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Obama's inauguration on BBC HD

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Danielle Nagler Danielle Nagler | 12:52 UK time, Monday, 19 January 2009

Hi everyone,

Letting DOGs rest for a moment, I wanted to let you know that BBC HD will be broadcasting Barack Obama's inauguration tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. We tracked down an HD feed, and although some of the BBC News input will be in SD, I hope that you will enjoy the chance to see this historic event with every line of detail. It will be on the channel between 4 and 6pm, with the main event scheduled for around 5pm our time.

Danielle Nagler is Head of BBC HDTV, BBC Vision.


  • Comment number 1.

    Considering the short turn around time in getting this event onto BBC HD would this mean in the future if HD feeds are avaliable BBC HD is now able to obtain access to broadcast them quicker?
    The Australian Open is avaliable in HD on Eurosport HD, would this mean the BBC can use avaliable HD feeds when Andy Murray plays and for any other matches it wishes to cover?

    Will BBC News presenters and/or trailers be telling viewers during and before the broadcast that they can watch on BBC HD?

  • Comment number 2.

    and were exactly are all the web Enabled UK people looking to see this live stream BBC HD AVC coverage directly to their broadband PCs to look and point their URLs too Danielle ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Well just a straight forward thanks from me

    Cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 4.


  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks! Will the DOG be present in it?

  • Comment number 6.

    The inauguration is also in HD on sky arts it will be interesting to compare the coverage. I don't think it would be very difficult to locate a feed you could just have phoned up Sky!.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes, Sky Arts are showing it also. I wonder if the Sky News studio coverage will also be in SD?

  • Comment number 8.

    I believe both the BBC and Sky will be taking the HD pool feed from the EBU, so it's the same pictures.

  • Comment number 9.

    Alleluia!!!! BBC!!!!

  • Comment number 10.


  • Comment number 11.

    That's excellent news! Thanks

  • Comment number 12.

    Thats awesome, can't wait to watch it!

  • Comment number 13.

    hmm, 6 hours to go and still no response reagarding a simple, valid and working BBC HD URL stream for PC users to use from Danielle.

    i take it then, we top end BB PC users are all excluded once again in these once in a lifetime live HD events..... as the BBC cant be bothered to put up a simple server and web page pointing to their live HD feeds.

    its not hard, all you require is a copy of VLC https://www.videolan.org/vlc/
    or MPC/MPC HC

    and a reasonable BB connection to point at a valid generic, open BBC HD URL , and we all have that here as we are reading,requesting, and commenting on this world HD live event.

    OC if you have already payed your HD service charge (DVB HD STBs) to get your BBC feed, your fine, while all the high speed broadband users helping the BBC keep and build their streaming services quota have to make do with antiquated SD content, nice work Danielle, excluding some many BBC web users for no good reason, will you even be archiving and supplying a catchup HD stream download for web users later?, probably not....

  • Comment number 14.

    pippip99, I'd imagine the amount of people with the bandwidth to receive a streaming full-HD service is pretty minimal, so it makes sense that the BBC use their resources as wisely as possible.

    I'd suspect that the overwhelming majority of people viewing via the internet are quite content with iPlayer quality.

    Danielle, on a broader subject are there any developments on getting the BBC Trust to approve longer hours for BBC HD?

  • Comment number 15.

    pippip99: If your ISP multicast peers with the BBC, then you should find a BBC HD stream available at rtp://@ (VLC will play this).

    You'll need about 20Mb/s bandwidth, and not be blocking inbound UDP with any firewall.

  • Comment number 16.

    Time for people to loose jobs at BBC HD im afraid starting at the top.

    Its not nice to say this but its been apparent for some time the people running BBC HD are not up to the job.

    People such as Andy Quested come on here telling us the bandwith is fine and picture quality is fantastic even when at times its clear it is not.

    The Obama Inauguration showed the BBC HD channel for what it has now become - a poor quality channel.

    BBC have no excuses this time on production. BBC are using the same HD feed as Sky News/Arts and Skys HD coverage wins hands down. Skys coverage has far more detail in pictures and far less compression and artefacts than the bbc.

    This prooves the bandwith is not at an acceptable level for the encoders currently in use.

    The BBC couldnt even be bothered to send an HD camera for the presenting team. It was very poor SD.

    Its time for the bandwith to go back up to 19/20 mbps and time for new encoders.

    Its also time for jobs to be axed unless the powers that be take action in upping bandwith and changing encoders.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm glad the BBC managed to buy in a feed. It's better than nothing. 8 out of 10 for effort. The picture quality was somewhat variable though with SD/HD and from different cameras (presumably bought in) on the feed.

    Unfortunately you are likely to get criticised for the studio bits. It's fair cop in my opinion as people have done the same for your rivals when they've only shot studio things in SD and upscaled.

  • Comment number 18.


    Although I agree that the HD bits of the coverage didn't look that great
    (although NOT terrible......and I make that judgement without Sky to compare)
    your continued assumption that it's the end transmission bitrate/encoders is simply wrong!

    Andys been over this again and again.

    Lots of programs with complex movement look excellent on BBCHD without problems such as compression artifacts and noise.

    If there are problems they could be ANYWHERE in the transmission chain.

    Now that doesn't excuse the BBC, I think they could of tried harder with this one.

