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Old 11-08-2005, 06:31 AM   #1 (Print)
Sneals2000
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BBC HD announcement

According to MediaGuardian, and confirmed by reports on BBC News Online, the BBC are going to start full HD trials next year, it is to be announced tonight.

The suggestion is that BBC One will be HD simulcast in primetime - I guess 1900-2200 (between the news belts 1800-1900 and 2200-2235) - and will be carried in HD on DSat and DCab.

The interesting additional announcement is tests of HD via Freeview using "spare capacity" in the London area. Not sure if this means they've found an extra RF channel they can use for a 3rd BBC test mux or something else - but it could mean that we get the World Cup in HD if we are lucky I guess.

I guess this will remain "a trial" until the licence fee is settled as any full-scale investment will presumably be based on a favourable increase...
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Old 11-08-2005, 06:37 AM   #2 (Print)
AMc
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Interesting but how are they going to output HD signals on Freeview and cable?
As far as I know all the cable boxes only have SCART outputs - don't you need component/HDMI/DVI/VGA to get a higher resolution into your HD Ready display?

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Old 11-08-2005, 06:44 AM   #3 (Print)
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Can't speak for Freeview, but Telewest's New PVR is, apparently, HD-compatible. I suppose those people who don't get one will probably need a new STB but I'm sure TW will announce which one they'll use in good time.

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Old 11-08-2005, 08:04 AM   #4 (Print)
Sneals2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMc
Interesting but how are they going to output HD signals on Freeview and cable?
As far as I know all the cable boxes only have SCART outputs - don't you need component/HDMI/DVI/VGA to get a higher resolution into your HD Ready display?


New set top box... It is likely that the Freeview trials will be organised by the BBC, and they will provide set top boxes to a selected group of people. However one would hope that they use the same system as the French are likely to use - i.e. MPEG4 via DVB-T - which would potentially mean a PC based DVB-T + software MPEG4 decoding system or a French set top box might also work.

Similarly the new cable boxes likely to be rolled out by NTL and/or Telewest are likely to have MPEG4 HD as well as PVR capabilities, just as the new Sky HD box will.

Looking at the timescale - it suggests a 1 year trial from mid-2006 until mid-2007. If they then start analogue switch-off in 2008 AND the BBC trial is successful enough to grant them a 3rd multiplex for HD, then a 2008 regional rollout might be possible, with completion by 2012. If the Beeb manage to get an extra frequency for London prior to analogue switch off then that might work quite well - as London would be an exception and get HD Freeview BEFORE analogue switch-off, which would sort of make sense as the Crystal Palace transmitter covers more of the population than any other. (Over 10% I believe)

This could be shared with another broadcaster - you'd be able to get 2 x 12Mbs or 3x8Mbs, HD MPEG4 streams at 720/50p (or even 1080/50i if MPEG4 is improved enough over MPEG2 and 12Mbs used) in a single 24Mbs QAM64 mux, and it is expected that all the muxes will move from 16QAM 18Mbs to 64QAM 24Mbs at the same time that they move from the 2k to the 8k system. (This will render a small number of original ONDigital boxes obsolete - as they are 2k only because they were rushed to market with early chipsets for the 1998 launch)
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:39 AM   #5 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneals2000
Similarly the new cable boxes likely to be rolled out by NTL and/or Telewest are likely to have MPEG4 HD as well as PVR capabilities, just as the new Sky HD box will.

Actually (and this has been discussed at length over on the DigitalSpy Forums) the TW PVR is currently only supporting MPEG2. I have no idea what they're going to do about it when HD broadcasts start. I'm assuming a middleware upgrade won't fix it?

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Old 11-08-2005, 09:43 AM   #6 (Print)
pgogborn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneals2000
New set top box... It is likely that the Freeview trials will be organised by the BBC, and they will provide set top boxes to a selected group of people.

The Freeview/IP box recently announced by BT has been described as HD ready.

As it has got a hard drive, it is also possible to speculate that it could also support the BBC "trickle-down" HD experiments.
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Old 11-08-2005, 10:59 AM   #7 (Print)
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This is the first time that the BBC have publically said that they will be asking the government for more space on DTT for HD.

Excellent news.

Carl - we speak of none other than the cable PVR which is to come after the new cable PVR, whose operational parameters we are not worthy to calculate.

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Old 11-08-2005, 11:01 AM   #8 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneals2000
This could be shared with another broadcaster - you'd be able to get 2 x 12Mbs or 3x8Mbs, HD MPEG4 streams at 720/50p (or even 1080/50i if MPEG4 is improved enough over MPEG2 and 12Mbs used)


The required birate for 720p and 1080i is the same to all intents and purposes.

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Old 11-08-2005, 11:35 AM   #9 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderton
Carl - we speak of none other than the cable PVR which is to come after the new cable PVR, whose operational parameters we are not worthy to calculate.

I'm not surprised. After all, magazine are well-known for being published a month in advance of that stated on the cover

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Old 11-08-2005, 12:35 PM   #10 (Print)
Sneals2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanderton
The required birate for 720p and 1080i is the same to all intents and purposes.


That doesn't seem to be the experience of MPEG2 in the US - where MPEG2 seems to do better with 720/60p at a given bitrate than 1080/60i. It is not a huge difference - but it is noticable by all accounts.

720/60p seems to compress more effectively than 1080/60i - both because it runs at a lower pixel/sample rate (55.3 vs 62.2 million luma samples per second - or 10% fewer) , and because progressive sources compress more effectively than interlaced sources.

AIUI MPEG4 delivers even more savings when using progressive sources.
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