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Oct 06 2011

As part of the BBC’s cost cutting budget announced today, it has been confirmed what had been planned since last year that BBC’s “umbrella” high-definition channel will be replaced by BBC2 HD, to help with their required 20% cost reduction.

The plan is that BBC2 HD will simply simulcast programmes on BBC2 rather than offering a range of programmes from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4 in high-definition, though it is expected that many of the most popular BBC3 and 4 programmes will broadcast on BBC2 in the future.

There are no planned changes to the way BBC1 and BBC1 HD operate.

More information on the BBC’s further cuts can be found here.

How do you feel about the change? Do you often watch programmes on BBCHD that aren’t being simulcast from BBC1 or BBC2 at the same time? Leave your comments below.

70 Responses to “BBCHD To Be Replaced By BBC2HD”

  1. Mark S Says:

    When are they doing this? Yeah just last night I was watching Mobo’s on BBC Hd that was simulcast from BBC three..

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  2. Richard Crichton Says:

    Said so six or more months ago. Na na na na na. :-)

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  3. Adrian Lucas Says:

    I don’t think this will make much difference – in fact, it might be better for the viewer.

    Only last night I had to stay up to midnight to see Rab C Nesbitt in HD when the SD version on BBC2 was on at 10pm.

    The only down side will be BBC2 programmes that were not made in HD.

    At the moment, ALL progs on BBC hd are genuine high def productions. BBC2 hd will not be able to make that claim, just like BBC1 hd and ITV hd both broadcast ‘up-scaled’ sd programmes.

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  4. james Says:

    bad idea. There are loads of programs on bbc three and four that are in hd which we will no longer get to see. They should ditch bbc one hd and just have one hd channel that shows content from the whole network. At least that way people would have dedicated hd and not just a large percentage upscaled simulacast channel.

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  5. Space Says:

    I think this is a good thing. Most people don’t watch BBC3 and BBC4 even so some of the programmes are great. A great many people still watch the same basic channels from 20 years ago, so having them all in HD – plus hopefully a few more in coming months (Maybe C5) – is a good selling point imo

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  6. Freddy Says:

    I’d rather go back to just one dedicated HD channel than this! Naff idea.

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  7. Tim Bennett Says:

    Good news it gets over the stupid scheduling issues where a BBC1 programme is repeated later the same day on BBC HD etc

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  8. Gary Says:

    How odd. The second sentence of the article on the BBC website starts, “No channels will close…”. As for missing out on HD versions of BBC 3 and BBC 4 exclusive programs, looks like there won’t be any in the future. The article goes on to say, “BBC Three and Four will become feeder channels for BBC One and Two respectively”.

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  9. Swjoduk Says:

    I think its a poor decision, particularly if BBC3 and 4 will be used as a feeder channel. New content will be shown on those channels but it will not be in HD as Mongrels was last year for example.

    What with the sports right deminishing particularly the F1, BBC HD going and less original programming I do wonder why I bother with the Beeb.

    Hopefully Jools Holland will stay on BBC2 and in HD! It already annoys me that the tuesday night show is not in 5.1 like the Friday show

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  10. SL Says:

    So, for example Being Human will now longer be in HD?
    Great thinking BBC.

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  11. emsquared Says:

    We’ll see how it all pans out. The current daytime preview loop for BBC HD is a bit of a waste though and as there’s now no budget for BBC2 daytime I’m presuming the BBC2/HD feed will be full of repeats instead (Frankly I’d have been happy to say goodbye to Breakfast telly on BBC1 and see more test card time during the day if it helped uphold quality where it was needed). Hopefully BBC2 might partly regain its previous identity lost in recent years (music,arts,comedy,documentary) whilst BBC4 becomes more an outlet for archive material and a feeder for BBC2.

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  12. steve 1 Says:

    When is it coming into force anybody?how are there bit rates?the royal wedding was stunning I suppose with all the cuts its a sad no I suppose

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  13. Billybass Says:

    Lost one,gained one,not worth bothering about !

