A well deserved win for BBC R&D

I’m intending to write a bit more about the BBC Research people in the near future, but I thought I’d just flag up a well deserved award that they received last week, at the annual IBC show in Amsterdam.

IBC is where you’ll find many of the latest developments in broadcasting, and it was two years ago in Amsterdam that I saw some of the first live demonstrations of the DVB-T2 technology that powers Freeview HD.

Amidst all the fuss about the surround sound issues on that service, some people claimed that the BBC don’t invent technology anymore, and just buy in things from elsewhere. That’s not really true. What is true is that the technological landscape of broadcasting has shifted dramatically from the days where the BBC labs could come up with great ideas like RDS or Nicam Stereo, more or less on their own.

In the modern world, international standards are required, and often the role of individual organisations in those doesn’t achieve as high a profile as when they can be said to have invented something themselves. But, nevertheless, the DVB-T2 technology that Freeview HD relies upon wouldn’t be there without the work of the BBC R&D department, who led the team, and provided much of the most important expertise.

They were recognised for that at IBC, with an award for the technology – you can read a little more about it on the BBC blog.

I think it’s important to remember things like this; all too often (and sometimes justly) other aspects of the corporation get criticised, and we forget that there’s an amazing amount of work, some of it so far behind the scenes that it’s easily forgotten, carried out by incredibly clever people in the BBC labs. Their website is worth a look. It’s a reminder of some of the great work that’s carried out on our behalf.

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