Tour De France Highlights ITV4

by jamescycling   July 4, 2012  

I have started a campaign (see C.T.C. forum) to get it through to ITV4 that their picture quality of their highlights show is absolutely awful. Do you agree the quality is so poor it looks like a poor 80's arcade game?

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As above, but don't also forget, we get live coverage 1 hr after it stars, unlike in France, where we see the official start and all....

bigjeff's picture

posted by bigjeff [14 posts]
4th July 2012 - 20:25


You've "started a campaign" against a 3rd party broadcaster, because, in your opinion, footage taken from a portable camera on a motorbike doing 40mph, uplinked live to a helicopter and then downlinked to a mobile broadcast station for synchronisation with broadcast is a little bit fuzzy?

Really? Get a life...

posted by AlanD [12 posts]
4th July 2012 - 20:39


There is a real issue with the picture quality of ITV4 on Freeview. They use a low bitrate which is not adequate for fast-moving sports coverage apparently. The pixelation is terrible, and, no, it's not a reception issue.

posted by pjay [240 posts]
4th July 2012 - 21:05


Why? What is the issue with the picture quality? Every feed/highlight you pick up all comes from the same source So no matter which one you watch the quality will all be the same. I've no problems with the coverage. I'm just glad that a non subscription channel has picked it up otherwise I would not get to see anything of the tour.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1176 posts]
4th July 2012 - 21:11


Ahh brilliant yet another pointless forum oh joy.X(Angry
Just be thankful that itv has the coverage, i'm dreading the day when Sky wades in with it's deep pockets and out bids itv and we get appauling commentary from people who know shit all about the sport they are covering! Formula 1 being a prime example!!!
i'm lucky enough to have Virgin media with Eurosport so can switch between the two and skip adverts Cool

'Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you'

livestrongnick's picture

posted by livestrongnick [2178 posts]
4th July 2012 - 22:06


Speaking of useless forum threads what tyres do you guys use?

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
4th July 2012 - 22:43



Gotta love free Eurosport on my grannie's telly Smile

Flicking between the two to avoid two things:


Sean Kelly Plain Face

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
4th July 2012 - 23:18


The problem with ITV4 FreeView looks to be due to insufficient bit-rate to be able to cope with fast-moving images, which the TdF coverage seems to provide lots of. The result is annoying pixellation / macro-blocking - that "ancient cameraphone video" effect.

The source video from the TdF TV directors to ITV will, undoubtedly, be pristine and high quality. Indeed the feed out from ITV to the Mux operator (Arqiva) is almost certainly also similarly perfect. The quality issues likely are being introduced by the Mux encoding - where Arqiva have to encode together 10 to 20 odd channels onto 1 24Mbs MPEG-2 data-stream, and ITV4 seems to have a particularly low budget for bitrate.

The reason the quality issues don't strike during the ITV recorded studio sessions is because those segments have Gary & Chris mostly just standing there. The picture doesn't change that much, so it doesn't need much information to describe the changes. The race pictures on the other hand are constantly changing and sweeping, and the encoders sometimes just aren't able to keep-up, in the bits available. The result being that it has to throw away information, and use large, low-res blocks, instead of giving the finer detail.

Other channels on the same Mux also having lots of motion at the same time may put pressure on the available bitrate, and so possibly affect the quality of ITV4. That depends on on exactly what the allocation is for ITV4, which is something that ITV or Arqiva apparently won't give details on.

posted by Paul J [807 posts]
5th July 2012 - 1:37


people moaning about nowt, u get it for free, they could jst drop it then you wud get none, stop whinging anf get a life !!!

posted by issacforce [219 posts]
5th July 2012 - 8:16


Er, Alan D what is your problem? The quality is dire and at points unwatchable, but this does not appear to happen during the live feed so I wonder if there is an issue they could look at. I'm not that technically up to speed on how coverage works, so perhaps from that point of view I do have a live! I'm perfectly entitled to raise an objection as I love watching it and its frustrating that the enjoyment is ruined. And broadcasters will change things or at least provide an explanation if enough people complain. What's sad about that.

If you get a decent reception, great, bully for you.

posted by jamescycling [49 posts]
5th July 2012 - 9:58


Sorry, meant to say thanks for all the replies so far! Pjay seems to have the same issue - trust me if you are watching via freeview it is awful.

posted by jamescycling [49 posts]
5th July 2012 - 10:02


The picture quality is not any worse than any other, to improve things they need to get rid of the dreadfully irritating commentary from Legget and Sherwen, waffle on they do .......

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
5th July 2012 - 16:41


Picture quality on ITV4 Freeview is dire compared to ITV4 satellite (Freesat, SD; I don't pay for Sky HD). Not only is ITV4 Freeview low bitrate, its resolution is 544 x 576, whereas on satellite the resolution is 704 x 576 at a highter bitrate. On Satellite I don't see a difference in quality between the live and highlights shows. I had a look at Freeview highlights the other night, and was shocked how bad it was.

