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Poll #863643 Watching TV

How do you receive the TV programming you watch?

Analog[ue] terrestrial
Analog[ue] digital (eg Freeview)
Other (BitTorrent, etc)

Do you prefer the HD option?

Yes, if I could, but it's too expensive
I might, but it's not available
Not bothered

What do you watch TV on?

TV <30"
Honking huge TV or projector

What decodes it all?

The TV
The media player on the computer
A set-top box

What do you generally record TV on for keeping?

magnetic tape
Generally don't bother storing, only timeshifting
I've got an old satellite dish outside from the previous tenant's Sky subscription. So with a satcard in my computer, I've been able to 'watch' BBC-HD.

For values of watch that mean 'The computer is just too slow to decode it at the proper frame rate', due to Aunty deciding that 1080i with MBAFF is best. But the picture quality is very nice, and having six channel sound is good too.

Of course, someone does need to explain to them that 1080i is perceptually worse looking than 720p.
Hmm! That might be an interesting option, assuming I could find a card compatible with the open source driver I'm thinking of, given the only Windows system in the house would be hard pressed to decode SD well. There is a Sky dish on the house, but no decoder.

Of course, 1080i or 720p are both attractive options compared to 576i, let alone the wonderful noise factor unless you're living next to the mast. But then, I suppose purely digital torrents on LCD have spoiled me somewhat in that regard. I definitely would like to put a multichannel audio setup on the Christmas list, if there were the money - still, the headphones work well enough in the meantime. Given the noise level often prevalent in the house (ah, the joys of children), some in-channel noise isolating ones might work quite well, though they tend to be fairly expensive. I admit I'm a little disturbed about poking things quite that far into my ears, too, even though they may be in routine use by thousands of people.

Now, if only they could manage to squeeze some flavor of HDTV over Freeview, presumably by virtue of judicious application of H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) rather than MPEG-2.. don't suppose you know what the bandwidth typically available on a Freeview channel is? They certainly don't seem shy about guzzling bandwidth on BBC HD, though - as I recall, the 30 second trailer for Torchwood was around 80MB as received, in MPEG-2, or about 21Mbps. I'd expect good use of H.264 could drop that by around 75%, with very little perceptible difference.
At the moment, most of the transponders on UK DTT are 8MHz 16QAM giving 18 megabits/second. The two ITV run transponder (A and 2) are at 64QAM with 24mb/s. (Which combined with using stretched A/R is why they have more channels)

After switchover, all channels should become 16QAM. Which theoretically gives you 4 blocks of 6mb/s extra bandwidth. Mux 1 and Mux B will become PSB 1 and PSB 2, and use up the entire bandwidth on MuxB taking over the 'Main Channels' currently on analog.

There are no current plans to create new country-wide transponders.

This leaves each of the BBC, ITV, C4 and Five with a block of 6mb/s to try and put HD content in if they want. However, the HD content the BBC puts out on Astra in H.264 is 22mb/s. Even reducing complexity while still being 'HD' would only get you down to 18mb/s. So even before you get to the issues of having new set-top boxes, you have the problem that you'd be loosing SD channels to make space for HD. (Unless you replace all DTT boxes with ones that can downsample the HD content and use the HD channels as replacements.)

Nationwide multiple channel HD on UK DTT doesn't look workable at the moment.