Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After years of living with the CBC's audio problems for their HNIC broadcasts that use Dolby Digital audio, they have finally have got it right.

Ever since the CBC lost the NHL broadcast rights to Rogers, and got the HNIC feed from Sportsnet, the DD sound has been configured wrong; no audio from the center or rear surround channels, only the main left & right channels work.

This was particularly strange because when the live feed from the venue switched to commercials, which originate at the CBC Broadcast Centre, the DD 5.1 feed was perfect. It was only the live event feed that was wrong.

I've contacted my local CBC affiliate in Windsor, the network itself in Toronto numerous times, and even have spoke with Sportsnet personnel. They've all say the same thing; the problem is at the CBC (who at one point admitted it) and they couldn't fix it.

So now with the COVID-19 pandemic, suddenly the live feed is taking a different distribution path and Voila! Real DD 5.1, with on air talent from the center channel, camera based left and right supplemental audio, and rear ambient channels. It really sounds great and adds greatly to the already high quality HD video feed. As I'm known for saying, "It's just like being there, behind the glass in the front row!" Or something like that.

As a reference, I can remember watching HNIC since I was about 5-6 years old, spending time with my grandfather on Saturday nights. Meaning I've watched 'HNIC on the CBC' for over 60 years. Fast forward to being lucky enough to pick up the initial CBC HD broadcasts of HNIC, which were always outstanding in 1080i, before they switched to 720p for less expensive national HD distribution. It's still pretty good, much better than FOX's version of 720p.

Anyway, my guess is this was unintentional and is just the result of how Sportsnet and CBC have to handle the live feed differently due to the on air talent being at a different location for the broadcast.

I suppose this is the classic example of every cloud has a silver lining. Good for us. Thank you HNIC gods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,583 Posts
I believe NBC is doing the production and they would be passing it to CBC. So if that is the case it was perhaps Rogers who was the culprit and they were passing the misconfigured audio to CBC. Which seems plausible as you mentioned the commercials on CBC were configured properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
For what it's worth, my contacts at Sportsnet said they gave the same feed to CBC that Sportsnet used, which had no such problem. One of the engineering contacts at CBC said the problem was at their end and was uncorrectable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
From Sports Video Group News:

Working with Canadian broadcaster Rogers Sportsnet in Edmonton and U.S. broadcaster NBC Sports in Toronto, the league (NHL) has built similar broadcast templates that include deployment of more than 30 cameras in each arena; a typical NHL game usually caps out around 20. Each broadcaster will be responsible for creating a world feed to be shared with each other and, when it applies, with the regional sports networks for the teams playing in the game.

As was noted, NBC provided the feed for the early game between Montreal and Pittsburgh, because it was in Toronto. And Sportsnet did the late game Jets vs. Flames from Edmonton.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,908 Posts
One of the engineering contacts at CBC said the problem was at their end and was uncorrectable.
I highly doubt that. It may be uncorrectable by engineering staff due to lack of resources. It's up to the CBC to provide the equipment and resources to resolve the issue. CBC management probably doesn't want to spend any money on the fixing it because it has other priorities that don't include HNIC fans with surround sound capabilities.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
56,532 Posts
The issue of "improperly encoded DD5.1" has been around for many years with the CBC. They are a public broadcaster with limited funds to upgrade some of their older equipment. They therefore send DD5.1 audio all the time, even if the original programming is DD2.0. They do not have an upmixer, so the audio comes out the LF & RF channels in these instances. If the originating audio is DD5.1 (as it is with some programming and most commercials) you will hear proper DD5.1 audio on CBC channels (this affects all CBC channels - CBC News Network, etc.). They don't switch back and forth between DD2.0 and DD5.1 because it caused "popping sounds" and other audio issues, so they send DD5.1 all the time. I'm assuming that perhaps this year for HNIC, etc they are receiving DD5.1. I know that there were some HNIC broadcasts that were proper DD5.1 in recent years, but don't know the particulars about why. Here's the FAQ on DD5.1 discussing improperly encoded DD5.1:


See also:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,908 Posts
The issue of "improperly encoded DD5.1" has been around for many years with the CBC.
It was quite common 10-20 years ago on a number of channels and even BDUs that incorrectly recoded audio on some HD channels. Most channels corrected the issue over 10 years ago. As for the CBC's "limited funds," there are lots of stations with limited budgets that don't have this issue. The CBC seems to have enough money for some things, including short lived vanity projects, but seems to be short when it concerns other issues. I doubt the piece of audio equipment required to fix HNIC's audio will put a big hole in the CBC's budget.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
I have a lovely 5.1 system, Yamaha power, Paradign, Energy and Mirage speakers. Never noticed anything wrong with HNIC audio. Always sounds good where I’m sitting, clean, distortion-free, decent placement of surrounds vs. fronts vs. dialogue. Guess I’m lucky? Any chance different CBC affiliates are the problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,686 Posts
CBC Newsworld is that same. Sonos App says Dolby 5.1 but everything is coming out of LF & RF speakers. Then when it goes to commercial all 5 tracks are used properly. Been that way for years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,908 Posts
It depends on the source material. If it is produced in stereo, then only the LF and RF speakers should be active. If the material is produced in DD5.1 then all 5.1 channels should be active. The HNIC issue appears to be that DD5.1 is mixed down to DD2.0 Pro Logic. That's valid under some circumstances but it degrades the audio. It should also be broadcast as DD2.0. The other issue with HNIC is that the DD2.0 audio is broadcast on the LF and RF channels of a DD5.1 carrier. That's just plain wrong. Some home equipment may be able to reconstitute that to DD5.1 but a lot won't. It will just use the LF and RF channels. It may be possible to provide some semblance of DD5.1 by using special audio effects but that's not ideal for most material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I highly doubt that. It may be uncorrectable by engineering staff due to lack of resources. It's up to the CBC to provide the equipment and resources to resolve the issue. CBC management probably doesn't want to spend any money on the fixing it because it has other priorities that don't include HNIC fans with surround sound capabilities.
Doubt whatever you want. I'm just repeating what a CBC engineer told me. You may well be correct that it's a budget issue, which could mean in their eyes it's uncorrectable, if they know funds to fix the problem are not, and will not, be available.

I know enough about how Dolby Digital is supposed to work in the context of ATSC, to know it's most definitely a fixable problem. Which is why I reached out to them in the first place. Based on your comments, it appears you know the same. My next plan was to let some old contacts at Dolby know, and see what they might be able to do, but for now, it's a moot point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
982 Posts
This is an old story. When Rogers took over hockey they did stereo not 5.1 sound. CBC transmitted those 2.0 games as they were produced by Rogers with 2.0 sound. You would kinda hear 5.1 on Rogers owned channels, but this was not real 5.1. They used sound processors to generate 'fake' surround sound. I retired 2 years ago so I can't say what's going on now. If NBC is providing the games in 5.1 you will hear 5.1 on CBC.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top