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  14. Mark S Says:

    BBC management is reviewing the number of regional variants in England carried on digital satellite and intends to reduce this to enable savings in distribution costs, though these programmes would continue to be transmitted on Freeview

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  15. Neil Says:

    Whilst this was inevitable for BBC HD, there’s other elements of this wider DQF proposal which are not so good. Yep, no outlet for BBC Three and Four’s programmes in HD will be an issue for those wanting to watch them but there’s also comments made proposing a reduction in BBC One SD regions on DSAT affecting Freesat viewers too together with a total reduction of Red Button streams down to just one across all platforms.

    Whilst the Red Button video streams will be missed by a lot, I feel people need to lobby the BBC Trust to protect at least the BBC One SD regions on DSAT. If this means removing whole BBC regions then it’s bad news however if it’s just minor sub-regions (like Yorkshire East for example) then not as bad but totally throws the BBC’s ‘platform neutrality’ policy out of the window as they’ve said they will continue on Freeview. It’s these sub-regions which are currently available on ITV via Freesat.

    As for those News Multiscreens too, looks like we’ll never see them now as that’s one of the other proposals – to remove them from DSAT completely. The only saving grace for those wanting Red Button streams is that the BBC will be looking at implementing IPTV solutions (via the Red Button) so for those with connected STB’s and TV’s could be a substitute but I won’t hold my breath.

    Not wanting to bring politics in to this but all I’ll say is that this is what a Conservative led Government has to thank us for, and one for which the News Corp/Murdoch ‘back room’ deals were done long before phone hacking exposed it all.

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  16. steve 1 Says:

    Neil was it you who told me about humax software being fixed in september you was very sure

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  17. Pete Says:

    i understand why they have to do it. but its a bloody shame. I wish people would stop being out to get the BBC. Twas a sad day when their budget was held for the next few years. It will just mean sky can run rough shot over everyone even more.

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  18. Neil Says:

    Steve: I never said September or indeed gave any specific date Steve, all I said was that after a conversation with them they said it was ‘in the pipeline’ and that a fix was imminent within a few weeks. A ‘few’ can mean anything from 3 – 6 or 7!

    Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m only passing on what I was told in good faith.

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  19. steve 1 Says:

    I was pulling your leg I am mad at humax really not keeping us informed it could be anytime

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  20. Neil Says:

    Pete: Couldn’t agree more. One reason to keep cost of living high I suppose so it will dent Sky’s subscription figures. Talking of Sky, I read that ALL retailers (Currys, Comet, Tesco etc) are having their sales deals with Sky terminated so the only place you can get it is through ‘blokes in shopping centres’ at those stands or direct via Sky. This sounds odd to me but not complaining as I think it will give Freesat a sales advantage in these Electrical stores if it’s true. It is annoying how Sky is rammed down your throat on 20 TV sets all simultaneously displaying the same Sky promo loop over and over.

    Steve: I guess it shouldn’t be long now, it’s in Humax’s hands.

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  21. Billybass Says:

    it is a shame that the beeb are cutting costs,but how many of us complained about the cost of the tv license,you cant have it both ways,why dont the beeb get sponsors for content,or advertising like itv ect,we know the beebs unique,but it needs to modernise,but it cant do it without money,anyone for a rise in the tv license !

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  22. admin Says:

    @Neil

    Sky are terminating their distribution agreement at the end of this month (with 90 days notice) which includes deactivating the Sky Buddy scheme; I wasn’t aware they were also pulling out of the major retailers too! Sky will still be available direct, through the shopping centre “window glazing” salesmen and also through the remaining ~150 licensed agents which usually are installers or independent shops.

    The economic situation is certainly going to hit Sky, especially with all the news scandle too. Will be interesting to see how high their curn rate is.

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  23. Simon Says:

    Wel I hope that some of the BBC 3 drama’s such as Being Human and The Fades get broadcast on BBC 2 as I always watch these on BBC HD at the moment, they are some of the best programmes made by the BBC and a lot better than anything they have to offer on BBC 1

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  24. shaun Says:

    BBC HD repeats so many BBC 1 HD programmes, that this change would be quite good. (BBC1 repeats quite a lot on BBC 3 anyway)

    However, The Great Bake Off (filmed in HD), is being broadcasted on BBC2 is SD, but not shown on BBC HD.

