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BBC HD Channel Up To Nine Hours Per Day

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 17:00 UK time, Monday, 16 March 2009

Hello again,

I wanted to share some news - and of course to respond to comments which I thought might be most easily done as a single post.

First a couple of developments to share.

Those paying close attention may have noticed that for the first time today outside of a major event, the BBC HD schedule is up at 9 hours. That's the full service that we have permission for from the BBC Trust, and from now on (until there is any extension to the service) the channel we plan to deliver to you.

We'll start daily at 4pm, and run through to between 12.30 and 1.30 7 nights a week although we will of course still extend the channel hours when there are sporting or other events that fall outside those hours. I would welcome your feedback on how far predictability - for example of the kinds of programmes you can expect say on a Saturday evening, or from 4 to 6 on a weekday - is useful to you because I am trying to build greater consistency into the schedule.

With a new scheduling team on board we will be making some changes over the coming months, which I would hope can plan your time with the channel. It is inevitably tricky given the fact that we are juggling with programmes from across BBC channels, and trying to follow their schedules and broadcast programmes at the same time where it makes most sense to do so.

Getting to nine hours is quite a milestone in the life of BBC HD, although as some of you have suggested, it is in the end what's on the channel inside those hours that matters most. We are working on that too - no specific announcements at this time but we are keeping busy.

Before you ask the inevitable question I have to tell you that unfortunately there will be no BBC HD showing of The Wire - not because of lack of money or lack of will, but because the series is made on digibeta.

Getting some of the programmes I think need to move into HD may mean though a slight shake up of some of the things that have featured in the past - hopefully you will agree with the choices, but as one example there will be no Chelsea Flower Show this year in HD. Getting more of Six Nations in HD is a goal for next year - as scarlet supporter has picked up, there are no France and Italy based fixtures in the mix. That's part of a decision about how to spend our Sport HD budget most effectively and was the case last year too I believe. I can't promise it will change, but it is under discussion as we consider how best to extend the BBC HD sport offer.

Disrember is right in observing that there's inconsistency in film availability in HD - quite simply, studios are not always prepared to make HD versions available, and sometimes the scheduling of films means that we don't have time to acquire an HD version when we want to show them. But also, BBC HD is never going to be a movie channel - Sky movie services already do that very well, and what we're trying to do is something different. Film is a pretty small part of our content offer, and is likely to remain a limited part of the schedule.

A couple of you, including ropies and wednesday83, are asking about channel promotion and whether the BBC is putting sufficient welly behind HD. Firstly, there's another burst of on air promotion coming up early next month, linked to some on-air changes around the channel idents, an update for the website, and the arrival of HD content on iplayer. And we're looking hard at what works most effectively in terms of increasing awareness of the channel, bearing in mind the proportion of homes that currently have access to BBC HD. Mike has picked up on the references to "the BBC HD channel" - that is the way that presentation has been asked to reference BBC HD because we've found that it is the most effective way of making it clear that viewers do need to change channel to watch the programme in HD. There is a huge amount of confusion still - albeit not on this blog - around the HD viewing experience and we have found that simply telling people that a programme is "also available on BBC HD" doesn't always help them to find the HD version.

The comments on encoders do not go unnoticed - rest assured wednesday83 and others - there is work underway but unfortunately going first down the path to HD does inevitably mean that later entrants can buy later generations of equipment, and it would not be best use of your licence fees to replace kit before it had served its useful life.

Finally, Sue_Aitch makes a good point about information on ceefax and red button help. I've passed it on to the relevant people and I'm hopeful that it is something that can be fixed.

I hope this covers most points - I really have nothing further to say on the subject of DOGs.

All the best

Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It is great news that the BBC's best show, Doctors, is now showing on BBC HD.

    But why is it not aired at 1.45 on BBC HD just like it is on BBC One?

    I think the BBC needs to get away from the idea that a channel is "open" specific hours and simply air programmes simultaneously with their SD counterparts. It makes much more sense - people who are fans of Doctors like to watch it in the afternoon. They aren't likely to switch to BBC HD if they have to wait till 6pm or even midnight to see an episode.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the hard work getting the channel into shape. I am looking forward to seeing the channel on iPlayer.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for the feedback Danielle but I really feel the BBC need to make more of an effort with films. The BBC can't compete with Sky with its budgets, but it should nevertheless be trying its best to come as close as it can.

    I understand the problems with last minute scheduling and perhaps even availability of masters, but looking at ITV HD, whilst it is technically a much more inferior channel due to different transmission rates and the terrible red button (my opinion), the one thing they do seem able to do is get most major films on in HD.

    Its a shame the BBC don't seem able to do this as most films really shine in HD. The Pirates of the Caribean films I recorded over Christmas being good examples along with True Lies on ITV HD.

    At the moment BBC HD is mostly childrens programmes. Small children are the people least likely to get anything worthwile out of HD, I doubt the average 6 year old is going to be bothered about SD vs HD and programmes like the Nightgarden, simply leave most adults who look at the schedule feeling depressed.

    Similarly David Attenbourough's programmes are simply depressing these days once you've tasted the likes of the excellent Brian Cox or Dr Iian Stewart who manage to make otherwise dry natural history or science subjects interesting through dynamic personality and interesting hands on demonstrations or on location interaction with wildlflife / terrain. Attenbourough is a great man but his style of boring montone narration has well and truly had his day.

    I also welcome the expansion to the schedule but now hope we'll see a corresponding expansion in HD film viewing, sport and adult targetted programming.

  • Comment number 4.

    it's good news to see you're finally up to the 9 hours. the more hd the better. :)

    you said; I would welcome your feedback on how far predictability - for example of the kinds of programmes you can expect say on a Saturday evening...

    i'd say you should try to get Casualty in hd if it's possible, along with Dr Who (or whatever happens to be filling that slot at the time). can we also have the Strictly results show in hd too?

  • Comment number 5.

    Here's an idea.

    Channel 4 have put into Ofcom to put an "overnight" timeshift Film4 HD on Freeview HD in 2012.

    How about allowing fellow public service broadcaster Film4 to use these "dead" hour to broadcast HD films, as the BBC HD channel can't.

    Seems a shame to have all this bandwidth that could be used for timeshifted HD film viewing.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why no response to the lack of 5.1 sound?

    Encoders: Until the ones in use can be replaced why not increase the bandwidth to 19Mbps as in the trial?

    Not all negative: Number 1 Dectective Agency was a treat: Content, Picture and Sound. Shows what can be done!

  • Comment number 7.

    I echo the comments about childrens TV.

    At the very least shift them pre 6pm.

    It's really about time that BBCHD started increasing the quantity of the more popular programs from the everyday BBC1 / 2 schedules.

    It is an exaggeration to say BBCHD is only wildlife docs and costume dramas, but the beeb really is starting to look reluctant to properly commit to HD.

    Most people don't want a seperate HD channel. It's a technical improvement, not a channel. ....and a very worthy technical improvement at that considering that TV sizes have dramatically increased and the exceptionally poor quality of the SD transmissions. Anyone see the appalling PQ on lets dance for comic relief for example?

    Otherwise more consistency please. IE all the rugby in HD and 5.1 sound and better sheduling.

    Sorry if this sounds too negative, I can just imagine the politics of trying to get HD funded properly, but......just desperate for more.

    Down with SD! SD is pants!

  • Comment number 8.

    Well Danielle its not realy 9 hours per day is it because so many of the progammes are repeats. My best night is Sunday night but even then you slipped in a repeat Antiques Roadshow. Number 1 Dectective Agency was very good but I did did hear a couple of sound drop outs. Your sports HD budget must need increasing as so little of your sports output is in HD.

  • Comment number 9.

    You asked if we want consistency on the schedule. From my point of view, consistency is very important. We normally watch TV via freeview (I don't have sky and the PVR is a freeview box) and so our viewing is driven by what is listed in the freeview EPG. We only tend to watch BBC HD (via freesat) if we know something is on that we want to watch. If the channels can't be simulcast then at least knowing what was likely to be on, and on what days would make life easier.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with the above comments about childrens shows and repeats. So much of the HD programming time is taken up with content that has been seen so often before or just flat out doesn't need to be in HD as the target audience couldn't care if it was.

    And I also wholeheartedly agree with Alsone about the film content on BBC HD and ITV HD. no one's asking for a wall to wall film channel from the BBC (especially when we may be getting something close to that from Channel 4 in a few years) but BBC one doesn't show that many films in a week and if only a fraction of them were available to BBC HD it would cut down on the amount of repeats being shown and be a great demonstrator for how good HD can look.

