Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 2079 Old 03-25-2008, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by markofmayhem View Post

From what I've seen with Quantum HITS, the "receiving head-end" only has to modulate to 256QAM with no encoding/decoding needed, just modulation (from Q to 256).

Where/When do local commercials get inserted?
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post #272 of 2079 Old 03-25-2008, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by satellitesmith View Post

Where/When do local commercials get inserted?

The systems have the ability to insert commercials in the MPEG2 stream for SD channels. I'm not sure they can do that on national HD channels though, at least not yet.
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post #273 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 12:55 AM
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squawk commented:
> As HD channels proliferate, the cable companies have to cut corners. <<br />
That's blatantly false. As they migrate their analog packages to digital, they free up massive amounts of bandwidth. Enough for a substantial amount of HD. When that runs out, they can move to SDV.

Cutting corners is only a requirement for those cable systems who are too cheap or too lazy to bother to do it correctly. I agree that there are cable cos. that fit that profile. But you can't generalize across the board, the way you did.

Also, if my local cable co. (Charter) was sourcing from HITS, I wouldn't be getting A&E at 18.1 mbs (MBit/sec), TNT at 17.6 mbs, HDNet at 17.9 mbs, HDNet Movies at 16.6 mbs, and HDTheater and HistoryHD at 17+ mbs.

- Tim

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post #274 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 05:00 AM
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I think we should should have a short name for this fiasco that we can convey to people that communicates what's going on here. Since BFDTV has done the heavy lifting here, he should decide, but I started describing this to some friends last night as "HD-gate", since this scandal is about Comcast taking away our HD and giving us something less.

The thing that really fries me is that in my area, we have been hit by two rate increases just in the last year, and one of the main reasons Comcast cited for the increase was bringing us more HD channels. They are advertising all their HD greatness, but delivering something that is less than HD - maybe we should call it "medium definition" instead of high definition, since they are shortchanging us on the bits that the programmers are sending them.

This seems like outright deceptive advertising - selling HD but giving us medium def. They advertise A&E HD in their lineup, but don't give us the real HD A&E. If they advertised they were carrying the medium definition version of A&E, I'd be OK with it, because at least then consumers would know they are getting less than what others are providing. But they market this as real HD, which it is most certainly not.

Comcast is perpetuating fraud on their customers, as are any other MSO's who feed this medium def substitute to their customers as well. We should not put up with them charging us more to provide us less than what they are advertising.

PS Tim is right here. The Cable operators don't need to go down this route - they have a ton of spectrum in their network to deliver real HD. But as Tim points out, they are being lazy and and not wanting to move a bunch of channels that few people care about off analog and onto digital to free up capacity. They don't even need to stop carrying the channels - just move them to the digital tier. This is just bad decision making by their management, and hardly the exception lately - but that's why their stock is in the tank.
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post #275 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MechaPoitier View Post

BFDTV,

Just wanted to say nice job on starting this thread. I feel like I noticed a drop in HD quality when we received a bunch of new HD channels in the Blacksburg area in December. I know that this area used to be serviced by Adelphia, which you noted in your first post as possibly being the exception to this problem. I am away from home right now but am interested in checking it out when I get back. Is there an easy and simple way to check to see how my channels are grouped, or do I need specialized equipment? I have a Sci Atl STB and a Samsung 1080p HDTV.

Harrisonburg/Massanutten here, former Adelphia system, I belive that we have the same channels as you do after the expanding of HD channels. I have not noticed the degrading that has been mentioned, there is occasional macroblocking (not that often) but not anymore than there was when the system was Adelphia. I also noticed it a lot when we had Directv(over 8 years in Northern Va, prior to moving here) I assume this means that our Comcast node is not over populated. The reason that we have stayed with Comcast and never bothered to reactivate Directv was that when we moved in we ran the services side by side and the then Adelphia service was better than Directv, and has stayed that way so far
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post #276 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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To Comcast's credit, I saw little to no difference on movie channels such as HBO, Cinemax, and Starz. I did see some blurring / reduced detail during fast movement on Starz, but the recordings from Cinemax and HBO were virtually identical, even on action movies such as 300 and Gladiator. When there was blocking on the Comcast feed of Cinemax, that blocking was also on the FiOS feed.

I took some screenshots showing the blurring on Comcast's feed of Starz, but I have not posted them because I don't feel they are representative of that program. If I were to pick 20 random frames, 19 would look comparable. Of course, that might change with a different movie recorded at a different time, but to this point, I have only compared The Pursuit of Happiness on Starz.

