ABC News 24 to go on HD? Why?
Saturday July 10th 2010, 7:12 am

The ABC have decided to slot their new 24 hour news programming on their HD channel, displacing ABC1 to standard definition.

Can someone please tell me why a channel that will mainly be running regurgitated, infinitely repeated content, often sourced from low-resolution sources, deserves high definition more than the largely beautifully videographed programming that currently runs on ABC1?


*crickets chirping*

C’mon, Mr Scott, get a little sense about you. Put ABC 24 on a standard def channel.


7 Comments so far
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I tried but gave up on that one. There’s nothing logical or rational about it. Who’s the fully fledged f—kwit responsible?

Comment by Melchior 07.11.10 @ 3:25 pm

It’s because of the government restrictions on digital TV – the ABC is required to broadcast a certain number of hours of content in high definition, and they are also required to simulcast their analogue station in standard definition. This meant that one of the ABC’s stations must be in HD, and they couldn’t change over ABC1 to HD. After all the analogue signals are switched off in 2013, the ABC might be able to review their channels but until then, putting the news channel in HD is the only way they can meet the government requirements!

Comment by James 07.11.10 @ 9:00 pm

James is quite correct. Of course, ABC2 could have gone HD instead, with ABC News 24 getting it’s share of the bandwidth.

Things are likely change in 2013. Perhaps earlier if MPEG-4 capable devices gain ground quickly.

Comment by mc 07.12.10 @ 10:31 pm

Thanks for that, James. Can you point me to the regulations that make this specification? And when you say “the ABC is required to broadcast a certain number of hours of content in high definition,” is that Australian content? If not, it would appear that simulcasting ABC1 on HD would meet that test.

Comment by weez 07.13.10 @ 5:22 am

@weez, I’m not too sure where the exact regulation is but it is a requirement that all networks must adhere to. As I understand it, the commercial stations must broadcast a certain number of hours of programming in native HD (whether or not it is Australian), while ABC and SBS must meet the same quota but their content can be upscaled from SD. Therefore, either a HD rebroadcast of ABC1 or ABC News 24 both qualify as counting towards the quota. If bandwidth was available, the ABC could have left ABC1 HD where it was and launched News 24 in SD, but with the available bandwidth, something had to give; by putting News 24 in HD, the HD requirement is met without impacting on the other channels available e.g. ABC2 and ABC3.

Comment by James 07.13.10 @ 11:32 am

There is a Bandwidth restriction that the ABC with 4 channels is also running up against.
I can’t find where I read about it, but put simply, they have a finite amount of spectrum to broadcast the Digital signal in.
They cannot physically squeeze 4 SD channels and 1 HD Channel into their allocated allotment, 3 SD and 1HD is the maximum they can carry and even then, the HD channel has to be gimped down to 720p or 1080i so as not to lower the quality of the SD channels. You can see the difference when ABC3 goes offline and all of a sudden ABC HD jumps in broadcast quality (apparently, I don’t have an HD STB to confirm this), the ABC HD channels uses up some of the spectrum that would otherwise have gone to ABC Kids… ABC Kids is also gimped and runs at lower res than the other 2 ABC Channels (cause Kids don’t notice).

Since ABC News is likely to be the lowest rating channel, it makes sense that it be the HD channel that not everyone (ie me) can receive…

Comment by StevoTheDevo 07.21.10 @ 7:24 am

Wow, I often think I’m the only one who thinks about or cares about this sort of thing. How silly of me. Now I have all the answers too. I really have to spend less time alone with my thoughts and instead let my thoughts out for a walk in the webisphere more. Thanks to @riayn for being the common link to this for me.

Comment by MaxF 07.25.10 @ 5:37 pm

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