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IndigoTucker550 posts since 4 Jan 2003
As in they recorded the final outputted feed, with the locally overlaid graphics and commentary, rather than a clean feed, which don't seem to have been preserved until recently. Probably recorded baseband in the studios rather than off-air, apologies for poor terminology.
The 1974 show uploaded on the Youtube channel has foreign audio commentary simply as thats all that exists - the two other YouTube versions are simply mute over the final scenes.
UKnews945 posts since 26 Apr 2011
Yes the EBU now have rebuilt the archive of Eurovisions for internal use from different broadcasters off-air recordings, even fan recordings, to build as clean a copy as possible from the different sources. They even dubbed the stereo audio over from the FM simulcasts where available.

Which leads to the question, when was the contest first offered to broadcasters with Stereo audio?


How about a definitive list:

First Colour (1968 isn't it?)
First Stereo Audio
First 16:9
First HD (also first 5.1?)

etc

I did see the question raised - I think on Twitter - as to when the commentary moved from 'phone' quality, certainly as far as the BBC is concerned. There is a big jump between 1980 (Netherlands) and 1983 (Munich) - leaving out 1981 & 1982 given Dublin to London and Harrogate to London would have been much easier.

As with the other changes it varied between broadcaster, using 1984 as an example - the SVT commentary is 'phone' quality, the BBC and ARD are are 'full' bandwidth (well at least 7-8khz).
Sh1ruba485 posts since 13 Jan 2019
Central (West) Midlands Today
Yes the EBU now have rebuilt the archive of Eurovisions for internal use from different broadcasters off-air recordings, even fan recordings, to build as clean a copy as possible from the different sources. They even dubbed the stereo audio over from the FM simulcasts where available.

Which leads to the question, when was the contest first offered to broadcasters with Stereo audio?


How about a definitive list:

First Colour (1968 isn't it?)
First Stereo Audio
First 16:9
First HD (also first 5.1?)

etc

I did see the question raised - I think on Twitter - as to when the commentary moved from 'phone' quality, certainly as far as the BBC is concerned. There is a big jump between 1980 (Netherlands) and 1983 (Munich) - leaving out 1981 & 1982 given Dublin to London and Harrogate to London would have been much easier.

As with the other changes it varied between broadcaster, using 1984 as an example - the SVT commentary is 'phone' quality, the BBC and ARD are are 'full' bandwidth (well at least 7-8khz).

Kiev 2005 was the first in 16:9. The last ever one in 4:3 was Istanbul 2004.

And Athens 2006 was the first in HD.
noggin14,933 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Yes the EBU now have rebuilt the archive of Eurovisions for internal use from different broadcasters off-air recordings, even fan recordings, to build as clean a copy as possible from the different sources. They even dubbed the stereo audio over from the FM simulcasts where available.

Which leads to the question, when was the contest first offered to broadcasters with Stereo audio?


How about a definitive list:

First Colour (1968 isn't it?)
First Stereo Audio
First 16:9
First HD (also first 5.1?)

etc

I did see the question raised - I think on Twitter - as to when the commentary moved from 'phone' quality, certainly as far as the BBC is concerned. There is a big jump between 1980 (Netherlands) and 1983 (Munich) - leaving out 1981 & 1982 given Dublin to London and Harrogate to London would have been much easier.

As with the other changes it varied between broadcaster, using 1984 as an example - the SVT commentary is 'phone' quality, the BBC and ARD are are 'full' bandwidth (well at least 7-8khz).

Kiev 2005 was the first in 16:9. The last ever one in 4:3 was Istanbul 2004.

And Athens 2006 was the first in HD.


Athens 2006 was the first produced in HD, but it wasn't available to licensees in HD, so was broadcast only in 16:9 SD. (It was effectively a dry-run - and that spider camera looked pretty bad in SD so goodness knows what it looked like in HD - if indeed that camera was HD). There is every possibility that the spider cam and RF cameras were still SD upconverted (as HD RF cameras were still quite tricky at that point)

Helsinki 2007 was the first produced AND broadcast in 16:9 HD.
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IndigoTucker550 posts since 4 Jan 2003
There was a post on the Kaleidoscope Facebook group from one of the EBU archivists.
the 1976 Dutch show was broadcast in Stereo on the Radio (and preserved), as was the 1977 contest but not necessarily preserved in full. Most of 1980+ are preserved in stereo radio audio, and the VT of 1986+ were natively in stereo.

