Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - Page 67 - AVS Forum
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post #1981 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by belfert View Post

I've read that Comcast will add SDV in my area as part of getting rid of most analog channels. Will this help PQ any if infrequently viewed channels are not broadcast to everyone?

Are you sure they said SDV? As far as I'm aware Comcast doesn't use SDV anywhere, other than a few test systems and I'm not sure it's still in use there either.
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post #1982 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Morac View Post

Comcast seems to prefer certain channels over others with respect to picture quality. For example Syfy-HD looks pretty good, but DSC-HD is a mess.

I think it varies. Here, Syfy HD and DSC HD were both excellent, while TNT HD, AMC HD and A&E HD were not. (Full disclosure, my information, in this regard, is six months old.)
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post #1983 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morac View Post

Are you sure they said SDV? As far as I'm aware Comcast doesn't use SDV anywhere, other than a few test systems and I'm not sure it's still in use there either.

Correct, although there are reports it will be implemented in some Comcast service areas this year.

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post #1984 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 01:00 PM
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Really, it can't vary on the majority of popular channels, since they're coming in pre-processed from CMC or not getting additionally compressed at all. A&E/HGTV/Starz, UHD/Food/Syfy, USA/Discovery/NatGeo, HDT/APL/History, Disney/ABCFam/Science, FX/Speed/Fox News, LMN/Outdoor/Travel, and TLC/Planet Green are the muxes currently coming from CMC, and ESPN/ESPN2/TNT/TBS are not recompressed in any local Comcast markets that I have seen, and don't come from CMC because of the need to enforce sports blackouts. What bicker1 would see on one of those channels in Boston is the exact same thing Ken sees in Detroit and Morac sees in Jersey.

Beyond that, certain channels and programs just don't look good to begin with. The Discovery networks are fairly low bitrate and show significant blocking on high motion on every provider, with or without recompression. Saving Grace is intentionally grainy, since some director somewhere decided that grainy=gritty. Not a new trend...look at The Unit, The Shield, NYPD Blue, and any Spielberg movie.
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post #1985 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

Really, it can't vary on the majority of popular channels, since they're coming in pre-processed from CMC or not getting additionally compressed at all. A&E/HGTV/Starz, UHD/Food/Syfy, USA/Discovery/NatGeo, HDT/APL/History, Disney/ABCFam/Science, FX/Speed/Fox News, LMN/Outdoor/Travel, and TLC/Planet Green are the muxes currently coming from CMC, and ESPN/ESPN2/TNT/TBS are not recompressed in any local Comcast markets that I have seen, and don't come from CMC because of the need to enforce sports blackouts. What bicker1 would see on one of those channels in Boston is the exact same thing Ken sees in Detroit and Morac sees in Jersey.

Beyond that, certain channels and programs just don't look good to begin with. The Discovery networks are fairly low bitrate and show significant blocking on high motion on every provider, with or without recompression. Saving Grace is intentionally grainy, since some director somewhere decided that grainy=gritty. Not a new trend...look at The Unit, The Shield, NYPD Blue, and any Spielberg movie.

Or "Burn Notice" on USA, which in my opinion has to be the worst looking HD program on TV, which is a shame given the locale it's set in.

Speaking of those CMC delivered channels, it's curious to me how folks can say Syfy looks great as when I compare it to a DIRECTV delivered feed, the Comcast feed is noticeable softer and artifacts with any closeup fast motion. Now, it could be my particular system, but I rather doubt it as all the numbers are good and it's QAM packed with the same channels it left Colorado with so I can't imagine my local headend is doing any more compressing. Anyway, just an observation... agree on the Discovery nets as well, they definitely look soft to me, again, a shame given their content.
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post #1986 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morac View Post

I watched the Life series and it looked really bad at times. According to my TiVo they compressed an hour of 1080i HD into about 4.5 GB (about the size of a DVD). Compare this to an hour of SyFy-HD (also 1080i HD) which was about 7 GB.

