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BBC Regional SD/HD Transmissions

Was BBC Regional Redundancies

BA
Bail Moderator Meridian (South) South Today
So it seems we're also seeing one or two "high profile" departures from our various regions. As revealed earlier in the year the BBC are making over 450 redundancies throughout the regions.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jul/02/local-tv-stars-to-go-as-bbc-cuts-450-staff-from-regional-programmes

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-53263793

Inside Out has been completely axed, many presenters are now reaching the end of their contracts and regional output outside of news is less than ever.

I know one of the "upsides" to this is increased automation in regional galleries and that will also bring local HD versions of the regions and an end to the red "switch to 101" loop, but where the automation is being brought in technical departments in some regions were 16+ people now down to around 5.

Sad times.
CM
cmthwtv West Country (East) Points West
Bail posted:
I know one of the "upsides" to this is increased automation in regional galleries and that will also bring local HD versions of the regions and an end to the red "switch to 101" loop, but where the automation is being brought in technical departments in some regions were 16+ people now down to around 5.


This is good news - although I ask as someone not to familiar with the technical sides of TV - how will this work? Will they wait to upgrade all of the cameras (and/or studios) or are there other ways around this?
NG
noggin Founding member
Bail posted:
I know one of the "upsides" to this is increased automation in regional galleries and that will also bring local HD versions of the regions and an end to the red "switch to 101" loop, but where the automation is being brought in technical departments in some regions were 16+ people now down to around 5.


This is good news - although I ask as someone not to familiar with the technical sides of TV - how will this work? Will they wait to upgrade all of the cameras (and/or studios) or are there other ways around this?


There are a couple of issues here :

1. Setting up a BBC One HD opt-out system - where there currently is only an SD opt-out chain. This may end up being radically different to the current system. This doesn't require regional production to be in HD, the opt-out could be in unconverted SD on BBC One HD.

2. Distributing BBC One HD English regional variations. On Freeview HD this is possible - as there are already matching BBC One HD encoders for every ITV HD regional variation (a consequence of stat muxing PSB3 - the PSB HD mux) - though if the BBC regionalise more than ITV they will need to fund additional encoders not just for each BBC One HD variation - but also for BBC Two HD, ITV HD, C4 HD and C5 HD - even if they aren't regional - as that's how stat mux works)

Distribution of every regional BBC One feed on satellite in HD will either need a lot of additional transponder capacity (and that costs a lot more money) or the BBC might have to do what ITV has started to do, which is reduce the number of SD regions on satellite to free up capacity for more HD services (though the BBC may feel it can't do that in the way ITV can because of their licence fee funding)

3. Upgrade regional production facilities (i.e. cameras, routers, vision mixers, graphics, playout servers etc.) to HD. AIUI the playout servers in each region are now HD-capable, and some SD regions now have HD-capable cameras. However upgrading the rest of the infrastructure is non-trivial and costly. There is also the discussion about whether you go for a cheap-and-cheerful current-tech solution (Ross Overdrive + Graphite, NRK/Superfly's Open Source Sofie + Black Magic etc.), or go for an IP-based remote production solution (like BBC Local Radio uses)

1. is already being considered and may already be happening.

I have no idea about 2.

I believe 3. is still being discussed.

I also believe that automation was being resisted in some quarters - but with the major cost savings the BBC have to meet, and with all the network shows already heavily automated, with decent production values, I think the 'no automation' arguments are now going to be very difficult to win.
TheSebastian and Meridian AM gave kudos
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I wonder if we will see a return to the Nationwide concept before long. Reduce each regional programme by 10 minutes, so it focuses on news rather than some of the lighter stories. Then everyone opts back to a network show (possibly an extension to the One Show) that takes a contribution from two or three regions per day for those fluffier pieces.

That would do a couple of things, reducing the amount of content each region needs to produce by 10 minutes per day but with the flexibility that they could stay on air until 7 if they had a big story in the patch and were able to fill the time with the available resources. And provide a network outlet for some of their work.
Write that down in your copybook now.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I wonder if we will see a return to the Nationwide concept before long. Reduce each regional programme by 10 minutes, so it focuses on news rather than some of the lighter stories. Then everyone opts back to a network show (possibly an extension to the One Show) that takes a contribution from two or three regions per day for those fluffier pieces.