    As an example on wednesday march 25th BBC 1 is showing "Derailed". At the same time on BBC HD we get a repeat of Hustle, a repeat of That Mitchell and Webb Look and Doctors. Since the BBC has shown no problems pushing Doctors back to the wee small hours why can't "Derailed" be shown simulcast on BBC HD? There is a HD print of the film available since it can be bought on Blu Ray in the US, and even if the simulcast idea won't work due to increased timescales needed for the HD acquirement process tyou mentioned is there Nowhere else in the repeat clogged schedule where where a film could be slotted in?

    Surely showing something like Kill Bill (which has been shown in the past but I missed so wouldn't mind seeing again *wink wink*) at 10pm on a day otherwise filled with repeats is preferable to showing Hustle or Mitchell and Webb or lark rise or one of the many other repeats BBC HD is filled with?

  • Comment number 11.

    The new HD content is very welcome but I'm very disappointed at the lack of the Chelsea Flower Show in HD this year. Last year's had some of the best HD pictures I've ever seen. I still have two of the programmes on the Sky Box that I use for checking picture quality of new TVs (part of my job).

  • Comment number 12.

    i agree too about the quite frankly ridiculous amount of repeats on HD. looking through the schedule just now, i can see only 5 programmes i would watch this week (including last night's Heroes), but plenty of episodes of Mad Men, Torchwood and Robin Hood, all of which have been shown to death. yet music shows (which tend to be watchable more than once or twice as music doesn't get tiring) such as Later..., Proms, Electric Proms and the various concerts and festivals never seem to get a re-airing in their entirety. us music fans have to put up with edited 3-15 minute segments instead.

    i agree too about the notion of showing cbeebies shows in HD. kids that age don't even know what HD is. why bother?

    i said in my previous post that you should show Casualty. can i also put it out there that it would be nice to see Holby in HD too? and how about one-off specials such as the Edinburgh Tattoo?

  • Comment number 13.

    I've commented and asked about the 9hr license in the past so very happy that things are there now. When one compares things to a bit over a year ago and weekday schedules being three and a half or four hours this is a lot of progress. In 2009 it's been positive that a lot of more "minor" documentaries and nature programmes have been made in High Definition.

    My comments about promotion of the channel are that it is an ongoing process. Announcers should be writing into Danielle complaining saying that they are fed up of reading out pieces about "also in HD" :-). I would be interested if there is any BBC research to answer why Hustle is consistently the most popular rated programme on BBC HD. Whether it's scheduling, promotion of the viewers being most aware of HD. Using BARBs top ten ratings (sadly all I have to go on) I also find it quite bizarre how BBC HDs highest ratings outside of weekends seem to be at fairly late times in the evening. Also your top 10 ratings the last few weeks have been flooded by Sunday programmes (6 out of 10). Going back longer than a few weeks in the ratings this didn't happen before.

    As for film content I agree. I'm not asking for a film service either. As has already been pointed out ITV HD and C4 HD show a lot more films than BBC HD does. For example I think it perfectly reasonable to have a decent film on every other Sunday. There have been some good things - Sin City, Wonder Boys, two of the first three Indiana Jones films and a lot more at Christmas. I think you've set the balance too far away from films, after all even BBC Three and Four show films from time to time.

    Now that we're at 9hrs I wondered what happened looking ahead. Say in 2010 BBC HD theoretically managed to get hold of a F1 feed. Say for arguments sake it is for 16 races between March and October. Say also that you have Rugby, the occasional football match and things like Wimbledon. Say this means that just about every weekend through the late spring and summer it means you'd have to start the schedule at midday. What happens, do you ring up ofcom every week and beg to be allowed to do it as you can hardly say **every** sunday is a special event and exceptional circumstances? Do you get told no? Do you run out of money? What I'm getting at will you be lobbying ofcom for a rewriting of your license as 9hrs becomes unsustainable in such circumstances and to be blunt it's not very fair on the channel's budget if you getting money for 9hrs and going over it all the time.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm going to add my agreement some of the above comments.

    I dont want BBCHD to be a film channel but there a far too few shown at the moment.

    You say BBCHD is now doing everything it has been given permission to by the BBC trust.

    So, what is next?

    No change until analogue switch off and HD appears on terestrial TV?

    Or will there be a continuing growth of the service?

  • Comment number 15.

    Yep BBC HD isn't there to be a film channel, there's already enough of those for film fans. BBC HD should be the showcase for the BBC's most significant and high profile original British productions.

    Agreed there's little point in HD content for kids - it's a real waste of broadcast time when we could have better opportunities to see quality programmes like Yellowstone and Horizon. Original drama, comedy and the best documentaries should showcased in HD, as well as the BBC's top sport portfolio. Surely it's time for Match of the Day to show premiership football in HD - action sport really benefits from it.

    I personally quite like repeats of the best content - after all they're only repeats if you saw them the first time round. But more imagination about repeats would be good too - Doctors is hardly the most significant BBC drama. How many times has Torchwood been on compared, say, to Survivors ? Beautiful People was a great untrumpted comedy but hardly ever repeated.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bad news about the Chelsea Flower Show! One of the finest examples of hd.

  • Comment number 17.

    Everybody moaning about children's content being made in HD need to realise this is done to make extra revenue when selling these shows aboard now and be ready for the future. This money then through BBC Worldwide could end up funding more HD shows so stop moaning.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Roryh22, childrens programmes don't have to be shown in HD though. HD produces better SD when downscaled than SD does natively. So why not record children's programmes in HD, show them in the UK downscaled in SD but sell them abroad as HD? Same sales revenue, same shooting costs but HD channel freed for adult audience. This also means that when the BBC did go fully HD (if they ever do - something they should be planning to happen in the next year or so not 10 years time!!), they'd have the childrens programmes ready to go back on as HD.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm delighted we are upto 9hrs now:)

    Lets have children's tv 4-6pm, then BBC news 6-6.30pm, then normal shows as you currently do them. Would be great to have BBC News in HD, atleast have the studio camera's in HD and maybe 4 outside broadcasts in HD like prime ministers questions' clips being used in the broadcast etc or ragee ohmar reporting on a conflict or something. Obviously you cant replace the 100's of news reporters' cameras you have throughout the world but you can replace the studio camera's and commonly used ones like prime ministers' questions.

    Dont bother with the films, ITVHD show quite a few and sky have dedicated channels for hd movies, we can buy them on bluray too!

    Spend more money on HD sports, six nations looks INCREDIBLE in hd:) i'm not even a rugby fan but its MILES better in HD:)

    Its a shame you didnt show the superbowl in HD and you use SD for alot of things still like interviews during six nations of fans and things also the bbc reporter during Obama Inauguration which spoilt the inauguration a bit, you'd only need 1 HD camera, surely you could have sorted that out.

    Hope you can air re-airs of wimbledon final, euro 2008 semifinals and final and other big events in HD as alot of us didnt have HD when those were on. Was a little to busy to record the wimbledon re-air over christmas, would be a nice treat for us having some of these sporting events in HD aired on saturday or sunday afternoons.

    Please increase the bitrate though, its just not enough, my 42" 1080p wants to be used to its full ability.

    PLEASE removed the DOG from ALL content, not 1 person has ever said they wanted it in the 100's of replies on these blogs.

    When Jools holland is back on please have the HD airing on the tuesday (original air date) AND a repeat on friday, you often only air the HD airing on the friday.

    I know there are some problems with negotiations with F1 in HD but you could air it on BBCHD upscaled and have the studio cameras in HD. The 4.5mbps bitrate of BBC1 reduces the quality alot compared to say 8mbps so BBCHD wont have the bitrate reduced so will still look nicer.

    PLEASE air MOTD in HD, i'm almost certain that all premiership matches are recorded in HD so you wouldn't even need to buy the camera's for all the matches just buy the feeds and add your own audio. Just some studio camera's needed and thats done. Football is probably THE best thing that shows how glorious HD really is as mpeg2 SD cannot cope with multiple moving things on screen but h264 can.

    Please air less of the 5-10min jools holland performances that you air, they are on about twice a day on average.

    Please record and air ALL Horizon in HD, Panorama in HD would be great too:) Horizon looks great in HD especially that 1 about creating a star and next generation power creation.

    I like repeats myself but please only repeat recent shows that aired within the past 2 weeks, no more robin hood or planet earth for example.

    Was dissapointed that you didnt air the australian open mens or women's final in HD, neither live or re-aired:( Please could you air the men's final in HD as alot of us missed it, you only did 1 re-air of it a few hours after the final and the BBC2 airing didnt include the presentation ceremony so my recording is missing that too, was furious at the time, a full airing in HD with presentation ceremony would be magnificent:)

    i'm very happy you bought Damages, Mad Men, its a shame we cant broadcast in 24fps as those shows are shot in that are we use PAL speedup with makes movement look rather bad but not many uk people have 24fps compatible tv's so you're right to do so, my 24fps compatible tv cries though, would like to watch it in its original speed:(

    Please let us edit our comments on these blogs, we often make typo's or miss out words.

