Tyne Tees will switch off its analogue TV transmission at midnight tonight. The shutdown will mark the last region of the mainland to go entirely digital despite the obituaries written in April. Exactly how the signal will be killed off is described in quite terrifying detail by the A516 Digital blog. The switch to digital TV …
The classic demonstration of the power of digital was the first broadcast of Attenborough's "Blue Planet".
When the sardine bait-ball scene appeared, the digital stream got into a tizz and left swirling shiny square blocks all over the screen.
Viewers commented - "We can see they're sardines, they're already in their tins"...
Re: creature features...
Anything with running water shows this up. And oddly, so does the football. Grass is made up of individual blades, all with slightly different colour. Apart from on Freeview, or Virgin for that matter, where it becomes an indeterminate splodge apparently made up of small squares.
They need to get rid of the shopping and chat channels, whose sole purpose is to fleece the house-bound out of what money they have.
> Digital TV from a reasonable distance (compared to how we used to watch TV when I was a lad)
You mean far enough away that you can't see the crap?
My Mum lives 15 miles from a main (500kW) transmitter. She has always had perfect analogue reception. She now has a strong digital signal, and the analogue picture quality on the old analogue CRT is still far better than from any of the LCD digital TVs in the house, and from the Freeview box connected to the analog TV.
An HD signal, downconverted to SD, is almost as good as analogue, which shows that the problem is not digital per-se, but the appalling levels of overcompression used to cram 60 channels of crap into the space that once held 5 decent ones.
Then again, people used to look at VHS recordings and rave about how good the picture was, so most people won't even notice that the digital pap they're spoon-fed with is rubbish quality. They've paid £1000 for a fancy new flat screen TV, so it must be better.
I had to upvote this because you called channel 5 "decent". I like documentaries about fat people and feeders too! :D
One also has to say that British stations tend to be bandwidth starved. They always muck around at 2-4 Mbit. In Germany it's not uncommon for a station to have 4-9 Mbit. That's for SD over satellite of course.
For example right now "Das Erste" is showing some report on a German musician which consists of hand held camera shots at about 5 Mbit/s. Audio at 400 kbit/s
Regional channel "Bayerisches FS Nord" (unfortunately not home of Bavarian Reports Mode) is airing near static images at 3.5 Mbits peaking at 7.2 for some mushroom boffins.
rbb Brandenburg ist now showing some children's show at 7.8 Mbits.
StarTrek TOS on zdf_neo had about 3.5 for near static images and peaks over 4 for moving images.
Of course there are stations with lower bitrates, for example Sixx a channel for women only has about 2.2 Mbit/s for moving images.
Or "Starparadies AT", apparently an Austrian teleshopping channel is at a constant bitrate of 1.07 Mbit/s.
Sometimes the bitrate and the quality don't match. Tele5 Austria (Austrian branch of a German Station) is showing Star Trek TNG at 4.95 MBit/s and it's a bad late 1980s early 1990s standard conversion. I have seen better conversions on "Top of the Pop" shows from the 1970s.
However BBC 1 London seems to have improved on their bitrates. "Newsround" now is on 3-4.5 Mbit/s.
BTW the quality of the encoders has improved a great deal over the years. Since video encoding isn't a science but an art it does improve over time.
So it all can be done. Even Ceefax. Most German TV stations still have teletext over DVB. It's a standard feature. Apparently usage numbers are even increasing.
Now if only German television would have anything good on.
As you say, Christian, the problem is largely in the coders. The transmission standards don't mandate the coder, just the way the bitstream will be decoded, and the result is that different makers (no names, no pack drill) can produce coders at vastly different prices and vastly different picture quality at vastly different coding efficiencies.
No point wishing for one of those nice looking efficient coders if the project costs only accommodate the cheap one that takes twice the bitrate.
And don't even get me started on statistical multiplexers...
I felt a great disturbance in the airwaves, as if millions of analogue tvs suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I fear something digital has happened.
Genius. That is all.
...with the analogue switch off we're finally safe from those pesky 'Poltergeist' ghosts.
Re: Good news..."safe from those pesky 'Poltergeist' ghosts"
But now is the true age of the Digimon.
"...everyone from the BBC to El Reg reminisced about on-screen snow...."
Of course, now we can enjoy the delights of really poor transmission rates and macro-blocking. Or, if you're really lucky, the signal drops out completely! A HUGE improvement on mere "snow". Bundle-in a good ol' collection of game shows, TV shopping, soaps, adverts, err... nope - that just about covers what's on TV these days, and you have a crackin' platform fit for the 20th century.
What's that? It's the 21st century now? Oh dear....
Knicking the broadcast spectrum.
I wanted high bitrate HD not more bloody mobile frequencies.
For decent HD you to go BluRay now.
Want to see poor HD, try Gardeners World with a busy picture - looks like SD.
Crank it up
Judging by my seemingly faultless reception of the main BBC multiplex now, I expect I'll finally be able to get all the other Freeview channels once they get the full beans on the Bilsdale transmitter.
I think I might treat myself to one of those new-fangled flat screen TVs. Yep, still rocking a CRT in 2012.
I don't watch much telly - because I'm missing out on all the best channels right? Anyone seen Jedward's Weird Wild World on 5*? Any good?
The last time this happened
The last big TV switchover in the UK (from 405 to 625 lines -- remember 405 lines?) began in 1964 with the launch of BBC2 (on 625 only) and wasn't completed until 1985 (when the last of the 405-line transmitters was turned off), so that's 21 years.
That's still the blink of an eye compared to how long it's taken for SI to catch on, though -- hence the pint of beer.
Re: The last time this happened
Re: The last time this happened
I can remember fitting a Band III converter to my parents' TV when ITV started in the 1950s. I would have been about 10.
