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Abc1 Soon To Be Hd ?

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There are some fundamental questions to be asked.

How long do broadcasters and pay TV providers expect that SD only STB/decoder boxes and TVs to last?

Do broadcasters and pay TV providers know how much the price of TVs, etc has dropped?

When are broadcasters and pay TV providers going to find out how many of the STB/decoder boxes and TVs are still being used?

Why don't equipment manufacturers & retailers pushing the broadcasters/pay TV companies to provide more HD to make their products more attractive to viewers? There is a limit to the number of times a demo disc can be watched! After all Sony makes movies and sells TVs.

The reality is that uncompressed HD produces 5 times the data than SD, however the type of compressor (HEVC, MPEG-4 or MPEG-2) and the sophisitication of the compressor itself as well as the desired picture quality will determine the final data rate and hence the cost of transmission.  Added to this now that HEVC video compression is around, its efficiency is so high, old sound compression systems such as MPEG-1 which is used on our broadcast SD programs and AC3 used in broadcast HD are now significant contributors to the transmission costs.

Production houses have not been able to buy new SD only equipment for many years, so it is only the very old programs which are in SD. There is still a lot of film out there which can be scanned using an HD telecine, but that is at a cost. There is also huge computer systems used to restore old film in Hollywood, again for a cost. eg http://www.mtifilm.com/restoration/

Upscaling unless its a small archived section of an HD program is pointess, other than as a con. All receivers/STB/decoders and display devices recorgnise the frequent digital flags in the program data which indicate the number of pixels per line, the number of  lines, the frame rate and whether it is progressively or interlaced order. So these devices switch on demand.

The broadcasters & pay TV providers will continue this charade again with UHD and HD, don't they ever learn? Add to this streaming systems which degrade the quality according to the available data rate. https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306

Alanh

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8 hours ago, alanh said:

Why don't equipment manufacturers & retailers pushing the broadcasters/pay TV companies to provide more HD to make their products more attractive to viewers? There is a limit to the number of times a demo disc can be watched! After all Sony makes movies and sells TVs.

The answer is the same as it always has been. HD offers little compelling commercial benefits and significant downside costs and risks (real and imagined).

People don't watch TV to see HD content. They watch TV to see content. "SD" is a pretty arbitrary PQ. Its also fine as far as almost anyone is concerned for watching shows. If someone wants to watch Dr Who they will watch it in SD if that is how it is broadcast. They won't say its SD so I'm going to watch Downton Abbey in HD even though I hate period pieces. 

IMO most people view BluRays as HD treats but don't expect FTA TV to provide a Bluray level of service (after all you're paying a premium for Bluray, its not all that valuable if TV gives it away for free).

What has changed (very recently) is outside HD competition (Netflix and others offering streaming HD of varying quality). Despite its popularity its still early days in terms of viewer numbers. SHould be interesting to see weather FTA viewers start thinking they deserve HD FTA or if they will continue to view FTA as a poor mans option (its free after all) and if you want quality you spend money elsewhere.

Again IMO if FTA TV could charge everyone say $100 a year, you could be damn sure everyone would be demanding a much better service. But its 'free' so no one really expects all that much.

0.02

Peter Gillespie

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Guys, the only reason the broadcasters wanted HD was so they could each grab as much bandwidth as possible when it was being allocated, any thought they wanted to provide quality signal is just not viable.    The more channels, the more bums-on-seats and the more revenue, especially now the viewers are leaving FTA and Foxtel  in droves for online streaming.

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14 hours ago, alanh said:

There are some fundamental questions to be asked.

(I note in passing that this thread is going well beyond the original topic.)

One fundamental question alanh is whether consumers are satisfied with SD.  In Australia, sales of DVD discs far exceed sales of Blu-ray discs. This site provides readily accessible figures up to 2013: http://www.aheda.com.au/statistics   An article in The Australian in March this year titled Netflix effect doesn’t impact DVD sales indicated DVD sales still clearly predominated over Blu-ray sales. 

There could be some chicken and egg effect here in that because so much free to air over the years has been in SD consumers may not have had much opportunity to develop an appetite for HD. However on the surface, and as matters stand, it seems that the majority of consumers are content with SD resolution. 