"As for clean feeds of ESCs, only one or two are available till 1970, and since then I do have all apart from 72, 77, 78, 81, 88 and 94 which all have commentary of some sort "

The 96 contest kept dropping into 16x9 letterbox for the acts, so perhaps this was PALPlus?

The first 16:9 was 2005 and first originated in HD was 2006, and first networked in HD was 2007?
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noggin14,933 posts since 26 Jun 2001

The 96 contest kept dropping into 16x9 letterbox for the acts, so perhaps this was PALPlus?


No - it wasn't PALPlus - there were graphics over the black bars at some points which would have defeated the PAL Plus encode and decode.

PALPlus put 'helper' information in the black letterbox bars (it was coded onto PAL subcarrier at black level - so if you turned up the brightness of your TV you could see blue - and yellow? - picture information) This helper information was used to add back some of the missing 144 vertical lines of information required to make a 576 line 16:9 picture from the 432 lines of active video in the letterbox. It worked as well as you might imagine...

PAL Plus wasn't ever a production format - only a broadcast format. It was expected that a show would be produced in 16:9 576i - either in SDI, analogue component or the BBC/Snell and Wilcox COM3 system (component compatible composite that used a clever tweak to PAL encoding and decoding to effectively remove composite artefacts) - and only the final transmission encoding was PALPlus - you wouldn't have had PALPlus encoders on every camera, nor would you have had the coder in your OB truck.
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noggin14,933 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Ah!
I would have thought they'd have played with a HD camera at Eurovision at some point from the 80s onward?


They may well have had separate HD cameras for testing - but not a full multicamera production rig. There's a big difference between pointing an HD camera at a stage and running a full HD production.

2006 was the year that HD really became a reality for broadcasters in Europe - with BBC HD, SVT HD etc. all launching trials in readiness for the 2006 World Cup (which was produced in HD)

AIUI they have also shot some HDR and HFR test footage at recent events (possibly during rehearsals rather than transmission)

The real question was really why it took so long for the ESC to go 16:9... 2005 was very late from a UK point of view (and Sweden had been 16:9 for almost as long). Other countries took a lot longer though - like France and Denmark.
BillyH1,401 posts since 26 May 2001
London London
Helsinki 2007 was the first broadcast in HD, Athens was recorded in the format for test purposes but broadcast in SD everywhere. I think had the UK won a year later than they did (hosting in 1999 instead of Israel) we’d have had the first 16:9 contest a lot earlier, as May ‘98 was just that little bit too early given digital broadcasts hadn’t started yet here and absolutely nowhere in Europe was broadcasting in 16:9 as far as I know, except the occasional letterboxed movie showing in some countries.

I’m interested to know if the spokespeople during the voting are all in HD or not yet. Certainly in the late 2000s they were all 4:3 SD even in the HD era, but this wasn’t obvious on TV as they only took up a small part of the screen. I can’t find any up to date listing of what countries broadcast in HD now, has it really reached far flung places like Belarus or Armenia yet?
Member since 26 May 2001
noggin14,933 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Helsinki 2007 was the first broadcast in HD, Athens was recorded in the format for test purposes but broadcast in SD everywhere. I think had the UK won a year later than they did (hosting in 1999 instead of Israel) we’d have had the first 16:9 contest a lot earlier, as May ‘98 was just that little bit too early given digital broadcasts hadn’t started yet here and absolutely nowhere in Europe was broadcasting in 16:9 as far as I know, except the occasional letterboxed movie showing in some countries.

I’m interested to know if the spokespeople during the voting are all in HD or not yet. Certainly in the late 2000s they were all 4:3 SD even in the HD era, but this wasn’t obvious on TV as they only took up a small part of the screen. I can’t find any up to date listing of what countries broadcast in HD now, has it really reached far flung places like Belarus or Armenia yet?


The voting spokespeople format remained in SD for a long time after the shows were produced in HD. It only changed to HD relatively recently, the last 5 years or so?

Similarly in recent years the voting has moved from being 'all satellite' to a mix of satellite and IP (and in some cases a mix of satellite and fibre).
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tightrope781,209 posts since 29 Dec 2005
UTV Newsline
Helsinki 2007 was the first broadcast in HD, Athens was recorded in the format for test purposes but broadcast in SD everywhere. I think had the UK won a year later than they did (hosting in 1999 instead of Israel) we’d have had the first 16:9 contest a lot earlier, as May ‘98 was just that little bit too early given digital broadcasts hadn’t started yet here and absolutely nowhere in Europe was broadcasting in 16:9 as far as I know, except the occasional letterboxed movie showing in some countries.