  • Comment number 20.

    samuel1984,

    The PAL film speed up should have no obviously noticeable effect on motion. The fact that the source may be film or PSF video (i.e. progressive not interlaced) will make the motion look different to for example studio interlaced video, or if it has been converted from 60Hz it may look a bit "smeary".

    Also if your plasma/lcd tv does it's job of de-interlacing properly it should losslessly recover a progressive picture source (film or psf video) even though broadcast interlaced. So apart from running at the correct speed no other benefit to broadcast 24p.

  • Comment number 21.

    Roryh22,

    The BBC can make as much money as they like from selling HD kids TV abroad, no objection to that, the problem is that such a disproportionate amount of the schedule in primetime on BBCHD is devoted to it.

    The target audience has little/no appreciation of HD (just take note of how most young kids will endlessly watch the most ropey worn out vhs tape) and is already VERY well catered for with thier own dedicated BBC channels.

    So, kids TV should be the lowest priority on BBCHD. I am NOT saying it should not be shown or made, just that practically all other material is of more value when there is a finite budget and broadcast time available.

  • Comment number 22.

    @samuel1984

    1. Many people like films and films are ideally suited to HD as since the 1920's they've been shot in above HD resolution for the big screen. No-one expects a dedicated film channel but a couple of films per week on the BBC, with all films shown in HD would be nice. Over Christmas the BBC put some effort into it with Wallace and Grommit and it was welcome although some notable films eg Madagascor only made it only screens in SD.

    2. There appears to be some confusion with you over film speeds and there effects. Speeding the film up actually REDUCES motion blur not increases it. 24P is the most motion sensitive way of shooting footage. In fact its specifically used because it was the old film speed from year dot, and many directors like the blur it produces. Hence the label "film look". However, it does produce softness and motion blur when compared to 50P which is what is an ideal speed for sports.

    There are 2 things that can cause motion blur on your tv:

    a) Your tv itself - LCD's are prone to bluring despite what is said to the contrary. I've yet to see an LCD that doesn't blur footballers legs.

    b) Transmission compression rates also affect blurring. Thats why when you're encoding video there's a variable bit rate option. The point of variable bit rate is to allow lesser compression ie a higher bit rate in areas where there's a lot of motion. The less compression there is the better and less blurry the picture. This can be seen particularly well on ITV HD football matches. When the camera is still the grass on the pitch is razor sharp. The slightest pan, even ultra slowly and the grass blurs immediately.

    BTW Danielle, on the subject of compression, you said the BBC are aware of better compression equipment but can't justify changing the equipment when its only a couple of years old. Why don't you just sell the existing equipment to other broadcasters then use the money to upgrade to the better stuff? There must be tv companies all over the PAL world simply queueing up to get their hands on HD broadcast encoders second hand and as its only the broadcast encoder you'd have to change I'm kind of puzzled as to why it would be such a big deal especially as the LUXE TV experience shows that for non sports content you can actually save bandwidth and therefore money by reducing bit rate but increase quality at the same time. Surely the upgrade cost above the resale of the older equipment would pay for itself through bandwidth savings? In any case,even if not, its investment necessary to keep the BBC delivering a quality service and that has to be value for the tax payer in itself.

  • Comment number 23.

    As someone who receives BBC content through analogue and iplayer, but not digital broadcast (freeview, satellite), I was wondering whether there was an online (browser based) way for me to view red button content eg via iplayer?

    And if not, err, why not?

  • Comment number 24.

    I agree that we need to upgrade the encoders, i think its a poor excuse to say you want to use it to the maximum of it's lifespan to give us value for money. We dont want old encoders, we want better quality, save some money by not paying Jonathon Ross £16m over 3yrs as he was taken off air for 3months, i think you should re-negotiate his contract and reduce his payment drastically and use that money to upgrade the encoders. Lets have the latest and greatest h264 encoders and really appreciate HD in all its glory. Sell your old equipment on, there must be 100's of smaller tv companies that want to upgrade to tv and are waiting on 2nd hand equipment, i'll help you set up an ebay auction :PP

    This is a public funded company to provide for the wants and desires of the viewers and the viewers have stated they dont want a DOG, please listen to those who pay your wages instead of ignoring us.

    Also, how about you add 5.1 aac for the 1500bitrate bbc iplayer streams for shows that are broadcast in 5.1 on the BBCHD channel or atleast have an option for us to enable 5.1 as quite alot of us have 5.1 surround speakers connected to our computers.

  • Comment number 25.

    On the subject of encoders I never know why BBC staff get so ratty about it. You really will need better encoders in the future that's the only reason anybody comments on it. It's also a bit rich talking about having to invest in new equipment when if freeview HD is to ever take off hundreds of thousands of people will have to shell out for what is likely to be very expensive DVB-T2 equipment. As for the codecs only being a couple of years old, it's not age that is of primary importance, it's how good they are and they were already nothing special when they launched. If the BBC ones were as good as the tandberg ones down to about 10Mbs I'd be perfectly happy for you to be not in a hurry to replace them. Unfortunately they are nothing like as good as those and produce more artifacts and poorer detail on a bitrate that is usually 4-7Mbs higher.

    Anyway I don't have a problem with kids tv being on the schedules, they are after all the next generation and are most likely to appreciate the bright vivid colours of HD. I think the amount of time currently devoted to it would be more justified on an 18hr schedule though.

  • Comment number 26.

    @samuel1984 'Dont bother with the films, ITVHD show quite a few and sky have dedicated channels for hd movies, we can buy them on bluray too!'

    I can't agree with that statement.

    My Satbox (Pace) can't get ITVHD and although I love Blu-Ray I can't afford to buy a 1 or 2 films a week!

    As for SKY HD - FreeSat is supposted to be an alternate for those of us who can't afford or don't want to pay a monthly fee on top of our TV Licence.

    So let me say I wish there was at least 1 extra movie a week on BBCHD

    Cheers - and well done on moving to 9hours - daveac

  • Comment number 27.

    Personally, I'd rather see more films and programmes in HD than yet another BBC channel spending too much time showing sport

  • Comment number 28.

    Danielle Any news when we can expect to have Question time on a Thursday and the Big questions on a sunday shown on BBC HD. As both are produced by Mentorn Oxford for the BBC and they have stated they are both filmed and produced in HD by Arqiva outside broadcast but the BBC only broadcast it in SD. I do understand that the Big questions on Sunday mornings is outside BBC HD's broadcast hours but if the programme is produced in HD then I believe for best value of money it should be shown later in the day on the HD channel. Also with Question time the BBC one time slot on BBC HD for the last few weeks has been featuring repeats. It does seem a strange thing to have two live programmes that are commisioned in HD for BBC only transmission are not shown as they are produced especially as Politics and religion are two areas that the BBC are generally keen to promote as both shows feature the whole demographics of UK culture.

  • Comment number 29.

    As had been said, the new HD content is very welcome indeed but I too am very disappointed that the Chelsea Flower Show will not be in HD this year. Its one of the most deserving applications that the BBC could come across since the beautiful vistas of the Lake District were captured in HD for Wainwright's Walks.

    I cannot urge you strongly enough to reconsider this decision. If you want a sacrificial lamb, make it In the Night Garden, I mean no disrespect but surely the baby and infant audience wouldn't appreciate the HD picture quality as much as those eager to enjoy the beautiful gardens at Chelsea!

  • Comment number 30.

    @ daveac, you dont have to buy 1-2 bluray movies a week, get a lovefilm account you can rent them, would be around £9.78/month and you could get many more than 8 films in 1 month. Sport is a hugely popular thing in the UK therefore we should have as much as possible, even Snooker Master Final for example in HD. There's too much kids tv on at the moment, around 3.5hrs ish per day, reduce that to 2hrs and air it 4-6pm then we'll all be happy. Some of those kids shows are aimed at 4yr olds, they wont have a clue about HD and wont appreciate it in HD. You are showing a nice amount of docu's, uk scripted shows and american scripted shows but not enough sports.

    I like the fact that you shoot kids shows in HD so you can sell them to foreign countries, but you dont have to show all of them on the BBCHD channel. You didnt even bother showing Stephen Fry Across America on BBCHD even though its out on bluray now, now that was a crazy mistake!

    Dr Who is coming to HD soon which is great, please do the Same with:

    BBC News (6 O'Clock)
    Spooks
    Panorama
    Mock The Week
    Match Of The Day & Match Of The Day LIVE matches
    Horizon (ALL not just some)
    Dragons Den
    The Apprentice

    oh 1 last things whilst i remember, please show HD movie trailers during Friday Night With Jonathon Ross, not SD trailers, SD movie trailers look very poor in comparison.

