[backstage] Reporting audio oddities to Radio engineers?

2011-07-27 Thread Christopher Woods
Listening to 1Xtra tonight (RAM Takeover on Bailey's show), noted there was
a ~1dB discrepancy between L and R channels (L +1dB) on the online stream.
Is there any kind of public-facing address or webform which actually
eventually gets to BBC engineers so they can investigate any potential dodgy
wiring or imbalances in station signal paths? I thought it might've been a
dodgy mixer or CDJ interconnect / RCA cable, but as Bailey's show changed
the audio imbalance is still present in the stream so it looks like there's
something going on further down the signal chain which is affecting the
playout signal.

Hardly a world-ending problem, but I can hear the off-centre pan! Very
annoying. ;-) And yeah, already verified my internal balance and machine
settings are fine. Any pointers Beeb insiders?



(incidentally - the encoding quality of the dubstep podcast MP3s is dire -
listen to Mistajam speaking and all the phasing and artifacts! Link to a
sample podcast: 
http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/1xtra/mistajam/mistajam_20110725-1900a.m
p3

The same problem used to happened with iPlayer-encoded MP3s of radio shows
before they 'retired' the format... Are the Beeb using some wacko
nonstandard encoder for what I can only presume are AAC-MP3 transcodes?
ffmpeg can do the same thing with far better quality!)

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RE: [backstage] OT: Name That Bizarre Sound at the Bottom of the MW Spectrum

2011-07-21 Thread Christopher Woods

  I recorded this a while ago (3rd of January 2011) when I 
 was scanning 
  MW and LW bands late at night... as one is wont to do when one is 
  bored. This was at my Dad's old place in Steeple Claydon, picked up 
  right at the bottom end of the MW band:
 
  http://chriswoods.co.uk/files/ste-036_strange_mediumwave_signal.mp3
 
 I turn to the UK Radio Frequency Bands website at such moments:
 
 http://ukspec.tripod.com/spectrum.html
 
 If this is right at the bottom end of MW, it might be the 
 Navtex at 518KHz if your radio can tune that low on MW.
 
 [snip]
 
 From the document above:
 
 87.34.. Eurosignal paging, to 87.415 (4 x 25kHz channels A-D)
   heard in UK from Europe. info.
   Used to be a constant AM tone with pips and doodle-doo
   noises, as featured in the song Professionnels by Air (Premiers
   Symptomes), and could be heard on tuners at 87.5
  Changed in March 1998 to bursts of FM data.   French channel
   is 87.39 (C)
 
 But I'm no ham so others more knowledgeable might be able to 
 step in here.


Incroyable! You've nailed the second sound as Eurosignal paging, and you
were bang on. After more than a decade, I finally know what it is. It's eery
to hear almost the exact same sound emanating from speakers after all these
years... Was my explanation that accurate or do you just have ninja Google
abilities? I bought 10,000Hz Legend when it first came out, never even heard
(or knew they released) an album called Premiers Symptomes. Crikey.

Having just reached the end of Les Professionels, I've just realised
everyone who ever uses the track only uses the portion which loops the
ending guitar riff.

Sadly I don't think the first sound is NAVTEX, I played the file back
through decoding software (admittedly a poor recording) but it just decoded
nonsense characters even without Strict FEC enabled (see screengrab:
http://chriswoods.co.uk/files/2011_07_21-frisnit_navtex_wrongsignal.png )
Also the spectral information wasn't focused in the correct band. I may try
and tune in tonight though with the old Sanyo boombox radio I have, see if I
can pick something up at midnight...

Thanks for IDing the mystery FM audio though!

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[backstage] OT: Name That Bizarre Sound at the Bottom of the MW Spectrum

2011-07-17 Thread Christopher Woods
Sorry this isn't exactly BBC-related, but sure there's enough collective
knowledge of radio and bizarre 'broadcasts' to help me identify this mystery
sound.

I recorded this a while ago (3rd of January 2011) when I was scanning MW and
LW bands late at night... as one is wont to do when one is bored. This was
at my Dad's old place in Steeple Claydon, picked up right at the bottom end
of the MW band:

http://chriswoods.co.uk/files/ste-036_strange_mediumwave_signal.mp3

Sorry for poor quality reception, this was the best I could pick it up on
the handheld Sony radio I was using. (used an H2 pointed at the speaker!)
Anybody have any idea what it is?

There's also a very strange broadcast I picked up on 87.5FM in the south of
France many years ago which has stuck with me vividly ever since. I never
recorded it - used to listen on my walkman when in the car on holiday - but
could synthesise it. Was only well receivable in and around the town of
Collioure; a repeating pattern of pure sine tones (mostly wavering around
two semitones with occasional arpeggios from a lower note), some slight
variations in the pattern - the 'sequence' would always end with a 'signoff'
note which would sound like one half of a dialup handshake procedure before
beginning again. This was in a coastal area with several bays, I was
wondering whether it might have been an automated weather buoy / weather
station or somesuch similar?

If there's any hams or radio buffs who enjoy identifying strange noises and
transmissions get in touch on- or off-list :-)

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[backstage] Problem with newsvote BBC email services double opt-in?

2011-06-06 Thread Christopher Woods
A while back I tried to sign up to BBC News updates but the double opt-in
doesn't appear to be working for me - I receive the confirm your email
message but the confirmation link just takes me to the fire and brimstone
500 error page.

Anybody else seeing this? Should it be happening (or has the service been
grandfathered in for existing users but not working for new registrations)?

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[backstage] Ping...

2011-06-02 Thread Christopher Woods
Is this list still alive?

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FW: [backstage] Problems with iPlayer video - how to report?

2011-02-25 Thread Christopher Woods
Resending this as it doesn't appear to have made the list.

 -Original Message-
 From: Christopher Woods [mailto:chris...@infinitus.co.uk] 
 Sent: 22 February 2011 13:36
 To: 'backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk'
 Subject: RE: [backstage] Problems with iPlayer video - how to report?

 Chris,
 Can't speak for my colleagues elsewhere in radio, but WS doesn't 
 transcode between codecs anywhere in our longform workflow and never 
 has done.

I did a quick bit of testing and it appears that WS Listen Again material is
only available through /iplayer as 64kbps AAC+, so it all sounds a bit
sub-par compared with domestic channels' 128kbps AAC. Perhaps it's ingested
in a different way or do you encode internally then deliver to the iPlayer
team? I have noticed the PIDs for WS material have a different range (p***
as opposed to b***)...

To show you what I mean about the MP3 vs AAC quality difference, here's a
quick quality comparison (randomly chose an episode of The Archers, from
Radio 4 the other day). The first time is the MP3 encode, the second is the
AAC encode (served by default through the Flash player):

http://bit.ly/bbciprtest1al (~3.8MB)

Even on average speakers you should be able to hear a difference - the MP3
is rumblier, warbly and speech is distinctly less clear with noticeable
distortion under the main frequency of the speaker's voice. If you use
headphones or good monitors you should be able to clearly hear the inferior
quality of the MP3 version.

Comparing the two clips spectrally also shows a visible difference, there's
less 'cohesion' in the MP3 clip, what appears to be double-encoded noise and
the frequency ranges containing the speech energy are less distinct.

Neither speech nor musical content comes off well in the MP3 versions -
either the iPlayer's using an *AWFUL* MP3 codec (because both the AAC and
MP3 files are 128kbps) or the MP3 version is being transcoded from the
original AAC source, which would explain a lot.

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RE: [backstage] Problems with iPlayer video - how to report?

2011-02-21 Thread Christopher Woods

 Chris,
 You can find links to service status and a contact form from here:
 http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/using_bbc_iplayer/t
 ech_report
 
 Comments about World Service content do get through to me, so 
 filling in the form does work.

Super :

Whilst I have your eye as such, are the MP3 versions of iPlayer radio
content still transcodes from AAC or are they encoded from the source feed
in parallel? I always noticed in the past whenever I used get_iplayer to
grab some radio shows for my DAP the MP3 versions (via flashaudio etc) were
noticeably poorer quality than the original raw AACs; warbly, burbly sound,
what sounded like transcoding artefacts and distortion of the stereo
imaging. Has the MP3 encoding workflow for radio programmes changed at all
since last year?

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RE: [backstage] Problems with Listen Again on Frontier Silicon radios

2011-02-21 Thread Christopher Woods
 


Just using belt and braces... But I had issues playing Pick of the pops and
Sounds of the 70s on listen again on my Roberts wifi radio. already filed a
problem this morning. programmes would stop 5 mins in. 

Running potp now, but it's only filled the immediate use buffer, rather than
letting the packets come thick and fast - Roberts kit prefers 3 or 4 bars of
overflow... 

this happened once before... Seemed to be a router choking iPlayer playout
rather than sending the data out quickly. 

i run a Stream 83i. 

Hi Alex, what's your ISP, what's your router and what times have you
observed these problems happening? 


[backstage] Problems with iPlayer video - how to report?

2011-02-20 Thread Christopher Woods
Watching the AV Referendum Speeches there's a LOT of picture  sound
breakup, looks like a bad OB sat feed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00zb198/House_of_Commons_AV_Referendum
_Speeches/

To whom should this problem be reported and what's the best way to report
technical problems in future if/when this backstage list gets closed?

Cheers
Chris

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RE: [backstage] Streaming video on variable bandwidth connection?

2011-02-08 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Sam Smith
 Sent: 06 February 2011 20:10
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Cc: friends-of-backst...@pielists.net
 Subject: Re: [backstage] Streaming video on variable 
 bandwidth connection?
 
 
 something like skype which copes with that well, and then 
 have something at the other end that pushes it out to other places?
 
 have run a number of video events across 3G links, and it 
 works relatively well. Although if you're completely offline, 
 it's not going to work that well (backup phone call?)
 
 
 another thing I've found useful is to have a few different 
 phone networks available - one networks dead spot might be 
 next to another network's basestation

The T-Mobile / Orange network sharing came in useful for me last weekend...
If you're going to consider Skype, also consider Google Chat's video
technology (supposedly superior to Skype) and which uses licensed technology
from Vidyo.

Interesting video with people from Vidyo and conference demonstration with
cameras of varying quality:
http://pritecho.com/2010/04/vidyo-better-videoconferencing-than-skype/ - I'd
imagine that Google's implementation has some kind of adaptive bandwidth
management. (Watching the video through, apparently up to 50 people can
conference in! some other quite nifty features in their own smallbiz
package, but you'd expect it for the price of the package they were using in
the demo)

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RE: [backstage] Streaming video on variable bandwidth connection?

2011-02-02 Thread Christopher Woods

  I'm trying to work out what technology to use

I have no experience in this myself but I've been impressed by the
reliability and quality of the LiveU system. Leo Laporte (and co) used it to
do walkabout live coverage of CES 2011 and it really held up well, even in
the LVCC (where NOBODY can get 3G signal). That said, it was using four 3G
cards, one from each major US telco, to load balance! A good chunk of the
backpack is just batteries, surprise surprise...

Perhaps see if you can find any literature about what hardware they ended up
using? There *must* be some, I imagine most of the gear is just OOTB with
some very clever coding running the show.

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[backstage] Enabling NVIDIA GPU acceleration on iPlayer videos...

