“ BBC HD is a free-to-air high definition channel available on satellite and cable. It features a wide range of programmes from across the other BBC channels. At the moment BBC HD broadcasts for nine hours a day between 4pm and 1am, with extended coverage for live events such as Wimbledon and Electric Proms. „
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The other day I arrived back in the UK after being away for a year and decided to check out BBC HD on my TV. As one can assume from the name BBC HD is a BBC channel broadcast in highdefinition, meaning a higher resolution and higher bit rate compared to that of a standard broadcast. This in theory should allow a more realist image to be broadcast.
However, in reality this certainly doesn't appear to be the case, the image is very static and the bit rate is comparable to that of a standard DVD. I would guess that the bit rate is around 4-8mb (bits) per second. On the other hand a blu-ray disc has a bit rate of around 30 mb/second. Having been in Japan for a while I have become used to watching high definition broadcasts over the air and via satellite. While in Japan the image quality for HD broadcasts is not perfect, it's certainly a lot better than BBC HD. NHK terrestrial broadcasts around 12-16 mb/second (with a resolution of 1440 x 1080) and satellite (full hd resolution) at around 20 mb/second. In Japan the image quality is smoother and more fluid, on the other hand BBC HD looks like a high definition youtube video.
The problem seems to stem from the limited over the air bandwidth available here in the UK due to the clutter of too many junk channels broadcast on standard freeview. The only way to solve this problem would be to get rid of standard freeview and force everyone to upgrade to HD decoders. The technology is cheap so it should easily be possible at a cost of no more than £20. In addition having a restriction to no more than 10 over the air channels should allow more bandwidth to be allocated to each channel.
Terrestrial HD television has been poorly implemented in this country. With the limited bandwidth available there's no point broadcasting BBC in hd since the image looks too static due to the use of high compression codecs. A lower resolution image would solve the problem.
Overall while better than not nothing, BBC HD is rather dissapointing and as such shouldn't be called BBC HD.
With barely a handful if HD channels to choose from BBC HD is one of the few general entertainment channels on offer.
Unlike Sky 1 HD, ITV 1 HD, Channel 4 HD etc BBC HD is not an exact repetition of the normal resolution channel but just in HD. Instead it is more of a mix mash of a number of BBC programmes that have been taken from the various normal resoltuion BBC channels. I get the impression that BBC HD basically includes any shows that just so happen to have been shot in HD rather than the BBC actually properly planning the content of the channel. Notable ommissions include, Eastenders, Match of the Day, News Night but to name a few.
Despite my misgivings about the content are displaced but the excellent quality of the picture. I leave this open to argument but I would say that it surpasses its entertainment rivals like Sky 1 HD and ITV 1 HD. The colours and sounds as some of the best I have seen on a HD channel.
BBC HD is an excellent compliment to the HD package but is somewhat let down by its content, maybe in the future BBC HD will come to an end and BBC 1 & 2 HD will come into effect - we can live in hope!
I have Sky HD and have down for over a year now so I do try to get use out of the HD Channels. In case you didn't know, a TV works by displaying a number of horizontal & vertical lines that make up your picture. High Definition makes the picture clearer, crisper & more detailed by displaying up to twice as many lines at once.
BBC HD is responsible for showing any & all the the High Definition programming the the BBC provide. It is fre to air so it won't cost you anything to watch. I will however require that you have either Sky HD or Freesat HD which are the two ways of watching HD programming in the UK at the moment and a HD ready or Full HD television set.
On BBC HD you will find a mix of programmes. Hustle, Strictly Come Dancing, 6 Nations Rugby. You will also however find that for vast swathes of the day there is not a single programme on this channel. Bearing in mind that the beeb have over 4 channels broadcasting 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you'd think that they'd be able to find something to put on in HD at all times. You'd be wrong. Around 6 hours of TV is broadcast in HD every day. Some of their most popular programmes (such as Eastenders) are not broadcast in HD.
When there is something on, the picture & sound quality are as you would expect from a HD television channel. The programmes are exactly the same as if you watched them in single definition just with the added HD bells & whistles.
I'm happy to recommend the channel. If you're watching a BBC programme & you have the HD gadgets, you might as well watch it on this channel. I'm afraid though that the lack of content really lets it down. They need to get more programming on here. 3 stars from me (with an eye on the World Cup in HD)
BBC HD is a free to air channel currently available on Satellite & Cable, as well as the recently launched Freesat service. All it's content is broadcast in native High Defintion, however the channel only currently broadcasts such content for an average of 6 hours per day. The rest of the time is filled with a looping previews of the channel & audio/video tests.
Apart from the lack of time it's actually on air, it seems that there is still not enough original content to broadcast as the number of repeats shown is extremely high. This is slowly improving but very slowly compared to channels such as Sky1 HD which has so much more native HD content available.
I have also noticed that the quality of the picture although still high definition has gone downhill over the last year. This is due to the fact that the channel are now compressing their shows more so they take up less space but in turn this reduces their quality.
Although there are the occasional gems to be seen, I would say BBC HD has a long way to go before it matches the quality of some of the other HD channels out there!
We got Free Sat HD with our Panasonic TV about 3mths ago and have loved every minute of it and BBC HD is worth getting.
I hate cynics who both have never watched HD films or TV and claim that tube televisions are better. First off HD TV is a hell of a lot better than normal BBC 1 etc... and the reason most other standard def channels look 'pixelated' is because a newer LCD TV is a lot better in terms of picture quality so picks it up where a standard tube TV would not.
So BBC HD is it worth it? Hell yes. If you pay for HD shame on you but at least you have it so good on you.
BBC HD is good for the odd program or two like Friday Night with Jonathon Ross but a lot of the programs are wildlife documentaries that I agree look stunning in HD, I just don't like those kinds of programs. I think a better idea would be to broadcast everything that appears on BBC One in high definition like the News which I would definitely watch.
Overall I would recommend getting any HD channel because the increase in picture quality is amazing. BBC HD just now needs to focus on more mainstream TV scheduling such as the news etc...
This Channel is free to air, new High Definition BBC channel. On Freesat where it is currently available it is on channel 108.
The broadcasts can vary as to what is specifically on them - such as repeats, children programs or what BBC 1 or BBB 2 is showing in high definition. Subtitles are also available on the High Definition channel for shows that are subtitled.
What is High Definition?
This is when the program is basically more focused, with more detail given to other points. High Definition I personally find cannot really be seen on drama programs, during blind testing it is hard to tell the difference. However, it really does show if you are into watching sport, you can for example see that the crowd is made up of people, and footballers are kicking the ball - but ultimatly is this that important?
High Definition BBC channel is available with a High Definition reciever, which can be quite expensive - often meaning that you pay more for perhaps a slightly better quality image.