Product Type: BBC TV channels
Newest Review: ... image quality for HD broadcasts is not perfect, it's certainly a lot better than BBC HD. NHK terrestrial broadcasts around 12-16 mb/secon... more
Not real HD
Member Name: shuttlex
Advantages: Better than nothing
Disadvantages: Not real HD, low bit rate.
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.
Summary: Stick to blu-ray