back to article London Olympics drives dash for terrestrial HDTV

The boss of an influential television industry group has cautioned Ofcom and the BBC against rushing the rollout of high definition terrestrial TV, fearing technical blunders. Dermot Nolan, director general of the Digital TV Group (DTG), cautiously welcomed an announcement by the pair last week that they will proceed with …


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  1. Robert Forsyth

    KISS and use DVB-T

    Stop the silly sell off of (all) the old analogue channels,

    carry on using DVB-T, but to carry MPEG4,

    use two multiplexes for HD.

    MPEG4 should allow 2 or 3 HD streams per multiplex channel (on DVB-T), have one multiplex 16QAM for more reliable, but 2 HD streams (live coverage). And have one multiplex 64QAM for 3 HD streams of fluff (catchup).

    DVB-T2 (according to Wikipedia) gives 30% more capacity (and have better error correction), so giving 4 HD streams per multiplex channel, instead of 3.

  2. Frank Bough

    All Very Interesting but...

    ...where the bloody hell has Freesat got to? Who cares about terrestrial HDTV when we already have a much better broadcasting platform installed in orbit? Neither bandwidth nor coverage can ever hope to match DVB-S, so why are we still pissing money up against the DVB-T wall?

  3. Andy

    Load of tish tosh!

    I've got a new fangled tv that only does digital.

    The picture is dreadful.

    So I only watch DVDs and $ky.

    I'm so happy to be forced to spend my lazy earned cash

    on a tv license or to be a branded a criminal. Freedom!

    It's great init.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    People are used to buying new boxes now - WTF

    There is lots of criticism of the fact that Labour's inflation figures are based on a basket that includes things like flat screen TVs, as if we buy them every few months rather than regular shopping. Perhaps in fact the regulators are going to deliberately change the standards so frequently that this will now be the case.

    It should be mandatory that manufacturers of things like PVRs/DVRs/TVs now build in an affordable upgrade path. I have relatively new hard disk recorders that are just what I need, but dont have a digital tuner, let alone a freeview HD tuner (I appreciate this last one has only just been announced). I have been told to connect a freeview box to the scart, but cant do that and program for recording different channels over a period of time. Shortly I wont be able to receive analogue, then later I will only get the "arse end" of TV such as shopping channels where they dont broadcast in HD. I resent the fact that I seem to be expected to chuck good working boxes away every few years just to feed the upgrade cycle. If I could put some moderately priced components in to make my stuff last longer, I would be mollified, but this way I think I'll probably end up watching even less TV.

  5. Chris Hamilton
    Paris Hilton

    BSB were way ahead of their time....

    BSB were broadcasting digital television?? I knew that they were an advanced TV system for their day, but not that advanced. Also, BSB were not a failure, but the subject of a takeover by Sky Television which formed British Sky Broadcasting plc.

    And from my understanding ONDigital/ITV Digital didnt collapse due to a lack of channels, quite the opposite actually. Trying to overcompress and squeeze too many channels onto a transmission system that was underpowered and ill-equipped to handle it. Also, the slow and cumbersome STB's, the need for a pretty high-spec roof top aerial and the fact it was an overpriced subscription based system didn't help either.

    Paris, because without E4, how else would we get our weekly dosage of the blonde (ex) heiress. Here's hoping for Paris in HD!

  6. Keith SLoan

    What happened to FreeSat?

    I thought the BBC were to launch a Satellite HD service in the spring of 2008 see What has happened to it?

    I don't want one of those UGLY freeview high gain antennas on my roof.

  7. Bad Fish

    Re: Load of tish tosh!

    Andy shouldn't worry about his new TV. If it receives the current digital standard, it's not going the work with a new HD standard that hasn't been invented yet. TFA says "People are used to buying new boxes now", so this is a great opportunity for Andy to throw away his crap digital TV in a couple of years time, and buy a new one.

    Which is the whole point of the exercise, isn't it?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    2009? - don't make me laugh

    "Ofcom and the BBC want are determined to complete the major reshuffle inside 2009"

    So that means it will be 2013 when they finally get it working properly.

  9. Ian Sneyd

    And how does this help exactly....

    "DTG is hoping a cheap CI slot module will allow them to receive DVB-T2"

    So you can decode MP4 on a set top box connected via a scart lead.... and this will be acceptable how?

    Buy some kit so you can receive something to downgrade it through scart?

    someone's having a laugh.... at least be honest and tell people they'll need a set top with HDMI (or component) out put to be able to see the content properly.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Sony at the very least are planning to release a FreeviewHD ready tuner equipped TV in Q3 or Q4 2008...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "People are used to buying new boxes now"

    Says it all doesn't it? Bugger upgradability, people will buy a new box.

  12. andy gibson

    @ Keith SLoan

    Spring runs from 20th March until 21st June, so there's still time for it to be launched.

  13. Dave

    People like this hinder progress

    I say bring it on!

    You have to keep pushing the boundaries and quickly too, otherwise you get 'comfortable' and get stuck with somthing which is 'adequate' and suddenly you turn around and the rest of the world is far far ahead.

    Britain used to lead the world in broadcasting - but where are we now?

    OnDigital failed because the encryption system was easy to break, added to too many expensive channels and low take up due to bad coverage.

    Bring on competitors both in telecoms and satellite, we need it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really that high?