    BUT with the greatest respect please stop banging on about sacking people. It doesn't help and your technical assessment in my opinion is incorrect.

  • Comment number 19.

    Dear Tagmclaren, Yes many things can effect the quality of picture but sometimes its clear as mustard what the problems are.

    The BBC was using exactly the same feeds as sky and looked far poorer than the sky version. The artefacts on view with the BBC coverage showed the encoders are poor and the bandwith currently used is not sufficient to get stunning pictures with the current encoders.

    We all know Andy has told me many excuses time after time about the poor picture quality but Andy wont criticise the channel no matter what. Everything in Andys eyes seems to look stunning.

    And Yes it is Harsh to talk about people loosing their jobs but if I dont do my job to a high standard Id be sacked.

    A simple increase of bandwith for the time been would resolve many of the bbcs current issues. Once the BBC change to new encoders such as the ones used by SKY then the bandwith could be reduced to what it is now.

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear wednesday83

    It was a shame you didn't enjoy the HD programme as many others did. I am now at a complete loss to even try and understand your comments.

    I have the Sky Arts and BBC HD coverage of the inauguration on my pvr and have watched them at less than 1m on a 50" screen. Other than a few minor difference (we do use encoders from different manufacturers) the HD images are identical.

    I will not comment on the SD pictures as the local bureaux coverage from Sky and the BBC was SD only.

    I am afraid to suggest your posts about the BBC's coverage cannot really be regarded as fair criticism any more.

    We value the comments from there blogs and I regularly post on Digital Spy under my own name where I get a fair amount of flack back but I respect the criticisms and technical comment expressed there.

    I do not think I can say any more to you on the subject of bit rate.


  • Comment number 21.


    The pictures were the same but was the feed?

    Can you point me to the source of your information?

    Were they both using the EBU feed?


    They may have got it from elsewhere.

    Where did Sky get their feed?

    No idea. Do You?

    Who did the standards conversion from 60 to 50Hz?

    The point is we know nothing about how the pictures were sourced or processed or vision mixed before they were broadcast in the UK.

    Blaming the final transmission bitrate and encoders for the very average quality of HD parts of the BBC broadcast is simply jumping to conclusions, especially when BBChd shows lots of programs with complex motion with no problems such as noise and compression artifacts.

  • Comment number 22.

    Amazing to watch the event in HD - really like being there. I guess the BBc crew in Washington was recording all the stuff in SD, because the summary at the end switched back to SD just before the news.

    I was suprised that they let what looked like an amateur photographer stand on the red section of the carpet right behind Obama. I guess 4 by 3 viewers didn't see this twit, but I was surprised someone at Eurovision or whoever was producing the show didn't drag him out of the picture.

    HD may have 5 times the defintion of HD. At events like this it conveys 25 times the emotion. Glad I was able to witness it.

  • Comment number 23.

    I get the impression that the BBC only decided on HD at the last minute and did not have time to set things up properly. They must have realised that Sky was going to make quite an impact with HD coverage.

    I confess that I watched the Sky version as when I tried BBC HD it was upscaled SD.

    It also seemed realy odd that much of the coverage on the news was not even in wide screen when they had a wide screen version available.

    I see there has been alot of harsh criticisim here. This was an historic event which deserved the very best of TV coverage.

  • Comment number 24.

    Danielle - so nice to see you back. ;-)

    Thank-you for the message about Obama's inauguration on BBC HD and the lack of a DOG on the transmission.

    Given your efforts and expressed hopes for BBC HD to grow further over the next year it was regrettable, (although I understand logistics and procedures sometimes do not help), that the HD broadcast was not mentioned in the trailers and on-air announcements by BBC presenters. This would surely have a much greater impact than any DOG and would help in establishing BBC HD as a more mainstream channel.

    That said, I have to agree with other posters here who point to that apparent better HD picture from Sky News via Sky Arts HD. I have read Andy's reply and freely admit to having no specialised or technical ability in this area, but the Sky picture did look better to me. I only switched over to Sky because of the annoying 'chatter' from your presenters during the Yo-Yo Ma / Itzhak Perlman performance.

    Nevertheless, 'Thank-you' both for the broadcast and the heads-up.


  • Comment number 25.

    I wanted to come back on two comments here.

    First, Andrew Knight asks about feeds for other events, particularly sport. I regularly ask the same question and I'm working to get to the point where - whenever available - the BBC takes the HD feed. But doing so is not always cost-neutral at the moment and so - being realistic - even where an HD-feed for events is available we won't always be able to afford to take it.

    Secondly, bigbaddaveb asks about additional hours for BBC HD. We will move up to 9 hours for the channel in March - starting at 4 and finishing at 1am. But I'm also working on what more hours for the channel might look like, and cost, and when that could be delivered. I can't give you a timing at the moment on when that will happen, but promise I'll keep you posted.

  • Comment number 26.

    Andy, did you stand back any further?
    At 1m the quality of either broadcast upclose would look good but the overall picture at a standard viewing distance wasn't as crisp as the Sky broadcast.
    If you have recorded both broadcasts a side by side viewing might show this up.

    Considering the last minute annoucement of BBC HD joining in it seems to have meant that the broadcast chain was weaker than the Sky one, the decision by Sky not to drop out of the HD feed for the duration no doubt held up the view that Sky News HD looked better throughout.

