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A day in the life of the Head of BBC HD

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 21:34 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

Hello Everyone,

I know the extended silence has been frustrating you - I've been away from the office for some of the time, and also handling a range of other issues. Looking at your comments and questions, I thought that it might be useful to give you a sense of what I do apart from writing this blog - not just to justify the time I spend away from it but because I think it might help to give you a flavour of the range of current issues for the BBC and HD.

On a daily basis, when I get into the office, I look at the overnight log from the broadcast engineers. That identifies any technical problems with the channel - and unfortunately, as many of you will be aware, frequently highlights problems with HD transmissions. Sometimes the cause is clear - human error or a system not doing what it should - and often we're only talking about a few seconds of interruption. But on other occasions (audio drop outs from the Electric Proms) it is harder to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Like you, I find it deeply frustrating that more than 20 months after we launched the channel the service still doesn't always run smoothly. I appreciate that we are deliberately pushing at the boundaries of what has been done before - regular live broadcasts, switching between different channels and different types of content, but I would like us to be in a better place than I feel that we are, and believe me, I'm working with a team of others (hopefully) to get us there.

I also receive on a daily basis the channel audience figures from BARB, colloquially known as "the overnights". Across channels they are a less than perfect guide to viewing, but they are the basic currency all channels work with. With BBC HD figures which I know some of you look at, there are particular concerns. Numbers of those with access to HD are growing all the time, which must make it difficult for BARB to keep pace. HD households still represent a relatively small proportion of the total TV audience and therefore the figures are less reliable than they otherwise might be. Take those factors together with the prevalence of recording devices for those with HD, and the willingness to use them, and it means that while the figures give us a sense of how programmes have performed relatively, they are just one of a number of sources of information which we look at to evaluate the channel's performance.

Those issues out of the way, the day, tends to be taken up with meetings. In no particular order, the issues I'm focussing on at the moment are....

Picture quality:
I know this is a big concern for some of you, and honestly, I don't need lots of complaints to start to worry about this. I'll defend to the hilt a programme like Criminal Justice, which I think looked fantastic, though others are entirely within their rights to dismiss the "film look" that it went for. But of course I want to make sure that we keep up the standards of the HD offer from the BBC, and I want to make sure, through looking at both technical and audience filters (pardon the pun), that we are in good shape.

I've launched some further work around this - not because I believe there is a problem, but because I want to make sure there is not - and together with Andy Quested I will of course bring you the outcomes of that work as soon as I can.

HD programmes and schedule:
As you'll know, we're still a growing channel. We're actively exploring whether we can extend the channel hours overall, but meantime there is plenty of work to do in growing the amount of content that the BBC is making in HD. Lots of time is spent on conversations with producers inside and outside the BBC looking at whether they make a move to HD, how they do it, and how much it will cost. I really feel that we are experiencing a sea-change here.

When I started last Summer there was a marked reluctance to consider HD in many areas, and very little proactivity from producers. We are now reaching the point where in some areas there is more demand to work in HD than we have the resources to support. It is a good problem to have, but it also generates a second, much more difficult issue of which you will be well aware: With more and more content coming through, how do we best schedule the channel? This Autumn we have a particularly rich mix of programming, including The Restaurant, The Culture Show, Children in Need, new drama and comedy, new US acquisition from BBC Two Defying Gravity, and of course Life, Strictly Come Dancing and Top Gear.

We know that programmes work best for you when we show them at the same time as the standard definition channels, but with such a diversity of content we can't always deliver it, and we're as frustrated as you are when we have to make those choices.

Navigation: Many of you comment on the difficulty in knowing when things are on. I run the channel, I sign off the schedules, and I also as a viewer sometimes find it difficult to locate content I'm looking for. There are a variety of routes to solving this, and believe me when I say that I am working my way along all of them. BBC HD is not like other HD channels in the UK. Because 100% of our programmes are made in HD, we are not a simulcast of another channel that you know and has a familiar structure.

Because we want to bring you the very best programmes across the full range of flavours from the BBC, you will find programmes from BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, Cbeebies, CBBC, and even occasionally some programmes which can only be seen on BBC channels in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or on BBC Red Button. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy BBC HD, rather than to battle with it, and therefore to find effective ways to plan your viewing, and to move between BBC channels to access the HD versions of programmes which you love on other BBC services.

Freeview HD:
A lot of the thinking in the BBC about HD has been around making sure that HD does not become an exclusive, subscription-only offer in the UK. You can get BBC HD even on Sky without paying an additional subscription, and of course getting the channel (and other HD services) on to Freeview as well as Virgin and Freesat is an important part of ensuring that everyone can have access to what we believe is simply the next, normal TV standard.

I'm expecting that when HD arrives on Freeview at the end of the year the platform will probably play a significant role in the growth of HD homes through 2010, although I think that HD take-up from the other existing platform providers will also increase over the next year . There are plenty of other people around the BBC who are actively involved in making HD on Freeview, because of the BBC's involvement in switchover and the overall development of the digital terrestrial platform. Really, I'm just a channel provider. But I'm conscious of the need to make sure that BBC HD is fit for the mainstream audience which I'm sure will come to HD over the next 12 months or so, through a variety of platforms.

BBC HD Strategy: I know that many people ask where the BBC goes next with HD, and a number of you have thoughts about what the answer to those questions should be.

Thinking about our service development is just one aspect of the BBC's approach to HD. I also have to work with others to address the questions around how fast we move BBC in-house production across to HD delivery, how we move programme commissioning across, how we work with independent producers around these issues, what cameras and other resources we should use, and how we ensure that we deliver the best possible value for licence payers out of the investment we're making in HD at the moment.

I don't think that HD is a luxury for the BBC - it is the way that TV production is going and we could not turn our backs on it, anymore than viewers would have thanked us for deciding that colour TV was not for us. But that doesn't mean that there is lots of money to spend on this area, nor should there be when across the BBC we are looking for savings, and trying to make money go as far as possible. That of course presents daily challenges around how we make the budget we have stretch to encompass our ambitions for you - the HD audience.

In between meetings - and of course in the evening - I do what I hope you would want and expect me to do: Watch television. I try to look at what we are about to broadcast, and what we do broadcast, but also need to see programmes we are considering for HD delivery, and I try to watch other channels - both SD and HD - to get insights into other ideas that we should be considering.

I also - of course - check this blog for your comments and feedback, and even write a new post when I can and have something to say. I don't want to give you just marketing for programmes and therefore, I'm afraid, there may be longer breaks between posting than any of us would ideally like. I hope this is useful, and even possibly interesting. I will be back.

Danielle Nagler is the Head of BBC HD, BBC Vision.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Your comments are appreciated. If you want HD viewing figures to rise, push FOM for F1 in HD. You would make a lot of F1 fans very happy indeed. I suspect this would also captivate the casual follower of the sport and it would make for spectacular viewing.

  • Comment number 2.

    No point broadcasting F1. Although it would be great the current poor bitrate and the encoders probably be able to cope with fast motion at a decent quality.

