back to article Think beyond the Beeb: Gov consultation is crucial for free telly

Do you like your free-to-air TV? It looks like a reasonable chunk of spectrum will be saved for terrestrial broadcasting at the WRC–15 meeting later this year, but the battle for Freeview is far from over. Doctor Who in Listen Listen up: it's time to have your say on the BBC A couple of months back, the BBC Trust gave the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I think the "simplist"...

    would to be make iPlayer Subs based. If you pay a license fee, you get to lock it to say 5 devices and then any after that you pay X amount.

    If you don't pay a license fee (including Johnny foreigner) you pay X+Y.

    This would not only make the service "free" to license holders, but allows content (and money) to come from other people that would otherwise would not pay a penny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think the "simplist"...

      Some BBC TV programmes are only available off-air - they are not available on live streaming or iPlayer. Presumably a constraint imposed by the programme supplier.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is progress?

    In a town near London, in range of two major TV transmitters, my reception of digital TV and DAB is just about non-existent since a large block of flats were built in the next street. FM radio is ok. The masthead amplifier has to be replaced every time there is a near lightning strike - there is now a permanent stock of spare ones in the cupboard.

    Even with a negotiated 12mbps on ADSL - the on-line BBC TV programmes are often blocky, hesitant, or disrupted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what, only a block of flats?

      ... some of us had to put up with the shadow cast by the Harmsworth Quays printing works.

      Still, at least I got to blame the Daily Mail ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is progress?

      Why not buy a slightly taller 'aerial' and run some coax from it to earth and place it near the existing aerial?

      Or get a lightning surge protector on the existing aerial?

      If you have a 12mbs link and an SD stream is buffering then change ISP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is progress?

        "Or get a lightning surge protector on the existing aerial?"

        Been thinking it needs something like that. Does that work to protect semiconductor pre-amps? What is the technology for the surge protector?

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    "Viewers would be staring at swimming hippos"

    And it would still beat ITV or Channel 5.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yikes is the final photo on page 3 really a from auntie?

    The message in the background lighting does not look like a mainstream TV show (at least not a BBC production)

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Yikes is the final photo on page 3 really a from auntie?

      It's plundered from the Reg pic library, and as far as I know, is a screengrab from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

    2. handle

      Re: Yikes is the final photo on page 3 really a from auntie?

      The inability to spell "licence" in the caption to the picture on page 2 shows that it's some Reg sub-ed who sticks in the pictures afterwards to make it look interesting, rather than Nigel.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Yikes is the final photo on page 3 really a from auntie?

        I did actually dig out all the images for this one myself (and I usually do), but I honestly can't remember if that's the original caption. If it is, then mea culpa. C = noun, S = verb, as any fule know. In my defence (it it was me), it's been a bit of a grim week.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Yikes is the final photo on page 3 really a from auntie?

          "I did actually dig out all the images for this one myself"

          I thing the OP was referring to the words "FOR PORN spelled out in the stadium seating and the image on the TV monitor looks like a bloke in bed with a bear.

  5. Cody

    The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

    The simplest solution if you want to retain the license fee is to stop making revenue from it a BBC monopoly, and make it available to non-profit trust structured broadcasters.

    The argument against license fee is that its a breach of human rights - people should be able to watch the most common source of information and entertainment without being obliged to pay for one particular broadcaster they may not be interested in. Or where they would rather watch ITV and eat better. Or get shoes for their kids.

    If you stick with a license fee this would continue to be the great injustice of it. You would still be taxing access to information and entertainment, and it would still be regressive. But at least if you share the revenue, you could give people some voice in how its spent, so that would be one small step better and fairer than the present situation.

    People always get furious about these kinds of proposals because as they end up saying in roundabout ways, they like the BBC and think its a bargain at 12.00 a month.

    So do I. What is wrong is that it only costs that little because those who don't want it are also paying for it.

    1. handle

      Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

      The licence fee (note spelling) is "a breach of human rights"? And I really thought I'd heard it all! Surely a far worse breach of human rights is the inability to access information free from the influence of either government or big business?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

        @ handle

        "Surely a far worse breach of human rights is the inability to access information free from the influence of either government or big business?"

