December 31, 2007
I'm at a loss to explain this, especially given the fanfare and promise of the BBC's Head of Sport when the Beeb's HD channel was confirmed (quoted here).
December 30, 2007
Just been reading about Damages starring Glenn Close and Ted Danson, too. Starts on BBC HD on Sunday Jan 6 at 10.15pm. Radio Times says
Acclaimed American legal drama following a ruthless lawyer's class action suit against Arthur Frobisher, an allegedly corrupt former company CEO. Alleging that he encouraged his former employees to buy the company's stock, only to then sell his own stake after the inflation of the share price, she and her junior associate work to build the case against him regardless of the consequences.
So, is it any good? The American critics raved and it's nominated for four major Golden Globes:
- Best Television Drama Series
- Best Actress in a Television Drama Series - Glenn Close
- Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie - Rose Byrne
- Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie - Ted Danson
December 29, 2007
Over the Christmas period the following have all been missing from HD whilst we've been treated to repeats aplently on BBC HD;
- Doctor Who
- Oliver Twist
- Sense & Sensibility
- Ballet Shoes
- The Shadow of the North
December 27, 2007
It’s difficult to know who are the more disappointed with Channel 4 HD – those who don’t have the new channel (Virgin Media customers) or those that do (Sky HD folk). The poll run on this blog received almost 300 votes from VM customers with the vast majority (92%) voicing their disappointment at the absence of the channel from the VM line up despite launching on Sky mid-month. In fact, almost fifty voters sited it as the final straw and have decided to opt for Sky HD, whilst less than 10% declared themselves “not fussed”.
However, a quick look at the Sky HD forums will prove that the other man’s grass ain’t always that much more colourful. Check out the threads here and here: much disgruntlement with the paltry amount of actual HD currently on C4 HD – films apart, there is frankly bugger all HD at the moment. Sky customers say the upscaling is better than the upscaling their boxes do on Channel 4, but we know already that the V+ makes a better job of that than a Sky HD box.
So until Channel 4 start broadcasting in HD, Virgin Media customers ain’t missing that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be complaining about the lack of the HD programmes than the lack of the entire channel, but anyone thinking of shifting to a dish just for C4 HD should perhaps take their time before making any expensive changes.
But come on Virgin – what’s going on with HD services on cable??!
December 24, 2007
The promise of more varied programming and longer hours isn't evident in the first days of 2008's schedules, with a weak diet of HD repeats and precious little to excite. Broadcasts start at ... 8pm. Bloody hell. Very disappointing.
So make the most of the next week or so, which features many of the HD highlights of 2007 in their entirety.
Happy Christmas to all fans of this blog - here's to a lot more HD on Virgin in 2008!
ps Fans of Ghost Whisperer should now find 17 episodes from season one in HD under TV Choice on Demand. Not consecutive episodes, but what did you expect?
December 20, 2007
Anyone anticipating a scintillating HD extravaganza on BBC HD whilst recovering from the previous night's celebrations is going to have sore disappointment to add to their sore head!
January 1st's schedule features The Electric Proms (yet again) and then five hours of highlights from the worthy but counter productive Live Earth concert.
At 8.10pm the second Lara Croft film is shown in HD - hardly a classic. A truly dire day's offering is salvaged by Terry Gilliam's excellent Twelve Monkeys at 10.10pm. Phew...
Channel 4 begins broadcasting in high definition next month but there are still far too few HD broadcasts to satisfy those of us who shelled out for the new Sky boxes last year. Happily, the BBC is simulcasting Cranford on its HD channel. So it should. It was shot not only on HD but an expensive HD variation called Genesis. The result is that when an interior is lit by candles that really is all it is lit by. But HD does not work for everything. The BBC’s Oliver Twist was going to be shot on HD but has reverted to celluloid. Those famous chase scenes looked blurry, I’m told.
December 19, 2007
Almost all US shows from the last few years will be in HD, but the BBC only show a handful (Heroes, Medium, 3lbs) and Channel 4 show fewer these days - Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives are the only ones I can currently think of (Scrubs seems to be E4 only these days and even the mighty Earl seems destined to lose its C4 slot after poor ratings for season two). With the writers' strike in Hollywood hitting hard and it looking like most US shows this season will be restricted to around eleven shows each, HD content is going to be very thin on the ground.
Thinking about it, Five would probably have the most HD as it shows a lot of US stuff now. Maybe the next channel to be simulcast should be FiveUS?
December 18, 2007
New Year's Eve is a mainly music day, with an afternoon of "highlights" from the Concert for Diana, which is preceded by some Tales from Beatrix Potter, especially for those who enjoy prancing frogs, bunnies and ducks. Be still my beating heart. More of the usual concert repeats in the evening, Electric Proms and Later to the fore, topped off with the movie Girl with the Pearl Earring.