Contrast that to channels such as Discovery HD and MHD, where the opposite is true. With my recordings from those channels, you can pick almost any frame in the program and notice an improvement with FiOS. The differences are very obvious with many slow motion sequences and dramatic with fast motion sequences. Other channels may fall into this category as well - I am still recording and comparing.
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post #277 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 06:10 AM
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I did think Starz looked blurred and more like a good DVD transfer rather than HD when watching the Davinci Code on Sunday.

But perhaps the Imagine Communications encoder can improve with firmware updates and/or changing the mux.

I would expect "talking head" channels like CNN HD, Fox Business HD, CNBC HD, etc placed on 3:1 muxes rather than USA/SciFi/Discovery.
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post #278 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

PS Tim is right here. The Cable operators don't need to go down this route - they have a ton of spectrum in their network to deliver real HD. But as Tim points out, they are being lazy and and not wanting to move a bunch of channels that few people care about off analog and onto digital to free up capacity. They don't even need to stop carrying the channels - just move them to the digital tier. This is just bad decision making by their management, and hardly the exception lately - but that's why their stock is in the tank.

Comcast wanted to move about 15 PEG channels to digital in my area and a judge blocked them. They have also been moving about 1 to 2 analog channels to exclusively digital (the most recent I think was CourtTV) every couple of months but that is woefully inadequate to provide a large amount of HD channels quickly. Unfortunately, as long as the FCC requires that cable companies provide analog (maybe we will get some relief in 2011, but then again maybe not) they are going to be challenged bandwidth-wise.

In terms of handing out boxes...how many should they be required to do? When they tried to move the PEG channels, Comcast offered one digital box free for up to one year plus they did mention (for the first time ever I think) that any Digital Cable Ready TV would be able to pick up the PEGs as they were unencrypted. I don't know where you live but here in Michigan it is not unusual to see 1 or 2 TVs with Digital boxes and at least that many more hooked up directly in kitchens, kid's bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, garages, etc. Should the cable company be on the hook to provide a digital box to each location? AT&T limits you to four (mostly technology) and I think any deal you get with DirecTV or Dish limit you to four receivers then you need to start paying for additional boxes.

-- Jim
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post #279 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

To Comcast's credit, I saw little to no difference on movie channels such as HBO, Cinemax, and Starz. I did see some blurring / reduced detail during fast movement on Starz, but the recordings from Cinemax and HBO were virtually identical, even on action movies such as 300 and Gladiator. When there was blocking on the Comcast feed of Cinemax, that blocking was also on the FiOS feed.

When I did some (DVR based) bitrate measurements last year I noted that the average bitrate on HBO was pretty low (11-12Mbps) yet looked fantastic. Someone (on some forum somewhere) suggested this was related to how HBO handled repeat flags. It made sense, as their material is virtually all 24fps (with very few exceptions) and wasting bits transmitting repeated fields could be avoided.

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post #280 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

To Comcast's credit, I saw little to no difference on movie channels such as HBO, Cinemax, and Starz. I did see some blurring / reduced detail during fast movement on Starz, but the recordings from Cinemax and HBO were virtually identical, even on action movies such as 300 and Gladiator. When there was blocking on the Comcast feed of Cinemax, that blocking was also on the FiOS feed.

I took some screenshots showing the blurring on Comcast's feed of Starz, but I have not posted them because I don't feel they are representative of that program. If I were to pick 20 random frames, 19 would look comparable. Of course, that might change with a different movie recorded at a different time, but to this point, I have only compared The Pursuit of Happiness on Starz.

Contrast that to channels such as Discovery HD and MHD, where the opposite is true. With my recordings from those channels, you can pick almost any frame in the program and notice an improvement with FiOS. The differences are very obvious with many slow motion sequences and dramatic with fast motion sequences. Other channels may fall into this category as well - I am still recording and comparing.

I think HBO, and possibly the other premium channels have elements in their contracts that specify what the distributer can do to the video they send them. People pay a lot for these channels, and HBO doesn't want the quality knocked down.
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post #281 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

I think HBO, and possibly the other premium channels have elements in their contracts that specify what the distributer can do to the video they send them. People pay a lot for these channels, and HBO doesn't want the quality knocked down.

So why are people on this forum saying otherwise regarding HBO, as well as:

http://www.tvpredictions.com/2008/03...d-picture.html

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post #282 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxman View Post

So why are people on this forum saying otherwise regarding HBO, as well as:

http://www.tvpredictions.com/2008/03...d-picture.html

Because, as bfdtv implied, HBO is using a technique that allows for a lower bit-rate, WITHOUT A REDUCTION IN QUALITY. So doing 3:1 with channels using that technique would be OK. (Keep in mind, that apparently only works for 24fps material).

