ABC O&O's destroy HD quality with launch of Live Well HD. - Page 5 - AVS Forum
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post #121 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioTech View Post

You have to remember the FCC only mandated stations go digital. Every station in the country could've just continued broadcasting 480i 4:3 (like many smaller stations are) and have been done with it. Let's face it. HD was a bonus of this transition. The NAB probably would've thrown a fit if they were to mandated to provide HD. In fact, some in the FCC would prefer if *all* stations multi-cast. (gasp!)

Except the original reason for getting the same amount of bandwidth in a digital format was because the networks wanted to do HD.

Multicasting was an idea that was conceived later.
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post #122 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:27 AM
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Yes, they wanted to do it, but it wasn't mandatory, which is why ABC can call sending out programming at <10mb on their stations HD, when clearly it's not anymore.
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post #123 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by dattier View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

I still believe that the HD-only approach would not be a good business model for both the cable company and Disney; way too many sets are still SD-only. Besides, would Comcast be willing to tell their SD customers, "Yes, you can get the channel with your standard-def TV, if you were to get a coupon box and pick up the station for free with an antenna -- sorry; we won't offer it to you, anyway." What kind of a sane company would do that?

I'm not following.* Your post sounds as if you thought that video broadcast in HD could not be seen at all on an SD set.

I'm talking about those that have standard-def TVs and plain-jane standard-def cable TV boxes, which is what a sizable portion of people still have in this world of HD. With those people, the standard-def STB's can't take an HD feed, decode it, downresolve it, and send it to the TV for display. The SD STB's don't have enough computational power in the computer chips to decode the HD video. HD video requires a more powerful computer to decode the video than SD video. That's why you have SD feeds of HD OTA channels. If the SD STBs could take the digital HD feeds and automatically decode it, the cable companies would gladly only send the HD feeds of local stations, knowing that the subscribers' cable boxes would center-cut, and do all the work. All cable providers would love to free up bandwidth for other channels.

What that means for Live Well HD is this: If only the HD feed is made available to cable viewers, a vast percentage of people out there, with SD-only cable boxes, would be locked out of the feed. It makes no business sense.

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Originally Posted by dattier View Post

We have two SD televisions with QAM tuners and ATSC tuners, and both cable HD and OTA HD are displayed ... downrezzed to 480i of course, but we can still watch them, just as a black-and-white set can display a black-and-white reduction of a color signal.

Moreover, you're bringing it up in the context of a cable company.* If the customer is viewing with an STB, the STB can downconvert the video from HD to SD for an SD television.* The box I have from Comcast outputs HD channels in SD through its S-Video, composite, and RF outputs, and it can be configured to downconvert the component output to SD as well.

Your internal ATSC/QAM tuners decode QAM HD as a sort of fluke. Every ATSC tuner has to have an internal CPU that has enough power to decode HDTV video. Since your QAM HD feeds are MPEG-2 HD, and there's no hardware or software crippling as required for DTV coupon boxes, the ATSC tuners can decode the QAM signals on the side.

Your Comcast box probably is meant to be used for HDTV sets, and can therefore be connected to an SD set if needed. Not all STB's can do this. The FiOS TV box that I mentioned earlier, talking about the poor ABC SD picture compared to FOX, doesn't have a component video or HDMI output, like yours does. It's S-Video (which I use), composite video, RF channel 3/4; all standard-def only. I've tried tuning one of the HD locals on it; it won't tune in. There's another box that's popular, called the Motorola DCT-700. It's really small and cheap for a reason: Motorola cuts on corners. A CPU that's just powerful enough to decode SD MPEG-2 video; not HD. Composite and RF outputs only. That kind of thought process goes into so many of the set top boxes in service right now. That's why there are SD feeds of local HD channels.

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Originally Posted by icemannyr View Post

Is there anyway LiveWell HD could be delivered in 16:9 SD or would that mean it would have to be 4:3 letterboxed?

It could be sent as 16x9 anamorphic SD; the OTA coupon boxes should center-cut such a feed, like they would an HD feed. The question is, how would SD cable boxes handle true 16x9 SD? I'd think that if it hasn't been done already, a cable box's firmware could be updated to automatically center-cut an anamorphic SD feed, unless an AFD carrier tells the box to handle it otherwise.
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post #124 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioTech View Post

You have to remember the FCC only mandated stations go digital. Every station in the country could've just continued broadcasting 480i 4:3 (like many smaller stations are) and have been done with it. Let's face it. HD was a bonus of this transition. The NAB probably would've thrown a fit if they were to mandated to provide HD. In fact, some in the FCC would prefer if *all* stations multi-cast. (gasp!)

