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back to article BBC boffins ponder abstruse Ikea-style way of transmitting telly

Future broadcasting could resemble IKEA flat pack furniture - with the bits and pieces of each transmission assembled at home, perhaps in ways not intended by the designer - if boffins at the BBC get their way. The traditional approach is to mix the media before it's transmitted in a linear stream. But brainboxes at BBC R&D are …

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Anonymous Coward

So we can disable the laugh track.

Or maybe select how dumbed down we want an episode of Horizon. Though we's probably end up with just the opening and closing credits on that one.

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Re: So we can disable the laugh track.

Or, apparently, we'll all form some kind of "conformation bias" and all cut out the same thing...

I know the Beeb are famous for their birtspeak, but did he actually mean "conformation bias"?

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FAIL

Re: So we can disable the laugh track.

Yup, or add and remove and component part. Say you want to remove the ticker from BBC News. Mr Orlowski seems to have avoided writing about any benefits and focussed solely on attacking the BBC as usual.

I read the whole article and thought something wasn't right, when I saw the author I realised it was an Orlowski classic. ;)

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He meant "confirmation bias".

The blog text says "conformation bias", but the words are linked to Wikipedia on "Confirmation bias", so it's a typo - o and i being together on the keyboard.

It's an interesting idea - but maybe easiest to deliver on a PC or similar powerful media player. I don't know if a Smart TV could do it. Hmm. Maybe with Android appearing in that market...

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Re: So we can disable the laugh track.

I'd like to disable the pointless pre-introductions and post-title-introductions in documentaries and just get on with the programme.

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Pint

Re: So we can disable the laugh track.

"...you want to remove the ticker from BBC News..."

Comic Lewis Black on (I think) CNN. He, as guest, forced them to remove the ticker. I assume it's on YouTube somewhere.

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Interesting

Considering how many elements you can mix and match

sound - regular, hd, other language (Welsh, Gaelic, Urdu etc)

video - reduced resolution for mobile, regular, hd, 3D

text - subtitles, enhanced subtitles, programme notes, transcript, other language subtitles

additional video - signed for the deaf

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

All of these things are already catered for in various ways and do not need "O-O broadcasting" to make them possible.

We're talking about separating out unique elements of the picture here, not just putting video, sound and additional data channels in different combinations.

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Unhappy

Re: Interesting

Looks like the obvious is missing (even though it's coming under the BBC banner) - adverts. Adverts customised and inserted into the "product" targeted at who the system thinks is viewing, and at what location. (Anyone want to take bets that that is the part of the system that is not user-configurable?)

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Re: Interesting

Not necessarily for the video part. In that regard, I think it's being done a bit inefficiently, though correct me if I'm mistaken. I'll admit I'm drifting from the topic at hand, but what I'm discussing seems more realistic AT THIS STAGE. Are TV video transmissions of a single quality or of a progressive quality such that the first bit of a frame produces a low resolution frame and then other parts refine it into a higher resolution over several stages like a progressive JPEG does? I would think for a more mobile world a progressive-quality stream would be more versatile without having to retransmit the same image multiple times, unless the overhead involved with progressive quality outstrips the costs of just transmitting the image multiple times.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Interesting

Quite!

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WTF?

Re: Socalist broadcasting is now OO

Overly-subtle attempt at humour or fall in to self-parody?

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Re: Socalist broadcasting is now OO

>All the better to get the commie propaganda out there to the TV-watching sheeple.

The alternative model gives us Fox News, News International and James Murdoch.

Adult readers here may care to watch Armando Ianucci's riposte to Murdoch Jr's claim that "only the guarantee of quality is profit" here in his BAFTA lecture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmViA8zRhLI

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Socalist broadcasting is now OO

Note to poster

- your post contains the portmanteau word 'sheeple' therefore your point is invalid

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Re: Socalist broadcasting is now OO

So true. How can anyone be taken seriously that uses such hackneyed phrases, thinking they make themselves look 'cool' and 'edgy', whatever that might be.

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Unhappy

Not so good for real time...

Title says it all really. Already digital cannot get the pips right with satellite being worse than terrestrial...

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FAIL

Re: Not so good for real time...

But shurely using audio broadcast entertainment channels for time-setting is a technology that's had its day, wot with ntp being pretty much universal ?? And if you're off-net, there's always MSF.

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Re: Not so good for real time...

I still ring the speaking clock twice a year - dial 123

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Trollface

Re: Not so good for real time...

But as empowered users surely we should be able to choose for ourselves when we want to hear the pips. Nobody wants to be told their watch is wrong after all. There would be panic on the streets.