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post #283 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 11:16 AM
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cypherstream commented:
> I did think Starz looked blurred and more like a good DVD transfer rather than HD when watching the Davinci Code on Sunday. <<br />
That might be because, like many other movies on Starz, "The Davinci Code" wasn't HD at all, but an upconvert. Makes a big difference.

- Tim

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post #284 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

Because, as bfdtv implied, HBO is using a technique that allows for a lower bit-rate, WITHOUT A REDUCTION IN QUALITY. So doing 3:1 with channels using that technique would be OK. (Keep in mind, that apparently only works for 24fps material).

Boxing on HBO would be a good litmus test.
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post #285 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 02:03 PM
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How many Comcast customers are going to simply assume that their television is going bad? "I thought there was something wrong with my tv" is clearly going to be the conclusion of most consumers. That's what makes this switch so sneaky, snarky, and, I guess, comcastic.

P.S. Thanks to the original poster and thanks to the Consumerist for the heads-up about this threed. http://consumerist.com/5004573/

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post #286 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 02:48 PM
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I'll tell 'ya - between this, the bugs taking up 1/4 of the screen, the popups and banners, the ever-increasing commercial breaks, and the prices constantly going up, I don't even know why I bought a 50" plasma or even watch TV at all anymore.

I think I'm just gonna sell the thing, go back to my 32" analog set, go strictly OTA, and just watch TV ossasionally.
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post #287 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 03:11 PM
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VG, you take my closing comment out of context. Did you read the main paragraph? I ask b/c you seem to miss the main point, which I layout for you below. It also appears you missed the point I made about the differing capacities and capablities of disparate cable systems. The only cable system you can comment on is your own. But what about the guy on a completely different system?

I think we all know about cable's strategy to address its current, lemme emphasize CURRENT, bandwidth capacity problem. The cessation of analog transmissions will free up bandwidth. The transition from streaming to switch-digital video will further free up sorely need bandwidth along the coax portion of the plant off the node. BUT until these "fixes" are put in place, cable will have to "cut corners" just as the blogger whose comments & video snapshots illustrate.

If you wanna disagree with me, then disagree with the fellow who first called out this problem with Comcast. You think his cable system is the only Comcast system with this situation (i.e. over compression, down resolution)? Or any MSO system for that matter? Of course not.

Bottom line, until YOUR cable system frees up currently consumed bandwidth along its network to accommodate new HD programming, your cable company will either (i) not carry the new HD feeds or (ii) "cut corners" just as illustrated at the forefront of this thread.

Is this situation permanent? No. Is this situation real? Yes. How long will this situation last? Who knows? Could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Anyone's guess. Is what I stated "blatantly false?" I think to the objective observer, absolutely not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VideoGrabber View Post

squawk commented:
> As HD channels proliferate, the cable companies have to cut corners. <<br />
That's blatantly false. As they migrate their analog packages to digital, they free up massive amounts of bandwidth. Enough for a substantial amount of HD. When that runs out, they can move to SDV.

Cutting corners is only a requirement for those cable systems who are too cheap or too lazy to bother to do it correctly. I agree that there are cable cos. that fit that profile. But you can't generalize across the board, the way you did.

Also, if my local cable co. (Charter) was sourcing from HITS, I wouldn't be getting A&E at 18.1 mbs (MBit/sec), TNT at 17.6 mbs, HDNet at 17.9 mbs, HDNet Movies at 16.6 mbs, and HDTheater and HistoryHD at 17+ mbs.

- Tim

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post #288 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squawk View Post


Is this situation permanent? No. Is this situation real? Yes. How long will this situation last? Who knows? Could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Anyone's guess. Is what I stated "blatantly false?" I think to the objective observer, absolutely not.

The situation of the cable companies cutting corners could be become permanent if their is no pushback from the customers or if Verizon and / or the satellite companies do not advertise that they have a superior picture quality. Cable companies currently have a limited bandwidth unless they go to advanced spectrum usage techniques. Even after they eliminate most analog channels they will be under pressure to add more and more HD channels since currently more customers are interested in that than picture quality.