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  25. Chrislayeruk Says:

    Lest we forget we are out of money in the UK and somthing has to give!
    Change is the way of things for the forseeable future, good and bad depending on how you look at things.
    All platforms will suffer in varying degrees.
    We are spoilt by the great value of the License fee which has been capped for the time being.
    The Pictures on BBC radio are all in HD, I for one will be tuning in………Chris :)

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  26. Space Says:

    “We are spoilt by the great value of the License fee which has been capped for the time being.”

    That depends on what you watch. Maybe you are getting great value, but only due to the fact that it is subsidised by others who are forced to pay for it.

    If the BBC is so confident in its output, it would be very easy for them with all the new standards and platforms etc, to move to a viewing card method of funding, rather than the archaic TV tax.

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  27. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Space 26

    These cut backs at the BBC will affect more than the BBC. Many independent programs not shown on the BBC are made in the BBC studios or use much of the technical know how at the BBC. In addition the BBC have one of the most popular web site and provide easily the best radio service in the country.

    You may not like the licence fee however the up side is no advert breaks in programs meaning that sport fans don’t miss vital goals and you get to watch films as intended.

    What is a scandal is this government has imposed a stealth tax because the BBC is now having to fund the World Service and the Internet expansion from the licence fee. This on top of a freeze on the licence fee. Effectively the licence fee payers are paying off the budget deficit!

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  28. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    I will miss BBC HD as it does tend to show more programs I like and shows a load of repeats I want to watch. One problem with BBC 3 and 4 is the start time of 19:00. I am often home by 6pm and often watch BBC HD around 6:30pm.

    I gather that some of the cutbacks are more savage than was expected. Now if I was a cynical person I would expect the cut backs announced may not all be implemented. There is the precedence of 6 Music!

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  29. Matthew Says:

    If the BBC are going to do cuts, I would love to see them merge BBC 2,3,4 programming into just one channel, call it BBC2 HD still but air the best of all 3 channels on the new channel and only air stuff in Native HD, no upscaled stuff.

    Would never happen though.

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  30. Space Says:

    Not quite true Kevin. The money for the internet expansion is money left over from the digital switch over. The World Service has always been called the “BBC World Service” – a pretty strong advert for their massive commercial operations, and also a lot of their facilities etc were shared with the rest of the BBC. Not quite a stealth tax eh, but yes the best option would have been complete closure of the World Service.

    And regarding the adverts – that’s fine don’t have them – but theres no reason not to collect the fee via viewing card, which is much fairer than the enforced TV tax regardless of weather or not you use their services.

    The BBC have some great content – but no wonder when they collect £5 Billion per year with few commercial pressures.

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  31. admin Says:

    I don’t begrudge the license fee as for me personally there are a number of good quality programmes on the BBC worth watching (and one definately isn’t Eastenders!!!). Broadcasters have had it so easy for a long time now and have expanded to the point of having excessive number of channels and too many repeats in between; this cost cutting was always going to happen and should ultimately result in better quality television long term. However, taking F1 away…grrrrrrr…!

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  32. Frazer Palmer Says:

    BBC THREE AND FOUR NEED TO BE IN HD NOW!

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  33. Space Says:

    I don’t mind paying for the BBC either, though it is a little too expensive – I just disagree with the way it is collected. I only watch few programmes on the BBC, but I do use its internet and radio service regularly (which ironically you don’t need a licence for). The main thing I valued the BBC for was the F1, so yes I’m very disappointed about that.

    What I had issue with is people pitying the BBC cuts and saying what great value it is. I don’t think its that great value, and it is in serious need of cuts. I believe that the cuts could have been made without affecting programming, but that would have required the organisation and its staff to becoming more efficient and flexible – which is never going to happen in what is basically a state owned business. What Matthew says is a start – it should be smaller, and better quality. The slack would easily be taken up by commercial stations, who are currently stifled by the power of the BBC and its wish to constantly grow.

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  34. Brian Damage Says:

    Why is this happening?

    Why not BBC 3 & 4 HD?

    Money
    It’s a crime
    Share it fairly
    But don’t take a slice of my pie
    Money
    So they say
    Is the root of all evil today
    But if you ask for a raise
    It’s no surprise that they’re giving none away

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  35. Alan Says:

    Those responsible within the BBC’s high management have incompetently squandered huge amounts of licence payers money by paying out ludicrously overinflated wages for themselves and also second rate entertainers and presenters. Now licence payers have to suffer for such economic stupidity.

