The ABC Is Changing To HD, Just In Time For 4k

Great news gang, while we're all in the process of getting ready for 4K, with our televisions and our consoles and our Netflix subscriptions and our NBN — the ABC is getting ready for the almighty switch...

To regular HD.

The change will take place in December.

To be fair to the ABC, multiple factors outside its control dictated the slow pace of change, but it doesn't negate the fact our national broadcaster is tremendously behind the curve here.

Well, Australia as a whole is tremendously behind the curve. 7 and Ten only recently launched its HD channels within the last year.

But yeah, talk about coming late to the party. The party is literally about to finish.

You can find out more here, on the official ABC site.


Comments

    It's unfortunate that iView won't be making the HD jump, too.

      Surely this is a bigger issue than 4K? I only watch through iView and have to scale the window right down to nothing to get a clean image.

        I chuck it on the TV, but will only watch it as a background thing when I'm cooking or similar. The quality is too awful to sit and watch.

      It is highish def for some shows (though I haven't worked out how they decide which shows to support). But it's fair enough - it actually costs them quite a bit of their limited budget to run iView. So if it's low def vs paying a subscription vs nothing, I'll take it.

      They've made the jump to standard definition for some platforms (offers it on my PS4, but not through the web). It looks really nice compared to standard iView streams.

    Well the average internet speed is less than half what's needed for 4K streaming so it's not really surprising that no company is going for it!

      Well the average internet speed is less than half what's needed for 4K streaming

      Let's be realistic. ADSL (which is the norm) lacks the scalability for 4K thus is not capable. Period.

    I forget to even use the HD channels half the time anyway. Plus most of the stuff we watch gets recorded, I don't think the recorder does HD. Maybe.

      Depends on the device. I had a PlayTV back in the day and it could record HD channels just fine.

      And I will admit, a lot of my knowledge on how bad the broadcasts are is from me changing the region settings (long story for another day), copying what I could to a hard drive and demuxing the transport stream.

      This is how I learned that HD channels back in the day used MPEG2.

      Last edited 10/11/16 9:43 am

        Try being regional. I can't even get accurate TV guide on my Xbox One anymore since they re-licenced the majors to the opposite regional providers. I can have 38 channels, or if I set favourites to hide the duplicates/triplicates/shopping channels, all the restacked channels disappear.

          I recently travelled back home for a week and my parents have the same 10 is on 9. 9 is on 10. To much confusion.

    I said this on Lifehacker so I'll give the short version.

    In the early 00's we actually had HD channels; in MPEG2 so naturally the quality suffered.

    About as 2010 came closer, they got the axe.

    Now, every FTA seems to think we have memories like gold fish and think approaching the same offerings as in 2007 is news worthy.

    Yeah, right....

    Last edited 10/11/16 9:40 am

      They sacrificed quality for quantity, because that's what the majority of people apparently wanted (and probably because more channels = differently targeted advertising). Now we can get picture quality on the main channel and keep the quantity of channels - at the expense of incompatibility with smaller/older TVs (try explaining that one to your grandparents, like I had to). I for one welcome this advance and do view it as newsworthy. I was very happy to read this, as I was when channel 9 finally went back to HD for football and cricket.

      I don't ever remember the main channels being in HD back then, but then again I get those god awful regional resellers. I can't even remember what's on which channel anymore since they swapped licences, I think channel 10 is win now? It was 9 my entire life. I wish they'd just get handed back to the major channels...

        I don't ever remember the main channels being in HD back then, but then again I get those god awful regional resellers.

        Thanks for the insight; truth be told I've been metro all my life but I have seen regional channels when I travelled.

        But anyhow, if they used H.264 on the SD content, there is the potential to make more economical use of the bandwidth available.

        But the pessimist in me points out the transmission equipment most likely is incompatible and there is still the unreliable reception.

        Eitherway, thanks for the reminder and my apologies for over looking those areas.

        Last edited 10/11/16 10:09 am

          They're kind of stuck because they didn't mandate H.264 from the start of the digital TV introduction in Australia (not too surprising when you consider that H.264 was standardised after the system was already being rolled out).

          Broadcasting H.264 channels where there the same content can be viewed on an MPEG-2 channel (albeit at a lower resolution) is okay, but to cut the MPEG-2 duplicate would require an upgrade path for people without H.264 capable sets. This would probably mean yet another subsidised set top box program, and all the pain that involved last time around.

          I'd need such a set top box for my 2008 model Sony TV, which is still fully functional in every other respect.

            not too surprising when you consider that H.264 was standardised after the system was already being rolled out

            Wait, what? I always though it was the other way around. I had a PS3 at the time and many BluRays were in MPEG4 (but yes, I do know that some of the first were MPEG2).

            Broadcasting H.264 channels where there the same content can be viewed on an MPEG-2 channel (albeit at a lower resolution) is okay, but to cut the MPEG-2 duplicate would require an upgrade path for people without H.264 capable sets.

            I know but that is a caveat of progress. Heck, if H.264 was used on SD content as well it would significantly reduce the bandwidth requirements.

            This would probably mean yet another subsidised set top box program, and all the pain that involved last time around.

            I think that is more to do with the short signedness of the program. The devices should have been H.246 capable from the get go and not be an optional extra for the "premium" devices.

            I'd need such a set top box for my 2008 model Sony TV, which is still fully functional in every other respect.

            I cheat and use a Raspberry Pi that streams from a TV Headend box, :-P

            Screw you, (Not So-)FreeView!

              Digital TV started broadcasting in Australia on 1st January 2001. The first version of the H.264 spec was published on 30th May 2003, and the standards for transmitting that over DVB-T probably came later still.

                My bad; I though H.264 came out in the late 90s.

                  You might be thinking of "MPEG-4 Part 2" video compression, which was standardised in 1999. This is the compression algorithm used as the basis for the DivX / XviD codecs. I don't think this is being used anywhere for digital TV transmission.

                  H.264 is a different algorithm, also known as "MPEG-4 Part 10" or "MPEG-4 AVC".

                  @jamesh; Yes, you are right.

                  I know they are in the same family but having used it for so long I completely forgot about the separation.

        7HD, 9HD, TENHD and ABCHD all existed from roughly 2007/2008 - 2009/2010.
        SBSHD has been around since 2006.
        ONEHD existed in it's sports/HD format from 2009-2011

    Who cares about HD or 4K? Compression is so high I feel like I'm watching a VHS on these fancy new HD channels...

      That's because broadcasters for the most part are still using MPEG2, the same method used for DVDs, and thus the compression has to be high or the data transmission involved would exceed what is allowed.

      It also doesn't help that too may set top boxes don't have H.264 support.

      It's good that 9HD uses H.264 (last I checked) but still too little too late.

    I appear to be in the minority that doesn't give a rats about 4K. I don't even watch the HD channels if the regular channel is still SD. I don't have Netflix. I don't have Foxtel.

    So ABC is switching channel 20 to HD. Channel 2 remains the same. Sooo... nothing changes really.

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