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30 years since the closure of BSB

(December 2020)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
BL
bluecortina
There's an interesting episode of IBA Engineering Announcements about their uplink site for BSB at Chilworth in Hampshire.

The site is still operational, but is owned by Sky now, it's their main uplink site (possibly some downlinking too) and also houses some playout and DR facilities.


The roof of one of the buildings has dozens (and I do mean dozens) of domestic dishes, if you look on Google Maps you can spot them as 8 rows of grey lumps (the giveaway is their angle of course). They are there to provide 'real world' reception conditions for the r&d set top box 'zoo'.


I drove to the uplink site to have a look around in preparation for my interview (See above). I think the whole of the Chilworth site was some sort of science park in conjunction with Southampton Uni? Different now of course, I still drive by it occasionally and my wife goes to a health club based there.
Last edited by bluecortina on 3 December 2020 10:43am - 2 times in total
MA
Markymark
There's an interesting episode of IBA Engineering Announcements about their uplink site for BSB at Chilworth in Hampshire.

The site is still operational, but is owned by Sky now, it's their main uplink site (possibly some downlinking too) and also houses some playout and DR facilities.


The roof of one of the buildings has dozens (and I do mean dozens) of domestic dishes, if you look on Google Maps you can spot them as 8 rows of grey lumps (the giveaway is their angle of course). They are there to provide 'real world' reception conditions for the r&d set top box 'zoo'.


I drove to the uplink site to have a look around in preparation for my interview (See above). I think whole Chilworth site was some sort of science park in conjunction with Southampton Uni? Different now of course, I still drive by it occasionally and my wife goes to a health club based there.


Yes, I visited there a few years ago (To see a demo of AdSmart). No mention of Sky on any of signage round there
EL
elmarko
I know Applemask thinks his hour-long look at C4 pres is his magnum opus, but I think it's Square Peg. Great series.
Ste, UKnews and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
RD
Roger Darthwell
It's so nice and interesting to hear al of your memories! BTW if you are asking I wasn't around in 1990...but I decided to do this thread mainly because it seemed that nobody else did it, it's an important anniversary and so I thought it would be nice to mark it!
GL
Gluben
I'm somewhat surprised "Square Peg" wasn't already linked here. If you have an hour or so to binge and want to know the nitty gritty on how BSB somehow managed to totally fumble the satellite ball to Sky. Bob/Applemask has you covered.

https://vimeo.com/174799069
https://vimeo.com/175816741
https://vimeo.com/176720467
https://vimeo.com/177686884
https://vimeo.com/178584092
https://vimeo.com/180289180

In terms of remembering? My first experience with Satellite was my aunt and uncles Sky set up, I remember seeing the name and being told the BSB in the Sky BSB was the competitor they merged with, but there wasn't much to find of it till archive footage popped up online. The Lamby-Narn idents for Galaxy and Powerhouse are great though.


You missed out episode 6. But yes, a very interesting documentary.
JAS84 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
BL
bluecortina

Closer to home we converted TLS’s Studio 5 to component working to service one or two of BSB’s programme sub contractors. Didnt last long for obvious reasons and the studio stood empty for a while before GMTV came along.

And of course GMTV went back to composite working until well into 2000!


Indeed, although of course the BSB set up was based in a portacabin hoisted onto the podium roof rather than anything permanent.
BL
bluecortina
It's so nice and interesting to hear al of your memories! BTW if you are asking I wasn't around in 1990...but I decided to do this thread mainly because it seemed that nobody else did it, it's an important anniversary and so I thought it would be nice to mark it!


The IBA were doing a lot of research and development work on this in the 70's and many contemporary publicity shots of their place at Crawley Court in Winchester had their 3m receiving dish in shot. The IBA Technical Reviews 18 & 21 cover a great deal of the technicalities - but it is very technical and not for the casual reader, I certainly won't be re-reading it - if I ever did!
IS
Inspector Sands

Yep - I believe the main playout from Chilworth was the pre-encoded Sky Box Office movie transport PPV streams (I think they were/are played out as transport streams rather than baseband video and encoded on-the-fly - as there is/was so much duplication of time shifted movies it made more sense to pre-encode, and optimise, rather than live-encode, even losing the benefit of statmux). Or I may be misremembering.

I think all the Box Office stuff has ended now. A friend of mine did occasional shifts there and I think she said that they do/did some of the smaller channels like Challenge there too
JA
Jacq
I'm somewhat surprised "Square Peg" wasn't already linked here. If you have an hour or so to binge and want to know the nitty gritty on how BSB somehow managed to totally fumble the satellite ball to Sky. Bob/Applemask has you covered.

https://vimeo.com/174799069
https://vimeo.com/175816741
https://vimeo.com/176720467
https://vimeo.com/177686884
https://vimeo.com/178584092
https://vimeo.com/180289180

In terms of remembering? My first experience with Satellite was my aunt and uncles Sky set up, I remember seeing the name and being told the BSB in the Sky BSB was the competitor they merged with, but there wasn't much to find of it till archive footage popped up online. The Lamby-Narn idents for Galaxy and Powerhouse are great though.

Thank you for this! I didn't know he'd done a series on BSB

I remember nothing of it, as I was around five years old when it closed.
I do remember seeing some squarials in Edinburgh, up until fairly recently. But that's it.
EL
elmarko
Edinburgh here too, there’s tons. Nearest to me is a pub in Gorgie.
Jacq and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
NT
Night Thoughts
Funny how many squarials are still around - they can only have been used for about three years at most. (It's got me thinking of other debris of the time like Rabbit and Zone Phone antennae in London, but enough of that diversion.)

Never saw BSB go out, but my parents picked up a squarial from an ex-BSB user who'd transferred over to a Sky dish post-merger - rigged it up in a lean-to in the garden, and it worked perfectly during the period when you got five (I think) Sky channels on it. They eventually transferred over to a Sky dish, but the squarial remained on the lean-to for years after.
Last edited by Night Thoughts on 4 December 2020 12:52am
Jacq, Roger Darthwell and DE88 gave kudos
MA
Markymark
You still see VHF TV aerials from the 405 line era on roofs, Squarials are youngsters in comparison!

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