Open Letter: What does EC "support" mean?

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Aug 11 16:19:57 UTC 2004

On Wed, 2004-08-11 at 16:48 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> > I think you probably ought to talk to some BBC engineers before saying
> > too much bad stuff about them.
> I have, often described in my /blog/ site, but they have said they 
> won't write to me much any more.

Ah, ok. Sorry, I've not been watching anything you've written about

> > [...] 7-day EPG [...] the problem is one of end-user hardware, not
> > willingness to support standards.
> I have hardware which works with the ARD services. I believe they are
> DVB-SI EIT and BBC isn't.

I have no idea what DVB-s stuff works with the full SI information, but
certainly a lot of DVB equipment won't, which is why they are doing such
extensive (slow) testing.

> I'm saying they're not testing full DVB-SI on the Astra 2 satellite. 

Ah, I didn't realise you were talking solely about DSAT. As far as I
know, provision of EPG over DSAT is out of the control of the Beeb -
certainly on BSkyB CA it was, I don't see any reason why it would be in
their remit now. I'm also not sure how DVB-s multiplexes; with -t I
think the EPG is a full broadcast per-multiplex. I doubt there would be
enough bandwidth to do that across the -s system, due to the sheer
number of channels, but I guess that's speculation.

> What's 4TV?

Providers of a proprietary EPG via DVB-t.

> > I don't know of any DVRs which cope with it.
> What's a DVR?

A recorder with a digital tuner, rather than analogue - i.e., something
which saves the broadcast directly. Most free software VRs are PVRs,
although you can get digital tuners.

> > [engineers] I will try asking if you're interested in the answer
> I am, especially if it's soon enough to affect this. Do BBC use 
> Globecast uplinks?

Probably, but it's irrelevant for this (BBC use uplinks for many, many
things). The Astra uplink would be sent by the BBC themselves, but the
Globecast bods I know will also be uplinking to Astra so would probably
have a good idea about the EPG situation.

> Possibly. I don't see how I can use this on the manufacturers, though. 
> Can you? I think the BBC must create the demand by supporting the 
> standards first

Chicken and egg, though. The BBC do tend to supply before the demand is
there as a rule, although EPGs might be a touchy area. 



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