December 16, 2007
- Ugly Betty
- Conquest of Planet of the Apes
- Knights Tale
- The Long Ships
- Breakfast at Tiffanys
- Scissor Sisters at the Dome
- Changing Lanes
- Keane at the Dome
- Sky Capt and the World of Tomorrow
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- League of Gentlemen - Apocalypse
- The King
- Sexy Beast
- Motorcycle Diaries
- An American Tale
- Amy Winehouse @ the Bush
- Night World
- Mika live in Paris
- Golden Voyage of Sinbad
- Home Alone 2+3
- Bridge on the River Kwai
- Vice Versa
- Golden Child
- Fantastic Four
- Harry and the Hendersons
- My fake body (doc)
- The Dish
What I find amazing is that, apart from the stuff in italic (which is almost all live music shows) there's nothing there except films. Very disappointing if you ask me - I would have expected a lot more genuine HD content given the prestige of it being the first of the main channels to simulcast in HD. Let's hope they add considerably more before we get the channel on VM.
It may be now broadcasting twelve hours a day, but BBC HD are hardly pushing the boat out with new material over the Christmas period :o(
On Friday 28th it's all day Bleak House. Now don't get me wrong - I loved Bleak House - but every episode back to back in one sitting? Why couldn't they broadcast something like the new productions of Oliver or Fanny Hill in HD, rather than BH yet again? They look like they're shot in HD.
Anyhoo, for those interested it starts at 1pm and runs through to 9pm. It's followed by the film of Alan Bennett's The History Boys and a repeat of the Extras final episode.
Saturday 29th ain't much better. All five episodes of the Gryff Rhys Jones' Mountain are shown from 1pm, then it's Robin Hood, Norah Jones is session, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Kill Bill vol one. And the obligatory Jools Holland Later to round off the evening.
Has the BBC really got so little HD content to show? Or are they saving it up for a bigger launch of the channel early in the new year? At the moment, the extra broadcasting time is hardly being used to the maximum. Of course, over on satellite it's not much better - Sky One HD is mainly Simpsons and repeats of the Hogfather whilst Channel 4's HD content on the new channel is primarily films and Ugly Betty. I still think the BBC has the best HD programming around, I just wish they'd show more variety and get us out of this wretched Bleak House - Torchwood - Later repeats cycle.
December 14, 2007
1.45 Carmen (opera)
4.25 Cranford (all five episodes)
9.25 To the Manor Born
10.25 The Jackal (Bruce Willis remake)
1.15 How We Built Britain (six episodes)
7.15 BBC1 Sessions - David Gray
8.00 Top Gear: Polar Challenge
10.25 A Little Later - Coldplay
10.40 Billy Elliot
New to HD (except the films) in bold
December 12, 2007
4.50 BBC1 Sessions - Corinne Bailey Rae
5.30 Carols from King's 2007
6.45 Coast: From the Air
6.55 A Little Later - Arcade Fire
7.00 Pride (movie)
8.25 A Little Later - Snow Patrol
8.30 Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
10.45 Kaiser Chiefs Live at Doncaster
11.10 A Little Later - Paul McCartney
11.20 Shrek the Halls (animation short)
11.45 Later with Jools Holland
11.20 The Wind in the Willows (Matt Lucas, Bob Hoskins et al)
2.40 A Little Later
3.00 The Queen
3.10 Carols from Kings 2007
4.25 Romeo & Juliet (Prokofiev's ballet, not the Zeferelli film)
6.45 A Little Later - KT Tunstall
7.00 The Electric Proms
8.00 Beyonce Live at the BBC
8.30 Strictly Come Dancing
9.30 Darcey Bussell's Grand Finale
11.55 Later with Jools Holland
That highlighted piece is simply not true: only Brothers & Sisters was available in HD, and then it was 99p an episode (Channel 4 HD is a free channel). Making false statements like this seriously undermines Virgin's credibility (and that of Digital Spy - don't they verify these statements before publishing them?). Pretty poor show all round...
At least the BBC's HD schedules are looking good for Christmas, with the broadcasting hours extending to 12 hours rather than the promised nine for Christmas Eve. More details to follow
December 10, 2007
A few HD tidbits appearing in TV Choice on Demand today - The Ghost Whisperer Season One (episodes 1, 2 and.... 5). As this a continuing storyline series, it does really make you despair that VM can't stick consecutive episodes up rather than this pathetic haphazard approach.
From the Digital Spy thread it looks like the launch has not been without some issues - sound dropping, etc. Still, it would be nice to have those kinda problems ourselves...
December 08, 2007
* Strictly Come Dancing Special. Simulcast with BBC One.
