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I've got an HD TV ... why can't we have high definition channels in place of the

Freeview HD has them on 101, 102, 103 and 104. Sky has them on 141, 142, 178 and 230. On Freesat they are 108, 109, 119 and 126. Wouldn't it make sense for the public service channels to be in the "normal" place in the channel number list - why do they have to be on some seemingly random channel number?

Freeview HD has them on 101, 102, 103 and 104.  Sky has them on
published on UK Free TV

They are the most watched TV channels in the UK, but even after all the investment in recording and producing most of their content in lovely high definition, and

Digital UK (in this Consultation on proposals for the Freeview HD genre and on amendments to Digital UKs LCN Policy document) asked 466 household WITH Freeview HD

"How often do you watch an HD channel rather than its SD version?"

16% said "I always watch the HD version and never watch the Standard version"

13% said "I usually watch the HD Version and occasionally watch the Standard version"

30%, I occasionally watch the HD Version but usually watch Standard definition

27%, I always watch the Standard version and never watch the HD version

and 14% Don't know.

Then asked "Why do you watch SD channels rather than the HD version?"

Among the answer were

18% Laziness/just what I have always watched/habit

16% Don't have HD/can't receive HD

8% Happy with standard tv/the quality of picture

"How do you usually find the HD channel that you watch?"

37% uses the on-screen guide

28% scroll though the entertaiment channels

15% know the channel number and type it in

Which is then followed up by asking where BBC One HD is - with 69% not knowing.

Then asked where they would like to find the channels, the results were as shown:

With 30% saying they would like them on channels 1, 2, 3 and 4. 42% had no preference and 25% like them on 101, 102, 103 and 104.

Another recent report, An Analysis of the Audience Impact of Page One EPG Prominence: A Report for Ofcom shows rather well the effect on TV channels on not being easy to find at the top of the EPG:

The loss of two-thirds of the PICK TV audience when the channel moved down 41 places on the Sky EPG suggests that the Public Service channels need to place their HD services where they can be found - as replacements for the SD ones.

Technical difficulties

The Sky EPG has a feature that swaps HD channels for SD ones. But this is easy for British Sky Broadcasting - all their channels are UK-wide. One SD stream (that's the audio and video) is swapped for one HD stream.

However, all of the public service channels have regional versions.

Clearly are the three Channel 3 companies ITV plc, STV and UTV.

However, ITV still operates regional news services (for details see ITV PROPOSALS FOR NATIONS AND REGIONS NEWS FOR A NEWCHANNEL 3 PSB LICENCE.

STV also slits into four regions (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen) for news provision.

For the BBC, BBC TWO is operated with "opt outs" in what the BBC calls "the Nations": Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

And for BBC One there are 14 English regions plus Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In "the Nations", BBC One is now provided on HD satellite and Freeview HD. BBC One has quite a lot of scheudling changes from the London service in the Nations, but just regional news in England.

Channel 4 is a national channel for scheduling purposes, but sells adverts in six regions.

Channel 5 has no local programming, but five advert regions.

It seems that it's just not possible - because of the time it takes tuning between different satellite transponders - to just redirect the HD channel to an SD channel during the news (or adverts).

This means, the only way that the public service channels could get to the 101, 102, 103 and 104 slots on the satellite services would be to duplicate ALL of their regions in high definition on satellite.

Which is very expensive, and something that "austerity Britain" can't afford.

Is there another way?

Perhaps there is another way. It wouldn't be high defintion, but it could, perhaps, be done.

All it would take is some MHEG5 software (for Freesat) and a bit of open-TV tweaking for Sky+HD boxes.

What you do is:

Create just one more full HD resolution BBC One England stream on the Astra satellites.

When the regional news is shown, use some standard technology to mix together, eight at a time, the fifteen regional news shows.

They each would only be at 480x540 resolutions (rather than SD's normal 720x576).

Then use the MHEG5 or Open TV software to stretch the service back into place.

And what of recording? Easy - just redirect the recording to the appropriate SD stream.

Not HD, not ideal, but a good cut-price way to get BBC ONE HD to the top of the EPG.

If there was such a "software solution" then it could be used for other channels too.

What do you think?

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014
12:50 PM

Responding further to MikeB you can set up a Favourites list on Freesat but you can't then change the order in which the channels are presented in the Favourites list to one that makes sense for a customer with an HD television.

That is in particular to put ITV HD and C4HD at positions three and four in the Favourites list where they belong. The best you can do on the Freesat side of a Panasonic GT50 series set is to physically de-select channels 102 to 104 as channels you receive (101 has to be kept for the BBC regional news opt out) and then do the same for the BBC Three and BBC Four, BBC News, CBeebies and CBBC equivalents. This means you at least now don't have SD channel equivalents to now HD capable channels in your Favourites EPG list but unfortunately ITV HD and C4 HD plus BBC Three HD and BBC Four HD are now totally out of order.

On the Freeview side of the same television (Panasonic TX-P42GT50) everything can be put how I want it to be with BBC ONE HD, BBC Two HD, ITV HD and C4HD all at the top of the channel list and swapped number wise with their HD counterparts. This is true for both Favourites and Non Favourites as it is done in the channels receivable menu functionality..

Unfortunately at my relative's address it is bang under the Northolt landing flight path about 7 miles from Northolt Airport and it is on a very busy main road with a lot of mobile phone and/or high powered taxi radio equipment in use and a large oak tree in the way of the signal path to Crystal Palace. This means that despite several efforts we cannot get a Freeview aerial that does not suffer No Signal problems for one to two seconds at a time during the afternoon rush hour (probably happens in the morning two but telly is not being watched then) and when a plane is landing directly overhead to Northolt AIrport.

So Freesat should be the way ahead here except its customers are treated like morons with idiotic channel numbering choices only relevant to customers with an SD television being enforced on HD viewers. We all know the law is there to stop Sky shunting BBC One, BBC TWO, ITV, C4, Five etc behind Sky One, Sky, Two, Sky Three, etc but surely the writers of the law never intended to stop satellite and cable viewers having BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, ITV HD at the top of the list once these HD channel equivalents became widely available???

You tell me there is a Heath Robinson workaround by writing down the HD channel numbers in a list. Even I have trouble remembering them (especially ITV HD, C4HD and BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD and BBC News HD) so how do you expect my soon to be 80 year old mother to do so.

The current situation is totally unacceptable and the law should be rewritten to allow customers with HD sets to use a swap function that changes the BBC, ITV, C4 HD channels with their SD counterparts if the customer wants to invoke that function.

What actually needs to happen is simple, unfortunately making the regulators get on with doing it does not seem to be simple.

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Capvermell's 3 posts GB flag
Saturday, 22 August 2020
10:52 AM

Are we ever likely to get more HD broadcast terrestrial channels.? What's the point of having an HD TV (or a 4K TV) if there are no channels? BBC iPlayer does not really seem to be HD despite chosing that option.

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SteveK's 15 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 25 August 2020

10:52 AM

SteveK: There isn't any space on Freeview currently for more HD channels. If further multiplexes are switched to the DVB-T2 standard it will create additional space which could be used for more HD channels, as well as extending the coverage of some of the existing HD channels, however nothing has been announced regarding when (or if) that will happen.

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StevensOnln1's 3,601 posts GB flag
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