  • Comment number 3.

    I welcome the picture quality "work" (whatever that is exactly),

    "not because I believe there is a problem, but because I want to make sure there is not" as you put it.

    I'm pretty sure you'll find there is a problem..


  • Comment number 4.

    Fascinating, thanks Danielle. Concur with Scoobie at #3 though, so I'm looking forward to Andy's next Blog too and, although I hear that you won't be hurried, I'm very much hoping that we'll learn more about the work's outcomes sooner rather than later. Who knows, if they're positive it might even save me a lot of effort. Here's hoping!

  • Comment number 5.

    Danielle:

    Apprieiate that honestly of your remarks and thanks for the
    keeping us in the loop...

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 6.

    Danielle,
    I really appreciate you giving us an insight into what the job entails. With a limited number of hours and new programmes to broacast, it's a tough job deciding what is shown at what time. The Restaurant, The Culture Show, Children in Need are fantastic new additions to the channel and I can't wait to watch them all. I'm even looking forward to seeing you on Sunday on Points Of View :)

    However, as you can see already, there are some very passionate people out there (myself being one of them) who demand the very best - picture quality being one of them. Personally speaking, I wouldn't know one end of an encoder from the other and bitrates are completely over my head. I love BBC HD, it's the best of the best, but something has happened to the picture quality that more than a few people have noticed and this is a concern. As head of BBC HD, I'm begging you to please address this issue as the number one priority for the viewers.

    Best Wishes,

    Ian.

  • Comment number 7.

    One thing that strikes me.

    WHEN a programme is simulcast on BBC HD and another channel, how about "making something of it", one of:

    - use the HD titles on the other BBC channels

    - have HD versions of the other BBC channel indents on the BBC HD channel

    - have special "simulcast" titles and presentation.

  • Comment number 8.

    Danielle, I must say I'm surprised you say that you don't think there is a problem when there are so many complaints. I've had HD since the early days of the test channel and there has been a very noticeable change in the last few months. Leaving aside Criminal Justice have you viewed the transmission of Waterloo Road? This looked little better than 'slighlty better than SD' I thought it might be an upscaled broadcast but it was most defitely not HD quality. Can you confirm whether or Waterloo Road was actually broadcast in HD? There was no logo/DOG up.

  • Comment number 9.

    I said at the time, Criminal Justice was the wrong programme to highlight PQ issues on POV. It's interesting that out of all the complaints it received, POV picked a Criminal Justice one, which can be explained away as an 'artistic' issue, rather than a technology one.

    Does anyone think POV picked that particular complainer on purpose?

  • Comment number 10.

    #9, derek500, , Mike (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/profile/?userid=14181406%29 who was the POV complainer, is a professional photgrapher and he was well aware of the 'look' that they were trying to achieve with CJ. My understanding of his complaint is that he was making the point that the challenging nature of the material was let down by the PQ, that's how it came across to me. I know he has some interesting things to tell about further contact with the POV team, and others, which I hope he might share here but I won't steal his thunder.

  • Comment number 11.

    How's this for a letdown?

    http://img340.imageshack.us/g/cjwalk7.jpg/

    Once again, frame captures of the bitstream.

    Plenty more where they came from. Posterisation, macroblocking abound. But this is the worst seqence I've found so far since it's movement that really kicks it off, and there isn't much movement in the episode I have!

    When Danielle says she thinks the show was fantastic, I seriously wonder what she is watching it on. Well, this is the the raw data before our TVs get hold of it. There *are* some beautiful shots in the programme--so long as no-one moves.

  • Comment number 12.

    For comparison, a shot with no movement. The hair looks a bit strange but that is because it is an interlaced frame, and this wouldn't be apparent in a live picture. It seems obvious to me that this is what the director wanted, but not the above.

    http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/8593/cjcontrol.jpg

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for the blog Danielle, but theres one thing your bbc hd viewers are asking for and is just not getting - Picture Quality issues to be acknowledged.

    Why will you not admit there is issues with picture quality and admit there is issues with low bandwith???

    I just dont get why you have to be in denial when everyone who posts on here is telling you there is an issue.

    There simply is not enough bandwith on the channel and no matter how much BBC HD think they can ignore it and fob off viewers it simply will not go away.

    The Quality is dreadful. Its like watching upscaled SD, something I did not spend lots of money on new tech for.

    The channel cannott cope with the ammount of bandwith allocated and im sure deep down you realise this.

    If you are in no position to sort this out and get the bandwith upped, then why not put a request in to axe the channel then let the SD channels to be at a decent quality. At the moment the channel is just a total waste of time and bandwith.

  • Comment number 14.

    Danielle,

    Thanks for your blog.

    I am at a loss as to why you will not acknowledge that there has been a degredation in picture quality on much demanding material.

    Undemnding material is indeed OK from my POV, but we still are seeing problems with gades/mixes and indeed any complex footage.

    I am concerned that the BBC management consider the complaints to be made by a minority of, sorry for lack of a better phrase, "techy geeks" who are not representative of "joe ordinary" who doesn't notice any problem.

    I hope that you commissioning further work on this subject is not indicative of the BBC going out to do some market research in an attempt to show "most people" don't see a problem.


  • Comment number 15.

    "I've launched some further work around this - not because I believe there is a problem..." Which of course begs the question, if you don't believe there is a problem, then why waste time and money on the work?

    Of course there is a problem. Are you saying all of the posts on the HD Quality blog are wrong? What is baffling many of us is why you won't admit there's a problem. Denying the obvious ruins your and the BBC's credibility.

    If your commitment is only to the current "HD Lite" service that the BBC is currently offering, then please say so and we can all move on. Those who want proper HD can then decide if they think it is worth paying Sky for their service.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Danielle!

    Really appreciate your comments. It's nice to know theres someone working so high up that clearly is actually listening to what we say, so thank you!

    To anyone who is constantly moaning about DOG's, picture quality, this that and the other... get over it! DOG's are part and parcel of digital TV. You think a barely visable small BBCHD logo is bad, try watching TV from around the world, where in some places half the screen is an advert!

    And if you're REALLY that fussed about the picture quality, go back to watching it in SD. I personally am still thrilled watching anything in HD, no matter the bitrate, it still looks alot better than SD. Just give the guys a break and understand compromise, and more importantly, that things don't happen overnight. Jeez...

    To everyone who works on the BBC HD channel, thank you for providing it, thanks for the content, thank you for Top Gear in HD, and thank you for still being here several years down the line, where most people would have just given up.

    And praying for F1 in HD still... Someone call the FOM and get Bernie to turn on his hearing aid and listen! lol!

  • Comment number 17.

    The fact Danielle wont acknowledge there is picture quality issues shows why BBC HD requires a new boss at the helm.

    Maybe someone to show Danielle the ropes???

  • Comment number 18.

    Last one on Criminal Justice, for now at least.

    Here's a sequence of seven frames. There is blocking on frames 2,3,5,6.

