Changes to BBC HD transmissions on Astra satellites on 20 September 2012
About a year ago, the BBC upgraded the satellite transponder it uses for HD channels to the DVB-S2 standard (BBC HD to switch to DVB-S2 on 6th June ), and at the start of this year moved the transponders to a new satellite, Astra 1N (BBC satellite services moving to Astra 1N on 24th February).
Following this, the BBC is now going to make another change to the configuration, moving from QPSK to 8PSK modulation (from 4 to 8 Phase-shift keying), and a corresponding switch of the FEC (forward error correction) from 8/9 to 2/3.
This change will give a significant increase in the bitrate on the transponder - the change allows three bits to be carried per "symbol" (which remain at the 23.0MSymb/s rate) , rather than two as before).
The change from DVB-S to DVB-S2 last year increased the "usable" bitrate from 33.8Mbits/s to 46Mbit/s, the change to the 8PSK 2/3 will provide 58.8Mbit/s. (for more see DVB-S2 ready for lift off).
This will be used to allow for five high definition BBC television streams to be carried on satellite. The current two, used for BBC One HD and the BBC HD channel will be changed to:
- BBC One HD for Northern Ireland
- BBC One HD for Scotland
- BBC One HD for Wales
- BBC One HD for England (and the Channels Islands)
- BBC Two HD for the UK
The changes will happen later in the year, after the configuration changes have been made to the transponder on 20th September 2012.
Freeview and cable users will not see any changes on 20th September. You won't see any changes if you do not have any HD channels.
If you use Sky or Freesat-from-Sky your box should not require any action. If you are unable to watch BBC One HD or BBC HD on that date, turn the Sky box off at the mains, wait 30 seconds and turn the power back on. After a few minutes the box should be able to show the channels again.
If you use Freesat, you may have to "soft reset" the box on 20th September. To do this, put the Freesat HD box or Freesat HD TV into standby for 30 seconds and then switch it back on again. In some rare cases, this will not work and you will need to do a "first time install" on the receiver.
The diagram above shows the United Kingdom, split into the populations in each BBC television region. It is interesting to note that the BBC will be providing special versions of BBC One in HD for Scotland (9.1% of the population), Wales (3.5%) and Northern Ireland (2.5%) whilst neglecting the large London (18.4%) North West (11.7%) and West Midlands (10.9%) regions.
However, the BBC has commitments to the "nations" and does provide additional programming and opt-outs above the "regional news" slots provided for the English Regions.
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