Feeds

BBC shifts some HD transmissions to 1080p...

...troubling some Sony TVs in the process

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated The BBC has quietly begun broadcasting HD content in 1080p, sort of.

Since April, some BBC HD transmissions over Freeview HD have combined 1080i and 1080p material, switching between the two on a GOP (Group of Pictures) by GOP basis.

A GOP is a batch of H.264 encoded frames combining an initial, reference picture followed by a sequence of partial pictures that store the changes that need to be made to the first frame to generate the remaining frames in the GOP video sequence.

The reason for the switch to mixed 1080i/1080p: that's the way many HD shows are produced, combining 1080p material shot on location, with transitions and credits recorded and rendered in 1080i so they run more smoothly. Studio material is shot in 1080i too.

Matching what's displayed with what's produced - rather than re-encoding everything at 1080i - makes for a better quality picture, say BBC engineers. Provided, of course, your set-top box outputs at 1080p.

All good stuff, but it's causing some viewers woes. Owners of recent Sony HD TVs, for example, have complained about audio drop-outs, presumably as the tellies' integrated tuner-fed decoders temporarily lose track of the audio while juggling the switch from 1080i to 1080p and vice versa.

Sony said yesterday that it's working on a solution, and promised more information on 7-10 days. The BBC likewise told What Hi-Fi that it will work with any vendor suffering from such problems to help sort them out.

Perhaps it should have done that at the start, running the new approach to transmission by TV makers first in order to prevent the problems Sony owners - and possibly those with other telly brands too - have experienced.

The BBC subsequently told us it "worked closely with receiver manufacturers ahead of these changes to investigate any interoperability issues". Even so, at least one vendor's customers are still suffering.

While the Freeview HD spec for set-top boxes mandates handling 1080p material at 50 frames per second, to cope with this kind of thing, that doesn't appear to be the case with tuner-equipped TVs which is why Sony's sets - among the first in the UK to ship with on-board Freeview HD tuners - are now being bitten by the BBC's change.

Don't forget that, depending on the size of your TV, 1080p transmission may not actually matter much. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?