    First, a slideshow version

    http://img263.yfrog.com/slideshow/webplayer.php?id=cj1.jpg

    The hosting site resizes them to make it quite hard to see, but you can click on frames to (eventually) get full size versions, where it is obvious. Frame 5 is the worst.

    A gallery version. Again the host interface is a bit awkward for getting the full sized versions.

    http://img263.yfrog.com/gal.php?g=cj1.jpg

    This is similar to the pattern I've seen on other programmes, and posted a sequence of in the picture quality blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/09/picture_quality_on_hd_a_respon.html?page=2

    see post 735

  • Comment number 19.

    @ 17, I think the BBCs credibility was lost some time ago by constant denials from BBC HD.

    If they have no interest in quality then I just dont understand why they dont save funds and scrap the channel.

    Something is seriously wrong with BBC HD from the top with management right down to the technical issues.

    Just who is going to sort this channel out???? Well no one it appears.

  • Comment number 20.

    For the interest of F1 fans, a HD satellite transmission feed from Abu Dhabi has been identified today so the stated intent of filming this race in HD seems to have come about.
    It is a shame therefore it is not being shown.
    However it at least gives hope for next season.

  • Comment number 21.

    The fact is Danielle, the picture quality of a majority of programmes have suffered, as you may have read from the blogs. This should be your priority to the viewers, otherwise whats the point of the channel. You can churn out all the variety of programmes for the channel to suit peoples choices but if the fundamentals of picture quality are not in place, what is the point. Better of watching it in SD. Disguise it however you want, let the viewers eye do the talking.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well after 884 complaints and one and a half months Dannielle has finally had time to make a post. Unfortunatly there is absolutly nothing in this blog we did not already know. In fact it is just a regergitation of all the complaints of the last 4 months. I think the word "fustrating" is rather and understatement many of us are furious at the way the BBC treats licence payers. How can you justify being out of the office for one and a half months and handling other issues when there is such an uproar about the most pressing problem which is picture quality. The posts already show that the blog readers are already fully aware of what the current issues are we don't need another blog to remind us how bad things have got.

    We understand that you are not a technical person and I would not hold that against you. How long does it take to read a technical log? My guess is certainly less that half an hour. I would expect that your role in dealing with technical problems is to make sure there was sufficient resource to fix the problems in a reasonable time. In fact the BBC should have a "Technical Quality Plan" to manage technical problems. It now begs the question as to why it has taken the BBC so long to fix the sound problems. I understand that the BBC pays below the market rate for technical people, may be the rates need to be inceased in attract higher quality staff. May be there are too few technical staff or they don't have sufficient test equipment. Certainly you need to look at adding more redundancy into the sound system if quality standards are not being met. I do know that Dolby Sound is a much more complex and so I would expect that sound quality management is much more difficult.

    We do understand that BBC HD is a much more complex system to manage but you have had over three years now to sort the problems out. I do think more money needs to be made available for HD.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ok now to the BARB figures which are available here:

    http://www.barb.co.uk/report/monthlyViewingSummary?_s=4

    Obviously the BBC get much more detailed figures but what we see here is very interesting. As you can see the viewing figures for BBC HD are not only apawlingly low. Even worst they are actually decreasing and this is while the number of HD viewers is increasing. Sky now has over 1.6 million HD subscribers which must mean about 3 million viewers. What is even more interesting is that there was a sudden drop in August. It seems to me that this may have 2 causes. Firstly the BBC HD is mainly a repeats channel and so it might be we have come to the point where people have seen the programs before and don't want to see them again. The second reason may be fantastic drop in picture quality we saw on the 5th August. Maybe people don't bother to switch over to BBC HD if they can't see any difference in picture quality.

    I dont understand the comment "which must make it difficult for BARB to keep pace". It looks as though you are blaming BARB for the low viewing figures. It would be useful to know what other "sources of information" you use to evaluate the channels performance and if they show anything different from BARB.

  • Comment number 24.

    I just find your defence of Criminal Justice incredible but I suppose your were a journelist in a previous life. Well HD_fan428 has just posted the photographic evidence unless of cource you are saying that the director deliberatly wanted us to see codec artifacts. I think you should show these photos to the director and see if that was really what he intended. I have seen thousands of films but I have not seen any that looked like Criminal Justice. "film look" my foot just more journelistic gobbledygook. In fact this point is more serious. Poor codec quality also has an impact on artistic freedom. Directors are going to have to make sure that actors only move slowly, panning and zooming must be very slow. Fading and transisions must also be at a very slow pace.

    You say that picture quality is a big concern for "some". Well this is just not true. The whole point in spending money on an HD box is to get better quality pictures. If picture quality was not a concern people would just stick with SD. "Looking though technical and audience filters that we are in good shape" more gobbledgook. Danielle you need just to take away all the filters and look at the photos and you will see what a complete mess the BBC is in.

    "not because I believe there is a problem". Yes well I guess you are the only one in the world who is right, the photographs are fakes, what we see on our televisions are just optical illusions of artifacts, and the viewing figures are a figment of our imagination. The Emporers new clothes comes to mind.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick, why is there no "complaint about this post" link for Danielles blog???

    The blog insults many many viewers and should be removed. You remove posts from viewers for very little yet let the head of BBC get away with a very insultong blog.

  • Comment number 26.

    #23 The 320,000 (estimate)or so Freesat HD homes are the only captive market now for BBC HD. With Virgin's 700,000 homes now getting more HD channels along with the 1.6m Sky HD homes, the extra HD choice must be affecting BBC HD's viewing figures.





  • Comment number 27.

    I don't think there is any reason why Danielle should be technically qualified to run a TV channel. The problem is that this is a channel that is reliant on new technology and her defence of Criminal Justice "to the hilt" is just plain odd. And then there's the new series of Spooks this enjoyable film like TV that really by any measure of
    commonsense be filmed in HD. Things do not seem to be going at all well at the moment but I wish her luck in sorting it out. I do believe you should be judged in how you solve problems so ahe should be given a chance.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 26, I think we all know the real reason not many watch BBC HD and why the ratings are getting even worse and its nothing to do with the increase of HD content on sky.

    People are just sick of the lack of HD quality on BBC HD and Viewers are protesting with their remotes.

    Even some TV stores have turned BBC HD off in my area. Why do we think that is hey????

  • Comment number 29.

    The Emporers New Clothes Part 3

    HD Programmes and Schedule

    Of the new programmes mentioned by Danielle only Top Gear would be of interest for me. As has been mentioned before Top Gear has some superb photography and would realy benifit from HD. Most of the programs I watch are only in SD. These include Spooks, Have I got News for You, New Tricks, and Question Time. The scheduling problems is mainly due to not having simulcast channels. One thing I do hate is when the scheduling for a series is changed mid series. The BBC should get rid of some of the stupid rules like only alowing 20% sport and films and not permitting things to be shown on BBC HD before the SD channels. Showing more sport and films would be better than the continuous repeats.

    Navigation

    Again most of the problems would be solved by simulcast. I wonder if something could be put on the EPG to show that a program will be available in HD.