* Extras Christmas Special. Eagerly awaiting in the Nialli household. Simulcast with BBC One.
* After You've Gone - Simulcast with BBC One.
* Jam And Jerusalem - From BBC One.
* The Green Green Grass - Simulcast with BBC One.
* To The Manor Born - one-off 60-minute special return of the "classic" British comedy. From BBC One.
* The Queen's Christmas Speech - in HD. SkyOne are making a big song and dance about them having this in HD, but Virgin will have it too.
* Festival of Nine Lessons And Carols . Simulcast with BBC One.
* Jool's Annual Hootenanny - welcoming in the New Year on the 31st. Simulcast with BBC Two.
* Romeo and Juliet - Kenneth MacMillan's adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy. Simulcast with BBC Two.
* Tales of Beatrix Potter - Royal Ballet performance, simulcast with BBC One.
* Darcey Bussell's Farewell Performance - Bussell's series of farewell performance at the Royal Opera House. Simulcast with BBC Four.
* Carmen - Francesco Zambello's production of Bizet's opera. Simulcast with BBC Two.
* La Fille du Regiment - broadcast of Donizetti's comic opera. Simulcast with BBC Four.
* Vienna - City of Dreams - Writer and presenter Professor Joseph Koerner explores Vienna during its Golden Age. Simulcast with Four.
* Wainwright's Walks. From BBC One and BBC Two.
* Wonder Boys
* Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (simulcast with BBC One)
* The Santa Clause Two (simulcast with BBC One)
* Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
* The History Boys
* Girl With A Pearl Earring
* Kill Bill Volumes One and Two
* Billy Elliot
* Twelve Monkeys
* The Jackal
Diana - Last Days of a Princess
Hotel Babylon episodes 2 - 8
Planet Earth: episodes 1-5
The Blue Planet: Frozen Seas
The Blue Planet: Coasts
The Blue Planet: Coral Seas
The Blue Planet: Frozen Seas
The Blue Planet: Open Oceans
The Blue Planet: Seasonal Seas
The Blue Planet: The Deep
The Blue Planet: Tidal Seas
The Innocence Project 1-8
Rick Stein and the Japanese Ambassador
Filmflex HD (all £4 unless mentioned)
Arthur & the Invisibles
Gone in Sixty Seconds
The Painted Veil
"Hidden" HD Programmes
Check under the TV Choice On Demand High Definition
Criminal Minds Season One 1 - 22 (exc. 7, 17)
Day Break 1-12
Grey's Anatomy Season One 1,2,5,6,9,10
Lost Season One 1-25
Check under the TV Choice On Demand A-Z
Dog Fight 2 episodes
Engineering an Empire 3 episodes
Lost Season Two 1 - 24, missing 12 and 21 and 3 is listed at the end! The full season is listed in SD, btw
Mega Movers 3 episodes
December 04, 2007
December 03, 2007
Anyway, highlights this week:
Monday: more Bleak House; the Monarchy thing, Silent Witness, Twenty thousand streets under the sky
Tuesday: documentaries ahoy, mainly repeats but with Earth: the Power of the Planet as a real gem in HD
Wednesday: the conclusion of season one of Heroes!
Thursday: Electric Proms, the marvellous Cranford and the not-as-marvellous Who Do You Think You Are?
Friday: Glastonbury (Manics), the Green Green Grass, the Tudors, Not Going Out, The Visit, Lead Balloon and Later
December 01, 2007
Press the Home button to access the On Demand Home menu.
Under 3. Movies On Demand there's no specific HD category, but the HD versions of around a dozen of the Filmflex films are listed in 7. All Movies A-Z next to the SD versions. They are normally £4 a pop, 5op more than the SD ones.
I can't be fussed to go through all the Music On Demand listings, but there may be some HD content in there; I've never noticed it though.
in 5. TV Choice On Demand select 9. More>. Under 1. High Definition you'll find Lost Seasons 1 and most of 2, some episodes of Grey's Anatomy and the first seasons of Criminal Minds and Day Break. For some reason, most are currently listed twice but they'll sort this out. The same programmes are listed in 2. A-Z alongside their SD equivalents (where they exist) plus there's some documentary programming like Mega Movers and Dog Fights (full details here).
Finally, there's the second listing of HD under 6. More On Demand in the Home menu, option 2. High Definition. This is where you'll find five pages of the BBC HD stuff (which gets changed pretty regularly, albeit subtly), the FilmFlex HD stuff all together, the lone Music On Demand offering and some 4OD Pay TV in the form of Brothers & Sisters.
Hope that helps. Virgin say they're adding more each week (and so far they are good to their word, though we all want MORE!). Still no word on the Channel 4 HD simulcast which is now imminent on Sky HD, nor any Channel 4 HD on demand.