 

Drawbacks not relating to the technology used

On the general topic of viewer satisfaction for free to air viewing, saturating prime time commercial TV programs with ads is not a way to win over viewers. Nor is it a winning strategy with viewers for free to air broadcasters to saturate their internet streaming viewing apps with unavoidable ads.

Very noticeably cranking up the volume for particular ads is also not going to win over consumers. (I was a bit surprised to encounter this recently with Nine's streaming service 9now. One ad was so loud we had to turn down the TV to avoid disturbing neighbours. Then we had to turn the volume up to hear the program properly that we wanted to watch.)

Watching a DVD (in standard resolution) could be a much more enjoyable alternative!

For me personally, the thing that really gets on my goat if I try to watch FTA is the plethora of station promotion and other advertising.  If present, blurry SD is just a further drawback.

  

5 hours ago, pgdownload said:

People don't watch TV to see HD content. They watch TV to see content. "SD" is a pretty arbitrary PQ. Its also fine as far as almost anyone is concerned for watching shows. If someone wants to watch Dr Who they will watch it in SD if that is how it is broadcast. They won't say its SD so I'm going to watch Downton Abbey in HD even though I hate period pieces. 

I would fully agree for the type of examples you've provided. 

However if a person is weighing up two programs both of which he/she would be happy to watch content-wise, and one of them is in HD or even UHD and the other is being offered in a lesser resolution; then resolution may well prove to be the deciding factor.

Also some programming really does get quite a boost in visual enjoyment from being in high rather than standard definition. Not so much comedies and dramas; more, sports programs involving large teams, and certain spectacles such as fireworks.

Edited by MLXXX

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1 hour ago, pgdownload said:

But its 'free' so no one really expects all that much.

Speak for yourself Peter the ABC pick-up $4b pa and the Commercials must need as much, and in the end we all pay taxes or product ad costs.   

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Guest Malich
59 minutes ago, BigH said:

... the ABC pick-up $4b pa ...

Absolute rubbish. It's ~1/4 of that.

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Guest Malich
59 minutes ago, BigH said:

... the ABC pick-up $4b pa ...

Absolute rubbish. It's ~1/4 of that.

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Guest Malich
59 minutes ago, BigH said:

... the ABC pick-up $4b pa ...

Absolute rubbish. It's ~1/4 of that.

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19 hours ago, BigH said:

Speak for yourself Peter the ABC pick-up $4b pa and the Commercials must need as much, and in the end we all pay taxes or product ad costs.   

Course it costs, but its practically invisible (and completely unavoidable). I was referring more to how people react to 'free' stuff. Charge them $1 for something and they'll get upset if they think you're not living up to your end of the bargain. Make it free and they'll either trash it out of hand or use it with no expectations.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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My orginal questions are note commented upon.

Remember the ABC is funded by Government and not by commercial pressures. I note that in Perth, all the commercials have build new HD news studios, not so the ABC and SBS has no studios here.

HD is not a luxury, 92 % of TVs were capable 4 years ago, and that survey was taken nearly a year before the major markets switched off analog.

You have not been able to buy SD only studio equipment for many years.

The increase in cost of HD is minor. It is the management's fear that not all viewers can watch in MPEG-4 HD, but nobody knows how many cannot watch.

The Department of Communications or Freeview should do a survey, because the Oztam and RegTAM do not separate HD from SD.

BigH, it was not the broadcasters who wanted HD for the bandwidth grab. We the first country to broadcast DVB-T in HD/SD. Even the ABC transmitted its primary program in HD until they decided to replace it with upscaled ABC24.  Remember those demos. Then they were forced to broadcast real content, later came the allowance to transmit extra programs.

I agree that people want to watch and listen to programs. How many would watch programs in analog monochrome, if it were also broadcast in full High Definition colour as well?

Lets make it easy to select the HD version, so the SD primary channels can slide into oblivion, just like monochrome TV did.

Alanh

 

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3 hours ago, alanh said:

My orginal questions are note commented upon.

Remember the ABC is funded by Government and not by commercial pressures. I note that in Perth, all the commercials have build new HD news studios, not so the ABC and SBS has no studios here.

HD is not a luxury, 92 % of TVs were capable 4 years ago, and that survey was taken nearly a year before the major markets switched off analog.

