BBC Freesat tech switch zaps HD channels from 'old' boxes
Shift to DVB-S2 sets punters a-grumbing
The BBC has annoyed some early Freesat supporters by switching the technology used to broadcast its HD channels over the free-to-air satellite service.
Today, the Corporation shifted BBC One HD and BBC HD from DVB-S to DVB-S2. If your Freesat box supports the latter - and many recent ones do - the worst you'll experience is an enforced retune.
But folk who bought some early Freesat boxes - the service launched in May 2008 - are grumbling that they have now lost the channels. Their set-tops don't support DVB-S. A fair few PC TV tuner cards don't either, it seems. Nor do some Freesat HD TVs.
Some Sky HD users have been affected too, but, according to posters on a variety of forums, this can be sorted by deleting added channels, and performing a "new install" run.
The BBC notified punters of the change through a blog posting four days ago. Not enough warning, say aggrieved readers.
DVB-S2 is a more efficient modulation scheme than DVB-S, effectively increasing the available bandwidth. As yet, the BBC hasn't said what it plans to do with the extra space.
It's worth noting that DVB-S2 was part of the Freesat spec from the start. When Channel 4 HD was added to Freesat in April, it used DVB-S2. Future HD channels may well do the same. ®
These are non-adopters
These people are complaining that non-Freesat HD compliant kit can't display Freesat HD content. There really isn't a case to answer here. The Humax you bought at the end of 2008 will merrily work just fine with DVB-S2. This really isn't hitting the early adopters.
On some Panasonic Freesat TVs, Auto retune does not get the updated
BBC HD channels. You have to set the TV to shipping condition then
switch off then switch on. After retune, the two BBC HD channels appear.
(Thanks to John Beniston for pointing this out.)
If you have any other kind of satellite receiver, you will need to
check that it is capable of receiving a DVB-S2 signal. If it can,
then you can use the following parameters to tune manually into the
Satellite: Astra 2D tp.50
Frequency: 10,847MHz (vertical polarity)
Modulation: DVB-S2, QPSK
Symbol Rate: 23.0
(Thanks to Denis Martindale for digging out this info.)
'We put this on our blog'
To be fair here, the BBC is blameless it's the set-top box people who might have to start forking out money for disgruntled customers now their boxes are not fit for purpose.
BUT this excuse that a message on a web site amounts to a notification to customers doesn't really stick - but it's catching on with all sorts of companies. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I don't obsessively follow every company I deal with to find out what they're up to.
It's the modern equivalent of putting the note on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.
Get the facts right.
"Freesat HD" gear that can't do DVB-S2 isn't compliant. over four years ago I bought DVB-S2 sat cards for HD, because ALL HD was going to be MPEG4 H.264 L4 DVB-S2.
"Freesat" (non-HD) gear can't do HD no matter if it's on DVB-S or DVB-S2.
Unscrupulous dealers, makers and wholesalers is the problem. Not the BBC.
C4 HD was already DVB-S2.
Not many cards available via USB, PCI etc that live in computers, either Mac or Windows support DVB-S2
So that's a huge market screwed!