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Welcome to Selkirk, West London

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Andrew Bowden Andrew Bowden | 08:37 UK time, Friday, 7 November 2008

There's a new addition to our office in West London. Sat in front of a green glass screen, where everything is surprisingly dark and difficult to photograph, is another part of the country. Selkirk in fact.

Well okay, the television of Selkirk to be accurate.

As we're in London, we don't normally get to watch Scottish Freeview, however Selkirk has today begun the process of switching off analogue TV. To support this, we've had to set up a whole batch of new systems and servers, which will later be used for other regions making the switch too.

But how do you test that your new systems are working correctly, when in another part of the country? Well thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it's possible to watch Scottish Freeview in London. As long as you're in our office anyway.

As the sign above the Selkirk TV set says "You are Here. (The rest of us are 300 miles in this [southern] direction)".

Andrew Bowden is a Senior Development Producer for the BBC Red Button Service.


The following comments were originally posted on the BBCi Labs blog

At 7:52pm on 07 Nov 2008, Hymagumba wrote:

I had to talk my mother through doing a full rescan on her Philips DTR220/05 yesterday. Apparently the automatic rescan had trouble with the moving of the BBC Mux to the new frequencies.

Do auto updates on boxes only scan the existing tuned mux frequencies? If so was this communicated in all the bumf sent out to residents?

At 9:56pm on 08 Nov 2008, alanjrobertson wrote:

Can we get more details? - was it a redirected feed from the transmitter or just the output from a digibox in the Borders sent via Slingbox to London? ;-) What sort of things were you using it for?

At 10:15pm on 09 Nov 2008, Andrew Bowden wrote:

Hymagumba - it depends on the box. Some when rescanning wipe everything off, and some don't. There's so much variety that it's almost impossible to capture every scenario.

alanjrobertson - there's hopefully going to be a more detailed post from one of my colleagues, however it's not a Slingbox!

Previously feeds were sent to the BBC's regional centres, and then local programming was inserted there and then packaged up and sent to the transmitter.

For areas which have undergone Digital Switch Over like Selkirk, there's a new setup. The local programming is sent to London, it's inserted into the broadcast there, then sent to the transmitter.

Because the transmitter feed is now generated in London, we can get a copy sent through to the office.

The main reason we have it is to test the differences in configuration between Selkirk and the rest of our services. The content is the same in both set ups, but the infrastructure is completely different so in theory something could go wrong in Selkirk and, if we couldn't keep an eye on it, we'd never know.

At 7:10pm on 10 Nov 2008, alanjrobertson wrote:

Thanks for the further explanation, Andrew - it's interesting to hear the extra details. I suppose the Slingbox would check the final bit of the system to make sure the feed coming from London is definitely reaching the homes in the Borders ;-) (although I'm sure you'd have heard quickly enough if there were any problems!)

At 10:49pm on 10 Nov 2008, Andrew Bowden wrote:

It's always useful to be able to check every link in the chain. Mind you, I'm not entirely sure where we'd be able to put a Slingbox in the Selkirk area!

At 10:40pm on 11 Nov 2008, iainsmithuk wrote:

How about BBC Selkirk? ;-)

At 10:17am on 12 Nov 2008, Andrew Bowden wrote:

Ah, I didn't know we had an office in the area - the BBC has a lot of them dotted all over the place and you kind of lose track of where they all are.

At 11:38am on 13 Nov 2008, Sue_Aitch wrote:

Ooh, now you're tempting me, Andrew!

Go to www.royalmail.com, Log in and Register.

Go to Find a Postcode and then click on detailed search,

Go to the Business Name Field,

Insert British Broadcasting Corporati
the field won't take the on but knows what you mean: there are Eighty Five Postowns including Selkirk ...

Click on Find Postcode

Try it this again with BBC in the Businss Name field and get 52 Postowns, some of which are also in the British Broadcasting Corporati list.

BBC Workplace is aware of the Royal Mail site.

'Course, bt.com and yell.com throw up variations on these official addresses.

At 11:08am on 18 Nov 2008, st599_uk wrote:

My Parent's Philips device needed a factory reset in order to see the new services.


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