ABC O&O's destroy HD quality with launch of Live Well HD. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The ABC O&O in Raleigh, NC looks terrible today, and other local threads with ABC O&O's are seeing the same. SHAME on Disney.
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post #2 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 01:48 PM
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Yep, WABC looks terrible now.
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post #3 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 01:56 PM
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Well, they start adding screen diarrhea. This was just another step form the perch to be unimportant like the others. They used to stand out, not so much anymore.

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post #4 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 01:57 PM
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WABC-DT 7.1 is now running at a VBR max of 10mpbs, the new 720p sub channel is a VBR max of 5mps and there is a third sub channel running at about a max of 3 mpbs.
The result is all programming on WABC-DT looks SD quality with more artifacting.
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post #5 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 02:03 PM
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It's been noted that the ABC O&O's (network owned and operated stations) are in the process of adding a second HD subchannel (Live Well HD http://livewellhd.com/story?id=6777600 ) to their digital stream. If so, that would account for the HD image quality issues some are seeing today.

ABC O&O's
New York City - WABC-TV 7
Los Angeles - KABC-TV 7
Chicago - WLS-TV 7
Philadelphia - WPVI-TV 6
San Francisco Bay Area - KGO-TV 7
Houston - KTRK-TV 13
Raleigh-Durham - WTVD-TV 11
Fresno - KFSN-TV 30
Flint-Saginaw - WJRT-TV 12
Toledo - WTVG-TV 13

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post #6 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 02:41 PM
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Well, here, on WPVI 6, the quality was only second to the CBS affiliate KYW 3, I guess that'll change, (I haven't watched my recent recordings); and we watch a lot of ABC-HD, darnit. As HD large screen TVs have been increasing, they can fool some people, but some will get fed up, and go exclusively blu-ray soon, I think. The exception, I guess, would be sports fans, which, I realize, there are quite a few of, including myself.
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post #7 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 03:38 PM
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This is where some network shills enter and tell us how new technology is going to make it all look wonderful.
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post #8 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vurbano View Post

This is where some network shills enter and tell us how new technology is going to make it all look wonderful.

I would be interested to know whether MPEG-2 encoders can be made any better. All I can say is that, right now, they apparently aren't good enough for what ABC is trying to do.
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post #9 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:01 PM
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At least in my area (Raleigh) they could improve the situation at least a little by dropping the ".3" subchannel if they are going to try running two 720p channels.

It wouldn't be as good as pre-recent changes... but would at least be better than what is happening right now.

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post #10 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

At least in my area (Raleigh) they could improve the situation at least a little by dropping the ".3" subchannel if they are going to try running two 720p channels.

It wouldn't be as good as pre-recent changes... but would at least be better than what is happening right now.

pretty sure most areas have their own ".3" subchannel
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post #11 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:19 PM
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I've actually noticed that ABC wasn't looking all that great for a week or 2, I thought it was just DirecTV up to their old ways.

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post #12 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vurbano View Post

This is where some network shills enter and tell us how new technology is going to make it all look wonderful.

Yes there will be a HUGE improvement with the new technology that replaces the older network delivery system, so now more and more subchannels can be added. You say your picture looks worse than before? Well then your old TV needs to be replaced with a new one! You say you just bought a new one? Well then it must be your cable or satellite provider! You say you are watching off the air? Well it must be that old antenna that needs replacement! The signal is all digital so it has to be perfect quality. You say the old system was digital too? Well, um, this is even MORE perfect digital.
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post #13 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:30 PM
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Sounds like technically, it's a failure.
Maybe it will fail financially, too.
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post #14 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD View Post

Yes there will be a HUGE improvement with the new technology that replaces the older network delivery system, so now more and more subchannels can be added. You say your picture looks worse than before? Well then your old TV needs to be replaced with a new one! You say you just bought a new one? Well then it must be your cable or satellite provider! You say you are watching off the air? Well it must be that old antenna that needs replacement! The signal is all digital so it has to be perfect quality. You say the old system was digital too? Well, um, this is even MORE perfect digital.