You have not been able to buy SD only studio equipment for many years.

The increase in cost of HD is minor. It is the management's fear that not all viewers can watch in MPEG-4 HD, but nobody knows how many cannot watch.

The Department of Communications or Freeview should do a survey, because the Oztam and RegTAM do not separate HD from SD.

BigH, it was not the broadcasters who wanted HD for the bandwidth grab. We the first country to broadcast DVB-T in HD/SD. Even the ABC transmitted its primary program in HD until they decided to replace it with upscaled ABC24.  Remember those demos. Then they were forced to broadcast real content, later came the allowance to transmit extra programs.

I agree that people want to watch and listen to programs. How many would watch programs in analog monochrome, if it were also broadcast in full High Definition colour as well?

Lets make it easy to select the HD version, so the SD primary channels can slide into oblivion, just like monochrome TV did.

Alanh

 

You've asked the same questions and got many answers to these questions.:)

Yes the ABC is government funded but the significant downside to that, is it can't take actions to increase viewership (like going HD everywhere) without getting the government to give it more money. Commercial channels can make the case for all sorts of innovations, secure in the knowledge that if they work out they will make commensurately more profit.

As survey on HD televisions would be interesting but of little practical use. I can give you the answers now:

1) Is your main TV capable of HD? 95% yes, 5% unsure (or no). Actual answer 95%+

2) Are all your secondary TVs HD? 75% yes, 25% unsure or no. Actual answer 80% or so

3) Are your TVs MPEG4 capable? 50% yes 50% yes or unsure.

Its question 3 that we're probably most interested in. That's the next big change (which the ABC just kicked off for itself, which is encouraging)

But in the end its the analogy that lets you down. Monochrome => SD is a major change in PQ. Adoption is a no brainer. SD to HD is also pretty noticeable to most people (hence the rapid and massive uptake of HD TVs). But the point is that viewers are no more likely to watch a HD version of a program than an SD version. Until people start turning off SD channels in favour of HD ones there is zero incentive for anyone to act.

Ultimately, its a good problem to have now.  AlanH has been going on about it for as long as digital TV has been around it seems like. :) Its getting close to being resolved IMO. It will happen rapidly and then we can all get on to decrying the slow uptake of MPEG5 STBs.

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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ABC HD started showing ABC HD logo on Rage in Melbourne this evening

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Peter,

The whole point is that nobody knows what the current percentages are and the stations make assumptions with no facts.

The only official comments I can find are;

"In a submission to the Department of Communications 4 years ago Broadcast Australia said “Hence, on the basis of the same specially commissioned GfK report of CE AV sales since July 2004, BA estimates that in the order of 65-70% of main TV sets in Australian homes already have MPEG-4 reception capability.

 

In a meeting between the Australian Industry Group which represents the importers of TVs and the Department of Communications in 2013 they said “With a major spike in sales during 2011 and 2012, AIG estimates that MPEG-4 compatible devices reached 80 % at the start of 2013 and 85 – 90% by the end of 2013. However, as these numbers are only drawn from sales, it is not possible to gauge true penetration figures, as multiple units may be purchased by households that already own MPEG-4 devices. Sales in 2009 and 2012 involved 2.5 million units per year while 3.1 million and 3.4 million were sold in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

 

In a Department of Communications survey, In the last quarter of 2012, 92 % of digital TVs were HD capable, unfortunately they did not test if they were MPEG-4 capable."

 

Alanh

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8 hours ago, pheggie said:

ABC HD started showing ABC HD logo on Rage in Melbourne this evening

ABC radio continue to bang on about ABC TV in HD on new years eve commencing with the fireworks.  We live in hope.........

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7 hours ago, alanh said:

Peter,

The whole point is that nobody knows what the current percentages are and the stations make assumptions with no facts.

In a Department of Communications survey, In the last quarter of 2012, 92 % of digital TVs were HD capable, unfortunately they did not test if they were MPEG-4 capable."

Alanh

There are facts, maybe not just to the accuracy you would prefer. Yes an exhaustive survey about the state of TV in Australia would be great. But my point is that its not going to tell you much you don't already know. 