    Freeview HD

    I personally think that Freeview HD is a route to disaster. There is an old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Freeview HD is going to be transmitted at a much lower bit rate than on Satellite and so will have even less definition and more artifacts. Although many people might buy Freeview HD equipment will they bother to turn over to BBC HD to see a picture no better than that on SD. The declining viewer ratings for BBC HD is not a good omen. I wonder if Channel 4 and Five and maybe ITV will withdraw from Freeview HD. It would not be financialy viable for them to transmit HD to such small audiences. Transmitting on Sky would make more sense as they would get a cut of the HD subscription fee. Freeview HD is also limited to just 4 or 5 channels and so HD red button services are out of the question.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Danielle, thank you for your post.

    Is there any update on F1 being in HD next year please?

    Is there also any news on whether BBC HD is going to provide full coverage of The Winter Olympics? Coverage will run from roughly from 4pm - early morning. 4pm will be needed for a round up programme whilst looking forward to the coverage that would start at 5pm on that day.
    Will a second channel be created to provide overspill coverage?

    http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-schedule-results/
    The times are 8 hours behind the UK.

    If there is no wish to switch the transponder to DVB-S2 can't a second channel or red button HD stream be set up and the transponder as it is now and be allowed to run on a stat-mux rather than fixing the bit-rate of the channel?
    A second channel could be created on the transponder for now, a further improvement would be to remove 1 or 2 of the MPEG2 channels that would share the transponder with the 2 HD channels.

    In the future when the transponder is finally changed to DVB-S2 will BBC HD be able to secure all the slots? In 2011 BBC News, CBeebies, CBBC and BBC Sport will be at new broadcast centres that will be fully HD equipped.

    Now that the studios for Have I Got News For You, QI and the Graham Norton show are either available in HD or soon will be will these shows be soon shown in HD? TV Centre is also getting another studio upgraded on top of 2 studios now having the ability to host HD equipment on top of the 3 that already produce in HD.
    With more content this should boost the viewing figures for the channel.


    As for the BARB ratings securing the BBC HD logo on programme trailers and the websites of these programmes will hope boost the number of viewers as well as securing separate TV listings for the channel.

  • Comment number 31.

    Apart from flicking the odd show on to see if the quality has improved, I just dont watch BBC HD anymore. The quality is awful and with the way us viewers have been treated from BBC HD management, there is just no reason to watch anymore.

    Im sure its not the case but with the comments made by Danielle, lack of answers to questions, and the awful quality of picture, It really does feel that BBC HD are trying to make as many viewers turn off as possible.

    BBC HD is a total PR disaster.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just caught a look at Emma and its clearly not HD. Why are BBC showing upscales????

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    Woof.

    Sorry is my dog getting in the way of your blog.

    Having said that, yours is getting in the way of my picture.

  • Comment number 36.

    Could I make a suggestion please. I'm not a mod or anything but is there any chance posters could make their point in a single post like myself and not keep repeat posting? I really don't want to have to scroll through over 800 posts like the last blog. We all know how angry we are but posting multiple times isn't going to help our cause.

  • Comment number 37.

    You have your style others have theirs, each to their own. Happy reading.:)

  • Comment number 38.

    Post #20: There is no HD feed for Abu Dhabi, the information you have received must be incorrect.

  • Comment number 39.

    @wednesday83,trevorjharris and paul_geaton

    BBC HD has already mentioned they have the right to show the Olympics outside of the 20% rule.

    Perhaps BBC HD is preparing to create a second red stream HD channel in MPEG-4 for events like the Winter Olympics and music festivals and The World Cup where people want lots of live coverage or HD replays and highlights. There is room to fit it on even if the 2 MPEG-2 streams are left on the transponder, though removing at least 1 would be better.

    This would be feasible if they can't upgrade to DVB-S2 now. The red button stream wouldn't always be running so BBC HD could enjoy the extra bit-rate when the extra stream isn't working.
    Most boxes now allow you to record of a interactive stream as it would be unlikely to get approval for BBC HD to launch a second channel.

  • Comment number 40.

    I do not see the point of HD. It is technologically profligate and there are far better ways to broadcast.

    Here is one way:

    I would like to see only live programmes broadcast live - everything else should be transmitted to local data storage and then only once.

    Your 'schedules' would then consist of a list(aka the schedule) of programmes including live broadcasts and programming held locally on the local data storage device (large hard disc) in the viewer's home.

    This would maximise efficiency (and could also be put together so as to include adverts for commercial broadcasters.)

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 41.

    The images of Criminal Justice I posted in #11 and 12 above seem not to be working at the moment. As there is likely to be an increase in interest in this topic after Danielle Nagler's appearance on POV, here is an alternative site. You have to click the image twice to get a full size version with the correct aspect ratio.

    http://www.mypicx.com/11012009/BBC_HD_artefacts/

    Pic 1 from post 11 shows gross digital artefacting; pic 2 from post 12 shows what CJ can look like as long is there is no movement. Personally I think that *does* look fantastic, which makes the problems all the more lamentable.


  • Comment number 42.

    Danielle,

    I cannot believe that you and Andy do not agree that the PQ has fallen dramatically since the introduction of the new encoders and the bit-rate reduction. Andy implies a financial reason for the reduction. So if BBC is serious about supplying the best quality HD why not reduce costs elsewhere.

    Millions are being spent on i-player and www.BBC. I am not sure in my own mind that they fall within the core remit of BBC broadcasting but I resent licence fee money being spent on them at the expense of the BBC producing and broadcasting PQ that is second to none. I would suggest that the majority of licence payers watch BBC on a TV rather than use i-player. www.BBC is available to the world – free of charge. Why?

    Can I suggest that all regional TV is restricted to terrestrial so that all the regional BBC channels on Satellite can be utilised for HD No problem with bandwidth for you or any of the five terrestrial broadcasters for exceptional HD TV and you may make savings.

    Have just checked the football, it is SD+. On the basis that BBC is unlikely to improve I have ordered Sky. The documentary's that I watch usually make their way there at some, I hope the £10 per month will be worth it.

    Roger Watkins

  • Comment number 43.

    The football looked very decent indeed when there was no movement, it did struggle tho with fast panning shots and did not cope well with the rain.

    A little more bandwith and I reckon it could have been stunning. A shame BBC HD dont want stunning HD.

  • Comment number 44.

    @wednesday83

    It did look good in HD though it could have been better like you say.

    Would you agree if BBC HD launched a second channel via the red button for events like the Olympics on the transponder and allowed the bit-rates to stat-mux things would look better?
    Would be even better if at least one of the two remaining MPEG-2 channels was moved.

    And when the red stream is not working BBC HD would enjoy even more bandwidth.

  • Comment number 45.

    Football did look good today. Please tell me the Newcaastle v Boro game will be in HD.

    Nice Blog Danielle thanks for all the new programmes in HD. An intersting insight into what a 'Highly Paid Executive' does.

    Will post later on your many comments.

