updated 02:30 pm EDT, Mon May 23, 2011
BBC 1080p broadcasts causing issues with Sony TVs
BBC HD has started rolling out Freeview HD that combines 1080i video with 1080p content that switches on a Group of Pictures (GOP) basis. This is causing issues with some Sony HDTVs, according to early reports on Monday. Some recent Sony HDTVs with integrated Freeview HD tuners are suffering from audio dropouts during the transition from and to 1080i, however. This is likely due to the decoders temporarily losing track of the audio signal. The Freeview HD spec for set-tops requires handling 1080p material at 50FPS, which Sony's integrated receivers don't seem to support.
A GOP involves a batch of H.264 encoded frames that are a combination of an initial, reference picture and a sequence of partial pictures that represent the changes to the initial frame to generate remaining frames. Many HD shows combine 1080p on-location material with studio material, transitions and credits in 1080i. Matching the produced signals on the display results in a better quality picture, according to BBC engineers, though a set-top or tuner that has a 1080p output is needed.
Sony said it's working on a solution to the problem and promised an update in 10 days at the most. The BBC promised to work with any vendors on such issues. It also said it talked with receiver makers before releasing the GOP broadcasts to resolve any interoperability issues.