it seems to me that digital_elysium has hit the nail on the head with his very plausible theory. This must be why they plague us with it. Danielle, in all honesty, can you deny that his explanation is correct?

  • Comment number 53.

    Actually I'm beginning to see the light. When the bandwidth was higher, there didn't seem any point in the DOG - it was obvious that I was watching something in HD. Now though, it's not so clear cut. Flick between BBC 2 and BBC HD during an episode of "How Not to Live Your Life" (not the funniest Sitcom I've ever watched) and you'll see that there is now a use for the DOG. With it, you can at least tell when the picture's meant to be in HD.

  • Comment number 54.

    Is there a way to receive HD in the United States? BBC advertised it was coming but not sure how to get it.

  • Comment number 55.

    westtexan, apparently you can receive BBC HD, since July 20th. Read about it here: http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/373/hd.jsp

    I hope your local service provider has it, and at a better bandwidth than we get over here. Good luck.

  • Comment number 56.

    Danielle, it's great news that, at last, we're going to get Top Gear in High definition. I'm delighted and grateful to all at the Beeb for making that happen, but I'd now like to make a plea to you. Please don't ruin those excellent TG scenes and camera work, which everyone has told you they love, by emblazoning it with a BBC HD DOG. That wouldn't be appreciated. Cheers. Paul.

  • Comment number 57.

    The real question is how do we get the higher-ups in BBC Marketing to realise that viewers value content above branding.

    If I'm watching a program or film, or playing a video game, I either already know who made it or flat-out don't care. Big slash-screens at the start of the DVD, or DOGs in the corner of the screen, do not make me care any more about who made it. In fact, quite the opposite. It actually lessens my enjoyment.

    We know what channel we're watching. We know what channel made the show. Now just let us watch the show. Seriously, nobody likes DOGs.
    It's been said time and time again, digital TV allows us to call up the channel identifier at any time we please. If I want to know what channel I'm watching, I can find out in a button-press. if I don't press that button, I do not want to know. As in, seriously, I'm watching a program and Could Not Care Less what channel it's on.

    Please, somebody convince the heads of BBC marketing that, in the broadcast image, onscreen-branding means nothing more than irritation.

  • Comment number 58.

    It took us years to get Sky to give us the *option* to remove the red button (Sky - "our research says that people like being reminded that they have interactive content available via the red button" - yeah, right...).

    How many years do we have to ask for the DOG to be removed?

  • Comment number 59.

    While we're dragging the DOG topic back to life (does anyone from the BBC read these old blogs?)

    Danielle says above:
    "The BBC wanted to offer a service that was HD in its entirety - that's why we have BBC HD for the time being, a channel which tries to bring together the best of the BBC's content in HD, ... {snip} ... we wanted to be able to offer you the content we felt could gain most from being made and shown in HD, wherever it was broadcast on the BBC"

    So why spoil it with a DOG?

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    I hate the DOG with a passion at any time, but to show superb wildlife programmes with the DOG in place is an example of the utter contempt the BBC has for the people who's licence fee funds it.

    It really is an absolute disgrace.

  • Comment number 62.

    I couldn't agree more with Logohater (post 61). Why no-one in BBC management can see the absurdity in having to watch a non-HD channel (BBC1) if one wants to watch programmes untainted by annoying, distracting and totally unnecessary on-screen logos is something that continues to baffle me.
    All us HD viewers have paid for an HD set and many of us have paid extra to Sky, Virgin etc to subscribe to HD services because we want the best picture quality possible. And you go and stick your logo on it !

    And before anyone mentions it I know Sky are even worse with their logos but I continue to hope that the BBC will be better and innovate by getting rid of them all.

  • Comment number 63.

    #62, @Shaun, I couldn't agree more, so do tell Danielle (BBC HD Management) about this absurdity on Points of View by sending a video to: videopov@bbc.co.uk. She's appearing on it very soon.

  • Comment number 64.