    Can anybody explain what is happening in Defying Gravity It is enjoyable but very confusing, I am lost?



  • Comment number 46.

    @John_from_Hendon

    Sky already has such a service and it is called Sky Anytime. Part of the Hard Disc is reserved for these programs. At present freesat is just an EPG and does not have its own dedicated transponder space other than that required for the EPG. There is already a service provided by Topup TV on freeview but not in HD.

  • Comment number 47.

    I did watch some of the football today. Motion problems were very evident even slow paning reduced everything to a blur. There was very bad blocking when they had close ups of runing footballers. During some of the fades and cross fades the picture completly fell apart. The match was shown with more zoom than Sky. I assume this was to compensate for the lack of definition but this unfortunatly made the motion blur more evident.

  • Comment number 48.

    Danielle, there are 2 ways ahead for you now, as I see it.

    1) Ride out the storm of protest, it'll go away eventually - some are already doubting that PQ is worse than it used to be, as people forget. Transmit an HD lite service on both freeview and satellite/cable and sell it as "great quality" SD pictures. Settle for mediocrity, and save loads of money.

    2) Get "management" to permit an upped bit-rate on satellite and cable, return PQ there to previous levels (with new encoders it should actually become stunning), simulcast as many SD series as possible, advertise HD furiously before all SD broadcast, have HD listings in all newspapers and tv guides, get people to watch HD as preferred option over the other 4 channels, have current users and new converts rave over the quality of BBC HD on your blogs, POV and other forums, negotiate for F1 coverage in HD next season, ensure at least 19.9% of your progs are films and sport, watch as sales of freesat boxes and BARB ratings soar, adopt Andrew Knight's ideas for additional HD channels. Bathe in glories of having turned around a failing channel, driving it to become the Premier BBC channel, and accept responsibility for having led the drive for all BBC channels to be transmitted in HD.

    Take your choice!

  • Comment number 49.

    Re: my #48, I forgot to add. As people comment here, perhaps they might like to add whether they personally believe option 1) or 2) is the better policy. I suspect some will prefer option 1) but the majority would prefer option 2). But please let her know whether I'm right.

    I'd also encourage all those lurkers out there, many of whom have been in touch with me by email to get yourselves a BBC ID, and let Danielle know your opinions. It's all well and good telling me, but she's the one who needs convincing. Should she go for the mediocre SD lite option 1), or blaze the FTA HD trail by adopting for option 2)?

  • Comment number 50.

    of course, above, I meant to say: SD+ / HD lite option 1), or blaze the FTA HD trail by adopting for option 2). Get voting.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's Danielle's POV appearance next and interestingly the head of drama is on too.

    It looks like the whole PQ debate may fobbed off with the 'gritty BAFTA' Criminal Justice production methods and not the real reason.

  • Comment number 52.

    Please stay on topic. The plot of Defying Gravity is off topic.

  • Comment number 53.

    One area that you and your colleagues constantly ignore is those of us who use Computer-based "Home Theatre" systems.
    Apart from the decreased picture quality, the BBC HD's recent encoding changes have rendered BBC HD unusable for many who use these systems.

    Queries about this from fellow enthusiats have received the now "standard" reply that you intend to support Freeview, Freesat and Virgin and Sky. Implicitly therefore you aren't interested in those of us who access BBC HD via other means.

    Given that those of using "Media Centres" do so via perfectly standard Satelite receivers I find this lamentable.

  • Comment number 54.

    #46. trevorjharris wrote:

    "Sky already has such a service and it is called Sky Anytime. Part of the Hard Disc is reserved for these programs. At present freesat is just an EPG and does not have its own dedicated transponder space other than that required for the EPG. There is already a service provided by Topup TV on freeview but not in HD."

    Yes, I knew, maybe I should have said so.

    But what troubles me is that all broadcasting is not moving towards the same system as it is technologically more efficient (i.e. programmes are broadcast/downloaded once and can be 'repeated' many times - the adverts opportunity that this technology could provide is also I think important. (vis. adverts could be tailored for each postcode for example giving rise to more focused sales - you could be offered adverts fro things you were interested in for example.)

    Instead we are moving to HD with its profligate use of bandwidth when most of use do not have HD eyes! The other problems with HD relate to the limited bandwidth that means that compression artefacts tend to become more annoying and more obvious - programming sold as HD are often little better than SD as the actual bandwidth used for transmission is too limited and this inevitably generates compression artefacts.

    Personally I would like to see more stories and programming made rather than fewer HD programmes. Much of broadcasting is in fact dominated by the heavy iron already purchase technology in the equipment warehouses of the broadcasters. Many of the latest HD amateur cameras are more than up to producing the same if not better technical quality than those used for origination by the major broadcasters. The amateur cameras may lack sufficiently robust plugs and sockets, but that is about all.

    Freeview has shown that viewers are quite content will quite low bandwidth TV material so long as there is a good story told. HD is a technical solution looking for a viewer need.

    I would like to shoot in 4K (I'd love a 'Red One' camera and all its associated bits! - I also used to like shooting on 35mm - all that 'feel of film guff') all the time and edit on huge computers, but the audience is quite content with low data rate TV (1-2 gigabyte an hour or even less) providing the story told is of interest. It used to be a technical requirement in analogue days that quality was lost in the edit process, but this is (essentially) not the case today, but the mindset of the broadcasters is still in this analogue world - they (incl. the BBC) need to get up to date!

  • Comment number 55.

    #54 Slightly OT, but Sky1's 'The Take' was filmed on Red One cameras and the PQ was absolutely stunning. It's programmes like that make Sky HD head and shoulders above BBC HD. There are too many 'just OK PQ' HD dramas on BBC HD.

  • Comment number 56.

    #55. derek500 wrote:

    "There are too many 'just OK PQ' HD dramas on BBC HD. "

    The reason for this is the same as the big film studios being essentially warehouses of heavy, huge (and old) iron with accountants (quite rightly) insisting that they must actually use the less optimal technological solutions if and unless they are not already fully depreciated. The BBC is the same - Resources needs to use the equipment it already has. This is also why HD 'has' to be deployed - like it or not!

  • Comment number 57.

    It is good to see another blog Danielle and some of the new content mentioned looks good and you know how we are all waiting for Top Gear to be in HD. Lets hope that F1 productions see sense and release a HD feed so that the BBC can show the sport in even better light.
    I do hope that you take viewers complaints seriously with regards to picture quality as it is not just a small minority now who are complaining and is getting more widespread coverage with an article in my local paper about HDTV and quotes from local Sony & Panasonic dealer saying how customers should get Sky if want HD as BBC quality has been reduced and how he used to demo with BBC HD but no longer

  • Comment number 58.

    I’d like to add my name to those complaining about the BBC HD PQ since August.

    I invested a significant sum in a flatscreen TV and Freesat PVR in order to watch HD, and whereas the pictures once had a WOW factor, I now find that I usually have to look for the BBC HD dog to know whether I am watching an HD channel !

