Video bitrates for digital TV stations

Rather than doing my usual mini-review for The Canberra Times for this coming Monday, I’ve done a piece on digital TV. Primarily, what it now offers. In preparing for it, I’ve gathered and calculated the basic technical specs for the various digital TV stations, at least as they’re broadcast in Canberra. So here they are, as of March 2010. I recorded not less than three hours of each station split across at least three sessions on separate days. Whether or not they are the same as used elsewhere in Australia I don’t know, although it seems likely for ABC and SBS.

Station Ch Audio
video bitrate (Mbps)
ABC1 2 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 5.40
ABC2 22 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 3.05
ABC3 23 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 2.50
ABC HDTV 20 DD 2.0 448 1280 x 720p 9.04
SBS ONE 3 MPEG 2.0 192 720 x 576i 4.01
SBS TWO 32 MPEG 2.0 192 720 x 576 3.85
SBS HD 30 MPEG 2.0 192 1280 x 720p 9.37
SC10 Canberra 5 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 5.92
One HD Canberra 50 DD 2.0 448 1440 x 1080i 14.31
PRIME Canberra 6 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 4.93
7TWO on PRIME 62 MPEG 2.0 256 720 x 576i 4.99
PRIME HD 60 DD 2.0 256 1440 x 1080i 10.25
WIN Canberra 8 MPEG 2.0 384 720 x 576i 4.92
GO! Canberra 88 MPEG 2.0 384 720 x 576i 4.11
WIN HD Canberra 80 DD 2.0 448 1440 x 1080i 9.88

The standouts: One HD gives a very high bitrate for HDTV, while ABC is extremely low.

Interesting points: all the HD stations use Dolby Digital except for SBS HD. All the 1080i stations use the lower resolution 1,440 pixel across version.

Update (Friday 26 March 2010): As requested in comments, I’ve added ABC3 which I overlooked. This involved two recordings on two days amounting to over 300 minutes. The two recordings were quite close to each other.

This entry was posted in Codecs, DTV, HDTV, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Video bitrates for digital TV stations

  1. Mark says:

    What about ABC3 and how if affects the other ABCs when it closes each night?

  2. Stephen Dawson says:

    Completely forgot about it. I’ll do some recordings an update this table. I don’t think it affects the other stations on a daily basis. For ABC1 the range of the four recordings has been 5.39-5.41Mbps, for ABC2, 3.04-3.07, and for ABC HD 8.92-9.13, which are fairly steady, even though they have been recorded at different times of day and night.

  3. Stephen Dawson says:

    First cut: 114 mintues of ABC3 this afternoon, average video bitrate is a shocking 2.47Mbps. Some time in the past year or two the ABC had cut back the sound from ABC1 from the two audio tracks (MPEG and DD) to just MPEG. Probably felt they needed to save the 256kbps or whatever for all the stations. What are they going to do when the introduce the 24 hour news station they’re talking about?

  4. Casual Observer says:

    It would be interesting to compare these bitrates with those from other countries because it appears there has been a monumental stuff-up in the allocation of bandwidth for digital broadcasting in this country. Personally I think the best thing the ABC & SBS could do is scrap their HD channel and reallocate the bandwidth to their SD channels.

  5. Stephen Dawson says:

    I’m leaning a bit that way myself, although I imagine that sometimes ABC runs a decent nature doco in real 720p, and if so it would be a shame to lose that.

    But at the moment, on the ABC in particular, the cost of a largely notional HD channel is videobitrates for some of its SD channels of 3.05 and 2.50Mbps. Dreadful.

  6. Michael Cuddihy says:

    Both grand finals on the weekend were pretty bad to watch. The low bitrates cause problems with sport, in particular.

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