2011-01-10 Thread Christopher Woods
I got a Lenovo IdeaPad S12 netbook with an integrated NVIDIA ION GPU for
Christmas :-) It's a 1.6GHz device which I can easily top out the CPU on,
but with DXVA support and an HDMI port it becomes an ideal low-cost HTPC
substitute for occasional viewing.

The first thing I set off to try was the GPU-accelerated 720p and 1080p DXVA
support, which works beautifully. With the latest Adobe Flash plugin,
YouTube (and a few other sites) also happily play 1080p. However, I can
barely manage to play the HQ SD videos on the iPlayer, with even worse
results on the HD content - although Flash can (and should) hardware
accelerate any H.264 material it renders, for some reason it's not kicking
in on the iPlayer vids.

If I get_iplayer an HD programme and then play it back in Media Player
Classic, it plays beautifully, so GPU horsepower isn't the problem here.  Is
this a known issue or is there something specific about the coding of the
web player? (any insight appreciated)

Cheers
Chris

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RE: [backstage] Enabling NVIDIA GPU acceleration on iPlayer videos...

2011-01-10 Thread Christopher Woods

 It's proably the h264 decoder of the flash player, it's quite 
 buggy and a bit of a cpu hog,
 
 Good news is adobe are making it better all the time, so a 
 lot of the early buggyiness is gone, it's just the cpu 
 concerns that are about,

Indeed, 10.2 is much better and regular 1080p plays at 30fps thanks to the
NVidia ION GPU acceleration. (I've also tried both the 10.1 beta and the
final release as bundled in Chrome). Unfortunately the iPlayer web player
doesn't seem to be presenting the H.264 video in a manner in which the ION
GPU acceleration can be enabled to accelerate the video decoding, which
seems to be the problem here. (given YouTube works perfectly playing 1080p
with GPU acceleration and the iPlayer's 720p overwhelms the machine on
CPU-only decoding).

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RE: [backstage] Enabling NVIDIA GPU acceleration on iPlayer videos...

2011-01-10 Thread Christopher Woods
 It might not handle Main profile maybe? I'd hazard a guess 
 that YouTube stuff is all Baseline...
 
 (though this doesn't explain my MPC would play it all back 
 swimmingly unless there's some transcoding voodoo going on 
 rather than just
 re-containering)

I can assure you that MPC (with either its inbuilt ffmpeg decoder, or using
external CoreAVC 2.0) plays back get_iplayer sourced BBC HD content
absolutely perfectly, and I specifically download using the --raw flag to
avoid any transcoding. The test files themselves remain as-is as .flv files
and I can just drop them into MPC, VLC or smplayer (etc) for playback.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's the way that the iPlayer web player
'engages' the Flash hardware acceleration (if this is done at all by the
developer, as opposed to being purely automatic). Failing that, if there's
more than one way to initialise a video decode, I'm wondering if the BBC's
using an older method for compatibility purposes, at the expense of hardware
acceleration on devices such as mine that would otherwise be able to do it
(and can do, as I've proven to myself)

I'll deffo go and investigate mythtv and Boxee right now, for some reason I
completely forgot to experiment with those already!

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RE: [backstage] Enabling NVIDIA GPU acceleration on iPlayer videos...

2011-01-10 Thread Christopher Woods

 I think the iPlayer app in MythTV or Boxee should let you 
 watch using hardware acceleration.


Well, Boxee doesn't want to fully hardware accelerate. The colourspace is
squashed, which indicates it's *trying* to use hardware acceleration (the
colourspace is being squashed into 16-235, which is a problem on all NVidia
cards to do with hardware YUY - RGB conversion, and has been for years) but
the CPU usage is still topping out and playback is occasionally jumpy.
(Also, it doesn't even have BBC HD in the iPlayer app)

Time to go try and compile MythTV...

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RE: [backstage] Enabling NVIDIA GPU acceleration on iPlayer videos...

2011-01-10 Thread Christopher Woods

 get_iplayer doesn't attempt any transcoding of video - it 
 just remuxes the flv into mp4

And also to the suggestion of using python script Kieran... I'm not *quite*
that nerdy to pipe my video through mplayer, I usually give up in
frustration before getting it working! ;-)


I ended up giving XBMC v10 a spin, with the iplayer video add-on and DXVA
enabled in the options it works beautifully with BBC HD material. Couple of
crashes here and there but that was me taxing the machine a bit too much
possibly.

Can't get MythTV to even install, I'm using the premade compile by the
Australian (linked from the MythTV wiki) but there seems to be no MySQL
installation even though his installer should have set it up. To be honest,
if XBMC works on an ongoing basis as neatly as it did just now, I'm quite
happy with that. (and so is the netbook!)


@Anthony - I've noticed that also, my main PC (with a 9800GTX+ in it) has
full hardware acceleration support for videos with fullscreen overlays and
generally always looks good. But then the quad core would handle software
rendering no probs. XBMC's iplayer plugin also streams the live channels and
red button along with the on-demand content, and you can force HQ and format
preferences wherever available... Loving that! Now to go install the
TVCatchup add-on and compare stream quality ;)


I know this doesn't solve the problem of why the /iplayer player seemingly
can't initialise the hardware for doing the H.264 heavy lifting and I'll
keep on investigating in that respect. Been experimenting with Chrome, IE9
and will try Opera later but don't have much hopes without getting hold of a
debug version and trying to force some options (and I've not used Flash for
a far while so that'll be a nice journey into the unknown). In the
meantime, XBMC's the simplest way to get it working - really impressed with
how much it's come on since I last used it (which was on a modded Xbox 1st
gen).

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RE: [backstage] where is the BBC's SVG or scaleable vector graphics content?

2010-11-29 Thread Christopher Woods
Apple devices, both mobile and desktop, still occupy a minority across the
deployed userbase (just a disporportionately large mindshare, the Reality
Distortion Effect hard at work as always). Android  MS still have lion's
share of mobile devices worldwide and they're going to be locked in a battle
for the next couple of years with new devices, with Apple's stuff receiving
just incremental updates. (yes, I know Mobile Safari using the UIWebView
class renders SVG)


As a 'regular user' I regard Jonathan as an SVG Zealot (in the best possible
way!) While I'm all for standards, particularly open ones, implementing SVG
would be a painful and problematic migration for the Beeb. And as any fule
kno, sites as popular as bbc.co.uk need to conform to a lowest common
denominator of accessibility. SVG is *not* a lowest common denominator
format. If SVGs need explaining to average web users they're not ready for
the big time just yet.

IMHO SVG needs 4-5 more years before being accepted as a de facto format to
the extent that Flash is. It's reached mass penetration when all mobile
handsets' default browsers render SVG in realtime (save one stubborn
hardware house, we're almost there now with Flash and that's taken a HECK of
a lot of work by Adobe + mobile OS developers).

I dislike SVG in this regard due to its bleeding edgeness, it presents a
sharp learning curve for me and I'm not a newbie by any means. It's taken
long enough to get true cross-browser PNG w/ alpha channel support without
having to resort to ridiculous levels of code hackery.

Keep on fighting the good fight Jonathan... :-) I think you're pushing at a
bricked-up door in the meantime though for a BBC.co.uk rollout.

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RE: [backstage] where is the BBC's SVG or scaleable vector graphics content?

2010-11-29 Thread Christopher Woods
 the one that brings tears to my eyes is animation without a timeline.
 it must be de facto that one starts with onion-skinning, a 
 score and timeline, but

I'm not sure that a timeline-less format would be best. I can get my head
round a timeline based animation format quite easily (and indeed when I was
younger I did a fair bit of Flash stuff, although I lost interest as
ActionScript became more and more technical). Timelines were very useful for
ensuring audiovisual synchronisation, although Flash now has vastly superior
native multimedia support.

 the essence of the issue with flash is repurposing,  not price.
 that's tools and content.

True, but Adobe, née Macromedia, spent a lot of time and money gradually
fleshing out the format to the point where... Well, when was the last time
you saw a Director presentation? Flash just does pretty much everything
that's needed of developers and designers, albeit with the proprietary
caveat. However, it is truly ubiquitous and requires no additional steps to
functionality (save maybe a prompted click or two to install the plugin in
user-installed browsers). If I was to suggest an IE8 user get SVG going, and
they had no experience of installing browser plugins outside of the cocoon
of 'mainstream' plugins, where to start?

Repurposing is a lesser concern, not that I see an argument against
repurposing, I just don't see an argument *for* repurposing, at least
outside of the CC arena. All of the BBC's creations are copyright, and SVG
is inherently an unprotected format which is editable by anyone. (please
correct if inaccurate, this is my perception) Therefore, the diffusion of
copyrighted material and availability in SVG are mutually exclusive
objectives.


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RE: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions

2010-11-08 Thread Christopher Woods
 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of b...@bt
 Sent: 08 November 2010 14:38
 To: BBC Backstage
 Subject: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions
 
 Just a quick question.
 
 The BBC4 edition of Sky at Night is 30 minutes long but the 
 BBC1 edition (and repeat on BBC2) is 20 minutes long.
 Does anyone know why ?

I seem to remember TSAN eps have a breakaway segment on location or somesuch
similar. Do the BBC4 repeats just have office-based stuff? (simple way would
be to play both at once and see where they go out ;-)

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RE: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions

2010-11-08 Thread Christopher Woods
Do the HD chans come from 2D? 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of b...@bt
 Sent: 08 November 2010 18:12
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: Re: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions
 Importance: High
 
 The easiest solution is just play the 30 minute edition on 
 BBC1 then we can watch the HD version on BBC1 HD.
 Another solution is to have a simulcast BBC4 (BBC4 HD).
 There's plenty of bandwidth on the satellite HD transponder - 
 enough for at least 2 more HD channels.
 
 
 
 - Original Message -
 From: Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 4:54 PM
 Subject: RE: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions
 
 
  -Original Message-
  From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
  [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of b...@bt
  Sent: 08 November 2010 14:38
  To: BBC Backstage
  Subject: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions
 
  Just a quick question.
 
  The BBC4 edition of Sky at Night is 30 minutes long but the
  BBC1 edition (and repeat on BBC2) is 20 minutes long.
  Does anyone know why ?
 
  I seem to remember TSAN eps have a breakaway segment on location or 
  somesuch
  similar. Do the BBC4 repeats just have office-based stuff? 
 (simple way 
  would
  be to play both at once and see where they go out ;-)
 
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RE: [backstage] The Sky at Night BBC1 vs BBC4 editions

2010-11-08 Thread Christopher Woods
 


Can I have a why oh why? moment. 
 

Me too! Why oh why wasn't an automatic channel redirect included in the
original Freeview spec? I can think of several use cases for that feature.


RE: [backstage] Test

2010-10-21 Thread Christopher Woods

 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Ant Miller 
 ping?


...pong 

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RE: [backstage] 'Project Canvas' to be called 'YouView':

2010-09-22 Thread Christopher Woods
 Um, it's not weview, it's YouView, (though no, I'm no fan of the name or
the branding)
 
derp. My brain has no excuse for why it did that. I know I thought this
originally before my brain decided to replace half the name (perhaps in
protest? ;-) but YouView's even worse! Rubbish take off of that YouTube.