    As for the whole compression issue everyone has to understand the HD team can't just replace the equipment like their commercial rivals without proving the value is worth it. As for the bandwidth going down I guess this is to release it for other channels on the transponder as once again the BBC has financial restraints as well as capacity restraints.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Danielle,

    Thank you for your post and your continued efforts to secure more sport and other programming for BBC HD.

    Can you comment on whether an F1 HD feed was dropped because of cost issues?

    You mention that not all events are cost neutral but could you argue to those who overview spending that BBC HD can't grow unless it provides a more balanced year round schedule of sport?
    Even if you were to only carry the Autumn rugby internationals, upgrade the studios for football focus/MOTD to HD so they can take advantage of the HD material and provide HD coverage of the 10 Championship football games and the 2 legs and final of the Carling Cup the BBC has the rights to from this Autumn it would go a long way to providing a more balanced schedule of sport on BBC HD.

    I have already provided a list of sport that could be shown in HD, in many cases as events don't overlap it should be possible to update the broadcast chain and equipment and gain maximum value by moving them from event to event on a continual basis so that maxiumum value is gained.
    Post #8 for the list.

    Going from a great summer of sport on BBC HD to none has been a let down but understandable with the cost considerations but if BBC HD is to increase its day to day hours hopefully those who review the costs can also see the benefit of an all year round schedule of HD sport along side other programming genres which are broadcast all year round.

  • Comment number 28.

    I should have also mentioned that with so many sports not overlapping as well just upgrading one studio for sport to HD along side the production chain should be feasible.

    The BBC already has one studio set up in HD for entertainment programming which is used continously for Strictly and now for the UK entry for Eurovision and for upcoming shows like Jonathan Ross.

    That would help keep costs down as oviously the BBC doesn't want to overspend when it is planning on moving Sport to Manchester.

  • Comment number 29.

    Wednesday83, tagmclaren,

    Sky sourced their HD feeds from numerous sources, both in DC and NY, and also using the EBU feed from within Europe.

    They were brought in across the pond at various bitrates, via various service providers using various encoder hardware.

    A majority of what came into London was sourced in DC, then sub-switched within the DC bureau prior to encoding and delivery to Osterley.

    Sky did a majority of their own standards/frame rate conversion in London, and even some of the Sky created content from within the US was sourced and encoded at 1080/50i to keep the number of feeds needing conversion to a minimum.

  • Comment number 30.


    Thank you for the information which re-inforces my point that there may have been very good reasons for the pictures looking different and not blaming the final transmission bitrate for all ills.

  • Comment number 31.

    "Secondly, bigbaddaveb asks about additional hours for BBC HD. We will move up to 9 hours for the channel in March - starting at 4 and finishing at 1am. But I'm also working on what more hours for the channel might look like, and cost, and when that could be delivered. I can't give you a timing at the moment on when that will happen, but promise I'll keep you posted." by Danielle Nagler

    This is excellent news that you are sticking to your predecessors timetable to get upto full hours (9hrs). Are you saying you are thinking of even moving beyond the 9hrs in the future? If so that is excellent news indeed.

  • Comment number 32.

    OK Danielle , you didnt want to even consider my PC streamign HD question so heres one you might consider answering....

    Danielle ,given the BBC are moving much of their content creation etc to Manchester, and your talking about 9 hours and more in HD feeds, when might we finally get you transmitting HD AVC on the winterhill (thats the manchester Northwest transmitter and second only to london OC) Transmitters as we were expected to way back in the london HD trials.

    to be clear, the whole NW Granada winterhill were expecting the same trial FTA DVB-T HD AVC BBC transmissions, as london, we didnt get them as expected, as somone didnt relay and turn them on.

    when will we finally get free to air HD AVC DVB-T as per the sat and cable after you have payed the HD TAX for your STB....

  • Comment number 33.

    pippip99 winter hill will get BBC HD in November 2009. The even better news is you'll be getting two other HD channels ITV HD and C4HD too. The exact dates seem hard to come by but the information for HD in the granada region has been available for an extremely long time.

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm afraid Tony you are in the wrong place so I've deleted your comments as they are off topic.

    Try the BBC News Editors blog.


  • Comment number 37.

    I recently bought a Panasonic LCD TV with integrated freesat with high hopes of viewing many programmes in HD.

    I am gutted by the minimal amount of new HD material being broadcast on freesat.

    Perhaps, naively, I expected the majority of new BBC programmes to be available in HD.

    At what point can I expect most BBC dramas to be simulcast in HD and for the constant repeats to be replaced with new programming?

    I feel I have wasted my money on freesat.

    What are the roll out plans to make HD mainstream instead of a specialist side-line?


    Disappointed Dave

  • Comment number 38.


    Post #25 gives an indication that the broadcast hours of BBC HD should increase to 9 hours a day by sometime in March.

    The long term aim of the BBC is to broadcast most of its content in HD by 2012 but producing in HD can be a costly process and the BBC is increasing its content as economies of scale improve and reduce the costs of broadcasting in HD.

    ITV is only providing a minimal amount of HD at the moment and Channel 4 is currently not avaliable via freesat and Five has no HD services. Hopefully these channels will increase output and become avaliable so you can be able to view more programming in HD.

  • Comment number 39.

    @ dave_ash Perhaps, naively, I expected the majority of new BBC programmes to be available in HD."

