back to article Sky is 'silly' to whine about HD for All

Satellite broadcaster Sky's public affairs chief, Martin Le Jeune, is correct: HDTV is not a fundamental human right. Neither is standard-definition TV. But that doesn't mean it should be limited to two providers, his own company and cable broadcaster Virgin Media. That's what he implied when he lambasted the HD for All …

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Sky HD

Sky HD as far as I can tell only really has 3 channels in HD, Sky 1 and two movie channels, BBC is also on Sky HD (but you need to pay Sky to watch it).

If Freeview got HD content (HD BBC1/2/ITV/4/E4 etc.. etc.. etc..) then Sky will have major competition, a FTA service offering more channels than Sky in HD without the need to pay £199 for a box and a tenner on top of the £15 for 1 channel (Sky 1, its extra for the movies).

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Freeview HD

Remember that Freeview's implementation of HDTV will be probably suffer from the same problem that affects freeview today.

Freeview looks like bollocks because they cram too many channels into the multiplexes. Analogue TV looks soooooo much better. Standard definition Sky is also compressed, but there's a lot less compression artifacts floating around.

If anything, it could sky's much better (premium) HD service a lot more tempting. It'll look better, and there'll be more channels.

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Anonymous Coward

Download

I just download it, all the films and TV shows that are in HD come onto the net moving slightly towards bandwidth friendly x264 especially watching "The Thing" in 1080p, right cool!

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does auntie beeb take money from sky for HD channels?

I, too, would like to watch some HD telly, but won't be paying Mr Murdoch for the priviledge.

How much money does SKY pay the beeb for providing HD versions of its programming? Unless it's significant, why shouldn't the ordinary license fee payer have access to that content?

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Bitter?

Sounds a bit like sour grapes, the BBC and regular broadcasting will sort HD out when it's ready, I object to having my License money pissed away to pay for a couple of channels in fancy HD which are essentially showing the same programmes as on the regular channels just for someone who has bought a shiny tellybox. If you can afford the HD TV then get the HD premium service, but it is silly to expect everyone else who can't afford it to foot the bill for a few more pixels.

/rant

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Anonymous Coward

Whatever happened to the (non-Sky) Freesat?

'Course Murdoch's being whiny but he has a monopoly to protect.

At one time the UK non-Murdoch broadcasters (BBC, ITV, maybe C4?) were talking about their own satellite service, which could sort out the bandwidth problem. It wouldn't be Murdoch-compatible though, as he'd want to make sure it was incompatible with his "conditional access" techology (or whatever the techies call the smartcard/encryption combo).

Given the price that satellite kit sells for these days (when it doesn't need a Murdoch slot), that could be quite attractive to some folks. I'd have to hope that the receivers were a bit better than the Freeview dross that are on the market at the moment though (and that includes "high end" stuff like my Humax which has so little RAM that it can't store any program info beyond name/date/time ie no description).

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Tom

Re: Bitter?

Afford the HD TV? Most new TVs come HD. And how are they going to sort it out if Sky own all the dishes, Virgin own all the cable and OFCOM sell off all the spectrum that has previously been used for TV?

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BBC HD is free (well, included in the licence fee)

Just to clarify you don't have to subscribe to any Sky services to get the BBC HD channel (though its true the easiest way to get it is to buy a Sky HD box which normally means taking out a minimum one year sub to Sky).

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Anonymous Coward

There's loads of space on Freeview

They just have to ban all those pointless quiz and shopping channels, get rid of the rubbish stuff and they'll have plenty of bandwidth to show what's left in High Def (which by then will be, erm, the BBC and Film 4?)

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improve the programmes - not the image

i used to have a CRT projector with a line doubler and watch on a wide screen of about 2.8 meters. you know what, the image was fine. possibly the only time i would have wanted more resolution was when watching babestation drunk at 3am as those girls were in very small boxes onscreen.

HD is a solution for no known problem (although is better for US based shows where they used to use film, cheaper production)

But it doesnt make anything better. Shows are still crap. Should we really let the beeb spend lots of money upgrading its systems yet again (its only been a few years since its conversion to widescreen remember) and it requires completely new production systems from camera to control room to edit suite. And STILL you will end up with Eastenders and Cash in the Attic. Just with more resolution. Do i really wanna see dot cotton in full HD? *shudders*

individual show's production costs will rise. an HD cam is very unforgiving. sets have to be perfect, as does makeup. we will probably see an even bigger rise in discrimination against older presenters. (we are talking of a world here in which June Sarpong has an MBE... i can think of hundreds of more deserving cases for gongs than a 30 year old presenter of cheap and tawdry telly). As production costs rise, there will be less trying out of new material, just rehashing of the same thing over and over again. Or if you are lucky enough to have a hit, you will be commissioned for something no matter how pisspoor the idea is (i.e. The IT Crowd) just so they can use your name in the marketting.

