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30 years ago today: the smokey globe and the 2s

TM
ToasterMan Granada North West Today
This is the earliest NICAM broadcast I could find:
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
To get live programmes on air in stereo there was a separate sound mixer in the Spur. I can't believe the aren't stories of entertaining cockups with that arrangement but I guess as it was still technically a test transmission it didn't matter too much.

I'm sure I recall reading an anecdote that sometimes the sound on a live programme would inadvertently continue on the NICAM feed after it had finished, so you could hear what was going on in the studio.


A bit like the UHD iplayer live streams in more recent years ! Cool

I bought a NICAM VCR in 1989. I took it to work, where our workshop had a Crystal Palace RF feed to make sure it worked !.

I lived in the Rowridge area at the time. Waited another year for ITV/4 to go NICAM, and another 2 years for BBC 1/2 to follow
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
LL
London Lite Founding member London London
I had to wait until 1996 for a Nicam tv and VCR. I seem to recall paying £249 for the VCR!
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I had to wait until 1996 for a Nicam tv and VCR. I seem to recall paying £249 for the VCR!


Oh, they weren't cheap. I think mine (a Philips VHS HiFi VCR ) was about 400 quid (and that was in 1989). I used it for TV sound through my HiFi (unless recording another channel)
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I had to wait until 1996 for a Nicam tv and VCR. I seem to recall paying £249 for the VCR!


We had the NICAM TV in 1992, but not a NICAM VCR until 8 years later, even though we replaced our VCR in 1994. My dad didn't want to pay the extra for a stereo one Razz
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I had to wait until 1996 for a Nicam tv and VCR. I seem to recall paying £249 for the VCR!


We had the NICAM TV in 1992, but not a NICAM VCR until 8 years later, even though we replaced our VCR in 1994. My dad didn't want to pay the extra for a stereo one Razz


What I did use the VCR at lot for was radio and music recording. You could also still get HiFi performance in LP mode. On a couple of occasions I made 6 hour party music compliation tapes. All done in real time of course. The things you do in your twenties! 😝
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
BL
bluecortina
Actually, both mixes were produced in Stereo, just the later mix was heard in Mono until Autumn 1991.

The uploads on Lambie-Nairn's YouTube channel back in 2010 prove the early versions were indeed in Stereo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8ar1aavGXk


Crystal Palace and other sites had had 'unofficial' NICAM broadcasts for quite some time prior to Autumn 1991, certainly from before Feb 91. ( I suspect the more significant milestone was when NC1 and 2 were modified for stereo sound ?


Yes - we were watching BBC One from Crystal Palace with NICAM stereo on quite a large number of programmes long before the official launch (we installed a third-party NICAM board in our VHS HiFi VCR, tee-ing off the IF with the NICAM subcarrier on it, and then fed the stereo line-level audio output from the board into the Simulcast phono inputs on the VCR that you'd otherwise use to record TV with stereo FM Radio simulcast audio).

BBC One presentation certainly had a stereo route for programmes well before 1991 (My hazy memory suggests we were NICAM listeners by 1988?) - though I don't know about BBC Two nor do I know if the CRV laser players used for BBC Two ident replay were initially stereo sources and/or the discs stereo mastered?


Your date of the late 80s rings distant bells with me. I remember looking at some of the incoming circuits when DCSIS was introduced and pondering on it - the incoming circuits required very accurate equalisation or else the results were very very poor. Of course we had SIS on some circuits before then but digits within the line sync period was still something of a novelty at the time. We had to completely replace our CAR routing matrix to accommodate stereo too - we moved over (studios and vt) to a Probel TDM matrix to work with it*. I think stereo working was quite hum drum by the 90’s? within the building anyway, but I could not say for the rest of the ITV companies or transmission.

* From memory there were two levels of dual channel audio plus an additional 5th low resolution channel for cueing/signalling purposes but not used in practice.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today

Crystal Palace and other sites had had 'unofficial' NICAM broadcasts for quite some time prior to Autumn 1991, certainly from before Feb 91. ( I suspect the more significant milestone was when NC1 and 2 were modified for stereo sound ?


Yes - we were watching BBC One from Crystal Palace with NICAM stereo on quite a large number of programmes long before the official launch (we installed a third-party NICAM board in our VHS HiFi VCR, tee-ing off the IF with the NICAM subcarrier on it, and then fed the stereo line-level audio output from the board into the Simulcast phono inputs on the VCR that you'd otherwise use to record TV with stereo FM Radio simulcast audio).

BBC One presentation certainly had a stereo route for programmes well before 1991 (My hazy memory suggests we were NICAM listeners by 1988?) - though I don't know about BBC Two nor do I know if the CRV laser players used for BBC Two ident replay were initially stereo sources and/or the discs stereo mastered?


Your date of the late 80s rings distant bells with me. I remember looking at some of the incoming circuits when DCSIS was introduced and pondering on it - the incoming circuits required very accurate equalisation or else the results were very very poor. Of course we had SIS on some circuits before then but digits within the line sync period was still something of a novelty at the time. We had to completely replace our CAR routing matrix to accommodate stereo too - we moved over (studios and vt) to a Probel TDM matrix to work with it*. I think stereo working was quite hum drum by the 90’s? within the building anyway, but I could not say for the rest of the ITV companies or transmission.

* From memory there were two levels of dual channel audio plus an additional 5th low resolution channel for cueing/signalling purposes but not used in practice.


TV-am used the low fi channel for studio to OB talkback

The day NICAM officially launched on TVS/4 from Rowridge, TVS did a live OB of a concert from Salisbury Cathedral, (which was for C4)
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Avatar credit: © BBC, ITA, BREMA 1967
CO
Coronavision
I recall both Tyne Tees and Yorkshire brought stereo transmission in in phases. For example adverts only started being broadcast in stereo on YTV in mid-1992, and TTT's presentation was full mono bar trailers and programmes right up until YTV took things over. They would always fade through black into stereo programmes for about six months in 1991, I was advised this was because they switched out the continuity desk entirely to allow stereo broadcasts.

Programme-wise though both companies were making stuff in stereo in the late-1980s.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
And the infamous introduction of the Calendar South opt, "oops we forget about a NICAM circuit" screw up
Write that down in your copybook now.
RO
robertclark125 Central Reporting Scotland
And the infamous introduction of the Calendar South opt, "oops we forget about a NICAM circuit" screw up


Oh, do tell us more!
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
The Sheffield relay became a line fed main station for YTV so it could have different news and adverts to Emley in 1990.

The story goes that a viewer noticed the NICAM audio had suddenly gone silent and eventually rang the IBA who discovered that between YTV and themselves they had managed to completely forget to make provision for NICAM.
Write that down in your copybook now.

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