DVDR3575 PQ on Digital Channels in an Analog Cable Feed
We've been recording "Bones" and "House" in 2-hr-SP mode on Fox from our Time Warner (TW) basic analog cable service, and the PQ was good with both the 3575 and our Pio 640 before that.
For this week's shows, we changed the 3575's timer rec. to Fox's digital channel for the first time cuz we noticed the shows looked so much better on that channel. We also had our first chance to watch those timer-recorded shows on our new 47" 1080P LCD TV.
When we sat down to watch the shows, we both said something like, Holy C**, what a stunning picture!
Of course, we were used to watching the shows on an "old" analog channel. It's sort of like our good, clear SD-analog-channel on steroids!
Sort of reinforces the obvious: a high-quality recording starts with the source! That's proven true every time I've recorded a football game on a digital HD channel, even tho it's downrezzed to SD... no comparison to a game on an analog channel.
But then I was playing with some of the TV's controls and noticed that, when on any of my 7 digital channels, I couldn't set Digital CC on, only Analog CC... WTH... I know some or all of those channels have CC (ESPN HD, TNT, Fox, Discovery, etc.), and they're on digital channels!?
Got me to thinking...maybe I'm not really getting true digital channels, just some cableco converted analog version of an original digital broadcast or microwave feed?
In researching a little, I found a possible answer from Lauren Weinstein's Blog (lauren.vortex. com)
in an article titled "Are You Being Cheated by Digital Cable?" A telling section hit home, when she said this:
"The TiVo HD has easily accessible diagnostic modes which clearly spill all the beans relating to these issues. Here in the West Valley (Los Angeles) system of Time Warner Cable, I can clearly see that, at the moment, virtually all basic cable channels in the digital tiers that have simulcast analog (under channel 100) equivalents, are actually being delivered as analog channels, at least to my cableCARDs."
Hey, I'm on TW cable and ALL my digital channels have an equivalent analog channel under 100! This might explain why I can't set Digital CC...I'm not getting digital channels, just a digital>analog version delivered in a TW-specified "digital" channel slot?
Anyway, I do know the shows on my digital channels all view and record in much higher quality than shows on my analog channels, so they must start out as high-quality, HD digital (most have "HD" as part of channel name) and just get repackaged by the cableco as Lauren indicates in her article.
I've never seen ANY of the "artifacts" that some people see and complain about, only some occasional macroblocks. Since digital is broadcast in macroblocks, with instructions for reassembly, I figure those short "blips" will be normal for awhile, at least until the cablecos get their digital act together by or after 2009... and maybe stop compressing the macroblocks so much... one can hope, anyway.
Can't speak for anyone else, but in my system, I get the best picture from the 3575's tuner and home DVDs with $18 Digital AV composite cables from Wal-Mart... noticeably better than S-Video, Component, or even HDMI at any resolution (in fact, 480p worked better than 1080p!?). It does make some sense, tho, since the signal we all receive is composite (only commercial DVDs have Component video), so my 3575s apparently do better not trying to split the signal into discrete elements?
Some people report excellent PQ with their HDMI on a 3575, so I had to try it, and it does
make a slight difference in PQ when playing commercial
DVDs, but HDMI is actually worse in my system for anything else. However, the difference is so small I might not have the incentive to change the TV to its HDMI input when playing those DVDs.
On the other hand, I might just have an "odd" but excellent setup...or I need my vision checked... no, can't be that, my wife said "Holy Cow" (thought it was somethin else, didn't ya?) the same time I did...and she sees, hears, and smells EVERYTHING!?