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VIDEO-ON-DEMAND PPV with Sky+HD - Pg. 3 (November 2005)

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JA
jay Founding member
Interesting article on MediaGuardian this morning about the BBC and HDTV...

MediaGuardian.co.uk posted:

BBC backs new era of high definition TV

· Plans to 'simulcast' top programmes next year
· Modern sets and decoders needed to watch HDTV

Owen Gibson, media correspondent
Tuesday November 8, 2005
The Guardian


A high definition format - described by enthusiasts as the equivalent of TV moving from black and white to colour - is to be introduced by the BBC for many of its best-known programmes.
The BBC's director of television, Jana Bennett, will tonight unveil plans to "simulcast" highlights of BBC1's peaktime schedule, including major drama, documentaries and sport shows, in high definition from the middle of next year on satellite and cable. It will also launch a trial of HDTV broadcasts via Freeview, the free to air digital service, using spare capacity in the London area.

Advocates of the technology, which produces pictures four times as detailed as conventional broadcasts, claim that programmes look incredibly lifelike, with more vivid colours and better quality surround sound. It is already popular in America and the far east.

The corporation, which already produces some programmes, such as Bleak House and Rome, in high definition for sale to the overseas market, has appointed a head of HDTV to manage and run the trial. Seetha Kumar, who coordinated pan-BBC events such as the recent Africa Lives season, will take the role. Big budget natural history series, including the forthcoming Planet Earth, and sporting events will also be filmed in the format and the BBC has pledged to move all its production to HD by the end of the decade.

But some will find the move controversial at a time when the BBC has asked for a 2.3% above inflation licence fee increase and is also leading the conversion to digital TV by 2012. In its submission, the BBC said it would need an extra £700m to build a new broadcasting infrastructure to support digital and high definition broadcasts. "From colour and widescreen to digital radio and television, the BBC has always been at the forefront of innovations in broadcasting," said Ms Bennett. "Our promise to our licence payers is to give them the highest quality television, so the time is right for the BBC to get involved in high definition."

To take advantage of the higher quality pictures, viewers will need an HDTV-ready television set. They will also need a cable or satellite set top box capable of decoding the high definition signal. The Digital Television Group said that a third of the 5.5m TV sets sold in the UK in the past year are already capable of receiving the next-generation broadcasts.

BSkyB will be the first broadcaster to launch a range of high definition channels in the first half of next year, including special versions of Sky One, Sky Sports and Sky Movies. Its chief executive, James Murdoch, has said the technology "blows your mind". Cable operators NTL and Telewest will follow suit, initially offering HDTV programming delivered on demand rather than live broadcasts.

Broadcasters are unlikely to be able to launch high definition channels on Freeview until after 2012, when extra capacity will be freed up by the switch from analogue to digital television. A spokesman for Sky said that the pay TV group had already brought forward the launch of HDTV because of consumer enthusiasm for better quality pictures and sound, shown by the boom in DVD sales, home cinema and widescreen television sets.

· George Entwhistle, the executive behind the BBC's return to peak-time arts programming with The Culture Show, has been made head of television current affairs at the corporation. The executive editor, topical arts for BBC2 and BBC4 will fill the position vacated by Peter Horrocks when he was promoted to head of television news earlier this year.

What is HDTV?

High definition television pictures are made up of up to 1,080 lines rather than the traditional 625 lines.

Will I need a new TV set?

Probably, unless you have bought a widescreen set in the last year that displays an "HD ready" sticker.

What can I watch in HD?

Nothing, as yet. Sky will launch its service in the first half of next year. You will need a new set top box and pay extra for the Sky service but not for BBC shows.

Does it have anything to do with the analogue switch-off?

Not directly, although the switch from analogue to digital by 2012 will free up spectrum to launch HDTV.
JA
jay Founding member
I thought there would be more interest in this topic than this!

This is the future of Television - it will be equivelant to the change from square pictures to widescreen!

I saw my first HDTV demo the other day in one of the shop windows on Tottenham Court Road and I must say it looks fantastic.

It was like watching a mirror (well it would have been if it wasn't a video of a mountain!)

Although I won't be getting Sky HD from launch (I don't have a HD TV, nor can I afford one), I will definately be considering it in the future!
MD
mdtauk
Its still too expensive for me to care...
JA
jay Founding member
martinDTanderson posted:
Its still too expensive for me to care...


It's the same with all things though Martin, I'm sure the new XBOX or Nintendo games consoles will have you caring, even though they are ridiculously priced for what they are.

Widescreen was expensive when it launched but look at the prices these days. HDTV will be the same..

...and with the BBC trialing HDTV on digital Terrestrial in London it looks like soon Freeview will be offering HDTV services as well as Sky...
JH
Jonathan H
jay posted:
This is the future of Television - it will be equivelant to the change from square pictures to widescreen!


No. It's much more akin to the switch from monochrome to colour, or more accurately, the switch from 405 to 625 lines.
MD
mdtauk
Telewest steals a march on HDTV rivals

Cable company Telewest today promised to be the first UK broadcaster to offer high definition television, confirming it would begin a trial service next month.
The company, which last month confirmed a £6.5bn merger deal with NTL, said it would pilot its service ahead of rivals Sky and the BBC, which will introduce their own services next year.

Customers of the TV Drive service will receive a US-made set-top box, complete with a personal video recorder similar to those offered by Sky+, on which they will view and record high definition programmes.

Telewest is hoping TV Drive, which will cost a subscribers an additional £10-£15 a month, and its recently introduced video-on-demand service, Teleport, will enable it to take on Sky, Freeview and BT.