  • Comment number 31.

    Actually I think the message from the small number of posts above is very clear.

    Everybody wants something different from BBCHD.

    What that really means is they don't want a BBCHD channel at all.

    They want BBC1,2,3,4 etc all broadcast in HD.

    I'm afraid Danielle you are never going to win this one with the current limited mish - mash of content.

  • Comment number 32.

    true, a BBCHD2 would be great, especially for simulcasts as there are often great things on at the same time on bbc1-4 but i cant see the bbc trust allowing that anytime soon.

    on a side note more medical documentaries would be great like those ones that were on bbc4 a few months ago, "A history of surgery", more of that on bbc4 and bbchd would be great. Maybe some documentaries about cancer and modern techniques for combating it.

  • Comment number 33.

    I agree that children's programmes are not worth being in HD as they don't appreciate the clear crisp picture quality. I wish that BBC HD could broadcast similar schedules to BBC 1,2,3,4 as all the HD channel provides is repeated programmes. This is ironic as on BBC HD there are advertisements of 'THE BEST OF THE BBC...EVEN GREATER IN HD'. This statement is false as the programmes shown are the second class programmes and very often repeats; that are not very popular in most cases. In fact, programmes like Merlin, Top Gear, Strictly Results, Eastenders, The Apprentice, and the F1 are not broadcast in HD, and these programmes are hits. Whereas, all that is broadcast are repeats and not worthwhile programmes.
    I would like to see more programmes synced with BBC One and Two in HD. As, about 3% of the BBC programmes that I watch are in HD and the rest are in SD. This is appalling as HD is the way forward and we are still left in this day and age broadcasting in SD, when we have a better service available, it just doesn’t make sense.
    I hope the BBC Trust releases a channel that is mirrored to either BBC 1,2,3,4 that broadcasts exactly the same programmes as the SD version as soon as possible, like Channel 4HD. But I hope they improve the content of the BBC HD Channel as soon as possible; as at the moment the channel is wasted.

  • Comment number 34.

    Great that you're up to 9 hours, and I'm finding more and more BBCHD pogrammes that I'm interested in.

    However... The Chelsea Flower Show is a prime candidate for HD, it would be a great shame not to use it for that. Children's TV in HD is a waste of time - if you're going to do less of something, choose that.

    I don't want loads of films on BBCHD, as someone else said you can just rent them, one a week is fine.

    You should be concentrating on drama (eg Mad Men, Heroes, Lark Rise), nature (eg Great Events, Natural World), sport (eg 5 Nations, Wimbledon, MOTD) and other flagship programmes (eg Dr Who, Apprentice, Strictly).

    It would be useful to have a 'predictable' schedule, eg 'nature' 8-10, 'drama' 10-12 but wouldn't this make simulcasts even more difficult? I'd rather have consistent simulcasts than a standardised BBCHD schedule.

    Danielle, you may have nothing further to say about DOGs, but while they're still there a lot of people will keep complaining. They were mentioned in the Newsnight Review debate on the future of TV, as 'a sign of desperation' by the TV companies - the BBC is too good for them.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think there is no need to buy new encoders as long you can use 16 Mbit/s on this transponder. Currently there is more bitrate available on the trp., so why don't use more for BBC-HD? I guess there will be a problem with some cable-providers or other rebroadcasters who have not that much datarate in their muxes available.

    LinowSat

  • Comment number 36.

    It's not a problem for cable, virgin media gets an uncompressed feed of BBC HD that is then put into MPEG-2. I'd rather they didn't use these encoders as in the future I'd rather they kicked the two BBC1 variants off and had 3 HD channels on there (or shared with someone else - ITV, C4, Five, somebody else).

  • Comment number 37.

    Pleased to hear that the old encoder is going sometime. I'll raise a glass to that.

    Disappointed about the lack of new movies though - is it because the BBC is free to air that they don't want to release them in HD to the Beeb? or just costs?

  • Comment number 38.

    I feel deeply offended at the excuse you gave for not upgrading the encoders. If the BBC cannott be bothered to upgrade to far more efficient encoders then please up the bandwith back to 19mbps like it was under the trial. The channel back then was simply stunning. Now its just ok which sometimes verges on good to very good.

    If the bandwith wont be increased or encoders upgraded then this sends a clear message that the BBC simply do not care one little bit about its viewers.

    Also Danielle, next month its the start of the world snooker championships. This is something that could quite easily be shown in HD and would look fantastic. If the BBC dont show this in HD then hopefully SKY will pick up the rights in future.

    Its time people at BBC HD showed viewers they do care and are willing to sort the channel out.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Danielle. Is there any way you could add "Also on BBC HD" to the EPG info for programmes on the SD channels?
    I can't be the only one who's set a programme to record on BBC One/Two/whatever not realising I could have watched it in HD. A short note in the programme info highlighting that the show is also available in HD would help prevent this - more so than a DOG over the beginning of the programme, which if you're watching a recorded programme doesn't help.
    It might also be handy in the case of non-simulcast programmes just to add "On BBC HD, Wed 8pm" or something like that?

  • Comment number 40.

    Shame on Alsone !

    Whilst I enjoy Brian Cox (though not so much Iain Stewart) there is no getting away from the fact that David Attenborough's shows are the best thing on TV. I watched "Yellowstone" and "Nature's Great Events" back to back and, whilst Y was great ... NGE simply blew it away. His shows operate on a completely different level. "Life on Earth", "Planet Earth" ... gawd bless you sir !


    We need a little more flexibilty in definitions for HD. It is crazy that Horizon sometimes doesn't qualify to get shown in HD. I can't tell whether it's going to be on 102 or 143 from week to week ! It plays havoc with series links.


    I think that more studio shows should be in HD - where controlled lighting and fixed cameras make for good HD.

    Newsnight, News in general, Question Time and This Week spring to my mind. Mainly because of the "slap in the face" effect of dropping to SD after watching so much HD.


    Why on earth can't permission be sought to use the overnight hours to broadcast repeats ? Everyone watching on satellite has a PVR, so it's no more inconvenience to record from a 3am showing as a 9pm one.This will also help when there are two simultaneous candidates for an HD simulcast - one can be shunted to the small hours.





    Regards

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree, it would be great to have repeats on from 1am-6am each day, wouldn't cost you much im sure as its just airing repeated footage, that way you could have more simulcasts which is what we really want. People then couldn't complain about repeats on during peak hours or lack of repeats. You already air to 1.30am sometimes and those are usually repeats that you air at that time.

  • Comment number 42.

    I do feel a sense of sadness now. BBC HD is great, but the same thing is happening her that happened with Freeview and Sky. Everyone starts off with high-quality channels and gradually drops the data rate down, and down, and down. Eventually you end up with stuff like ITV on Sky, which uses a smaller than PAL standard frame size and looks like rubbish.

    Why can't we have a sensible data rate for channels. Sure, as encoders get better it's fine to drop the rate slightly, but the single factor that determines the quality of a channel is its data rate.

    Freeview could look amazing, and upscale brilliantly if only there wasn't a mad rush to fill the spectrum with nonsense shopping channels and +1 nonsense.

    Please - fewer channels - higher bitrate.

  • Comment number 43.

    true, E4 started off as 704x576, now its just 544x576. itv bitrate is very low bbc1 with sport is 4.5mbps, some other shows are 3.5 and 4.0mbps i think. I think the freeview group should force all channels to use 720x576 and bitrate of a minimum of 3.5mbps for SD. channel4hd are using a rather low bitrate for their shows, sometimes just 8mbps 1440x1080i which is an insult calling it hd, thats for actual hd shows too not just their upscaled sd shows. BBC3/4 use low bitrates and yet shows like Spooks air on BBC3 first, its a disgrace, the quality is so much worse and then there's the stupid pink bbc3 logo that nobody wants on it too. If you must put a logo on use 1 like bbc4's logo, thats much less intrusive. Also the BBCi red button channels, those are around 3mbps and only 544x576, please use full 720x576!!! It made the austalian open horrible as the lines on the court were all jagged as 544 lines arent enough to display them properly.

  • Comment number 44.

    Er, C4HD broadcasts square pixels! Whereas ...

    In anycase a lot of equipment e.g. DVCPRO HD and HDCAM are 1440x1080i so I don't know what you're getting so excited about. Moreover they have much better codecs than BBC HD so although worrying, the worst that can be said of C4HD is that 8Mbs is adequate, which makes it on a par with BBC HD in my eyes. Still I'd rather they stuck above 10Mbs, that's where things start to go wrong on a lot of stuff knocking around now.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ Samuel1984 comment 43.

