August 03, 2008

Two interesting stories and a question

First up - a piece in the Sunday Times of all places on a likely exit from the corporate telecoms market by Virgin Media. Full piece here.
Secondly a post from Danielle Nagler, the new head of BBC HD, over on the Beeb's Internet blog - here. Good to see this (often frank) blog is being maintained.
Finally today, a question from Darren that I can't really answer but hopefully someone else can (not being blessed with a 5.1 system myself nor having seen the programme):
Just wanted to know if anyone has noticed any problems with the sound on Last Choir Standing. My av amp is working fine and I can listen to all other BBC HD programmes but for the second week running the sound output has been zero on this programme only, although interestingly enough the amp shows a 2 channel signal detected.
Personally, I'd see the lack of sound as a bonus on that show, but that's not Darren's point of course. Our fellow blogger Virgin1 has replied that
This issue has been bugging the BBC HD team since the Eurovision live, sound drop outs on live broadcasts. Yes it is an issue nationally and affects Sky HD customers as well
Anyone know any more info? It's live events that are suffering - other programmes are fine.


dazza124 said...

The wife seems to like these sort of shows so if its available then I insist it be in HD.
Coldplay at the bbc was live and that was perfect.

demented said...

I've got a mate who has Sky HD and a 5.1 system. It does the 2 channel thing as has been described elsewhere in the other place and other glitches. I think we just take it to be weakness of live broadcast, the picture on many live broadcasts often shows a great deal of pixelisation on BBC HD relative to non-live stuff.

The story about selling of uktv and bravo is disturbing. I think it would be extremely unwise to sell off bravo or living, vm seems to vastly undervalue these channels, not realising how many people have sky subs to get them.

Nialli said...

Selling the content part of the business makes some strategic sense; leave broadcasting to the broadcasters and focus on the delivery. (It may even be stipulated by the OFCOM review of Pay TV.)
They'd get good money for the channels, and that's good money they look like getting for the business telecoms business too. They've never really exploited the content business (otherwise they would have held back Virgin1 from Sky) so it doesn't really add any competitive advantage for them.

dazza124 said...

Comment from Andy Quested at BBC HD
I will check our metadata setting tomorrow but there have been no other complaints so I think I will have to point you back to the firmware upgrade.

The firmware upgrade is on my av amp but since this upgrade all other bbc hd programmes have been fine.

virgin1 said...

Just to mention, the "telecoms business" side fo virgin media they refer to is ntl: Telewest business, rumours of a reseller sellout have been discussed since the rebranding in February 2007, one reason why the company never decided to change the name of the business arm. Many figures are being bandied around but the main company that appear ready to take the business will be cable and wireless, this will reinforce the bond between the two companies, especially since the recent LLU partnership with the 2 companies.

Good times ahead, but not necessarily for ntl: Telewest business staff i suppose!

virgin1 said...

Oh and P.S. dazza, the sound drop out happens to myself with and without an AV amp, when you dont use an amp you notice the sound drops completely, if you use the amp then it drops to 2 channel mode. This also happens on Sky HD at the same time.

Carol Steele said...

I too have had sound dropout both this week and last on the BBC HD channel. It wasn't too bad last week as I was able to switch over to BBC1, but this week it was recorded and I missed the whole show (except for the first few minutes). Thankfully I caught up with it last night on BBCi Player - but that was very pixilated.

dazza124 said...

Response from Andy at the BBC:

Dear Dazza124

It seems to be an issue with Virgin but we are looking into it. There were several complaints to Virgin so it would seem your equipment is OK. It seems the audio started again about 20mins in though.

Nialli said...

I've had nothing wrong with my audio on BBC HD this last week. Mind you, I've only been watching pre-recorded stuff (Bonekickers, the excellent Lost Land of the Jaguars and a few other bits, including the awful Miss Potter last nigh - urgghhh!) so I'm not in a good place to comment.

demented said...

Surely sky owning bravo and living would be a complete nightmare. Whilst paying for them sky claim they aren't worth much thesedays but as soon as they or someone else gets them they'll see them for the channels they are and be extracting more money than was the other way round. It'd be a formidible stick to beat virgin with and probably the end/start of the collapse of the tv platform.

SimonB said...

re sound on live shows - have had problems on all of the BBC HD broadcasts of 'reality' shows - so Last Choir, and all of the ALW musical things (not my choice, have to let 'er indoors pick the programme occasionally). Basically have to watch these on BBC1 not HD - regardless of whether I use my AV amp or not.
Sounds to me like a problem from within the studio rather than a broadcast issue - so guess it's back to the drawing board for the Beeb with their Dolby encoding.