Changes to Freeview (with a techie edge)

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  • For TV the plan was flawed from the start, someone should have said no and forced a rethink. Or at least not tried to set up city based services from UHF sites built to cover wide areas.


    I think the problem with radio is that the large companies have bought up the most viable of the ILR areas and are now mopping up the smaller SALLIES, which aren't big enough to make a decent profit but are useful to extend the existing networks even though it means sacking a few hundred employees and selling off a few buildings. If it is done correctly (i.e. doesn't follow the Bauer model), it creates sleek, efficient, centralised networks making it difficult for remaining independents to compete. The networks then just sit around waiting for the indies to give up the fight and become the next domino to fall.


    America has always had local stations operating within large networks. It's a format that moves forward under its own momentum. Trying to kick start a similar structure in a market not used to this way of operating was never going to be easy.

  • I noticed that DigitalBitRate is now showing the additional Local Multiplex channel in its data.


    Unexpectedly it seems the local channels seem to have upped their bitrate as all the others (except the new one) reduce. I've looked at several local channels and it's showing this on all of them.


    https://digitalbitrate.com/dtv.php?lang=en&liste=2&live=47

    The overall audio / data rate seems to have dropped and null packets are almost non existent. The site doesn't make it easy to see exactly what has happened. I don't think I can check locally either, the local channel doesn't usually survive the long cable run between the aerial socket and the computer, the Leeds TV mux from Emley Moor is nulled out in this direction and the tuner drivers don't like QPSK.

  • AngusMast on Digital Spy confirmed that it wasn't my equipment at fault for not getting any more than the EPG for the new channel on the Local multiplex. They weren't getting it either.


    According to them it started broadcast here yesterday however, so I'll have to check for myself (and then delete it as it's of no interest).


    Another poster, peter_sharp1uk, has said the resolution has dropped from 720 x 576 to 544 x 576 on all the existing channels except the local one. So that explains how they fitted it in.

  • AngusMast on Digital Spy confirmed that it wasn't my equipment at fault for not getting any more than the EPG for the new channel on the Local multiplex. They weren't getting it either.


    According to them it started broadcast here yesterday however, so I'll have to check for myself (and then delete it as it's of no interest).


    Another poster, peter_sharp1uk, has said the resolution has dropped from 720 x 576 to 544 x 576 on all the existing channels except the local one. So that explains how they fitted it in.

    I thought they had always been 554 x 576, not that I spend a lot of time watching any of those channels.


    The GOP seems quite high at 80.

  • It was the higher resolution on that multiplex for the Sony channels. I remember seeing it on my TV settings a few times and thinking it was good for Freeview outside of the PSB channels.


    DigitalBitRate shows resolutions for those multiplex channels, so I very likely saw it there too.

  • It does show resolutions but isn't very useful without a history. Of course, DBR does have a history but as a paid option.

  • Dredging through old scan data, from before the industry guys, pretty much, took over the DTT section, I found some old data for the local multiplexes. It is old, as in several years old but shows that at the time of the scan (and it doesn't have a date), the video streams on the local mux were all running at 720 x 576i with audio streams running at 192 kbps. It seems they were quite keen on quality back then. Heck, they even had some local content 8| - audio streams are now down to 128 kbps, even for the local channel. It doesn't give an indication of the GOP, but it was probably quite a bit smaller than it is now...

  • I just had a look. I was convinced I'd seen the resolution in my TV system info, but although it has quite a bit of tech info (19 differen types of info, like Service ID amd Guard Interval) it doesn't have resolution. Clearly I'd just seen it on DBR.

  • My interpretation of two license tweets today reported by @ukdtt is that the removal of the Pick+1 Freeview license and the addition of a Sky Arts one means Sky are moving forward with Sky Arts going Free-To-Air.

