Originally Posted by andgarden
My worry is that some people might notice, but most wont, and the world will go on. Just wait until NBC decides that it's going to try two 1080i feeds in the same ATSC mux.
I somewhat doubt they'll do this, for two reasons:
1. Backlash from viewers on the ABC deal (and there probably will be some) will sour NBC on trying it themselves.
2. 1080i requires even more bandwidth than 720p to look good. I said earlier that a single-pass encoder requires 14.5 Mbps; that's for 720p content. 1080i requires 16.1 Mbps or so to look good. So if NBC does do the 2 HD channel deal, they'll be asking for it.
Originally Posted by kucharsk
The higher-ups know exactly
what they are doing.
They know people aren't going to just stop watching, they see the horrid SD PQ that D* and E* deliver that people gladly pay
for, and know people will view anything better than that as "HD."
This way they gain additional revenue at no real
risk of a drop in viewership.
Not necessarily. There are artifacting errors in the SD feeds, but the primary issue that makes the images so bad is that the physical resolution settings are so paltry (in the 480x480i range).
When people are getting HDTV sets, they tend to upgrade from 27-36-inch sets (and more like 27), to 40-52 inches. Some are going DLP for the better colors than LCD, and getting sets in the 61-67-inch mark as a result. Either way, these larger sets mean that flaws in the picture are enhanced over what you'll see with an SD set. If there's enough poor image quality, over a long enough period of time, there is a likelihood that viewers will throw their hands up, and give up on a network's programming, since it's so difficult to watch.
Another thing to consider is that most people get their HD via cable. It's bad enough to have their providers offer three or even four(? Wow.) MPEG-2 HD channels on a single QAM channel. That would mean that the cable providers might have to re-compress the already-bitstarved HD feeds. So that further requires a pristine feed coming from the station -- anything else, and after the re-encode by the cable company, the picture would look beyond horrendous, and most viewers would probably blame the station, because they don't tend to be techno-proficient, and understand what the cable cos. are doing, and how each re-encoding reduces picture quality.
You also have to wonder if people that do go over-the-air will think they did something wrong with their setup. I read a report in The Washington Post about some new HDTV DVR that tunes in over-the-air signals. He mentioned occasional blurriness and pixelization
on the NBC station. That was probably due to our local NBC affiliate's use of two SD subchannels.