The BBC has decided to switch from broadcasting all its content on Freeview HD in 1080i (interlace) to broadcasting compatible content in 1080p (progressive) - but just forgot to tell anyone.
Previously 1080p 25fps material was encoded using a 1080i 25fps encoding mode, but on March 22/23, the HD encoder supporting BBC HD on Freeview HD was set-up to automatically detect progressive material and change the encoding mode appropriately. However it is this auto-switching between interlaced and progressive modes that seems to be causing problems with audio dropout for some viewers. The problem has only come to light in recent days and Sony has now issued a statement on the matters saying: “The BBC has introduced dynamic picture switching to improve picture quality during programme broadcasts, this has unexpectedly created a problem with an audio dropout, on the 2010 and 2011 Sony Bravia TVs.” Sony said it was working on a fix to the problem and promised to come back with more information within the next seven to ten days.
The BBC, responding to the problem, said it had “worked closely with receiver manufacturers ahead of these changes to investigate any interoperability issues. A small number of issues were found and some manufacturers issued fixes to alleviate those problems.” Some of the sets that have been reported to display this problem included the Bravia KDL-EX503, KDL-40EX43BU and the KDL-37EX403.The problem has led to audio and video dropouts making some content unwatchable.
While the problem with the Bravia TVs is not ideal, it should be a relatively easy fix and the fact that someone is finally broadcasting in 1080p should be applauded. The BBC say they decided to take the step to provide better picture quality for material shot in 1080p and hopefully this will herald more 1080p broadcasting.