Feeds

BBC shifts some HD transmissions to 1080p...

...troubling some Sony TVs in the process

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.