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Terrestrial HDTV ready for spectrum release



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 1st 04, 11:51 PM
Ben
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Posts: n/a
Default Terrestrial HDTV ready for spectrum release

according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.

TERRESTRIAL HDTV READY FOR SPECTRUM RELEASE

Engineers from BBC R&D demonstrated high-definition television (HDTV)
over a digital terrestrial network (DVB-T) for the first time at the show.
Team member Richard Salmon said that the driver for an improved picture
is the quality of displays in homes. Screens over 30in make 702x576 line
definition unacceptable and 1280x720 is the best compromise of picture
quality and data rate. "It's possible for DVB-T, alongside satellite and
cable, to deliver these services in the near future," said Salmon.
"European broadcasters are already producing high-definition content for
overseas sales."
The problem is the amount of spectrum required to broadcast HDTV over
the terrestrial network. Europe cannot currently justify using a whole
multiplex for a single channel. However, emerging compression
technologies will make a service feasible soon.
Karl Gasson, business development manager with satellite operator SES
Astra, agreed that, although customer demand for better broadcast
quality is growing, high-definition services won't be able to penetrate
the digital terrestrial market until spectrum is released by switching
off the analogue signal - probably not until 2010.



So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.
  #2  
Old July 2nd 04, 12:59 AM
Stephen Neal
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Posts: n/a
Default

Ben wrote:
according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.

[snip]

So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.


I read that on the train this evening (sad MIEE that I am) - but I think
1280x720 is only ever likely to be deployed as a 720p format. I've never
seen 720/50i or 60i espoused as a broadcast HDTV format - for broadcast or
acquisition. The two camps are pretty much 1920x1080/50i or 60i (with
1920x1080/25p or 24p - with possible 30p for acquisition) and 1280x720/60p
and a possible 1280x720/50p standard. (In Aus they use 1440x1080/50i - and
also class 720x576/50p as HDTV) Currently also HDCam subsamples to
1440x1080/50i or 60i for VTR recording purposes.

I think the 1280x720 format would only be deployed progressively - as with
the Kell factor it pretty much approaches the same vertical resolution as a
1080 line interlaced format.

With the increasing popularity of progressive displays (plasma, DLP, LCD) -
much as it pains an interlaced-CRT fan like myself to admit it - I suspect
that pragmatically progressive may be the way forward if progressive
displays are the future. (Unless consumer level interlace to progressive
conversions improve that is...)

Steve


  #3  
Old July 2nd 04, 12:59 AM
Stephen Neal
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ben wrote:
according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.

[snip]

So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.


I read that on the train this evening (sad MIEE that I am) - but I think
1280x720 is only ever likely to be deployed as a 720p format. I've never
seen 720/50i or 60i espoused as a broadcast HDTV format - for broadcast or
acquisition. The two camps are pretty much 1920x1080/50i or 60i (with
1920x1080/25p or 24p - with possible 30p for acquisition) and 1280x720/60p
and a possible 1280x720/50p standard. (In Aus they use 1440x1080/50i - and
also class 720x576/50p as HDTV) Currently also HDCam subsamples to
1440x1080/50i or 60i for VTR recording purposes.

I think the 1280x720 format would only be deployed progressively - as with
the Kell factor it pretty much approaches the same vertical resolution as a
1080 line interlaced format.

With the increasing popularity of progressive displays (plasma, DLP, LCD) -
much as it pains an interlaced-CRT fan like myself to admit it - I suspect
that pragmatically progressive may be the way forward if progressive
displays are the future. (Unless consumer level interlace to progressive
conversions improve that is...)

Steve


  #4  
Old July 2nd 04, 02:14 AM
Stephen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

It was the satellite man from SES who suggested no HDTV on terrestrial until
analogue switch off, and he would. The man from BBC R&D says, "It's possible
for DVB-T, to deliver these services in the NEAR future". If they want to
make an early start I think the BBC already have room for HDTV on Multiplex
B. Channels 701 and 702 use up half a mulitplex, and are put to very little
good use for the majority of the year (the current Euro 2004 & Wimbledon
coverage being the exception rather than the rule). Timesharing this
capacity, using BBCi downtime for an HDTV channel instead of static
captions, would be good enough for a startup service of HDTV.

Even ITV may find room for an HDTV channel on Multiplex A if, as frequently
predicted, Top Up TV fails. ITV will be desperate for their own HDTV outlet
once Sky start screening commercials in HD to viewers with large flat panel
HD screens at home. Advertisers are ITV's top priority, and ITV will
risk losing them to Sky if they don't have an HDTV channel of
their own. Plus, they won't want to be in the position of saying that you
have to get a Sky dish to watch ITV in High Definition. They will want to
deliver HDTV through an aerial, and start as soon as Sky start HDTV on
satellite. ITV cannot afford to wait for analogue switch off while Sky take
away all the advertisers who understandably want their commercials to be
seen in the highest definition possible to create the greatest impact on
viewers.