        I thought you were going to argue against his comment then. We are talking about the BBC and their well known biases

        1. handle

          Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

          Oh yes I know about the BBC's "well-known biases" - it's criticised by everyone from all directions. Go figure! Or go and watch that well-known bastion of impartiality, Fox News, instead.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

            @ handle

            "Oh yes I know about the BBC's "well-known biases" - it's criticised by everyone from all directions. Go figure! Or go and watch that well-known bastion of impartiality, Fox News, instead."

            Not sure if your aware but claiming the BBC isnt biased because it is not as biased as FOX news is not actually supporting your argument. Basically if you have to compare with the more extreme bias to argue the BBC is not biased then I thank you for the amusement.

            1. handle

              Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

              codejunky, please tell me about these unbiased news sources that are not funded or influenced by the licence fee then. See tombo's posting below if you don't understand the relevance of that.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

                @ handle

                "codejunky, please tell me about these unbiased news sources that are not funded or influenced by the licence fee then. See tombo's posting below if you don't understand the relevance of that."

                Cmon bring back the goal posts, you were trying to substantiate your belief that the BBC is unbiased by comparing them with what is considered an extreme channel (unless you wernt being sarcastic and was accepting the BBC is badly biased and so comparing it with FOX in which I would apologise).

                The BBC gets a telly tax to prop them up. The claim is it frees them from bias. However they are well known to be biased. So if they want to be biased like everyone else is then I am fine with that. But I should not be forced to prop them up as I am not forced to prop up sky or virgin or any other provider. People should be free to choose. Freedom. Choice. Rights.

                1. handle

                  Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

                  Pretty thinly disguised "I'm not going to answer the question", codejunky. ;)

                  Perhaps an easier one for you then - back up your claim that the BBC is "well known to be biased". As that repeated claim is the basis of your complaint I trust you will be happy to do so.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

                    @ handle

                    "Pretty thinly disguised "I'm not going to answer the question", codejunky. ;)"

                    Not at all. It is a blatantly open you are avoiding answering the question and presented a separate question which has zero relation or impact on the one you avoided but you presented it as though it did. I am not arguing others are not biased, I am plainly stating the BBC is while enjoying perks ment to stop it being.

                    "Perhaps an easier one for you then - back up your claim that the BBC is "well known to be biased". As that repeated claim is the basis of your complaint I trust you will be happy to do so."

                    Feel free to look up on the reg (or even the beeb) their rock solid stance on MMCC co2 theory (and why). With a simple search I spotted this amusement- http://biasedbbc.org/quotes-of-shame/ but watching the treatment of BNP Nick Griffin on QT or looking at pretty much any UKIP coverage especially when there was fear they might succeed is enough. Like em or hate em they have been subjected to setups by the beeb. If anyone else here would like to pile on feel free

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

                  The BBC, as far as I can tell, is not 'biased'. That would mean it has a 'position' it wants to put forward based on a skewed interpretation of known facts, or indeed against the facts. I can't think of any instances of that. Individuals of course do have biases but the news reporting element of the BBC works really hard to ensure they don't get shown on screen.

                  Now if by biased you mean that the BBC reports news in ways with which you disagree, (I'm looking at you, every politician on the planet and most of the audience), that is of course true to some degree all the time - maybe that's your 'bias', not the BBC's?

                  It seems to me the _only_ way we can have a broadcaster who really is independent is to fund it centrally. If that is left in any way in politicians' hands, the venal bastards will try to hobble it because by definition they will consider it biased. So it has to be independent of general taxation, and it needs to be independent of private organisations who will similarly use it, if they can, for their own ends.

                  Yes I like the BBC exactly as it is - it's not perfect, and much of what it produces I don't like, but for a paltry sum of money it provides me with most of what I want, and the damage to our society that would be done by crippling it would be incalculable.

                  Thanks for listening.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

                    @AC

                    "The BBC, as far as I can tell, is not 'biased'. That would mean it has a 'position' it wants to put forward based on a skewed interpretation of known facts, or indeed against the facts."

                    Then you must have missed election coverage, fukushima nuclear incident, multiculturalism, windfarm/green energy/MMCC co2 theory, shooting dead of a stag.

                    The election is probably the only fuzzy opinionated thing in that list but all of them involved a skewed interpretation of known facts or indeed against the facts.

