April 17, 2008

BBC HD Sports coverage

Over in a thread on Digital Spy's V+ forum there's a response from the BBC regarding the recent poor PQ of the FA Cup Semi Final on BBC HD:

Thank you for contacting the BBC regarding the Match of the Day Live broadcast of West Bromwich Albion v Portsmouth on Saturday 5 April.

We acknowledge that the pictures that were broadcast during this match were not up to the high standard expected from BBC HD.

Currently, we believe this was due to a connectivity issue between some of our cameras and the vision mixer. However we are continuing to investigate the issue with our Outside Broadcast supplier to ensure we fully understand the cause of the problem and to make sure it does not happen again.

We assure you that broadcasting the highest quality images on BBC HD is of the utmost importance to us and we wish to apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment the quality at this time may have caused.

What's disappointing, particularly for us VM customers with so little HD sport, is that it's not the first time - in fact, I'm struggling to recall BBC HD football coverage that hasn't had technical problems resulting in sub-standard PQ, and that's before the debacle over whether they were going to screen the England v Switzerland game in HD.

Technology's a bugger and often if it can go wrong it will go wrong, but Sky seem to have HD cracked and the BBC had no problems with its Six Nations and US Masters coverage. The FA Cup Final in a few weeks and Euro 2008 are all lined up for BBC HD: let's hope they get it right then. At the moment, Sky Sports' Premiership coverage looks better in upscaled SD than the Beeb's in HD - that can't be right.

BBC HD is still a scheduling hotchpotch of repeats with a smattering of new content each week. Summer sport is just about the only sport on BBC looking ahead - let's hope they get it spot on for Wimbledon, Euro 2008, the British Open and the like.


scottjm said...

Is there any news on whether the BBC are going to be showing next years F1 in HD?

Nialli said...

Nothing confirmed. May depend on where each Grand Prix is staged and what the hosting country's TV capability is. I'd imagine full F1 coverage would take a lot more HD equipment than football or rugby.

demented said...

I'm afraid AFAIK that's completely wrong. All races are shot in HD now. There are is choice of HD (and other) feeds and ITV have decided not to take up the option of a HD feed.

The chances of F1 in HD on BBCHD I'd say are negligible for several reasons. Firstly BBC HD is supposed to run for 9hrs a day so I think the idea of them extending the schedule by a good few hours on a sunday 18 times a year is negligible. Secondly would they tolerate dents in the schedule hours long throughout the summer? There's the cost issue. Lastly I think they'll think there isn't the demand for it and we'll be eternally grateful if they show 1 race a year i.e. the British GP in HD and their other "innovations" and no adverts. So unless something changes at BBCHD, longer hours or more cash I can't see much F1 HD for many years, so I was wincing when BBC got the rights back.

On th actual post, I agree SS1 SD upscaled football does look better. I disagree about the Golf though, that was variable quality, one night was much lower quality picture than the other nights and then it mysteriously seemed back to normal the next night.

One thing I'm interested in is if they are limited to an average of 9hrs a day, if they'll have all these sports events in the summer they're really going to have to cut back on the other nights, there'll be barely any programmes on!

demented said...

In support of the previous post thought I'd post about what I'm told is the scheduled hours for BBC HD starting from today.

4:05hrs, 6:00,5:50, 4:00, 4:10, 3:50!, 4:00, 4:20, 4:55 on 27th april is finally jumps to 10:15 and back to 4hrs the next day!

With such a joke schedule, the chance of a 2hr30 for a grand prix being included is negligible.

Nialli said...

I'm not an F1 fan, so I bow to your superior knowledge, sir!
With regards to the hours of coverage, two comments; they were able to extend weekend hours to accommodate two Six Nations matches some Saturdays this season, so there may be some flexibility there. Also, last summer they covered Wimbledon and Glastonbury extensively, so putting three hour plus events onto HD isn't unknown. As you say though, the rest of the programming goes to pot. How I'll miss those repeats of Later, etc!