TV broadcasters are trying to ensure they don't lose audience to those who are using broadband as their main entertainment medium, and Channel Five is the latest UK broadcaster to provide a video on demand service, named Demand Five.
The service works using web streaming with videos encoded at 768Kbps, or a client that can be downloaded and installed to provide access to higher quality video and apparently even HD content. Content like Neighbours and a range of other shows such as The Gadget Show are free; some shows carry a rental fee of 99p to £1.99.
We would have liked to have told you all about the bit rate for the downloaded material, but the Demand Five software installed and then refused to run. Interestingly the install process installs KService.exe from Kontiki which is also used by other video services like Sky Player and the BBC iPlayer, but the Channel Five FAQs highlight that this component is not actually used and is just part of the Entriq Mediasphere suite. Call us odd, but if its not used why not write the installer such that it is not installed?
We will find another PC to sacrifice later and take a look at what Channel Five consider to be HD quality video. Many places promise HD video, and sometimes they may offer 720 or 1080 vertical resolution but all too often the bit rate is such that video playback has visible encoding artifacts. In terms of web video the term high definition tends to be used for any material that is higher than average resolution and a bit rate above 1Mbps. High quality HD content runs at around 250MB for just two or three minutes of playtime, making a 90 minute feature film around 11GB.