• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • The forum software that supports hummy.tv has been upgraded to XenForo 2.0!

    This is a major upgrade which changes the look and feel of the forum somewhat but brings a host of improvements too. Please bear with us as we continue to tweak things and report any issues or suggestions in Site/Forum Issues.

BBC iPlayer Quality

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
#1
I downloaded a programme earlier from iPlayer using a HDR-FOX T2. The quality was set to 'High Definition' - the 'HD' symbol was highlighted in the i-panel. Here is the media information:
Code:
Metadata:
    major_brand     : M4V
    minor_version   : 1
    compatible_brands: isomavc1mp42
    creation_time   : 2016-04-18 18:21:46
  Duration: 01:27:32.04, start: 0.001333, bitrate: 1821 kb/s
    Stream #0:0(und): Video: h264 (High) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuv420p(tv, bt709), 960x540 [SAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 1688 kb/s, 50 fps, 50 tbr, 50k tbn, 100 tbc (default)
    Metadata:
      creation_time   : 2016-04-18 18:21:46
      handler_name    : ETI ISO Video Media Handler
      encoder         : Elemental H.264
    Stream #0:1(eng): Audio: aac (LC) (mp4a / 0x6134706D), 48000 Hz, stereo, fltp, 125 kb/s (default)
Here is the media information from tbe previous episode of the same series downloaded a few weeks ago:
Code:
Metadata:
    major_brand     : M4V
    minor_version   : 1
    compatible_brands: isomavc1mp42
    creation_time   : 2016-04-11 17:42:38
  Duration: 00:58:36.00, start: 0.018667, bitrate: 2396 kb/s
    Stream #0:0(und): Video: h264 (High) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuv420p, 1280x720 [SAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 2297 kb/s, 25 fps, 25 tbr, 25k tbn, 50 tbc (default)
    Metadata:
      creation_time   : 2016-04-11 17:42:38
      handler_name    : ETI ISO Video Media Handler
      encoder         : Elemental H.264
    Stream #0:1(und): Audio: aac (LC) (mp4a / 0x6134706D), 48000 Hz, stereo, fltp, 93 kb/s (default)
The more recent download is of lower resolution and bitrate (960 x 540 at 1700 kb/s) vs (1280 x 720 at 2300 kb/s) but is 50 frames per second rather than 25. The audio of the recent download is 125 kb/s compared to 93 kb/s for the older recording. How do these changes affect the quality of the recording? Is the lower video resolution and bitrate mitigated by the higher frame rate?
 

gomezz

Well-Known Member
#2
Surely you can see for yourself what the differences are? If you can't then that means the technical differences are irrelevant to your viewing enjoyment.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#3
Nonetheless it is strange that two programmes with presumably identical production chains end up stored on the server with different encoding characteristics.
 
#4
BBC cost cutting to save server space?

I downloaded the "... Plays Prince" program in HD and that was nine hundred and something (now watched and deleted so can't check) instead of 1280 x something.
 
OP
OP
MontysEvilTwin

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
#5
Surely you can see for yourself what the differences are? If you can't then that means the technical differences are irrelevant to your viewing enjoyment.
Was downloading them to watch on a tablet where both look fine. I'd imagine, since 960 x 540 is smaller than 1280 x 720, the difference will be greater the larger the screen. 960 x 540 is called qHD (quarter HD) and is mostly used for high-end smartphones and tablets. The iPlayer site on the HDR-FOX has been updated recently (mostly cosmetic changes to icons etc.) and I was wondering if the Humax servers are now selecting the wrong streams to download?
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
#7
BBC cost cutting to save server space?
I doubt that.
Just based on one sample though.

The Hollow Crown Part 1 1280x720 93kbps 25fps 111.5 minutes = 1.87 GB
The Hollow Crown Part 2 960x5440 125kbps 50fps 122.0 minutes = 2.18 GB

That is a 6 1/2% increase per minute for two similar programmes

It's not even SD (1024x576 when converted to computery square pixels).
But yet appears to take up as much space and bandwidth.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
#8
It's not even SD (1024x576 when converted to computery square pixels).I was wondering if the Humax servers are now selecting the wrong streams to download?
Content that is still available which was 1280x720 is now available as 960x540 instead.
I've re-downloaded The Hollow Crown Part 1 to compare exactly the same programme:

The Hollow Crown Part 1 - creation_time : 2016-04-28 23:39:46 - downloaded 8 May
1280x720 93kbps 25fps 111.5 minutes, bitrate: 2395 kb/s = 1.87 GB