    To say that I am furious is putting it mildly.

  • Comment number 59.

    I note that you say "We know that programmes work best for you when we show them at the same time as the standard definition channels"

    This coming Sunday (8th) we have the next set of programmes in the excellent "History of Scotland" series. This is produced in HD, and the earlier episodes were all transmitted on the BBC HD channel. But they are not being shown on BBC HD. In fact, I can't find them on the BBC HD schedule at all.

    Why is Scotland treated differently when it comes to BBC HD content?

  • Comment number 60.

    @paul_geaton

    You raised the question over wether it would be better to transmit SD at the bit rates the BBC now is using for HD. It is true that for every bitrate there is an optimal resolution to give the best perceived visual quality. It is worth looking at ITV West Country which is transmitting 704x576 pixels at between 5380 and 9529 Mb/s with an average of 7083 Mb/s with mpeg4. The reason ITV did this was because it wanted to use it as a feed for one of its analogue transmitters. There are very tight quality standards for Analogue television and so it could not use the usual low bitrate digital signal. So this gives us some idea of what a higher bitrate SD would give. My guess is that the optimum resolution for 9 Mb/s Mpeg4/avc would be about 1280x720 25 fps. Unfortunatly this is not an EBU standard but it would result in less visual artifacts.

    There is another aspect to this disaster I have not mentioned and that is 3D television. 3D television is very sensitive to artifacts. The reason is that the artifacts would be different in each eye and this would make viewing very painful. Unless the BBC find more bandwidth 3D will be a no go area for them. Sky does not view envisage 3D as a norm for television but just reserved for special programs.

    The choice that Paul puts forward is a difficult one We are already seeing retailers pushing Sky for HD and the sales figures are prooving them right. The BBC HD viewing figures are actually dropping and so it is going to be more difficult for the BBC to justify spending money on HD. Freeview HD will probably push Sky sales even higher particularly if retailers demonstrate them side by side.

    One of my main concerns is the protected rights that the BBC enjoys. As I understand it BBC and ITV will share the world cup so this means we will be forced into watching it in poor quality HD. I believe that the protected rights rules should alow other quality broadcasters to simulcast these events.

    As for POV I watched it yesterday and I found it was very superficial so I don't expect anything from this. I expect Danielle will say everything is wonderful but it may make some people to think twice before going the Freesat HD way.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ derek500 Re post 9

    May I post the 'script' of my POV contribution:

    "Last week Criminal Justice received praise for its cinematography. For BBCHD viewers this was ruined by the recent 40% bitrate reduction and new encoders losing the directors vision under a veil of poor encoding.

    Currently programming such as natural history that had been spectacular is now just good, the good average and the challenging mediocre.

    BBCHD is mandated to match or exceed industry standards, it is visibly failing in that duty"

    I was minded not to hang a complaint on one particular programme but used the praise from the previous week to illustrate the problem with BBCHD in general. And for Ms Naglers information as a photographer I totally got the 'look' of that show, and have subsequently been in contact with the production house that graded it. So please Danielle don't be inferring my complaint was due to the colour grading.

    It is in the channels inability to render that directors /producers intent in an acceptable manner in the case of many high profile dramas that problems lie. Macro-blocking and bad movement prediction in low light scenes was yet again apparent in Garrows Law last night for example.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 "My guess is that the optimum resolution for 9 Mb/s Mpeg4/avc would be about 1280x720 25 fps. Unfortunatly this is not an EBU standard but it would result in less visual artifacts."

    I disagree that it would result in less vissual artefacts. If all the BBC channels were at 1280x720p25 then every BBC broadcast would be juddery, jerky and have strobing artefacts, and the BBC would get loads of complaints, probably especially from sports fans, but also from people who like any programme genre but don't want a picture that strobes, judders, and has bad motion resolution. Also for many programs with less motion they'd probably be better off with full HD (1920x1080).

  • Comment number 63.

    Having invested more than £300 of my children's inheritance (makes me sound as if I'm on Dragon's Den!) in Freesat kit, I sat back to be immersed in "exceptionally clear, crisp pictures with vivid colours and up to five times more detail than standard definition" (BBC's own words).

    I then realised that I had made a monumental blunder, because this service obviously hasn't started yet.....

    Seriously, I'd like to add my support to Paul's campaign for Option 2. Having lurked here, like so many others, for some time, I vainly hoped that the issue would have been resolved, but all there is is a BBC wall of silence, with an astonishing display of arrogance in the refusal to acknowledge the existence of a problem.

    The number of times that I've heard "Is this supposed to be HD?"

    Looks like I'll need to buy BluRay if I want HD, as I would feel like a traitor by giving money to Sky.

  • Comment number 64.

    The F1 coverage on the bbc has been fantastic and i was wondering are the bbc going to broadcast the whole 2010 Formula One season in hd. ?

  • Comment number 65.

    Scheduling Update re The Radio Times Website.

    Sunday 15th November

    BBC 1 6.00 Countryfile BBC HD 6.00 (Life Repeat)

    BBC1 7.00 Doctor Who BBCHD Countryfile

    BBC2 9.00 Top Gear BBCHD Garrows Law


    What an absolute mess do you try your best to annoy people, Danielle?

    To say that I am furious is putting it mildly. What is the point of producing Doctor Who and Top Gear in HD if you dont simulcast and cant even be bothered to show them on the same night.

    Will The Open 2010 be simulcast I wonder or be shown 3 days later when we know the result.



  • Comment number 66.

    So you modded two of my comments that said woof.(33 & 34)

    The third made reference to the dog, you neutered the point of third post by removing the other two.

    The woofs were in the top left hand corner of each post...... get it?
    You know like the BBC DOG.

    Do you look before you leap in to moderate posts?


  • Comment number 67.

    Re Paul Option 2 please.

    It is purely Arrogant and Patronising to do a blog and claim there is no problem with PQ. There is a problem please just be honest and admit it. There are noise problems, artefact problems ( HD should have no artefacts) and movement problems.

    I recently shot some home video on my HD camcorder at 4.20 in the evening in poor dusk time light of my daughter playing on a swing in a playground. It was perfectly clear, no noise plenty of depth, sharp colours and focus, things that are sadly lacking on most of the BBCHD transmissions.

    How are Andy & Danielle watching programs I wonder are they at home watching the final transmitted picture via satellite or a studio feed.

    I am coming to the conclusion that the only way to get proper HD is to pay SKY a very sad state of affairs.

    Hang your head in Shame Danielle.

  • Comment number 68.

    #53: Regarding BBC HD suddenly not being available on computer-based 'home theatre' systems, I think there might be an important issue of principle here. When did it become part of the BBC's mandate to exclusively support proprietary standards rather than internationally agreed open ones for image and sound reception? Is this even within the terms of the broadcasting licence? Or is that not what is going on here?

    A pointer in the right direction from the BBC or anyone else to this genuine question would be appreciated. I know there are efforts being made to close the freeview epg, and they haven't even gone through yet, but this seems an issue of a different order.

  • Comment number 69.