I caught a bit of Life the other day. It was a soft mess. Luckily I've been watching the BBC HD version. Worlds better picture quality with the added bonus of not having to listen to Oprah. I don't expect much out of comcast anyway. At least they are close to the world of more transition here. If the HD is going to be substandard, at least give me a lot of it.

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post #1987 of 2079 Old 04-26-2010, 01:45 PM
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I was listening in the radio (CBS news radio) that Comcast was voted worst company in America.. way to go Comcast.. the announcer said that some people were saying "Comcast has enough money to buy NBC but they can't send a techincian home in time"

http://consumerist.com/2010/04/congr...n-america.html

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post #1988 of 2079 Old 04-27-2010, 09:07 AM
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Any comparions to fios? I have comcast digital but am thinking of switching to fios. Is it worth it to switch? I would be compromising the 320 GB hard drive for verizon's 120 GB hard drive. I wonder if the quality is superior on fios or about the same as comcast.
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post #1989 of 2079 Old 04-27-2010, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Speaking of those CMC delivered channels, it's curious to me how folks can say Syfy looks great as when I compare it to a DIRECTV delivered feed, the Comcast feed is noticeable softer and artifacts with any closeup fast motion. Now, it could be my particular system, but I rather doubt it as all the numbers are good and it's QAM packed with the same channels it left Colorado with so I can't imagine my local headend is doing any more compressing. Anyway, just an observation... agree on the Discovery nets as well, they definitely look soft to me, again, a shame given their content.

I didn't say "great", I said "pretty good" which is relative to other channels I get. No channel (including broadcast channels) is great and virtually all of them will get pixelated during fast motion scenes. Speaking of broadcast channels, it looks like they are going to get a forced FCC bandwidth reduction.
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post #1990 of 2079 Old 04-27-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RT55 View Post

Any comparions to fios? I have comcast digital but am thinking of switching to fios. Is it worth it to switch?

It depends a lot on where you live. Here in my town there isn't a big difference in video quality, but there is a big improvement with regard to high-speed Internet service.
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post #1991 of 2079 Old 04-27-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morac View Post

I didn't say "great", I said "pretty good" which is relative to other channels I get. No channel (including broadcast channels) is great and virtually all of them will get pixelated during fast motion scenes. Speaking of broadcast channels, it looks like they are going to get a forced FCC bandwidth reduction.

Yes, that fast motion pixelation seems to be a somewhat constant theme with those 3-packed channels, although Syfy seems especially bad. I can recall comparing a scene with the DIRECTV feed, and in the Comcast feed a person walked by very close to the camera and was a pixelated mess, hard to even tell what it was, with DIRECTV you could watch the person walk by with all her parts intact, no pixelation at all.

It's been noted elsewhere that the equipment Comcast is using at CMC for that compression/packing is not quite up to snuff, that there's better equipment for the job from other vendors. But then again, when most people seem okay with it the way it is I don't have much hope it will get much better.
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post #1992 of 2079 Old 04-27-2010, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Yes, that fast motion pixelation seems to be a somewhat constant theme with those 3-packed channels, although Syfy seems especially bad. I can recall comparing a scene with the DIRECTV feed, and in the Comcast feed a person walked by very close to the camera and was a pixelated mess, hard to even tell what it was, with DIRECTV you could watch the person walk by with all her parts intact, no pixelation at all.

Syfy used to be downright awful when I first got it. It's gotten better so I'm thinking they assigned "more bits" to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

It's been noted elsewhere that the equipment Comcast is using at CMC for that compression/packing is not quite up to snuff, that there's better equipment for the job from other vendors. But then again, when most people seem okay with it the way it is I don't have much hope it will get much better.