 Ahem.  I think it's worth reading clause 1.1...  These are terms for using
the website and for content provided on You View.  There's no claiming of
copyright ownership over open source software.

But you know how one TCs can be stretched to cover the service (and where
the service comprises STB access, it can be deemed to fall under the same
terms). Everything seems to require you to agree to abide by terms and
conditions of usage these days, even flipping spanner sets from BQ

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RE: [backstage] 'Project Canvas' to be called 'YouView':

2010-09-20 Thread Christopher Woods
 


Yeah, and I *love* the way that the jv is kicking the foss community in the
teeth over tc... 

The least they could do is give something back! Actually, correct me if I'm
wrong, but haven't they got to make the source code available? 

I've already been on the phone to them about possibly opening the stack so
homebrew kit could receive and make use of the environment... The foss
community could even help.

This bit?

All copyright, trade marks, design rights, patents and other intellectual
property rights (registered and unregistered) in and on YouView.com and
YouView Content belong to YouView and/or YouView’s licensors. Please respect
copyright.

If they intend for that to cover the entirety of FOSS contribs, that's
particularly cold. Not a fan of what's being done there at all.

What I dislike almost as much is this revelation in that previously linked
article:

The seven partners in the project have each committed to contribute £4.5
million per year over the next four years to fund the platform, much of
which will be spent on marketing.

It doesn't need marketing to death, it needs a rock solid, intelligently
designed and truly innovative UI and 'experience' (getting floaty now) to
make it stand out from the noise. This project needs to excel and I fear it
won't if much of the funding from the various parties ends up being spent
on bus adverts and stupid Flash banners. They need to put their money in,
leave it to experts to come up with the innovations and then let it simmer
instead of hawk it and each want a piece of the pie (to the inevitable
detriment of the entire project).

Also WeView was a poor choice of name don't ye think? From a syllabic
approach (sorry, I'm a linguist), TV is just about universal. SeeSaw
wasn't great but still has some cross-linguistic compatibility. We and
View can be quite complex syllables to pronounce if you don't speak much
English and it evokes existing brands too much (Wii, Freeview etc). WeV
just sounds stupid if you use the abbreviated form. (Would it become
'watching the Welly'?) Everybody's just going to call it on demand anyway,
if they don't stick with Canvas... I quite like Canvas, particularly the
concepts it evokes (plus it's a good name to 'say')



[backstage] iPlayer intuitive shortcuts (was: regional news - footage available online?)

2010-09-13 Thread Christopher Woods
Whilst (hopefully) people have their eye on iPlayer stuff, is there any
chance we can get the sensible redirects added back to the iPlayer?

i.e.

bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio1
bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bbcone
bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bbc3

Etc... Each channel still has its own page with its own URL, It's always how
I've entered the site and it's a really nice feature.



 Well it would seem that my local news, 'South Today', has 
 started being available in iPlayer since 7th September :-)
 
 Thanks to whoever made that happen!
 
 BTW: Seems that other weekday regional news programmes have 
 also started appearing.
 
 Best Regards
 
 Phil

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RE: [backstage] Google Instant method?

2010-09-13 Thread Christopher Woods

   On 11/09/2010 09:26, Brian Butterworth wrote:
  They covered it all here:
 
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0eMHRxlJ2c
 
  Brian Butterworth
 Bit of a con in parts. I thought the search for a woman in 
 the museum was fake.

Amusingly enough I was trying out Google Scribe only a month or so before
Google Instant was rolled out (http://scribe.googlelabs.com/), it's
essentially identical tech sans search box.

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RE: [backstage] Google Instant method?

2010-09-13 Thread Christopher Woods
 


   On 11/09/2010 09:26, Brian Butterworth wrote:
  They covered it all here:
 
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0eMHRxlJ2c
 
  Brian Butterworth
 Bit of a con in parts. I thought the search for a woman in
 the museum was fake.


Amusingly enough I was trying out Google Scribe only a month or so before
Google Instant was rolled out (http://scribe.googlelabs.com/), it's
essentially identical tech sans search box.



Well and the results.  Google Instant isn't the easy autocomplete bit, it is
the provision of instant results. 
 
Of course, and the results ;-) It's a nice show-off feat nonetheless,
although the Beeb News article about how clever design is 'making us
stupider' did chime with me to an extent. What will really be impressive is
when they manage to get it native in HTML5 for Android phones, that's their
next step, I think that's the problem this particular solution will fit with
more than desktop usage (I actually craft my desktop search queries quite
specifically based on past experience of Google's engine) 



RE: [backstage] regional news - footage available online?

2010-08-24 Thread Christopher Woods
Regions output online is somewhat hit and miss. For example an album launch
I was involved with was covered on BBC London evening news - a 3/4 minute VT
segment which I finally managed to beg a copy of on DVD and it was
completely different from the accompanying video which ended up in a Flash
player accompanying the Online articles about the album launch.
(Interestingly the audio was dual mono - ambient sound on L channel and
overdubbed narrator on R channel? Not sure if that was a snafu by the
offline editor, but it was a very deliberate thing to do - be interested to
know if that's how News archives ENG material for the double whammy of
preserving a clean ambient track for B Roll or just so they can readjust the
narration...)

However I've seen local articles reproduced in full on the site - perhaps
ours was different because there was so much footage taken live at the
launch they had enough to do several videos, but I don't often see entire
VTs transcoded to the web for inline players. Shame, because I quite like
watching the Regions stuff (still tune in to BBC1 South sometimes for the
regional news from where I used to live for a long time). I bet it'd be a
workflow nightmare trying to get it all ingested properly though.

Shame the BBC London news isn't encoded after the main national news
broadcasts any more though, it was nice being able to watch after the main
broadcast ended on the iPlayer.

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Anthony McKale
 Sent: 23 August 2010 10:27
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: Re: [backstage] regional news - footage available online?
 
 Locla radio should be on iplayer
 
 -http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio
 
 Enjoy the link while you can
 
 Ant
 
 
 On 22/08/2010 12:10, Phil Lewis backst...@linuxcentre.net wrote:
 
  Hi Jim,
  
  I believe you can often find the local news for up to one 
 day after on 
  the local BBC site for that region. Last time I checked 
 (incidentally 
  for exactly the same reason as you) it was some awful wmv or real 
  stream in very low or extremely low quality. Local news 
 doesn't appear 
  on iPlayer AFAIK.
  
  No idea about redux.
  
  I personally would love to see local news on iPlayer.
  
  best Regards
  
  Phil Lewis
  
  On Fri, 2010-08-20 at 12:29 +, jim tonge wrote:
  Hi all.
  
  
  As the Blast tour moves around the UK, myself and my 
 colleagues are 
  frequently interviewed on local TV news and radio. There 
 was a very 
  funny appearance by a colleague yesterday I'd love to get the 
  broadcast of...
  
  
  I'm pretty sure local news isn't accessible through Redux, right?
  Anyone got any idea how I can get access to this footage either 
  internally or externally?
  
  
  Ta,
  
  
  Jim
  
  
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 --
 Anthony Mckale, Senior CSD
 Mob : 07912981657
 Internal Phone : (02 776) 64470
 BBC FMT Children's, TVC East Tower, Floor 1, Room E164 
 
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RE: [backstage] regional news - footage available online?

2010-08-24 Thread Christopher Woods
 That's pretty standard for news packages - the studio output 
 will then be mono'ed before it hits the transmission chain. 
 And you're quite right, it's for archiving purposes.

It seems a bit lowest common denominator, doesn't it - surely in this day
and age it would be preferable to encode at the very least LCR audio for a
clean - stereo - track and discrete VO. Though would I be far off the mark
if I wagered that some broadcasters' workflows are almost carved in stone?
:D (and what about planning ahead for when news broadcasts go to 5.1? To me
that step is inexorable - at that point even recent archive materal is going
to sound dated even if it's just upmixed to stereo once the de facto is
LCRSLSRLFE (even if the surround chans are only used in VT segments - will
be VERY nice when they're reporting on sports events).


Incidentally you wouldn't believe how long it took me to get a useable
stereo mix from the DVD supplied with only two pieces of very awkward video
software on a Mac. If only I'd had a PC with Nuendo, Vegas or Premiere, I
would've been done in 20 minutes - instead it took me a couple of hours of
VERY lateral thinking, demuxing and transcoding... Bloody Macs, good for
nothing ;-)

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RE: [backstage] Freeview HD Content Management

2010-07-16 Thread Christopher Woods
 What does this mean for consumers in real terms? is pretty important
 -- that's why I wrote the guardian article (can't think of 
 a better way to refer to that piece, sorry).

The Grauniad recital =D

I'll get my coat

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RE: [backstage] Freeview HD Content Management

2010-07-15 Thread Christopher Woods
A HUGE aside here, but still relevant given the previous discussion of the
traditional royalty share model and how it favours the labels.


I work for a (fairly small) indie label - from witnessing this model in
action I feel I have to stick up for the label given that I see the model
working (or sometimes not so well) on a daily basis! Where we've done deals
with artists in the past, they've almost always been a 50/50 arrangement -
the artist receives 50% of net royalties. Where a label fronts recording
costs, these can easily become £6-10,000 for an album session. Even an EP
session can be upwards of £1,500 although these figures are a little
pessimistic (though not unrealistic). (We actually designed, built and owned
studios for ten years until 2001 but the project haemorrhaged money.)

With regards to CD pressing, a 1,000 run will cost around £800 including
full colour print in a basic jewel case. The AP1/AP2a MCPS licence costs
another amount on top. When getting your CDs pressed, add in other things
(Super Jewel cases, slip / O-cards, digipaks or gatefolds with high quality
card / fancy posters) and you can easily top the 1k mark, not even counting
the artwork design costs. Of course, discount comes with with bulk, but
almost nobody except the Big Four do 1k discs in a pressing. (To put things
in perspective: when SyCo have done the X Factor Finalists CDs, they press
up 10,000 of EACH finalist's recording of the song - and shred the losers'
copies when the winner is announced!)

To put stuff into distro with someone like Universal, you have your line
costs simply to have the title listed on their system - monthly recurring,
per title - then handling costs, despatch costs, salesforce costs (even
though really the only people they sell into are HMV now, and from last year
they've stopped guaranteeing racking in all but the top 6 or so stores in
the UK, it's a joke). You can't sell your discs through at full retail, you
have your wholesale (Dealer) price. We've sold albums through at £6.65 and
I've later seen them in a London HMV for £12.99. Oh, and did I mention that
supermarkets and stores like HMV *DEMAND* what they call a file discount
of up to 40% just to take stock? (which is on a non-negotiable sale or
return basis with up to a six month returns period.)

If you end up in a position where you don't sell stock through into shops,
it usually costs less for your distro to SHRED your discs than it does to
send it back to you! Ridiculous. The costs are stacked against the labels at
all points - incredibly frustrating. And that's even before you begin to
contemplate any plugging, promo, advertising, miscellaneous online, merch,
booking agent / gig costs... Or even an advance for the artist! But it gets
better...