I cancelled my tv license and got rid of my telly in 2005. with the net if anything is actually worth watching i can download it. currently the only uk tv i am downloading is 'youve been framed' - which is only like a heavily edited youtube. The net also allows access to old shows that companies will not put out. its glorious to find an old show you loved dragged up off some bods LP VHS tape and shared with the world.

i want to live in a world where everybody listens to radio 4.

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HD?

Right now I get four broadcast channels in HD (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC) and some cable only (well, satellite, too) channels (A&E, Universal, TNT, Discover HD among others). If I wanted, I could get about a dozen more from HBO, Cinemax and the Movie Channel, plus HDNet, ESPN HD and a few others, all for "a few dollars more a month". Sounds like I get more HD then y'all get total. Of course, I'm paying more.

But our iPhones are only $500, your's will be 500 pounds (and the eurotrash will probably pay 800 euros). Gotta love that arbitrary exchange rate.

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Anonymous Coward

"Freeview looks like b*ll*cks"

Not on my telly it doesn't. It looks lovely.

As for "Analogue TV looks soooooo much better", I can only assume you are registered blind.

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Rubbish!

"But our iPhones are only $500, your's will be 500 pounds (and the eurotrash will probably pay 800 euros). Gotta love that arbitrary exchange rate."

Total and utter rubbish. You can get a Nokia N73 for free with a PS3 thrown in (value £424.99 for the PS3). The UK phone market is fierce and just having the iPhone will not make people ditch their current provider, people for instance might want 3G or, you know, modern technology not that overpriced pile of rubbish that Apple are throwing out.

So whilst you are paying $500 for your mobiles, phone companies here are giving us $900 worth of toys and a free top of the line mobile phone, must really suck to have to pay for PS3's or X-Box's.

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Its sad that the US has OTA HD for years

The US with no real PSB to speak of, except PBS which spends its time trying to get money to fund fundraisers and isn't even considered a big network, has had OTA HD for a number of years ... while we with a totalitarian PSB which yanks money of us every year have DONE NOTHING ...

Ironic, we leave it ot "private sector", while the US managed to do it with tax money?

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Telly is going down the pan

For a whole raft of reason I would never pay one cent to Murdoch for his horrible telly. But like other have said we seem to be losing our way. Telly gets an endless list of technical upgrades whilst what's actually watching diminishes year on year. I seem to recall the whole rush for everything broadcast in Nicam stereo years ago and the appetite for upgrades has started then. The problem seems to be that the basic quality of what's on offer is at an all time low. I think endless tinkering with broadcast methods and technology doesn't address the basic problem that telly is crap and has been for about 15 years. The deregulation of TV in the UK was the biggest disaster for the viewing public in its history - we're now at the point where channels are so atomized and the viewing numbers so low there's only going to be a subscription model left. Sky and Virgin must be delighted.

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Anonymous Coward

re - Sky has only 3 HD channels

Not sure why people cannot research before they post: -

Sky 1

SkyArts HD

Sky Movies HD 1

Sky Movies HD 2

Sky Sports HD 1

Sky Sports HD 2

National Geographic HD

Discovery HD

History Channel HD

Sky Box Office HD 1

Sky Box Office HD 2

BBC HD

Not all the content on the Sports channels, Sky 1 or SkyArts is in HD but a lot of new stuff is. Most of the UK football and cricket have been in HD.

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Re: Download

"I just download it, all the films and TV shows that are in HD come onto the net moving slightly towards bandwidth friendly x264 especially watching "The Thing" in 1080p, right cool!"

Err, you've not quite grasped this... no TV shows broadcast in 1080p, there simply isn't the bandwidth there to do so, so anything you download will be being upscaled to 1080p by your TV, this is NOT HD... just because a downloaded film came from a HD source, unless it's in its native size, which i recall is approximately 12Gb per hour of show then you're watching a compressed variant anyway.

Personally i'd like HD, have the set to do it (and the HD DVD player to play DVD's) but i don't watch a huge amount of TV so won't lose any sleep over it. I can record my Freeview channels i want and that provides me with plenty to watch, so the only real reason i'd get Sky (which i won't) is to watch the rugby, and given their coverage of the Guinness Premiership is so poor, i really shan't bother. Sky HD revolves so heavily around that pointless thing that is football, it's actually a good reason to not get it IMHO!

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Anonymous Coward

Subscribe for BBC HD?

You don't need a SkyHD subscription to watch BBC HD on satellite, just the box. And Sky doesn't pay the BBC anything for BBC HD; the BBC pays a satellite carriage fee (to SES Astra) and an EPG listing fee (to Sky).

But you do need a Virgin V+ subscription to get BBC HD on cable.

Like the man said, get your facts before you post.

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Anonymous Coward

We wish!

With these idiots running the digitalisation, They fail to recognise that there are no capabilities or plans in this area (Weymouth) for Freeview over terrestrial channels. Our only way to get TV will be with satellite, presumably one LNB and decoder for each TV set and recorder.

We are on the first list to be "upgraded" and they have removed all email contact details from their websites.

Any TV will do us!

