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BBC to reduce High Definition picture quality? – What price your HD television now, Sam?


BBC considers reducing DTT picture quality. So let me get this straight. The television manufacturers are pushing gung-ho with more expensive, higher resolution flat screen digital TVs. The government is cajoling us all to switch to digital with the promise of fabulous image quality and programming. But in the meantime the major broadcasters are trying to dupe the poor sap consumer by pushing out reduced resolution digital broadcasts to save money and squeeze more junk channels into the same amount of bandwidth? Yeah right, that’s just about what you’d expect nowadays really, isn’t it?

 The BBC may be prepared to reduce picture quality in order to get the best value out of its spectrum. The BBC Executive Board is to carry out consumer research into picture quality on the DTT system following a recommendation by Deloitte & Touche into the BBC’s use of spectrum. In its response to the report, the Executive outlines a series of technological improvements, due for implementation between 2007 and 2012. The BBC is currently in discussion with Ofcom over the regulator’s plans to reorganise DTT spectrum in order to accommodate at least four HD channels from 2009. Although the Deloitte report covers all of the BBC’s spectrum usage, it has a particular focus on DTT. The report says that while the BBC has driven take up based in part on the robustness of the signal, the corporation should now be prepared to make appropriate trade-offs.

1 Comment

  • Nothing new here, I’m afraid. For some time now the Beeb has broadcast DAB radio in considerably lower quality than it did back in the 1950s (half a century ago!) on ‘old-fashioned’ FM from Wrotham. The TV equivalent would be today’s HDTV having lower quality than the 1950s 405-line system. See

    Unfortunately there has not been a unified campaign by listeners to make their voice heard. Not enough complaints from listeners – the broadcasters took that to mean there wouldn’t be any complaints from viewers either.

    The funny thing is that the Beeb’s ‘explanation’ is that narrower bandwidth gives more ‘choice’. More ‘choice’ in my case is that I can now no longer listen to my local station Radio Northampton, which does not transmit on DAB!

    Viewers may have more clout than listeners. Good luck in your campaign to change things.

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