So, this figure of 63% which the old techdirt article might quote as truth
where valid for major labels (who might also own distribution, management,
publishing and studios under the same roof), the model quickly falls apart
as soon as focus on a smaller label. I used to think the whole model was
bullshit and the artists got shafted, but if anything it's level pegging -
smaller labels have just as tough a time as artists as the risk to them to
fund any new release is proportionally WAY larger. Also, the techdirt
article works on the basis of the artist receiving a 20% royalty - this is
dismal, and the artist should be smacked for agreeing to such a pitiful rate
like the chumps they probably (hypothetically) are.

Take one of our real world iTunes scenarios - from a 79p purchase, iTunes
immediately keeps about 32p. For UK and most worldwide sales, this also
includes the royalties which the label's obliged to pay (in the UK, to the
MCPS-PRS Alliance). However, the USA requires the selling party to pay the
mechanical on each sale (an arse-about-tit form which has arisen from the
disconnected Collection Agencies - Harry Fox Agency being the incumbent on
Mechanicals and ASCAP, BMI and SESAC on the Performance royalties - which
adds yet another level of complication.

From what's left (47p), you halve the resulting amount on a 50/50 deal.
Neither the label nor the artist gets much for their work. On some artists
whom we've purely done digital distribution for (on a rolling licence
agreement), we give the artist 80% of net. As you can imagine, we get
virtually nothing - and our income's directly tied to their success, so we
have an interest in seeing them do well. It's a tough environment to be in.

For receiving US/Canadian/Mexico/European/Australasian payments, we first
have to receive the currency and have the bank convert it to GBP. Of course,
we can't get the Interbank rates, nobody but the banks get those - so more
money's immediately lost in conversion. The larger labels will have
sweetheart deals with their banks (or almost certainly have accounts in each
relevant territory) so this isn't so much of a big deal, but the amount of
administration just scales inordinately. If you deal with 

RE: [backstage] Audio levels on iPlayer material (again)

2010-07-09 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of David Tomlinson
 Sent: 09 July 2010 09:34
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: Re: [backstage] Audio levels on iPlayer material (again)
 
 Christopher Woods wrote:
  I posted a while back asking about why iPlayer videos start 
 loud then 
  get quieter a few seconds later...
 
 
 A Normalisation stage post encoding ?

The problem is definitely introduced when the material's encoded by Red Bee
/ the Beeb. Nothing on my system is doing that, I have a proper audio
interface with nearfield monitors + sub running off XLR :-)

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RE: [backstage] Audio levels on iPlayer material (again)

2010-07-09 Thread Christopher Woods
 I wasn't aware that Christopher [Woods] works for the BBC

...Neither was I ;-) I think I misinterpreted context of your comment,
didn't notice the tongue in cheek second line (sorry!) Hopefully it's
something relatively simple to fix and it's just an overeager preset
default... Hardly the end of the world but it's such an obvious fault I'd be
remiss to not point it out.


(PS - any Beeb employees with an eye on the internal vacancies, any jobs in
the Mailbox going for things like postproduction / editing for National /
Regions? Been a longtime goal of mine to work for BBC radio at some point)

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[backstage] Audio levels on iPlayer material (again)

2010-07-08 Thread Christopher Woods
I posted a while back asking about why iPlayer videos start loud then get
quieter a few seconds later... It's hard to hear with most materal, but this
programme exhibits the effect beautifully:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kntl1/The_Birth_of_British_Music_Han
del_The_Conquering_Hero/

Listen to how the limiter suddenly kicks in after 1/2 seconds, bringing the
overall gain down. The audio level at the start is fine, whereas afterwards
it's just too quiet. Cue needlessly having to crank the gain on the computer
to compensate.

the It seems pointless having to constantly ride the gain when playing a new
piece of footage - and it can often deafen you if you have your speakers or
headphones turned up to an appropriate level from watching a previous
programme! Could this be looked at by someone in the iPlayer team
responsible for encodes? Seems like a very odd, pointless oversight and it's
affected every video I've watched for at least six months, if not longer. Ta
:-)

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[backstage] Anybody know about this?

2010-07-02 Thread Christopher Woods
Just searched for Beryl Bainbridge BBC Four Documentary in Google, and
amongst results this popped up:

BBC - BBC Four Programmes - Beryl's Last Year
24 Mar 2010 ... Novelist Dame Beryl Bainbridge makes a record of her life,
convinced she is about ... BBC Four: Audio Interviews - Beryl Bainbridge
(1934 - ...
www.bbc.co.uk.news-channel.org/programmes/b007mw91 - Cached

Notice the dodgy URL? Going to it yields a 503 error. A whois on the domain
reveals it's registered to one Carl Andersson (of Advancen Pty Ltd) in
Australia.

Anybody know if this is this a legit beta mashup which has found its way
into Google or is it something a little more nefarious?

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[backstage] Squelchy audio on iPlayer HD programmes

2010-06-06 Thread Christopher Woods
I've noticed that Doctor Who and Doctor Who Confidential episodes for the
past several weeks have had the characteristic 'bubbly' or 'warbling' audio
that comes with either 1 encoding step or slightly dodgy first generation
audio encoding. The problem manifests itself particularly in reverb tails,
sibilance (e.g. Amy Pond saying 'ssh' at 24:36) or quiet passages or
sections with strings or woodwind in the backing music, (e.g. in the music
from 24:17 in
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00spgsf/hd/Doctor_Who_Series_5_Vincent
_and_the_Doctor/ )

It's quite distracting and detracts from my viewing experience (and I'd
imagine others).  most frustrating is that it's not always been there.
Unfortunately I don't know anybody specific in the iPlayer team who deals
with quality assurance stuff, can someone in the know please forward it on?

Cheers
Chris

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RE: [backstage] Ian

2010-05-18 Thread Christopher Woods
If he's compus mentis please pass on all of our best wishes! :-)



  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Ant Miller
Sent: 18 May 2010 14:27
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] Ian


Hi Tim,  

I'm up in mcr tomorrow, travelling up tonight actually.  Let me know if
there's anything I can bring up- probably nothing much I can do, but if
there's anything.  You up to see him later?  

a



RE: [backstage] Ian Forrester

2010-05-18 Thread Christopher Woods

 Dear All
 
 As you may have heard Ian Forrester was taken ill last week 
 and is now recuperating in Hope Hospital in Salford.

 [snip]


(I'd imagine on all of our behalves) thanks for the update Rain; we're all
eager to hear any good news as Ian gets better so where appropriate please
keep us updated if/when possible. 

Chris

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RE: [backstage] Re: BBC iPad application usability

2010-05-12 Thread Christopher Woods
 


More on this at 

http://www.betanews.com/joewilcox/article/Usability-expert-faults-iPad-user-
interface-calls-it-whacky/1273592091 
 

I take everything Nielsen preaches with a LARGE bag of salt. When he makes
his own site usable I might pay more attention to his proclamations ;)


RE: [backstage] iplayer brokenness?

2010-04-11 Thread Christopher Woods
 


A friend of mine reported over twitter they were getting buffering issues,
they didnt say if it was on live, or not... 

Oop, just got the non-working content message on this week's Fab  Groove:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ry8vj/Fabio_and_Grooverider_11_04_20
10/ 


RE: [backstage] iplayer brokenness?

2010-04-10 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of 
 backst...@gorge.org
 Sent: 10 April 2010 22:01
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: [backstage] iplayer brokenness?
 
 Hi,
 
 Trying to watch and listen to progs on iPlayer, everything 
 says this content does not seem to be available except Over 
 The Rainbow, where the 10 second bit saying the show is 
 recorded and not to phone in works, before it breaks as the 
 show is about to start.
 
 Can't find anything that DOES work. Some major mistake?

I watched Dr. Who S31E02 off /bbchd about an hour ago with no problems...
Just tried Dr. Who Confidential (SD), worked fine first time. Are you
perhaps having problems reaching the CDN? Try tracerouting to these IPs:

92.123.95.8
92.123.196.20
92.123.154.11
92.123.153.157
88.221.181.115
92.123.153.81

I'm on Be, so I'm not discounting that these IPs are ones I get directed to
as part of a Be-specific peering arrangement. Not very familiar with how
Akamai manages its network assets, but you may be getting pointed to
different IPs which could be being affected by a problem which the nodes
above aren't suffering from - but it's working perfectly for me across both
telly and radio on-demand this minute. If there was a problem earlier I
missed it :)

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RE: [backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from today on iPlayer?

2010-04-09 Thread Christopher Woods

  That wasn't the first time the poor old dears got IP and 
 IP mixed 
  up, I heard it on @R4Today some days ago.  Shows a lot about where 
  their minds are.
  Yes, but what happens when they debate other technical issues? 
  Medical, military, etc. None of us are experts in all fields
 
 None of us are setting government policy, influencing public 
 opintion or writing laws in the fields we're inexpert in, 
 though.  I hope.


Whilst watching the DEB proceedings, I felt the urge to have some kind of
big red button on my table connected to a massive klaxon and a laser display
board just above the Speaker's Chair. So much waffle and
intervention/counter-intervention not much was actually said that was
sensible, relevant and concise. Oh well, democracy in action... I only wish
I could vote 'out of constituency' as such so I could place my local
government vote for one of the clueful MPs. I'm stuck with Gisela Stuart and
Clare Short :(

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RE: [backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from today on iPlayer?

2010-04-08 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Ian Forrester
 Sent: 07 April 2010 14:10
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: RE: [backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from 
 today on iPlayer?
 
 I don't think this is a conspircy (so you can take off the 
 foil hat :) 
 
 Its sounds like a error, or something went on longer than 
 expected. Will forward to the iplayer team and see if we 
 can't get the rest somehow.

Cheers. Also, on the HoC footage from last night -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rzk4b - the programme won't actually
start streaming (just looks like it begins to buffer, fails, then retries
immediately ad nauseum). Also, on the /parliament schedule page the listed
schedule doesn't line up at all with the evening's proceedings. Presume the
latter is due to late changes to the order of business...

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RE: [backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from today on iPlayer?

2010-04-08 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Phil Lewis
 Sent: 08 April 2010 15:31
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: RE: [backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from 
 today on iPlayer?
 
 On Thu, 2010-04-08 at 15:04 +0100, Christopher Woods wrote:
  Cheers. Also, on the HoC footage from last night - 
  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rzk4b - the programme won't 
  actually start streaming (just looks like it begins to 
 buffer, fails, 
  then retries immediately ad nauseum).
 
 Maybe it's just your connection or the CDN flash server the 
 your browser is directed to? It seems to work perfectly fine 
 on iplayer and my usual iplayer recording utility.

Might have been - just tried from work (Easynet connection) and it's worked
fine. Same from home connection (Be Pro).

On contemplation, it didn't even play the BBC Parliament ident... Perhaps
there was something wrong with the preroll? Anyway, working now.

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RE: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill Flashmob, 5pm [Manchester]

2010-04-06 Thread Christopher Woods
For all interested parties: the ORG is also encouraging people to phone
their MPs today, and there's ads appearing in the Grauniad and the Times
(funded by donors to their last rush fundraising campaign). Go to the
38degrees site to find your MP's phone number if you fancy giving them a
call!