If you believe Comcast, they have spot checkers who check for channel quality. I can't remember where I read about this, but it was fairly recent. Of course Comcast also claims to have the "best HD quality" in radio ads for Xfinity (I need to record one of them), so take that with a grain of salt.
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post #1993 of 2079 Old 05-02-2010, 10:48 AM
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Hey guys,

New to the forum. I actually just had Comcast installed at the house yesterday, as we really wanted to get the TiVo Premier installed to replace this crappy DTV HR22. I was horrified to see that the HD via Comcast's service is almost as poor as DTV's SD feeds. Has anyone else noticed the horrible HD quality of Comcast's HD vs. DirecTV's HD? Luckily, I had the techs install new coax for the Comcast service, so I easily cancel it and keep on going with DirecTVs.

Anyhow, anyone else out there notice these findings or am I just unlucky?

Thanks in advanced for your insight.
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post #1994 of 2079 Old 05-02-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothie247 View Post

Hey guys,

New to the forum. I actually just had Comcast installed at the house yesterday, as we really wanted to get the TiVo Premier installed to replace this crappy DTV HR22. I was horrified to see that the HD via Comcast's service is almost as poor as DTV's SD feeds. Has anyone else noticed the horrible HD quality of Comcast's HD vs. DirecTV's HD? Luckily, I had the techs install new coax for the Comcast service, so I easily cancel it and keep on going with DirecTVs.

Anyhow, anyone else out there notice these findings or am I just unlucky?

Thanks in advanced for your insight.

You might try posting in the SF bay area Comcast thread as you'll get answers more specific to your area, I would suggest putting your location in your profile as well since there's over 20 different systems in the bay area.

To try and answer your question though, I think "horrible" is an exaggeration, there's no question some of the cablenet channels that are 3-packed by Comcast certainly suffer when compared to DIRECTV(I have both Comcast and DIRECTV), but I wouldn't say "horribly" so. Primarily what I see is some artifacting with the Comcast feed that I don't see with the DIRECTV feed of the same channel, some channels like Syfy are sharper than Comcast. It depends on the channel and what type of content it is as to the extent of quality difference. To be certain, the local HD channels via Comcast are at worst equal quality to DIRECTV, and in most cases probably better as there is no additional conversion to MPEG4 like how the DIRECTV channels are handled.
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post #1995 of 2079 Old 05-02-2010, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Smoothie247 View Post

Hey guys,

New to the forum. I actually just had Comcast installed at the house yesterday, as we really wanted to get the TiVo Premier installed to replace this crappy DTV HR22. I was horrified to see that the HD via Comcast's service is almost as poor as DTV's SD feeds. Has anyone else noticed the horrible HD quality of Comcast's HD vs. DirecTV's HD? Luckily, I had the techs install new coax for the Comcast service, so I easily cancel it and keep on going with DirecTVs.

Anyhow, anyone else out there notice these findings or am I just unlucky?

Thanks in advanced for your insight.

Most of Comcast HD in Central VA looks like unconverted DVD. The Oscars is the only broadcast that looked great in the last few months. The Pacific looks like crap here.
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post #1996 of 2079 Old 05-05-2010, 11:02 PM
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Is this a final evidence between the two brand. Does it means the FIOS technology is better than COMCAST
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post #1997 of 2079 Old 05-06-2010, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by kaydigi View Post

The Oscars is the only broadcast that looked great in the last few months.

I know it may not be Comcast's fault, but even when all those camera bulbs were flashing?
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post #1998 of 2079 Old 05-06-2010, 03:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by karljohnson View Post

Is this a final evidence between the two brand. Does it means the FIOS technology is better than COMCAST

Given that there is no significant difference in overall quality here in my home, between Comcast and FiOS, I'd say that it will remain a YMMV thing.
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post #1999 of 2079 Old 05-24-2010, 05:53 PM
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I have no idea what comcast is doing but the celtics playoff home games look terrible.

I watched the lakers game on TNT and it was nothing short of AMAZING!!!!
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post #2000 of 2079 Old 05-26-2010, 04:58 AM
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OK, i did take a quick glance at page 1 of this thread, it's somewhat funny i missed this thread this whole time oh well. After all i am still considered new member here anyway. So i figure to seek for help and i bet i will be able to make a good judgment based on the suggestions i might receive from you guys, But it looks Comcast does a lot of compression and it appears they still using MPEG2, i am not really technical but anyways let me explain below what is the help is all about (3 questions below as well).