  #5  
Old July 2nd 04, 02:14 AM
Stephen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

It was the satellite man from SES who suggested no HDTV on terrestrial until
analogue switch off, and he would. The man from BBC R&D says, "It's possible
for DVB-T, to deliver these services in the NEAR future". If they want to
make an early start I think the BBC already have room for HDTV on Multiplex
B. Channels 701 and 702 use up half a mulitplex, and are put to very little
good use for the majority of the year (the current Euro 2004 & Wimbledon
coverage being the exception rather than the rule). Timesharing this
capacity, using BBCi downtime for an HDTV channel instead of static
captions, would be good enough for a startup service of HDTV.

Even ITV may find room for an HDTV channel on Multiplex A if, as frequently
predicted, Top Up TV fails. ITV will be desperate for their own HDTV outlet
once Sky start screening commercials in HD to viewers with large flat panel
HD screens at home. Advertisers are ITV's top priority, and ITV will
risk losing them to Sky if they don't have an HDTV channel of
their own. Plus, they won't want to be in the position of saying that you
have to get a Sky dish to watch ITV in High Definition. They will want to
deliver HDTV through an aerial, and start as soon as Sky start HDTV on
satellite. ITV cannot afford to wait for analogue switch off while Sky take
away all the advertisers who understandably want their commercials to be
seen in the highest definition possible to create the greatest impact on
viewers.


  #6  
Old July 2nd 04, 10:35 AM
Stephen Neal
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Stephen wrote:
It was the satellite man from SES who suggested no HDTV on
terrestrial until analogue switch off, and he would. The man from BBC
R&D says, "It's possible for DVB-T, to deliver these services in the
NEAR future". If they want to make an early start I think the BBC
already have room for HDTV on Multiplex B. Channels 701 and 702 use
up half a mulitplex, and are put to very little good use for the
majority of the year (the current Euro 2004 & Wimbledon coverage
being the exception rather than the rule). Timesharing this capacity,
using BBCi downtime for an HDTV channel instead of static captions,
would be good enough for a startup service of HDTV.


I guess the space in Mux B could be used for an HD service using a newer
codec (MPEG4 or WM9) - at 1280x720 rather than 1920x1080? MPEG2 would be a
squeeze though.

I think the US ATSC stuff uses 13-18Mbs for a single 1280x720-1920x1080 HD
stream which would be an entire 18Mbs Mux - though returning to 64QAM - only
a suggestion ;-) - would allow BBC Four and an ATSC-rate MPEG2 HD stream to
co-exist in Mux B.


Even ITV may find room for an HDTV channel on Multiplex A if, as
frequently predicted, Top Up TV fails.


Err - but ITV don't own Mux A - that is SDN's isn't it - though I suspect
ITV1 could buy some space in it? If TUTV failed then there would be space
in ITV/C4's Mux 1 - in the Channel Four half though.

ITV will be desperate for
their own HDTV outlet once Sky start screening commercials in HD to
viewers with large flat panel HD screens at home. Advertisers are
ITV's top priority, and ITV will
risk losing them to Sky if they don't have an HDTV channel of
their own.


Are any of the adverts in the US HD yet? It is something I have never been
clear about.

Plus, they won't want to be in the position of saying that
you have to get a Sky dish to watch ITV in High Definition. They will
want to deliver HDTV through an aerial, and start as soon as Sky
start HDTV on satellite. ITV cannot afford to wait for analogue
switch off while Sky take away all the advertisers who understandably
want their commercials to be seen in the highest definition possible
to create the greatest impact on viewers.


It will be interesting to see what Sky do in HD. My first guess is that
their movie channels will be HD, and Sky One (which mainly shows US imports
already produced in HD for the US market) will move over. Sport would
probably be the main driving force for HD - but will also be one of the most
expensive upgrades - as OB facilities providers would charge a premium (and
need to upgrade their facilities) to Sky etc. - whereas the Movies and Sky
One cost increases would be marginal, Sky Sports upgrading would be
significant.