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  36. Eamonn Says:

    Constantly amazed that people complain about £145.50 a year for all the TV, Radio and Web services that the BBC offer ad (but not promo) free. Try living abroad for a while and wade through the televisual effulent that is offered.

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  37. Space Says:

    Eamonn if you use it and get good value then that’s fine – not everyone does. Maybe the BBC should bump the fee up to “just” £250 and buy the football rights back – see what the problem is there?

    £145 might not be a fortune to you, but to many people its a reasonable amount of money – if its such amazing value, why not have a viewing card? It would cost no more than the £100 of millions it costs to collect the licence fee and it would stamp out evasion.

    The reason we don’t have a viewing card is that the BBC know full well that quite a percentage would not bother to buy their services, which maybe unfortunate for themselves and people like yourself, but you cannot deny that it would be a fairer system.

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  38. Nick Green Says:

    Perhaps all these BBC cuts would be easier for the general public to accept if they were to halve the obscenely large salaries and platinum plated pensions paid to their executives. Actually I am surprised that BBC3 and BBC4 are to survive the execution.They do add additional choice but I half expected their content to be absorbed into BBC2 which could then desist from its interminable repeats!

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  39. Neil Says:

    Space: The BBC should NEVER go behind a paywall – this is playing directly in to the hands of Sky and Murdoch’s empire. £145.50 should be nothing to those who frequently complain but pay Sky over £800/yr. I often hear the comments “Why should I pay the TV licence as I pay Sky”, these people just don’t get what PSB’s like the beeb provide to the UK. Like Eamann says, just pay a trip abroad to some of the southern European countries to see what drivel they have on TV over there.

    I’m a strong advocate of the BBC and these cuts are, IMHO, totally unnecessary in such amounts if the Government didn’t have it as their ‘mission’ to please those who supported them getting in to power.

    admin: How does the Sky Buddy scheme work? I heard the info about the retail pull out via a third party but seems people on DS have also been discussing it too, one of which works for a retailer too. Yep, they must be feeling the pinch but don’t think in the long term it will do them any good. I’m not complaining though as all the constant advertising for Sky in every electrical shop you go in to does grate a bit after a while!

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  40. admin Says:

    @ Neil

    Sky Buddy scheme in brief allows a non-Sky agent the ability to obtain a Sky subscription and subsidised digibox from Sky (usually through the soon to be defunked distributors) to then install for a customer. It allows installers a means of further income as the deal matches that of the deals Sky offer direct, plus pays them a commission on activation. It was a nice idea for those without an official Sky (ASA) license, but with no distributors to maintain the service going forward (and too many restrictions by Sky) it will be discontinued.

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  41. Neil Says:

    Sounds like smaller retailers, who would have it in their interests to promote Sky for extra commission, will thus loose out along with Sky longer term. I suppose this could do Freesat a favour as well as presumably these retailers will no longer stock any Sky STB’s? The word from the info about the retails like Comet etc seemed to be that Sky were collecting all their STB stock and thus won’t sell any of their products at all.

    Back to the BBC cuts, found the online consultation. I recommend everyone makes their feelings known, particularly around the area of removing regionalism from Satellite:
    http://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/dqf/consultation

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  42. admin Says:

    @Neil

    There is no way the big retailers nor Sky will stop this sales route completely. I suspect the retailers will continue to promote Sky, but have them order directly via the Sky website (maybe in store) for a affiliate based commission.

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  43. Sean Says:

    Why not just scrap both BBC 1 HD & BBC HD, and have something like a stream that broadcasts a HD version of a programme from any of the BBC channels, if it’s available just by pressing a button.
    I dont tune into ITV1 HD, but access the HD programme from pressing the blue button.

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  44. Sean Says:

    “The plan is that BBC2 HD will simply simulcast programmes on BBC2 rather than offering a range of programmes from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4 in high-definition”

    this to be says that the BBC aren’t going to produce any HD programmes for BBC3/BBC4 !

    So we will end up with

    BBC1 (SD), BBC2 (SD), BBC3 (SD), BBC4 (SD)
    BBC1 HD (a mixture of SD/HD), BBC2 HD (a mixture of SD/HD).

    whereas we had.

    BBC1 (SD), BBC2 (SD), BBC3 (SD), BBC4 (SD)
    BBC1 HD (a mixture of SD/HD), BBC HD (HD from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4).

