July 28, 2009

Improving SD rates

Ben's written to the blog asking the following:
Surely Virgin must get direct feeds from the BBC, ITV and C4 – especially in these days of on-demand offerings. If they do, why don’t they ask these broadcasters to increase the bit-rate of these feeds, and hence increase the quality to us?
It seems that SD channel bitrates vary widely on cable, which would imply they can be changed/increased.
The blocky SD picture quality on flatpanel TVs (although Virgin’s SD is the best) isn’t really a resolution issue, because when a still image is shown –like a photo – it looks clean and sharp. It’s only when things move that it all goes blocky – and that’s down to bitrates that were set originally for CRT screens – which don’t show up pixels anything like LCDs/Plasmas.
I suspect an answer may be that the main broadcasters produce standard feeds for all platforms (cable, satellite, Freeview) and producing a better feed for one would incur additional costs, but does anyone (more informed) know? I know the bitrates are adjusted dynamically to ensure (to some degree) maximum PQ and on Freeview the bitrates for the C4 channels is notably poor, but could they be improved at the upper end of the scale for cable?

13 comments:

Tom Chiverton said...

As far as I remember, they just have a freeview receiver :-)

Richardr said...

I believe they do get them from Freeview.

Don't forget that all of the regional variations are needed for the terrestrial channels, and for the BBC and ITV these are produced in the regions

lee said...

Any reason technically (as in, why VM couldn't make it better) that on freeview (built-in to my tv) the red button is literally INSTANT, yet on VM, it takes an AGE?? Is this bandwidth again?

Anyone have Sky - how quick is it on there? Let's all just compare BBC1.

dk said...

Check this out:
"Virgin Media and ESPN Announce Channel Deal Ahead of Premier League Football Season" at
http://pressoffice.virginmedia.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=135485&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1313435&highlight=

matty said...

that is excellent news (about ESPN for XL customers)...finally my V+ subscription begins to bear fruit!

Anth B said...

Customers who subscribe to Virgin Media’s XL TV pack will be able to watch ESPN and ESPN HD at no additional cost. As part of the deal, these subscribers will also receive ESPN Classic, featuring the greatest moments of UK and European sport.

Pretty much sums it up. It is THE best outcome we could have got a Virgin pulled it off. Big Well done to the team

Waitz said...

Virgin Media and ESPN announce channel deal ahead of Premier League football season
Sports fans can now get ESPN channels as part of Virgin Media’s XL pack for no extra cost

Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED) and ESPN today announced that the new ESPN channel will be available in both standard and High Definition (HD) to Virgin Media’s 3.5 million digital TV customers from 3rd August. The ESPN channel will offer live Barclays Premier League and Clydesdale Bank Premier League football as well a wide range of international football and top quality sports.

Customers who subscribe to Virgin Media’s XL TV pack will be able to watch ESPN and ESPN HD at no additional cost. As part of the deal, these subscribers will also receive ESPN Classic, featuring the greatest moments of UK and European sport.

Dedicated sports fans who are on Virgin Media’s M or L pack will be able to subscribe to ESPN and ESPN HD for a great value price of £8 a month if they already subscribe to any combination of the Sky Sports channels, or £10 a month if not.

As a special introduction to the new ESPN and ESPN HD channels, Virgin Media will make these ESPN channels available to all of its digital TV customers, for no additional cost, during August.

http://pressoffice.virginmedia.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205406&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1313434&highlight=

YES PEOPLE, ESPN HD!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOO AND ITS FREE TO XL CUSTOMERS. SORRY NIALLI I HAD TO POST THIS.

Waitz said...

lol oops someone beat me to it. Now virginmedia is looking up, sky move over! Here we come!

mattbuk said...

I am really over the moon with the ESPN news. I heard that XL may get it for free, I was hopeful at the most.

Never did I imagine we would get ESPN HD for free as well.

2 months ago I nearly switched to Sky HD, I had an install date and canceled Virgin, I am sure happy I had a change of thought and stuck with Virgin that little bit longer.

NICE WORK VIRGIN!!!!

Afront said...

C4 HD - yay!

http://pressoffice.virginmedia.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205406&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1313698&highlight=

Anth B said...

yeah ^ 4HD just announced :D thats 6 HD now including ESPN. Another great piece of news today!

Afront said...

Channel numbers:

BBC HD (108)
FX HD (158)
MTVNHD (310)
National Geographic HD (232)
ESPN HD (???)
Channel 4 HD (???)
Living HD (???)
Good Food HD (???)

BikeNutt said...

This is most welcome news!!