    She will be on the POV programme on Nov 8th.

    I hope she can/will explain why when programmes are transmitted on both BBC1 or BBC2 at the same time as the same programme on HD, neither of those channels needs a DOG but HD does.

    Who is the head of HD Danielle, you or the Marketing people who seem to be in charge. It's time they were given their marching orders. The licence fee payers, that's US, should be treated as people whose views matter. Without the licence fee which we pay, none of you would have a job.

    It is time the BBC started to listen to us, or the demands for the scrapping of the licence fee will grow. There is already a groundswell of opinion against it. It will grow and grow, if the BBC carries on ignoring what is happening.

  • Comment number 65.

    #64, Logohater, that's exactly what the Trust is for, as the Sec of State said:

    “During the charter review, licence fee payers told us they wanted to see a BBC that listened and responded to their views, and as a result the Trust will oversee the BBC, consider the needs of a diverse audience, safeguard the BBC’s independence and strive to ensure the corporation produces public services of the very highest quality. I am very pleased to announce the final appointments to the Trust. I’m sure this talented group of people, with their enthusiasm and expertise, will play a key role in ensuring that the BBC is driven by the views of licence fee payers.”

    Escalate your complaint to the Trust, and the BBC will have to listen!

  • Comment number 66.

    Trying to watch 'Scapegoat' on BBC HD, but the DOG is barking and distracting me from the drama. I seem to remember Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD, promising we not have to put up with this distraction in drama.

    What happened?

  • Comment number 67.

    These mistakes keep happening. Then we sometimes get an apology from Danielle along the lines of "Sorry it was a mistake, we will try to make sure it doesn't happen again". But it always does.

    Only if and when they ditch it completely will it become impossible for these kinds of mistakes to happen.

    Don't hold your breath though, it may some time off yet.

    Lets hope the trust have teeth and pick up on how angry people who have invested a lot of money trying to get the very best picture quality possible. Will not have to put up with it being spoilt by a totally unnecessary piece of graffiti, for very much longer.

  • Comment number 68.

    There is a DOG on Waterloo Road. It wasn't there last week.

    Really, how can this keep happening?

    +1 with LogoHater's sentiments.

  • Comment number 69.

    Have to agree with 67 & 68 it is mistake and mistake after mistake. If you watch BBCHD you must do it with your eyes closed and ear plugs in Danielle.

    By the way Robbie was much better with sound last Friday shame about the first showing!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Danielle, since this Blog has resumed its ugly head again (owing to your man/woman forgetting to press his/her button and remove the DOG from drama tonight) I may as well give you a little reminder. At #50 here, we got a very plausible reason why you might want a DOG on your channel when nobody else seems to, i.e. to prevent the Beeb losing control of copyright on HD material. At #52 I challenged you to deny that was the real reason.

    Unfortunately, like with the wall of silence on PQ issues, there's be no response. If it is true then, at least, it's a reason, so just tell us. The only other possible one is so, since the Bitrate change, we can tell which channel we're actually on between SD and HD Lite simulcasts (as I stated at #53) when it's otherwise difficult to tell. There can be no other possible reason for it.

    You, and the rest of the BBC management, really just don't seem to get it. Those who choose to watch your channel do so because they want fantastic pictures, ones that are just as the cameramen and directors intended and unadulterated with on-screen furniture. Please, +1 more to LogoHater's sentiments and ditch the DOG.

  • Comment number 71.

    Having watched POV and hear you claim that some viewers find DOGS very useful. I have to wonder if you are reading these posts.

    There isn't a single one, either on here or the POV Message boards, anywhere claiming that they are useful. They are universally despised and it's about time they were gone.

    If they were as useful as you claim, they would need to be on BBC1 and BBC2, especially when the same programme is being transmitted on either channel and HD at the same time. If they aren't needed on channels 1 or 2, they are not needed on HD either. Not a single point in their presence has any validity whatsoever.