    I'm surprised that someone has been able to find this blog tucked away, yet was unable to do a bit of research before wasting money on a Panasonic Freesat TV.

    Did you not look at the schedules on www.bbc.co.uk/hd to see what was offered before you bought the TV?

    And if as you say, you expected the 'majority ' of new BBC programmes to be in HD, why did spend so much money on something that only allows you to watch HD off air, with no recording facility?

    It's no fun having to stay up to 1am to watch Being Human in HD, when the SD version was on at 9pm, is it?

    Or having to choose between Lark Rise and Wild at Heart in HD, when with the PVR you could get both.

    Incidentally, I recently bought a Panasonic 43" 1080p plasma and I could have bought a Humax Freesat HD PVR as well and still paid less than the single tuner Freesat integrated TV.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lark Rise with no DOG - wonderful. I do believe that pesky ident is BBCHD's one weakness.

    Also, the pictures in the Natural World programme about the Western Ghats were beautiful.

  • Comment number 41.


    Many thanks for your comments - not...

    I, among many others, will have bought freesat TV's with high expectations of experiencing HD content in broadcast programmes.

    I bought this TV to watch high quality programming during normal viewing hours, as I did in SD on my previous TV (with no intention of doing any recording). The hope was that a large amount of this mainstream programming would be simulcast in HD.

    OK so I didn't research the programming, and now I'm asking for more simulcast output. What's wrong with that if there's a chance that someone at the BBC takes notice?

    I paid £479, so feel I got a good deal for a 1080p freesat TV.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree, I think the BBC sgould output far more HD programming.

  • Comment number 43.

    Danielle, is there any news on when Heroes season 3 is going to start airing again on BBC HD or indeed on ANY BBC channel?

    The show starts up again in the US on Feb 2nd and a quick glance over at RadioTimes.com shows that no Heroes episodes are airing until at least after the 13th of Feb, at which point US viewers will have seen 2 episodes.

    Is the BBC still committed to showing Heroes soon after it's episodes premiere in the US? If they are, then why are there no schedules for Heroes present for at least 2 weeks after it's US return?

  • Comment number 44.

    In defence of Wednesday83 several folks at avforums compared the Skyarts and BBC HD picture quality and they all said that Skyarts picture quality was better


  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Danielle, Unfortunately I missed the Obama inauguration on HD - I was at work (some of us have to). Even if the picture was worse than Sky's, as a few here seem to suggest, I'm glad you actually did put it on (despite the short notice). I'm currently watching the Super bowl on BBC 1 in SD (it's 1/2 time). What a shame you weren't able to track down an HD feed for that. The history making touchdown just before the break would have been outstanding in HD. It's not as if you'd have any simulcast issues as it's on now on BBC1 and you've only got the Preview on HD. An opportunity missed I think. I'm with Andrew Knight on his comments about a bit more sport and really hope that, one day soon, I'll be able to watch some rugby on the BBC in HD. Must get back to the match. TOODLE PIP.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Superbowl on Sky Sports Hd looked stunning. My guess for the beeb not showing the superbowl in HD is firstly Cost and secondly knowing full well that they would not be able to compete with the Picture quality Sky had due to poor encoders.

    Id say the superbowl on Sky Sports HD was possible the best sports HD broadcast ive seen. Simply Stunning.

    Well done Sky and NBC.

    Id thank BBD HD channel but ive just remembered theres nothing in HD to thank them for.

  • Comment number 47.

    regarding the various comments on whether beeb feeds were the same as Sky's - I've found this:


    So at least some of Sky's coverage was using Easynet's global VPN network and their encoder/decoder equipment. Easynet are of course, owned by Sky!

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm not sure if this is for Andy or Danielle but considering now it is possible to fit 4 HD channels onto one transponder using the lastest MPEG4 encolders and DVB-S2 shouldn't the idea of BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4/CBeebies having a HD channel each similar like C4 HD be considered? Each channel would be upscaled for non HD content and HD programmes are added as they become cost neutral.

    There is enough transponder room left for the BBC to make this switch.

    C4 hasn't faced any critism for this approach and considering BBC HD has already met with scheduling conflicts for BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD programming this will only happen more often causing frustration with viewers.

    Also BBC1/2/, 3/CBBC, 4/CBeebies HD could then become the standard channels for the current EPG slots like 101 and 102 for those with Freesat HD,Sky HD and Virgin HD boxes helping to boost viewing numbers of HD content to promote continued investment. BBC HD as a standalown channel isn't performing well in the ratings compared to the same broadcasts on BBC1 and 2 despite the number of BBC HD households being close to 1.5 million and growing.

    The only downside is viewers would have to be reminded to switch back to the local standard definition BBC1 channel or BBC2 nations channel for local content.

  • Comment number 49.

    I agree Andrew Knight. Unfortunately when we've said this in the past we've been considered lunatics.

    I hope the BBC jumps at the opportunity of the 4th HD slot on freeview to launch a second HD channel. I very much doubt they will though.

    Other than that the realisation of the full 9hrs by March is a step forward, as is Danielle considering hours beyond this and Doctor Who in HD is fantastic news.

  • Comment number 50.


    Any chance of getting Radio Times to incorporate the HD logo beneath HD simulcast listings.