Yes, the term "HD" is becoming more and more just a throwaway marketing term, used for almost anything that has a 16x9 image, like "jumbo", or "bonus", terms that have no real meaning or set parameters. One can see a certain wisdom in Sony calling it's format "Blu-ray" instead of just HD disc, or something similar, as it differentiates the format from the mediocre "HD" we now get via TV and the internet.
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post #125 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icemannyr View Post

Is there anyway LiveWell HD could be delivered in 16:9 SD or would that mean it would have to be 4:3 letterboxed?

I was thinking there's no reason Live Well can't be sent in 480p Widescreen ..
It would still look better than 480i SD, be fine for the content, & shouldn't need as much bandwidth ..
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post #126 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioTech View Post

You have to remember the FCC only mandated stations go digital. Every station in the country could've just continued broadcasting 480i 4:3 (like many smaller stations are) and have been done with it. Let's face it. HD was a bonus of this transition. The NAB probably would've thrown a fit if they were to mandated to provide HD. In fact, some in the FCC would prefer if *all* stations multi-cast. (gasp!)

WRONG! On so many levels.

HD (originally analog) was the original desire. Digital was the bonus.

NAB wanted HDTV to keep the channels from being given away to other services (Land Mobile, etc.)

Who at the FCC wants multicast? Years ago, the president of ABC told congress that ABC was going to multicast, and they just about took his head off! Guess what? ABC was right. Now, there's no connection with that event and ABC now multicasting HD, but it is a bit ironic...

Read "Defining Vision" by Joel Brinkley. It will tell you all you need to know about how (H)DTV came into being.
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post #127 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 12:01 PM
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Brinkely's book was quite a hilarious read on how this all came together (if you call it "together"). We used to call the Grand Alliance the "Keystone Cops" and the book tells you why.

OTOH, we have a Congress that is way out of touch with technology and passing laws showing how out of touch they are.
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post #128 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 12:53 PM
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Yeah it's pretty bad now, pixelation everywhere, for comparison here's a screenshot here too

First a ABC O&O's local news (WPVI Philadelphia)

then a non O&O local news (WJLA Washington DC)
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post #129 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 02:25 PM
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Comcast SF Bay Area O&O.....definitely noticeable. How can the station managers say it's not? This is totally unacceptable. Do we really have to just sit back and watch as ABC/Disney, etc. degrade our HD PQ to no end???
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post #130 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 03:01 PM
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I still wish that when they were defining the new digital standards they had taken the opportunity to restructure the channel/frequency assignments. Since there is supposed to be a hard cutover (shut down analog, turn on digital) post-transition (at least in theory anyway)... it would have been nice to make the new digital channels larger than their analog counterparts are today.

Even a small enlargement (even just going to 8 MHz from the 6MHz defined traditionally) would have tremendously helped with both HD and multicasting.

I'll always feel like they missed an opportunity here. Channel frequency assignments couldn't be changed for analog because of the existing mess it would cascade... but since we get that mess anyway during the convert to digital, why not add some more future proofing to boot.

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post #131 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

I still wish that when they were defining the new digital standards they had taken the opportunity to restructure the channel/frequency assignments. Since there is supposed to be a hard cutover (shut down analog, turn on digital) post-transition (at least in theory anyway)... it would have been nice to make the new digital channels larger than their analog counterparts are today.

Even a small enlargement (even just going to 8 MHz from the 6MHz defined traditionally) would have tremendously helped with both HD and multicasting.

I'll always feel like they missed an opportunity here. Channel frequency assignments couldn't be changed for analog because of the existing mess it would cascade... but since we get that mess anyway during the convert to digital, why not add some more future proofing to boot.

You are misunderstanding what the process is. It is not an instantaneous cutover, but a gradual one. Digital starting turning on in 1999 and has been coexisting with analog for 10 years. What happens on 9/12 is analog is turned off and some of the digital stations switch to another channel. None of that would have been possible or, at the least, economically feasible if channel spacing was also changed.
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post #132 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 05:06 PM
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The President's news conference clearly reveals that ABC's image is softer than CBS/NBC/CNN.
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post #133 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylan24 View Post

The President's news conference clearly reveals that ABC's image is softer than CBS/NBC/CNN.

Remember that ABC needs to crossconvert the 1080/60i feed to 720/60P. The others mentioned do not as they are 1080/60i.
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post #134 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

Remember that ABC needs to crossconvert the 1080/60i feed to 720/60P. The others mentioned do not as they are 1080/60i.