Good answer.

One of our locals in Memphis "upgraded" their equipment to I think Tandberg. It is a 1080i station and they run 2 subs. After they installed it there were complaints and the station manager said they believe the demo they received was not a real world demo. I kinda bluntly told him considering there has been no positive change in HD PQ they should return it, if not drop the subs.

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post #15 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 05:20 PM
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I am not seeing anything here in Cincinnati nor Dayton. That is not to say that the affiliates have not provisioned the channels and not broadcasting yet.
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post #16 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nightowl2k2 View Post

I am not seeing anything here in Cincinnati nor Dayton.

And you won't, either.

This will only affect ABC O&O stations. See my list above.

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post #17 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

It's been noted that the ABC O&O's (network owned and operated stations) are in the process of adding a second HD subchannel (Live Well HD http://livewellhd.com/story?id=6777600 ) to their digital stream. If so, that would account for the HD image quality issues some are seeing today.

ABC O&O's
New York City - WABC-TV 7
Los Angeles - KABC-TV 7
Chicago - WLS-TV 7
Philadelphia - WPVI-TV 6
San Francisco Bay Area - KGO-TV 7
Houston - KTRK-TV 13
Raleigh-Durham - WTVD-TV 11
Fresno - KFSN-TV 30
Flint-Saginaw - WJRT-TV 12
Toledo - WTVG-TV 13

great. 5 of the largest 6 dma's get screwed... and 6 of the top 10...

way to go... add another channel for shut-ins at the expense of killing quality for stuff that hd really makes a huge difference... nice...

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post #18 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 05:55 PM
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We're all gonna enjoy Lost on Wednesday.......
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post #19 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 06:47 PM
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We're all gonna enjoy Lost on Wednesday.......

As long as WPTY stays multicast free I will.

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post #20 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 06:48 PM
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Is there actually any HD content on this channel? In the San Francisco(KGO) market the channel is still 480i and I couldn't find anything at the Live Well site listing anything in HD. They're using 16x9 images on the 6 originals they have listed at the site, maybe it will start this week.

http://www.lwhdtogo.com/wap/stations/?

Per local thread, looks like Comcast is launching the channel on at least a few SF systems on the 27th.
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post #21 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Is there actually any HD content on this channel?

The question is irrelevant.

Disney has already announced it will be 720p, and at some point they will air HD content; if not now, later.

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post #22 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andgarden View Post

I would be interested to know whether MPEG-2 encoders can be made any better. All I can say is that, right now, they apparently aren't good enough for what ABC is trying to do.

MPEG-2 has pretty much reached its limit in terms of encoding efficiency. No matter what you do, with a single-pass MPEG-2 HD encoder, with anything under 14.5 Mbps, picture quality degrades in complex scene changes, no matter what. Simple as that. And even with a multi-pass encoder, like those from Harmonic, that limit drops to maybe 13 Mbps. By the way, ABC uses Harris encoders; their HD models are single-pass.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

At least in my area (Raleigh) they could improve the situation at least a little by dropping the ".3" subchannel if they are going to try running two 720p channels.

It wouldn't be as good as pre-recent changes... but would at least be better than what is happening right now.

pretty sure most areas have their own ".3" subchannel

And I'm pretty sure that ABC's contractually obligated with AccuWeather to continue the .3's. And even if the .3 stations were to go away, it would be doubtful that ABC HD quality would increase with the 2 HD channel arrangement.

This "2 HD feeds on one ATSC" experiment has been tried in smaller markets, but never at such a mass scale, in such large media markets, by such a large corporation. This whole situation may finally prove to the mass public that the whole arrangement isn't going to result in good HD picture quality on either HD feed. Expect some media sources to turn this into a fiasco that will probably bite ABC back. I won't say that this will become as infamous as New Coke, but that's partially because it's unlikely that anything will top that.