Which is an awful lot (25%?) of TVs in Australia are not MPEG4 compatible (that's all TVs not just main).

Its also not really easy to survey if TVs are MPEG4 compatible as unlike asking a question about "HD", most consumers don't really know if any/all of their TVs are MPEG4 compatible.

But despite all that we do seem to be reaching a tipping point. The major channels and the ABC / SBS all seem to be doing some moves with MPEG4. 

As PC says, maybe 2017 is the year of the fireworks...

Regards

Peter Gillespie

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Well fireworks display are not the ideal content to herald in HD on the ABC first its night time,which pushes the lens aperture wide open,then there is the question of blocking with fast moving action going on and panning of cameras so it needs to be done with care with many static camera shots rather than a few cameras panning around interesting to see the results? I know from my experience even taking DSR shots don't always come out even leaving the lens open at f2.8 assuming the weather plays its part!!

 

cheers laurie 

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Peter,

Since 9 million MPEG-4 compatible TVs have been sold until 2013 and there was 5.7 million families on average that is 2 TVs per family! We are now 3 years further on and no MPEG-2 only TVs have been sold.

If 10 % of families cannot receive MPEG-4 that's 570,000 complaints? that would surely stretch complaint lines.

What I am suggesting is that it be made easy for the majority of viewers to watch their programs in HD because the single digit LCNs enables the use of the up and down buttons, and the smaller and declining proportion to have to use 2 button pushes to select programs.

At what point do we bite the bullet and transmit all programs in MPEG-4. This whole problem occured because the broadcasters and regulators did not have the guts to make MPEG-4 compulsory in the standards, rather it was made optional in 2010. In 2015 it was finally made compulsory.

As for conducting surveys, the Department of Communications etc made quarterly telephone surveys of the take up of digital TV. I wrote to them and suggested they ask if they could watch One, 7Mate or GEM which they did in 2013, which is why we have the 92 % HD capable.

Unfortunately Oztam and RegTam do not separate the HD and SD versions of the programs during surveys which occur most of the year. Considering that the household has to be visited to install a microphone to electronically listen to the programs being watched. (A computer compares the microphone output with the output of all of the stations looking for a match). Since on installation the system needs to be tested, selecting an MPEG-4 HD channel by number would take no longer. I did suggest that to them.

Alanh

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Guest Malich
11 minutes ago, alanh said:

Since 9 million MPEG-4 compatible TVs have been sold until 2013 and there was 5.7 million families on average that is 2 TVs per family!

"families" is not a good measure to use there. There is at least one measure available from ABS figures that is both more appropriate & more correct to use for your comparison. I'll leave it to you as our resident 'expert' on everything to explain what that measure is, since I'm sure you already know...

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Looking at Nigella tonight, there's a definite uptick in resolution on the HD channel tonight compared to 2 and 21. 

The textures/patterns in clothing etc were much more noticeable. So perhaps the switch has been flicked? 

D. 

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16 minutes ago, hidefdave said:

Looking at Nigella tonight, there's a definite uptick in resolution on the HD channel tonight compared to 2 and 21. 

The textures/patterns in clothing etc were much more noticeable. So perhaps the switch has been flicked? 

I agree, the Nigella show was noticeably better picture quality, but it still lacked critical detail that made it look like native HD. It still looked upscaled, however the appalling low bitrate can make it hard to tell. Even with a low bitrate (measured on my recording of Nigella as 2.768 Mbps) the very still static scenes should look good but the detail in those scenes is still missing so as far as I can tell it's still just upscaled SD.

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1 hour ago, alanh said:

Peter,

Since 9 million MPEG-4 compatible TVs have been sold until 2013 and there was 5.7 million families on average that is 2 TVs per family! We are now 3 years further on and no MPEG-2 only TVs have been sold.

If 10 % of families cannot receive MPEG-4 that's 570,000 complaints? that would surely stretch complaint lines.

What I am suggesting is that it be made easy for the majority of viewers to watch their programs in HD because the single digit LCNs enables the use of the up and down buttons, and the smaller and declining proportion to have to use 2 button pushes to select programs.

At what point do we bite the bullet and transmit all programs in MPEG-4. This whole problem occured because the broadcasters and regulators did not have the guts to make MPEG-4 compulsory in the standards, rather it was made optional in 2010. In 2015 it was finally made compulsory.