    I agree. I'd like to see Freesat position itself as a quality service and stipulate the use of NATIVE RESOLUTION plus a minimum bit rate (ste at a high quality service level) using MPEG 4 encoding (both SD and HD) in order to qualify to broadcast on the service.

    That would force the quality way up from where it is now where some of the more minor channels have amazingly poor quality. eg M2M looks blurry sometimes bit rate is so low.

    I know channels = money and some minor channels may choose to leave rather than pay the cost of extra bandwidth.

    However, given that many quality channels are queueing up to join, eg Five US, Fiver, CH 4 HD (subject to licence agreements) etc, I hardly think that Freesat is going to be left with empty EPG slots / large losses in revenue. Whats more likely to happen is Freesat positions itself as a quality service with excellent picture quality and some of the rubbish "cheap" channels drop off and get replaced by quality channels who currently want to get on and can pay for the bandwidth can't get on the EPG because of lack of space.

  • Comment number 46.

    Just to echo SIPASBLOG and others. I find your decision to chop The Chelsea Flower show hard to justify when you insist on showing In the Night Garden. It just doesn't make any sense.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi Danielle,

    Firsly if you can drop the BBC HD Dog for the rugby today that would be great, the BBC already has the letters BBC with the score graphic so there is no need for the logo on the other side.
    It would be nice if previous weeks had been broadcast in surround sound as well.

    Catching up on your previous blog reply you mentioned at some point you wish to launch a second HD channel.
    The downside is that with reduced satellite capacity pointing at the UK the only way is to move the standard BBC channels off the BBC transponder which can be easily done and turn that transponder to an DVB-S2 based transponder.
    Then using MPEG-4 you can fit all 4 BBC channels, as MPEG-4 increases its efficency you may well be able to get a fifth in the near future.

    I know the BBC Trust doesn't approve of the Channel 4 HD route but there are enough people who could tell them it's the wrong route.

    With other broadcasters cutting back on investment freesat is pretty reliant on the BBC for promotion of HD. Moving from BBC HD to BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4/CBeebies would be a major step.
    Programmes would look far better whether upscaled or broadcast in HD.

    It would then mean you can make these channels the default 101,102 channels for all HD platform users with a notice during regional programming to switch back to the viewers local standard broadcast.
    That would get around your problem of viewers not knowing when a programme is broadcast in HD.


    As for BBC HD broadcasting.
    Mon-Fri (4pm-6pm)-Childrens (6pm-7pm)Quiz,Robin Hood or similar programming and Doctors (7pm-1am)Prime Time
    Fri Prime Time - QI,Have I got news for you,A question of sport,Johnathon Ross,Friday night movie.

    Mon-Fri (when avaliable) and
    Saturday+Sunday (6am-4pm)- As much live sport as possible,if its on BBC1 or 2 and the HD rights are there it would be great. Like the Rugby Autumn Internationals or Formula One.

    Sat+Sun (4pm-7pm) Natural History repeats, light entertainment, dramas like Doctor Who, Arthur.

    (7pm-1am) Prime Time - Sautday and Sunday prime time would be good for MOTD in HD. Where possible a movie as well.
    Top Gear would be a big winner in HD on a Sunday and new dramas shown on BBC HD during the week could get a weekend repeat slot or be shown on BBC HD if they air over the weekend.

  • Comment number 48.

    And whilst I'm here ...

    Yes, the pink BBC3 logo must go !

    An outbreak of common sense is required about upscaling. It is bizarre that we will have to watch F1 on BBC1 whilst the HD channel is "wasted" running the preview loop. I'm sure a version upscaled professionally and broadcast with the bandwidth of the HD channel using an MPEG4 codec would look miles (no pun intended) better than our domestic upscaling of the standard BBC1 signal via MPEG2. The fact that F1 is, by it's very nature, fast moving (with lots of quick pans) will only exacerbate this.

    If Sky can do "Road Wars" in HD then why can't we have "The Apprentice" in HD ? It's the same format - people running about with camcorders. In fact, given that a lot of "Road Wars" happens at night, it should be much easier to film TA. The boardroom would look great and we would no longer have to put up with the horrible moire effects we see on the skyscapers as the helicopter (for some unknown reason) flies around London's Docklands.





    Regards

  • Comment number 49.

    I really detest against the repetitive loop that is played during the day as the channel is definitely wasted. I don’t see any sense in the BBC Trust as they clearly want to do what they want to do and don’t listen to TV Licence payers who want more HD.

    BBC do not have individual channels for HD e.g. BBC One HD so why can’t they at least provide the service of a full 24/7 HD Channel. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Also, I don’t understand why Match of the Day is not in HD as sport is one of the best ways to view HD and SKY Sports broadcast the full game in HD so at least for football fans they can enjoy the highlights in stunning HD.

    If the BBC can't provide a full 24/7 HD channel then why cant they just broadcast non repeat programmes as that is all that is shown on the 'WASTED' channel. Yes, it is definitely 'WASTED' on repeats and loops of the same scenes over and over again.

    Regards

    Ps. it is also a real shame that The Apprentice is NOT broadcast in HD as I was waiting for this. This was partly one of the reasons why I have a HD sat box; to watch The Apprentice in HD, and I am gutted and I presume others are that the programme is not available.
    WE NEED MORE WORTHWHILE HD ASAP!

  • Comment number 50.

    Over the past few month or so, I've virtually forgotten that the BBC HD channel exists - the reason: it's a showcase channel and not a simulcast - it's just off the radar (so to speak). If it were a set of simulcast channels, you wouldn't need to do any 'juggling', and neither would you lose audience who don't manage to switch over to the HD versions. It seems that most of the difficulties are of your / BBC Trust's own making.

    I guess one of the underlying reasons that simulcasting is unlikely to happen is the problem of what to do with regional variations. One hopes that eventually one can watch BBC1 HD / BBC2 HD (etc) (yes, even with upscaled content), dropping relatively seamlessly back to SD when regional variants come on air. The reason other channels do simulcasting, is because it's the right thing to do!!! It will be interesting to see what the strategy will be when HD comes to terrestrial.

    I did actually rediscover BBC-HD last week and I recorded 'Yellowstone' in HD on Wednesday - brilliant photography, but marred by that damnable unwanted DOG. Yet another reason for not bothering to watch the BBC HD channel.

    Later today I will carry out an experiment, and see if the SD version of part two is any less enjoyable in SD than it will be in HD next Wednesday. If it's just as good - what's the point of HD? At least we'll be able to watch wolves without dogs.

    Perhaps if enough of us wrote directly to the BBC Trust airing our perfectly valid dislike of the distasteful DOG graffiti, someone might listen and rid us of it forever. Whether you have anything more to say about DOGs or not, is certainly not going to put a stop to the complaints. If you don't want to hear about DOGs, you know exactly what you need to do...

    The comment about Sky and movies was ridiculous. If you expect customers to go to Sky in order to watch HD films, why on earth did the BBC bother to create the FreeSat platform? We don't expect the BBC to provide a 'Movie Channel', but just to show the occasional movie in HD.

    May we ask when the BBC Trust is likely to next review the BBC HD channel? It seems that they are very effectively constraining the adoption of watching HD programming by putting obstacles in the way.

    Regards.

  • Comment number 51.

    suggestion regarding Formula1, as berny eccleston is playing hardball with hd licensing why not just upscale the race on BBCHD and have the studio cameras and camera that goes on the pit lane interviewing the drivers in HD, bbc1's 4.5mpbs bitrate and mpeg2 compression reduces the quality alot, airing it on BBCHD would look much nicer and studio and pit lane hd cameras would be great.

    PLEASE make this happen!

  • Comment number 52.

    Danielle,

    I am just writing to ask whether it is not too late to change your mind to broadcast the new Apprentice series in HD. I have been waiting for this and from the other comments many people also want to see the programme in HD. Please, please, please can you change your mind as to broadcast the programme in HD, as otherwise many of us will have to wait another whole year and it is not to late to change your mind.

    Kind Regards

  • Comment number 53.

    Dear high-def999

    Unfortunately the programme is already committed to standard definition and too many small non-HD cameras are used.

    Andy

  • Comment number 54.

    cant believe apprentice isn't going to be in HD, you've had the bbchd channel for around 2yrs now, you must have only started filming this within the past few months, why on earth would you not use hd cameras to record it in, its 1 of the biggest audience pullers on bbc1, makes no sense at all!

    next you'll be telling us that spooks wont be in hd next series!

  • Comment number 55.

    Thanks for you response andyquested,

    However, I am still gutted that the programme is not in HD and that is no excuse to have from the BBC as everything should be filmed in HD now.

    Kind Regards

  • Comment number 56.