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Anonymous Coward

So wrong!

Sky's HD channels are complete rubbish. Shy One HD shows almost no HD content (I have yet to catch a program in HD), and BBC HD is only a couple of repeats a night. The rest of the HD content is not worth watching. I would stop my Sky subscription in a heartbeat if terrestrial TV was in HD. However, I also thing that "consumers not wanting HD" is because consumers haven't seen how much better it looks when you do manage to find a show in HD. It is simply stunning.

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Downloading is far better

"Err, you've not quite grasped this... no TV shows broadcast in 1080p, there simply isn't the bandwidth there to do so, so anything you download will be being upscaled to 1080p by your TV, this is NOT HD..."

Err, you haven't quite grasped it, yes there is a VAST amount of HD stuff now available to download, and not all of it "illegal".

And its true HD resolution, after all HD isn't that great a res compared to what monitors can run at.

A gig per 40min show, in HD with 5.1 sound, isn't that bad a stretch.

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BBCHD free (more or less)

You dont need a Sky HD Box for BBC HDef - you just need a sat box that will decode the HD broadcast.

I use a PACE DS810 XE - plug it in like your sky box and youll get the FTA sky channels and the BBC HD channel too.

80 quid on ebay - no subscription - though its not a PVR. But its worth the sports events, the top end shows - and gives you a chance to assess what you will be missing if Ofcom dont provide bwidth for HD to all of us who pay our licence fees. Flicking from the FA cup in HD to SD is shocking.

We dont need HD - like we didnt need colour - like we didnt need live broadcast - like we didnt need ... total arse.

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fon

you've all been conned...

TrueHD sets that do 1280 x 1080 natively are costing £2000 or more..

If it is much cheaper than that it is only 1280 x 720 native (with interlacing to fit 1280 into that.. YOU check the specs..)

you do the math - 1280 * 1080 pixels, 50 times a second, PLUS space for sound and sync.. how much is that??

and yes, your '1 gig for 40 mins' is only 1280 x 760 on WMV-HD spec...

so how long does it take you to download a 2hour film (3 gig) on your already congested internet??

the only thing that expensive HD tv is good for is the equally expensive disc player...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: RE: Download

Firstly "The Thing" is a movie and even the first result on google, not a TV show. And the 1080p has been released.

Here's an example of current releases.

Standoff.S*****.720p.HDTV.x264-***

And they are relasing TV shows in whatever is the best available, so in this case take Standoff or Sopranos or Lost or Prison Break or Desperate Housewives or The Nine or Weeds or 100 others. They were all available in this format on the internet 2 hours after air time finished in x264 format in Hi Def

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fon

RE: RE: RE: Download

sure, "The Thing" has been released.. the first result on google is IMDB...

most likely the HD-disc release.... your example is 720p , half this resolution..

I would further check this after download to see how much more compression is used... Divx, xvid, etc may be wonderful, untill you get a very dark scene, and cannot see anything!! (to say nothing about the noise from the cinema audience, or the bad focus and positioning of his camera!)

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fon

just did some calculations...

first a quick lesson on how broadcast TV is done..

http://www.sencore.com/newsletter/Jan02/JanNews/Understanding%20and%20Measuring%20Part%20I.htm

It quotes that for a NTSC horiz. res of 159 bits you would need 3 Mhz for video, needing a bandwidth of 4.2 Mhz.. (hey you look, you may understand better..)

now, taking the res to be 1920 x 1080, 3 colors, etc... adds up to 6,912,000 - and this is repeated 60 times a second!!

so the total number is 414,720,000 bits every second!!

thats about 415 MHz data rate...

NTSC is 525 lines, but this is interlaced, so is actually 262.5 lines, by say 160 wide - 3 colors makes it 126,000 bits, times 60 makes it 7,560,000... 7.5 Mhz data rate...

all you gotta do now, is figure out how to squeeze such a 'large' signal into the limited space as shown here...

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.html

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Anonymous Coward

RE: RE: RE:RE: Download

You seem confused,

sure, "The Thing" has been released.. the first result on google is IMDB...

Yep

most likely the HD-disc release.... your example is 720p , half this resolution..

No, it was broadcast in 1080p, the transport stream was ripped, compared to the 720p version to make sure it wasn't upscaling. The transport stream and an encoded version using x264 have been posted. These people get anal about OAR versions and remux broadcasts with DST sound to create the best result.

I would further check this after download to see how much more compression is used... Divx, xvid, etc may be wonderful, untill you get a very dark scene, and cannot see anything!! (to say nothing about the noise from the cinema audience, or the bad focus and positioning of his camera!)

Well if you want no compression then you are out of luck, all HD video has compression applied you dolt, then you talk about filiming with a video camera in a cinema for some insane reason which has nothing to do with ripping transport streams and encoding them.

Don't believe me, drive to London, pug in a USB digitv device, record the transport stream from BBCHD in 1080p FTA already encoded in h.264 and post it on the internet, then kil yoursefl, please.

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