    At the moment, there is every chance that people are missing the opportunity to view programmes in HD simply because of a lack of awareness.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi - a big thanks from me! The rugby in HD this weekend was fantastic to see. Please keep showing as many matches as possible. A couple of points: I don't think your advertising is good enough (I didn't even know that it was going to be on until a few days ago - and I was looking out for it); the DOG wasn't really necessary, once I'd switched over to HD I didn't need reminding that I had done so (the picture quality difference was quite obvious) and, finally, Surround Sound would have made the coverage even more special. I'd also like to support the comment (48) from Andrew Knight. What a sensible suggestion, why don't you do it?

  • Comment number 52.

    Further to my post and ropies comments if the BBC did move to 4 HD channels on cable and satellite as BBC1 is the flagship channel this should go on DTT HD first.

    Again for regional programming either it can splice in that programming or tell viewers to switch back to BBC1.
    As ITV has said it plans to only carry an evening schedule of HD on DTT perhaps a sharing arrangement could be worked out BBC HD 2 until the evening unless ITV wants to broadcast upscaled programming during the day.
    And the BBC could also bid for the second slot.

    Overnight on DTT on BBC1 HD and even perhaps ITV HD or C4 HD via borrowing their slots programming from the other BBC HD channels shown in HD could be rebroadcast so people can download them onto a PVR. This would make the DTT service as close as possible to cable and satellite until more room is made avaliable for HD services on DTT.

    The 6 Nations coverage was great this weekend.
    Is there any ongoing news for whether surround sound will be used in the 6 nations or if a deal will be made to screen games in HD from Ireland?

  • Comment number 53.

    Echo the rugby surround sound requests.

    It would really add atmosphere to the great pictures.

  • Comment number 54.

    Also during the 6 nations is there any need to have the BBC HD logo when the BBC logo accompanies the score graphic?
    There isn't any need for two BBC logos during the same broadcast either side of the screen.

  • Comment number 55.

    Hi Danielle,
    It has been quite a while since you have fully updated your blog.
    I know you must be busy but if you are going to do a blog to let us know what is happening in BBC HD land then surely you owe it to us to respond to comments and questions raised ??

  • Comment number 56.

    Indeed, what system is in place to tell us that a blog has been responded to, and by whom? or is it just a case of periodically checking?

  • Comment number 57.

    Ideally we would have an RSS feed of comments on a blog which would automatically update. I think this may be something we are working on.

    Remember that this is a blog not a message board. I know Danielle does read all your comments and I sure she will respond when she's able.

  • Comment number 58.

    Previous post by me and response ;-

    3. At 7:00pm on 14 Jan 2009, KevinW63 wrote:
    Hi Danielle,
    Sorry to be critical but......I would have thought that there was a lot more for you to comment on in response to comments made by HD viewers and readers of your blog.
    Just to cover the DOG issue seems a bit of a token gesture to me.

    Complain about this comment

    4. At 7:18pm on 14 Jan 2009, NickReynolds wrote:
    KevinW63 - I'm sure that Danielle will respond to comments about other things in time.

    But as the editor of this blog I encouraged her to respond specifically to the DOGs issue as it is something that some BBC HD viewers care passionately about.

    This was in response to Danielle`s limited blog update of the 14th January where she only seemed to respond to DOG issues. I thought that many other points were raised in response to Danielles previous blog update of 7th December 08 that have not been responded to.

    Hence my post about when the next blog update is due.

    If a blog is going to be done by Danielle then is it not a reasonable thing to expect a regular update ?

  • Comment number 59.

    Kevin W63 - Having had a look at the post of 7th December I'm not sure if there are outstanding questions to be answered.

    Do you have a specific question?

  • Comment number 60.

    I have not time at the moment to check but there were 47 posts in response to Danielles blog and I am sure there were points raised of which not all were DOG related.
    It seems if my memory serves me right that the only things covered were DOG and the coverage in HD of the US Presidential inauguration in subsequent Blogs.
    The point I am trying to make here is that we are surely due for a blog update .... if Danielle is going to do a blog to `keep us informed` of what is happening with the channel then surely we should be given update as frequently as possible. I know, as I have said before that she must be busy but I cant believe that nothing has happened since early December apart from more DOG issues.

  • Comment number 61.

    Thanks for the HD coverage of Wales v England.

    Its a shame that you could not provide 5.1 sound! (AndyQ: are your team still trying to get this to work for live events? OR have you been defeated?)

  • Comment number 62.

    57. At 12:10pm on 13 Feb 2009, NickReynolds wrote:

    Ideally we would have an RSS feed of comments on a blog which would automatically update. I think this may be something we are working on.

    Remember that this is a blog not a message board. I know Danielle does read all your comments and I sure she will respond when she's able.

    Nick, everyone else can design an RSS feed...why not the BBC. Secondly, how about a quote function? Thirdly, what do you mean "this is a blog not a message board"? - do you mean that this discussion is better served being on a Message Board? (In which case tell the author to go there) OR is it that Blogs do not require a dialogue, merely a "fire and forget" approach from the authors?

  • Comment number 63.

    Just wondering if it's possible to confirm what is going on with Heroes? It ended up a bit of a mess with the HD a week ahead in the first half of the series; wanted to check that is the HD show on Monday the same as being shown on BBC, and this follows straight on from the last episode? Also, why can I not series link it on Sky - are you going to be messing around with the HD broadcast times?