The Hollow Crown Part 1 - creation_time : 2016-04-29 01:22:23 - downloaded 22 May
960x540 125kbps 50fps 111.5 minutes, bitrate: 2298 kb/s = 1.83 GB

No real saving in space and both versions were generated at about the same time.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#9
I guess there's a similar amount of detail in the image, and therefore a similar data rate after encoding (and a similar result once interpolated to 720). Hard to see what the reason for the change might be if the sizes are so similar.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#11
This seems to be the relevant paragraph:
At around 3 Mbit/s a 960x540 profile at 50fps will be made available to Connected TVs and set top boxes. The Elemental encoders are used to convert the 1920x1080 interlaced content to 960x540 for progressive encoding at 50fps. Although the 960x540 profile has a reduced spatial resolution compared to the outgoing 1280x720 at 25fps, subjective assessments shows it delivers significantly better pictures on TV screens across a wide range of popular content (such as EastEnders and Top Gear) due to its higher frame rate. The 50fps, 1280x720 profile, however, will be available to those with 5Mbit/s broadband connections.
 
OP
OP
MontysEvilTwin

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
#12
This seems to be the relevant paragraph:
I have a 50 Mbit/s connection and from webif, I know that iPlayer typically downloads at rates between 20-30 Mbit/s on my units. Presumably as the iPlayer version on the HDR-FOX uses discrete profiles (HD, SD or lower quality) rather than an adaptive bit rate (best and normal quality options, e.g. on YouView and Roku boxes) the HD option defaults to the 960 x 540/ 50 fps stream rather than the 1280 x 720/ 50 fps stream.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
#13
I have a 50 Mbit/s connection and from webif, I know that iPlayer typically downloads at rates between 20-30 Mbit/s on my units. Presumably as the iPlayer version on the HDR-FOX uses discrete profiles (HD, SD or lower quality) rather than an adaptive bit rate (best and normal quality options, e.g. on YouView and Roku boxes) the HD option defaults to the 960 x 540/ 50 fps stream rather than the 1280 x 720/ 50 fps stream.
Do you think that it is possible that the Youview boxes will still use 1280x720? I have a DTR-T4000 and a DTR-2100 which I could do a visual compare with an HDR- FOX T2, but I wonder which programme would best show up any difference?
 
OP
OP
MontysEvilTwin

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
#14
Do you think that it is possible that the Youview boxes will still use 1280x720? I have a DTR-T4000 and a DTR-2100 which I could do a visual compare with an HDR- FOX T2, but I wonder which programme would best show up any difference?
The BBC article quoted in post #10 said:
The 50fps, 1280x720 profile, however, will be available to those with 5Mbit/s broadband connections.
I think that the YouView boxes should be able to access the above profile if set to best quality. I am not sure how to check this though. If you press the information button on your TV while an iPlayer stream is playing it may show the resolution but this is likely to just be '1080P' or whatever the output of your YouView box is set to.
 
#15
I had noticed a significant reduction in BBC iPlayer picture quality on the HDR Fox T2 recently. I assumed it was something at the BBC end, now I know what. Damn them and their "subjectively better".
 
OP
OP
MontysEvilTwin

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
#16
I had noticed a significant reduction in BBC iPlayer picture quality on the HDR Fox T2 recently. I assumed it was something at the BBC end, now I know what. Damn them and their "subjectively better".
I would check that the quality is still set to 'HD'. If I remember correctly, a recent update to iPlayer also reset the user settings to the default values.
 
#17
I would check that the quality is still set to 'HD'. If I remember correctly, a recent update to iPlayer also reset the user settings to the default values.
Quality is set to HD, you can see before you press Play that's selected the HD version. This is how I noticed the above loss of defaults you mention.

So is there a way to get the HDR Fox T2 to play the 1280 x 720 25fps iPlayer streams?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
#18
I would check that the quality is still set to 'HD'. If I remember correctly, a recent update to iPlayer also reset the user settings to the default values.
I downloaded something a couple of days ago using get-iplayer in the top quality HD mode and copied it over to the HDR. It plays back with the usual stupid "film-effect" flicker compared to proper telly which doesn't flicker on proper 50 fields/sec interlaced video.
If this is the best the "future" can bring, then I'll stick with the "present" thanks.
 
#19
I downloaded something a couple of days ago using get-iplayer in the top quality HD mode and copied it over to the HDR. It plays back with the usual stupid "film-effect" flicker compared to proper telly which doesn't flicker on proper 50 fields/sec interlaced video.
If this is the best the "future" can bring, then I'll stick with the "present" thanks.
So when they say 25fps they really mean progressive scan? I assumed 25fps was a "don't confuse the viewing public" shortcut for 50i.