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Markymark6,609 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


I’ve missed some detail, it lasted 2 hours?

2.30-5.00 according to the post you quoted


So it did , I’ll get my coat 😬
Markymark6,609 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Where I worked the C4 transmission suite was generally operated by a ‘fully fledged’ transmission controller and MCR engineer. Indeed, I did a few shifts in both capacities myself. It was a smaller version than the main ITV transmission suite but fully operationally capable. C4 was never co-owned by the ITV companies, they financed it but they had no ownership rights. All local C4 on air announcements and trailers were performed live, nothing was pre-recorded.


HTV's 'S4C' commercial playout suite was used from Jan 1st 1993, for Westcountry's playout/pres


Didn’t know WestCountry had outsourced its Pres and Playout.
Quite the switch from just commercials


Well, as stated the C4 ad playout facilities were more elaborate than you might image. The CA remained in Plymouth, but all else was played out and/or routed from Cardiff
Inspector Sands13,492 posts since 25 Aug 2004

Quote:
HTV's 'S4C' commercial playout suite was used from Jan 1st 1993, for Westcountry's playout/pres


Didn’t know WestCountry had outsourced its Pres and Playout.

Yes, because TSW took the decision to the High Court they had less time to set up so reduced their plans to save time and money. One of these changes was to outsource playout to HTV Wales.


The announcer sat in a booth at Westcountry in Plympton, but the transmission controller and everything else was in Cardiff. I'm not sure where things like promotions were made - whether WCTV staff made them in Cardiff or Plymouth or HTV's team did them. I used to know one of their announcers, they had one shift 12-12 with the mornings announcements being recorded by the previous days announcer

Quote:
Quite the switch from just commercials

Not really, as Cardiff had always done HTV Wales so doing Westcountry was the same thing, and of course a lot of the output was the same on both regions. That's one big cost saving from doing it that way - HTV already had the network programmes coming into them, and a lot of the commercials that WCTV would use, they already had all the circuits and technical infrastructure and staff. Adding one region to anothers playout was much cheaper than setting one up from scratch.


How they managed the change I don't know, presumably S4C's ads got moved out of their suite a while before launch so it could be re-equipped and rehearsals could take place. They wouldn't just have swapped it's role at midnight on new years
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 15 April 2019 7:27am
2
Markymark and Steve in Pudsey gave kudos
Steve in Pudsey9,894 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)


Well, as stated the C4 ad playout facilities were more elaborate than you might image. The CA remained in Plymouth, but all else was played out and/or routed from Cardiff


I could quite imagine there being a lot of benefit to having the C4 suite being very similar to the ITV one, albeit maybe less comprehensively equipped.

Not only for staff training purposes, but because it would initially only be required in the evenings, and once daytime broadcasts started, not until lunchtime. If it had sufficient facilities the ITV service could decamp there to allow for maintenance in its own pres area.
Write that down in your copybook now.
Markymark6,609 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today


How they managed the change I don't know, presumably S4C's ads got moved out of their suite a while before launch so it could be re-equipped and rehearsals could take place. They wouldn't just have swapped it's role at midnight on new years


I suspect S4C took on playout of the ads a few weeks before ( perhaps mirroring HTV for a coulple of days) Seeing as S4C were going to have to tx their own ads from Jan 1 anyway, and Wales is just a single ‘region’ no real issue.

No one ( including colleagues who worked for HTV back then) can tell me whether HTV’s ads came into S4C as an OS, or whether S4C went via HTV on the way to the transmitters ( as was the case for C4 in all the other regions)?
ttt474 posts since 15 Aug 2015
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


Perhaps the fault was at the transmitter end, maybe there had been a fault at TT which caused a failover to the raw C4 feed (if this was even possible) but somehow the sound and vision wasn't switched cleanly back?

TT's transmission control area generally always switched vision and sound together (so examples of, say, a promo's sound being carried to an IVC segment basically never happened -- the sound from the promo would be cut as soon as any transition out of it was completed, in contrast to a lot of other stations -- and effectively only one sound source was ever up at once). It seemed to be a limitation of the equipment they had over many years, so feeding the vision of one source with the sound of another would seem unlikely unless things were seriously knackered. Even if they were running an animated ident ahead of a programme, the sound of the programme would not cut in until the cross-fade from the ident to said programme was completed, if you get what I'm saying, so the C4 example probably could not be done by accident.
Last edited by ttt on 15 April 2019 10:49am
1
Si-Co gave kudos
Markymark6,609 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Either that or the ITV company's own router or mixer was having problems. The fact that the audio was sometimes separated from the video indicates the latter really. BT would just be switching the SiS encoded vision only signal.

