The (SD) Waters of Mars

waters_of_marsDoctor Who: The Waters of Mars may be coming to ABC in a little over a week, but it will be coming in SD rather than HD.

ABC has opted not to buy a high definition copy of the special from the BBC, citing cost as part of its decision.

It will be upscaled on ABC HD but not to true high definition quality.

In a statement issued to TV Tonight, ABC’s Director Television Kim Dalton said, “Over the past few years ABC TV’s focus, resources and budget have been on our multi channel strategy.

“The development of our SD channels ABC2 and ABC3, along with iView have been our primary concern.

“However in 2010 we will be developing our HD strategy with the intention of moving towards a more distinctive HD offering.”

The special airs 7:30pm Sunday December 6th on ABC1…. and ABC HD….


  1. Win HD has been rebuilt and back on air for the last week or so.

    At least the ABC is showing it within a few weeks of it being aired in the UK. Much better than the months and months of delay that previous shows and seasons have had.

    Still not as good as UKTV though with Children of the Earth. That is the way it should be.

  2. If the ABC hadn’t said anything, I doubt anyone would have noticed. I have a rather large TV with an inbuilt HD tuner, and in recent times I have tried many times to spot the picture quality difference between ABC1 and ABC HD. The answer: ABC HD has a larger logo in the corner.

    Now that ABC3 is taking another 10Mbps out of the pool, they may as well turn ABC HD off, or rename it “ABC Plus” and stop pretending.

    As for the cost of HD as mentioned by effdee, if you’ve got a computer, odds are you have a HD-resolution screen and can put live HD TV on it for the cost of a $50 TV card. No matter what the size of the screen, sit close enough and you’re getting the best available picture.

  3. Current price of US tape stock from pro-tape:

    SONY BCT-D124L Digital Betacam Tape – US$54.90
    SONY BCT-124HDL 124 Minute HDCam Tape – US$84.75

    Yes, the BBC is asking too much to simply supply the ABC with a HD copy … or the ABC is too cheap.

  4. It’s a terrible pity that just as sales of large screen HD and Full HD sets are booming like never before the networks are all downgrading their HD program offerings. After years of resisting the idea of multichannelling they suddenly discover it doesn’t kill their ratings at all, in fact it increases their overall audience (d’oh!) So just as the original justification for digital TV in Australia, HD, is finally reaching the mainstream audience they all rush off into new SD channels like sheep with no brains, and lower the quality of their increasingly rare HD offerings in the process. The audience feels cheated and can’t see why they spent so much money on new gear when all that’s on are old sixties sitcoms and Nine’s endless loop of Two and a Half Men, etc.

    The networks would be better off using their HD channels as their multichannels, offering real honest HD content that can’t be appreciated in SD and forget the new SD multichannels, all they’re doing is stealing valuable bandwidth from the main SD and HD channels. Having 15 or 16 Freeview channels is pointless when there’s only 10 or 11 different content streams being broadcast. The question is are the networks smarter than a fifth grader? The answer is apparently no.

    If anyone is in any doubt as to what a real native HD broadcast looks like just switch your HD set to the current cricket test on Nine HD, it’ll knock your socks off.

  5. I look forward to David getting an answer to the “how much more does HD cost” question. Because I’m quite sure it’s a Big Fat Zero. Somebody forgot to ask the BBC for an HD copy and just kept receiving episodes in SD because the process from 2008, 2007, 2006 just kept ticking over.

    I’m fed up to the back teeth about people complaining about HD not looking any different when they don’t own anything bigger than a microwave (and is it the same people who always get “new HD channels” confused with “new digital channels”?) It’s like when colour TV got introduced … did all the grannies with black & white say that they couldn’t understand what the fuss was about with colour TV?

    Well, yes they did actually. My dad used to retail “CTVs” over the decades. In fact it was as recently as 1990 when a little old lady wrote in to BackChat on the ABC to complain that the election graph was using colours in its bar graphs and pie charts and “could they please make it suitable for viewing for the rest of us?”

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