    The fact The Apprentice wont be screened in HD just about sums the BBC HD channel up and the fact its run by people who do not appear to give a toss about the channel or its viewers.

    Also the fact certain people at BBC HD have ignored pleas to increase the bandwith back to 19/20mbps and invest in new encoders just about sums BBC HD up. My guess is the channel wont exist in 12 months time if the same people are in charge.

    Viewing figures suggest people no longer care about BBC HD.

  • Comment number 57.

    yawn...

  • Comment number 58.

    I have replied to wednesday83 on the Nyquist Limit blog

    Andy

  • Comment number 59.

    also why is horizon never repeated? tonight's ep isn't listed to repeat at all, not even a few weeks from now. I missed the beginning of it, would really like it if you could re-air it. do it in place of planet earth which has been repeated 100's of times!

  • Comment number 60.

    It is very disappointing The Apprentice isn't in HD but it is more understandable than other top shows not being in HD in my opinion. The highlights show could have been in HD though but I guess that'd be a bit silly, there's the studio shuffling issue and there's the 75% issue.

  • Comment number 61.

    Common sense about upscaling please, for example:

    Why show the preview loop, or yet another repeat of a costume drama when you're showing a programme on SD which is _obviously_ suffering from the lack of bandwidth available.

    Such programmes would benefit greater from HD upscaling than many shows do from being in actual native HD.

    In these cases it is no longer about having native HD content, it is about SD content being simply inappropriate for the abilities of your SD broadcast, while the ability to offer a better service via HD is being ignored.

    Cutting off ones nose to spite ones face? Definitely, in such cases I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 62.

    unclemontague, do you not read Andy Quested various posts where he states bandwith does not really effect picture quality. So from going from around 4mbps to around 15-16 mbps, it would make no difference at all to the SD picture as its just production that effects poor quality pictures and your TV settings.

    Seriously though why do the BBC waste the bandwith showing the preview loop for so long???

    the F1 new season starts this weekend and the BBc are going to do what ITV did and spoil it with an awful picture. PLEASE listen to the vast ammount of people that pay your wages and please show the race upscaled.

    WE DO NOT WANT TO WATCH THE PREVIEW LOOP.

  • Comment number 63.

    just out of interest, what are the viewing figures for the Preview loop???

  • Comment number 64.

    the quality is far better upscaled due to not being aired in mpeg2 and not being aired in a low bitrate, upscaling itself would help slightly but the bitrate is the reason why it would look much better on BBCHD, they could use studio HD cameras before and after the Formula1 race and use upscaled SD for the race itself. I've seen things on BBCHD that in parts are shot in SD and compared them to the SD airing on BBC1/2 and the quality improvement is very big. Firstly freeview is 576i, 1080i can be encoded as 720p if you record it on your pc for example and as such would be progressive, the same thing would be true for when watching the upscaled sd, the quality would be better due to there would be more lines.

    Apprentice should be aired in HD, there's no excuse, you only need about 12 handcams and a handful of studio cameras for inside the house and in the boardroom. I'm sure if you ask Sir Alan he'd pay for them for you! Even using a £600 1080p camcorder with external mic would look pretty decent, obviously not as good as a studio camera but still more than watchable on BBCHD.

    It seems to me that the majority on things on BBCHD are things that can be sold to other countries like documentaries, scripted tv shows but shows like apprentice wouldn't be that popular outside of uk as sir alan isn't that well known outside of uk.

    Things that have great viewing figures and badly need HD are:

    Spooks, Match Of The Day, Apprentice, Formula 1, Top Gear. There are then shows that are wholely in studios which would be extremely cheap to film in HD like Mock The Week.

    Come on BBC listen to US the british public who pay your salaries, dont abuse your positions!

  • Comment number 65.

    A lot of people using a Humax HDR missed yesterdays Yellowstone when it failed to record. Can you please repeat it?

    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=992115&page=2 - Post 32 onwards.

  • Comment number 66.

    wednesday83, if that were true 100% of the time, then why do we see differences in picture quality between SD content on different channels? During certain sports events multiple channels have been known to show the same feed, yet quite often the difference in quality is obvious. A difference defined by the bandwidth given to the broadcast.

    I simply don't believe that, given many programmes are released on DVD at DVD quality, the picture quality is defined before the compression/bandwidth application stage. Think about the logic involved here.

    To suggest higher bandwidth or better compression technique on a HD channel offers no benefit is insane. Channel4 upscale. Sky upscale. The benefits are obvious for all to see.

  • Comment number 67.

    Can I send a "me too" confirming smithap66's request? I too am a Humax Foxsat HDR user who lost "Yellowstone 2", and would dearly love a repeat TX.
    Congratulations on the channel so far - it's great, but I'm sure will be better

    Regards

    PS Me too, in spades, about losing the DOGS...

  • Comment number 68.

    Will the BBC be covering Formula One in Japan and Abu Dhabi on BBC HD? They both plan to have HD broadcasts and it would be great to have these two races in HD as the season comes to an end.

    1h 46m-1h49
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j8hnq/The_Chris_Moyles_Show_26_03_2009/

    Even presenters on national radio have been asking about when F1 will be avaiable in 'crstal clear HD'.


  • Comment number 69.

    I was wondering whether we could have some information on the new red button service on BBC HD. Like what resolutions and bitrates will be used, what programming it will be used for etc.?

  • Comment number 70.

    unclemontague,

    Due to the SD transmission chain being so poor I agree that simulcasting bbc1/2 etc would be beneficial and I too would like to see this as apposed to a seperate HD channel.

    The current BBCHD channel is always going to be a compromised offering, supposaidly "the best of the BBC" but that is always going to be a subjective opinion. Whats "best" to me may not be to anyone else.

    Most people just want their normal TV channels/schedules in HD.

    The problem is at the moment most output is not in HD so the simulcast will lead to a degree of viewer confusion with people criticising the picture quality thinking that upscaled SD is HD. The BBC wanted avoid this situation.

    My opinion is frankly - tough if people don't understand that an upscaled simulcast will contain both SD and HD material then thats their problem, but the BBC don't see it that way.

    Oh just to clarify wednesday83 misinterpritation of Andy Quested blogs - Andy actually and correctly stated that bitrate is only one factor, not the most important, of many that affect picture quality.

    How an encoder does it's job is more than absolute bitrate. This is backed up by the fact that other broadcaster obtain as good (possibly better) perceived picture quality with LOWER bitrates than BBCHD.

    BBCHD is at 16 Mbits/sec, ITVHD I think is arounf 11 Mbits/sec.

    Andy has stated many times that new encoders are being worked on and will be released in due course. It just seems some individuals are very impatient!

  • Comment number 71.

    I think that's unfair. Several people have said that the performance of the encoders is important and andyquested has argued about it several times, even defending the current ones rather too generously. You have it the wrong way round. Wednesday83 is only too aware that encoder performance matters, that is why he asks for the bitrate to be raised, because the encoders are so poor! I am in the same position as other people wanting 3 or 4 HD channels on tx 50 on 2D with DVB-S2 so am focusing on the much better encoders that will be needed to do this over a realistic timescale rather than focusing on asking for bitrates to be raised on one channel until such time as better encoders come along (which I think is an entirely reasonable position).

  • Comment number 72.

    Dear ropies and tagmclaren
    Thanks for the comments. I just wanted to say I am haveing the next two weeks off. I only got a few days last summer so am going to take the chance to have some time in the garden! Well the teenagers off on a school trip for 8 days....
    When I get back we can catch up on bit ratea and codecs.

    Andy

  • Comment number 73.

    @ Tag (post 70)

    You're right in what you say however comparing BBC HD and ITV HD isn't a good comparison as most are of the opinion that ITV HD is a far inferior picture.

    A better bit rate comparison is BBC HD vs LUXE TV HD. BBC HD use 16 mbs whereas I believe LUXE TV use 8 mbs but have a far superior picture to BBC HD. This is explained simply by the encoding quality as you pointed out. Whereas I don't know if LUXE's compression would stand up to sport and fast movement as most of their content is quite laid back in pace, it would nevertheless give the BBC a large headroom in which to increase the bit rate for fast actions programmes, films, sport. In fact they could double it without exceeding their current bandwidth usuage and on laid back programmes they'd make significant bandwidth savings.

  • Comment number 74.

    I've got a great solution to the upscaled SD debate! When showing upscaled programmes, BBCHD could superimpose a massive DOG saying 'CONTENT UPSCALED - NOT HD SOURCE MATERIAL - PS DON'T MISS EASTENDERS ON BBC1'. This could also be added during SD portions of HD programmes. There could also be a voiceover of the message during opening and closing credits and at various points during the pogramme (not during dialogue, that would be ridiculous). I think this would keep everybody happy.