                    "If that is left in any way in politicians' hands, the venal bastards will try to hobble it because by definition they will consider it biased"

                    Very true which is why there is a problem with the BBC trying to impose its views (which were very supported by labour) and their absolute position of hatred and attack vs the tories. The BBC stance against the tories could be suggested as a response to the tory position of disliking the labour supporting propaganda machine for the 13 yrs of destructive rule.

                    "So it has to be independent of general taxation, and it needs to be independent of private organisations who will similarly use it"

                    This I would agree with. But it must be independent. It will obviously hold some views opposing the people but if it keeps out of political bias (it doesnt) sticks to the facts (it doesnt) and isnt some propaganda wing (it is) then I would be happier about them.

                    "much of what it produces I don't like, but for a paltry sum of money it provides me with most of what I want"

                    I stopped paying the license fee when I decided it was not worth propping them up with their 'interesting spin' on things just so I could watch content I actually was willing to pay for.

                    "and the damage to our society that would be done by crippling it would be incalculable"

                    It already is

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

      If the licence fee were found to be a breach of human rights, that's a whole continent which have to find another way of financing public television.

      So it would have to be rolled into general taxation. Would that make those vocal people who have Sky, are completely happy with Sky, only watch Sky, and never watch anything but Sky happy?

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

        @Dan 55

        Most audience surveys show that a massive majority of the population access at least one BBC service each week. Possibly not in great numbers, but I think there really are vanishingly few people who fall into the "only watch Sky" category.

        Radio is something often left out of that sort of discussion - and of course things like programming for schools.

        It's also notable that some research* suggests people aren't always aware of what broadcaster they're watching. Surveys in the past have reported comments like "Yes, I watch Eastenders, but I watch it on Sky, not the BBC."

        * Yes, I should supply a link. I'll see if I can dig it out.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

      So you propose diluting the fee across dozens of broadcasters and that will improve thing how?

      I presume you know that C4 is also are free public broadcasters as well?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

        "I presume you know that C4 is also are free public broadcasters as well?"

        Yes, well spotted, that is worth reiterating. Ch4 is a publicly owned company which has a government mandated remit which entitles it to free carriage over the terrestrial airwaves in exchange for production constraints such as UK produced programmes especially from outside London, schools TV and news, so is effectively subsidised. Not sure if that's from the treasury or the licence fee though.

        Also @Cody, to answer your first point, it's worth noting that TV Licence money helped fund the start up of the new local TV channels and a lesser amount used to subsidise them annually.

    4. John Sanders
      Alert

      Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

      IMHO: There is no need for public (state owned) broadcasting and the public should not be forced to pay for it indiscriminately.

      The public should pay for those things they consider are worth paying for.

      If the BBC wants to be a broadcaster they should go commercial, add a scrambler to their schemes, and get people to subscribe to their channels. If people massively opt-out it is because it is not worth it, on the contrary if it is "that good" people will subscribe in droves isn't?

      In my particular case I do not want to watch TV (Any TV) I do not posses any means of watching TV except for the computers, so my firewall blocks all the BBC's IP space.

      I do not care what they do with the BBC, but at the very least I want the opportunity to remain a non-paying non-TV watching person, I do not need TV to live.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: The simplest solution would be abolish license fee monopoly

        The BBC isn't state-owned. Don't mix up receives-state-mandated-funding-from-the-public with state-owned, otherwise we'll have to declare Virgin Rail state-owned.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    happy to pay the license fee

    I think the purpose of the BBC should be to keep the bar high.

    Look at Sky News: it's not bad! But it has BBC News to contend with. Got to america and watch Fox News and that's what a lack of BBC gets you. If you haven't seen Murdoch's Fox News look on YouTube, you won't believe it - and it's Murdoch who wants the beeb scrapped. If you oppose the license fee you're doing Murdoch's work for him.

    Same with children's programs. Without CBeebees and the other BBC children's channel our kids would be watching endless american cartoon rubbish.

    The problem is when the BBC just chases ratings for the sake of it and produces mindless dross like east f***ing enders. For the life of me I can't figure out why our license fee is paying for that rubbish.

    1. TimR

      Re: happy to pay the license fee

      Spot on

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: happy to pay the license fee

      The problem is that of universality, in the sense of appealing to everyone.

      There are people who like soap operas, or dancing contests, and other things that some of us consider low-brow. Some might also say the same about Doctor Who.

      But if those programmes aren't there, and what the BBC has is the "worthy" content found on BBC Four, and the ad-free kids material, isn't there a risk that there will be people who feel that there is nothing for them?