  • Comment number 72.

    I agree with you again @Logohater, DOGs are not useful at all!

    Danielle, I'm watching Charlie Boorman's show now on BBC2, but there's no logo to be seen so how could I have possibly navigated to it?

    Actually, it was easy, I just looked in the RadioTimes online to see when my favourite shows, HIGNY and CB missed this weekend, were repeated and on what channel.

    At the alloted time I pressed 102 on the Freesat remote and, hey presto, the shows came on.

    Funnily enough, in the whole time I've been watching I haven't even forgotten what channel they're on. Nor have I felt the need to double-check.

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    The DOG seems to have been re-introduced on drama progs, despite promises that they would be DOG free. What's going on? Is this a change of policy, in which case why, when the vast majority hate DOGs, or is it just another mistake?

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    LogoHater - no one accuses anyone else of lying on this blog. It's rude, against the house rules and is legally unsafe.

    Keep it civil please.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick I appreciate why my comments were removed, but nothing can alter the fact that what Chris Gottlieb said on POV was patently untrue. It has been said by lots of people on the POV message boards, in several different threads, and no-one from the BBC has questioned the validity of those posts, or removed them.

    How can it be rude to point out that claiming the DOG cannot be removeable is just not factual, if the RED DOT is removable, then the DOG could be if the desire was there. There is a big difference between can't and won't. Nor is claiming that the DOG aids navigation around the channels, when everyone knows that on any digital platform the information appears every time we change channels, and is immediately available at the press of a button if the need was to arise, thus rendering the DOG unnecessary. I cannot believe that stating facts is against the house rules.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why is the DOG now present on all HD programs?

    Don't agreements made and asurances given count for anything in the BBC world?

    I've really had it with this garbage, and unless the DOG comes off films and drama then I will stop watching HD altogether, as I have now to all intents and purposes.

  • Comment number 79.

    It might be because no-one at the BBC cares enough as to whether it is on or off, so all their promises are not worth the effort of making them.

    Danielle has said she will get control of this, but that just hasn't happened, so it begs the question, "Who is in charge of HD, Danielle, or the marketing people"?.

    I like many others on the POV message boards am getting really frustrated with the dishonesty of some of the Senior people in the BBC, who say one thing, then act in exactly the opposite way.

  • Comment number 80.

    The DOG disappeared promptly at the start of Paradox this evening. When has it been on when it's not supposed to be? There have been mistakes, and I've pointed out some myself, but surely DN's ruling hasn't been overturned?

  • Comment number 81.

    It has been on almost permanently of late for the programs I watch.
    I don't watch much on HD, but do like some of the drama productions.
    Last week's Paradox and Defying Gravity last Saturday were dogged, as were both episodes of Small Island.
    I just switch off if the dog is there, as I did with Paradox tonight.
    To be honest, the difference in picture quality between HD and BBC1 or BBC2 isn't that much these days, so I have got to the point where I really just can't be bothered with it any more.
    The fact that my post (78) has been up for 30 hours without any kind of response irritates me more than a little.
    If I were to cuss or express my anger, I would be reprimanded within minutes, so I know there is somebody there, sadly they just don't seem to feel the need to do anything positive or helpful.
    The whole situation is just shambolic and amateur I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 82.

    #81: It wasn't there on Paradox tonight, on the freesat/Sky feed at least. What gives?

    Get used to not having a response to these posts though, that's for sure! There hasn't been one for many a moon.

  • Comment number 83.

    The BBC HD 'DOG' was there on Paradox last night on Virgin - at least it was at the start of the programme, before I quickly switched back to a regular (non-graffiti) BBC channel to watch it without visual interference.

    Why is the promise that was made to viewers being broken? I first put it down to a simple one-off mistake, but it seems to have been happening regularly on drama for a couple of weeks now.

    Shame, I'd prefer to watch BBC HD over BBC1/BBC2 if all other factors were equal, but I certainly won't while this visually intrusive DOG is present during programming.

