April 30, 2009
Also, someone has posted that there are now subtitles available on BBC HD - haven't checked this myself.
April 29, 2009
"So, is iPlayer HD good enough for your HD TV? Yes, we think it is actually. The quality isn't perfect, but if you missed something, or simply don't have access to the proper HD channel, it's likely to be a godsend. We're hopeful that the BBC will continue to improve the quality."And for more, here's the link to the full review.
April 28, 2009
"the MOTD team have to edit down the footage in a hurry [and] they have their own edit suite. This isn't capable of handling HD footage...until 2011 when they are moving to new facilities in Salford"
We are in active discussions with Virgin Media in relation to both Military and History HD.It is unclear whether this is for the HD channel or more on demand content (there has been some History HD on demand programming already, notably The Universe).
We hope that our discussions will be successful, but in the meantime would suggest that you also express your desire to receive these Channels directly to Virgin Media.
Still no official confirmation from Virgin regarding the timing of any additional HD services.
April 25, 2009
What will it be like when we have C4 HD and the other rumoured HD channels? Once you've got a PVR, there's very little TV you watch 'live' - sport, news, that's about it. I timeshift pretty much everything, and some weeks my V+ struggles with the single HD channel.
So it was disappointing to read that the new Samsung V+ being trialled has the same 160Gb disc as the SA V+, and, despite it having vastly superior MPeg4 encoding capability, Virgin has no plans to utilise it and will be sticking with MPeg2. Sky HD, Freesat HD and even (when it arrives) Freeview HD use Mpeg4, so Virgin really is isolated in the industry with this technology legacy.
To some degree, HD content in iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD catch up services will help out - if it ever arrives. If I could watch Heroes in HD via iPlayer and it was series stacked, I'd only record the SD version on my V+. Not ideal, but a compromise I could live with.
What would be better would be if, once the additional HD channels are available, they were also available in MPeg4, and we could trade in our SA V+ for the Samsung V+ to decode them for a nominal install fee. (And, yes, I know this would take even more bandwidth, but analogue's almost gone now.) This would create a two-tier HD delivery service in the short term, but would see VM homes with the necessary technology base to move HD services forward into the 21st century. Future HD services could be MPeg4 only, whilst customers with the SA V+ would only have access to the HD taster of BBC HD and a few others also available on Freesat. As the SA V+ estate ages (and it will age pretty quickly - those cheap hard discs won't spin forever) new equipment will be installed and Virgin will have a technology base to move forward with, rather than one that makes you rue the short term technology strategising of a few years ago.
(And if Virgin needs a CIO to make this happen, they know where to find me...)
April 22, 2009
Virgin Media customers will be able to get a fix of their favourite blood-spatter-analyst-turned-serial-killer whenever they want, as the latest series of Dexter launches on Virgin Media TV on demand this week. All Virgin Media TV Choice customers will be able to catch season three on demand, with V+ HD users able to enjoy the show in all its gruesome goriness in HD.Not wishing to appear ungrateful, but I can't think of any other examples of their commitment to bringing more HD to us customers...
Now in its third series, Emmy award winning Dexter stars Michael C. Hall as a sociopathic killer as he carries out his vigilante crusade, ridding society of criminals he believes deserve to die. Season two ended with a gripping finale with Dexter’s secret almost unveiled by Sgt. Doakes, when he found evidence linking Dexter to the ‘Bay Harbour Butcher’ victims. But with Doakes out of the way, Dexter is once again back on track, believing he is now master of the techniques his father taught him.
Season three begins on FX UK on 24th April with Dexter setting his sights on Freebo, a dope dealer and killer, as his next target. It looks to be just another night of his dark justice, but things don’t go as planned. The first episode will be available in Virgin Media’s on demand library TV Choice from 26th April, with a new episode stacking each week, All Virgin Media TV customers will be able to enjoy a taste of Dexter with the first episode available in Virgin Central, the on demand channel, from 26th April. Virgin Central is available at no additional cost to customers who subscribe to Virgin TV on digital cable.
Katharine Burns Rivington, managing director of content acquisition and strategy at Virgin Media said “With Virgin Media TV on demand, our customers have the flexibility to watch the broadest range of shows whenever they choose, with over 4,600 hours of TV, film and music to pick from. We’re big fans of Dexter and are delighted to bring our customers such a great show in HD. This is just one example of our commitment to bringing more HD to our customers, be it via linear channels or our extensive on demand service.”
April 21, 2009
Please be assured we are aware that the amount of HD content currently available is limited.So, still no dates, but the bit in bold is news and good news too. And it sounds like some Sky HD channels are among those being negotiated for (though not movies or sport).