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  45. Richard Crichton Says:

    @41 Neil
    Perhaps removing the 20 ish versions of BB1 SD will allow more bandwidth for 1920×1080 and higher bitrates on the BBC’s so called HD channels.
    If you want local news watch your built in as standard (now) Freeview channel or listen to the local radio. There is no real need for news on TV at all. It’s all bad and depressing anyway.
    Also why are the BBC still using outdated LW for R4 when there are so many other ways of listening. The electricity bill for the megawatt LW transmitter must be hundreds of thousands per year.

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  46. Tony Hales Says:

    All SD channels should be scrapped as it’s yesterdays standard. HD is the new SD. All almost new TV’s are HD and the ones that aren’t could still get the downscaled version. The future is 1080 so why bother with 625 lines. Don’t see any 405 line broadcasts now so why are there still 625 line broadcasts?

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  47. Zub Says:

    just seems like rebranding, what they will probably do is use the BBC2 platform to show what they have been on BBC HD.

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  48. Gary Says:

    Shame. Is BBC2HD destined to be more like BBC1HD (which is usually just SD+ rather than HD) than BBCHD. The difference between 1HD and HD has always been obvious, even to my non technical eyes.
    They have to save some cash somewhere so I wont complain, but it is a shame.

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  49. Keith G Says:

    I never watch the HD channels, I don’t see much difference and I need to turn down the sound volume.
    But forty-eight comments before mine in disagreement?

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  50. HD-Sceptic Says:

    If the Beeb is doing this to save money, how is it cheaper to simulcast BBC2 than to use BBC-HD as a showcase?

    All four main BBC channels will live on, it seems. BBC-HD has long been a platform where programmes recorded in HD could be showcased, regardless of which channel they were intended for.

    We’ve just been told that BBC2 will become, in effect, the Dad’s Army channel, so what is the point in showing all those SD repeats in upscaled HD? If the Beeb can’t afford to do the job properly, I would prefer them to spend my licence fee on QUALITY SD programming.

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  51. Steve L Says:

    HD-Sceptic:”If the Beeb is doing this to save money, how is it cheaper to simulcast BBC2 than to use BBC-HD as a showcase?”

    because there is a team of people dealing with the schedule of BBCHD; deciding what programmes go where, links, trailers, announcements etc.

    A continuous showcase will still need a schedule generating and isn’t as much value as BBC2HD

    BBC2HD will tap off the standard BBC2 chain with redundancy + DOGS, hence there is no additional ongoing operational costs

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  52. Timk Says:

    Shame. BBC HD was a great showcase for all that was good from the BBC in HD. It had an excellent mix of the best repeats from BBC1 and allowed programs on 2/3 and 4 to be broadcast in HD as appropriate – everything from Being Human to BBC Wildlife. As a simulcast of BBC2 it will simply include the bad with the good.

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  53. mcmlxxiii Says:

    Right that’s it..

    I demand a free Freesat hd pvr as compensation please.

    On a different note the extra hd slot that’s being freed up on the freeview hd platform should now get a little more interesting as with the advent of this reorganisation of the bbc channels.
    Personally, I don’t want to see upscaled crap on a hd channel: ever.
    There’s simply no place for it except the sd slot it currently occupies.
    Therefore this change, in my opinion in the short term (until everyhting they produce becomes hd) is bad news compared to what we had before.

    Gutted I didn’t win that Manhattan…I was convinced!!!

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  54. shaun Says:

    …compenstation….. I’d too would like a HD PVR… lol

    not sure how the BBC can save money by replacing BBC HD with BBC2 HD….

    I always thought a way of saving money would be reducing a service……

    Why not just get rid of Teletext (as ITV did), or remove the red button content…..

    I was kind of hoping that BBC2 HD was going to be an addition, and that BBC HD would be shoing BBC3 & BBC4 (and CBBC/Cbeebies before 7:00pm)

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  55. steve 1 Says:

    Do we have a date for bbc2hd?or is it months away I am in no hurry

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  56. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ 54 shaun

    If the BBC removed the red button content would that mean the loss of iPlayer on Freesat?

