ABC iview to upscale to HD

EXCLUSIVE: ABC iview is switching to upscaled HD in the first half of this year.

Head of Programming and Digital Rebecca Heap recently told TV Tonight, “I’m pleased to say it’s approved and currently on the worklist of the team. It will be coming in the first half of this year.”

That’s good news for the millions who use the catch-up and live streaming site, and have been patiently waiting for a long overdue upgrade.

It follows ABC’s primary channel upscaling in December.

But while it won’t quite be a true 1080p resolution due to costs, Heap says viewers will definitely notice the improvement.

“In terms of full HD it’s still a discussion in progress internally. It comes with extra costs in terms of bandwidth. But you will see a significant improvement in iview quality in the first half this year,” she said.

A date is yet to be locked down.

9 Comments:

  1. The biggest problem with iView isn’t that it’s not HD; it’s that it doesn’t even come close to being SD quality, and is not even a high enough bitrate to make any scene with movement watchable at whatever low resolution it streams at.

    • This. iView’s bitrate is only 650 Kbps. SBS On Demand has used around 1500 Kbps since it started.

      I don’t care that iView won’t be in 1080. Frankly, 480 with an appropriate bitrate would be an improvement, and 720 would be lovely. We’ll prob get 576.

      As per Ted’s comments below, I suspect that by “upscaled” they really mean upgraded/improved, or that existing SD content (better than current 360) with be upscaled to the new pseudo-HD, rather than simply upscaling what is currently streamed.

  2. Yes, an odd decision – if it’s simply upscaling, then it’ll do nothing but increase the bandwidth required and increase costs for themselves & everyone else (except those on ISPs who offer unmetered iView).

    Upscaling won’t magically make the picture better – if they wanted to do that they’d be better off keeping the existing 640×360(p) resolution and increasing the encoding bitrate (i.e. bandwidth) by 20%~30% or so. It’d still be crap resolution, but it would be sharper – the biggest problem with iView now is that the picture is over-softened just to make it acceptable at their current low bitrate…

    • (That said, it sounds like this is a policy announcement for PR purposes – hopefully those people within the ABC who actually understand the trade-offs involved with compression will turn policy into something workable…)

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