HD Broadcasting


How about the affiliation fees? Seven will no doubt want an increase if the JVs want a HD feed.


Maybe. I’m not sure how it works and if they’re all just in HD anyway, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a fee. We do know all of Nine’s channels are played out in HD.


Possibly. But wouldn’t playout of the 21 Regional Queensland channels (taking into consideration that there’s feeds of Seven, 7TWO and 7mate for all seven sub-markets) only really be needed to provide the content for terrestrial transmission/online streaming in the relevant sub-markets?

For all we know, the process of encoding MPEG2 SD and MPEG4 HD versions of the exact same feed may be more complex than we might think and with playout eventually moving to Sydney, it might’ve been decided that for the sake of months (rather than years), it was easier for BCM to just change over the decoders used for Seven & 7mate playout for Regional Queensland, with separate MPEG2 SD/MPEG4 HD feeds coming when NPC takes over.

I’d imagine more space would be needed at BCM/NPC for Seven’s metropolitan channels, since a few versions of the feeds for Seven, 7TWO and 7mate (including clean feeds for affiliate use, the separate SD/HD feeds, etc.) seem to be produced for various uses.

Of course, I’d be happy to be corrected on anything I’m wrong with here by someone who knows more about the technical side of playout & transmission! :slight_smile:

In recent years, I personally would’ve presumed that Seven have been running HD feeds of at least the main channel and 7mate at BCM for the metro markets even though only one service was being sent to viewers at home.

Aside from the AFL-related breakaway transmissions we’ve seen (the last two years, only for 24 hours in Melbourne & Adelaide on April 24), there are some regional/remote affiliates who even now would still have a need for 7mate content in HD!


You could be right mate. Anything is possible. I’ve seen conversions happen on site with specialised equipment. I’ve also seen sites that take the feed and simply retransmit as is (ABC and SBS regional). Seven’s decision to go MPEG-2 for 7HD either takes advantage of not having to change anything at each site, or at playout, or both. Or, as a long shot, they are equipped to do MPEG-4 but have decided to trial MPEG-2 in Qld.

Who knows?


In terms of different equipment for SD and HD, only rack space is needed… where the HD presentation output (before watermark) is routed into a downconverter, from there into the watermark generator, then into the MUX for that market, then off to the transmitter.


Interesting. So the mux is ‘built’ at BCM? In WA, the mux is built at each site.


no, the MUX is always built at the playout centre… that ASI stream is then transmitted to the transmitter by the Telstra long haul digital video network (while 7 stills uses satellite delivery as backup, 9 and 10 have redundant paths on the DVN)



So why do you reckon Seven has gone for MPEG-2 primary HD in Qld?


Does seem odd that this has suddenly happeend, at a time when BCM is in the process or midst of closing down?


Maybe THAT’S why ie. when it’s moved to the new JV playout, then it will go MPEG 4 HD and SD again as well.

This might only be temporary because of the need to have the cricket in HD?


While I agree that this is likely only a temporary move, I’d personally like to see it be permanent.
It’s 2018, there should be no need for a 7SD feed.
Nearly all people have HD (even 4K) TVs now. Out of everyone I know, my parents actually have the oldest TV, which I believe they purchased in 2007… as I’ve said, even it is capable of showing the new 7HD channel.

As a side note, having only 7HD available has had the added side effect of now having an HD channel on the single digit LCN numbers (LCN 7), something that I know many people here have advocated for for ages.


If it’s only temporary then whatever they do next is a step back IMO


An MPEG4 HD channel can have better picture quality than an MPEG2 HD channel though, particularly at lower bitrates.

SBS is a good example. Their 1080i HD simulcast of the main channel looked alright in MPEG2. But when SBS VICELAND HD was launched and the main SBS HD channel switched to the MPEG4 format, the picture quality if anything, looked slightly better than it was at a higher bitrate MPEG2 HD channel before despite having a considerable reduction in the bandwidth allocated to make room for a 2nd stream.

Now on the flipside, MPEG2 HD at a good bitrate probably looks slightly better than MPEG4 HD. Hard to explain this, but it’s particularly evident with the edges of on-screen text and subtle things like that. But while there’s been improvements in video encoding technology, nothing less than about 10mbps for the video stream (particularly during fast moving content like sport) would really be acceptable MPEG2 HD viewing. With networks trying to squeeze everything they can out of their multiplexes to fit as many channels as possible in, unfortunately I wouldn’t expect to see double digit mbps for HD video streams anytime soon!


Are you remembering it correctly? It was a blocky mess for months even years before they went MPEG-4. Easily the worst example of High Definition in the country. They needed to do something a lot quicker than they did.


Of course they could move to MPEG4 but realistically that is never going to happen unless an MPEG2 simulcast is available


For those (like myself) that have been wanting the HD channel to be on the single digit LCN.

Here’s the current set up in North QLD.


Yeah…now I think about it, SBS HD in MPEG2 was quite blocky for a while. Although if I’m being honest, the picture quality of all MPEG2 HD multichannels (or at least the ones I saw via terrestrial TV here in Sydney) didn’t look that great between the rise of commercial datacasting services and networks finally deciding that MPEG4 HD main channels were the way to go. And despite being in 720p HD, ABC News 24 was only ever upconverted SD except for maybe some NYE Fireworks telecasts.

I think the bitrate of SBS HD was later increased (didn’t it sometimes go up to 10mbps or more?), but the splitting of the streams into two MPEG4 services somehow made for a considerable improvement in quality.


Even though there’s debate about the quality of HD in MPEG-2 v. MPEG-4, I can say the MPEG2-HD we’re getting for 7HD now is FAR better than the previous 7SD service.

I’m surprised they haven’t added a HD add-on to the watermark. I honestly thought they’d be flogging the fact that 7 is only available in HD now to viewers, and the easiest way to do so would be with the HD watermark.


The day has finally arrived @NQCQTV2. I’m jealous :stuck_out_tongue:

They could at least drop 71 though.


Panasonics have a ‘swap’ function where you can for example swap LCN 50 for 5 etc. It makes it easy to have HD channels on single digits.