TV Home Forum

Bauer rebranding 53 stations to The Hits/Greatest Hits

The majority of its acquisitions last year

WO
Worzel Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
While not technically an emergency tape, when The Box first moved to a new playout system back in 2000, it often used to crash quite frequently, and was rebooted on air so you had a mix of several minutes of black screen and various colour screens until it returned. When it came back, it looked like they had a playlist programmed into it that would play until phone call requests had been recieved. So when it crashed, you'd always see at least the first two songs on that playlist- unless it crashed again before it got through them, which often happened. I remember one night where it crashed repeatedly and Same Old Brand New You by a1 must have been played at least 10 times because it was the first song on that playlist that week... and quite often it didn't even get through the entire video before it crashed again.

Looking back on it, it almost seems suprising they were able to get away with those frequent on-air crashes and reboots without even so much as an apology caption.


Back in the days when it was literally a small PC in a racks room with a video card in.
LH
lhx1985 Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Does anybody remember the name of the system that The Box and its sister channels were using around that time?

I know it was also in use on Rapture TV.
NG
noggin Founding member
While not technically an emergency tape, when The Box first moved to a new playout system back in 2000, it often used to crash quite frequently, and was rebooted on air so you had a mix of several minutes of black screen and various colour screens until it returned. When it came back, it looked like they had a playlist programmed into it that would play until phone call requests had been recieved. So when it crashed, you'd always see at least the first two songs on that playlist- unless it crashed again before it got through them, which often happened. I remember one night where it crashed repeatedly and Same Old Brand New You by a1 must have been played at least 10 times because it was the first song on that playlist that week... and quite often it didn't even get through the entire video before it crashed again.

Looking back on it, it almost seems suprising they were able to get away with those frequent on-air crashes and reboots without even so much as an apology caption.


Back in the days when it was literally a small PC in a racks room with a video card in.


At one point wasn't The Box based around NTSC laser discs and a standards converter - to allow random access video playback in the days before video servers. (ISTR it had to be NTSC for some reason - possibly because it shared videos with a US equivalent ?)
TM
tmf9 London London
Does anybody remember the name of the system that The Box and its sister channels were using around that time?

I know it was also in use on Rapture TV.


It was called PresBox and made by a company called AV Developments. Not much of their website survives but here are a few pages which describe the system and the various features

http://web.archive.org/web/20020809161126/http://www.avdev.clara.net:80/applications.htm
http://web.archive.org/web/20020810065437/http://www.avdev.clara.net:80/Products.htm

It was a very basic system running on a standard Windows PC. When The Box switched to this system it was nowhere near ready and suffered regular crashes. It got better but they never truly perfected it.
lhx1985 and james-2001 gave kudos
TM
tmf9 London London
While not technically an emergency tape, when The Box first moved to a new playout system back in 2000, it often used to crash quite frequently, and was rebooted on air so you had a mix of several minutes of black screen and various colour screens until it returned. When it came back, it looked like they had a playlist programmed into it that would play until phone call requests had been recieved. So when it crashed, you'd always see at least the first two songs on that playlist- unless it crashed again before it got through them, which often happened. I remember one night where it crashed repeatedly and Same Old Brand New You by a1 must have been played at least 10 times because it was the first song on that playlist that week... and quite often it didn't even get through the entire video before it crashed again.

Looking back on it, it almost seems suprising they were able to get away with those frequent on-air crashes and reboots without even so much as an apology caption.


Back in the days when it was literally a small PC in a racks room with a video card in.


At one point wasn't The Box based around NTSC laser discs and a standards converter - to allow random access video playback in the days before video servers. (ISTR it had to be NTSC for some reason - possibly because it shared videos with a US equivalent ?)


Yes, from launch until 2000 they used an NTSC laserdisc video jukebox system. I don't think there was any PAL based equivalent.

It was a mechanical system much like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCvrirk5GFg
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
There was one of those LaserJuke systems at Butlin's in Skegness in the 90s. There was also one at a hotel I stayed at in Spain in 1999, though the newest videos on it were around 18 months old, so I'm guessing they'd stopped supporting it and issuing new discs at some point in late 97/early 98.