    Andre

  • Comment number 84.

    #83: Ah, right. Well, I don't think it needed it, but this certainly confirms that Virgin have a different bitstream from the rest of us.

    Surely this needs to be looked at quickly? This is one of the things that Danielle Nagler has got right (well, nearly, imho :)) and it would be a terrible step backward for the DOG to take over again.

  • Comment number 85.

    Regarding the DOG I've been told there is no change to the current policy as outlined in the post above.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well I am using Virgin, so it seems that there may be an issue with that feed, although I can't really see where Virgin would get a dogged version.
    Any ideas where to go with this?

  • Comment number 87.

    This seems to defy logic to a simpleton like myself. Surely Virgin can only transmit the feed they receive from the BBC. If it isn't Dogged on Sky or Freesat, how is it possible that it can be on Virgin.

    The only way I can assume it would be physically possible would be if the BBC sent a Dogged version to Virgin for transmission. The idea is preposterous, I can't believe that could ever happen, or of any circumstances where it could.

  • Comment number 88.

    reply from Virgin to my question re 83 and 86 above:-

    "Hi,

    Sorry to hear about this, unfortunately this is not down to virgin media we receive the TV content direct from BBC and it is not adjusted before we broadcast this out to our customers".

    So, what is the problem here?

  • Comment number 89.

    Hello!

    Is there anybody there?

    Anybody at all?

  • Comment number 90.

    It certainly doesn't seem like it, does it?

  • Comment number 91.

    Echo....

  • Comment number 92.

    Perhaps if I whisper something rude.........

  • Comment number 93.

    Defying Gravity last night.

    Both episodes DOGGED!

    I thank you.

  • Comment number 94.

    And Cranford has the DOG on it in HD too. Starting to wonder whether it's really worth bothering with BBC HD if they can't manage to broadcast their programmes without grafitti.

    To be honest, I think I'll stick with standard def until they work out whether or not the programmes are more important than their marketing.

    C'mon guys, this is the BBC, not Sky.

    Andre

  • Comment number 95.

    Which Cranford were you watching, I have just watched all of it in HD and it wasn't DOGGED.

    I am the first to complain when they slip up, but the DOG was in place before Cranford started, and as soon as it did, it disappeared and remained off for the whole of it.

  • Comment number 96.

    Perhaps there is a difference between Freesat and Virgin wrt the DOG. Logohater, I take it you're watching on Freesat and the others, with the permanent DOG, seem to be watching on Virgin.

    So perhaps, and this is just a theory, since Virgin is fed seperately with an HDSDI feed signal from the BBC's playout and continuity area which goes directly to an inject point somewhere in the bottom of Television Centre, this feed is pre-DOGing.

    I know Virgin perform the mpeg2 encoding themselves, so is it possible that they might also be adding a BBC DOG themselves too. And perhaps not applying the rules that Danielle has promised to abide by for its removal.

  • Comment number 97.

    #96: at post #88 Virgin deny it's them. And at #85 the BBC deny it's them. Obviously just more delusional viewers--we should draw a line under them.

    Problem solved!

  • Comment number 98.

    I was watching via Virgin, and the DOG was most definitely there on Cranford last night (all the way through; I had recorded it, so I did not have the option of switching back to the better standard def channel).

    So there is obviously a technical problem here. The BBC have stated they want the logo removed from drama programmes, but for some reason it is getting put back onto some feeds.

    Could we please have some comment from Danielle? Or could anyone who has the right contacts raise this with the technical department please?

    Andre

  • Comment number 99.

    Re: Post 93. No logo on Defying Gravity for me via Sky HD.

  • Comment number 100.

    Thanks for your input guys. It is apparently only a problem on Virgin, but they have no control over the feed. It is direct from the BBC and passed on unchanged.
    Over to the BBC.
    (Sits down, head in hands, and prepares to wait for several weeks for anything to happen)

 

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