Wondering why you can no longer receive and watch SBS HD? The answer could be simple – your TV is too old to view the channel in it’s new broadcast format. And while that’s bad news for you, it’s great news for those with newer TVs who can now get two High Definition channels from SBS.
For the full technical background, it might be worth catching up on our article re MPEG-4 and MPEG-2a little over a year ago, but TL/DR the TV networks are slowly switching to the MPEG-4 broadcast standard which allows them to fit higher definition channels into the same amount of spectrum (space in the air) that a standard channel used to fit into.
SBS was the last network to broadcast a HD channel in MPEG-2, and that is a really inefficient use of space. With the main SBS (SD) channel broadcast in MPEG-2, there was room to squeeze two HD channels in if they are broadcast in MPEG-4.
And that’s what they’ve done.
The only losers in this equation are those folks with older TVs that cannot receive MPEG-4 but do want to watch HD.
If you have an older TV, you can see all of SBS’ channels in SD, if you have a newer TV you will have the option of SD or HD.
Plus, if you have a newer (MPEG-4) compatible TV you will also see the New and HD channels for the other networks also.
This move from SBS removes the headache SBS had faced in seasons gone by where some sporting events were shown on SBS 2 (Now Viceland), and due to contractual requirements would also need to be shown in HD, meaning the “HD Channel” would switch and change on different days – somedays it would be SBS, other days SBS 2.
SBS Chief Technology Officer Noel Leslie says “At SBS, we want to give audiences the best viewing experience possible. Whether that’s watching the best international football and cycling events like the Premier League and the Paris Roubaix, fantastic dramas like The Night Manager or high quality documentaries like Testing Teachers, viewers can continue to watch our main channel SBS, and now SBS VICELAND, in high definition glory.
“We have a continued focus on innovation in how we deliver our channels and platforms to audiences, and we are delighted to be the first free-to-air broadcaster in Australia to offer two HD channels, nationwide. By leveraging new compression capabilities we are able to get more from our spectrum and deliver better services to our audiences.”
During the same transmission upgrade, SBS have also freed up additional space to add the SBS Arabic 24 radio channel to their Digital TV broadcast lineup.