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BBC to close SD services from next year on Freesat & Sky



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,249 ✭✭✭dublinman1990

    The OP also posted this info on Pres Café as well which is where I got the news.

    It is hugely welcome news especially for those of us who use Sky/Freesat in Ireland.

    It will pave the way for the upcoming HD launches of BBC Two NI, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba and BBC Red Button on Sky/Freesat in 2023.

    But this news will also alert Satellite TV installers who have businesses right around the UK and Ireland that they cannot be selling Freesat SD boxes anymore. That old technology will be as regarded as obsolete from the BBC's point of view.

    It will also alert homeowners who have the old Sky/Freesat SD boxes to upgrade to HD capable equipment in their house from 2023.

    Can we place a percentage on how many people in Ireland have this old SD equipment left as it should become a much smaller number at this point.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭mackersdublin

    Freesat launched in 2008 with HD boxes. I can only find 2 SD Freesat boxes on google - Bush & Goodmans, so the vast majority of Freesat boxes and TVs for that matter are HD compatible

    There are however a good few white SD Sky boxes stil in use in homes and hotels for distribution etc. as FTA boxes or subscription. You even see SD Sky boxes in the odd pub

  • Registered Users Posts: 75 ✭✭webwayz

    I think it would be harsh on particularly poor or older people who may have an non-HD TV or non-HD STB, which work perfectly fine. It is an additional cost and not very ecological this disposable consumer products age...

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,194 ✭✭✭Acosta

    Hopefully this means that BBC Two HD will finally be next to BBC One HD on the EPG

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,706 ✭✭✭Doodah7

    Why is this always trotted out? My 84-year old father has a 4K TV... The amount of households with only a single non-HD TV must be minuscule at this stage.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,249 ✭✭✭dublinman1990

    Older or poorer people who have the Saorview combi boxes and TV's in their homes should not have any issue with watching the BBC channels in HD on Satellite.

    All of that equipment is compatible for MPEG4 which decodes the HD signal for the Saorview/FTA Satellite channels.

    If you have an Non HD STB at home for trying to watch BBC channels on them; you have to make some choices about how to get a newer box to watch them sooner or later.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,545 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I saw a Grundig in use in a pub recently! Feeding fuzzyvision RF to a probably 4K ~50" panel.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,326 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    It is hugely welcome news especially for those of us who use Sky/Freesat in Ireland.

    No it is not. It is stupid. Who wants to watch the news for instance on HD

    I certainly do not and its basically the only thing I watch on the BBC except for the odd good show they might have.

    Not worth it for HD do so if they go that way I will no longer be watching them anymore.

    Also as another poster said above lots of old and less well off people without a HD TV. Its not fair on them. Another cost when things are hard enough already.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,414 ✭✭✭✭The Cush

    I purchased 2 Freesat SD boxes back at the start of Freesat, iirc a Goodmans and a Grundig, both gave up the ghost about 2019.

    Replaced one with a €50 Manhattan Freesat HD box.

    About time they ended this SD/HD duplication, wasteful of bandwidth and cash.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,476 ✭✭✭galtee boy

    Are you for real ? Who in the name of God would want to watch anything in blurry standard definition over crystal clear high definition ? It's the modern day equivalent of saying you prefer black and white to colour.

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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,545 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The number of people using a SD satellite box due to financial reasons could probably be counted on one hand. They haven't been commonly sold for well over a decade and the later ones were shockingly unreliable.

    The better power consumption of a modern box will likely pay for itself in electricity costs over time; and they are still available with SCART outputs if you also somehow have a survivor of a TV.

    Anyway, there will still be an SD version of the main channels, but without local news.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,572 ✭✭✭✭ctrl-alt-delete

    I can't believe people still watch in SD.

    I have to turn it off, I just hope it means that their local news channels can now be broadcast in HD.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,326 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    @Galtee-Guy Are you for real ? Who in the name of God would want to watch anything in blurry standard definition over crystal clear high definition ? It's the modern day equivalent of saying you prefer black and white to colour.

    I see absolutely no difference in HD or SD and watch everything in SD.

    As for for it being the equivalent of black and white verses colour no it is not.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,545 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I would strongly suggest you go for an urgent eye test.

    Considering HD channels have long since replaced the SD ones as default on systems with EPGs, do you deliberately go searching in the 900s for the SD verison?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,249 ✭✭✭dublinman1990

    There are two TV subscription platforms that already provide the BBC channels in HD only in the UK. Customers who have BT TV and Virgin Media UK in their homes can already get the BBC channels in HD only before those who use Sky/Freesat and Freeview.

    I believe this plan to have all of the BBC channels in HD only is part of the Vaizey Plan which was launched sometime in 2011. That was about a year before the full DSO had taken place in the UK and Ireland.

    That plan had placed a mandate that all PSBs had to emit their channels in HD only on all TV platforms right across the UK.

    I would be under the assumption at this time that the BBC putting out all of their TV stations to all of their viewers around the UK in HD only on Sky/Freesat and Freeview to take place in 2023 is part of that plan.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,498 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    They’ll get used to it.

    my old man, mid ‘80s can use sky plus, both the parents can. They got theirs before I got mine so my cousin gave them a 10 minute crash course.

    You can buy a Samsung HD 32” for about 220 euros…

  • Registered Users Posts: 586 ✭✭✭TAFKAlawhec

    With regards to the source of the claim, since there's nothing official yet I'll believe it when I see it.