    Re post 52 Nick

    My comment about Defying Gravity was trying to bring saome humour to this blog. What a serious person you are.

  • Comment number 70.

    @IanMax1

    Actually the BBC claim that it is "up to five times more detail than standard definition" is a lie. The BBC transmits 1440x1080 and standard definition is 720x576 and so that is only 3.75 times but that does not take into account the loss of detail caused by the new encoder.

    If you want HD blu-ray will give you the highest quality pictures and sound. I don't know why you should feel a traitor for going to Sky. Without Sky we probably would not have any HD broadcasting in the UK.

    @HD1080

    Sorry I should have said 1280x720 interlaced 25 frames per second. My point was that the BBC should reduce the resolution to suit the bitrate.

  • Comment number 71.

    They could change to a different format depending on how difficult to compress a particular programme was at a particular bitrate.

    eg. A talk show or news programme at a low bitrate might look best at 1920x1080 (even 1920x1080p50).

    Football or something else that was difficult to compress with a low bitrate might look better broadcast at 720p50.

    Or they could increase bitrates so all programmes would look good, including at 1920x1080/50i or p.

  • Comment number 72.

    My HD camcorders generated 24Mbps 1920 x 1080 50i or 24p AVCHD Most of the 'professional' HDV cameras generate 24Mbps 1920x1080 50i. So in theory my cameras is quite a bit better as AVCHD is a more efficient compression technique than HDV.

    Why are the broadcasters kidding us by transmission low resolution HD (less than 1980x1080) when they record in a higher resolution? This transcription process to an inferior HD resolution generates the artefacts that many posters complain about.

    (I have some little experience in this: I do use a tripod or so and have jibs and a dolly and rails and a steadicam and multi-camera when required, but I seldom use them - bit much for domestic use these days but apart from a crane and aerial shots I can do almost anything that so called professionals can and I have a suitable edit workstation and can use it - Oh, and boom and radio mikes and access to professionally written original music when needed and when not I am a bit of dab hand at manipulating midi files and transcribing the parts myself. I do like a proper script and storyboard before starting. The 'talent' and crew (and I) do not get paid much - more likely to be a free meal or so! I hate the noise of their rumbling stomachs! I have even used a foley artist in the past. And I have some lights too..., but I do not have a sound stage and that is the difference! I even started shooting 16mm film!)

    Now, the point of all this is that almost anybody capable of organising a day out at the races can make television these days so why is so much of it so expensive and also so poor and repeated so many times? It is only story telling after all. The pictures are still better on radio!

  • Comment number 73.

    #65 The advance BBCHD schedule is often wrong.

    Countryfile, Doctor Who, Antiques Roadshow and Garrow's Law will no doubt be simulcast and Top Gear will get the 10pm slot.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 67, "How are Andy & Danielle watching programs I wonder are they at home watching the final transmitted picture via satellite or a studio feed."

    The question now has to be how are these people still in a job at BBC HD??

    I think both Andy and Danielle know the quality is a disgrace, they just don't seem allowed to admit it.

    Not only is the HD channel awful, but the SD channels are getting gradually worse. BBC viewers are just getting treated like dirt and are in a total loose loose situation. But what do BBC managers care, they get paid no matter what.

    I actually feel sorry for Danielle because I think she thought if she ignores the issue we would go away. WRONG!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    #65 "Scheduling Update re The Radio Times Website....What an absolute mess do you try your best to annoy people, Danielle?"
    #73 "The advance BBCHD schedule is often wrong"

    My question to Danielle on this issue is why is the advance BBC HD schedule so often wrong? In this particular instance she's known since at least 22 Sep that she planned to show Top Gear in HD on 15 Nov, she told us so herself.

    And, we can see that she's hardly fully committed to solving just the PQ issues, she's told us that too. So, along with all the other Head of HD duties that keep her busy, can't she check these advance schedules herself just to make sure that her staff aren't letting the side down and giving us duff information?

    Or, is that not the case at all. Might it actually be correct in the Radio Times. Perhaps TG is not actually going to be shown at all that evening on HD, either Simulcast or at 2200. Perhaps I was right when I predicted exactly that scenario here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/09/top_gear_on_bbc_hd_from_novemb.html

    Danielle, you saw the phenomenal response you got to your Blog about TG. You know we're all looking forward to it. You owe us a comment, right here, right now, telling us the truth. When is TG actually going to be on in HD, date and time. And if the answer is as a Simulcast with the BBC2 transmission on 15 Nov, then explain please why the Radio Times are getting something so fundamental wrong with only 2 weeks to go!

  • Comment number 76.

    "I've launched some further work around this - not because I believe there is a problem, but because I want to make sure there is not"

    It's not going to be a fair investigation if you've already made your mind up. Perhaps it should be conducted independantly.

  • Comment number 77.

    @48

    Paul, your two options are somewhat simplistic extremes. Especially when you play them out how most things tend to work in most work environments.

    1) Wait for the users to stop complaning - of which all but the most vocal minority will.

    2) Try to persuade Upper Management, Finance, etc to change their minds. Which they very rarely do.

    Now obviously #2 is the preferred option, quality wise.

    Problem is, you're combined two options each of which would be both an improvement and a challenge. There are obviously issues with simulcasting stuff. They seem to have their hands tied on when they can broadcast vertain things (rights/restrictions that I fully disgree with, but that TV has to work with)
    And trying to get them to insist on both more freedom of scheduling/simulcasting at the same time as upping the bitrate... well, that'd be a near-impossible sell.

  • Comment number 78.

    Radio Times website now showing Doctor Who on BBC HD at 7pm followed by DW Cofidential.
    Why can't they get it right first time!

  • Comment number 79.

    #75 I would be surprised and annoyed if Garrow's Law was bumped out of its simulcast slot for Top gear. I'm sure TG will get the simulcast slot from November 29th, unless Garrow is replaced by another BBC1 programme in HD.

  • Comment number 80.

    Into The Storm:

    Great cinematography, subtle colour grading, maybe not the very sharpest of images but rich in detail, and a significant lack of all the macro blocking issues in low light scenes that have plagued other recent dramas. There was a scene on the roof during an air raid that would have gone to pieces normally of late.

    I presume this is because of its film based content?

    If all drama looked like this there would be much less to make complaints about.

  • Comment number 81.

    In reply to TiggsPanther

    1) Wait for the users to stop complaning - of which all but the most vocal minority will.

    Yes there will be a turnover in complainers but remember the number of HD viewers is increasing. When they realise how poor BBC HD is they will join the complainers. If you look at this blog there are quite a few new names joining over the last few weeks. HD picture quality has been the number one blog for months. The BBC has a policy of self denial which is antagonizing alot of licence payers.

    2) Try to persuade Upper Management, Finance, etc to change their minds. Which they very rarely do.

    Well the real killer here is viewing figures. Danielle takes these much more seriously than peoples complaints and she reads them every day after all her job depends on them. Senior management will start to ask questions as to why the BBC HD viewing figures are decreasing when the market is increasing.