Since cable has to share their bandwidth with telephone service and internet service they need to employ better technology to have excellent picture quality. Cable companies are reluctant to invest the money to upgrade their infrastructure unless the customers demand it or they loose customers because enough people switch to a better quality service.
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post #289 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey303 View Post

How many Comcast customers are going to simply assume that their television is going bad? "I thought there was something wrong with my tv" is clearly going to be the conclusion of most consumers. That's what makes this switch so sneaky, snarky, and, I guess, comcastic.

P.S. Thanks to the original poster and thanks to the Consumerist for the heads-up about this threed. http://consumerist.com/5004573/

I have heard insiders at places like Wal Mart, saying that HDTV returns are super high, number one reason is that they think the quality is poor, part of this is clearly that are not hooking up with HD service (OTA or cable, whatever) but as the quality of HD service runs down the hill, it makes one wonder.......

KD0MOF

All opinions expressed (unless otherwise noted) are the poster's only and NOT that of the poster's employers.
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post #290 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxman View Post

So why are people on this forum saying otherwise regarding HBO, as well as:

http://www.tvpredictions.com/2008/03...d-picture.html

A) This thread is about bitrates being knocked down to 9-12 Mbps to accommodate a 3:1 mux. HBO is already 9-12 Mbps, so it hasn't been affected (yet) quality-wise, but it is affected in that it is now on a 3:1 mux.

B) Why would you reference a news source (the blog) as corroboration, when it references this news source (this thread itself) for its information?

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post #291 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

The thing that really fries me is that in my area, we have been hit by two rate increases just in the last year, and one of the main reasons Comcast cited for the increase was bringing us more HD channels.

Regardless of how they deliver them, they still have to pay to receive, transport, and deliver them.

Regardless, rate increases reflect customers willingness to pay, not cost. Only losers price based on cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

This seems like outright deceptive advertising - selling HD but giving us medium def.

HD is anything with 720 lines of horizontal resolution without regard to transmission bit rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Comcast is perpetuating fraud on their customers,

That is ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

as are any other MSO's who feed this medium def substitute to their customers as well.

DirecTV and Dish Network have been delivering HD Lite for years. It isn't ideal, but it isn't uncommon either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

PS Tim is right here. The Cable operators don't need to go down this route - they have a ton of spectrum in their network to deliver real HD.

No they don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

But as Tim points out, they are being lazy and and not wanting to move a bunch of channels that few people care about off analog and onto digital to free up capacity. They don't even need to stop carrying the channels - just move them to the digital tier.

Resulting in the dissatisfaction of many of their customers who rely on analog service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

This is just bad decision making by their management, and hardly the exception lately - but that's why their stock is in the tank.

Actually, it is good decision making by their management, and partially responsible for why their stock isn't down further than it is.
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post #292 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I think I'm just gonna sell the thing, go back to my 32" analog set, go strictly OTA, and just watch TV ossasionally.

Let us know how that works out for you.

The issue is really to what extent doing this drives customers to switch providers, versus to what extent dropping analog channels drives customers to switch providers. Right now, apparently, the latter out-weighs the former.
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post #293 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 05:09 PM
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PG,

Permanent is a long time. Personally, by that I mean JMO, the larger systems in the top-tier markets, where density is greatest per mile of plant, present the most economically viable metric for the major MSOs to counter the advantage that DirecTV, & I assume VZ-FiOS presently have over cable.

There are many options for the MSOs to increase bandwidth. Freeing the current analog spectrum, obviously, is the most economic path to go. Switched digital video is the best way to optimize bandwidth consumption along the coax running to the taps in the street, as 300 streaming feeds 24-7need not be piped thru, if, let's say 50 subs on the node are watching no more than 30 different live feeds (channels) at any give time. It's certain to free up bandwidth. How much I dunno, nor do I care to calculate. To maximize the benefits of this strategy, IMHO, will also require the splitting of nodes, reducing the # of subs served off a single node, thus freeing up bandwidth along the coax. The cable customer might, however, have to get used to a delay when flipping channels a bit, since the real "tuner" will be at the node, rather then completely resident in the STB. Not a big deal, since HD is a bit delayed anyway due to formatting, buffering, etc. Another option is for the MSO to increase the bandwidth frequency of their ssystems. 860 MHz simply doesn't cut it any more.

But as you allude to, all this costs money, and as important, time. Expect cable to provide the quick fix, the band-aid approach, to keep up with satellite & FiOS in the short run. Issue with HD channels, at this point, IMHO, is the lack of HD content. Half the HD channels on DirecTV are filled with SD programming. But I really think this will change by EOY 2008. DirecTV pushed the HD envelop. Now the programmers are responding.