    Also, give Lewis Hamilton a hand-held HD camera so we can see what all the other cars look like from behind in glorious HD.

  • Comment number 75.

    Alsone, last time I took a CLOSE look at Luxe after its bitrate reduction (some while ago) it was actually suffering from a lot of compression artifacts and as you admit - the most gentle of material to encode. I also don't find the colour very natural. Certainly not far superior to BBCHD. It's just one type of material filmed in aparticular way which also makes it very consistent.

    Just curious, not being argumentative, if you watch a program like law and order on ITVHD, what in your opinion makes it far inferior? One poster thinks that ALL other broadcasters are spot on with their HD quality compared tho the BBC.

    Also I do think a lot of people confuse the different looks of film, 25 psf and 50i video, the different production techniques, and effects chosen by directors / production teams with good / bad transmission quality. Not everything does or should look like 50i studio video.

    Point is BBCHD isn't perfect and new encoders are being worked on. What is not going to happen is the bitrate being turned up. It will only ultimately go down.

  • Comment number 76.

    Andy, have a nice break!
    cheers

  • Comment number 77.

    It is really beginning to annoy me now; the fact that children’s programmes are still being broadcast on BBC HD. There is not enough standard BBC content from BBC 1,2,3,4 on the channel let alone to have content from Cbeebies and CBBC. Common sense tells me that no child at the age of 1 years is going to ask their parent to change the channel to BBC HD because 'In the night garden' is showing when Cbeebies is currently broadcasting children’s programmes throughout the day. It doesn’t make sense.

    Also, sport on BBC HD is very minimal and I don’t know why it is advertised on the channel as the F1 and Match of the Day are not broadcast on the channel. At least the F1 should be upscaled instead of being in SD when the continuous preview loop is playing on the wasted HD channel.

    Regards

  • Comment number 78.

    Danielle,

    Just stumbled across this document:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/regulatory_framework/service_licences/tv/2008/hd_Apr08.pdf

    No wonder BBCHD is struggling - A budget of only £2.5 million!

    Considering online activities have secured a budget of £145 million, have you managed to secure any increase for 2009/10?

  • Comment number 79.

    Thought the budget was £5 million? Anyway whichever figure is right much more is certainly needed.

  • Comment number 80.

    For anyone that is interested:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/index.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/framework/bbc_service_licences/tv.html#part-1

    So BBCHD has the lowest budget of any of the TV services. No wonder they cant afford new encoders.

    Confirms my suspicion about the BBCs lack of real commitment to providing a proper HD service.

  • Comment number 81.

    On the contrary tagmclaren, it means we are doing very well and being as efficient as we can.
    Andy

  • Comment number 82.

    Andy,

    Don't get me wrong, I am very impressed with what has been achieved with the budget available.

    I am also for an efficient, value for money and accountable BBC, especially in these hard times.

    However, the BBC does seem rather too focussed on "online activities" at the moment and I for one would rather see some of it's large budget (compared to the minor TV channels) generally spent on making programs or things like an ongoing conversion/ commitment to produce/broadcast in HD.

  • Comment number 83.

    just to clarify, minor tv channels meaning bbc 2/3/4/hd

  • Comment number 84.

  • Comment number 85.

    So that's it then,so much for democracy and customer pressure. Daniella Nagler say's, '' I really have nothing further to say on the subject of DOGS'' So we can all go home and stop bothering her.

    Tough on the people, many 100's who have posted asking/beging for their removal both on this Forum and on BBC Points of View. Oh yes and the very same people who pay her wages can now shut up and stop being pesky licence payers who want what they want, not what some BBC marketing jobs worth thinks is ok. Talk about 'the tail wagging the dog'!

  • Comment number 86.

    I am very disappointed that BBC HD in Australia has more a bigger TV Schedule which is almost 24 hrs a day. This is appalling as the BBC HD service is poor in the UK compared to Australia. And we pay TV licence in the UK, therefore we should have the same or a better service of the HD Channel. You can see the Australian BBC HD website following this link http://australia.bbchd.com/whatishd.html

  • Comment number 87.

    @Tagmclaren (post75)

    Quote "Just curious, not being argumentative, if you watch a program like law and order on ITVHD, what in your opinion makes it far inferior? One poster thinks that ALL other broadcasters are spot on with their HD quality compared tho the BBC."

    You have me there in so far as I haven't watched Law and Order so can't comment specifically on that. I do find the higher bit rate of BBC HD shows through on many programmes though such as Earth Power of the Planet and Oceans. These for me and many others who commented on various forums seem to exceed anything put out by ITV for quality in HD although it is personal opinion.

    There are some side by side screen grabs of BBC HD vs ITV HD here on Snoods site, so I'll let you decide. To me the personally difference is clear in most programmes:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/freesathd/page3/

    I also find ITV sport has a lot of artefacts in HD. Football looks great until you get the slightest movement from the camera and then the grass on the pitch blurs. This to me is far more noticeable than on BBC HD when they're showing Rugby for example.

    As for LUXE, I've never noticed any artefacts although I haven't watched a lot of LUXE just the odd half hour here and there. I'm not sure what you mean about the colours. Maybe you're saying they're overblown? To me they look natural. HD is very much more punchy than SD (I shoot HD myself so can definitely confirm that to be the case). If maybe it looks terrible on your tv, there are 3 possible causes: 1. Your TV naturally overblows colours (some cheaper LCD's do that), 2. Your tv isn't properly calibrated - shop settings on TV's and LCD's especially are often way over the top for saturation and contrast as they want them to look good in a heavily lit room - a THX calibration disc will cure that and provide a balanced setting, 3. It could just be that you prefer more traditionally muted colours in which case fair enough. Its each to their own on that one. To me the colours of the stills in Earth Power of the Planet - Mountains of the Monsoon were sublime and the best HD I've seen so far but they certainly jumped off the screen at you. BTW best ITV HD I've seen was the Piers Morgan programmes.

  • Comment number 88.

    Don't get me wrong, I am firmly in the camp that beleives BBCHD is not as bad as some people say it is.

    Part of my point (also see Andys blog) was that some posters think that all other broadcasters are "spot on" with their PQ, which is not the case and they are optimised in different ways with different material.

    In my opinion ITVHD is generally very clean (too clean???) and sharp, not more detailed than BBC (remember there is a big difference between sharpness and resolution / detail) but in average material can show less macro blocking than BBC can do on the most demanding of material.

    Get up close on Lux and take a look for atifacts. Not necesarily obvious from normal viewing distance, but they are there..8Mb/s is not enough even with good encoders....and don't forget they probably would become far more obvious with demanding material.

    It's something about the skin tones I don't like on Lux and I can't quite put my finger on it / articulate what I think is wrong. Of course colour can be a bit subjective so I won't argue that too feircely.

    By the way my plasma is calibrated with a colorimeter. Although it doesn't have a CMS, tweaks in the service menu get it very close to D65 through out the grey scale. Also my video processor brings the gamma up very close to 2.2.

    BTW I personally don't like LCDs. Although Plasmas also have specific disadvantages, I still think their advantages outway those of LCDs. Never found one that I found looks "natural"

  • Comment number 89.

    Andy: Have a well deserved break.

    Thanks for all you and all at BBC HD have done!

  • Comment number 90.

    high-def999 wrote: I am very disappointed that BBC HD in Australia has more a bigger TV Schedule which is almost 24 hrs a day. This is appalling as the BBC HD service is poor in the UK compared to Australia. And we pay TV licence in the UK, therefore we should have the same or a better service of the HD Channel. You can see the Australian BBC HD website following this link http://australia.
    bbchd.com/whatishd.html


    i just looked at that site and i'm so angry i could spit! how in the hell can BBC justify charging us a license fee for shows which we don't get to watch? Top Gear in HD in Australia but not in the UK (the country that makes and pays for the show?!?!). that's an absolute disgrace. people have been asking on this blog to have TG on the HD channel for ages yet we've seen only the 2 'specials'.

    i expect you to tell us why this should be Danielle!!!

    there is now NO excuse for not showing Top Gear in HD in the UK. i fully expect to see not only the next series but also repeats of the last series appear on my planner in the near future.

    also, instead of the frankly annoying Preview Loop, can we have what they get on their version and have the primetime schedule repeated during the day so that people like myself who sometimes have to miss a show as more than 2 programmes i want to watch are on at the same time, can see them later?

    i know i along with others, have said we dont want repeats, but i think we're all talking about repeats of old shows. i'm sure we'd all be more than happy with a repeat of the full primetime schedule if the programmes shown were new.

  • Comment number 91.

