Wanted BBC Selector

Captain Jack

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#1
Remember those? For BBC Select service? Does anyone happen to have one? I've barely seen a picture of one, let alone an actual physical box!
 
Lexzie

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#2
Had to look it up, never heard of it. Could be of course because I am not British but we already did receive BBC 1 and 2 back then.
BBC Select - Wikipedia
 
Captain Jack

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#3
Yes, used a very interesting scrambling system, called Videocrypt S. Looks a little like Nagravision but different method.
 
Fisty McB

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#4
Yes, used a very interesting scrambling system, called Videocrypt S. Looks a little like Nagravision but different method.

(When you hit play, you'll start at 5:23 just before the vision and audio scrambling become apparent).

I understand that this was a special Videocrypt variant produced for the BBC Select service as supposedly Videocrypt I (one) could not handle "ghosting" well that terrestrial analogue signals can be quite prone to. I wonder if this was the same variant of Videocrypt used by Sky (no full-blooded relation) in New Zealand for their terrestrial service or did they use VC I?
 
Captain Jack

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#5
I suspect that Sky NZ and Fiji did use a similar version of Videocrypt to BBC's due to the said bouncy ghosting, though I'll check in more detail later.

These BBC Selectors seem quite rare as no one I know ever seemed to have owned one! Must have been a worse commercial failure than those "Made In..." locals...
 
Fisty McB

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#6
I think the "scrambled" BBC Select service lasted just over a year for whatever reason - maybe the uptake among professionals that the programming was aimed at was very poor. From memory they definitely did continue with a service promoted as BBC Select in FTA form in around 1993-95 before it morphed into The Learning Zone, later BBC Learning Zone.

I've never seen one of those "Selector" boxes myself. Some cynics might suggest that the scrambling of the BBC Select service was intended to be a precursor to an eventual change to fully scrambling BBC1 & BBC2 TV output changing from a licence fee model to a subscription service. Equally cynical might be the case that some within the BBC wanted the scrambled BBC Select service to fail so as to put the brakes on any attempt of doing the former. :-wow

:-hijack

It appears that the BBC were experimenting with analogue scrambling systems in the years leading up to the launch of BBC Select - this is a clip from YouTube of an apparent BBC Engineering test in the autumn of 1987 shown after closedown. Looking at the way the picture is scrambled I'm certain that it's Discret being used here.

 
Captain Jack

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#7
Yeah, very interesting seeing these tests and it does look like Discret here. You could actually watch this and your eyes would adjust - it's after watching and looking at the real world when it would all become scrambled!

This YouBoob video suggests that Sky NZ used plain old cut/rotate Videocrypt...

 
RustySpoons

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#8
There must be something wrong with me, I've always been fascinated by scrambled/encrypted TV, when I had my old Salora Analogue system back in the late 80s early 90s I used to sit there watching scrambled images and could almost make out what things were, then the satisfaction of clearing those scrambled images with various methods lol.
 
Captain Jack

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#9
Absolutely not. I love the teasing of analogue scrambling systems. Either sound or picture or both are encrypted - you can hear but not see, or just about see.

Just take a look in the analogue section (using HackRF):

Videocrypt revival

And recently posted:

Analogue Nagravision (Syster) encoder

Nagra is trickier to recreate for hardware decoding as VBI data rate is much faster than Videocrypt or indeed Videocrypt S (used by BBC Select). This is why we are looking for this decoder :)
 
RustySpoons

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#10
Did this decoder ever actually exist, I've never seen one anywhere.
I do remember the broadcasts late at night, before they encrypted the programme there was a short advertisement explaining about the select service and I think the idea was to record it to watch at a more reasonable hour. Seemed very short lived.

Interesting stuff you have done there with the HackRF, subscribed.
 
Captain Jack

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#11
It did ... at 44 seconds


I did find one person who might still have it but, just the same, he might have thrown it into the skip last year!
 
S

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#12
Absolutely not. I love the teasing of analogue scrambling systems. Either sound or picture or both are encrypted - you can hear but not see, or just about see.

Just take a look in the analogue section (using HackRF):

Videocrypt revival

And recently posted:

Analogue Nagravision (Syster) encoder

Nagra is trickier to recreate for hardware decoding as VBI data rate is much faster than Videocrypt or indeed Videocrypt S (used by BBC Select). This is why we are looking for this decoder :)
I suspect that you've already seen this BBC R&D report on Select but just in case....... http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/reports/1995-11.pdf
 
RustySpoons

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#13
Captain Jack

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#14
Yeah seem this report already. Still looking for the actual decoder though!
 
Captain Jack

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#16
Nice! Do you have it on you and would you be willing to part with it? :)
 
K

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#17
Hi

I still have it and would be happy to part with it. I have no idea if it works, my wife bought it at an auction over 15 years ago thinking it was a satellite receiver. It has been in an outbuilding since then and I came across it today when having a clear out. I’m unwilling to even plug it in as it might be damp and is certainly very dusty inside, I gave the outside a quick dust.

I googled it and stumbled across SatsUK thus the post. I’m guessing it’s a bit of a collector’s item and have no idea of the value, what do you suggest?
 
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#19
@KenCar

Have you been able to access the PM (Personal Message)? I wouldn't have thought that PM privileges would have come through yet.

If you haven't then shout out and one of the Admins will activate it for you.
 
Captain Jack

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#20
It doesn't seem to matter if I initiate the PM - he has received it and replied.
 
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