I’ve been extremely busy as of late, so there hasn’t really been much time to keep up-to-date on everything that’s happening. Thankfully, I was tipped off about a reader a few weeks back that today would be the launch day of ABC Me, a new channel aimed at school children. As a result, I decided to send my tuner to work in dumping down some bits from 226.500Mhz in the Sydney area to see just what’s on the air.
I was quietly hoping that the launch of the new channel would coincide with some “under the hood” changes to their multiplex to usher in a new era of codecs and potentially higher resolution services. Sadly, it seems this is not the case.
From what I can see, the only thing that’s happened service-data wise is that the service name for ABC3 has changed to ABC ME. All channel PIDs and codecs remain as they were back in November 2015, with no MPEG-4 suite codecs in use.
As a confirmatory measure, I decided to chart the video stream bitrate of this capture versus the previous capture. Only very slight discrepancies were noted, nothing that would be indicative of any changes in bitrate allocation.
This is because statistical multiplexing is in use on the channel, and thus the results obtained are subject to the mix of material being aired. I’ve tried to minimise its influence, with all reported bitrates being the average of over three hours of program material, however, slight differences are expected.
It’s a short post, but basically after doing a bit of analysis, it seems the launch of ABC Me is simply a retargeting of the channel’s audience through a branding exercise. From a technical standpoint, the transmissions vary only by the service name, with codecs, bitrates and PIDs remaining as they have been since last year. Maybe one day in the future, the ABC will follow the commercial broadcasters and introduce a full-high-definition MPEG-4 H.264 based service, but for now, it seems that we’re still stuck with the primary channel in glorious MPEG-2 standard definition.