    Dear heilaqnner

    I just want to reassure you there are no BBC programmes on ANY of the Worldwide versions of the BBC HD Channel that have not already been shown in the UK. The Worldwide version also have a very short repeat cycle (between 4-6 hours). The HD Channel had a target agreed by The Trust, to reach 9 hours of programming per day from across the whole BBC output - including the Children's channels. Now we have reached the 9 hour target our focus is on increasing the range of new programmes made in high definition and naturally see the number of repeats reduce.

    Andy

  • Comment number 92.

    Should have said "Dear heilanner" sorry for the name typo

  • Comment number 93.

    I was always aware there was a foxtel version of BBC HD, I didn't realise theirs would be better. What a joke. Along similar lines I find it personally quite annoying that the nordic version of BBC HD runs on a tx in DVB-S2 when so many people are asking for us to have DVB-S2.

    I partially disagree about football on ITV HD. There's a lot variation in quality in football games (sadly) in high definition. One also has the issue of feeds and time of day KO which are both big issues. I think ITV HD performs better at football on average than BBC HD does taking into account the encoders and bitrate. BBC have had bad football matches including that infamous FA Cup Semi Final in 2008 they've also had fairly decent ones. Sadly there's been virtually no football in late 2008/2009 to do a fair comparison.

    As for encoders, again I've never advocated using 8Mbs. I find ofcom's plans for 8.4Mbs on freeview very concerning indeed and have commented on it. When anytime runs on about 9Mbs they run into problems. C4 has downed their bitrate and run into problems. I will say again for clarity, I would like the BBC to go along the lines of get DVB-S2, get much, much better codecs and aim to run them about 11-13Mbs and have 3 high definition channels. All these things I think are achievable in the next 2 or 3 years. Resisting ofcom's plans might also be a good idea.

  • Comment number 94.

    Dear ropies

    DVB-S2 (and T2) are just modulation methods. To put it crudely S2 just gets more "bits per MHz" of spectrum. Moving S2 alone will not change the quality of a channel. HD at 8Mbs does look very good but as I keep saying the toolset is far more important than the bit rate.

    Even at 60Mbs MPEG2 (i-frame) we see blocking and compression issues. But with contribution codecs our main problem is latency, you can't have a two way discussion with a delay of more than 1 second really so we can't spend too long coding the signal.

    Emission coding allows us to use tools that just take time, 4-6 seconds at the moment. If you really want to see (or rather hear) how long things take, stand close to Wembley Stadium and watch the HD Channel off-air!

    Andy

  • Comment number 95.

    thanks for the quick reply Andy :) for that you're forgiven for getting my name wrong ;)

    so are you telling us the Top Gear they have listed is not the Top Gear we get here (is it their own version?) or that it's just the specials we have already seen?

    9 hours of broadcasting is better than 4-6, i give you that... but i still maintain a schedule repeat is preferable to the preview loop.


    as an aside, most people here seem to be moaning about the pq on the channel. i just want to say i think the pq on BBC HD is just as good as Sky1. i have no complaints in that regard (although maybe Rush HD is better). i don't know how the equipment used by yourself compares to them and frankly it doesnt bother me.

  • Comment number 96.

    Dear heilanner

    I don't think the Australian channel up-converts so it would be the Polar Special. Thanks for the comment about quality. Like Sky1, the HD Channel is a multi-genre channel and we can't change coding tools between programmes (yet) so it is always a compromise between the different types of programme we transmit.

    Andy

  • Comment number 97.

    Just to clarify I'm quite sure most of the people on here are aware of what DVB-S2 is and is quoted as getting an extra 30% on that transponder, but thanks for the more technical answer (we're not idiots). As space is pretty tight on astra 2D that is why it is being queried why we haven't got it rather than some abstract whim. If 2D had loads of spare capacity like some of the other Astra 28.2e satellites I would be quite happy staying on DVB-S for the forseeable future. As Freesat HD and Sky HD boxes (and even a lot of cards) are S2 anyway I see it as something that really should happen sooner rather than later.

    I've seen HD at below 5Mbs, it does look very good, albeit with a lack of detail, but still. Doom9 I am not but then again neither is BBC HD. It's totally different to running a tv channel at 8Mbs **currently**. I see codecs improving so perhaps 8Mbs would be acceptable if other things allowed but I see no reason to see why AVC won't be just like things in coding history and take a good few more years to get really right (5 or 6 years from now). In anycase we're talking about a particular tv channel, BBC HD and I still think that with new encoders you should be aiming for 11-13Mbs based on what other people are doing. If you think my guestimates are very conservative and you can do better than that (for what people agree is an acceptable pq) I'd be very pleased to hear it in some blog later this year or next. Or perhaps you plan on a high bitrate than that with them in which case other people here will probably be very pleased and we can go back to arguing about the DOG until the end of time or even content :-).

  • Comment number 98.


    Danielle, I wish you choose you words with a little bit more care, I quote...
    “BBC HD is never going to be a movie channel - Sky movie services already do that very well”

    I find this comment very annoying as I have just left Sky TV because I can’t afford it. It’s a shame we can’t do the same with the BBC.

    It’s this sort of comment you get from people that don’t understand that there are lots of use out here that can’t afford Sky TV and have no other choice than to pay for the BBC.

    Sky TV does a very good service with sport as well so why show sports.


  • Comment number 99.

    I feel somewhat guilty now having brought all of this up by mentioning 8mbs in reference to LUXE TV above.

    I was by no means advocating the use of 8mbs unless it can match or exceed current encoding quality with 16 mbs on BBC HD. I was merely pointing out that if it was exceeding current 16 mbs quality due to better encoding, then that would be one way the BBC could increase PQ and still have headroom to increase bit rate for sports and fast action movies without exceeding current bandwidths and thus costs.

    Heading forwards I'm for quality over anything else as I believe I made clear in one of my earlier posts (post 45).

    I still stand by my comments there. I personally think the BBC trust should set minimum bit rates based on the efficiency of the encoders used in order to set a minimimum PQ standard for channels on Freesat and that this should be suitably high to ensure that PQ is always of a high standard. I also acknowledged above this might lose one or two minor channels who didn't wan't to pay for the bandwidth required for a quality service but that given there were many quality channels queueing up to join who can't get slots, that I doubted this would be a problem and would actually benefit viewiers by increasing quality channel content over that provided by cheap channels.

    I think overall, Freesat really need to look at their positioning in the market place.

    Freesat might have started out as a project to provide tv to those who couldn't otherwise receive Freeview due to their geographical location, but since then, with bandwidth problems in Freeview and different programme content on Freesat, it has evolved into something much more, the future of UK TV. Whereas it might not want to market itself as the successor to Freeview just yet, given that Freeview is only just still rolling out, it should however I think to start to realise what it is, both an enthusiasts platform and a platform for non enthusiasts who nevertheless value quality of programming and picture quality over the standard of digital terrestrial offerings. I don't see why this can't sit alongside Freeview. Freeview being run of the mill and Freesat being the quality option in terms of picture quality. This allows each platform to grow in their own direction and ultimately when push does come to shove and most channels go HD leaving Freeview with no room to expand, then the switch to Freesat for all will be easy and justfiable as there will already a service which offers superior quality to Freeview without the bandwidth restrictions (I know Freesat is currently short of transponders but equally I know Astra are planning changes to capacity in the future so unlike Freeview which is boxed in by other services, Freesat can expand).

  • Comment number 100.

    Alsone,

    Without being technically specific, the BBC trust actually have set down standards for BBCHD. To quote

    "BBC HD should deliver a very high quality technical service to viewers, by adhering to, or seeking to exceed, industry standards for picture resolution. However, changes in this area by the BBC should take into account any need for consumers to upgrade their television equipment."

    Wriggle room in that statement of course! hehe :-)

    Don't want to take this over as a technical thread so this should probably be in Andys blog, but seeing as PQ is obviously a hot topic...

    One thing Andy has mentioned that is very relevant when comparing BBC to Sky for example is stat muxing. (Sorry if this is preeching to the converted)

    Due to having more than one HD channel on a transponder they can allocate bit rate dynamically between the channels. If the program on one channel has a lot of movement all of a sudden it can be allocated a higher rate whilst momentarily reducing the rate on the other channel(s). The average total data rate however remains constant. This allows Sky to zoom up to 20mbs when needed on demanding material.

    BBCHD doesn't have this luxery as there is only one HD channel.

    One question I do have for those with more sat knowledge is about how full the BBCHD transponder is? What is it's max bitrate?

    With it carrying 2 SD channels, BBCHD and the associated sound it adds up to (unless I have misunderstood) circa 26 Mb/s. There may also be additional data streams carried, I don't know MHEG, subtitles etc.

    Isn't that pretty close to its max capability anyway? Is there actually any room to increase the BBCHD bitrate?

    I am sure the SD channels were placed on the transponder for good reason, so I assume they have to be there.

    Just curious

 

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