I wouldn't mind this new "Live Well HD" channel being cable-only, and it would be technically possible. Most Harris NetVX systems, including all of those deployed to ABC O&O stations, work like "blade" servers, where you can add and remove components at will. If I remember correctly, the NetVX units that ABC uses have seventeen blade slots; two are taken by mandatory system control units, leaving fifteen slots for pretty much anything that the client wants, whether encoding, statmuxing, gigabit ethernet communication, digital microwave news gathering, etc, of which Harris offers the "blades" for.

As for encoding, when ABC first got the NetVX, they got one HD encoder blade, two SD encoder blades, and a statmuxer blade. Each encoder blade encodes one station, and the SD blades can't encode HD material. So that would mean that in order to get two HD channels on air, ABC would have to purchase another HD blade and insert it into the NetVX. The two SD blades are still there, technically allowing for two SD subchannels, one for AccuWeather, the other for Live Well for OTA distribution.

Meanwhile, the statmuxer blade has two independent outputs. One output can have an SMPTE 310M-compatible stream that would be relayed directly to the ATSC exciter. The other output would be a DVB-ASI-compatible stream that would be relayed via fiber feed to local cable operators. I've read that Comcast likes having two HD and two SD channels on a single QAM256 channel. This setup would be possible, allowing Comcast, or any other cable provider, to simply pass through the fiber feed without re-encoding. This would allow various cable and terrestrial receivers, both high-def and standard-def capable versions, of reception.
_______________________________________

PREFERRED ENCODING ARRANGEMENT

Blade 1: ABC feed (HD)
Blade 2: Live Well (HD feed)
Blade 3: Live Well (SD feed)
Blade 4: AccuWeather (SD)

SMPTE 310M output relays blades 1, 3, and 4; DVB-ASI feed relays all four blades.

SMPTE 310M output details:

19.39 Mbps total ATSC payload
Minus:
-1 audio: 576 kbps (384 kbps 5.1 audio + 192 kbps stereo SAP)
-2 audio: 192 kbps stereo
-3 audio: 192 kbps stereo
Null packets and all PSIP data: ~430 kbps
Equals 18 Mbps total video payload, distributed thusly:

Blade 1: Statmuxer allows 12.5 Mbps minimum video bitrate; 14.5 Mbps maximum. Bitrate priority during complex scenes, causing some bitrate starving on the subchannels when needed.

Blade 3: Statmuxer allows 1.8 Mbps minimum; 3 Mbps maximum. The feed should be send in 16x9 widescreen 480i SD. AFD could be included to instruct a cable TV (or eligible ATSC) receiver to either letterbox or center-cut the feed.

Blade 4: Statmuxer allows 1.5 Mbps minimum; 3 Mbps maximum. 4x3 480i SD feed; potentially 640x480 resolution to reduce artifacting.

DVB-ASI output details:

Basically, this feed accepts and transmits whatever comes from blades 1, 3, and 4, without additional encoding or muxing. Blade 2 video is encoded at 12.5 to 15 Mbps, depending on its own need. Ideally, the bitrate would not be influenced by the simultaneous rate-shaping/statmuxing of the other three encoders.
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post #23 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

MPEG-2 has pretty much reached its limit in terms of encoding efficiency. No matter what you do, with a single-pass MPEG-2 HD encoder, with anything under 14.5 Mbps, picture quality degrades in complex scene changes, no matter what. Simple as that. And even with a multi-pass encoder, like those from Harmonic, that limit drops to maybe 13 Mbps. By the way, ABC uses Harris encoders; their HD models are single-pass.


And I'm pretty sure that ABC's contractually obligated with AccuWeather to continue the .3's. And even if the .3 stations were to go away, it would be doubtful that ABC HD quality would increase with the 2 HD channel arrangement.

