Tag Archives: HD

A seven hour trainride in HD

Sometimes you take the train to get from point A to point B. Sometimes you just sit watching it on TV for seven hours. It’s a mad idea, I know. But it’s a fascinating one.

On Friday November 27th NRK2 (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) broadcasted the seven hour trainride with Bergensbanen, from Bergen to Oslo. 1.2 million people watched part of this documentary, that’s 25% of the Norwegian population (we’re only 4.8 million inhabitants). The reason to broadcast this trip, was to celebrate Bergensbanen’s 100th anniversary.

I watched the last two hours of the documentary, and it was very fascinating. With all the people following #Bergensbanen on Twitter, it was a great social event. It may sound strange, but this is TV at its best.

The documentary have already had one rerun and a new is schedules during the Christmas holiday. That’ no all. You can download it from NRKbeta.no (or directly from this link). It’s a 22GB file in HD (720p) showing the front camera of the train. It also have a Share alike Creative Commons lisence.

It’s only one thing to say about this: It’s an amazing watch!

The clip under show Finse, where part of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back where shot.

TV2 HD – their first show in HD

TV2 HD is Norways second homegrown HD channel. It’s only available from the distributor RiksTV and over the air. Other distributors like Canal Digital and ViaSat will probably have it later this year on both cable and satellite, but nothing is settled at this time.

At the time, before the whole country (that’s Norway to you) have no analog TV transmition (you can read more on my other blogpost), only thre MUX are available. So the bandwith is limited. And it actually was a big surpise to learn that they would start to broadcast in HD over the air.

The first show that was broadcasted in HD was “Allsang på grensen” (easily described as a sing-along-family-show). The quality was OK. I could see compretion-artifacts on my 40-inch HDTV sitting at 2,5 meters away. There was also some blocking with fast movements. But all in all, it was a good start and this was only the first show in HD.

TV2 HD is a pay-TV channel, but surpsingly and luckily, it was transmitet unencrypted today, so I could use my old and not so good TerraTec Cinergy Piranha DVB-T USB-stick to capture some screenshots (wich you can see bellow).

The same hardware also told me that TV2 HD broadcasted with 5Mbit, which is not much (I’ve read that some have measured the bitrate to 10.5Mbps, so my equipment may not show the right bitrate). NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Coopration) use around 3.5-4Mbit on their SD channels. In the long term, when more bandwith are available, they will use 12Mbit for their HD channel. I’ve also managed to calculate that they can use some more bandwith in the MUX they have now. But as I’ve said, this was the first show.

TV2 HD broadcast in 1080i so all SD (576i) shows are scaled to 1080i. And I actually think that the scaled version to HD looks way better than when they transmitted in SD. So overall, the quality of TV2 have gone up, and that’s a good thing. The other channels in the same MUX as TV2 HD transmite at around 2Mbit, the quality is OK, but not nothing more.

Here is some screenshots from “Allsang på grensen” on TV2 HD. Click for 1920×1080 versions.








TV2 HD over the air from June 25 in Norway

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) was launched in some parts of Norway in September 2007 and the whole country was covered in November 2008. Unlike US which killed the analogue switch in the whole country on June 12, Norway have taken an other approach. Norway have been devited in regions. Each region have had simulcast for 6 -12 months before the shutdown of the analogue signals which took place in the first part of Norway in March last year. On December 1st, 2009, there will be no more analogue signals.

In opposite to many other countries who started their DTT with MPEG-2, Norway chose MPEG-4 from the start, which is a much better compression technology. Norway, as rest of Europe, use the DVB-T standard. There are 25 TV channels available and 16 radio channels. Only the three TV channels from NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Coopration) are free-to-air, unencrypted. The rest of the channels are available from the commercial pay-tv operator RikstTV.

It was said that because of the simulcast in the transition from analogue to digital, only three multiplexes would be available from the start, which wouldn’t give enough room for HD TV. In an ectually big surprise for me, TV2 (the biggest commersial broadcaster in Norway) announced that they will start to broadcast in HD from June 25, 2009 over the air. At first TV2 HD will only be available  on digital terrestrial television. But other providers like Get, ViaSat and Canal Digital will probably get a deal to broadcast TV2 HD through cable and satellite TV later this year.

TVNorge HD was the first homegrown HD channel in Norway and launched in October 2008, and is only available from Canal Digital. TV2 HD will be the second homegrown HD channel. And NRK are planning to start HD transmition next year with the Vancouver Olympics. TV2 HD will broadcast in 1080i.

TV2 HD will start to broadcast some shows in HD, and then expand on that. The first show is Allsang på grensen (best described as a sing-a-long-show) then Tour de France. They will broadcast movies on Friday and Saturday in HD, main match in Norwegian Soccer on Sundays, TV shows like Greys Anatomy/ Cleaners/ Scrubs/ Brothers & Sisters/ Criminal Minds / Life on Mars/ X-list, Nordic TV shows, Varg Veum (Norwegian crime show), Jakten på kjærligheten (love show), Da damene dro (When the Ladies left) and Skal vi danse (Shall We Dance)

I’m very excited over this and think I will be watching a lot more TV, just beacuse it’s in HD.

Source: NTV.no and RiksTV.no (Google-translated version)

UPDATE: The first HD show have been aired on TV2 HD, I watched in and have written about it in a new blogpost.