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Freesat 'backs BBC HD picture quality'

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Freesat 'backs BBC HD picture quality'
Freesat managing director Emma Scott has said that the satellite platform is happy with the picture quality of BBC HD and described the controversy around it as a "geek issue".

After new encoders were introduced by the BBC on August 5, the bitrate on BBC HD dropped from 16Mbs to 9.7Mbs, a reduction of nearly 40%. Viewers subsequently reported various issues with picture quality on the channel and called for the BBC to return it to pre-August standards.

Various BBC representatives have since responded to the controversy, including head of BBC HD Danielle Nagler appearing on Points Of View.

As BBC HD is available on Freesat, Scott backed Nagler's response that the new encoders were selected to improve picture quality on the BBC's "most challenging programmes", and also increase compatibility with satellite platforms.

Scott also described the fierce response from some viewers, including hundreds of posts on the DS forums and BBC Internet Blog, as "a bit of a geek issue".

She added: "I don't think that regular punters really recognise a recognisable dip. And as Danielle said, it's down to the particular programmes that you are watching and how it is optimised for different types of programmes. On satellite, it's a pretty high picture quality.

"Ultimately, it's about the overall effect of HD, whether it's the surround sound you get with it or how they have shot it. And I think they are right to be experimenting with it to see which things work out. I just don't think it's an issue, I really don't.

"But it's a very subjective decision, a subjective judgement. You'd have to talk to Danielle about it, but we have no complaints about the picture quality of BBC HD."

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