I think they should get rid of the the +1 channels on Freeview, and use the extra bandwidth to provide decent quality video.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1436 posts]
5th July 2012 - 16:58


Believe me, you would notice the problem if you experienced it. Subtle it is not.

Is anyone who says the picture is fine watching the ITV4 highlights show on Freeview?

posted by pjay [240 posts]
5th July 2012 - 18:16


It is only a little worse than the Live.

I'm watching it on SKY though, if that makes a difference.

In terms of commentary, I hate Sean Kelly's voice and what he says.

In the Prologue, he said something like:

It's not a fast course today, but there are many fast sections

I mean, WTF?

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
5th July 2012 - 21:02


Sean Kelly; he has been there done it and got the green tee shirt x4 gold x1 (and whatever the Vuelta points shirt is)x4 and Paris Roubaix cobbles x2 and the rest. The guy is a legend. But I admit that given many hours to fill he talks a little shit!

posted by SideBurn [912 posts]
5th July 2012 - 21:54


Just in case anyone is in doubt, it's an issue with FREEVIEW, not other platforms such as Freesat or Sky! If you're watching on Sky you won't experience it.

posted by pjay [240 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:18


Seriously, I've been watching the highlights on freeview every day and have had no problems. Perhaps it's just your area? Have you tried it on different freeview boxes/TVs, have you tried viewing in a different area? Perhaps it's just your local transmitter isn't great or you're in a valley?

If you're the only one having problems then it's more than likely it's a local or personal issue and not a problem with the coverage.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:52


From someone who does Not have (pay for) Sky! I'm so pleased that ITV4 have televised the tour; and many other cycling events. Their picture quality is fine for me here in South Wales.

posted by Mostyn [425 posts]
6th July 2012 - 10:12


Not sure it warrants a "campaign"...

But if freeview's a problem, try it on ITVplayer on yr laptop / ipad...(works well enough for me in the office, though hasn't done much for my productivity...) Dont Tell Anyone

posted by chris75018 [101 posts]
6th July 2012 - 10:23


drheaton wrote:
Seriously, I've been watching the highlights on freeview every day and have had no problems. Perhaps it's just your area? Have you tried it on different freeview boxes/TVs, have you tried viewing in a different area? Perhaps it's just your local transmitter isn't great or you're in a valley?

If you're the only one having problems then it's more than likely it's a local or personal issue and not a problem with the coverage.

You may be lucky, and have a better transmission in your area. We are all digital now, so the problem is not with reception. My reception is 100% quality, and ITV4 Freeview is terrible compared to Freesat, due to its lower resolution and bitrate.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1436 posts]
6th July 2012 - 12:14


i like the eurosport and itv4 coverage.

its indepth, picture quality is fine as you would expect without hd.

pundits know their shit.

dont complain in my opinion, for a channel to be free and to give up 5 hours a day plus highlights for 3 weeks solid is brilliant.

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
6th July 2012 - 12:46


At 51 years old i am just pleased to be able to see the tour.Not too many years back all you would get this time of the year was cricket and tennis.Just be thankful guys. Smile

big mick

posted by big mick [209 posts]
6th July 2012 - 13:08


As above (well said Mick)
Lucky to have the best of both worlds Big Grin

posted by Adey [98 posts]
8th July 2012 - 7:57


I watch on Freeview in London and the picture quality on the highlights is much, much worse than the live coverage, even though the footage is identical. So it's got to be a transmission problem and definitely worth a campaign. For those who are wondering what the fuss about, the picture is so bad it's like watching TV through a fishtank.

posted by nick h. [34 posts]
8th July 2012 - 19:25


I emailed and got this response:

"Occasionally, all digital broadcasters experience slight degradation of vision especially during "fast action" events which put specific pressure on the compression systems in use. As you'll appreciate, bandwidth capacity can be limited on some occasions and picture quality can be perceived to be lower now that much larger screens are available. However, please be assured that our engineering teams are investigating to see if there have been any specific problems during this event. In addition, they are doing all they can with equipment suppliers to improve the overall picture quality of our standard definition services and they have been informed of your concerns."

posted by nick h. [34 posts]
9th July 2012 - 13:04


I watch on freeview and haven't had the problems described.

posted by paulfg42 [394 posts]
9th July 2012 - 16:57


If the picture is a little pixelated or fussy....
1. get eyes tested.... Nerd
2. squint... Wink

colhum1's picture

posted by colhum1 [98 posts]
9th July 2012 - 17:23

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I tried Freeview for a while but it was cack in my area ...

Have to say ITV4 on FREESAT is just fine, no complaints here ..

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [324 posts]
10th July 2012 - 16:27


My dad watches on freeview and is fine with the pic. He hasn't got a top spec tv either.

posted by Super Domestique [1686 posts]
10th July 2012 - 17:27

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