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BBC HD to switch to DVB-S2 on 6th June 2011

The BBC will switch to the higher-capacity modern modulation scheme for the BBC HD and BBC One HD channels on satellite.

The BBC will switch to the higher-capacity modern modulation sc
published on UK Free TV

The high definition (HD) television channels on satellite require a lot more bandwidth (number of bits per second) than the standard definition (SD) ones, as you might expect.

However the additional capacity required is reduced in two ways. First the MPEG-4 compression system is used (rather than MPEG-2) and generally the DVB-S2 modulation system increases the bandwidth of each satellite transponder.

Generally speaking, around nine SD television channels can be carried on a transponder in DVB-S mode, and four HD channels on one in DVB-S2 mode.

For historical reasons, the BBC's Astra 2D transponder 50 has been providing BBC One HD and BBC HD (and also ITV1 HD Merdian South) in the DVB-S mode, and this has used all the capacity on the transponder, because of the lower bitrate.

The changes

One 6th June 2011, the BBC will switch the transponder to DVB-S2. If you watch using Sky+HD, Virgin Media or Freeview HD you will not have to do anything.

If you use a branded Freesat box (or TV set), you may need to put it into stand-by mode for 30 seconds on 6th June. If that doesn't work, perform a 'first time installation'.

Update: Some Panasonic Freesat boxes are unable to deal with the change - see comments below

If you are using a unbranded Freesat box, you may find that you also have to do a 'first time installation' to get the channels back.

Some older satellite equipment will not support DVB-S2. If you can't watch Channel 4 HD, then you will no longer be able to watch the BBC HD channels.

Sky HD, Freesat HD EPG issues

Currently BBC One HD cannot automatically replace BBC One in the Sky EPG at position 101, because there are 15 regional versions of BBC One, and only a single BBC One HD 'stream' on the satellite.

BBC Two carries four regions for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For a BBC TWO HD to appear in the Sky EPG at position 102, the BBC would need to provide four versions of BBC TWO HD.

All the other BBC channels are national, and have no regional components. BBC Three timeshares with CBBC, BBC FOUR timeshares with CBeebies, plus there is BBC News, BBC Parliament and BBC Alba.

The extra capacity found by moving to DVB-S2 could allow the BBC to provide BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies and CBBC channel in HD, and these could be provided in the "usual" EPG slots for Sky HD and Freesat HD users, which would put them on the lower numbered channels nearer the top of the guide.

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Comments
Monday, 13 June 2011
J
Jerry
12:00 PM

Had been searching everywhere to find out why I'd lost BBCHD channels on my Panasonic DMR-XS350EB. Was going to take it in to dealers as all attempts to retune had failed. Luckily came across this site and Steve's answer about the shipping condition...it worked! Thanks.

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Jerry's 1 post GB flag
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

7:42 PM

Jerry: Always happy for UK Free TV to help out.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
P
Peter
7:59 PM

I have a Panasonic DMR350 which no longer receives BBC One HD or BBC HD. I am not about to return it to its factory default state in order to receive these channels as I have better things to do with my time than reconfigure the box from scratch.

The BBC have access to DTG Testing who are in business to check changes like this with the available kit before they are rolled out. Clearly this testing was not carried out.

The problem seems to have been caused by the BBC selecting a non-standard Symbol rate which some kit (like the Panasonic DMR350) cannot support.

Does anyone know if Panasonic are planning to make a software change which will overcome this screw up by the BBC?

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Peter's 2 posts GB flag
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:30 PM

Peter: I would read the posts above to explain how to clear the fault without you having to do much at all really, other than use the "shipping condition" menu option.
The BBC have not screwed up and you can enter the correct symbol rate into your device using the number keys.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:31 PM

Graeme Hartley: As the above comments, reset the device to "shipping condition" to get the channels back.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
P
Peter
1:36 PM

Briantist: I have read all of the comments in this thread and they say that the only way to recover my Panasonic DMR350 is to return it to its shipping condition. By doing this I delete all of the configuration and all of the program recordings that I have setup. Reinstating all of this is a big job.

Also, I cannot enter the symbol rate that the BBC are using. There is a drop down for this with three option, none of which are appropriate. And in any case I can only select a symbol rate for the non-Freesat channel list which isn't where the BBC HD channels should be anyway.

Having worked in the digital TV industry up until a few years ago, the deal is that broadcasters check changes like this by testing a variety of product before making the change. If the BBC had done this then they would have spotted that there was a problem with all Panasonic kit, not exactly a small minority of customers!

The BBC need to change the way they are transmitting the HD channels so that all DVB-S2 enabled kit works. This should be entirely possible.

This changeover has been rushed and proper testing has not been conducted as a result. That is why so many customers have experienced problems and that is why there was insufficient notice given. This is a screw up on the part of BBC Distribution.

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Peter's 2 posts GB flag
D
David
sentiment_satisfiedGold

3:12 PM

I agree Peter that the BBC were at fault here.
Brian who do you blame as you have defended the BBC?
As Panasonic are the only maker of Freesat TV sets any testing the BBC did would have highlighted the problem, and a solution found before the 6th June.

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David's 306 posts GB flag
J
jb38
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

5:18 PM

Peter: I found your posting interesting insomuch that in the case of my own Panasonic (G20B TV, believe same tuner) when I went into the menu to carry out a "manual mode" retune 23000 wasn't one of the options, however although not seen as a choice in the manual-tune mode this setting must have been stored within the sets auto-tune memory ( with no choices possible) as when I carried that out magically BBC HD returned.

A subsequent check in the signal strength / quality section revealed that 23000 had been entered automatically.

If you have already carried out another auto-tune and it didn't correct the problem, then it makes me wonder if Panasonics "over air" download of updates did not include your model, the operation being quite lengthy as it took approximately 40 minutes to complete on my set, with the set automatically re-booting on completion, me having taken it that the download was concerning this issue.

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag
D
David
sentiment_satisfiedGold

6:21 PM

jb38 what is this over air update you mention?
My Panasonic is set to do updates automaticaly also I have done a check for updates but it is still the orginal version as it as been for 3 years.

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David's 306 posts GB flag
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