    By the way - who chose to have it competing with 24 on Sky? Isn't that a bit silly? As a public service broadcaster, surely it's not very fair on the public to have 2 premium American shows competing with each other? Lucky I've got Sky+!

    Oh, and PLEASE don't have another series of Survivors. It really didn't get better, it truly has to be one of the worst series I have ever seen. I kept watching to the grim end just to see what might happen.... by then, was at the stage of wanting to give the cast a slap really!

  • Comment number 64.

    Danielle: Please explain your thinking behind the choice of immediate repeats of Life of Riley for the 20:00 slot.

  • Comment number 65.

    Going back to the idea of switching to DVB-S2 and MPEG 4 to fit BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4/CBeebies so they can broadcast in upscaled and HD.

    Surely there would be a good case for this as Channel 4 and several other HD channels that broadcast in the UK have followed this model and continue to add HD coverage as it becomes avaliable.

    The only downside would be the loss of music from BBC HD but it could be broadcast overnight on BBC3 HD or BBC4 HD so people can record it and watch it when they want.

    I understand this would mean the BBC would need to go back to the BBC Trust.
    But surely a plan has to be drawn up of how to switch from BBC HD to BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD and the BBC Trust needs to be explained that like Channel 4 there will be still lots of upscaling on its channels as the BBC moves to HD.
    Even by 2012 when the BBC wants to make all its content in HD archieve material won't be in HD and as the Trust currently says you can't broadcast upscaled content this would mean series as recent as Dr Who wouldn't be able to be broadcast unless the Trust changes its mind on upscaled content.

    Also you mentioned F1 not being able to be broadcast in HD, was this a cost issue?
    Surely many European broadcasters and those from around the World that broadcast in HD like the BBC who have paid lots of money should put pressure on F1 for a HD service.

  • Comment number 66.

    Why no blog entries in over a month?

    Are the questions being asked too difficult to answer?

  • Comment number 67.

    I concur with BikeNutt's inference. As far as I can tell, Danielle has only posted 2 answers this year to over 160 HD comments and/or questions.

  • Comment number 68.

    At 2:21pm on 21 Jan 2009, Danielle Nagler, Head of HDTV, BBC Vision. wrote a response to some points made on a blog.

    Since then not a peep.

    Nick Reynolds, Editor, BBC Internet Blog, tells us 'It's Good To Talk', and 'sometimes you have to go where the BBC people are to talk with them'.

    Well, where's Danielle? We're here, and ready to talk.

    So Danielle Nagler - Come-on down!

    john ;-)

  • Comment number 69.

    @ Andrew Knight

    "Going back to the idea of switching to DVB-S2 and MPEG 4 to fit BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4/CBeebies so they can broadcast in upscaled and HD."

    The trouble with that idea is that the BBC is platform neutral. They couldn't run a different service on DSAT to what they would on Freeview HD.

    Freeview will have one BBC HD channel, the same service as we currently receive on DSAT.

    It wouldn't be logistically possible to have different timeslots on different platforms for the same HD programmes.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ derek500

    The BBC can pledge to match its change on satellite and cable, though cable would still have to be in MPEG2.

    The BBC will have to move forward and broadcast seperate HD channels.

    The BBC isn't platform neutral on all issues currently like interactive streams and BBC HD because of bandwidth issues or iPlayer avaliability which is currently on cable.

    There doesn't seem to be any 'platform neutral issues' with the current version of BBC HD only being avaliable on cable and satellite and with more interactive services being avaliable on satellite and the iPlayer on cable.

    DTT can catch up as more spectrum becomes avaliable.

    The trust will have to review allow upscaling and allowing changes so BBC1 HD can be carried on further BBC HD channels when new spectrum is released.

    The BBC plans to offer the iPlayer in HD so viewers who only have dtt services will still be able to view programmes that would be broadcast on services not avaliable on dtt until more bandwidth became avaliable.

    How will the BBC HD channel cope when 2 or 3 of its channels all have HD content at the same time which will happen in the near future? There has already been a blog on the issue of programme clashes and yet the issue hasn't really begun. Clashes and complaints will only increase.

    The technology is now there for the BBC to fit 4 HD channels on satellite and cable can carry 4 as well. Channel 4 has shown that upscaling can work as a temporary fix as it builds up its HD content.

    The BBC Trust will have to change its rules on upscaled content ban as otherwise when the BBC does simulcast its channels in the future rather than have BBC HD it would mean shows as recent as Dr Who would not be able to be rebroadcast.

  • Comment number 71.

    @derek 500. Freeview HD will have one BBC HD channel, we know that now, but only for a few days. It needn't have been that way, the BBC could have bid for the other slot. They've missed the boat, I'm thrilled either film4 or Five will get it as it'll shock some of the dinosaurs in the BBC into some action. From 2012 there's a fifth slot available. Start plotting now BBC...

  • Comment number 72.

    @ ropies

    Logically C5 should get the fourth slot, so that all the main terrestrials will have an HD presence.

    Perhaps BSkyB the only other broadcaster shareholder of Freeview should get the fifth slot?

  • Comment number 73.

    Danielle: [or your replacement!] What is going on with Antiques Roadshow scheduling.

    [If you are too busy to post can one of your deputies/ assistants please oblige?]

  • Comment number 74.