    Most HDTV broadcast services are 720 lines -- the standard supports 1080 lines, but nobody is doing this yet.

    But ordinary, low-definition telly still has 625 lines in a picture. (I am just old enough to remember 405 line TV, where you could see the individual lines like a CGA monitor and hear an annoying high-pitched whistle emanating from the set. 625 was definitely an improvement, maybe even more so than colour.)

    Is it really worth spending all that money just for an extra 95 lines?

  15. Gareth

    @ Ian Sneyd

    My new TV has a CI slot built right into the side. Presumably that sort of thing is the reasoning behind releasing a CI slot module.

  16. Tim J
    Paris Hilton

    HDTV... how about some HQTV

    Whatever the technology used to broadcast and view television, however good the picture might be it doesn't mean the programmes are any good - and there are so many programmes today that are absolute bollocks, a complete waste of time and money and do absolutely nothing to enliven the human spirit or enrich the mind of the viewer.

    By all means let's have high-def TV, but please can it be accompanied by some more high-quality TV as well.

    Paris, because she's totally bored of watching some dumb blonde on TV prattle on about nonsense and would like to know more about Renaissance art and the Higgs bosun.

  17. Timbo

    @ Frank Bough

    >> so why are we still pissing money up against the DVB-T wall?

    Err....some of us can't have satellite dishes fitted....or don't want to pay Murdoch some extortionate amount for a monthly subscription

    And some of us are NOT in Virgin/NTL/Telewest cabled area's.....

    Which leaves us a choice of either:

    - a small crappy picture on a PC via Broadband....hardly "HD" ???

    - or someone upgrades the analogue terrestrial broadcast system to something better...such as DVB-T

    Also: I think Sky have maybe 6-8 million subscribers. Virgin might have 3-4 maybe 10-12 million homes. That's about 50% of the total.

    Of the 10-12 million, I wonder how many have HD sets???? a few hundred thousand maybe? Let's say half a million ??

    So, with so many new TV's now being "HD Ready", the option to buy a compatible HD Freeview box to watch World Cup and London Olympics might just be the ticket to build up more "demand"?

  18. Robert Forsyth

    @AC Re:Is it really that high?

    Only 576 lines are displayed on you 625 line TV, but:

    720 / 576 (= 5/4) is only 25% extra (plus it is not interlaced 720 / 288 (= 5/2) 150% extra)

    1080 / 576 (=15/8) is only 87.5% extra

  19. Frank Bough

    @ Timbo

    ...and why - exactly - is having a satellite dish on your roof (or even someone else's roof) any more or less onerous than having an aerial? I'm not telling you to pay Sky a single bean, either, FREEsat is what I'm on about, and there's a clue in the name.

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge


    "Err....some of us can't have satellite dishes fitted....or don't want to pay Murdoch some extortionate amount for a monthly subscription"

    I can't speak for Frank, but he did mention Freesat. Should it ever actually turn up, that's going to be a free-to-air service. If you can't have a satellite dish fitted, you probably can't have a decent aerial fitted either, so your options in the long term are give up telly or move house.

  21. What's in a name?
    Paris Hilton


    SD freesat is already here. Just because people seem incapable of looking beyond $ky .....

    BBC1-4, ITV1-4, Film4, etc are all there and free on satellite now. All you need is a dish and a digital receiver (NOT a $ky box)

    C4 and C5 are locked into uncle Rupert for the moment, but just wait til those contracts expire.

    Paris? Well I'm sure those films of hers will turn up on one of the iffier european channels sooner or later.

  22. Tiim
    IT Angle

    old buildings

    I live in ye olde building (grade 2) No cable allowed. Originally no satellite allowed, but then something changed and we got the okay to fit one to an area on the rear of the building. Sky offered us £100 per flat (12 flats in building) to fit one shared dish and wiring. Then sky went with free installation if 4 flats in the building took sky services. We have a good roof space digital aerial for freeview though.

    The fact we can now put a shared dish on the building is good. It gives us options for the future, but we'll have to wait and get together to take advantage of a fitting offer as that initial £1200 fitting fee for our little community seemed a bit excessive.

  23. Mister Cheese
    Paris Hilton

    @Robert Forsyth

    There's more pixels per line too.

  24. Neil Livesey

    RE: FreeSat

    "C4 and C5 are locked into uncle Rupert for the moment, but just wait til those contracts expire."

    You can pay uncle Rupert a one off £20 fee for a card that will unlock C4 and C5 if you already have the equipment.

  25. Phil B

    The HDTV Con

    Why the headlong dash into HDTV when currently there is no HD TV in existence worthy of the name. Sure the current generation of Plasma and LCD TV's can produce a high definition stationary picture (OK for a test card and still photographs) but when anything moves (as TV pictures normally do) the definition is rubbish because of the motion blurring caused by poor refresh rates. When broadcasting sports events things tend to move very fast and motion blurring is at its worst (so why rush HDTV in for the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympics). The fact is that currently the only display technologies capable of displaying a true HD picture under all conditions are CRT and OLED. Unfortunately, however, there are no CRT HDTV sets in existence and OLED displays are not yet sufficiently developed. With very rapid action pictures though, a CRT TV displaying a Standard broadcast picture can produce a sharper image than any Plasma or LCD TV displaying a HD picture, so if we really do want higher definition pictures for the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Olympics then all we have to do is to bring back CRT and stick with Standard Definition broadcasts.

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