I actually have Comcast in my area but let me explain how i watch HD content. I actually watch HD when i get time, some or most channels doesn't really interest my needs at all. I love to watch HD movies mainly Action and Horror movies, occasionally sports which is probably shocking but that is how it is for me with that in mind I did have Comcast, Dish network and had DirectTV (just their SD) for short time period. Unfortunately i found out that most of the channels doesn't interested me and i get busy sometimes so i found myself paying for something that i hardly use anymore because of my busy schedule.




Then i discovered Netflix not too long ago and been a member for a while now, i find it effective for my needs. I watch Blu ray movies mainly and some DVDs and their streaming option too in HD as well (not true one anyway lol).



With that in mind, and by looking at my user name. You can tell my user name suggesting that i love Soccer and World cup is 15 days away , so i planned it ahead that i would like to watch all 64 games. I plan to watch 25 in 3D and the rest in HD. Which the channels that would carry the World cup games would be ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC (local channel) and obviously 25 games on ESPN 3D. Around the time i had Dish and Comcast in HD (in the past), i don't remember how the quality difference in both services in HD and it has been a while. I remember some HD channels looked slightly better on Dish than Comcast, I couldn't recall the ESPN quality back then. But movies channels looked good on both, but looking at comcast screen-shot in page 1 of this thread, I think i remember seeing something of lower quality in Comcast, with channel like AMC i think, if my memory served correctly, i don't think at the time Dish had AMC, so no real comparison i don't think.





Now let me give you my issues with Dish Network, Comcast and DirectTV. Dish Network, i have decent experience with their customer service but the issue i have is that i don't wish to be in contract for another 1 or 2 years. I like to have the freedom to cancel the service when i want to, i sometimes travel and must cancel a service but with how they have contracts they make that difficult sometimes! Also they don't have 3D and i really want to experience 3D specifically in World cup! With Comcast, I remember liking their on demand feature because it does have HD movies and i don't pay anything extra for HD service and after all its cost efficient for the lowest package, also Comcast announced ESPN 3D and finally i have the ability to cancel Comcast when i want to, but if i get it, i think i will leave it, just because it has free HD movies on Demand, Fear net HD (good stuff) and the few channels i like and also may like the fact they started to get 3D channels, which will give me more reasons to have it. But here is some drawbacks... No real confirmation that if ESPN 3D is really coming to my town, still waiting for local Comcast to confirm, The quality concern for ESPN HD, ESPN 2 HD, ABC HD and even ESPN 3D HD. I mean if they look anything similiar or close to page 1. This is bad quality and i may consider directTV big time if that's the case. Lastly, DirectTV have the ESPN 3D and i can get it for sure, but the contract is the issue and if comcast and DirectTV will give exact performance in 3 / 4 channels i plan to watch, then i think Comcast is better for my need, assuming the 3D channel will come to my town. Dish network is out of the mix due the fact it doesnt have ESPN 3D, so i will ask my questions and hope i explained my desires well enough!




1) How does ESPN HD , ESPN 2 HD and ABC HD channels picture quality will be like comparing both Comcast vs DirectTV?


2) If anyone have to give educational guess Will ESPN 3D look any different between DirectTV and Comcast in terms of picture quality?