    Nevertheless, the chances of it occurring are fairly reasonable. Among the UK PSB stations, ITV1 is now mostly emitted in HD for its regions with only a somewhat skeleton broadcast of SD services, as well as a reduction of +1 outlets of the same channel - presumably private feedback has seen few complaints from satellite viewers in the UK on this matter and that word has reached both the BBC & Channel 4 - the latter now broadcasting all its advertising regions on satellite in HD (though using "other" transponder space, not their own just yet), while the Beeb are in the process of upgrading its English regions newsrooms to HD - a few are already available on Sky Glass, while there are plans to introduce them to the PSB3 multiplex in England (where at present BBC 1 HD viewers in England are told to switch to their SD channel for regional news). In that way, a joint rollout of the BBC English regions HD channels on both terrestrial and satellite makes sense in terms of promotion and logistics.

    However the BBC are doing this while having to cut their cloth more under their current UK TV licence fee settlement - while on terrestrial there's little need to end dual simulcasting in SD & HD unless a major technical overhaul of Freeview is put into place, on satellite the BBC has to measure its transponder rental costs appropriately, there's a limit to the transponder capacity they have being shared between DVB-S/MPEG2 SD and DVB-S2/MPEG4 HD services and have to accordingly cut their cloth.

    As to reception equipment, I don't think I've seen any DVB-S only satellite receivers being sold commercially for about a decade now except for stock clearance, it's all been pretty much DVB-S2 in that time (with MPEG4 HD reception coming as standard). Freesat only ever sold a very limited amount of their own SD-only badged receivers that were one of the first to be dropped in terms of manufacturer/sales (I'd say the amount of Freesat receivers currently in use that are HD-capable is between 99-99.9% of them), Sky first introduced their first HD receiver (the notorious Thomson model) 15 years ago with pretty much no new customers getting supplied an SD-only receiver since around the late 00's/early 10's - I say there are very few people using an SD only Sky receiver nowadays as their primary receiver, likely more the case that whatever is still left being used is for other sets in a building or for other specialist uses where they've been stuck in a place for years e.g. hotel distribution systems, the rest of them either lying in storage or sent for recycling.

    Speaking of storage, I'm willing to bet that in Ireland alone there are thousands of the old "Skybox" or "Openbox" DVB-S2 satellite receivers (not to mention cheap Enigma2 receivers like those from ZGemma) stuck in the attics & wardrobes of homes where a few years ago once Sky got a hold of C**d S*****g piracy for their major channels they were removed for such setups - if someone still only has an SD receiver for watching the likes of the BBC channels, then I'm sure one of those old receivers could be given a new lease of life by being donated. And if all else fails, no-name DVB-S2 receivers can be bought quite cheaply online.

    Given the life cycle of modern electronics, anyone that has held on to an SD only receiver by now has pretty much got a lot of use out of it. Ultimately, technology moves forward either by planned design or market forces and old technology either at best gets deprecated or at worst be made useless.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭SPDUB

    card sharing


    So there isn't a filter about using those words

    Can we not asterisk words when there is no need

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    You're half blind, that's why you can't see a difference. Now move along somewhere else please.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,326 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    Actually my biggest problem is that it uses more than twice the SD format to record and my box does not have the room for that. It's only a 1 terabite box. If HD only used the same amount as SD to watch or record I would be all for it.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

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  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 11,406 Mod ✭✭✭✭icdg

    A general warning about the conduct of a number of posters on the thread - can I ask people to be more cordial, respect others point of view and stop the name calling. This is in lieu of specific warnings to those involved and there will be straight 48 hour bans if I see any more of it.

    @SPDUB specifically warned for backseat moderation, unrelated to the above.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,355 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato
    Golgafrinchan 'B' Ark

    @AKMC You're not connected to your telly with a SCART cable are you?!?

    Only disadvantage of this change is that HD recordings take up a lot more space.

    Here's what you could have won.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,993 ✭✭✭mikeecho

    My father has a 4k tv, but uses an old SD sky box for FTA channels.

    The box doesn't even have a HDMI, and the tv doesn't a scart.

    He watches it via RF connection.

    Can't teach an old dog new tricks.

    I dread the day the box gives up the ghost.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,149 ✭✭✭Joe1919

    I am still using a couple of grey 'Pace' digibox from the 1990's without card. They work great and give London EPG.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,414 ✭✭✭✭The Cush

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,414 ✭✭✭✭The Cush

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,211 ✭✭✭Schorpio

    I would recommend picking up a freesat approved box for 50 quid. He will get the channels in HD, and get a smaller, power-efficient box.

    Freesat is a standardised system (just like Sky) so channel numbers and updates etc. all happen automagically. It was pretty much design to be a free drop-in replacement for Sky, so he should have no issue adjusting.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Or a Sky HD box (the one without the hard drive). Going for around €40. Would need to check it had the UK EPG first though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,249 ✭✭✭dublinman1990

    I read from the other RXTV Info articles that the BBC Channels on Satellite will be broadcasting in DVB-S2 from 2023. There will be one temporary DVB-S feed for legacy BBC TV services.

    A similar process will also apply to those watching the BBC Channels from Freeview Play devices in the UK. They will switch over from DVB-T to DVB-T2 in 2023.

    I also said that in my previous post that the BBC Channels on Sky are not all in HD. That only applies to Sky Satellite. If you use Sky Glass and Sky Stream in the UK and Ireland; all of the channels provided on those services are in HD as the default version over the Internet.