The company said it had already acquired some HD content from the BBC but declined to give details of other programming partners ahead of a full roll-out in the first quarter of next year.

The Telewest acting chief executive, Barry Elston, who will step down once the merger with NTL is complete next year, said the combination of TV Drive and Teleport would give the company "a real competitive advantage over other platforms".

Telewest has about 1.35 million TV subscribers, most of whom receive digital TV. In contrast, Sky has 7.85 million subscribers, while more than 5m homes have Freeview.

The company today said it had gained 17,000 television subscribers in the three months to September, the highest number for nearly four years. It also added 67,000 broadband subscribers, most for its lower priced connections.

Telewest said the number of people taking its "triple-play" offering of TV, internet and telephone services was increasing faster than expected.

The percentage of customers taking all three services rose to 35% in the third quarter, up from just over 24% in the same period last year.

Telewest said it believed 40% of its customer base would take all three services by 2006 - a year ahead of target.

Ahead of the merger with NTL, Telewest reported a 16% rise in adjusted operating profit to £142m, up from £122m a year ago, on revenues of £404m. Net income was £5m compared with a £29m loss in the same period last year.

NTL and Telewest finally agreed to their £6.5bn merger last month. The deal values Telewest at around £3.4bn.

When the deal is finalised in the new year, the combined entity will be able to provide TV, phone and broadband to more than half of UK homes.

MediaGuardian.co.uk
MD
mdtauk
jay posted:

It's the same with all things though Martin, I'm sure the new XBOX or Nintendo games consoles will have you caring, even though they are ridiculously priced for what they are.

Widescreen was expensive when it launched but look at the prices these days. HDTV will be the same..

...and with the BBC trialing HDTV on digital Terrestrial in London it looks like soon Freeview will be offering HDTV services as well as Sky...


I plan to buy the XBOX 360, but not for HD, until a HDTV is available for £300 or less, I aint interested!
JA
jay Founding member
Jonathan H posted:
jay posted:
This is the future of Television - it will be equivelant to the change from square pictures to widescreen!


No. It's much more akin to the switch from monochrome to colour, or more accurately, the switch from 405 to 625 lines.

Thanks Jonathan... the point I was trying to make was that it will be a big milestone in the history and evolution of television!
JA
jay Founding member
martinDTanderson posted:
Telewest steals a march on HDTV rivals

Cable company Telewest today promised to be the first UK broadcaster to offer high definition television, confirming it would begin a trial service next month.
The company, which last month confirmed a £6.5bn merger deal with NTL, said it would pilot its service ahead of rivals Sky and the BBC, which will introduce their own services next year.

Customers of the TV Drive service will receive a US-made set-top box, complete with a personal video recorder similar to those offered by Sky+, on which they will view and record high definition programmes.

Telewest is hoping TV Drive, which will cost a subscribers an additional £10-£15 a month, and its recently introduced video-on-demand service, Teleport, will enable it to take on Sky, Freeview and BT.

The company said it had already acquired some HD content from the BBC but declined to give details of other programming partners ahead of a full roll-out in the first quarter of next year.

The Telewest acting chief executive, Barry Elston, who will step down once the merger with NTL is complete next year, said the combination of TV Drive and Teleport would give the company "a real competitive advantage over other platforms".

Telewest has about 1.35 million TV subscribers, most of whom receive digital TV. In contrast, Sky has 7.85 million subscribers, while more than 5m homes have Freeview.

The company today said it had gained 17,000 television subscribers in the three months to September, the highest number for nearly four years. It also added 67,000 broadband subscribers, most for its lower priced connections.

Telewest said the number of people taking its "triple-play" offering of TV, internet and telephone services was increasing faster than expected.

The percentage of customers taking all three services rose to 35% in the third quarter, up from just over 24% in the same period last year.

Telewest said it believed 40% of its customer base would take all three services by 2006 - a year ahead of target.

Ahead of the merger with NTL, Telewest reported a 16% rise in adjusted operating profit to £142m, up from £122m a year ago, on revenues of £404m. Net income was £5m compared with a £29m loss in the same period last year.

NTL and Telewest finally agreed to their £6.5bn merger last month. The deal values Telewest at around £3.4bn.

When the deal is finalised in the new year, the combined entity will be able to provide TV, phone and broadband to more than half of UK homes.

MediaGuardian.co.uk


Very interesting!

Surely they could have come up with a better name than 'Drive TV' though??

It will be very interesting next year when Sky introduce their "triple-play" services offering Telephone broadband and TV - hopefully we should see some good prices and deals...
NU
The Nurse
This is a pretty exciting change in television and it can't become affordable quick enough for me. The sooner we can forget about this crappy digital TV age we're stuck in now where the picture quality on certain channels is siginificantly worse than it was on analogue, the better.

I don't have a problem getting a new receiver / box / whatever, but I'm going to be a bit loathe to replace my TV so long as it's still working when HD arrives. The question is, am I still going to notice an improvement on my old telly? Ok so I can't benefit from the full resolution, but I can benefit from the better bitrates and therefore kiss goodbye to artefacts (I noticed ITV2 looked like a crappy Realvideo downloaded of the net the other day). Or would that not be the case?
JA
james2001 Founding member
I wouldn'tbe suprised to find even HDTV will be an overcompressed mess. Heck, DAB & normal Digital TV is.
GS
Gavin Scott Founding member
james2001 posted:
I wouldn'tbe suprised to find even HDTV will be an overcompressed mess. Heck, DAB & normal Digital TV is.


You should perhaps watch it first before casting a stone James. It's really quite impressive.

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