      If that becomes the case, then you can't really argue for a universal licence fee, can you? If there is to be a fee paid by everyone, then I think there has to be programming for everyone too. For everyone that thinks East Enders is rubbish, there will be others who feel the same about The Sky At Night, or this week's Canal Trip.

      There are, certainly, questions about whether formats should be acquired in the quest for ratings, rather than developed in house (The Voice vs Strictly). In the latter case, selling the format to others makes quite a lot of money.

      The same question, though, might equally apply to other acquisitions, though. Should they pay to acquire the rights to show a decent film on Christmas Day, which might get ratings, or should they trot out Morecambe and Wise again, because it saves us money?

      There aren't, I think, really simple answers to questions like this. I made some suggestions in the article - but I think the most important thing readers can do is think about it, and respond to the consultation.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: happy to pay the license fee

        While I happen to think EastEnders is rubbish as well, I don't mind the BBC paying for it to be made as a lot of folk do link it.

        What I do/would object to is the BBC bidding stupid sums of money for sports coverage. Not that I am against them doing sports, but I think the amount of money pissed up the wall by premier league footballers or the organisers of F1, etc, is not a good way to spend money. Other up-side is that Sky can pay a bit less for said sports, so those who do end up paying don't need to spend as much either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: happy to pay the license fee

          "Other up-side is that Sky can pay a bit less for said sports, so those who do end up paying don't need to spend as much either."

          I don't think you understand Murdoch's business plan if you think paying less for sports would get Sky to lower their prices.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: happy to pay the license fee

        >>> The problem is that of universality, in the sense of appealing to everyone.

        There are (I guess) 60 million people living in the uk so one channel simply cannot please everyone all the time. But on the other hand, the BBC does seem awfully fond of getting into ratings battles with ITV and putting it’s own “reality” programs on at the same time as theirs.

        >>> For everyone that thinks East Enders is rubbish, there will be others who feel the same about The Sky At Night, or this week's Canal Trip.

        The difference is programs like Sky at Night and Doctor Who are harmless. There are those that like them and those that don’t. From what I can see of EastEnders (and this is from the BBC’s own primetime adverts and what I see when I walk into the room and someone has left the TV on) it’s all about glorifying “hard” men (read: laughable tossers), conflict resolution by seeing which idiot can scream the loudest, and pining people up against a wall and threatening them. Try behaving like that in real life and see how far you get!

        It’s a pretty poor example to set to absolutely everyone (no matter how old) watching - so it’s not raising the bar like the BBC should be doing, and does very well in most other areas, it’s lowering it considerably.

    3. handle

      "For the life of me I can't figure out why our license fee is paying for that rubbish."

      Edit: Nigel responded to the point above much more eloquently than I could have done, so I've removed my comment.

    4. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: happy to pay the license fee

      Yes, there are no other news broadcasting in the States other than Fox.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_over-the-air_television_networks

      And obviously Fox has henchmen in every household pointing a gun at people's head so they do not change the channel.

      And they charge you a Fox tax if you wan to watch any other channel... oh wait, no that's the BBC.

      You probably are one of these types who only agrees with diversity of opinions as long as they match your own, or possibly think that people is stupid to reason on their own, and need to be steered towards the right ideas and way of thinking that you approve of.

      1. handle

        Re: happy to pay the license fee

        "And they charge you a Fox tax if you wan to watch any other channel... oh wait, no that's the BBC."

        As opposed to the ITV/Sky/Ch4/Ch5 etc tax you are charged here if you watch any other channel, whenever you buy a product or service advertised on any of them, you mean?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: happy to pay the license fee

        >>>> Yes, there are no other news broadcasting in the States other than Fox.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_over-the-air_television_networks

        Yup, but Fox are widely credited with severely dumbing down american tv. And if dumbing down gets ratings, that puts a huge amount of pressure on commercial organisations to follow suit.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: happy to pay the license fee

          @ tombo

          "Yup, but Fox are widely credited with severely dumbing down american tv. And if dumbing down gets ratings, that puts a huge amount of pressure on commercial organisations to follow suit."

          From previous reg articles of the BBC there are often comments about the dumbing down of the BBC. It would appear the same problem persists, but people choose to fund only one.

