July 21, 2008

Previously in Virgin Media Land...

I've been away for a week so apologies for being a little late with some of the following:

iPlayer on VM
The BBC iPlayer service on Virgin Media recorded more than 10m viewings in June, according to the first figures released by the cable TV company. That's half as many viewings as the BBC website in the first full month it was made available to cable TV customers. Pretty impressive. Top programmes watched were EastEnders and Doctor Who.

New Head of BBC HD

The BBC has appointed Danielle Nagler as the new head of BBC HD. She replaces Seetha Kumar, who is moving to another as-yet-unspecified senior role within the corporation. The BBC said Nagler would focus on growing the HD channel and lead preparations for its launch on Freeview, expected to launch in a year's time. Let's hope she posts regular blogs like Ms Kumar - the BBC's candour regarding it's birth pains with HD have been a revelation. Speaking of which...

The BBC talks about the challenges of HD ... and surround sound
Just appeared on the BBC Internet Blog is a fine post byAndy Quested the Principal Technologist at BBC Future Media & Technology. If you wondered exactly what went wrong with this year's Eurovision broadcast, Quested supplies a detailed, technical but amusing account of the trials and tribulations of broadcasting 5.1 sound. If you ever doubted the BBC took its HD provision seriously or questioned their passion and pride in getting it right, give this a read - it's a revelation. Find it here.

Bet they call it "Freesat+"
Those Virgin customers considering moving to Freesat for their HD fix once the PVR is available are going to have to wait a little longer for the fledgling service's V+ equivalent to launch. It may just make it onto the shelves for Christmas. According to Humax's Chief Technologist:

'Humax has assigned one of its top development teams to the Freesat digital television recorder and they have completed the first stages of software integration and finalised the hardware design. Once testing of this stage of development is complete the more advanced features for Freesat will be worked on and tested.

'Because of the complex nature of the development of such an advanced recorder product Humax will dedicate an appropriate period to ensuring the good operation and stability of the product before releasing to market. It is currently estimated that the product will be available suitably in advance of the Christmas 2008 season.
'The product will be a twin tuner satellite recorder with an appropriately large capacity hard disk, although the exact size has yet to be finalised. The connectivity will be identical to the FOXSAT-HD, but unlike the FOXSAT-HD it will not have an analogue component output.'
Reports elsewhere suggest ITV's first steps with HD on Freesat have been somewhat less than successful with news that Harley Street in high def had probs last week. Full story over on DS.


Anonymous said...

That link to Mr Quested's blog was a great read. It's certainly endearing to know that these top engineers at the Beeb are capable at making fun of themselves - certainly makes them more human than the standard PR statements that come out of these companies.

dazza124 said...

quite agree...
I enjoyed the lenghty read but its good to see the beeb tech team are on the same journey as us all to getting HD.

virgin1 said...

I have just returned from a nice weekend in NY/NJ and got to experience Time Warner cable and Verizon FIOS for the first time. My hosts were bumming how good the selection of HD was on FIOS, and granted there were a few channels, but the PQ was no aetter than an upscaled channel on the V+, nothing came close to the BBC HD channel or Sky Sports HD Live. The cable signal was even worse, but i tell you the FIOS menu system on their DVR was mind blowing, so crisp!

We are some way behind the US but not as far as some might expect in the HD race!