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I think that the broadcasters would claim that the HD tag actually refers to the transmission standard rather than the source material, and even upscaled programmes look better than their SD counterparts. Currently virtually all HD channels are duplicates of their SD versions, offering HD alternatives where available or an improved upscaled version. These channels are either free to air, only requiring suitable equipment to recieve them, or are provided in parallel to existing SD subscription channels. The Sky and Virgin HD monthly fees provides a fixed price access to a range of HD programming across their broadcast platforms dependant on subscription level. They do not charge extra for the HD version of any one individual channel. It would only become a possible trading standards issue if a particular channel marketed itself as being HD, charged individually for the privilige and then didn't show many HD programmes.
Channel 5HD for example currently shows very little HD material, however it would be in nobody's interest for the regulators to prevent them from broadcasting the material they do have just because it doesn't represent a particular percentage of their overall output
Fair point; spoken like a true broadcaster - however us Virgin subs do pay a premium to access what HD channels there are. Ditto Sky subs.
At present BBCHD is not a simulcast (I know there are plans to to launch BBC1HD which will be,and will therefore create issues of its own) and provides a mostly full HD output, but the rest are simulcasts providing a mix of source material and your point is therefore well made. Given the caveat above.
Film4 is a different issue. Film is an HD medium. 99% of what Film4HD shows is 35mm and there is no excuse not to show actual HD masters or at least remaster (even if they don't do a full clean-up/restoration) the print into HD. Although, most distributors now offer the majority of their library in HD, so why not? So BBC - watch out. You're planning an HD movie channel. Make it right.
But there's another issue. Anyone with a 1080p screen (and/or a reasonable AV amp) already upscales everything automatically. There's no real benefit in having the broadcasters do it for them. Are you really telling me that you broadcasters do it so much better? Is it worth the premium? Is it worth the extra space it takes up on my hard drive when I record it?
I take the point that a simulcast creates problems and having it for the 25% that's in true HD makes it worthwhile. Arguable, but let's accept it for now. But what should - and must - happen is that EPG notes (you know - what's behind the 'i' button), say clearly whether it's upscaled or native just as it notes repeat, widescreen or stereo.
I thought you might find this interesting - I am on the medium package with V+. I can currently receive BBC HD, ITV1 HD, 4 HD, Five HD, but unfirtunately not Film4 HD. I assumed the above and didn't think anytihng else of it. However today I received a leaflet from them trying to tempt to to buy the M+ package. Personally we don't watch too much TV so this didn't appeal. When i was reading it i noticed the good old little asterisk next to comments about their HD offerings - it made interesting reading....
" *HD Channels available on ALL packages: 4HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD, and Film4 HD."
As you can imagine, the fact that it has now stated that Film4 HD is available on ALL packages it prompted me to give them a call. As normal i had to read the basic sentance out to them approx 5 or 6 times before they agreed with me on what it was saying (They initially advised that the channel was only available on M+ etc). After being put on hold while someone probably googled the answer they came back advising that this was going to happen in the furture but they couldn't give me a date - i.e. i was fobbed off. I doubt this wil happen and it was probably a typo on the leaflet. I will give them a week, if no joys then i will raise it with ofcom
Interestingly enough, the TV "M" package option is no longer available to select on the VirginMedia website, only the "M+" for new customers, channel comparison. However the "M" package is still listed in the small print for costs. So, looks like new customers will have M+ as the lowest, whereas existing customers will stay on M...