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/deb-call-your-mp

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Tim Dobson
 Sent: 01 April 2010 02:43
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill Flashmob, 
 5pm [Manchester]
 
 Whilst the practicalities of the Digital Economy Bill, may 
 seem like a complete joke, sadly this email is no April Fools Prank.

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RE: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill Flashmob, 5pm [Manchester]

2010-04-06 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Stephen Jolly
 Sent: 06 April 2010 11:51
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: Re: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill 
 Flashmob, 5pm [Manchester]
 
 How did the flashmob go, out of interest?

+1 - any photos from the event?

Listening to live debate of the DEB on BBC Parliament right at the moment...

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RE: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill Flashmob, 5pm [Manchester]

2010-04-06 Thread Christopher Woods

 Just seen some on Facebook as well.

I'm just off to the shop to pick up a Grauniad to see how my tenner looks on
print ;)


Austin Mitchell (and surprisingly, a few other Labour MPs) are talking a lot
of sense about the DEB. Shame it'll just get pushed through the wash-up
almost irrespective of MPs' (and public) opinion :(

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RE: [backstage] TODAY: Digital Economy Bill Flashmob, 5pm [Manchester]

2010-04-06 Thread Christopher Woods
  I'm hoping they'll do the right thing and kill the bill.
 
 Nope - just voted to send it to the committee stage tomorrow.

The eyes have it, the eyes have it. RT @rhodri: And that was that, folks.
The ayes have it. Chuckling in the chamber. That's democracy, folks. #debill

And now they all head (back?) off to Strangers for the subsidised pints ;)

The irony I found with Wishart's apparent stance on this is that he's in a
band, and has been in a few prior to this. Up until now I was under the
impression that he was broadly in favour of doing *something* but that he
took issue with the way certain amendments were almost overreaching their
mandate (if such a thing is possible). I'm now worried he might not be
considering how damaging sections of the Bill could potentially be to
artists and bands who don't have the advantage of prior exposure.


Oh well, the hashtags will be busy for a while yet tonight methinks...

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[backstage] Any more DEB reading footage from today on iPlayer?

2010-04-06 Thread Christopher Woods
(directed firstly towards iPlayer-knowledgeable Beeb staff but is an open
question)

Frustratingly only the first hour or so of today's House of Commons coverage
is available on the iPlayer's primary entry for today, with no more footage
forthcoming it would seem. (current episode:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00rzjy6/House_of_Commons_06_04_2010/ )

I've also seen the DEB's dedicated entry on the DemocracyLive site:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_8597000/85971
25.stm - but again, it's only a 2 hour stream from the start of the DEB
debate. Today's debate lasted for well over six/seven contiguous hours -
right up until 10pm from approx. 3pm (after the 10 Minute Rule first
reading). Particularly given the importance of this Bill, might we be able
to watch the whole of the first debate online eventually or is it never
going to show up?

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RE: [backstage] Why are iPlayer SD programmes encoded at funky resolutions?

2010-03-30 Thread Christopher Woods
What bothers me is whether it's actually the most efficient way of encoding
- does the equipment doing the capture have the ability to extract the true
square pixel 'quality' from the nonsquare 'broadcast' pixels, thus resulting
in a dimensionally larger, but equal quality, video... Or is the quality
still being lost because the the encoder can't actually transcode the full
quality and ends up extrapolating interpixel data?
 
 
If the latter is true (which I hope it's not), if the dimensions are mostly
due to legacy and there's no real advantage to be gained, is there still an
argument against encoding at a smaller WxH resolution (e.g., 720x404) which
might make better use of the available bits? (thinking aloud again)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Ian Forrester
Sent: 30 March 2010 11:24
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: RE: [backstage] Why are iPlayer SD programmes encoded at funky
resolutions?


I had wondered about this myself a while ago.
 
So use to the underground scene of resolutions, it always seems strange when
looking at others methods of distribution's choice of rez. Although I think
Brian might be right about the aspect ratio

Secret[] Private[x] Public[]

Ian Forrester
Senior Backstage Producer

BBC RD North Lab,
1st Floor Office, OB Base,
New Broadcasting House, Oxford Road,
Manchester, M60 1SJ 

 


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 29 March 2010 08:38
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] Why are iPlayer SD programmes encoded at funky
resolutions?


Isn't it because of the difference in pixel shapes between TVs and monitors?


On TV, 16:9 in 720x576 the pixels are 1:1.89, on a computer monitor the
pixels are 1:1.  832x468 is therefore the profile nearest the desired output
of 1:1.89? 

http://www.ukfree.tv/fullstory.php?storyid=1107051225


On 29 March 2010 01:19, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


I've noticed for a while that the HQ iPlayer stuff (not the HD) is encoded
at 832x468. (recent example: Australian F1, or pretty much every single high
quality iPlayer video you look at). No complaints about the actual PQ, just
really curious as to the technical decisions that led to this target output
res.

Is it some convoluted compromise to do with broadcast Pixel Aspect Ratios
and square pixel conversion for H.264 encode or is there some other reason?
Part of me always gets angsty not seeing 720x404 as the resolution if I
measure whatever I'm watching ;) All insight appreciated...

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advice, since 2002




[backstage] Why are iPlayer SD programmes encoded at funky resolutions?

2010-03-28 Thread Christopher Woods
I've noticed for a while that the HQ iPlayer stuff (not the HD) is encoded
at 832x468. (recent example: Australian F1, or pretty much every single high
quality iPlayer video you look at). No complaints about the actual PQ, just
really curious as to the technical decisions that led to this target output
res.

Is it some convoluted compromise to do with broadcast Pixel Aspect Ratios
and square pixel conversion for H.264 encode or is there some other reason?
Part of me always gets angsty not seeing 720x404 as the resolution if I
measure whatever I'm watching ;) All insight appreciated...

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RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?

2010-03-26 Thread Christopher Woods
This was my logic - if they're using 48kbps AAC, why not use AAC+ to squeeze
that bit more out. It's only speech anyway so it's not like transients or
harmonics really come into play that much ;)

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Kieran Kunhya
 Sent: 26 March 2010 00:59
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?
 
 And now the H.264/AAC workflow is
 in place... How about bumping the audio up to AAC+?
 
 AAC at 128kbps should be transparent provided the encoder is 
 up to scratch. Making it AAC+ would probably keep the audio 
 the same quality or perhaps reduce it slightly in my opinion 
 because the algorithms it uses have to guess the higher 
 frequencies. AAC+ is really designed for lower bitrates.


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RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?

2010-03-25 Thread Christopher Woods
Hurray, great news :)
 
I did suspect that the News stream might be slightly lower to accommodate
higher viewer levels but I didn't want to sound stupid suggesting it. Glad
to know that it wasn't just me going crazy seeing a quality difference. Is
there any chance of ever getting an HQ feed of BBC News? It'd be perfect for
a toggleable player (like the F1 livestreams)
 
And now the H.264/AAC workflow is in place... How about bumping the audio up
to AAC+?
 
I'm the worst kind of viewer ;)



  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of John O'Donovan
Sent: 25 March 2010 18:35
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


The stream has always been 368Kbps with 320K video and 48K audio.
 
We recently upgraded all news  sport encoders to h.264 video and aac audio
and one of them is had a glitch and fell back to default encoding settings
rather than the optimised ones we use. Should be fixed now.
 
Some of the other streams you see at 500K have a 128K audio stream so the
video quality is not that different.
 
The video is going up to 500K but the reason it has been lower is so that it
can be served reliably to the largest possible audience.
 
Cheers,


  
John O'Donovan
Chief Technical Architect 

BBC Future Media  Technology (Journalism)
BC3 C1, Broadcast Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/ 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport/ 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/ 

 

  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 24 March 2010 12:12
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


It could be because the News stream gets a lot of views on Budget day?


On 24 March 2010 12:05, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


The quality on that is the same as if you click directly via the BBC News
web site. As PMQs is on now, go look at the BBC News version of the
Parliament feed and then compare it with BBC Parliament's quality:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_parliament/
 
N24: 368kbps (48kbps). BBC Parl: 500kbps. Don't understand the drop, if it
was due to a costsaving drive surely it'd be adjust to be about 300kbps or
below. (Difference is currently ~132kbps)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 24 March 2010 11:18
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


There's another version of the BBC News channel at 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_news24/



On 24 March 2010 11:01, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


Noticed in the past week there's only a 384kbps stream of BBC News via the
web site - it looks rubbish, jerky video and low quality audio. Better
quality on TVCatchup. Does anybody know if this downgrade is permanent?

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follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/briantist
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[backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?

2010-03-24 Thread Christopher Woods
Noticed in the past week there's only a 384kbps stream of BBC News via the
web site - it looks rubbish, jerky video and low quality audio. Better
quality on TVCatchup. Does anybody know if this downgrade is permanent? 

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RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?

2010-03-24 Thread Christopher Woods
The quality on that is the same as if you click directly via the BBC News
web site. As PMQs is on now, go look at the BBC News version of the
Parliament feed and then compare it with BBC Parliament's quality:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_parliament/
 
N24: 368kbps (48kbps). BBC Parl: 500kbps. Don't understand the drop, if it
was due to a costsaving drive surely it'd be adjust to be about 300kbps or
below. (Difference is currently ~132kbps)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 24 March 2010 11:18
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


There's another version of the BBC News channel at 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_news24/



On 24 March 2010 11:01, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


Noticed in the past week there's only a 384kbps stream of BBC News via the
web site - it looks rubbish, jerky video and low quality audio. Better
quality on TVCatchup. Does anybody know if this downgrade is permanent?

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RE: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?

2010-03-24 Thread Christopher Woods
It's been like it for a few days now...


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 24 March 2010 12:12
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


It could be because the News stream gets a lot of views on Budget day?


On 24 March 2010 12:05, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


The quality on that is the same as if you click directly via the BBC News
web site. As PMQs is on now, go look at the BBC News version of the
Parliament feed and then compare it with BBC Parliament's quality:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_parliament/
 
N24: 368kbps (48kbps). BBC Parl: 500kbps. Don't understand the drop, if it
was due to a costsaving drive surely it'd be adjust to be about 300kbps or
below. (Difference is currently ~132kbps)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 24 March 2010 11:18
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] BBC News online stream quality drop?


There's another version of the BBC News channel at 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_news24/



On 24 March 2010 11:01, Christopher Woods chris...@infinitus.co.uk wrote:


Noticed in the past week there's only a 384kbps stream of BBC News via the
web site - it looks rubbish, jerky video and low quality audio. Better
quality on TVCatchup. Does anybody know if this downgrade is permanent?

-
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follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/briantist
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RE: [backstage] RE: BBC Flash video and deinterlacing - is this really the best we can get?

2010-03-08 Thread Christopher Woods

 Who said we were deinterlacing to 25p? :-)

Looks like 12p for sports programming ;)

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RE: [backstage] RE: BBC Flash video and deinterlacing - is this really the best we can get?

2010-03-05 Thread Christopher Woods
 


Don't TV Catchup have both a low- and high- quality streams, where the HQ
ones are interlaced?

Not aware of multiple streams - only ever watch at the highest possible
quality :) However, it certainly doesn't look like it's been encoded as
interlaced (which would make absolutely NO sense whatsoever). 


