BBC One HD to go live tonight
HD channel not all HD
BBC One HD goes live tonight at 7pm.
The simulcast channel will replicate what goes out on BBC One - the London version, since the Corporation says it can't yet offer regional variations on the HD channel.
And while the transmission will be HD, not all of the programming will be. Some shows will be upscaled from standard definition, though hopefully the BBC's upscaling hardware will make a better fist of it than your average set-top box or HD TV.
BBC One HD will be transmitted on free-to-air services Freeview and Freesat on channels 50 and 108, respectively. Virgin Media viewers can watch it on channel 108, Sky subscribers on channel 143.
BBC One HD slots into the space currently occupied by BBC HD, the Corporation's HD showcase channel. BBC HD will move to Freeview channel 54, Freesat channel 109, Sky channel 169 and Virgin Media channel 187. ®
It's not just a question of the BBC's upscaling hardware being better; it will be working on the undegraded source material rather than the compressed and bandwidth-limited SD Freeview stream.
The BBCs upscaler will be processing a decent full quality SD source, while your average TV generally has to try and make something nice out of a nasty digital rendition of what the picture was supposed to look like before it was squeezed over the air. Their good quality upscaled version will then be sent over the bandwidth of a HD channel, which not only is greater due to the resolution of the picture, but also relatively more because people would reject HD if it had the noise and artifacts that are the accepted norm for SD.
Straightforward normal 576 lines PAL actually looks a hell of a lot better than we're now used to thinking SD actually does, so I'm certain even the upscaled material will look much better than as seen on BBC1 SD.
Why is the EPG so dumb?
So why is it on channel 108? Why can't the EPG be smart enough to support replacing the SD version of BBC1 with the HD version, and keep the channel number at 101? An EPG filled with duplicates of channels with HD stuck after their name, in different number ranges or pages is just so kludgy.