    For those interested, it appears there is no Formula 1 scheduled in HD:

    Worse still is that the Highlights will be on BBC3 - with that horrid neon pink DOG...

  • Comment number 75.

    mwbennett wrote:

    Worse still is that the Highlights will be on BBC3 - with that horrid neon pink DOG...
    Nooooooooooooo! Please don't let this be true.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ #74

    We haven't heard back if this is a financial issue yet, Danielle has mentioned the BBC will only source HD material if the cost is minimal to that of a standard feed.
    It would be a shame as surely world broadcasters could negociate together to get F1 in HD as they already pay large sums of money and have HD channels ready to broadcast F1.

    Also Heroes is currently getting publicity on the BBC website but it only mentions BBC Two on the BBC frontpage on the heroes page.
    Surely the front page could changed to BBC Two & BBC HD.

    How are the public ment to know if a programme is avaliable in HD if even the publicity on the front page only mentions BBC Two.

  • Comment number 77.

    Eeek. Where has Danielle gone? Seems to be alot of unanswered questions/comments!

    Have to agree with the lack of promotion for the BBC HD channel... the Heroes promotion on the home page (and mentioned in the above post) "Tonight at 9pm on BBC Two" is just the latest example.

    On the subject of Heroes, looking at the listings it seems the HD channel will be falling behind an episode. Usually we're in sync with the BBC Three airings, but it looks as if they are now only simulcasting with the BBC2 showing.. meaning i'm (and others) are going to be a week behind with discussion/chat about the latest episode at work the next day (unless that it, we watch in SD on BBC Three). So again, it seems, that as time goes on the BBC HD channel takes yet another step backward!

  • Comment number 78.


    If you look back through these blogs you will find a considerable number of people complained about the BBChd simulcasting with the bbc3 Heroes showing and I agree with them.

    Personally I have absolutely no understanding as to why next weeks episode is broadcast an hour later on bbc3.

    Whats wrong with one episode a week? Totally bizarre to my mind. Also, do the BBC pay the rights holder more to do this? I certainly hope not.

  • Comment number 79.


    I simply will not watch BBC3 because of the offensive bright pink DOG.

  • Comment number 80.

    @ Andrew Knight

    "Also Heroes is currently getting publicity on the BBC website but it only mentions BBC Two on the BBC frontpage on the heroes page.
    Surely the front page could changed to BBC Two & BBC HD."

    This is happening all the time. Damages, Mad Men, Nature's Greatest Events among others all have promos that do not mention HD.

    Is this some politically correct decision so as not to upset non HD viewers?

    It would be good to hear from Danielle, as to why her channel is not getting the promotion it deserves.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ derek500

    Reasons would probably include the fact some shows aren't shown at the same time but I would think your right that some would complain that they are paying for a channel they can't watch which used to happen in the early days of digital tv with the extra BBC channels.
    This shouldn't put of the BBC though as the more it is mentioned the more viewers it gets so the more justification there is for the service.
    Afterall HD is the future of broadcasting.
    As people understand how good HD is the critics will just look plain silly as it becomes a standard format.

    It's why the best way forward is for satellite and cable to just carry BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4/CBeebies as seperate channels, and upscale any non HD content like Channel 4 does.
    The BBC can easily fit those on satellite using MPEG-4 and DVB-S2, it can find room to move the current standard channels that share with BBC HD right now to make room.
    Cable also has the capacity for the 4 channels.
    As for freeview BBC1 HD could be carried with other channels content broadcast overnight and made avaliable in HD via the iPlayer until freeview has more capacity.

    The HD channel versions could occupy the normal EPG slots for these channels with a message to change back to the regional version of that BBC1 or 2 channel when regional programming is shown which would be elsehwere on the EPG.
    So that way viewers would always be normally tuned into the HD or upscaled broadcast.

    As more people take satellite or cable in HD the more the BBC can justify getting say F1 in HD as the cost per viewer comes down.

    The BBC Trust should allow the HD channels to be upscaled or in HD like channel 4.

    If the BBC offered those channels in upscaled/HD format HD platforms would recieve a massive boost which would give the BBC more reason to make more programmes in HD which increases take up which gives the BBC more reason to make more shows in HD, it's a positive cycle for the BBC that it should take advantage of to bring HD to everyone as the more people that invest in HD also means hardware costs come down also opening up avaliability to more and more homes so eventually everyone can enjoy the BBC in HD.

  • Comment number 82.

    I wrote to the BBC before Christmas regarding a problem with the way BBC HD is being broadcast which means I (and many others) cannot watch it with my Set Top Box.

    I received a reply from BBC Information (attached below) confirming the fault and mentioning that it would be fixed after the Christmas change freeze, but the transmission is still faulty.

    Please could you confirm that you are still intending to rectify the faulty broadcast which is not in line with DVB standards so that I (and many others) can access the service?


    Dear Sir

    Thank you for drawing this to our attention and we apologise for the
    disruption that this has caused to your reception.

    The BBC does advise viewers wanting to receive our services via satellite
    either to do so using Sky or Freesat receivers. As we do not test
    reception of our services on any other satellite receivers, we cannot
    promise glitch-free reception on receivers not made for the Sky or Freesat

    Nevertheless we do aim to comply with recognised broadcast standards such
    as those from the DVB and we can confirm that our current broadcasts are
    not compliant in the way that you have indicated. You are correct that Sky
    and Freesat receivers are agnostic to this particular signalling and that
    is why this was not picked up in our testing of our coders following a
    recent upgrade.