I’m interested to know if the spokespeople during the voting are all in HD or not yet. Certainly in the late 2000s they were all 4:3 SD even in the HD era, but this wasn’t obvious on TV as they only took up a small part of the screen. I can’t find any up to date listing of what countries broadcast in HD now, has it really reached far flung places like Belarus or Armenia yet?


The voting spokespeople format remained in SD for a long time after the shows were produced in HD. It only changed to HD relatively recently, the last 5 years or so?

Similarly in recent years the voting has moved from being 'all satellite' to a mix of satellite and IP (and in some cases a mix of satellite and fibre).

I'm not very technical but is the use of IP the reason for the awkward 2-second delays during the voting sequence (and on Saturday night)? From watching the 1997 and 1998 Contest recently it was very noticeable that there were none of the awkward delays during the voting.
noggin14,933 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Helsinki 2007 was the first broadcast in HD, Athens was recorded in the format for test purposes but broadcast in SD everywhere. I think had the UK won a year later than they did (hosting in 1999 instead of Israel) we’d have had the first 16:9 contest a lot earlier, as May ‘98 was just that little bit too early given digital broadcasts hadn’t started yet here and absolutely nowhere in Europe was broadcasting in 16:9 as far as I know, except the occasional letterboxed movie showing in some countries.

I’m interested to know if the spokespeople during the voting are all in HD or not yet. Certainly in the late 2000s they were all 4:3 SD even in the HD era, but this wasn’t obvious on TV as they only took up a small part of the screen. I can’t find any up to date listing of what countries broadcast in HD now, has it really reached far flung places like Belarus or Armenia yet?


The voting spokespeople format remained in SD for a long time after the shows were produced in HD. It only changed to HD relatively recently, the last 5 years or so?

Similarly in recent years the voting has moved from being 'all satellite' to a mix of satellite and IP (and in some cases a mix of satellite and fibre).

I'm not very technical but is the use of IP the reason for the awkward 2-second delays during the voting sequence (and on Saturday night)? From watching the 1997 and 1998 Contest recently it was very noticeable that there were none of the awkward delays during the voting.


No - it's the switch to digital compression largely - which is a larger proportion of the delay than the satellite path.

In 1997 and 1998 analogue satellite links were used where the only appreciable delay was introduced by the speed of light time to and from the satellite (plus a 40ms frame or two of synchroniser delay).

These days h.264 compression is used whether the path is fibre, satellite or IP (which itself can be over fibre or satellite). h.264 compression works by storing a whole bunch of 40ms frames and analysing them for differences, and then coding occasional full frame pictures (I-frames) and then for the in-beteween frames just sending compressed 'difference frames' along with data that lets these be used by the deccoder to recreate the original frames. This compression means that the video is buffered by a number of frames. Usually the higher quality the compression, the more frames are buffered and analysed, and the higher the latency, or delay, that is introduced. Codecs can easily introduce a 2" delay.

Putting a second h.264 codec into the path will often double your codec delay too... (This can happen if a circuit is downlinked in one place, not the main broadcast location, decoded, and then re-encoded to be fibred to another location. Ideally you wouldn't decode en-route and just pas on the compressed stream but this isn't always possible)

h.264 (and MPEG2 before it) encoders usually have a mode called 'low latency' that either drops the quality or requires a higher bitrate (and thus a wider bandwidth satellite channel) to carry it with a reduced delay. The EBU ask for all voting uplink encoders to be in 'low latency' mode for the contest - though whether everyone does this I don't know.

For the regular contest, the other issue is that the audio that that voting spokespeople here is also carried over a compressed satellite link (it's carried as part of the incoming feed of the Eurovision Song Contest - all spokespeople listen to the same audio - which has just the show presenters - so spokespeople don't hear each other just the presenters and silence). This audio is supposed to be encoded 'unlocked' (so it isn't delayed to match the video, and just has an audio codec plus satellite speed-of-light path delay) - but I'm not sure that always happens... So there is a second delay involved with that audio getting TO the spokespeople, which you can add to the delay that the audio and video of the spokespeople going back to the contest truck also has.

I've had round trip delays of 4" on a single hop, and 8" on a double hop circuit...

With IP contributions things are complicated a bit if you use the public internet. Then you may also add some 'buffer' on top of the codec delay, to allow missed packets to be re-requested, or to cope with packets arriving out of order. This is often a setting on the IP contribution system.

My understanding is that the EBU Flex platform used for IP contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest, is based on the Mobile Viewpoint WMT product - where many people run with a 2-3" buffer delay on top of the codec delay.
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