One thing about the laserdisc version of The Box is you could have the playlist scroll on screen sometimes for minutes at a time. I assume that's when discs were being cued up, but it did seem suprisingly long, and sometimes there were no gaps between videos at all.

Originally The Box was run locally from each cable company's headends and they each had their own system, I don't think there was a national version until Sky Digital launched in 1998 (though I think there was a version of The Box shown during the downtime of Granada Plus before then), and the local versions slowly switched over to it. Our cable company switched from their own version (which used to be free to call, unlike the national one, so we used to call it repeatedly) in the Autumn of 1999, but I think some cable companies still had their own versions (still run from laserdisc) into 2001. Was certainly being used on some cable companies past the introduction of the digital system to the national version in 2000.

Someone who worked on Rapture once sent me some screenshots of the Windows-based system as they used it, sadly I don't have them any more.

Always remember show poor the picture quality was on the old laserdisc system, though there was a period of a few days not long before they switched systems in 2000 where the picture quality jumped quite significantly, but the other graphics on the channel started loading slowly, like downloading a big picture on a dial-up internet connection. Then the picture quality dropped again and the graphics loaded normally again, so that makes me think there was more to the lower picture quality than just the NTSC conversion, but the system ran slower if the picture quality was higher.

I wonder if any of the laserdiscs still survive, there must have been a lot of them made. I used to love the various programmes and features they had on the channel too, like the BoxTops, Breaking Out Of The Box, BeatBox, BoxTalks etc., all the music channels were a lot better then, there was a lot more to them than just endless streams of videos they became in the early 00s.
Last edited by james-2001 on 24 November 2020 12:55pm - 6 times in total
PL
plymouthbloke1974 West Country (West) Spotlight
Back on topic, GHR (Cornwall) now seems to be routing through Pirate, with local ID’s, news (provided by Pirate), adverts and weather. Obviously will now also take regional drive. Sound quality noticeably worse than when it was the UK feed....
BB
BBI45 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Back on topic, GHR (Cornwall) now seems to be routing through Pirate, with local ID’s, news (provided by Pirate), adverts and weather. Obviously will now also take regional drive. Sound quality noticeably worse than when it was the UK feed....

Their schedule still says that Drivetime is being hosted by Darren Proctor and not Tony Wright.
First person to post in 2021!
PL
plymouthbloke1974 West Country (West) Spotlight
BBI45 posted:
Back on topic, GHR (Cornwall) now seems to be routing through Pirate, with local ID’s, news (provided by Pirate), adverts and weather. Obviously will now also take regional drive. Sound quality noticeably worse than when it was the UK feed....

Their schedule still says that Drivetime is being hosted by Darren Proctor and not Tony Wright.
I think it still says that on the Plymouth feed TBF Laughing
LL
London Lite Founding member London London
Back on topic, GHR (Cornwall) now seems to be routing through Pirate, with local ID’s, news (provided by Pirate), adverts and weather. Obviously will now also take regional drive. Sound quality noticeably worse than when it was the UK feed....


Same for GHR Lincs. Local news is from Lincs FM and they take the regional drive from Leeds rather than network.
AndrewPSSP, BBI45 and plymouthbloke1974 gave kudos
MA
madmusician Central (West) Midlands Today
That link isn't working, I suspect the ; in the filename could be the problem.

I think some stations have a facility to tell the playout system to just carry on playing everything back to back which they use in these circumstances, perhaps that was the intention and for whatever reason it didn't go to plan?

Ah yes, apologies for that (and I know that this conversation has died out now, but just for the sake of completeness) - I've re-uploaded it with a simpler file name: https://up.metropol247.co.uk/madmusician/bbcr2evacuation.mp3

Wish I'd kept the whole c30 minute-long sequence now, including a very good stint of emergency tape. Still, Chris Evans' explanation is interesting (and very similar to the Moyles explanation posted up-thread, even down to making a 'broadcast critical' joke or two!)

15 days later

GH
Ghost Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Bauer has been allowed to replace Sam FM in Bristol with Hits Radio:

https://radiotoday.co.uk/2020/12/ofcom-allows-hits-radio-to-replace-sam-fm-bristol/

Newer posts