But surely whoever was doing the ads playout at the ITV company would know it wasn't "alright leaving me" and arrange for some form of backup arrangement? You wouldn't knowingly put out over two hours of duff ad breaks?


Perhaps the fault was at the transmitter end, maybe there had been a fault at TT which caused a failover to the raw C4 feed (if this was even possible) but somehow the sound and vision wasn't switched cleanly back?


You're back to my BT switching theory really then ? I don't think the transmitters were presented
with C4 clean, and C4 via local ITV, that switching point was the local BT NSC (which out in the provinces, probably wasn't manned 24/7 ?)

Was the problem on Bilsdale or Pontop (or both) by the way ?
ttt474 posts since 15 Aug 2015
I don't know to be honest, just throwing out a hypothesis based on limited information.

I do agree though that it's unlikely they'd knowingly put out ads in sound only for three hours; they'd surely just leave the ads out completely for that period (which presumably would make any technical fault easier and quicker to fix, if the actual playout was taken out of action).

TT's C4 playout was as simple as it was possible to be AFAIK... they just dubbed an afternoon's ads from the ACR to tape, which was played out automated as needed.

I could see how audio might be "missed" by TC for a while on a second channel, but vision is surely a different matter?

It has to be said as well that for all of TT's faults, they were usually sharp as tacks when it came to noticing and correcting faults... if picture was lost they had holding images and announcements up within seconds, far quicker than YTV or the BBC tended to be.
Markymark6,609 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Clutching at straws here, was there any RBS facility for C4 back then? Could there have been an issue with the switchover such that pictures were coming from Tyne Tees as usual but audio was RBS Emley Moor and Yorkshire hadn't sold any ads in that junction?


I don't think the IBA used any 'out of region' automatic RBS on C4 or ITV ? There were manual instances, and they were initiated only after a chain of paperwork and phone calls (Moel-y-Parc RBS'ing Granada from Winter Hill, and Crystal Palace RBS'ing TVS from Hannington, (and in the 80s Southern when LWT suffered a problem ?)

In the 90s, once ITV started consolidating there was more use (mostly using D-Sat feeds) and C4 analogue at Hannington had C4 Mendip (rather than CP*) as its RBS source. The bank of Rx aerials are still there to this day.

* Mendip was the same 'Macro' region as Hannington, CP was of course London macro.
Si-Co2,082 posts since 2 Oct 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Clutching at straws here, was there any RBS facility for C4 back then? Could there have been an issue with the switchover such that pictures were coming from Tyne Tees as usual but audio was RBS Emley Moor and Yorkshire hadn't sold any ads in that junction?


In addition to Marky’s answer, I’d say that was unlikely as YTV tended to fill every junction with ads or PIFs, and Tyne Tees was more likely to have unfilled breaks (though by late 1984, it was rare for even Tyne Tees to revert to the C4 fillers). YTV certainly wouldn’t have had three hours of no ads, which would have to be the case for this theory to hold weight.

I was watching via Pontop Pike - I can’t confirm whether the problem was also present on Bilsdale.

EDIT: The vision could potentially have been a rebroadcast of Caldbeck or Selkirk, if that was possible, but I do think we may be overthinking things.
Cut out the coupon in your TV Times!
Curto2171 posts since 4 Jul 2017
STV North Reporting Scotland

Here are 3 more breakdowns now starting with this meridian breakdown from 2001 which I saw on Youtube at least 10 years ago.


Now here's a breakdown from BBC choice during the infamous BBC power cut of 2001


Now, this isn't really a breakdown but since I have never seen an apology for a breakdown on BBC knowledge I thought I would put it here anyway.
Last edited by Curto21 on 17 April 2019 1:16am
That's TV and Local Television Ltd are the Carlton and Granada of local tv
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Lewismpsmith gave kudos