          1. handle

            Re: happy to pay the license fee

            codejunky, when talking about bias earlier, you criticised me for defending the BBC by comparing it to an "extreme" example, Fox News.

            I assume, therefore, that as you yourself are now comparing the BBC with Fox News on the subject of dumbing down, that you believe that the BBC has dumbed down British TV news to a similar extent to Fox in the US.

            Fair's fair, after all.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost of collection

    BBC is not an organisation set up to attempt to record consumers, their viewing, collect subscriptions or other costs, and deal with all their moves, deaths, marriages etc etc. Sky, BT, Virgin are etablished with a much smaller subscriber base that free to air and have enough problems

    The BBC is also providing R&D, standards development, and to some extent is a government proxy for digital rollouts etc. more like the British Broadcasting Authority of which some programmes and content are created and broadcast.

    If there is to be a nationally funded broadcaster it has to be mainstream and provide a diversity of content. Trouble is, as it is government funded it also becomes party politcal. As far as I can see the BBC must be biased against all parties based on the rhetoric which patently cannot be true...

    If it is to be personally funded there is no space for further government interference in it and it will be invariably privatised and become ad-funded.

    In my view it should be funded out of general taxation and the costs of collecting and maintaining licences should be saved by both the BBC and taxpayer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost of collection

      In my view it should be funded out of general taxation and the costs of collecting and maintaining licences should be saved by both the BBC and taxpayer.

      You need to visit Aus. The commercial channels are shit. Really shit. The BBC's non-commercial counterpart down here is funded from general taxation and, generally speaking, the only programmes worth watching on it are made by the BBC.

      Something else to consider: a county tends to export its best TV programmes. That means we get David Attenborough in Aus and send you Neighbours in return.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Cost of collection

        "That means we get David Attenborough in Aus and send you Neighbours in return."

        I quite enjoyed The Dr Blake Mysteries :-)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Cost of collection

      "As far as I can see the BBC must be biased against all parties based on the rhetoric which patently cannot be true..."

      Considering that Govt. of any/all colours are always whinging about political coverage, I think the BBC are probably doing a reasonable job of not being a Govt. mouthpiece. Having said that, there are certain powerful people or groups within the BBC who seem to have their own biased agendas such as, as already mentioned by others, AGW, CO2 etc.

  8. steamnut

    it's time for a change

    The BBC has got too big for it's boots. It spends (wastes?) lots of our money on items we get no say over like biding for football rights, F1, the Manchester move, excessive salaries and pay-offs etc.. In return we get East Enders at prime time. If 'enders is really that popular then turning it into a subscription program would yield lots of cash. My bet is the number or "real" 'enders viewers is less then they tell us.

    The item not covered in this article is what is the licence fee for? If I elect to watch programmes from Sky only, why do I still pay for East Enders production? Is it for the BBC, infrastructure, R&D what?

    1. handle

      Re: it's time for a change

      If I elect to watch programmes from the BBC only, why do I still pay for Sky's production? Advertising isn't paid for by magic fairy dust, you know.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: it's time for a change

        @ handle

        "If I elect to watch programmes from the BBC only, why do I still pay for Sky's production? Advertising isn't paid for by magic fairy dust, you know."

        Your being scammed. Sky does not enforce you must pay them, instead you must subscribe and make the choice to pay them.

        If your talking about the products you buy day to day, thats actually a DECISION of yours to pay the product/services MANUFACTURER and you can choose another brand/manufacturer who does not pay for TV ads if you like.

        Glad I could help.

        1. handle

          Re: it's time for a change

          Sorry, you didn't help, but instead appear to be terribly confused.

          Of course Sky doesn't force you to subscribe to it. I never said it does. I was talking about its other income stream - the adverts which it carries - and who pays for those. Yes, believe it or not, Sky is such good value for money that it requires funding from both hefty subscriptions AND advertising.

          Oh look - you do appear to have realised that - so why erect straw men to demolish? What was that you were saying earlier about moving goal posts? ;)

          When you buy a product which is advertised on Sky (or substitute any other commercial broadcaster), you're forced to pay Sky a "tax" incorporated into the price of that product. You are paying Sky for programmes, whether you are watching them or not. Sound familiar? Sure, you can choose not to buy that product, but that restricts your freedom of choice and who's to say there's an alternative, especially as the free market will tend to equalise the prices of competing products?