But I'm sure longer term, the MSOs with access to capital, will bit the bullet & invest in the necessary upgrades to accommodate the large bandwidth needs of new fledgling HD channels.

Bottom line, I think we both agree, cable will be hurting for awhile in its effort to retain customers who want nothing but HD programming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

The situation of the cable companies cutting corners could be become permanent if their is no pushback from the customers or if Verizon and / or the satellite companies do not advertise that they have a superior picture quality. Cable companies currently have a limited bandwidth unless they go to advanced spectrum usage techniques. Even after they eliminate most analog channels they will be under pressure to add more and more HD channels since currently more customers are interested in that than picture quality.

Since cable has to share their bandwidth with telephone service and internet service they need to employ better technology to have excellent picture quality. Cable companies are reluctant to invest the money to upgrade their infrastructure unless the customers demand it or they loose customers because enough people switch to a better quality service.

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post #294 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

I think HBO, and possibly the other premium channels have elements in their contracts that specify what the distributer can do to the video they send them.

Nope.

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post #295 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Nope.

Ken, you may be a moderator, but that in itself does not make you the final authority. Please provide some rationale for your "Nope". It may be true, but you really need to back that up.

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post #296 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Regardless of how they deliver them, they still have to pay to receive, transport, and deliver them.

Regardless, rate increases reflect customers willingness to pay, not cost. Only losers price based on cost.

HD is anything with 720 lines of horizontal resolution without regard to transmission bit rate.

That is ridiculous.

DirecTV and Dish Network have been delivering HD Lite for years. It isn't ideal, but it isn't uncommon either.

No they don't.

Resulting in the dissatisfaction of many of their customers who rely on analog service.

Actually, it is good decision making by their management, and partially responsible for why their stock isn't down further than it is.

I see. So if comcast delivered a 720p signal with 100 kbps video, that would still qualify as HD? I don't think so. If that is the official definition, then the definition is wrong. And every consumer would agree with me on this. Selling a customer a 100kbps version of an HD stream would be considered fraud I think. So is what they are doing by throwing away over a 1/3 of the bits.

DirecTV is no longer doing HDlite on any of it's MPEG4 HD channels. If you have proof of the opposite, please present it.
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post #297 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 08:44 PM
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Just a reminder - only last year Comcast was advertising a superior quality picture. I wonder if Comcast's competitors could now use the same comparison?

HD Wars: Comcast Takes On DirecTV
by David Goetzl, Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007 7:33 AM ET

COMCAST COULD WELL BE GEARING up for a pricey marketing campaign to combat DirecTV's seemingly successful efforts to claim leadership on the HD front.

A top company executive said last week that the cable operator will offer some 400 high-definition channels by the end of the year, and 800-plus by the close of 2008. In addition, Comcast has data showing that two-thirds of people prefer its HD picture to the satellite feed, according to co-CFO John Alchin.

"We're winning on choice, we're winning on quality, and we're winning on value," Alchin told a group of investors in London, in what sounded like a line lifted from a creative brief.

DirecTV has made a well-publicized pledge to offer 100 HD channels by the end of the year. It recently plugged that it will soon have the capacity to increase the lineup to more than 150. The satellite operator has said it will "offer more HD channels than any other multichannel provider."

But Alchin said Comcast is already ahead, and will continue to create distance. He said a recent moment-in-time snapshot in Comcast's home Philadelphia market showed the MSO had some 24 linear channels in HD, plus about 175 additional feeds, versus 17 on DirecTV. When DirecTV makes it to the 150 mark, Comcast will be at 800.

He also referenced a "private independent study" that Comcast commissioned gauging viewer reaction to a side-by-side comparison of Comcast's HD picture to satellite. "The outcome was clear and resounding," he said, citing results that two-thirds preferred the Comcast version.

"We have the superior product in relation to high-definition," Alchin said. "We'll maintain that product's superiority--we'll continue to add to that superiority over time."

Comcast, which is in 24 million homes, has run national commercials on premium programming with the "It's Comcastic!" tagline.

Alchin's comments came after a top Time Warner Cable executive said earlier in the week that cable operators have so far lost the perception battle with HD against satellite competitors.
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post #298 of 2079 Old 03-26-2008, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

HD is anything with 720 lines of horizontal resolution without regard to transmission bit rate.

You're mixing apples and oranges. In this case, mixing horizontal resolution with the number of scan lines. Horizontal resolution is how well the image can be defined as the lines scans across the screen. Or, how many vertical B&W line pairs can be drawn across the scree before it turns to mush, i.e. grey.