Steve


  #7  
Old July 2nd 04, 10:35 AM
Stephen Neal
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Stephen wrote:
It was the satellite man from SES who suggested no HDTV on
terrestrial until analogue switch off, and he would. The man from BBC
R&D says, "It's possible for DVB-T, to deliver these services in the
NEAR future". If they want to make an early start I think the BBC
already have room for HDTV on Multiplex B. Channels 701 and 702 use
up half a mulitplex, and are put to very little good use for the
majority of the year (the current Euro 2004 & Wimbledon coverage
being the exception rather than the rule). Timesharing this capacity,
using BBCi downtime for an HDTV channel instead of static captions,
would be good enough for a startup service of HDTV.


I guess the space in Mux B could be used for an HD service using a newer
codec (MPEG4 or WM9) - at 1280x720 rather than 1920x1080? MPEG2 would be a
squeeze though.

I think the US ATSC stuff uses 13-18Mbs for a single 1280x720-1920x1080 HD
stream which would be an entire 18Mbs Mux - though returning to 64QAM - only
a suggestion ;-) - would allow BBC Four and an ATSC-rate MPEG2 HD stream to
co-exist in Mux B.


Even ITV may find room for an HDTV channel on Multiplex A if, as
frequently predicted, Top Up TV fails.


Err - but ITV don't own Mux A - that is SDN's isn't it - though I suspect
ITV1 could buy some space in it? If TUTV failed then there would be space
in ITV/C4's Mux 1 - in the Channel Four half though.

ITV will be desperate for
their own HDTV outlet once Sky start screening commercials in HD to
viewers with large flat panel HD screens at home. Advertisers are
ITV's top priority, and ITV will
risk losing them to Sky if they don't have an HDTV channel of
their own.


Are any of the adverts in the US HD yet? It is something I have never been
clear about.

Plus, they won't want to be in the position of saying that
you have to get a Sky dish to watch ITV in High Definition. They will
want to deliver HDTV through an aerial, and start as soon as Sky
start HDTV on satellite. ITV cannot afford to wait for analogue
switch off while Sky take away all the advertisers who understandably
want their commercials to be seen in the highest definition possible
to create the greatest impact on viewers.


It will be interesting to see what Sky do in HD. My first guess is that
their movie channels will be HD, and Sky One (which mainly shows US imports
already produced in HD for the US market) will move over. Sport would
probably be the main driving force for HD - but will also be one of the most
expensive upgrades - as OB facilities providers would charge a premium (and
need to upgrade their facilities) to Sky etc. - whereas the Movies and Sky
One cost increases would be marginal, Sky Sports upgrading would be
significant.

Steve


  #8  
Old July 2nd 04, 10:47 AM
Ben
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Stephen Neal wrote:
Ben wrote:

according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.


[snip]


So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.



I read that on the train this evening (sad MIEE that I am) - but I think
1280x720 is only ever likely to be deployed as a 720p format. I've never
seen 720/50i or 60i espoused as a broadcast HDTV format - for broadcast or
acquisition. The two camps are pretty much 1920x1080/50i or 60i (with
1920x1080/25p or 24p - with possible 30p for acquisition) and 1280x720/60p
and a possible 1280x720/50p standard. (In Aus they use 1440x1080/50i - and
also class 720x576/50p as HDTV) Currently also HDCam subsamples to
1440x1080/50i or 60i for VTR recording purposes.

I think the 1280x720 format would only be deployed progressively - as with
the Kell factor it pretty much approaches the same vertical resolution as a
1080 line interlaced format.

With the increasing popularity of progressive displays (plasma, DLP, LCD) -
much as it pains an interlaced-CRT fan like myself to admit it - I suspect
that pragmatically progressive may be the way forward if progressive
displays are the future. (Unless consumer level interlace to progressive
conversions improve that is...)

Steve



I agree with your comments, but its the phrase "best compromise" that
lead me to suspect 720i. Surely 720p is not a compromise - it uses as
much bandwidth as 1080i. If we are going to get 720p on terrestrial then
I for one would be delighted.
  #9  
Old July 2nd 04, 10:47 AM
Ben
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Stephen Neal wrote:
Ben wrote:

according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.


[snip]


So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.



I read that on the train this evening (sad MIEE that I am) - but I think
1280x720 is only ever likely to be deployed as a 720p format. I've never
seen 720/50i or 60i espoused as a broadcast HDTV format - for broadcast or
acquisition. The two camps are pretty much 1920x1080/50i or 60i (with
1920x1080/25p or 24p - with possible 30p for acquisition) and 1280x720/60p
and a possible 1280x720/50p standard. (In Aus they use 1440x1080/50i - and
also class 720x576/50p as HDTV) Currently also HDCam subsamples to
1440x1080/50i or 60i for VTR recording purposes.

I think the 1280x720 format would only be deployed progressively - as with
the Kell factor it pretty much approaches the same vertical resolution as a
1080 line interlaced format.

