Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Day 15 - Two more channels bite the dust

As the schedule gets lighter each day, I've now come to the point where I can increase the pre/post padding for each recording slot, so these have been set to 5 and 10 minutes respectively. I doubt I'll increase the pre-padding any more because it's mainly time for me to re-jig which PC records a programme if the tuner allocation needs any doubling up added or removed.

Yet another lightest full day so far sees me using 12 channels, 16 sports and 31 slots totalling 112 hours and 35 minutes of recording time. Channels 14 and 15 have the "we're done" EIT text on them now, but note that although channel 13 isn't used today, it is used on both Thursday and Friday.

Only 10 channels are going to be used on the final day - Sunday - and only one of those is allocated to the closing ceremony, which is a little surprising (think normal, no commentary and 3D - that's 3 versions right there!). It did make me think though - was there any 3D coverage on the 24 channels?

I know that BBC HD does a 3D one hour highlights programme daily and also had some selected 3D events (opening ceremony, men's 100m etc), but considering that most days, there was often 1 or 2 spare channels of the 24 available, why weren't those used for live 3D coverage? Heck, we've almost got enough spare now to simulcast all the 2D coverage in 3D!

I guess the BBC simply didn't have many 3D cameras available at the venues - "cutbacks" will be the excuse as usual. At least put them in the swimming arena and move them to the athletics stadium once the swimming is done if you really can't afford to cover two events with 3D cameras.

There's a bit of minor exciting news with the Revo software updates as both an Nvidia graphics driver update and an XBMC update (from Pulse-Eight) came through. The previous XBMC would hang if I tried to select a Live TV channel that couldn't be tuned into (because all the tuners were busy and the channel was on a fresh transponder) and it had to be "kill -9"'-ed from a terminal to stop it. We'll see later today if this has been fixed.

I just downloaded XBMC for Android, which was a 20th July build of an actual XBMC client (not just a remote control app). Sadly, like the official XBMC for Ubuntu, it's completely missing the TV functionality that I consider crucial for a full media centre experience. I put it on the Nexus 7 tablet I have and noticed that it claims the screen resolution is 1280x736, but then I realised that the standard Android soft buttons at the bottom of the screen suck up 64 pixels of their own.

The Android XBMC is based on a dev version of the forthcoming XBMC 12 and they've added one welcome relief to my ears - the ability to turn off all the GUI sound effects, which is something I do in every single OS I've ever installed. The only time audio should be heard is in games or playing music or videos - at all other times, I expect any computer I have to remain absolutely silent. It's slightly different with mobile phones of course - you want a short noise for SMS'es and obviously a ringtone (I have the UFO theme tune on my work HTC Desire).

BBC One HD abandoned their athletics coverage - and I couldn't find it on any other terrestrial channel either - at around 9.30pm tonight, despite there being some interviews, all the heats of the 400m in the decathlon, javelin qualifying involving a Brit and also a world champion - both of whom failed to qualify for the final - and some medal ceremonies. I wonder how many other times terrestrial coverage of athletics in the evening has missed out on over half an hour of it like it did tonight?

BBC Olympics 1 HD to the rescue for the "missing" athletics tonight of course - though it's a mystery why half the people with evening athletics tickets left after the women's 200m final despite two more events being scheduled after that race. Yep, somewhat embarassingly, there were a lot of empty seats in the stadium as the coverage continued on channel 1. Even the scoreboard/PA was urging people to make a noise for a javelin thrower (not a Brit) due to the depleted audience!

Am I the only one who's noticed that the Russian Federation have been sneaking up the medal table this week? One more gold and they'll actually take 4th place over from South Korea. The Russians have now also managed to exceed our total medal haul (they have 52, we have 48), but as I've said before no-one but the USA cares about that.

 Day 15 recording size: 687GB - grand total so far: 12644GB (12.3TB)


  1. I too would have appreciated more live 3D coverage. I don't think the BBC produced the 3D coverage they just paid to air it. I know that the 2D Gymnastics at the O2 was covered by a Japanese production team as the BBC just don't have enough people or cameras to cover all the sports. However as the OBS were clearly filming a lot of the events in 3D the BBC could easily have carried more on their satellite channels. Maybe it was the cost of extra commentary teams that prevented them as they use a different team for 3D to 2D. I must say I did not enjoy the commentary on the 3D Opening Ceremony or the 100m final, and the commentary on the 3D highlights by the Americans was not great. I would have simply settled for the 3D pictures with just the stadium sounds with the stadium announcer.

    I have also been disappointed by the athletics coverage on terrestrial. I find that there are many replays of track events with endless analysis and discussion by the pundits while the field events go on behind. Also today it was hard to tell there was a decathlon going on as all we got was the leading throw at each event and a leader board.

    The highlights show really fails to deliver the best of the days action. If I had not taken leave for these two weeks and missed the days action up to 6pm I would be left really angry at the lack of action from the day in the show. I am sure in past Olympics they did a much better job of a highlights show. The choice of guests and amount of chat is also strange. I mean the other day they were asking Ian Thorpe about Judo.

    1. After publising my comment I see you beat me to it regarding the Athletics coverage tonight. I kind of expected Russia to creep up the table at the end of the 2nd week as that is what they usually do. Also we usually struggle for medals after the 2nd Tuesday when the cycling finishes. We don't usually get medals in the team competitions that end this week but we are at least guarenteed some boxing medals.

  2. I think the highlights programmes have been poor too and as for messing around with a Big Ben totaliser and faces on medal boards - leave that for Blue Peter for goodness' sake! The decathlon coverage on terrestrial, particularly as soon as our Brit pulled out, has been utterly dismal.

    I hate the way the highlights shows do those "stylised highlights" (where we get a different colourisation and only brief clips of the effort with annoying rock music in the background and no original commentary).

    There are also some aspects to the Games that I'm not sure are an improvement, whether it's the garish colour schemes (bright pink!), playing music at the venue (a trend started by beach volleyball in previous Olympics, but now everyone does it), the giant medals (which just seem to be an exercise in "we've got the biggest medals so far, so they're the best") and restricting countries to one competitor per event (cycling - this was a poor move trying to remove GB's domnination, but it's unfair to potential silver and bronze medallists from the same country).

    Overall, I'd probably give the BBC a B+ so far. Much of that is because of the 24 HD channels, which provide a superior experience to the patchy terrestrial coverage (as I've said before, you're often better switching to BBC HD for some part of the day as they often have a better sports selection).

    I think if we didn't have the 24 channels, I'd have been very disappointed to have had to rely just on the BBC terrestrial coverage. Poor sport selection on BBC One HD, low quality highlights shows, missing Jason Kenny's cycling gold and medal ceremony on terrestrial HD, dropping the end of the evenings athletics (probably on more than one occasion), far too much live inane chat in the studio when live events can be seen in the background (cycling, swimming and athletics were criminally negligent with this), use of five pundits (one who covers horse events!) for swimming when three (Andy, Adrian and Sharron) would have been fine and the classic problem of every Olympics ever shown on UK TV: ignoring sports if a Brit isn't involved.

    That last point was particularly highlighted by a mammoth tennis match that had the most games ever in the Olympics and yet I'm not even sure terrestrial covered it (if they did, it took over 40 games in the final set before even the sat channel covering it provided a commentator, which may have been when terrestrial finally bothered with the match)! Guess what - no Brits in it...