This "2 HD feeds on one ATSC" experiment has been tried in smaller markets, but never at such a mass scale, in such large media markets, by such a large corporation. This whole situation may finally prove to the mass public that the whole arrangement isn't going to result in good HD picture quality on either HD feed. Expect some media sources to turn this into a fiasco that will probably bite ABC back. I won't say that this will become as infamous as New Coke, but that's partially because it's unlikely that anything will top that.

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.

Cablevision supposedly has been doing 4HDs/QAM, which is about what ABC is now trying to do. They have also apparently gotten away with it.

Our HD future looks somewhat worse than 16x9 DVD.
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post #24 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

The question is irrelevant.

Disney has already announced it will be 720p, and at some point they will air HD content; if not now, later.

Okay, I didn't see that, all I've seen is the site you linked to and my local ABC website, which only lists the sub-channel, no resolution/bitrate info.
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post #25 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 08:30 PM
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Disney stations launching LiveWellHD network

By DAVID BARRON Houston Chronicle

KTRK (Channel 13) and its fellow Disney-owned-and-operated stations are preparing for the launch in late April of a new lifestyle network called LiveWellHD that will air in Houston on KTRK’s digital 13.2 channel.

Henry Florsheim, Channel 13’s president and general manager, said each of the stations in the 10-station Disney group will contribute original programming for the digital network, which will be offered in HD over the air and to cable carriers, including Comcast.

“It’s an opportunity to fill a space that up until now has not had a lot of original content,” Florsheim said. “We have program producers at stations in the group that see an opportunity, and we’re excited about it.”

Channel 13’s as-yet-untitled show will focus on trends in fashion, beauty and health. Much like KHOU’s (Channel 11) Great Day Houston, it will include paid product placement and sponsorship opportunities for advertisers.

However, Florsheim said, “The primary goal of the product is to entertain and inform. We would entertain product placement, but that is not the end. The goal is to create product that viewers want to see and find informative.”

Channel 13.2 (channel 314 on Comcast) features re-airings of Channel 13 newscasts and station-produced programs, movies on weekends, high school football games during the fall and occasional reruns of the 1998-2002 show hosted by Deborah Duncan, now host of Channel 11’s Great Day Houston .

“We will continue to create or have some locally produced programs. We will continue to run movies, and it is our intent to run high school football games. But the basis of the programming will be the LiveWell network,” Florsheim said.

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post #26 of 354 Old 04-26-2009, 10:16 PM
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I wondered why the nba games today looked so awful today.
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post #27 of 354 Old 04-27-2009, 12:00 AM
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This is the first time since joining this forum and thus becoming a HDTV junkie that I am glad I don't live in those DMAs. I hope this new channel (and every other sub channel network) is a spectacular failure.
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post #28 of 354 Old 04-27-2009, 12:03 AM
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Wow, a network doing this to their own OA&O stations, that's a new low.
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post #29 of 354 Old 04-27-2009, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posg View Post

The ABC O&O in Raleigh, NC looks terrible today, and other local threads with ABC O&O's are seeing the same. SHAME on Disney.

Pure geniuses I tell you, boy these programming bigwigs sure know how to be royal f-ups. They can't just leave it be. Instead they need this channel to run their endless infomercials and give the middle thumb to viewers who know and recognize PQ.

Ironic it wasn't bad enough with the cable systems cramming channels into the same QAM, but now here is a major OTA network doing this and starving its primary channel, absolutely stunning.

The NBA game yesterday looked like freaking SD upconverted to 16x9 widescreen, who the hell thought this up to butcher ABC HD like this.

Live Well, I got their live well right here, I am boycotting any network that chooses to assault my eyes with their numerous multicasting. Maybe they can add another channel for good measure. That basketball game was awful to view, you could see the soft picture and garbled text and background of the game shots.

CV needs to add H2 HD
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post #30 of 354 Old 04-27-2009, 02:13 AM
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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.
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