No, far better that you inform your television/radio/media centre what time you think it is, and it adjusts the pips accordingly.

We must be forward looking in these matters.

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Pint

Re: Not so good for real time...

BBC World Service on SiriusXM satellite radio in North America, the Top-of-the-Hour beep is about 15 to 18 seconds late even now. It's a bit pointless (the delayed beep).

Watching NASA launches via several feed options reveals latency variations of up to 20 seconds! That's just the delta latency from one feed to the other.

At least they've made some good progress on Lip Sync. It used to be a very common problem, but seems to be rare these days.

The axis of time folks, the axis of time. Don't forget the axis of time.

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Re: Not so good for real time...

>> I still ring the speaking clock twice a year - dial 123

By a strange and satisfying coincidence 123 is also the UDP port used by the network time protocol (NTP)

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Coat

Justification

Wow! Think of all the data you imagine might be useful to someone, so you could transmit it all.... every mic and camera feed from a concert or game.... do your own mixing at home!

What more reason to we need? Gotta have the NBN now! at the full wack!

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Unhappy

Re: Justification

We were supposed to have this with DVDs and the multi-angle feature. All the early players supported it, none of the DVDs contained any multi-angle stuff. 15 years later I own precisely one (1) DVD that has multi-camera shots. (A documentary on Apollo 8, with launch sequences) but I have to open a menu and select change camera angle on my DVD player, since the manufacturers decided (correctly IMHO) that multi-angle didn't need to be on the remote because nothing supported it.

Does anyone else know of any other mult-angle DVDs?

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Pint

Re: Justification

Not strictly camera angles, but an anime DVD I had used them cleverly so depending on your language selection (provided you did it through the menu) the credits would be different to match the JP or EN voice talent you'd just been listening to.

Icon: Frothy mug of water

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Re: Justification

Memory says that The Matrix DVD has multi-angle stuff on the behind the scenes bit about the shooting of bullet-time or the like. Also Men In Black had a deconstruction of the tunnel scene (where they drive on the roof of the tunnel), and you could switch between the layers that were composed into the final sequence.

My memory could be failing me though, and they weren't great uses of the technology at that.

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One advantage to this proposed system: viewers can mute background music in a programme so as to make dialogue clearer. Complaints to the BBC about background music in programmes are very common, and not just from the hearing impaired.

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Not mute

I wouldn't want to mute, but being able to adjust the volume of dialogue, music and sound effects would be very useful indeed.

...being able to mute laughter tracks is a must though.

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Holmes

Once again Technology over Content...

"But don't underestimate the appeal of O-O transmission to two groups of people. One is BBC middle management, who will form "a metadata working group" at the drop of hat, and spend years having meetings which typically achieve nothing - but consume a lot of license fee money.

The other group is TV manufacturers, who are facing a grim future as undifferentiated, commoditised floggers of flat panels. O-O might allow them to sell more expensive sets.

And with 3D flopping, they need some magic marketing woo from somewhere

"

I suggest that, for once, the brains at the BBC would think about the content they broadcast rather than the technical methods that accomplish the that aspect of delivery.

Technically, HD video and sound is all well and good but it does NOTHING to the diet of food-orientated, the shambling housing-orientated and the hard-hammered auction-orientated rubbish, much of which is badly upscaled SD, repeated Ad Nauseam.

This time, please, consider new and exciting, challenging and educational content before, once more, going down some technological cul-de-sac.

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Pirate

Re: Once again Technology over Content...

A smarter, more intelligent viewer/ information consumer/provider is a real and present danger to brainwashing programs and projects.

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Re: Once again Technology over Content...

"Technically, HD video and sound is all well and good but it does NOTHING to the diet of food-orientated, the shambling housing-orientated and the hard-hammered auction-orientated rubbish, much of which is badly upscaled SD, repeated Ad Nauseam."

You're channelling Patrick Moore. And I agree with you. It was a pity that Patrick choose to blame it on feminism, and thus cause his valid points to lost amongst the inevitable noise.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Once again Technology over Content...

I think it's a crying shame how adherents of identity politics will happily dismiss valid points purely because they prefer playing the man over playing the ball.

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Big Brother

hmm

so in other words, your mobile device downloads 1 gigabit of data just so it can get at the 150 megabits of data it actually needs and discards the rest

good show BBC, way to support the phone companies in their ongoing battle to cap and charge the masses.

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Re: hmm

Alternatively, it transmits the meta data first, then only the media objects you select from the menu/filter system, potentially saving bandwidth transmitting unnecessary language options, scaled down resolutions etc.

