February 20, 2009

Film4 HD proposed for Freeview

Bandwidth-deprived Freeview will have four HD slots available once it introduces newer technology next year and it looks like Channel 4 wants two of them. A proposal has been made to Ofcom for an HD version of Film4 (see story here). It's not definite as it is up against another proposal (from Five) for the fourth slot but it's good to know that the cash-strapped C4 stable is prioritising its stella film channel for HD over the more popular (but less watchable) E4.

For me, this is an essential addition to Virgin's line up - if they can't sort this one out, I'll be the first in the queue for a new HD Freeview box when they ship and Virgin can wave goodbye to my hard-earned cash each month.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

wht r virgin upto when is itv on demand coming i wounder when sky have finshed the 50 pound offer for the hd box they mite be more open to tlk to virgin?

anonymous said...

This is excellent news and something I've speculated on for a while. I have tried to press danielle nagler whether the beeb had plans for the 4th slot that appeared some months back but got no reply. I'm really thrilled film4 are stepping upto the mark. Whoever wins, five or film4 will be keenly sought after by viewers and will be good news.

I have my doubts about the 8.4Mbs bit though, that sucks.

demented said...

On the topic of high definition on cableforum there are reports GOLD has been switched off on analogue. To me this is a sign of an imminent HD channel launch and coincides with the speculation about the announcement next week along with the quarterly results and the launch of ITV on demand on Monday. Let's hope it is.

Nialli said...

Here's hoping. If I hear anything I'll post it asap.

Anonymous said...

yeah for itv hd i heard its coming ate this moth early march

Nigel said...

Not strictly relevant to this post I know, but....
I have been enjoying"The Blue Planet" in HD in the 'More On Demand' 'Free TV' 'HD' section.
only I just discovered that 2 episodes - Frozen Seas and Open Oceans - are in 4:3 and therefore must be SD not HD. This is not only shabby, but deeply annoying. I have complained via Email - what are they odds they will do anything about it?

Nialli said...

Presentation in 4:3 ratio doesn't mean it cannot be in high definition - there's a fair amount of HD in "Full Screen" although it's obviously not ideal.

Nigel said...

Sorry Nialli, but I really think you are wrong on this.
ALL HD content is 16:9 aspect ratio.
Even "1440 x 1080" uses an anamrphic stretch and plays back at 16:9, as does 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080.
And by the way 4:3 is not in any sense "full screen.

One last point - bearing in mind that the SD Blue Planet episodes were presented 4:3 and the HD ones in 16:9, and that 4 of the supposedly HD episodes ARE 16:9, while the other two play 4:3, what would you consider the most likely explanation?

Nialli said...

"Full Screen", referring to 4:3 aspect ratio, was the original terminology used on DVDs and VHS to distinguish presentations from 16:9 "Widescreen" - if you google "full screen" and you'll see what I mean.
There are 4:3 films and programmes that have been presented as HD - the original King Kong on BBC HD is one that sticks in the memory.
I don't know why the episodes of Blue Planet you refer to are in 4:3 though as I've seen them all in 16:9. Apparently, some of the BP filming is upscaled SD btw.

Nigel said...

I see what you mean.
I was confusing ACTUAL 4:3 with 4:3 material presented in 16:9 "pillar boxed".This would only occur with archive material, like the example you cite.
The issue with Blue Planet HD though is clearly a Virgin media cockup. Even the opening credits appears 4:3 pillar boxed on these two episodes, where they display 16:9 on all others.

Bearing in mind your previous posts regarding non HD material offered incorrectly in HD areas of VOD, I assumed you would agree that this is a similar mistake. I KNOW that 2 epsiodes of the series should not be presented differently to the others. Try it and see for yourself.

BTW "full screen" might have made sense in a 4:3 CRT world, but is clearly an anachronism in a world where almost all TVs are now 16:9.For that reason I disparage the term.

Nialli said...

Understand on the "Full screen" front - sorry for any confusion. I used the term as it's still common in the US for some reason, probably because you can still buy 4:3 TVs in the US and they've been slower to adopt widescreen for some reason.
I've remembered now where I saw a lot of 4:3 HD - in the US there are actual HD channels still transmitting a lot of 4:3 content, probably for the reason I've just said about 4:3 sets there. I posted about it as it had surprised me: http://vmhd.blogspot.com/2008/04/hd-in-usa.html

demented said...

The C4/S4C submission makes interesting reading.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/digital/hd_on_dtt/ita/apps2nd/c4s4c.pdf

section 8 in particular with it's poll, pretty much highlights why C4 show what they do currently and others areas that are extremely lacking score surprisingly much less well.

"In 2008 Channel 4 signed a contract with Red Bee to provide playout services for all its existing channels, including 4HD. When these facilities come on
stream in Q4 2009 they will give Channel 4 access to a brand new and fully HD compliant infrastructure for media management, transmission and editing facilities. This will allow it to create an HD version of Film4 at relatively low incremental cost."

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Nialli you need to put a link to a general VMHD or HD discussion forum or news submissions or something... only 2 of 13 comments even vaguely to do with your original post here!

Nialli said...

I noticed! This blog is starting to act more like a forum, which I don't mind but I don't have the tools on Blogger to be as flexible as Cable Forum and the like. I don't have a problem with the comments going off topic (do it myself all the time). I'll remove posts or close comments on a particular post if it goes way off subject.

demented said...

I don't see how this stuff is way off topic. If freeview gets a HD channel cable should expect it. Simple as. As VM move at a snail's pace anyway I frequently find myself pondering what stuff will be like in 6 months or a year or two's time regularly. This is especially so if I switch as it locks me into sky for 12 months. So film4 or c5 on cable in summer 2010 = very big deal and a lot to do with VM.

Anonymous said...

@demented I don't mean "Film4 HD proposed for Freeview" is off topic for this blog, I mean the comments being posted under this blog entry mostly aren't to do with Film4 HD.

Well The Blue Planet being in 4:3 and can HD be 4:3 started very off topic, but then again some of the old films shown on Film4 might well be pillar boxed HD that isn't upscaled, so it's not all bad to go off topic!

demented said...

Yeah that's true. It's an interesting topic though. Problem is Blue Planet wasn't all shot in HD and upscaled.

I laughed a while ago when Deep Space 9 appeared in vod under HD.

Anyway hopefully there will be some news tomorrow or Wednesday so we can talk about something concrete for a change :-).