No, it was ABC. Obama's speech even looked alot clearer on Fox News HD than it did on ABC. And AFAIK Fox is 720p as well

Update. Here in Phillly, it's even gotten worse for ABC WPVI Channel 6. My TSReader captures now place 6-1 OTA at a straggering 7.7Mbps ATSC transfer, compared to 12.6Mbps a week ago, but take a look at the screencapture to see how it looks now. Heck,even this morning, I was getting 9.1Mbps. Remember, I capture these straight from my card, I don't tamper,edit or compress any captures:
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post #135 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 09:28 PM
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And for a direct comparision, here's the Obama speech at 8:53PM captured once from a ABC O&O (WPVI) and a non O&O station (WJLA). Can you guess which one comes form which station?

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post #136 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 09:37 PM
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WABC must have been listening to us,
in the AM the video on WABC-DT kept freezing and coming back.
Since then the video on WABC-DT 7.1 looks much sharper tonight and the softness is gone.
It seems at least a meg of bandwidth was taken away from 7.3 the weather sub which is back to looking more like low quality web streamed video feed.
This is from tonight:

Free Image Hosting by ImageBam.com
Now that looks better then what we have had since last weekend.
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post #137 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spwace View Post

You are misunderstanding what the process is. It is not an instantaneous cutover, but a gradual one. Digital starting turning on in 1999 and has been coexisting with analog for 10 years. What happens on 9/12 is analog is turned off and some of the digital stations switch to another channel. None of that would have been possible or, at the least, economically feasible if channel spacing was also changed.

I think you're missing two things... I wasn't talking about what is actually happening, but what was originally discussed/proposed to happen.

There was supposed to be a mandatory hard cutover... then the date moved... then it moved again, and not all stations are required to cutover even then (some smaller stations get to go a few more years).

My proposal was...

While in transition, operate analog and new digital at old 6MHz per channel constraints. Pick a date in the future and mandate cutover to new digital assignments. At that point, after all analog was shut down, the new digital assignments could be allowed to expand to 8MHz bandwidth. Of course the new/final assignments would have to have been pre-planned and spaced out already to prevent overlap pre-cutover.

It could have been done IF it were part of the plan... but they can't go change the plan now, so we are stuck with the 6MHz... and on top of that we are stuck with MPEG2 for the forseeable future, since no OTA can move to MPEG4 as it would immediately obsolete HDTVs and converter boxes that can't be upgraded.

So we're stuck with two older/less-efficient mechanisms.

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post #138 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icemannyr View Post

WABC must have been listening to us,
in the AM the video on WABC-DT kept freezing and coming back.
Since then the video on WABC-DT 7.1 looks much sharper tonight and the softness is gone.
It seems at least a meg of bandwidth was taken away from 7.3 the weather sub which is back to looking more like low quality web streamed video feed.
This is from tonight:

Free Image Hosting by ImageBam.com
Now that looks better then what we have had since last weekend.


Unfortunately, with WPVI-DT in Philly the picture has gotten worse, as they now have dedicated more bandwith for WPVI-DT2 (LvWel) and chipped off even more bandwith away from 6.1 WPVI-DT
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post #139 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:10 PM
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Could broadcasters do the following: devote 2MB/s to a 480i MPEG-2 feed for those using converter boxes and use the rest of the ATSC bandwidth for h.264? Would two 720p feeds about about 8MB/s look acceptable using h.264?
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post #140 of 354 Old 04-29-2009, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andgarden View Post

Could broadcasters do the following: devote 2MB/s to a 480i MPEG-2 feed for those using converter boxes and use the rest of the ATSC bandwidth for h.264? Would two 720p feeds about about 8MB/s look acceptable using h.264?

No, h.264 is not part of the ATSC standard and is incompatible with the existing receivers.
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post #141 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 12:00 AM
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Mikemikeb: thank you for the explanation.

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Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Your Comcast box probably is meant to be used for HDTV sets,

Yes, but before I got an HD television I was renting SD boxes from Comcast, and they were delivering SD-downrezzes of HD stations out the RF output and the composite output.  You're saying that most SD STBs can't.

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Originally Posted by MeatChicken View Post

I was thinking there's no reason Live Well can't be sent in 480p Widescreen ..

There was no reason it couldn't have been, but after all the advertising of "Livewell HD" (I swear, "HD" is part of the name) and the pushing of the website at livewellhd.com, it would be too big a corporate embarrassment for the Mouse to admit to the mistake now.

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Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

Even a small enlargement (even just going to 8 MHz from the 6MHz defined traditionally) would have tremendously helped with both HD and multicasting.