RE: [backstage] Video on Demand Dissertation Survey

2010-03-02 Thread Christopher Woods
 Is that all? I like to know where my responses will be used, 
 how or if they will be anonymised, and if there is anything 
 at all sensitive, some kind of mention that that they have 
 been educated on the ethics of survey usage.


When I undertook my BSc dissertation I was obliged to fill out and comply
with a code of ethics with regards to the collection of personally
identifiable data (and even how I undertook surveys or primary research), so
I wouldn't be overly concerned with this. I used to get a bucketload of
SurveyMonkey requests forwarded to my University account by various
lecturers and project supervisors!

My right eye is twitching a little at the sight of 'an survey' though...

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RE: [backstage] A quick Dolby E question

2010-03-01 Thread Christopher Woods
 From that document Flipfactory only seems to support 16/20 
 bit modes. I've tried both SoundCode and Surcode and they are 
 only 16/20 bit as well.

Huh, I (thought I was) reliably informed SurCode could handle 24. Well, if
that lot doesn't work I suspect you're talking Dolby-only hardware if you
want full 24bit codec support.

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RE: [backstage] A quick Dolby E question

2010-02-28 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Kieran Kunhya
 Sent: 27 February 2010 02:25
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: [backstage] A quick Dolby E question
 
 A teeny bit off-topic but I'm sure there are people on the 
 list that know the answer.
 
 Does 24-bit Dolby E actually exist? If so what produces it?


SurCode's stuff can produce 24-bit Dolby-E iirc. Also AJA cards can work
with Dolby-E but you have to do it right to preserve the metadata.
Telestream's FlipFactory (a bit like also allows decoding and encoding of
Dolby-E if you configure your 'factory' correctly, PDF at [1].
Wikipedia:Dolby_E also mentions that SoundCode from Neyrinck supports the
format. [2]

(FWIW I don't work with it myself, just powergoogling + asking some video
editing friends)

[1] http://www.telestream.net/pdfs/app-notes/app_FF_DolbyE.pdf#9 
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_E

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RE: [backstage] indefinitely live BBC archive?

2010-02-28 Thread Christopher Woods
  why can't the BBC make some programmes available all the time?
 Rights, dear boy.

And kids, in their limitless quest to just get what they want now, care not
one bit for that most wonderfully complex of one-word answers.

Then again, most regular people don't care either. ;)

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RE: [backstage] BBC iPlayer for Apple TV

2010-02-16 Thread Christopher Woods
  Generally if you take the p*** I'll get shouted at and I'll ask you 
  nicely to close the service/script/prototype :) of course 
 breaking the 
  backstage licence will you a heavy knock at the door :)
 
 Publishing some definitions might help :)

The first rule about the Backstage Licence is that we don't talk about the
Backstage Licence.

In all seriousness, I find it sad that semantics continues to play a far
larger role in all of these discussions/arguments/politics between the BBC
as broadcaster, BBC as service provider, general viewing public and
rightsholders.

Simile time: trying to control, or fighting against, cross-platform
consumption, usage on previously unconceived platforms and/or unexpected
adaption of the service to new forms of consumption is like swimming against
a rip tide. Either it's available everywhere legally and someplaces illegaly
or nowhere legally and everywhere illegally. It's the rightsholders' choice.

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RE: [backstage] BBC iPlayer for Apple TV

2010-02-16 Thread Christopher Woods
 Excellently put.

What made me more sad was that I felt I needed to state the obvious :( I
wish I could be a fly on the wall in a meeting between the Beeb and
controlling rightsholders / contract negotiators for the current iPlayer
programming. There must be some serious long-term powerplays going on,
combined with fear of the unknown (just like Warner pulling out of
ad-supported music citing lack of faith) - but TV's always survived better
than music because (I think) it's not been entirely commoditised just yet.
The old Powers That Be are in danger of outmoding themselves though with
their pseudo-scarcity approach...

... As I say this, I may or may not be torrenting Episode 8 of 24 S08. Why
must I wait a week to see it?! By that point, all the buzz around each
episode has died down, my friends in the States are already onto the next
week's episode and if I go on any of the forums all I'll get is spoilers
completely ruining the whole thing for me. Ridiculous.

That said, I often watch the Colbert Report - including the pre- and
post-roll adverts - on the official web site. They're not very annoying,
they work with the way the show's divvied up (pre-existing ad breaks, just
shorter ads for online streams) and I like to think it's helping them
finance the show. However, to do this I have to use a US proxy as DUE TO
RIGHTS ISSUES the content is not directly available to UK viewers (and FX,
the UK channel which shows TCR, has no on-demand streaming on their own site
for its UK viewers).

Spot the fail. Who's losing out here? (given the many alternative means to
acquire newteevee, it's likely not the tech-savvy viewers)

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[backstage] BBC Flash video and deinterlacing - is this really the best we can get?

2010-02-08 Thread Christopher Woods
I've noticed that for some reason blend deinterlacing is still being used on
all BBC Video footage (iPlayer, inline footage on News/Sports sites, etc).
It looks naff, causes image doubling in areas of high movement and makes
scrolling credits harder to read. (Also don't think it looks as good and
halves the perceived framerate) As reference, the doubling is very
noticeable on a recent episode of Hustle in the 'action areas':
http://i46.tinypic.com/14jxctd.png (a deck of cards is being fountained
upwards, falling down onto the camera - note the overlapping ghosts of the
moving cards).

I first wondered if this was a limitation of how Flash renders
interlaced-encoded video, but I happened to be watching a particular
sporting event via an unofficial Justin.tv stream and the motion was fluid
and crisp. From that I can only assume all BBC videos are encoded as
progressive, and as such the Blend deinterlacing is burnt in, with the same
going for Live streams... If the content is being deinterlaced from a
broadcast source, why not use Bob or Weave? Blend just looks awful,
motorsports/action looks dire and even regular stuff looks pants.

So, in the absence of any known point of contact for the bods in charge of
digitisation across the BBC's online platforms, can someone advise me as to
whom I should be addressing my angry letters and suggestions for
improvement? ;)

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RE: [backstage] H.264

2010-02-04 Thread Christopher Woods

 Surprised nobody posted about this already :)
 
 From the MPEG LA:
 
 MPEG LA announced today that its AVC Patent Portfolio License 
 will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that 
 is free to end users (known as Internet Broadcast AVC Video) 
 during the next License term from January 1, 2011 to December 
 31, 2015. Products and services other than Internet Broadcast 
 AVC Video continue to be royalty-bearing, and royalties to 
 apply during the next term will be announced before the end of 2010.
 
 Full release at:

http://www.mpegla.com/Lists/MPEG%20LA%20News%20List/Attachments/226/n-10-02-
02.pdf

So how does this affect the Beeb? Because effectively licencepayers are
paying for the iPlayer service as part of the portfolio even though its
usage doesn't require a licence... Or has the BBC always paid licence fees
for the use of the codecs?

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RE: [backstage] H.264

2010-02-04 Thread Christopher Woods

 Nothing changes - H.264 for Internet Broadcast has been free, 
 but was due to require a paid license as of this year. 
 MPEG-LA have extended the free period for 5 years.
 
 (The BBC probably _does_ have a license for the AVC family, 
 but it wouldn't affect this).

Any idea why the MPEG-LA did this then? Seems to be quite an about-turn
given everyoen was bracing for enforced commercial licensing...

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RE: [backstage] BBC RD Move- Video

2010-02-01 Thread Christopher Woods
 


Possibly- the specific file formats we need to encode to to upload to
iplayer are pretty standard, but the way we make these films is using a 3rd
party editor (he's great by the way).  Delivering finished films from his
home edit suite to us is proving maddeningly unreliable- a combination of
his home internet connection, a Mac

I think I see his problem. ;)
 
ducks and runs
 
 
But seriously, how old is the Mac? I noticed some older Macs at my old Uni
had problems with a couple of my USB sticks, although they were USB2.0 and
everything-else-compatible. Just seemingly refused to work.
 
Likewise, the inbuilt Superdrive on the MBP I'm currently using at work (to
control my PC at home through VNC :P) just epic fails to read some DVDs, and
it can't burn DVD+DLs either. On the latest available firmware, all system
updates applied and running 10.5.8. Never managed to figure out the problem,
ended up having to use an external Lite-On and occupy one of its two
precious USB ports.
 
(At least with PCs I can successfully diagnose most problems, I can't fathom
the reason for why half of the problems I have with Macs even come about in
the first place!)


RE: [backstage] BBC RD Move- Video

2010-02-01 Thread Christopher Woods
 On the basis of no information at all, I'm guessing that the 
 USB drives in question might have been formatted NTFS, or something.

Fingers crossed their editor guy's using NTFS-3G :) (which, for those who
use it, just got a premium commercial counterpart release with some nice
fixes as Tuxera NTFS for Mac OS X)

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RE: [backstage] BBC RD Move- Video

2010-02-01 Thread Christopher Woods
  just epic fails to read some DVDs, and it can't burn DVD+DLs either.
 
 That will probably be because it is a DVD-R drive - during 
 the DVDR format wars Apple was on the DVD-R team so didn't 
 support DVD+R till drives came with both.

Urgh, really? I completely forgot about that, I wasn't on the DVD burning
bandwagon until after the +/- war had pretty much resolved itself. The MBP I
use at work is one of the first-gen Intels (MBP1,1).

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RE: [backstage] iPad

2010-01-31 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Jim Tonge
 Sent: 30 January 2010 22:55
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: Re: [backstage] iPad
 
 
 On 30 Jan 2010, at 22:39, Alex Mace wrote:
 
  FUD.
 
 Nothing so grandiose, simply ignorance! :) 
 
 Can any of those browsers be set to the device default?

From the looks of the Macworld article, I don't think you would *want* to
set any of the six browsers they review as default!

For example, in the first paragraph: I didn't get very far before I ran
into the first limitation-none of the eight browser's would open my family's
password-protected Web site. I don't know why, but it seems that sites that
use the standard Apache access controls can't be accessed from a third-party
browser.

What's the point in using a third-party browser if (seemingly due to the
SDK) it can't even perform as well as the original included browser?

And the Google Voice app still hasn't been permitted on the App Store, it's
still in a state of perpetual review (which is why Google just sidestepped
it in the end to make their HTML5 web app at m.google.com/voice). Apple are
still being nefarious.

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RE: [backstage] iPad

2010-01-31 Thread Christopher Woods
 


I think it is more about conflation / coalescence / convergence  on one
device. 

 

The more one can consume, interact and communicate on one platform, the
better, I think.

Ultimately there will always be two parallel markets: the walled garden and
the open, communal one. Google and Apple are two powerhouses large enough to
keep their own product portfolio going almost indefinitely without one
winning over the other. I'll always prefer the more open of the two (but to
be honest I'd rather not buy a product from either of them, I like buying
and building my own when it comes to computers :)

 

Apple will forge ahead and broker deals with the major publishing houses
largely due to inertia; the ubiquity of their iPod and iTunes has really
helped with that. However, they won't be top dog forever, and once the
next-gen open standards are more mature and there's mechanisms in place for
people to go direct to the publishers (in a fairly consistent way) for
electronic media, that will cannibalise 'marketplace' style revenue to an
extent.