    We are working with our system suppliers and will aim to correct this
    signalling as soon as possible. However unfortunately this will not be
    until the new year as we are heading into the Christmas 'lockdown' where we
    make no changes to our platforms to ensure they remain stable.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

    ----Original Message-----

    Describe the problem: Recently there appears to have been some changes
    in the way that the Dolby Digital (AC3) track on BBC HD is being
    broadcast. It is causing serious problems with my set top box (Real
    MultiMedia Avantgarde). We have done some analysis and it appears that
    the AC3 track is currently being broadcast in a PES packet stream with
    an ID of 0xc0, which we believe is incorrect. The DVB standard specifies
    that AC3 should be broadcast with a id of 0xbd. Perhaps some other set
    top boxes ignore the id and process the stream based on content, but it
    causes severe problems with mine, including stuttering picture and no

    Please could someone look into this? It happened about a week ago and I
    have never had problems receiving BBC HD previously.

    Also, all of my other channels with AC3, including SKY HD are absolutely
    fine with this system.

    Thanks for your help.

  • Comment number 83.

    In light of the lack of updates from Danielle, should this blog be renamed Andrew Knight o.b.o. BBC HD .... ?

    Surely there must have been something worth Danielle updating us on that has happened in BBC HD land.

  • Comment number 84.

    Over on the DOGs Blog I was making the same point about the lack of updates from Danielle. In response, Nick Reynolds has promised to speak to her, so perhaps she'll be blogging again very soon. By the way, I'm watching Nature's Great Events right now and I think the picture is superb (and it's in 5.1 surround sound too). I was wondering if those who've previously criticised the BBC HD picture quality (wednesday83, etc.) agree. Has it got better recently?

  • Comment number 85.

    Since you ask, no I don't think the picture quality of the channel has improved recently. I think there have been some interesting new additions though - Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections and several Horizon. I'm also glad we're nearly at the 9hrs a day. A lot of the rest of the schedule has become bland for my tastes and like others I think the ball has been dropped a bit on promoting the channel.

  • Comment number 86.

    I have just watched Natures Great Events after recording last nights prog. I think the picture quality was excellent. I did however have quite a few sound `drop outs` in the 5.1 - they seemed to be mainly after the first two thirds of the programme, a shame that this still seems to be happening so frequently.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ KevinW63 and other posters

    In fairness if we all took 1/2 an hour a day around the world to respond to blogs on our work we might never get anything done, or at least a great amount of productivity would be lost.
    But the HD project is big and input from users is important.

    But it would be good to hear about.

    -Technical standards going forward and moving the BBC to a Channel 4 scenario of upscaled content and HD content, and broadcast BBC1,2,3/CBBC,4CBeebies on satellite and cable on BBC1 HD plus over night broadcasts and iplayer content in HD until freeview gets more capacity.
    The BBC Trust has missed the point that even tv series in recent times that will be repeated in years to come haven't been made in HD, does that mean that the future portfolio of BBC channels in HD will never show these shows again?

    -The removal of the dog, even in programmes that still show the dog it should be removed after the first minute of transmission, people already know what they are watching.
    And showing the dog for just a minute at the start of a show should be more than enough to remind them.

    The 6 nations is a good example where the score graphic credits the BBC yet on the other side of the screen there is the words BBC for the second time on the screen.

    -Danielle also mentioned cost issues with obtaining certain content in HD like sports.
    It seems odd for instance that the Autumn internations aren't in HD when the 6 nations are.
    Or that F1 isn't in HD when it could be when the BBC has spent a fair amount on the broadcast rights like other national broadcasters of F1.

    The wider public should know why some events have such little cost difference in HD when others cost more.
    Especially when the BBC pays for these rights.
    For instance if F1 was withholding HD because it wants more money I doubt the wider public would support its cause when the BBC has already paid a fair amount for the F1 rights.

  • Comment number 88.

    I am not asking anyone to spend any particular amount of time per year let alone half an hour a day.
    The points that I have raised about the amount of time since a `full / normal` blog from Danielle is because of 2 main reasons.

    Firstly if someone in Danielles position makes a point of saying when they take up their post that they intend to do a blog. This is done by them of their own free will. However once she has made that public commitment to us, it is only reasonable, in my opinion, for us to expect her to honour that commitment and keep us informed via the blog. If you look at the frequency of her blog entries we can see that they have been less frequent as time has gone by and apart from DOG comments and BBC HD`s birthday & Obamas inauguration there have not been any blog updates for quite a while. I am sure that things must be happening with the HD channel and also feel that response comments have been raised by readers of the blog that have not been responded by Danielle.

    Secondly, no matter who is doing a blog, if it suddenly stops, surely it is better for the author of the blog to see that readers of the blog have noticed and are missing the blog than there to be no comment at all and therefor was it worth doing a blog in the first place.

    If Danielle feels that she does not have timeto update her blog for whatever reason then all she has to is post an update to that effect and then it is up to you and Danielle if it is continued with.

  • Comment number 89.

    The blog hasn't "suddenly stopped" Kevin. There will be more posts from Danielle. But you will have continue to be patient.

  • Comment number 90.

    Kevin - your patience has been rewarded with this new post from Danielle.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

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


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