          Just watch any commercial TV for a while to see how advertising works without benefiting the consumer. A company will start to advertise a product. A competing company will panic and start to advertise their product too. These advertising wars happen again and again. Result: trebles all round for the broadcaster; prices go up for the consumer.

          There are hundreds of things you have to pay for in your taxes which you don't consume. It just requires a bit more intelligence to be applied to realise this, rather than just kicking off at the licence fee all the time because it's so obvious what it funds.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Nobbling Freeview with nowhere for the broadcasters to go would be a remarkable lack of foresight, this is not The Netherlands (cable) or Germany (satellite). If the BBC and by extension everyone else is to go broadband then all ISPs would need plumbing to be paid for by someone to put Freeview on multicast, probably something done at Openreach, and get all home routers reconfigured/replaced. It would cost millions.

    So why would this be a benefit? You're replacing one universally accessible digital platform which works with a whole new platform to get the same thing and viewers would have to pay a broadband subscription on top of a licence fee.

    There is pressure from the EU to free TV frequencies as other countries don't have as much terrestrial TV and it goes well with the Tories who want to downsize the BBC.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      On a technical level IP TV is a horrendous wast of resources, all of those duplicated data streams...

      1. handle

        True, but eventually multicast ought to ameliorate that.

      2. Zimmer
        Big Brother

        Stealing the Internet bandwidth..

        ...and finally creating Big Brother..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stealing the Internet bandwidth..

          "...and finally creating Big Brother.."

          Amazon monitoring every book you read on your Kindle and which pages get special study. Streamed TV monitoring what programmes you watch - and whether you watch them more than once, ditto IP radio. An interested party could even seed a few programmes just to see who watches them.

          Welcome to the goldfish bowl - and the world of thought crimes.

  10. tony2heads

    4k

    As you point out, 4k broadcasts are likely to be tests only.

    Would it be feasible to have 4k as a BBC subscription item where the extra resolution would be important (some sports events, some documentaries ...)

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: 4k

      The Japanese have looked at Ka-band satellite for UHDTV as there is really not much spare at Ku band. However, the investment in both space-side and the upgrade costs for everyone wanting it are not pretty

      OK, if we dropped a lot of the 100+ shit channels we might have it on Ku, but that is not looking likely.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: 4k

      Given the constraints on bandwidth, I think 4k will be problematic. Yes, in theory you could opffer it as a subscription service - since people will need new boxes for 4k anyway, they could be specified to have Conditional Access.

      However, there are various potential problems with that. Firstly, I think the BBC would be pretty resistant to any introduction of CA, because it might be seen as the start of an overall shift to subscription.

      Secondly, while it might be possible to find space for one HEVC 4K stream, I imagine that it will be hard to find more than that, especially without lots of people having to replace kit and shifting existing services to newer technology.

      So, for anything other than a test service where you could justify the BBC's being the ones to do it, given their in-house research efforts, you will likely face the problem of which of the established broadcasters should have the opportunity to broadcast a subscription service in 4k. Should that necessarily be the BBC? I think there would be plenty of people making a case that commercial broadcasters are just as entitled to a 4k channel.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: 4k

        The bandwidth problem for worthwhile 4k is also an issue for IP TV, at least, unless some serious headway is made in terms of fibre to, ideally, the home.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 4k

          I actually thought the 4k Netflix quality was decent. Daredevil was crisp. (yay for Virgin 152mb :>)

          1. handle

            Re: 4k

            There is not yet, but should be, so much more to 4k than the extra pixels, which, let's face it, are redundant to a lot of people a lot of the time. Much more noticeable benefits could be achieved by tacking on higher frame rates (less juddery/smeary motion), higher contrast (brighter whites/deeper blacks) and a wider range of colours. The BBC is able to look at this sort of thing from the point of view of the broadcasters, e.g. by developing systems which are not radically incompatible with how programmes are made at the moment (reducing production/infrastructure costs) and promoting universal standards (opening up the broadcast equipment market and hence also reducing costs).

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: 4k

              But bear in mind that whoever and however 4K is implemented, it will require *significant* internal investment at the broadcaster, from 4k capable studios, through 4k capable internal routers, to 4k presentation areas and transmission systems; an upgrade of the entire broadcasting chain while still maintaining the existing HD and probably SD capability.