 

That said, the curated shop / marketplace experience will always hold sway
with the 'just want it to work' segment of the userbase, so the lightbulb
moment will only happen for most users when someone/some company manages to
devise a definitive, cross-platform and platform-agnostic marketplace which
works well for all involved (and offers better returns than the iTunes /
iBookshop platform!)

 

This in turn will come about through market forces, amount of supporting
third-party hardware etc, because Apple will do their darndest to stop that
from happening! Everyone's still playing the wait-and-see game.



RE: [backstage] Users just want video to work. You Mozilla people are such idealists?

2010-01-27 Thread Christopher Woods

 On 27 Jan 2010, at 08:31, Mo McRoberts wrote:
  that's a good point: I wonder how much of the broadcast output *is* 
  encoded in real-time? all of it?
 
 I believe so.


Not unless they've changed their previous policy of ingesting popular /
headline shows prior to their airing, then making them availably almost
immediately after broadcast has ended (shows such as Top Gear etc)

I'm sure a Beeber detailed all of this on the list previously, I can dig
through archives to find it if people cba to look for it themselves ;)

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RE: [backstage] Users just want video to work. You Mozilla people are such idealists?

2010-01-27 Thread Christopher Woods

 That's on-demand content, not broadcast.  The two are encoded 
 via separate systems.


Were we not talking about the iPlayer videos?... derp sidles off

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RE: [backstage] iPad

2010-01-27 Thread Christopher Woods
 

 -Original Message-
 From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk 
 [mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Mo McRoberts
 Sent: 27 January 2010 22:38
 To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
 Subject: [backstage] iPad
 
 So, what does everyone think?

(disclaimer: I generally hate Apple stuff with a passion, but I can
appreciate good hardware design like the next nerd)

First impression: not a gamechanger or paradigm shifting device. A good
start, and a cohesive one (expect nothing less from the Fruit) but it needs
at least two revisions (cf. iPhone - iPhone 3G - 3GS) before it's
something I'd accept as a mature, well-rounded piece of hardware (walled
garden platform aside). Hardly an 'appliance' as Leo Laporte generously
called it earlier (think he was drinking the Kool-Aid inside the Moscone
Center RDF). In essence, it's a pretty iPod Touch XL with the latest OS
update...

Good points:

. best-in-class multitouch implementation
. iWork Lite (cue iLife Lite, GarageBand Lite, Logic Lite down the road)
. nice weight (1.5lb)
. range of sizes, for a massive memory jump the price hike isn't huge (but
once again they've been cheeky with the pricing tiers)
. rolling contract with ATT (in the US) for data, $30 gets you 'unlimited'
and $15 gets you 250Mb (both 3G packages) - will be interesting to see if it
brings data plans down when it's released in the UK
. IT USES USIM/MICROSIMS! Europe-friendly for once OOTB.
. They've really nailed some of the UI issues I've had with other eBook
readers / handheld media devices, in the typical Apple way

Some technical shortcomings:

. The display (same size as the Kindle DX iirc) only has a resolution of
1024x768, so not even 720p. Epic fail.
. The composite out requires the Apple TRRS cable, which is helpfully wired
opposite to other TRRS composite cables
. NO MULTITASKING!
. No camera
. one HUGE bezel
. No Flash support OOTB ('missing plugin' when Jobs went to a web site
during techo demo... snicker)
. only windowed or up-ressing for iPhone apps? Urgh. (though this is largely
due to historical hardcoding of screen graphics I'd imagine)

The price will cannabalise eBook readers to an extent. (not as much as it'll
cannabalise their Air sales though!) It puts the publishers and
manufacturers at conflict immediately, particularly if you're a company with
both electronic book and hardware manufacture divisions. REALLY like that
you can just spin your bookshelf round to get to the store, a wonderful
little touch for encouraging impulse buys. (NB: I would never buy an eBook.
I'm dead tree media all the way, natch)

Was surprised at lack of announcement with major video content provider,
kinda expected something like that when one of the Disney execs was observed
in the audience. After the dust's settled, you'll have the usual
frustrations: unable to install third party apps without jailbreaking, no
Skype without attaching an external camera, the usual walled garden closed
loop approach Apple is renowned for. I find that intensely frustrating and
increasingly contradictory in an area where they're clearly angling
themselves to become the de facto hardware provider for 'casual' household
computing.


wrt video, unless Safari dramatically supports it in an update, we'll be
stuck at the start line because there's little change of Apple refreshing
their codec support when they have that lovely closed loop of iTunes /
iBookstore / App Store, never mind better HTML5 implementation. It'd take
the approval of a Firefox app to make that happen.



... That microlight had a rather porcine pilot, dontcha think?

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RE: [backstage] Users just want video to work. You Mozilla people are such idealists?

2010-01-26 Thread Christopher Woods
 


There should have been another sentence in my post, sorry.  Yes, xvid being
divx backwards is a geeky joke.

Of course DivX ;-) in itself was a sly homage to a doomed-to-fail industry
attempt :D And before XviD, once upon a time its parent was called Project
Mayo...  Remember that heady time of multiple competing codecs, MS-MPEG4
ASP, DivX ;-), XviD, 3ivX... How did we all manage before ffdshow? ;)


RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 The need to support IE6 brings out that kind of reaction in me, too.
 Hopefully sometime next year all the internal users who bump 
 up IE6's market share in our stats will have migrated to 
 something made this century and we might just be able to 
 start thinking about dropping it


There's no need to support IE6. I don't even consider IE6 backward
competibility when I design web sites, nor do I care if people don't like
that. Even Microsoft has been pushing new browser versions at them for a few
years now via Windows Update, more fool them if they don't keep their
machine current. IE6 : IE7 :: NN9 : Firefox

(yes I appreciate that for corporate users sometimes they're tied to IE6 -
they need more clueful IT departments imho)

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 Hopefully it'll leave Firefox well and truly in the bin where 
 it belongs.
 
 Must admit I always preferred IE for everyday use (and 
 advocated it very strongly for non-geek users), but I'm an 
 absolute Chrome convert.
  It. Just. Works.  And its Javascript engine is blisteringly quick.


I have to use a MBP at work (first gen Intel) - Chrome is FAR faster than
Safari (unsurprisingly) or Firefox (which 'feels' bloated on OSX). Chrome
just feels right for OSX, I'm really glad they finally pushed out a
stableish beta.

(Has anyone else noticed this OSX Chrome bug: click on a download link from
a site like sourceforge, wait for the modal dialog prompt to display, then
either click on the link again or just continue surfing in a new window.
After a few seconds Chrome freezes... Download thread tieing up the other
threads?)

Still, Chrome  * on OSX so far. It renders faster, loads faster and has
some nice little UI finishes like tabs which slide in and out of existence,
cross-window drag and drop tabs, that unified search/address bar which
quickly grew on me...

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

  There's no need to support IE6. I don't even consider IE6 backward 
  competibility when I design web sites, nor do I care if 
 people don't 
  like that.
 
 You wouldn't win any points round here for that attitude, I'm afraid.
 There isn't anyone here who *wants* to be supporting IE6, I 
 assure you...

Of course :) However imho as long as designers continue to meekly defer to
clients and their requests to support completely obsolete browsers, the
longer it takes to design a good web site, the more costly it becomes and
the more complicated it is to maintain - it's really in nobody's best
interests.

We've collectively been far too wet behind the ears about it for a long
time. The customer is not always right. (and this comes from someone who's
both a web designer and, wearing his other hat, a (frustrated) client of
'professional' web designers!)

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods
 (I can type 
 faster than the browser can open a new tab? in 2009? are you 
 kidding me?)

I found that my IE7/8 tabs started loading WAY fster as soon as I went into
Accelerators/BHO options and disabled the Java Quick Start. By turning that
one thing off I reduced tab load times from 5-10 seconds to around 3/4 of a
second. Not perfect but a vast improvement!

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 I'll be sure to tell the Secretary of State for Health that 
 when he can't use the next release of www.nhs.uk on his office PC.

The DoH's still using IE6?!

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 Along with many other central government departments - yes. 
 For reasons outlined very well by Phil in his last reply. 
 It's your money we spend.

Santa Claus on a motorbike! It's about time some of that money is allocated
to a sitewide browser upgrade :( Can't it just be lumped onto the Capita
spend for the central database? It seems to have a blank cheque already

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 You're clearly well-versed in the economics of large 
 distributed government IT infrastructures and DH IT projects 
 to boot.

But of course, I'm Joe Public! It's My Money!

 Your advice will be highly valued, I'm sure.

Happy to provide it. Also available for daily on-site consultancy - my fee
structure is functionally identical to the current ratecard for onsite SAP
consultants ;)

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RE: [backstage] The browser wars, reloaded?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods
 


 

Ah, but that is the very point of the internet.  The very point of IP.  The
very design. 

The net was designed to work even if nukes were dropped on the world.  No
central control means network survival.   
 
 

...Until one of only two core LINX routers has a senior moment or Google
decides to bork its routing ;) (cf. last week's massive disruption and
recent intercontinental slowness courtesy of the Almighty G)
 
The UK still relies on a surprisingly small number of backbone carriers, and
it seems that the UK internet infrastructure is still amazingly brittle. My
impression is that ja.net is still more resilient than the public IP space
by virtue of just how many HE nodes there are throughout the UK - and the
fact that CERN also uses it for GRID). I'd put my money on the Universities
having intersite connectivity longer after the public WWW going down 8)


RE: [backstage] Is this BBC Homeplug product legal?

2009-12-14 Thread Christopher Woods

 Usually one wire, singular. With HomePlug I can have ethernet 
 wherever there is a power point, and I do move them around 
 now and then.


Can I cast my vote for a 20m CAT5 cable under the carpet, up the stairs, to
a discreetly placed gigabit switch on the landing / in the study? You still
only use one power socket, way better throughput and far less annoying to
our radio ham friends =) and everyone likes ducting CAT5, right?


Those flat CAT5 cables look like they could do the trick nicely, but I'm
more a fan of the 'just wind it around the banister' method ;) turn your
network infrastructure into additional decoration!

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RE: [backstage] Google Wave

2009-11-27 Thread Christopher Woods
 




2009/11/27 Tim Dobson li...@tdobson.net


Brian Butterworth wrote:
 Hi folks,

 I have some Google Wave invites left .. please let me know if you would
 like one.


I also have 16 left. If you'd like one, you're welcome.

I wouldn't get excited though. I'm still not really impressed by it. 
 

It can be really nice if you have a few friends who also have it,
conversations move from just being gimmicky fun to actually being quite
engaging if you start to use its multimedia features. However, I'm unsure as
to its usefulness as a business tool just yet - I'm open to persuasion
though as long as it's actually justifiable ;)


RE: [backstage] Good news for mashups - Ordnance Survey maps to go free online

2009-11-18 Thread Christopher Woods
 


http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/nov/17/ordnance-survey-maps-online


The online maps would be free to all, including commercial users who,
previously, had to acquire expensive and restrictive licences at £5,000 per
usage, a fee many entrepreneurs felt was too high.


About time too. 