    Frankly I think these cuts are over the top and should be resisted. We are still paying the same licence fee. As I have pointed out before we the licence payers are being affected by a stealth tax which seems to indicate that the Conservatives are still in the back pocket of Murdoch.

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  57. Tony Hales Says:

    @ 56 Kevin Ver1
    “We are still paying the same licence fee.”
    Trouble is we should be paying 5% more as inflation has risen since last year.
    The license fee is frozen for six years so at the end of that period what we are paying could be worth 30% less to the BBC. How would you handle a 30% drop in your income without making cuts.

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  58. Space Says:

    “Tony Hales Says:
    Trouble is we should be paying 5% more as inflation has risen since last year.
    The license fee is frozen for six years so at the end of that period what we are paying could be worth 30% less to the BBC. How would you handle a 30% drop in your income without making cuts.”

    Maths fail.

    And also how many people in the UK do you think will be receiving 5% pay increases for the next 6 years? Not many, but I’m pretty sure that the BBC staff will be – and there lies part of the problem.

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  59. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    I gather that the senior management at the BBC have taken a pay cut and I would not be surprised if there was a wage freeze. Whilst I would agree that the freeze on the licence fee would be difficult to deal with I would expect the additional costs imposed by the Government would not help in any way.

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  60. Ian Vallender Says:

    launch cbbc hd cbeebies hd bbc3hd and bbc4hd whilst your at it auntie

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  61. Tony Hales Says:

    Why do the BBC need two all day children’s channels. They should be combined into one channel. The school age kids can’t watch anyway so who do they think
    are they broadcasting to.
    @60 Ian Vallender
    The BBC is trying to save money not spend more and they are very unlikely to do as you suggest though I agree all channels should be in HD.
    If you want to see what proper HD looks like tune to NHK World.

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  62. steve 1 Says:

    From a kids point of view its better one for toddlers and one for older children. Adults don’t really care anyway.older children will think cbeebies childish

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  63. Sean Says:

    @55…..

    well ‘coming soon’ for BBC iplayer was almost a year wait.
    and ITV player has been ‘coming soon’ for a few months now.

    so ‘coming soon’ could be a matter of days, weeks, months, years.

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  64. Richard Crichton Says:

    @62…..
    When I was a kid there was no daytime TV and only 3 BBC Radio Stations, home service, light program and third but we did have the pirate radio ships to listen to on our transistor radios.

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  65. Ged Skelton Says:

    If the BBC was committed to giving the British public value for money whilst at the same time saving on its budget and moving forward, Then they would change BBC Three to BBC Movies. BBC Four to BBC Documentary.
    By doing this the BBC would become the envy of the world and could expand its HD division.
    Its that easy BBC and you pay managers £65000 and they cant come up with anything better?

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  66. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Ged Skelton #65

    Not sure of the logic behind your suggestion. BBC 3 does showcase a fair amount of original drama and comedy. It also show a fair number of factual programs. Its output may not be to everyone’s taste but much of it is well made. BBC 4 on the other hand does show a fair number of origin drama series including some of the best continental series. I see no benefit in restricting BBC 3 to films and BBC 4 to documentaries.

    Personally there is several ways the BBC could cut costs and improve its output. Firstly it should forgo the National Lottery. Why does the corporation pay a fortune for what is clearly a commercial venture? Secondly they should refuse to spend silly money for sport rights. Thirdly they should slim down the bureaucracy and concentrate on being creative.

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  67. stephan Says:

    the sound on the HD channels are not as loud as on all other digital channels. What can i do about this?

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  68. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Stephen #67

    I often find the reverse is the case. HD Channels tend to be loader with my TV. I think the only solution is the remote control.

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  69. alexander Says:

    Why not let the BBC reseach team keep BBC HD for their digital work on satellites.

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  70. John Mitchell Says:

    I agree with a number of contributors who state that if the beeb can’t afford more HD channels and needs to economize, it should reserve one channel for programmes that can do full justice to HD. Namely, documentaries, live events including sport and indeed music which benefits from the better sound quality potential of HD. I am thinking here particularly of the Proms, which go out on BBC4 in the Summer. Hopefully adjustments will be made to the existing BBC2 schedules to accommodate more of these programmes in future. I cannot see how HD benefits BBC2 studio transmissions such as Mastermind and sitcoms, popular though they undoubtedly are.,

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