  • Merit now has EPG data (Source: my Freeview HD TV). On Wednesday 29th it has info from 9pm until midnight as expected. However from Thursday onwards its schedule is from 8pm to 11pm which probably means CITV is having an hour reduction in hours as ITV3+1 shares that stream currently.

  • Merit now has EPG data (Source: my Freeview HD TV). On Wednesday 29th it has info from 9pm until midnight as expected. However from Thursday onwards its schedule is from 8pm to 11pm which probably means CITV is having an hour reduction in hours as ITV3+1 shares that stream currently.

    Or it is picking up times in UTC without the offset for BST, which can happen if listings aren't extracted properly.

  • Something like that happening did cross my mind JJ20X, though not that specific. The difference between Wednesday and the following days made me less sure. I think there is a very good chance you are correct. Other people on Digital Spy forums have same 8pm start on their (presumably different) equipment, so that may give an indication as to what's happening for all I know.

  • Spot on Digital Spy wrote the following re: Sky Arts going Free-To-Air.

    "The launch date is September 17th according to Phil Edgar Jones, Sky Arts Director, who has just been interviewed on Talk Radio."

  • Freeview on Twitter just mentioned a Service Update (with a webpage link).

    They wrote on that page:

    Quote:

    What's changing?
    Ketchup/Yaaas will be changing their name to Ketchup - there will be no changes to Ketchup channel, content or broadcast hours.

    Yaaas will be launching on channel 212 - there will be no changes to content or broadcast hours.

    Country Music Entertainment will be launching in the Manchester area on channel 98 broadcasting country music 24/7.

    Merit are making changes to the way they are broadcast - there will be no changes to channel, content or broadcast hours.

    ----

    So the Ketchup/Yaaas is a reversal of what they did merging them previously by the looks of it. That change in itself was very recent. Bad feedback?

    Merit getting broadcast changes. That's usually code for moving multiplex. The theory ITV only launched it to sell the channel number looks more convincing now, as moving multiplex would take it off SDN/COM4 which ITV own.

    The changes are happening today going by the date on the webpage, so we'll soon see. :)

  • Merit has moved to COM7!

    Safely say I didn't see that coming.

  • My TV has updated Merit's position, so I can confirm COM7.


    The change of multiplex may not have changed the transmission hours though, there's a slate on Channel 34 with the Merit logo and mentioning the start time as 9pm

  • Traditionally, major changes were on Tuesday & Thursday.

    My perception has been that in the last year Tuesday has been less important. I only notice as Wednesday is the day the big supermarket shop happens and it has coincided a lot with DTT changes in recent times. 8)


    It's weird, Tuesday was indeed one of The Days.

  • My TV has updated Merit's position, so I can confirm COM7.


    The change of multiplex may not have changed the transmission hours though, there's a slate on Channel 34 with the Merit logo and mentioning the start time as 9pm

    Ok, that's happened before with a change of mux. It doesn't pick up the correct offset until the channel arrives on the actual mux. It, sort of, makes sense, the relationship between the EIT, TDT and TOT starts working properly when everything is on the correct multiplex.

  • what do we think ITV are playing at?

    Like many have suggested elsewhere, making it sellable.


    You can't sell channel numbers on Freeview, you can sell channels, but I think it has to have a schedule and broadcast something first. They won't want to be selling the slot on SDN, just the number, so they've moved Merit off their multiplex. The idea being the buyer, if they want better coverage than a temporary multiplex provides, obtains the space on COM5 or 6 separately.


    It has been suggested that CCXTV is the same strategy, for a different owner. But with them they seem to be packaging it with a full slot.


    All just speculation for now, no-one is saying anything.


    Together gets its space gifted (and possibly some programming as I understand it), so they clearly "let" ITV have a slice of the Together+1 stream. Likely a temporary arrangement.

  • But won't the new LCN allocated to Merit have been awarded to whoever ends up buying it anyway (if they had applied for it at the same time)? Or is ITV going to potentially sell off one of their own lower numbers and move one of their channels to a higher slot?