June 21, 2008

Channel 4 HD - what HD?

We all know that Channel 4 HD has been something of a disappointment since its launch late last year. For Sky customers there's precious little actual HD content; for Virgin Media and Freesat customers there's precious little sign of the channel at all. (And don't get me started on the C4 HD On Demand we were promised.)
At launch and around Christmas it looked like VM customers were really missing out as there were some pretty good films on show on C4HD. Then as we headed into the new year and the US imports started their annual runs there was quite of a bit of HD scattered around the schedules, albeit none homegrown.
Now it has all but dried up. I see that Hollyoaks is now HD...but that's about it. Most US series are now debuting on E4 or More4 (neither HD services) so there's even less high def than there was a few months ago. Even the films are down to one or two minor titles a week, normally in the wee hours.
So, something of a damp squib. Maybe the Channel 4 HD capability would be better used going 'a la carte' like BBC HD, showing a selection for the 4 stable of C4, E4, More4 and Film4? It seems a waste as it currently broadcasts, and I feel we're not missing much on VM without it.

1 comment:

demented said...

It has been annoying. I saw Hollyoaks out of curiosity on C4HD and the pq was scary. Perhaps some of it is cost as I note a while ago c4 were begging for money because Shameless, Hollyoaks and something else were costing so much to make. I note also that some fans of corry claim a big jump in pq recently. There are also rumours of ITV slowly kitting out their studios with gear. Taking a pessimistic view, it will take ITV a long time to ram up there content for a "channel", perhaps 2009, perhaps even 2010 but if C4 carry on messing around ITV might even catch them up, now there's a scary thought. It sucks, it reminds me of the time I had to wait 3 years on cable for a full history channel and sci-fi channel. Having said that I'm so desperate for linear HD I would celebrate from the rooftops if C4HD were to be given a definite launch date (even next year) on cable.

I disagree on the remit of the channel, I think long term simulcast is the way to go. You go the a la carte way you get the joke 4hrs we get on BBC HD and you don't get the flexibility. I also think long term that with simulcast it'll encourage 2nd, 3rd, 4th HD channels (not for many years) whereas a la carte you'll end up with one for ever and ever and ever.

As for wastage, surely the biggest waste will be on freeview, an entire mux (B) dedicated to piecemeal HD offerings. What on earth will the rest of the time on the clock be dedicated to, previews? A waste of bandwidth, makes me angry.