Sports Channels

  laurie53 08:20 21 Mar 09
Locked

Once digital is available to all what are the chances of dedicated BBC and ITV sports channels, rather than continuing to try to fit it in at the expense of normal schedules and family harmony?

  Quickbeam 08:28 21 Mar 09

I think it will happen, it makes sense.

It already exists on radio, with the sports channels on DAB, ready to take straight over from the analogue shutdown.

  Stuartli 19:49 21 Mar 09

Radio 5, Radio 5 Extra and (later) TALKSport, for a start, have always been available on Freeview.

In fact on big match nights in midweek, Radio 5 is linked with Freeview BBCi channel 302 and, from around 10pm, Radio 5's 606 programme can be viewed live in the studio.

  Quickbeam 12:32 23 Mar 09

Yes, true. But I bought a DAB set for the car for the last word cup because the broadcast quality on AM is as bad as a boy scout with two bean cans and a shoe lace. The FM wavelengths are too full to expand into what we demand now for a quality speech channel, and they'll be going anyway soon.

Things are certainly improving, for instance the 5 extra is already poised to kick longwave into touch with the ball by ball cricket coverage as soon as they dare switch longwave off. Apparently there's 15 listeners in Sweden, 8 in Iceland and 3 in Finland that are pressuring the BBC into keeping longwave on the air...

  interzone55 13:27 23 Mar 09

"Apparently there's 15 listeners in Sweden, 8 in Iceland and 3 in Finland that are pressuring the BBC into keeping longwave on the air..."

And many in the UK - I have a portable LW radio for TMS in the garden, DAB reception is ropey at best round my way, often dissolving into bubbling mud sounds, but it's next to useless in the garden where the signal is blocked by trees.

Long Wave on the other had can be picked up with no problems at all...

  Quickbeam 13:41 23 Mar 09

"Long Wave on the other had can be picked up with no problems at all..."

DAB coverage will get better, longwave belongs with last centuries bakelite valve sets that are permanently tuned into the home service and is as quaint as tea and cucumber sandwiches on the lawn at the Woman's Institute summer fete...

  laurie53 15:04 23 Mar 09

"DAB reception is ropey at best round my way, often dissolving into bubbling mud sounds, "

Both DAB and FM are rubbish at my location, which is why I've gone to internet radio.

However, my original post was more a question about TV channels rather than radio.

The loss of analogue is going to free up a hell of a lot of terrestrial bandwidth.

  interzone55 15:09 23 Mar 09

"DAB coverage will get better"

They've been saying that for years, but I really don't think it will.

Most commercial broadcasters seem to be dropping DAB like a hot brick because it's just not taking off as well as it should, and this is for two reasons.

a) reception quality in most areas is crap
b) The bit rate is too low

the second point is highlighted by the fact that many countries are switching to DAB+, which is far better but not backwards compatible with DAB.
Many new radios will work with both formats, but anything manufactured before 2008 is unlikely to work with DAB+.

For this reason OFCOM decided we should stick with standard DAB and put up with rubbish quality.

Until I can get 5 Live Extra in my garden I hope they leave LW alone - after all I don't think anyone else wants to use that band, and 3 transmitters seem to be able to cover most of the planet...

  Quickbeam 16:18 23 Mar 09

I agree it's got some way to go, but it is the future.

On the poor reception, have you tried an external antenna, my new car set was crap with the supplied windscreen antenna.

On the bit rate, it seems the BBC bit rate output is lower than the commercial stations. But I don't think speech programmes seem to need the higher rate. Radio Five & Extra have a listening clarity way above R4 on FM.

Back to, "Long Wave on the other had can be picked up with no problems at all..."
Well yes, you can pick up the UK longwave signal in most of Northern Europe. But it's speech clarity is very muddy, and it can be very whiney and crackly and is affected by the cloud density for signal quality. I remember in the seventies, when my dad would take us out in the car for the day, the terrible interference as we went by electricity pylons, under bridges and past lorries... it's crap!

I still do believe it's day is over... RIP LW.

  Quickbeam 16:30 23 Mar 09

"However, my original post was more a question about TV channels rather than radio."

Yes, if we can have dedicated history, current affairs, crime drama, soap, old comedy etc channels, there's no reason why regular entertainment schedules should be disrupted.

Radio Five's Extra is a channel that only broadcast when it's needed, a sort of overspill channel, so I don't see why TV can't have a couple of sport channels that only broadcast when there's something surplus to normal output.

  interzone55 16:48 23 Mar 09

"have you tried an external antenna"

You can't get much more external than sitting in the garden with your radio :-)

But I get your point, no I don't have an external antenna - if I had a DAB receiver attached to my main system then I'd invest in a proper antenna, but I only have DAB on a couple of Roberts portables and a Goodmans Radio CD player. The Roberts are much, much better than the Goodmans set, but still not as good as my 25 year old Denon 260L tuner with a roof antenna...

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