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BBC Begins 1080p Broadcasting

David Gilbert


BBC Begin Broadcasting In 1080p

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.

Sony Bravia TV

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.

Source: What Hi-Fi?,BBC and Sony


May 23, 2011, 9:54 pm

But what about 1080p on Sky?!? Why only on Freeview??


May 24, 2011, 1:28 am

I didn't realise until I had a look this morning after seeing another site run a similar story but, apparently there's no way 1080p can be broadcast on Freesat, 1080i only :/

Though to be honest I think that's good enough for now, happy with my Humax FreeSat PVR, I'll check out the difference if and when I buy a 1080p capable TV which will inevitably have a FreeView HD tuner anyway..


May 25, 2011, 12:24 pm

@Mike337 - 5:54 PM on 23 May, 2011: "But what about 1080p on Sky?!? Why only on Freeview??"

That's because Sky is crap and they are ONLY interested in grabbing your money and making fat profits hence the average revenue of over £500 per Subscriber!!!

Why are you complaining here? Go complain to Sky!

@Xenos: "apparently there's no way 1080p can be broadcast on Freesat, 1080i only"

What laws of physics says you can't?

Or, more simply if you can transmit a 1080p via land transmitters or along a cable then why not via a satellite?


May 25, 2011, 3:46 pm

@Enigma - Ah, bless. Nothing if not persistent in your war of misinformation on Sky. :)

BBC HD as received on a Sky box *is* the freesat signal on Astra 2D.

Sky is not involved in the process other than to include it in their EPG, so probably not worth complaining to them or blaming their profiteering.

BTW, is it bad that Sky has a high revenue per subscriber? People aren't subscribing at gunpoint... they presumably think Sky represents reasonable value.

Content doesn't come cheap.

For the most recent quarter, operating profits (£261m) were 16% of revenue (£1.65b), so even if Sky were operated as a not-for-profit that would only knock £80 off a £500 bill.


May 25, 2011, 11:01 pm

Ah, simple simonm returns.

No, not misinformation.

I thought @Mike337 was complaining about Sky HD being 720p and not 1080p as for the BBC.

"People aren't subscribing at gunpoint... they presumably think Sky represents reasonable value."

No. The people are being hoodwinked or left NO choice by BSB paying over the odds for programmes and poaching them from the terrestrials who popularised them. Their latest poached acquisition is reportedly Glee from Channel 4. Sky reportedly paying double the current price. Adding to their earlier list of poached programmes: Beverly Hills 90210, 24, Star Trek franchise, Mad Men, Sports rights of course, Prison Break, Lost, etc etc.

As I said to you before BSkyB charges £10 million annually for carrying BBC's channels on its network when it costs BBC about £1 million on Freesat!!! Either BSB are grossly inefficient or they are grossly overcharging?

The Television Baftas BBC and Channel 4 won most of them. Sky won one for the Sir Richard Attenborough's Flying Monsters 3D documentary. The producer acknowledged that had ONLY been possible because of Sir Richard Attenborough who was developed at the BBC!!! Likewise Barry Norman on Sky Movies, Harry Enfield etc.

Indeed, despite Sky Sports massive resources it wasn't even in the short list and BBC won it!!

WINNER: Formula 1 – The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Production Team
BBC One/BBC Sport

6 Nations – Wales V England
Production Team
BBC One/BBC Sport

FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Portsmouth
Tony Pastor, Paul McNamara, Jamie Oakford, Rob Hollier
ITV1/ITV Sport

Wimbledon 2010
Production Team
BBC One/BBC Sport

[ http://www.bafta.org/awards/television/winners-nominees-2011,1766,BA.html ]


May 26, 2011, 3:13 am

I am not surprised. BBC's success at the Baftas.

Check out their F1 Forum Red Button trailer that they showed at the end of the Spanish F1 GP last weekend.

If the BBC were not DELIBERATELY handing the HD and 3D tv over to BSB Murdos would have been running to their Tory stooges complaining about the chilling ambition of the BBC.


May 26, 2011, 1:43 pm


Does it matter that the BBC can't afford to import American shows... and if it did matter, what would you do about it?

The obvious option would be to allow the BBC to run subscription channels, as it is very unlikely the licence payer would wear a significant hike on what is after all a mandatory, not an optional, cost in order to benefit American studios when the BBC's principal perceived strength - as you highlight - is as a programme maker.

But the consumer will still end up paying, whether the content is carried by the BBC or Sky.

Maybe you feel that if Sky wasn't on the scene then these shows could be got cheaper. The problem with that is (a) they are... if there weren't so many rich house buyers about then house prices would be cheaper and I could afford a nicer house... but it's a pointless hypothetical, (b) if Sky can pay these large sums and still make a profit then the business model is sound, so if Sky weren't buying the content, someone else would have launched premium channels and be out there outbidding the BBC.

Channel 4's predicament, on the other hand, is a shame. Risk takers, innovative programming, and - in contrast to the BBC - not staffed by a bunch of self-satisfied tossers. A public-service broadcaster with dwindling ad revenue and no licence fee to fall back on, they're really struggling.

PS "No, not misinformation." Come on! Notice the title of the article you were commenting on, "BBC Begins 1080p Broadcasting"... but as the article points out, only on Freeview, which gave rise to the question. Perhaps unintended misinformation because you didn't read it before you used it as a launchpad for another rant at Sky, but misinformation none the less.

And, as regards the £10m charge, we have had this discussion before, and it wasn't very illuminating the last time. At the end of the day, this charge is within Ofcom's remit - they specifically assess and report on its fairness. At this point you might choose to respond by branding Ofcom as toothless and in the pockets of Murdoch or some such, which is the standard response anyone adopts against a neutral regulator that doesn't side with them. So not a very fruitful line of discussion.


May 26, 2011, 7:39 pm

@simonm - 9:43 AM on 26 May, 2011

''And, as regards the £10m charge, we have had this discussion before, and it wasn't very illuminating the last time.''

Ah, but you're wrong. When I looked through your earoles it most illuminating on the other side! ;-))

After all you subscribe and defend the indefensible BSkyB crap.

Yeah, it is indeed fruitless having a discussion with a BSkyB vegetable.

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