We are trying to get more channels in HD as a priority. It is taking a lot longer then we would have hoped.
We have to negotiate the rights with the other providers to show the channels in HD. As our competitor Sky is one of those providers it is proving difficult to come to an agreement.
We can confirm that unlike Sky, when we have more HD content you will not be charged extra to have access to the channels.
There will be more channels available throughout the year. We do not want to give specific dates until we are 100% certain that we can transmit the channels.
Please look out for anything we may send through the post as you will be informed of any developments.
There are some posts on a DS thread along similar lines, too. As always, there's also some speculation (and scepticism) as to when these channels will arrive and there's the usual list of possible channels - Discovery, C4, ITV, Sky1 and Virgin1 - mentioned in dispatches.
April 20, 2009
Two interesting blog posts on the BBC site: BBC iPlayer goes HD, adds higher quality streams, releases iPlayer Desktop out of Labs and BBC HD: Joining the BBC iPlayer family
April 19, 2009
I know the US stock markets been experiencing a less torrid time of late, but the performance of Virgin Media's share price over the last month has been pretty impressive, up over 50%. Given that the last quarter's results were pretty mediocre, I'm at something of a loss to explain this turnaround. Is Berkett's broadband hype impressing the markets or was the stock criminally undervalued?
April 18, 2009
It will now be possible to make a single HD Blu-ray copy of one of our programmes, although not copies of copies. An HD connection to a protected home network will also be possible, although an HD connection to the Internet or portable devices will not work. The diagram below [click the link to see it] I think sums up the various paths you might want your HD content to take - and the extent to which that will be possible. I should add that the partial unlocking of some paths should also enable the high quality standard definition RGB outputs from some set top boxes.It's a very interesting post, and one that's already collected a fair amount of comment from its audience. Great to see the ever-informative Andy Quested chipping in with some information too.
April 17, 2009
BBC iPlayer Labs report that the new "high-quality stream" has a 1,500kbps bit-rate. Hmm. That's not HD in my book - YouTube HD maybe. A somewhat liberal use of "HD" if you ask me. It's better than the previous "High Quality" streams but most definitely not true HD. Think DVD rather than Blu-Ray.
No word on when real HD programming will be made available via iPlayer on Virgin Media (or other platforms).
April 15, 2009
Lots of you were unhappy with the amount of HD Channels available on Virgin Media TV.
We’ve listened to your feedback on this and the great news is we’re launching more HD channels later this year. We‘ll also continue to add a huge amount of new On Demand HD content for you to enjoy whenever you choose, including The Sopranos, The Wire and Dexter and a great range of movies like Tropic Thunder and Kung Fu Panda.
And as well as more HD content, we’re improving our On Demand service – for example, all our TV customers are now able to catch up on the best of the last seven days of ITV shows with ITV Net Player, along with shows from BBC iPlayer and 4oD.
The £999 DMR-BS850 and £899 DMR-BS750 will have 500GB and 250GB hard drives respectively, whilst the DMR-XS350 is a DVD recorder with Freesat HD and a 250GB hard drive. While hi-def broadcasts can be recorded to the hard drive, the DVD recorder in the XS350 will only archive in standard def. All three models have twin Freesat HD tuners, but not all HD programmes will be recordable. According to HCC:
'There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to record every HD show you fancy, or archive them to Blu-ray media. This is because broadcasters reserve the right to flag their transmissions as ‘Copy Free’, ‘Copy Once’ or ‘Copy Never.’
'The BBC has informed us that once these recorders go on sale, they will move the majority of their broadcasts to Copy Free, but if Hollywood, or a rights holder, specifically wants to restrict usage, a TV channel will broadcast ‘prohibit’ flags.'
April 10, 2009
April 09, 2009
16.20 Film: Chicken Run
20.30 Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death
21.00 Golf: US Masters
17.10 Film: Finding Nemo
20.30 Golf: US Masters
18.55 Golf: US Masters (all evening)
17.00 Doctor Who - Planet of the Dead
April 07, 2009
April 05, 2009
April 01, 2009
Not really news, and that next few months line was last seen...er...a few months ago. Those still on VM not already signed up to Sky HD are advised not to restrict their respiration waiting in anticipation...
UPDATE: This from an interesting thread on Cable Forum. Aaron emailed Berkett about his promise of HD channels in the next few months (Dec 08) and got this reply:
"No I was referring to HD channels which was absolutely our intention. We are negotiating as we speak and will be launching 6 or seven channels at once shortlyBe still my beating heart...deep breaths...
Neil Berkett | Chief Executive Officer