Of course Berwick wasn't first, either
Small areas of the UK went digital-only as much as a couple of years before Berwick, where active relays were in use for tricky terrain/geographic reasons and residents had to choose one or the other, unsurprisingly opting for digital. This was the case in part of my home town, and I very much doubt there weren't other similar areas around the land.
of 'Citizen Khan' was totally ruined last night when Dave suggested they watch the cricket on what was clearly an analogue set with a built in loop aerial. You'd have thought the BBC could have done better. Well, you'd have thought they could have done better than Citizen Khan, actually.
"The sky above the port ...
... was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."
Why didnt the freeview spec include......
1: A way of superimposing the deaf guide on any program at any time rather than rebroadcasting stuff late at night. Would be far more convienient/less annoying for all concerned.
2: A smartcard slot so the BBC could encrypt their channels and base the licence fee on that. Of course I already know the answer to this one, they would loose a shit ton of money as half the licence payers now wouldnt bother.
One more really irritating thing about freeview, why do some transmitters broadcast over 100 channels, but where I am we only get 17? Its really strange as the transmitter the local one gets its feed from has 128 channels, but we only get the bbc/some itv/some ch4 ones and a load of dating crap + the bbc radio ones.
> One more really irritating thing about freeview, why do some transmitters broadcast over 100 channels, but where I am we only get 17?
Because the commercial channels who pay for part of the service don't consider your area to be worth spending money on to install more transmitters. Main transmitters carry all Muxes, many relays carry "freeview-lite", which is what you're getting. Public Service (PSB) channels only.
"filled with adverts (muted)"
The day will surely come when the extra control bit (that I'm certain is there) in the HD signal gets put to use. It's the "mute disable" bit.
Re: "filled with adverts (muted)"
Well then don't buy The Register-recommended devices, buy cheaper standard compliant or open source kit.
No Change For Me
I abandoned TV over 2 years ago because I had better things to do with my time. Got a nice refund too, when I wrote to them. Not had any hassles either.
P.S. No I don't sneakily watch on the computer. As I said, I've got better things to do.
Ah! But that's not right but.
The analogue signal's gone off already, due to the floods.
I can remember growing up in Cwmbran that almost all houses had two ariels, one pointing a Bristol (well the Mendip transmitter I guess) so we could get Channel 4 as well as S4C.
Re: Two Ariels
Bruce Hocking & Jan Leeming reading the west country news.
"and now, on BBC Wales, Eisteddfodiau I have Loved and on BBC Network, the TV premier of Jaws"
As we had TV in the front room and the back room we had four ariels - west / wales front and west / wales back.
(Newport boy then later living in Talbot Green (jn34/M4) where you could also get west and wales.)
But you can't match the heady days in the 1990, from March to November when D-MAC programming from the BSB Marco-Polo satellites was available! Super quality and HD-MAC in the pipeline until the tragic merger in Nov/Dec 90, before the christmas push...
I only had four of the five BSB channels 'cos I didn't want the sport.
RIP Galaxy, Power Station, Movie Channel & Now...
Ah, the good old days. Tuning the TV manually with a tweezer going through UHF channels 21 - 68, sticking keys in the RF aerial socket in the back of the TV, waiting 5 mins for the black-and-white TV to display a picture after switch-on, trying to find that PERFECT angle for the aerial, setting the video to tape a programme (and having to add 5 mins to the end knowing ITV were awful at keeping time), twiddling about with V-sync to get the picture centred JUST RIGHT, teletext 888...
sniff, so long analogue...
Heck, at least with analogue, you could just about watch poor reception through the snow.
With digital, when the signal is bad, it's all blips, scrambled pictures, judders, jumps, shakes, whistles, wibbles, wobbles - you get the picture (or actually, sometimes not)
I used to love channel scanning with Analogue - getting ghostly images appearing behind the static - twiddling tiny buttons with a kitchen knife on tiny portable black and white tube TV's - fantastic fun. No, really.
It's the end of an era - one I grew up with. I've spent far more time watching analogue than digital.
Heck, 34 years more.
So long analogue TV, we'll miss you ...
In Norway we turned of analogue May 20, 2008. I do not miss the snowy pictures for sure.
Re: Welcome after
Isn't everything in Norway snowy anyway?
Re: Welcome after
I think Norway inherited the Marco-Polo satellites (ex BSB) which became your THOR system?
was only one thing that annoyed me about analogue.. that was living down here on the saff coast, you could get to watch french TV all over ITV when the conditions were right..
a great improvement to be honest.
But the switch off has left me with 2 useless TVs and my 28" living room one stuck on the cable TV feed (100 channels of crap and 1 decent program... and adverts for 5 mins every 15 mins and they all cut to ads AT THE SAME F***ING TIME!)
Ads - tell me about it.
I can't belive it's taking so long.
I know I wasn't in the first area but I haven't seen analogue since May 2009 - that's 3½ years ago FFS.
Re: I can't belive it's taking so long.
I think I had sky digital and NTL digital as soon as they were launched.
Remember BBC Choice and the lad of a presenter just lounging on a couch doing the announcements?
I think only three people were involved in that programme - the lad, the cameraman and me, the viewer!
Much better than the analogue signals, IMHO
Freeview picture quality
Degraded over the years
Back in 1993 BBC1 looked fantastic on DTTV, really really good. (I know don't be pedantic)
This was with a Wega tube IDTV. DVDish bitrates.
Since then they have been squeezing the bit rate down and down.
Now BBC 1 is actually quite ropey.
Using DSTV BBC1HD is not that different in picture to how BBC1 SD used to look when it first started.
The last change to DSO really made BBC1 look bad. (Oh and above IDTV was not compatible - good job I sold it to someone with a sat box)