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BBC HD ‘in the clear’, says Which? Labs

Which? proves no loss of quality in BBC HD signal


Tests by Which? Labs have found no significant loss in picture quality on BBC satellite HD channels – despite recent media reports of picture quality problems.

The BBC has been accused of dropping the quality of its HD satellite transmissions since the installation of the broadcaster’s new MPEG encoders in August 2009. This move has been reported as causing a reduction in BBC HD picture quality on both Freesat and Sky.

BBC HD on Sky and Freesat

The expert Which? viewing panels compared archived pre-August 2009 BBC HD broadcasts with live BBC HD broadcasts on both Sky and Freesat. The comparisons were made on two identical 40-inch, high-definition TVs.

Only with identical sources could a like-for-like comparison be made, however over a lengthy viewing period, our expert panel had seen sufficient material to conclude that any difference in quality was ‘insignificant’.

The quality of live BBC HD broadcasts differ from programme to programme – often depending on whether the programme is shot in a studio. The old recordings viewed represented the highest quality of BBC HD broadcasts.

High definition TV reviews

Michael Briggs, Which? TV expert said: ‘Even with the change in picture quality between programmes we assert that all BBC HD broadcasts are all of an HD quality. If there is any difference between the new HD broadcasts and the old HD broadcasts, then it is tiny, and smaller than the existing differences between any two HD programmes filmed in a studio or on location.’

For hundreds of lab-based high-definition TV reviews that have each been subjected to our rigorous viewing tests, check out our LCD and plasma TV report.

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