    Watched Garrow's Law last night and I found to to be about the same quality as some of my DVD's.

  • Comment number 82.

    # 81 To be fair, the latest BARB reach figures are pretty good. w/e 18/10 1,169,000 viewers over the week. Same period last year only 432,000.

    Top rated show we/e 18/10, 'Life' 251,000. SDC 153,000.

    Last year. w/e 09/11 (first week tops 10's available, SDC top with 96,000.

    But it still means only about one in five people who can receive BBC HD watch at least once a week.

    I noticed a 'green button' on BBC1 via Sky for Jimmy's Food Factory. I pressed it, but only gave me the option to record the BBC1 version, not the HD one.

  • Comment number 83.

    wednesday83 - another warning from me to cool it please.

  • Comment number 84.

    #78. Grafix wrote:

    'Radio Times website now showing Doctor Who on BBC HD at 7pm followed by DW Cofidential. Why can't they get it right first time!'

    This might have been due to the fact they have been keeping the transmission date of the Doctor Who special 'Waters of Mars' very quiet and have only just announced it.

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 85.

    My first post here. I only hope that the picture quality has improved vastly by the time Doctor Who broadcasts, I've been waiting for it to broadcast for ages now . .

    I agree that the picture quality in BBC HD has dropped vastly since the change in encoders etc, as some put it the 'wow' factor has definately disappeared, and I do find myself wondering if it is actually the HD channel I am watching sometimes. For me I noticed a big difference in the picture from the first broadcast of Torchwood during the summer and a repeat after the change in decoders, there was a vast difference the picture was not nearly so clear or vivid.

    I too have been reading the blog comments for sometime, and yes I also feel the complaints are being ignored or at least the drop in the picture quality not being acknowledged, so I felt I had to register and have my say.

  • Comment number 86.

    Re Doctor Who and Torchwood.

    A cynical friend of mine has suggested that the excellent quality of Torchwood when first broadcast and recorded on many peoples STBs would have reduced sales of dvds and blurays. He expects Waters of Mars to be poorer quality picture-wise and sees the recent reduction of quality as a form of 'Soft DRM' to fuel sales of discs by BBC Worldwide and other rights holders.

  • Comment number 87.

    @86 I doubt it's to increase sales of Blu-ray for BBC Worldwide and other rights holders. The most watched programmes on BBC HD are not available on Blu-ray. See:

    http://www.digitalproductionme.com/article-1452-hd_not_just_about_sport_and_film_bbc/

  • Comment number 88.

    I would love to see spooks in HD.

    I think its a great entertaining drama and was disappointed that the latest series doesn't appear to be in HD.

  • Comment number 89.

    #80

    Into the Storm was shot on 35mm. Excellent HD transfer with vivid colours and good detail and no problems with dark backgrounds.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 Spooks is shot in super 16mm, a format that the BBC won't transfer to HD.

    Incidentally, next week's stripped weekday 9pm drama on ITV HD, Collision, was shot on 16mm as I believe is Doc Martin. ITV have a different policy. Doc Martin is certainly lacking, but still a lot better than SD.

  • Comment number 91.

    I don't expect this sort "spin" out of the head of BBC HD.
    Its broken fix it!
    I have given up on switching over to BBC HD from BBC SD.
    BBC HD has just gone down hill in the last few months.
    I am not interested in bitrates and encoders I just expect the BBC to get it right.
    Maybe its time for a strong investigating journalist to do a "Whats happened to BBC HD"
    But put it on SD or else I will miss it!

  • Comment number 92.

    @ Nick Reynolds, Can you please tell me how I can complain about Danielles blog??

    This post is HUGELY OFFENSIVE to BBC HD viewers and as you seem to not like me making negative posts about the head of the channel who has posted this, maybe you could explain how to complain about the blog. Just reading some of the comments in the blog make me want to vomit.

    Also as well just watching Athletico Madrid vs Chelsea on Sky Sports HD3 and this picture is excellent - This is how to produce HD foootball. BBC HD take note.

  • Comment number 93.

    Above, @dgbrennan recommends "when it's broken fix it". I concur, and I'm very glad to see that you've already taken swift action to fix the Radio Times advance schedules for the evening of 15 Nov, as I requested at #75.

    Because you have done so, and so quickly, I'll forgive you Danielle, for not admitting to, nor apologising for, the earlier wrong schedule by way of a comment here.

    And, of course, I'm also pleased to be proved wrong about a delayed start for HD showings of TG.

    Would you do the same with the PQ now please, i.e. quietly and swiftly return it back to previous levels? I'm just about to turn on Ray Mears on BBC HD, where I'm hoping to find some stunning pictures.

  • Comment number 94.

    #92, wednesday83, chill please we don't want to see you banned from airing your highly emotional views here! Just complain to Danielle in an email sent directly to her. BBC email adresses always end in BBC dot CO dot UK and have the first and last names separated by a dot. If you're not happy with her response you can take it up with the BBC Trust. Scoobie regularly posted details of how to do that in the PQ Blog.

  • Comment number 95.

    Thanks Everyone for all the comments and updates on my schedule post No 65

    The Schedule now looks like this for Sunday 15th November

    6-7 Countryfile (also BBC1)
    7-8 Doctor Who (also BBC1)
    8-9 Doctor Who Confidential (Also BBC3)
    9-10 Top Gear (also BBC2)

    4 Simulcasts in a Row, a record I think and throw in

    3-4.30 BBC Switch Live ( also BBC1) and we have 5 simulcasts in one day !!!


    9/10 Danielle, you would have got 10/10 if you had come on here and apologised for the error and directed us to the new schedule.

    Do you think our posts made the difference. Perhaps we can get 'The Lady who is not for turning' to turn on Picture Quality.

    Roll on the 15th November.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sky boxes have to ability to change the output definition. As a trial I set mine to 576 lines and watched Garrow's Law and guess what it was not possible to see any difference to 1080i. You don't suppose the BBC made this in SD and just upscaled it. They could save alot of money by doing this. They wouldn't do something like that would they?

  • Comment number 97.

    I dont think we should get too excited about top gear in HD just yet. Unless BBC HD team have a change of policy and aggree to up the bandwith, then its probably going to be a big let down.....

    Come on Danielle , you know you want to up the quality lol.

  • Comment number 98.

    "@ 96, You don't suppose the BBC made this in SD and just upscaled it. They could save alot of money by doing this. They wouldn't do something like that would they?"

    Well the Electric proms certainly appeared to be an upscale so I wouldnt put it past them.

  • Comment number 99.

    #95 What's happened to episode three of Garrow's Law, which is currently simulcast in the 9pm Sunday slot?

    Digiguide still has it at 9pm.

  • Comment number 100.

    For a friend, please see my FOI webpage (http://www.zen97962.zen.co.uk/%29 for some graphics he's produced on Bit-rates. Credit too to his source at http://www.LinowSat.de/ (thanks @LinowSat for your site which even Andy Q finds "interesting").

 

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