Obviously in the new digital world, resolution is defined by many factors. In theory, one should be able to send out 960 white vertical lines, alternating with 960 black vertical lines for 1920x1080, or 640 white and 640 black for 1280x720.

For the moment, lets throw away the display device, which we'll get back to.

Bitrate will not affect the static image of those vertical lines, since they aren't changing, so the low bitrate that is being used to cram three HD channels, will send out the complete picture. What reduces the horizontal resolution is doing the so-named HDlite, where the number of horizontal pixels is reduced to 1440, or even worse, 1280 (for 1080i). Those 960 vertical line pairs will now start to look like crap. The horizontal resolution, for lack of a better term, is now reduced to 720 line pairs or 640 line pairs, a 25% or 33% drop in resolution. Ouch.

Now, take those same line pairs and alternate them every frame. At the low bitrates that Comcast is using, macroblocking should appear. That will turn those nice crisp line pairs (8 line pairs per MPEG-2 block), into mush. The mush could be gray blocks, if really bit starved, to who knows what, depending on the amount of bits that are available. That is another means of affecting horizontal resolution in the in the digital world.

Remember that display device? In the analog world, the display of analog TV was pretty much limited to about 320 lines of horizontal resolution, no matter the size of the screen, since that is the broadcast limit.

In the digital world, we now have displays that also affect the resolution that it can display. For example, 720p native sets will not display the 1080i line pairs cleanly, since it can only display 640 crisp vertical line pairs. Of course, the vertical resolution is affected as well I'm assuming that 720p displays are pixels for pixel and do not have overscan (which is dumb in the digital world). But, there are those 1360 (or whatever it is) x 768 sets that are 720p native. What is up with that? That means the 1280 x 720 image is expanded to not mathematically fits pixels 1:1. They seems to do a good job of it though, as my daughter has one of those.

I'm currently displaying 1080i on a 1280x1024 computer monitor, so the 720p is 1:1, but the 1080i is reduced, so I don't see the potential full 1080i resolution.

So, all these things affect horizontal resolution. So, where does HD stop being HD, i.e., what is the minimum horizontal resolution for 1080 and 720? Is it 1440 or 1280 (for 1080i)? Is anyone reducing 720p's 1280 to something less? How much macroblocking can exist before it is not longer HD?

For me, the minimum is 1440x1080i/p. Sony's HDV is 1440x1080i. Many HD pieces are shot on Pro Sony cameras and recorded at 1440.

As for macroblocking, I personally feel that there should be zero macroblocking, in order to experience the crystal clear HDTV experience that the industry says digital is. If there are macroblocks, it isn't crystal clear anymore. What Comcast is doing has definately crossed the line in what is considered as HDTV.

The nature of 1080i over our current ATSC standard will not provide crystal clear images 100% of the time.

Thank goodness I don't have Comcast, otherwise they would be hearing from my lawyer regarding their non-HD video. It is beginning to look like someone should file a class-action lawsuit over this, like was done over D*'s HDlite.

If you haven't noticed, there is a lot of personal opinion in this posting.

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post #299 of 2079 Old 03-27-2008, 04:32 AM
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I provided my feedback about all this to Comcast, and yesterday, found a message on my voicemail asking me to call back about it. Interesting.

Wonder how the conversation will go? Will it be a denial of any compression or.....
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post #300 of 2079 Old 03-27-2008, 04:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

I see. So if comcast delivered a 720p signal with 100 kbps video, that would still qualify as HD? I don't think so.

Then, with respect, you'd be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

If that is the official definition, then the definition is wrong.

No, rather, you simply don't like the definition. You're not alone. A lot of people think that HD should imply a certain bit rate, but alas that is not the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

And every consumer would agree with me on this.

I'm a consumer, and I don't agree with you about what the definition of HD is, and I don't believe definitions are "wrong" -- inconvenient and unfortunate, perhaps, but not "wrong".

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Selling a customer a 100kbps version of an HD stream would be considered fraud I think.

Again, with respect, that is not hte case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

DirecTV is no longer doing HDlite on any of it's MPEG4 HD channels.

That is a meaningless statement. They never did HD Lite on any of their MPEG4 channels. They always did HD Lite on their MPEG2 channels, and they still do HD Lite on their MPEG2 channels. There are plans to convert the MPEG2 channels to MPEG4 channels, but note that even that is going to disappoint consumers: Those with the DirecTiVo will no longer be able to get those HD channels at all.
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