If the selection changes mid-transmission, just start streaming the new objects and stop streaming the old ones.

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Nothing new

This is exactly how digital TV already works. A multicast mpeg transport stream is broadcast containing separate elementary streams for each video, audio, subtitle and interactive track. There is also some metadata (PAT and PMT tables) which associate which streams go together. It's not unusual for a programme to be broadcast with multiple audio streams (english, welsh + english audiodescriptive for instance) and being able to select different video streams is also regularly used for wimbledon and similar.

There probably is scope for better metadata and user interfaces to identify what each of the streams are/package combinations together, but mostly we just seem to be in a timewarp back to when people sprinkled 'object oriented' because it is new and exciting.

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Pint

Re: Nothing new

@ The Mole

Exactly. Thanks for saving me the typing.

Being that it's really just an extension of the present system, I suppose it'll make implementation pretty straightforward.

I think it's a mostly-harmless good concept.

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Flame

The first thing I'd want ..

.. would be to be able to turn off gratuitous background music, all pre-recorded trails and interference on the tv screen like "coming next", "press red", silly little logos and continuity announcers crashing credits.

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Re: The first thing I'd want ..

Will I be able to stabilise the wobbly camera and crash zooms?

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Flame

Re: The first thing I'd want ..

@This Side Up - My thoughs exactly. I already get rid of most of the crap by only watching iPlayer, not live or recorded off-air programmes.

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Re: The first thing I'd want ..

Turn off the bloody lens flare too.

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Megaphone

Re: The first thing I'd want ..

".. would be to be able to turn off gratuitous background music, all pre-recorded trails and interference on the tv screen like "coming next", "press red", silly little logos and continuity announcers crashing credits."

This comes up on Points of View basically every week and the response is always the same,

"yeah, we know you don't want that shit but damn it you are going to know what is coming next, you have to know what the damn channel is without pressing your info button and you will use those damn red button services - or not, but fuck if we're going to listen to the mere people who watch TV on this".

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TRT
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Re: The first thing I'd want ..

And the eye-wateringly distracting dark "vignette" around 75% of Top Gear's articles.

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browser compatiblity

Vaguely interesting idea, but we've seen from the world of web development the difficulties involved in getting of content to work across multiple browser - especially where high quality presentation is expected.

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> allow "a viewer to have the programme content tailored to their taste or mood"

Surely the way to do this would be a combination of features inside the telly?

It would start with image and voice recognition and end up with real-time video editing / substitution. That would allow users (or viewers, in old-fashioned parlance) to choose what attributes the individuals on their TV programmes had. So if they didn't like the voice of a particular "star" they could access a menu and change the pitch, gender or accent (maybe even language, too) of the speech that issues forth from their gob. It wouldn't be a huge step to do the same with the video, so actors clothes could be changed (or removed, or covered up - the "fig-leaf" filter) and themes added. Likewise with their faces and physical attributes.

From the broadcasters' side, this would make complaints a thing of the past. If you didn't like a programme - they it's your own fault for not tailoring it to something more palatable. Offended by the language - why didn't you use a *beep* filter?

For the users, the possibilities are endless. Not only could you substitute Her Maj. in to do the weather forecast, but you could buy add-ons and customisations and maybe even third party mashups and reworkings.

However, the best feature would be that there would never be the need to make an original programme ever again. Gone would be repeats in the orthodox sense. Yes, it would still be Dad's Army (special centenary anniversary edition) but Captain Mainwaring could be replaced with Arnie, Corporal Jones with Catherine Tate's Lauren and so on ...

Of course, you'd never be able to trust a news broadcast - or any other factual programme, ever again. But the downfall of democracy is a small price to pay for a limitless supply of crappy TV.

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Pint

@Pete 2

An upvote isn't enough. Have a beer.

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Go

I don't agree

"But don't underestimate the appeal of O-O transmission to two groups of people. One is BBC middle management, who will form "a metadata working group" at the drop of hat, and spend years having meetings which typically achieve nothing - but consume a lot of license fee money."

A lot of good tech has come from BBC - look at iPlayer for example - yes I know it has/had it's faults but for me it always seems to work and dishes up whatever programme I want to see.

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Object-oriented programming failed 20 years ago? Goddamit I must be imagining all those objects I've coded for the last 20 years!

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Happy

Clearly you are a figment of your own imagination

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Anonymous Coward

Some people never liked the change

Please don't shoot the messenger, but OOP never really persuaded everyone, LOL

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ArgumentsAgainstOop

http://www.geocities.com/tablizer/oopbad.htm (how did one geocities site survive?)

Can't please all the people all the time, etc :)

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