Earlier this month on 14th February, I was alerted by a Justin L. about a potential new channel coming to Freeview named TEN HD. In anticipation, I immediately grabbed my TV tuner only to find nothing was on the air, and it was confirmed that while the listing had appeared (likely due to HBBTV updates on a Smart TV) the channel had not actually begun broadcasting over the air.
I kept my eye on Ten’s multiplex for a few days after but didn’t see anything untoward, so I packed my tuner and called it a day. Fast forward to the 25th February, and I get a gentle nudge from @Shaun_R on Twitter asking me whether I was going to analyze Ten’s new channel. So I did.
At the moment, LCN 13 is currently broadcasting with the name of TEN HD, and carries a moving logo image, audio and the message that the channel launches on Wednesday, March 2nd. The loop itself is around 4 minutes and 20 seconds of audio:
The transmission is being made using MPEG-4 H.264 [email protected] at 1920x1080i 25fps in 4:2:0 subsampling at just 1Mbit/s with 448kbit/s AC-3 5.1 channel audio. This is obviously not going to be the final configuration as high definition of anything meaningful cannot be achieved in 1Mbit/s.
I recorded a little more than an hour of transport stream to re-derive the bitrates and service table. The current service line-up looks to be as follows:
Of course, in order to fit the place-holder, they had to “steal” 1.5Mbit/s from somewhere, especially given that the other channels have not yet had their modes changed in any way. A quick plot of service bit-rates versus that recorded in November 2015 shows that all services except ONE have pretty much identical bit-rates, so it all came from the pre-existing high definition service.
The final reconfiguration may see ONE scaled back from MPEG-2 HD to an SD service to yield a little more than half its bit budget to TEN HD. The audio may also change from AC3 448kbit/s to something like MPEG-1 Joint-Stereo 192kbit/s to yield some more bits to TEN HD. This won’t be enough on its own to reach the 3.5Mbit/s “bare minimum requirement” if it follows Ten Digital/ELEVEN levels of bitrate for SD services, so probably SpreeTV and TVSN will make the move to MPEG-4 and donate 1Mbit/s or so each which might just do the trick.
We will have to stay tuned to see what the final configuration is exactly.
The beginning of March will be an unprecedented boon for Freeview watchers with the launch of 7flix and TEN HD within days of each other. This means that Ten, SBS and Nine will have HD simulcasts of their main channels in various modes, leaving Seven and ABC to potentially follow suit in the future.