              Not cheap.

              A 4k *test* on the other hand, needs only a 4k source and a small amount of hardware, possibly even rented or sponsored. Cheap. But not sustainable.

              I haven't looked at 4k systems - but SD digital requires 270Mb/s; HD requires around 3Gb/s, and 4k will require four times that - 12Gb/s just for internal transport. Remember that reputable broadcasters *do not* encode until the latest possible point; you can't put back what has been compressed out.

            2. Nigel Whitfield.

              Re: 4k

              @handle

              Last year, there was some great work on HDR and wide gamut on show at IBC, and I'm expecting to see even more of that this year. I'll be over there reporting on it for The Reg, so keep an eye out in September for lots of info

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 4k

      "[...] where the extra resolution would be important [...]"

      The current BBC streamed TV programmes have too many annoying compression artefacts. Especially noticeable when it's a seascape or something similar with a lot of random movement.

  11. David T-Rex

    Flockstars

    This is being shown on ITV - enough said: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLNwLJYoCXU

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Flockstars

      Blimey! How un-sporting of ITV to disable commenting on that video...

  12. graeme leggett

    The rest of the licence fee

    If the licence fee is torched, what happens to that bit that goes to Channel 4?

    Or does that no longer happen?

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: The rest of the licence fee

      While a public corporation, Channel 4 does not (and never has) receive licence fee funding.

      S4C does, however, receive support for Welsh language programming.

      Of course, whether Channel 4 will remain a public corporation is another matter; there are repeated murmurings about privatisation.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: The rest of the licence fee

        thanks for sorting my confusion twixt the one 4th channel and the other.

    2. Mike Dimmick

      Re: The rest of the licence fee

      When the ad market crashed after the Credit Crunch, Channel 4 were all for top-slicing the licence fee and grabbing a bit. When they saw what the government did to freezing it in 2010 - and the ad market recovered - they were suddenly rather less keen and stopped talking about it. So it never actually happened.

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    What if I'm on cable? If BBC News goes to online-only, can't my CableCo hook up a feed from it and still pipe it down my wires?

    1. handle

      I don't see why not. It's the same thing anyway - just a load of bits. It won't be free to air any more though, as you'll need to subscribe to some sort of distribution mechanism to receive it.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Teletext, NICAM, RDS, DVB-T2 and much more have come out of the BBC's labs

    That 'much more' includes pretty much *everything* used in television, from the very earliest days - including all the bits that you see but never think about, like the 'grammar' of the way the video is shot; how to build studios that work; how to design a sound stage, what colour the camera filters and display systems should be, how big the signals should be...

  15. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    FAIL

    What I'd most like the BBC to do...

    ...is to stop farting about with the "prime" BBC 1 schedules whenever they get a "big" sporting event. It was entirely understandable in the analogue only days, even understandable before the digital switch over when a lot of people still could only get BBC1 & 2. But now that anyone who watches TV can get the whole gamut of BBC channels, why the hell do they have to screw around with their "prime" channel just because England are about to lose the Ashes again?

  16. Phil1949

    Funding commercial channels

    Can I have an opt-out when purchasing goods and services advertised on channels I do not watch?

    1. codejunky Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Funding commercial channels

      @ Phil1949

      "Can I have an opt-out when purchasing goods and services advertised on channels I do not watch?"

      Yes. Dont buy them. Nobody is forcing you. Buy a brand that is not advertising on the channels you do not watch.

      How about not charging us a telly tax for the BBC when we dont use it? That way we can have the freedom to purchase the goods and services we want without paying the competitor for nothing. Or when you buy a product (say a car) do you then go to its competitors and give them money under some misguided idea of them suddenly being more fair (than the product you have obviously gone out of your way for!!!!)?

      (anyone would think this is complicated)

  17. WibbleMe

    Living in the UK; not switched my TV on since Christmas. Using my laptop to stream TV and loving it.

    I may actually put my TV in the bin and save on a TV licence and save a wad of cash even with subscription charges.

  18. rtb61

    Government controlled media channel is necessary to ensure accurate news reporting, free access to educational material and contribution to social worth. The whole legal basis for copyright, copyright was intended to protect works of social worth not as a licence to print money producing socially destructive crap.

    In fact all content should be accessed for social worth, those that fail no copyright privilege and those that pass social worth test get copyright protection.

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