With the increasing popularity of progressive displays (plasma, DLP, LCD) -
much as it pains an interlaced-CRT fan like myself to admit it - I suspect
that pragmatically progressive may be the way forward if progressive
displays are the future. (Unless consumer level interlace to progressive
conversions improve that is...)

Steve



I agree with your comments, but its the phrase "best compromise" that
lead me to suspect 720i. Surely 720p is not a compromise - it uses as
much bandwidth as 1080i. If we are going to get 720p on terrestrial then
I for one would be delighted.
  #10  
Old July 2nd 04, 11:04 AM
David Robinson
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Posts: n/a
Default

Ben wrote in message ...
according to an article on Mediacast 2004 which appeared in July's IEE
Review magazine.


Having been at Mediacast myself, that's a slightly misleading report.


TERRESTRIAL HDTV READY FOR SPECTRUM RELEASE

Engineers from BBC R&D demonstrated high-definition television (HDTV)
over a digital terrestrial network (DVB-T) for the first time at the show.


The first time in the UK. They used a standard Australian consumer DTT
receiver, so it was hardly ground breaking technology.

Team member Richard Salmon said that the driver for an improved picture
is the quality of displays in homes. Screens over 30in make 702x576 line
definition unacceptable and 1280x720 is the best compromise of picture
quality and data rate.


They were actually pushing it harder than that - they had graphs
showing what percentage of people found which resolution acceptable on
a given screen size. These graphs showed that you need a screen larger
than 50" for the _majority_ of people to say 720p was "unacceptable".
They stressed this. However, the graphs also showed that some people
could pick up on the advantage of 1080 at _much_ smaller screen sizes.

An objective review of this research would be that, given enough
bandwidth, higher resolution is preferable, even for what will soon be
called "smaller" screens. However, there's also research showing that
difficult material looks better (for a given MPEG-2 bitrate) at 720p
rather than 1080i, because of fewer artefacts and a more consistent
quality.

The BBC also demonstrated WMV at 8Mbps coding 720p. It looked very
good, though IMO wasn't _quite_ on some images as clean as the higher
bitrate DTT MPEG-2 version. That's not to say it was in any way
objectionable.

The implication is that HD DTT in the UK will certainly use newer
codecs - there's just no point using MPEG-2, because HD will require
news boxes, so these new boxes might as well decode newer codecs.

It made me wonder what bitrate 1080 50p will require by the time the
UK gets around to implementing terrestrial DTT.

"It's possible for DVB-T, alongside satellite and
cable, to deliver these services in the near future," said Salmon.


I don't think he did, he said something factually correct: it's
already there on satellite, and we can do it today on DTT the same
way, or using more efficient codecs when hardware is available. The
issue is spectrum.

"European broadcasters are already producing high-definition content for
overseas sales."
The problem is the amount of spectrum required to broadcast HDTV over
the terrestrial network. Europe cannot currently justify using a whole
multiplex for a single channel. However, emerging compression
technologies will make a service feasible soon.
Karl Gasson, business development manager with satellite operator SES
Astra, agreed that, although customer demand for better broadcast
quality is growing, high-definition services won't be able to penetrate
the digital terrestrial market until spectrum is released by switching
off the analogue signal - probably not until 2010.



So there you have it, sounds like the future is a compromise 720i with
something like H264 or VC9, probably about as many channels per
multiplex as we have now, occupying the spectrum that will be freed up
by analogue switchoff.


It's 1280 by 720 progressive 50Hz - there's no intention to deliver
interlaced material at that resolution.

Current technologies can't reduce the bitrate enough to allow the same
number of stations per mux as we have now - and (as far as I know,
things could have changed) there are currently quality and processing
issues when encoding real-time to these standards, as is required for
live broadcast.


Something not mentioned in the article: the BBC's repeated caveat that
"this is in NO WAY an indication of intent by the BBC to broadcast HD
content, or an indication of preference for any format. We're
demonstrating these technologies because we've been involved in this
research with our partners, but the BBC's official stance in that,
before analogue switch-off, HDTV is nothing more than a distraction
from digital switch over."


The SES Astra guy was keen to have anyone "who has a business model to
take an entire transponder for one channel, as people did in the
analogue days, and broadcast a single HD channel using MPEG-2 today"
on his satellites.


A final word: The BBC people repeatedly talked about coding HD to
"deliver pictures which are substantially free from artefacts" - I
wonder when they'll try that with SD?

I fear that HD will be trashed in the same way as SD has been, if the
same managers are pushing for more channels after it's introduced.
Modern codecs degrade more gracefully, but I think that will simply be
used as an excuse to push them even further.

Cheers,
David.
 




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