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Markymark5,904 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Worthwhile noting that the first transmitter to lose COM 7 and COM 8 completely following 700 Mhz clearance has been announced - Beacon Hill (Torbay and environs) will see the services shutdown in early 2019. Seemingly international clearance is not available for the site to use the temporary SFNs being established as an interim measure to continue services for a couple more years on those two muxes elsewhere. This doesn't bode well for other sites in the SW due to switch later next year either.

(A516 Digital)


I’m not aware Digital UK or Arqiva ( in their capacity as COM 7/8 licence holders) have officially announced the reasons Beacon Hill cannot continue with the two muxes after March 2019, but I’m told it’s not a freq clearance issue
Last edited by Markymark on 12 December 2018 1:57pm - 2 times in total
Markymark5,904 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Considering they were always intended to be short term muxes it is rather shameful there has been no progress in the few years they've been on air in switching the other muxes to ensure no channels would be lost at the point these extra muxes begin to be phased out.


The broadcasters, Ofcom and Digital UK need to pull their socks up regarding DTT. We seem to have stalled
with progress and there needs to be a proper roadmap[1] to get us to a DVB-T2 future, and no SD:HD simulcasting.

Not helped by the 700 MHz clearance at present, which is only serving to reduce available spectrum for DTT and at the same time causing the geographical separation of transmitters using the same frequency to be reduced. The latter will only intensify the loss, and the number of viewers that lose reception during tropospheric activity.

If I was a pessimist, I'd say DTT was being run into the ground

[1] I apologise for use of a w-word
1
Brekkie gave kudos
Orry Verducci1,588 posts since 1 Feb 2005
Anglia (West) Look East
I agree Arqiva/Digital UK haven't handled the situtation in the best manner, but to give them some credit I also don't think things have gone to plan for them.

The intention behind the launch of COM7 and 8 was to increase the number of HD services on the platform, which would drive the uptake DVB-T2 receivers, allowing them to start switching the other muxes without causing too much disruption.

The reality of what's happened is that excluding the BBC channels they haven't really picked up any major HD channnels which would encourage most viewers to upgrade. The channels that would drive adoption, such as HD versions of the popular SD channels (ITV2, E4, etc), are all currently stuck behind the Sky/Virgin pay wall. The muxes are mostly filled by smaller broadcasters, many of which in SD, who have been able to get cheap carrage based on the fact not everyone can see the channel.

As a result they haven't seen the uptake of DVB-T2 receivers that they would have hoped for, although there is now quite a lot out there now with the rise of smart TV's. With that, they're stuck another 'digital switchover' type situation with the politics of trying to switch over while people can't watch it.

They do need to get their act together and just get on with it however. I would also argue with the available bandwidth for terrestrial TV being increasingly decreased they should start looking at migrating more of the muxes to an SFN.
noggin13,891 posts since 26 Jun 2001
I agree Arqiva/Digital UK haven't handled the situtation in the best manner, but to give them some credit I also don't think things have gone to plan for them.

The intention behind the launch of COM7 and 8 was to increase the number of HD services on the platform, which would drive the uptake DVB-T2 receivers, allowing them to start switching the other muxes without causing too much disruption.

The reality of what's happened is that excluding the BBC channels they haven't really picked up any major HD channnels which would encourage most viewers to upgrade. The channels that would drive adoption, such as HD versions of the popular SD channels (ITV2, E4, etc), are all currently stuck behind the Sky/Virgin pay wall.

Yes - the ITV/C4 HD channels being paywalled is really annoying. ITV2-4HD and E4/More4/Film4 on Freeview HD would make it a far more compelling proposition.

Quote:

The muxes are mostly filled by smaller broadcasters, many of which in SD, who have been able to get cheap carrage based on the fact not everyone can see the channel.

As a result they haven't seen the uptake of DVB-T2 receivers that they would have hoped for, although there is now quite a lot out there now with the rise of smart TV's. With that, they're stuck another 'digital switchover' type situation with the politics of trying to switch over while people can't watch it.


Yes - though all Freeview licensed products are now T2 compatible aren't they? They've finally pulled DVB-T/SD only devices from the scheme.

Quote:

They do need to get their act together and just get on with it however. I would also argue with the available bandwidth for terrestrial TV being increasingly decreased they should start looking at migrating more of the muxes to an SFN.


Yes - a degree of re-arrangment logically to move nationwide services (BBC Two, BBC News, BBC Four etc.) onto common SFNs and regionalised channels (ITV, C4, BBC One) to muxes that aren't SFN-ed would make sense wouldn't it? Though it would mean a major change to the way muxes are 'owned' I guess?

I guess you'd need to handle SFNs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland slightly differently to handle S4C, BBC Alba, BBC Two nations/BBC Scotland etc.?
Markymark5,904 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

They do need to get their act together and just get on with it however. I would also argue with the available bandwidth for terrestrial TV being increasingly decreased they should start looking at migrating more of the muxes to an SFN.


There's a fair bit of sub-regional SFN use, for instance the three PSB muxes from Reigate, are now in an SFN with Crystal Palace. The problem with large (geographical) scale SFNs, is that in order to make them viable, (by increasing the Guard Interval) you need to reduce the payload. If you remember, that's why BBC 4 HD was moved from COM 7 to COM 8 earlier this year, to facilitate the migration of those two muxes to national SFNs.
I did the sums, and I think the maximum path difference for two (or more) co-channel COM 7/8 SFN sites is 72km. Crystal Palace and Hannington are two overlapping sites that are in that SFN, and I'm not aware of any 'mush zones' that have been produced ?

Of course if you overdo the GI increase, you end up reducing the payload too much, and the technique becomes self defeating ! I don't think DVB-T1 lends itself to large scale SFN, though The Netherland's PSB 1 mux is a nationwide SFN, (that is probably geographically the size of the Meridian or Anglia regions) but only carries three or four TV services in SD I think ?
Markymark5,904 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Worthwhile noting that the first transmitter to lose COM 7 and COM 8 completely following 700 Mhz clearance has been announced - Beacon Hill (Torbay and environs) will see the services shutdown in early 2019. Seemingly international clearance is not available for the site to use the temporary SFNs being established as an interim measure to continue services for a couple more years on those two muxes elsewhere. This doesn't bode well for other sites in the SW due to switch later next year either.

(A516 Digital)


I’m not aware Digital UK or Arqiva ( in their capacity as COM 7/8 licence holders) have officially announced the reasons Beacon Hill cannot continue with the two muxes after March 2019, but I’m told it’s not a freq clearance issue


Also now, Caradon Hill, Caldbeck, Sheffield (Crosspool) and Fenham (serves a chunk of Newcastle)

https://www.a516digital.com/2018/12/further-freeview-channel-switch-offs.html
Last edited by Markymark on 12 December 2018 2:37pm