Some interesting discussion of these developments happening on the OSM-talk
list (from what it seems, it's not fully free (as in speech), more like a
subset of the information with the possibility of more being made available
at a later date if the right people prod the OS enough ;) 


RE: [backstage] iPlayer on Freesat in November.

2009-11-10 Thread Christopher Woods
  No obvious statement that it can play the upcoming Freeview 
 HD content 
  but I presume that this is the plan.
 
 I'm not sure where they're going to get DVB-T2 chipsets from...

TI/RadioScape make them don't they?

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RE: [backstage] The BBC is encrypting its HD signal by the back door

2009-10-04 Thread Christopher Woods
I do wonder what the point of all this is. I know sometimes circumstances
complicate matters, but from the POV of a viewer the Beeb shouldn't be
beholden to the rightsholders. I certainly don't want to see a repeat of the
same kind of infighting witnessed in the States over the Broadcast Flag. Any
additional complexity in the act of broadcasting the channel to its viewers
is just worthless in the long run and a waste of license fee contributions.
 
Is BBC HD going to be broadcast 100% in the clear (both video  metadata) or
are all of the interested parties going to end up having to speak to the
Trust and Ofcom about this? (just curious)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Nick Reynolds-FMT
Sent: 03 October 2009 10:23
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: RE: [backstage] The BBC is encrypting its HD signal by the back
door


i do get this strange sense of deja vu

  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Jeremy Stone
Sent: 02 October 2009 20:19
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: Re: [backstage] The BBC is encrypting its HD signal by the back
door



Oh its just like the old days :)
Jem Stone
Communities Executive | BBC Audio and Music
O7966 551242 | twitter: @jemstone | jem.stone [at] bbc.co.uk.

- Original Message -
From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Sent: Fri Oct 02 20:12:04 2009
Subject: Re: [backstage] The BBC is encrypting its HD signal by the back
door

Rob Myers wrote:
 On 02/10/09 19:17, Nick Reynolds-FMT wrote:
 People on this list may be interested in this latest blog post:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/10/freeview_hd_copy_protecti
 on_a.html

 The first commenter is far more worth reading than the original post -


http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/10/freeview_hd_copy_protection_a
.html?ssorl=1254509384
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/10/freeview_hd_copy_protection_
a.html?ssorl=1254509384ssoc=rd ssoc=rd

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/10/freeview_hd_copy_protection_a
.html

2. The DTV is not serving the public if it introduces unnecessary
controls and complexity into the standards process. Requiring secret
codes to decompress the data stream is excluding free and open source
software (just like the content scrambling system excluded open source
DVD players). The ability to revoke or otherwise impose sanctions on the
consumer electronics industry, including retrospective disabling of
products and impose restrictions on functionality. After all that is
it's intent.

3. To whom ever the DTLA is responding it is not the public. As
indicated above, it is about giving the content industries control.

4. It will apply to HD devices without a HDMI output, another overly
complex standard that will raise the cost to consumers due to the
addition of encryption etc, which restricts the devices it will 'trust'.

5. The BBC's cosy negotiation with rightholders and secretive
consultations amounts to us neglecting our responsibilities and a
desire to slip this process through quietly

This point we take most seriously. Above all else, we are a public
organisation funded by the Licence Fee and have committed ourselves to
greater transparency and openness because we believe that this is an
obligation we have to our audience

And yet you are looking to sophistry and an abuse of language to subvert
the legal requirement to broadcast an unencrypted signal. It is clear
that if you need a secret key to uncompress the broadcast stream rather
than using a public standard which anyone can implement, then you are de
facto engaged in encryption just like the Content Scrambling System.

In my view this is a breach of the legal requirement to broadcast an
un-encrypted signal.

Any collusion by Ofcom's part, would not void the intention and letter
of the law.

nick.reyno...@bbc.co.uk

 How would the cause of audiences be served if the BBC refused to deal
 with content vendors and as a result audiences could not access that
 content?

 As usual it's a difficult balancing act.


No it is a blatent breach of the law

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RE: [backstage] License to Kill Innovation: the Broadcast Flag for UK Digital TV?

2009-09-18 Thread Christopher Woods
 

I totally agree about the Freeview logo.  When I was a kid you could get
Cooper Black[1] in Boots The Chemist dry transfer lettering (poor man's
Letraset).  Everytime I see it I just think of the layouts I did at school
using a typewriter (before the school has a printer) and Cooper Black.  I've
even got some it in a box of old things somewhere.


Does anyone like the BBC HD logo? 

It's amost right - that two-tone effect they have on the joined
verticals of the HD always looks like pixelation or an encoding flaw to my
subconscious mind, which then makes me focus on it and wastes that valuable
viewing time ;) and it must be using far more bits to encode the difference
when they could just be using a solid black fill for the whole thing. Seems
a bit wasteful and quite distracting to be honest.
 
BBC HD dog needs to be done away with completely 100% of the time, imho.
I've laboriously tuned to the BBC HD channel myself and should I have a bout
of sudden-onset amnesia, I always have the EPG to remind me. Otherwise I
always know exactly which channel I'm watching. (yes, I'm a fan of DOGless
TV!)


RE: [backstage] License to Kill Innovation: the Broadcast Flag for UK Digital TV?

2009-09-17 Thread Christopher Woods
Moreover, you just *know* that within months of any broadcast flag
implementation, the more creative technological tinkerers will have
subverted the flag entirely using commonplace/free equipment and software.
Like region coding, broadcast flags really are an exercise in stupidity and
corporate backslapping.
 
The Beeb should be pointing to what happened with the Broadcast Flag in the
States as the perfect case study! The US TV industry hasn't imploded as a
result of the Broadcast Flag requirement being dropped, and the world
continues to turn in a regular fashion. Why are rightsholders so scared of
fully engaging with technology? Metaphor of closing the stable door after
the horse has bolted and subsequently gone on to win the Grand National
comes to mind.
 
 
Further reading
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/06/dtv-era-no-broadcast
 


RE: [backstage] License to Kill Innovation: the Broadcast Flag for UK Digital TV?

2009-09-17 Thread Christopher Woods
 


I think that there's going to be a lot of unhappy freeview HDTV owners
wondering why the TV they have recently bought isn't picking up the new HD
channels when they're launched (especially as the TV was probably sold as
HD Ready). 
 

Prime opportunity to flog another STB / CAM to correctly display broadcast
flagged content on pre-BCF-compatible displays? Do I hear the usual suspects
(Panny, Alba, Sony, Humax etc) getting in line for tender as I speak? ;)


RE: [backstage] BBC iPlayer - encoding from broadcast rather than master tapes

2009-09-10 Thread Christopher Woods
 


I thought most TV programmes that can be taken from master tapes are.  I've
never seen anything recorded off air on iPlayer, and no credit squeezes
myself - even for programmes broadcast live.
 
I just had a look at last nights Lottery draw for example and there was
nothing on that, nor on Sunday's THe Big Questions.

I have noticed credit squeezing / VOs on creds in the past, although this
practice seems much reduced nowadays. (still notice it very occasionally
though, often on factual programming / current affairs stuff which I presume
can only realistically be encoded from live).
 
However, the BBC bug's still there on all programming, in the top-left
corner - how come this hasn't been removed yet? Seems a bit pointless when
the video's surrounded by appropriate branding already (and wasting precious
encoding time rendering the overlay ;)


RE: [backstage] You Tube to drop support for IE6

2009-07-15 Thread Christopher Woods

 Large parts of the UK government still use IE6 unfortunately.
 Especially unfortunate if you happen to be a member of that 
 community :-(

For shame, maybe they'll have to do some real work for once ;)

IE6 should die a slow and painful death. Lack of comprehensive support for
widely used aspects of various web languages, necessitating kludgey
workarounds to make things render at least moderately close to how the
designers want them to look. It's just plain rubbish. IE6 has lived long
past its sell-by-date and should be comprehensively dumped! There's really
no excuse for corporates to not update to IE7 or IE8.

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RE: [backstage] You Tube to drop support for IE6

2009-07-15 Thread Christopher Woods
  IE6 should die a slow and painful death.
 
 Yep. The main reason www.nhs.uk still supports it is because 
 of all the internal users who have it - many of them senior 
 stakeholders for whom the standard argument about 
 obsolescence wouldn't wash.

It's just disgraceful really. Maybe the argument should be made that not
upgrading from IE6 is patently unsafe security practice?

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RE: [backstage] New Blog in beta

2009-04-07 Thread Christopher Woods
 Any more feedback on the beta BBC Backstage site? 
 
 http://www.welcomebackstage.com
 
 Don't forget you can now finally comment and ping the new 
 site, even the RSS works as expected.


Oooo, purdy. Like that new logo! Wishing I'd thought of that (I had an idea
down the same lines but it was horribly inferior).

However, the top bar - where it says use our stuff to build your stuff...
The menu overlaps. (This is in IE7.)


+1 kudos for stripping www from the URL! I HATE that bloody prefix.

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RE: [backstage] New Blog in beta

2009-04-07 Thread Christopher Woods
 Oh my, don't ever look at it in IE6 :) 
 
 I completely forgot transparent PNG's are not supported 
 still! Scary stuff


IE7 supports alpha chans, and I'm using 7 (but if you're using alpha channel
PNGs then they're not showing correctly on the site for some reason... Are
they 24-bit?)... They will work in 6, there's been lots written about the
hacks to make them work in 6 and 5.5 -
http://apptools.com/examples/png-transparency/ as a starting point (or some
choice Googling: http://is.gd/repl)

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RE: [backstage] New Blog in beta

2009-04-07 Thread Christopher Woods
Also, there's a couple of bits you've missed...

feed:http://welcomebackstage.com/feed/; ? Never seen feed: prefixing an RSS
feed :P

And the top strapline is STILL overlapped by the dropdown menu. Also, if you
wipe your mouse cursor up and down the Prototype menu, it behaves peculiarly
(sometimes closes itself). Invisible div oddity?

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[backstage] F1 not appearing in iPlayer?

2009-03-27 Thread Christopher Woods
As the new F1 season approaches I'm eagerly looking forward to the various
coverage. I'm a little bemused to see that things like Friday's Practice
(which is available to view in full on the Beeb's F1 portal) is not
available to watch via iPlayer. Is there a reason for this?

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RE: [backstage] Google Streetview ... UK at last

2009-03-19 Thread Christopher Woods
I bet you've never queued outside there though to watch an episode of Two
Pints being filmed! (and then proceeded to trace your route back to the car
park on the other side of the main road... 16 quid to park for about five
hours! twilight robbery.)


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Andrew Bowden
Sent: 19 March 2009 09:44
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: RE: [backstage] Google Streetview ... UK at last


Is it rather tragic to be scanning Wood Lane in the hope that you're in a
photo just because you passed the car when it was stuck in traffic?
 
I guess so.


  _  

From: owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk
[mailto:owner-backst...@lists.bbc.co.uk] On Behalf Of Brian Butterworth
Sent: 19 March 2009 08:42
To: backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk
Subject: [backstage] Google Streetview ... UK at last


http://tinyurl.com/bbcgooglesm  

About time, really.  Great with the built in compass on my G1.And now
for some live data overlays?

--

Brian Butterworth

follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/briantist
web: http://www.ukfree.tv - independent digital television and switchover
advice, since 2002




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