As for conducting surveys, the Department of Communications etc made quarterly telephone surveys of the take up of digital TV. I wrote to them and suggested they ask if they could watch One, 7Mate or GEM which they did in 2013, which is why we have the 92 % HD capable.

Unfortunately Oztam and RegTam do not separate the HD and SD versions of the programs during surveys which occur most of the year. Considering that the household has to be visited to install a microphone to electronically listen to the programs being watched. (A computer compares the microphone output with the output of all of the stations looking for a match). Since on installation the system needs to be tested, selecting an MPEG-4 HD channel by number would take no longer. I did suggest that to them.

Alanh

Single button presses seems a fairly innocuous benefit of having HD as the primary channel? MOst equipment allows for GROUPS or FAVOURITES to be allocated now. If you select your HD GROUP then the UP and DOWN buttons usually then apply to that group only. Just a tip :)

I'd assume the ratings agencies don't differentiate HD and SD because they can't (due to SD and HD channels being simulcast and the audio being identical). Oztam only deal with a very small percent of households. They probably could (and do) make a note of the existing equipment and it probably known that something like 20% of TVs are not MPEG4 capable.

As for bullet biting, yes the politicians are taking a long wimpy road. Can't really blame them, as soon as they actually try mandate something that affects a lot of people and industries (NBN Monopoly, Carbon Tax, Mining Tax, etc.) then enough people can be encouraged to get upset to shut it down. Just because you happen to like MPEG4 (and with good reason) doesn't mean half the population wouldn't have been up in arms at being told they had to buy expensive new equipment and/or throw out there existing stuff.)

But IMO if you take the decade from 2010 to 2020 the Australian TV landscape has been massively disrupted and improved in this decade. Multi Channels, HD Channels, MPEG-4, NBN , Stan, Netflix, Foxtel finally on the wane, streaming, 1080p to 4K, etc. Could it all have been done better? Probably. Is the job getting done. Seems so.

Happy New Year

Peter Gillespie

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On 20/12/2016 at 0:14 PM, alanh said:

What I am suggesting is that it be made easy for the majority of viewers to watch their programs in HD because the single digit LCNs enables the use of the up and down buttons, and the smaller and declining proportion to have to use 2 button pushes to select programs.

 

20 hours ago, pgdownload said:

Single button presses seems a fairly innocuous benefit of having HD as the primary channel? MOst equipment allows for GROUPS or FAVOURITES to be allocated now. If you select your HD GROUP then the UP and DOWN buttons usually then apply to that group only. Just a tip :)

Another option is using the default program guide functionality of modern TVs which lists the program services being broadcast by, and due to be broadcast by, each broadcaster. These listings more often than not will make it clear which services are being broadcast in an HD format by the use of the letters HD as part of the name given to the service, which name is in addition to the service's allocated Logical Channel Number. You scroll through the guide, and select the service you want to view.

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The non-nerds, take the TV out of the box, there is an auto scan on the first power up and programs appear so the TV is then used, no favourites/groups etc.

The EPGs and online program guides are in the following order in metro areas. Most newspapers around the country make no mention of HD or its dual digit channel number.

ONE, ABC, SBS 7, 9, 10, 11 (all in SD), TENHD, TVSN, Spree TV, ABCHD, ABC2/ABCKids, ABCME, ABC24, SBSHD, Viceland, SBS Food, NITV, Community TV, 7HD, 7TWO, 7Mate, 7Flix, Racing.com, 9HD, GEM, GO!, LIFE, Extra.

If the LCNs were reorganised. On initial power up the following occurs, and the EPGs would be in the same order.

ONE, ABCHD, SBSHD, 7HD, 9HD, TenHD, 11, TVSN, Spree TV, ABCSD, ABC2ABCKids, ABCME, ABC24, SBSSD, Viceland, SBS Food, NITV, Community TV, 7SD, 7TWO, 7Mate, 7Flix, Racing.com, 9SD, GEM, GO!, LIFE, Extra.

If TEN changed their name to ONE, then on power up the first 5 most popular selections are all HD, and all SD programs are in groups with a particular broadcaster.

Alanh

Edited by alanh
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