Help: My TV is NICAM, does that mean I have digital TV?
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My TV is NICAM, does that mean I have digital TV?

My TV is NICAM, does that mean I have digital TV?

Whilst NICAM and teletext are digital systems, they are not in the sense that people usually mean when describing Freeview, digital satellite TV or digital cable TV.

The NICAM system has been superseded by a technology that now allows the “old fashioned” television system to carry around six times as many channels. Most people get noticeably better picture and sound quality too.

If you have a NICAM TV, you should connect your digital decoder box to your TV using a SCART cable. If you use anything else, you are not going to hear stereo from the TV, as the boxes are unable to “create” NICAM for your TV.

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Aidan Lunn
Thursday 20 January 2011 12:19AM

^^ Why? I never said they did develop it. I said that they could have developed it had they got the chance. And I am a personal friend of one of the people who actually developed NICAM. he said it would be quite easy to adapt it for SD anmd HD digital transmissions, complete with more sound channels at higher quality audio than Dolby 7.1.

Thursday 20 January 2011 5:49AM

Aidan Lunn: Nope, that still makes no sense at all. Perhaps you should educate yourself about the stuff you post before you post it.

Saturday 6 August 2011 9:49PM

Reading the comments about Nicam and digital TV transmission months after they were posted, I honestly don't understand why Mr. Lunn's comments were deemed so wrong. Nicam encoding could have easily been added to a channel's digital data stream instead of adding the Mpeg audio stream as now used. It would have broken the DVB standard, but that doesn't mean it wasn't technically possible, or feasable, (it certainly was) or couldn't even become part of the standard as an option especially with the BBC behind it. Personally I'd say there are issues with both Nicam and Mpeg audio, with Mpeg audio the quality is diabolical at lower bit rates, or with poor signals causing errors, as in digital radio broadcasts. Because of the quantisation Nicam drops bits at high volumes and this is supposedly masked by the ear, but I believe quality is lost, in some circumstances for example a range of pure tones with dissimilar volume levels, but a similar form of masking which fools the ear, is what mpeg audio also relies on.

My main concern with Mpeg is that the broadcaster has too much control of the minimum audio bitrate on Mpeg audio and might be therefore tempted to save bandwidth by using a much lower bitrate than is appropriate. This isn't allowed AFAIK for Nicam, so the sound quality is consistent, always being at the upper limits of the design.

Mpeg audio needs at least 256kbits/sec to compare with Nicam, but Nicam uses more than that I think.

In all cases error correction has to be added after encoding as an extra, the question would be how much would be needed.

Sadly the best systems don't always win in any case.

Sunday 7 August 2011 10:04AM

shaun: NICAM 728 was never a candidate for inclusion in MPEG. Companding is a poor compression scheme and the very high bitate - 728kbps (hence the name) does not result in better audio quality than the FFT-based modern computing-based schemes.

NICAM is good in comparison to PAL audio, but that's not saying much.

Tuesday 24 April 2012 10:19AM

why have i lost nicam stereo on my goodmans tv with sky box and i have done a retune.

Dave Lindsay
Tuesday 24 April 2012 10:47AM

len: The RF output (i.e. output on the aerial lead) of the Sky box doesn't provide stereo sound. This is the same as other devices (recorders, video recorders, DVD players etc) which don't put out stereo sound.

Tuesday 24 April 2012 12:47PM

But it worked all ok until the digital switch over with the sky box now it will only do mono

Tuesday 24 April 2012 11:21PM

len: To back up what has been said, you cannot have stereo sound from a Sky boxes RF1 or 2 output as the Sky boxes modulator is technically incapable of supplying the type of signal necessary for decoding, if you genuinely did have stereo before then it must have been via a scart connection between both devices, or alternatively it might even have possibly been pseudo stereo should the Goodman's actually have such a facility.

i fletcher
Tuesday 3 July 2012 6:25PM

just moved new home digital arial not working its a 10 element twin reflectors on bottom of pole is in out connector says 12v with screw to increase decrease assume this is booster any ideas.all cable connections look ok unable to check top of arial

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