That would do a couple of things, reducing the amount of content each region needs to produce by 10 minutes per day but with the flexibility that they could stay on air until 7 if they had a big story in the patch and were able to fill the time with the available resources. And provide a network outlet for some of their work.


I certainly like the concept of expanding or reducing the airtime each day, to reflect a slow or busy local newsday etc
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
MA
Meridian AM Meridian (South) South Today
I wonder if we will see a return to the Nationwide concept before long. Reduce each regional programme by 10 minutes, so it focuses on news rather than some of the lighter stories. Then everyone opts back to a network show (possibly an extension to the One Show) that takes a contribution from two or three regions per day for those fluffier pieces.

That would do a couple of things, reducing the amount of content each region needs to produce by 10 minutes per day but with the flexibility that they could stay on air until 7 if they had a big story in the patch and were able to fill the time with the available resources. And provide a network outlet for some of their work.


South Today seems to have a lot of 'human interest' stories filling time rather than a lot of 'harder' news, which I'm surprised about, considering it's such a big region with many big towns and cities.
Most of the featured 'news' doesn't affect most people in the region anyway, as the region is so big and 'diverse'.
People like to hear about local places close to them that they can 'relate' to, but I find it a bit of a waste of time watching, when the regions are so big and cover places that have little in common with each other in the first place.
AndrewPSSP, DTV and Ballyboy gave kudos
BA
Bail Moderator Meridian (South) South Today
Southampton is one outfit I know has HD infastructure in place.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Bail posted:
Southampton is one outfit I know has HD infastructure in place.


They have HD camera chains, and no doubt HD editing 'islands', but is the main station router and vision mixer now HD ?
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
RK
Rkolsen World News
Bail posted:
I know one of the "upsides" to this is increased automation in regional galleries and that will also bring local HD versions of the regions and an end to the red "switch to 101" loop, but where the automation is being brought in technical departments in some regions were 16+ people now down to around 5.


This is good news - although I ask as someone not to familiar with the technical sides of TV - how will this work? Will they wait to upgrade all of the cameras (and/or studios) or are there other ways around this?


There are a couple of issues here :


2. Distributing BBC One HD English regional variations. On Freeview HD this is possible - as there are already matching BBC One HD encoders for every ITV HD regional variation (a consequence of stat muxing PSB3 - the PSB HD mux) - though if the BBC regionalise more than ITV they will need to fund additional encoders not just for each BBC One HD variation - but also for BBC Two HD, ITV HD, C4 HD and C5 HD - even if they aren't regional - as that's how stat mux works)

Why would additional encoders be needed for BBC Two, Channel 4 and Channel 5 HD? Doesn’t one encoder (presumably there for ITV) take all the inputs at a standard bit rate and output a stat muxed stream ready to the transmitter?
Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re a VO/SOT when you’re a PKG.
BA
Ballyboy Recently warned UTV Newsline
They need a new set it’s been in use since 2010
DH
DH33 Granada North West Today
Bail posted:
Southampton is one outfit I know has HD infastructure in place.

Salford is also hd ready
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today

This is good news - although I ask as someone not to familiar with the technical sides of TV - how will this work? Will they wait to upgrade all of the cameras (and/or studios) or are there other ways around this?


There are a couple of issues here :


2. Distributing BBC One HD English regional variations. On Freeview HD this is possible - as there are already matching BBC One HD encoders for every ITV HD regional variation (a consequence of stat muxing PSB3 - the PSB HD mux) - though if the BBC regionalise more than ITV they will need to fund additional encoders not just for each BBC One HD variation - but also for BBC Two HD, ITV HD, C4 HD and C5 HD - even if they aren't regional - as that's how stat mux works)

Why would additional encoders be needed for BBC Two, Channel 4 and Channel 5 HD? Doesn’t one encoder (presumably there for ITV) take all the inputs at a standard bit rate and output a stat muxed stream ready to the transmitter?


Yes, but the stat mux encoders all need to 'trade' with each other, so as Noggin points out, you still need new encoders for BBC 2, C4, and C5 etc, to negotiate the bit-budget with the BBC 1 and ITV 1 encoders
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967

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