August 19, 2009

BBC HD problems?

I hadn't noticed myself, but apparently there are quality issues with BBC HD that have led to them issuing the following statement:

"The BBC has deployed a new set of HD encoders. The current bitrates were picked after much side-by-side comparison of the old and new encoders using a wide range of programme material. While it is impossible to achieve parity in all formats the new encoders were judged to be giving equal or better quality in most cases."

"However, there is no test like putting these to air, and when we did, a reproducible problem was identified on certain types of material. We have shared this information with the coder manufacturer so they can investigate further. "

"The particular problem does not go away with higher bitrates, so whilst an investigation and fix are awaited some changes have already been made to the encoders to try and mitigate the effects. In addition, the new encoders also fixed other problems, unrelated to picture quality, which the BBC received complaints about."

There's more on this on the What HiFi site.


BikeNutt said...

There are problems with fades and pans to name 2 areas of concern.

Personally I think the Beeb has lost the 'shine' (and the plot!?) in trying to achieve a common platform so it can be included in the upcoming low-bitrate Freeview HD.

Of all the HD channels available on VM, I think 4hd is the best quality. Ugly Betty, as an example, looks amazing.

Nialli said...

I agree with you on 4HD - WarGames looked great at the weekend. It's not the best time of the year to evaluate C4 HD though as the schedules are always very lightweight in the summer - Big Brother et al. Come September we should have more US imports and drama and if I recall correctly they go overboard with movies in the run up to Christmas, all of which will be most welcome.
I've been watching True Blood on FX and that's very good too (but so is the SD version to be honest). Living HD is rumoured to be launching on Monday and the US imports on there should look good.
My disappointment with NatGeo HD is down to programming rather than PQ - it's not a channel I watch regularly in SD as the repetition after each ad break drives me mad! Can't comment on MTVN HD as it's not my bag. Man.

Richardr said...

Do we know what the path of the BBC HD channel to VM is?

If it is a direct MPEG2 feed, as some have claimed, then this won't be relevant, the new encoders being referred to being their MPEG4 encoders.

If VM are just reencoding the satellite MPEG4 feed to MPEG2, which I suspect is more likely, then this will affect them.

BikeNutt said...

Pretty sure VM receive the native MPEG4 signal and re-encode to MPEG2.

The BBC want to provide the same service to everyone. FreeviewHD will be bandwidth constrained due to the planned spectrum sell-off so cable and satellite customers will suffer the reduction in quality in order to meet this lowest common denominator.