3) What would be the best service provider from my needs from looking above DirectTV or Comcast
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post #2001 of 2079 Old 05-26-2010, 05:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldCup2010ESPN View Post

But it looks Comcast does a lot of compression and it appears they still using MPEG2

AFAIK, all the terrestrial service providers "still" use MPEG2.
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post #2002 of 2079 Old 05-26-2010, 09:44 AM
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The latest "Treme" episode had a lot of night scenes in it and it appears that Comcast's recompression is making them darker. Anyone else notice this when shows have dark or night scenes?
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post #2003 of 2079 Old 05-27-2010, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

AFAIK, all the terrestrial service providers "still" use MPEG2.



ok, thanks for mentioning that.
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post #2004 of 2079 Old 05-27-2010, 04:51 AM
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haha. Anyone have any answer? Since i am having friends asking about ESPN 3D for me if it will be in my town, that might settle that matter for me very soon




I am just trying to make things easier here. How is ESPN HD , ESPN2 HD and ABC HD picture Quality compare between DirectTV and Comcast?. This might be crucial factor for me. I prefer to have as best quality i can get and if quality is evenly spilt between DirectTV and Comcast in terms of these 3 channels, then i will have to go with Comcast. Anyone have any opinion to share?
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post #2005 of 2079 Old 05-27-2010, 05:45 AM
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Dont bother. Just get what you can afford. Crappy HD-Lite all of them.
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post #2006 of 2079 Old 05-27-2010, 11:42 AM
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Anyone of the techies know if cable can use long GOP MPEG-2? I suspect not. It's used for DV cameras and I don't know where else. That is the first wave of advantage that MPEG-4 has over MPEG-2 since it was there from the start. Otherwise you're wasting broadcasting two full frames per second even if it's a still frame appearing over several seconds. That eats some bandwidth.
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post #2007 of 2079 Old 05-27-2010, 02:21 PM
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Some broadcast stations have been known to use 1 second or even 3 second GOPs, but the slight gain in picture quality is more than offset by the increased length of time it takes to display something once the channel is tuned. Also, any minor error in the I frame will last for the whole thing, and a sequence error could potentially drop 3 full seconds of video, which would be really annoying to viewers.
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post #2008 of 2079 Old 06-12-2010, 05:22 PM
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I was prepared to endure another posting in which the author explains that he doesn't really watch TV at all, he just uses it to catch an occasional Merchant Ivory movie. Or maybe an early Bergman flic.

But no, WorldCup2010ESPN tells us he watches horror films and soccer. Not my cup of tea exactly but I still like it. Sounds honest.
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post #2009 of 2079 Old 06-27-2010, 10:31 PM
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I think the picture quality on Comcast has gotten far worse than when the first post in this thread was made. I was watching "A Perfect Getaway" on the Cinemax on Demand Free Preview, and the running scene at the end is one of the best tools for checking how bad the compression at your provider really is. The screen turned into a pixelated mess for about 30 seconds during the whole running scene when they're running towards the vines to get down from the cliff.
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post #2010 of 2079 Old 07-03-2010, 05:56 PM
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I was looking through the Feb 2010 issue of Consumer Reports (just got back from an extended overseas stay) and their ratings for cable service providers. Its probably been posted before, but maybe not. Scores (in parantheses) are out of 100. So for those interested, below are the top 5, Dish, and Comcast's ratings.

TV service (16 Companies rated)
1. Wow (78) - Regional provider in parts of Ill, MI, OH, and IN
2. Verizon FiOS (78)
3. AT&T U-Verse (76)
4. DirecTV (71)
5. Bright House Networks (70)
7. Dish Network (69)

14 Comcast (60)

CR also says that differences in scores of less than 4 points are not meaningful. The companies were rated in terms of Value, Reliability, Channel Selection, Picture, Sound, and Support (phone/online and In-home). Not surprisingly, Verizon FiOS received A's in all areas except support (C's). For the areas mentioned Comcast received C, D, C, C, D, D, D.

Unfortunately there was no category to rate HD quality (Picture could mean anything SD or HD). Seems clear the survey suggests FiOS is the superior service (that probably includes HD). The survey results are based on almost 58,000 responses. It would be nice to know how many responded for each service. Still, with that large sample size, I'd expect the results to be scientifically valid even if responses were qualitative and there was no interservice comparison.

Our favorite company could probably do better. Now if I only had FiOS ...
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