It would also have cut the number of available channel numbers by 25%.  In densely populated areas the channel assignments are already too crowded.
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post #142 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by spwace View Post

No, h.264 is not part of the ATSC standard and is incompatible with the existing receivers.

So? Technology marches on. Think of it as video over a datacast?
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post #143 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icemannyr View Post

WABC must have been listening to us,
in the AM the video on WABC-DT kept freezing and coming back.
Since then the video on WABC-DT 7.1 looks much sharper tonight and the softness is gone.
It seems at least a meg of bandwidth was taken away from 7.3 the weather sub which is back to looking more like low quality web streamed video feed.
This is from tonight:

Free Image Hosting by ImageBam.com
Now that looks better then what we have had since last weekend.

Haven't checked it out yet but will do here in NYC and see how it looks as well. If true see how speaking up can indeed help, if it wasn't for AVS it would have just been business as usual.


Edit:

Yep they definitely added some more bits to WABC-HD and took away from that Eyewitness News Now that shows the weather as well. Definitely see a difference in text where it looks much more sharper on ABC HD than yesterday.

For my taste they could take away all the bits from that Weather subchannel for all I care as long as it goes to WABC-HD.

CV needs to add H2 HD
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post #144 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cmc1002001 View Post

Unfortunately, with WPVI-DT in Philly the picture has gotten worse, as they now have dedicated more bandwith for WPVI-DT2 (LvWel) and chipped off even more bandwith away from 6.1 WPVI-DT

All you can do is get folks to try and email the station engineers and make them aware of how distasteful the video quality is of the primary HD station. The guy here at WABC-HD seemed to get on top of it pretty quick.

If they don't get any heads up about it they may have no issues in just leaving it be.

CV needs to add H2 HD
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post #145 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andgarden View Post

Could broadcasters do the following: devote 2MB/s to a 480i MPEG-2 feed for those using converter boxes and use the rest of the ATSC bandwidth for h.264? Would two 720p feeds about about 8MB/s look acceptable using h.264?


Yes they could. Using h.264 you could do 2 HD channels with acceptable quality.
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post #146 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spwace View Post

No, h.264 is not part of the ATSC standard and is incompatible with the existing receivers.

You better check your facts. H.264 is part of ATSC spec since summer of last year.

http://www.atsc.org/standards/a72.php Current receivers are not compatible but, they could split bandwith and h.264 would just show as blank screen on old receivers.
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post #147 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andgarden View Post

Could broadcasters do the following: devote 2MB/s to a 480i MPEG-2 feed for those using converter boxes and use the rest of the ATSC bandwidth for h.264? Would two 720p feeds about about 8MB/s look acceptable using h.264?

I'm not sure that would be acceptable to the mainstream consumer would it?

Many have bought HDTVs with built-in ATSC/QAM demodulators and HD MPEG2 decoders - to deliver HDTV onto their HDTV display.

If this kit now only delivers 480i (whether 16:9 or 4:3) SD pictures, and they are required to buy an H264 compatible external set top box to continue to get HDTV from the main station, then surely that would cause uproar?

There is an argument that the subchannels could shift to H264 - reducing the requirement for bitrate - but the economics of this don't stack up. Who would buy an H264 external decoder just to watch a sub-channel?

It's a problem.

The US ATSC OTA system is really only capable of delivering one HDTV signal at an acceptable quality.

If you want to deliver more than one HDTV signal in quality you need to change both modulation and encoding systems to more modern variants - but this would require ANOTHER change-over - and the current one isn't finished yet.

We're having a slightly different debate in the UK.

When we introduced DTV in 1998, around the time the US did, we went for MPEG2 SD 16:9 rather than HD 16:9, and thus we multicast as standard - and new BBC, ITV and Channel Four stations launched (these are channels with reasonable schedules and some carry quite a lot of original production - they aren't infomercials, local news re-runs, weather loops etc.) and they now get not insignificant audiences. We have 6 RF channels dedicated to DTV in each region - carrying around 90 distinct TV, Radio and data services.

However we don't have HD OTA. Yet.

Because we haven't got any HDTV MPEG2 receivers in the market yet - we are able to introduce a new DTV standard for HDTV. We're going H264 and using DVB-T2 - which delivers 36Mbs per UK 8MHz RF channel (cf 18/24Mbs now in the UK and 19.2Mbs in a 6MHz ATSC channel) - and at the moment the plan is to re-locate the services from one of the six SD 18/24Mbs channels to the remaining five and switch the sixth channel to the new HD standard, when analogue is switched off in that region. (In some regions the HD system is going to be broadcast on a temporary 7th RF channel where this is available prior to analogue switch off)

The US is in a more tricky position. By introducing HD in the 90s, it chose an early system, which is now looking dated in tech terms. However it is capable of good results if it runs just as a single HD stream... But broadcasters want to increase their revenue and are compromising picture quality as a result.

