When Channel Ten rolled out their new HD TV service that will go to air in December the press release described it as Full HD. Now it appears the Nework may be changing their stance with all promotion for the new channel describing it as simply Ten-HD.
Promotions for the new service currently being run online at http://ten.com.au/ describe it as Ten HD however behind the scenes the network are still describing the service as beig Full HD despite the fact that it is a 1080i transmission and not 1080p.
Forthcoming Australian high definition TV broadcasts in 1080i are classed as ‘full HD’ by the engineers behind them, because originally the term ‘full HD’ was used to refer to 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution, regardless of the way the display engineered the image – either in interlaced or progressive scan – according to representatives for Network Ten.
When the company announced its new Ten-HD free-to-air digital TV channel on 14 September, it made the mistake of calling its broadcast ‘full HD’, even though the highest Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) standard in Australia is a 1080i signal – inferior to the 1080p signal coming from HD DVD and Blu-ray content, displayed on a full HD (1080p) screen.
“TEN-HD’s signature programs will be in stunning, full HD, delivering the highest possible picture and sound quality to viewers at home,” said the press release from Network Ten.
While Ten is correct in saying it is delivering the highest possible picture and sound quality that is broadcastable, it does not provide the highest possible picture and sound quality to viewers at home. Blu-ray and HD DVD content does.
Speaking to representatives for Network Ten however, SmartHouse found that the broadcast industry has a very different, and arguable outdated, idea of what constitutes full HD.
“The broadcast industry has a standard that we broadcast to. There is no 1080p standard or profile for broadcasting, since MPEG2 compression is used, which is limited to 1080i,” said Network Ten technology manager – engineering, Jeff Yeates.
According to Yeates, Network Ten is correct in calling its 1080i transmission full HD because 1080i is the fullest HD picture and sound quality that can currently be transmitted in Australia.
Display quality is an entirely different matter, he said.
“1080p falls under the MPEG4 compression standard, which is not an Australian industry standard for broadcast. We are broadcasting at the highest profile – 1080i, which is full HD,” he said.
When asked if the industry needed a standard ruling as to what constitutes full HD, since different opinions were causing confusion in the marketplace for consumers, manufacturers and retailers alike, Yeates replied negatively.
“I don’t think it’s a conflicting or confusing term at all. The standard we make in broadcast is full HD. The standard they do in display is 1080p,” he said.
But isn’t 1080p full HD?
“Yes but displays are different. We are broadcasting full HD — there is no confusion in our minds,” said Yeates.
Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF) chairman, Ross Henderson, shed a little more light on the matter.
“Full HD is used to describe the picture capability, not the processing technique behind the screen,” Henderson told SmartHouse.
But isn’t 1080i/p used to refer to the picture capability?
Not according to Henderson, who says that the interlaced and progressive bit of the terms are used to describe the engine driving a TV – not the picture broadcast from the TV network.
But then again, the digital broadcast signal is in the interlaced format. But according to Hendersen, the interlaced bit of the equation is irrelevant – it is all full HD and whether it is interlaced or progressive is simply the manner in which the picture is delivered to the screen.
“What constitutes full HD is the display potential of the panel itself – the lines of resolution – not the electronic processing.’
That may be correct but even so, the market still seems to be calling for a term to differentiate the different types of electronic processing – namely because one format (progressive) offers superior quality to the other format, and the consumer has the right to know which they are purchasing.
Though some areas of the market have evolved to class only 1080p as full HD, the broadcast world is still using the term in its original context, according to Henderson – a context which some argue has quickly become outdated.