On the other hand - the US switching early undoubtedly drove the HD production market - and other countries probably wouldn't be switching NOW if the US hadn't switched 10 years ago...
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post #148 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmc1002001 View Post

And for a direct comparision, here's the Obama speech at 8:53PM captured once from a ABC O&O (WPVI) and a non O&O station (WJLA). Can you guess which one comes form which station?

Ouch, that is bad!

I remember WPTY in Memphis had the settings changed in the encoder from just under 17 mbps video to 8 mbps. The engineer was out of town when this happened so we were treated to that video for a week, during NBA games. To say that it looked like crap would be a compliment to crap. He later fixed it but I hope that is not what ya'll are seeing. If so I would be p-i-s-s-e-d.

HEY, you viewing dumbasses!

NOW!
NEW!
ALL NEW!

(insert name of show here)
NEXT!
8/9 PM ET
TUESDAY!
NEXT WEEK!
IN 2 WEEKS!


My Samsung 55" D8000 LED-3D tv settings.
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post #149 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by CKNA View Post

You better check your facts. H.264 is part of ATSC spec since summer of last year.

http://www.atsc.org/standards/a72.php Current receivers are not compatible but, they could split bandwith and h.264 would just show as blank screen on old receivers.

Now that you mention it I do recall that change, but broadcasters are not going to send their main channel in a format that most people can't receive. The percentage of h.264 capable receivers would have to be near 100% before that would happen.
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post #150 of 354 Old 04-30-2009, 07:34 AM
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I'm not sure that would be acceptable to the mainstream consumer would it?

Many have bought HDTVs with built-in ATSC/QAM demodulators and HD MPEG2 decoders - to deliver HDTV onto their HDTV display.

If this kit now only delivers 480i (whether 16:9 or 4:3) SD pictures, and they are required to buy an H264 compatible external set top box to continue to get HDTV from the main station, then surely that would cause uproar?

There is an argument that the subchannels could shift to H264 - reducing the requirement for bitrate - but the economics of this don't stack up. Who would buy an H264 external decoder just to watch a sub-channel?

It's a problem.

The US ATSC OTA system is really only capable of delivering one HDTV signal at an acceptable quality.

If you want to deliver more than one HDTV signal in quality you need to change both modulation and encoding systems to more modern variants - but this would require ANOTHER change-over - and the current one isn't finished yet.

We're having a slightly different debate in the UK.

When we introduced DTV in 1998, around the time the US did, we went for MPEG2 SD 16:9 rather than HD 16:9, and thus we multicast as standard - and new BBC, ITV and Channel Four stations launched (these are channels with reasonable schedules and some carry quite a lot of original production - they aren't infomercials, local news re-runs, weather loops etc.) and they now get not insignificant audiences. We have 6 RF channels dedicated to DTV in each region - carrying around 90 distinct TV, Radio and data services.

However we don't have HD OTA. Yet.

Because we haven't got any HDTV MPEG2 receivers in the market yet - we are able to introduce a new DTV standard for HDTV. We're going H264 and using DVB-T2 - which delivers 36Mbs per UK 8MHz RF channel (cf 18/24Mbs now in the UK and 19.2Mbs in a 6MHz ATSC channel) - and at the moment the plan is to re-locate the services from one of the six SD 18/24Mbs channels to the remaining five and switch the sixth channel to the new HD standard, when analogue is switched off in that region. (In some regions the HD system is going to be broadcast on a temporary 7th RF channel where this is available prior to analogue switch off)

The US is in a more tricky position. By introducing HD in the 90s, it chose an early system, which is now looking dated in tech terms. However it is capable of good results if it runs just as a single HD stream... But broadcasters want to increase their revenue and are compromising picture quality as a result.

On the other hand - the US switching early undoubtedly drove the HD production market - and other countries probably wouldn't be switching NOW if the US hadn't switched 10 years ago...


I agree with most of you said except the part for modulation. There is nothing wrong with 8VSB and it is not dated. You can easily run 2 decent quality HD channels using h.264 in 19.39Mbps. Jury is still out on how well DVB-T2 will work in real life instead of careful testing. There is no commercial broadcasting anywhere in the world that uses DVB-T2. Besides DVB-T2 is not new modulation. It is still COFDM using QAM256 and much higher error correction.
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