ESPN HD/ESPN 2 HD Picture Quality Improving? (5/2011) - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 480 Old 01-04-2011, 07:51 PM
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Sugar Bowl was nothing special PQ wise either, at least on E*. Granted the turf and that stadium always seem to cause problems. But to me it seems we had 1-2 weeks of improved PQ and now we are almost back to how it was. Was ESPN just testing some things and now reverted back? Or did E* say ok we are getting a better signal, so we can starve that channel even more?

So I take back anything I've said about improved PQ over the last couple weeks, because the last few days haven't been that great.
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post #182 of 480 Old 01-10-2011, 07:33 PM
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Not sure what happened to the two week window where we had great PQ on ESPN with E* but that is gone and has been for a bit. I thought something changed at ESPN but now I'm guessing it is E*. Aub/Ore is back to mediocre, soft and artifacting PQ.
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post #183 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 12:19 AM
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Last year I agreed whole heartedly with what the OP is saying in this thread. I have a large, bright high quality projected display. When a telecast is really good it's glorious. When it's bad boy do you notice all the warts. When ESPN did a parquet floor with basketball or grass with football, those surfaces and everything else typically were swimming with noise. I hated their guts last year for the crawling noise.

This season I'm of the other opinion actually that I have seen quite a few actually decent to good, reasonably clean telecasts of sporting events.

But tonight....at least for me with Charter Cable in Burbank, CA....the BCS Championship telecast was off the charts amazingly good. It was the very finest quality sports broadcast I have ever seen with my system. They clearly had the best of the best cameras and equipment at this event. 2D was astonishingly clean and sharp from most of the cameras and shots. I imagine 3D must have been up to tonight's date, the most state of the art as well. Props to them.....keep it up.
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post #184 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I watched the game live on my Sprint Evo 4G via the Slingbox Mobile app for Android and considering the process & portability of taking my cable tv with me anywhere its very watchable. With that said, it still doesnt compare to watching it on my Bravia. Anyways watching the ESPN replay of the BCS National Championship game, the overall pq and audio quality is good. I think in certain cases, pq is dependent on your pay tv provider.

And the FOUL!
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post #185 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 07:58 AM
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My picture with Charter is consistent. When the telecast is garbage that is how it looks with the 8.5' wide bright image from this projector that is really dialed in now. Giant plasma indeed as it's a High Power screen.

But sheeoooot!!! When it is good though it is awesome. Last night was off the charts awesome. We crack on ESPN so often and deservedly so....but WOW what an amazing telecast last night! Would love to know what models of 2D cameras they were using and what was different from all the processing gear and uplink, versus what their other processing gear usually is.
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post #186 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 08:04 AM
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I knew this thread existed (and agreed with) but while watching last night's BCS game, I couldn't believe how awesome the pic quality was..best I have seen all year watching football. The couple of comments above confirm this for me. Thanks.
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post #187 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trayns View Post

I knew this thread existed (and agreed with) but while watching last night's BCS game, I couldn't believe how awesome the pic quality was..best I have seen all year watching football. The couple of comments above confirm this for me. Thanks.

You're welcome. Yeah I have ragged on complained, moaned, & groaned about ESPN's PQ at times (that is why I started this thread), but I've also made it a point to give ESPN props when they do a good job. My original intention of this thread was to discuss the pq issues with other people to see if it was an ESPN issue or my pay tv provider's issue, thanks to everyone that has participated it, we have been able to deduce the majority of the time, it's been an issue with ESPN, not the pay tv provider and in the end, hopefully, somebody from ESPN has gleaned over this thread, reported the issues back to Bristol, CT and made the necessary adjustments (whether that part happened or not, I don't know). Anyways people, keep those positive & or negative observations coming in!

And the FOUL!
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post #188 of 480 Old 01-11-2011, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW, the Florida/Tennessee basketball game on ESPN looks fantastic.

And the FOUL!
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post #189 of 480 Old 01-12-2011, 08:00 AM
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One of the really knowledgeable guys on AVS mentioned he had heard from a couple people he knows at ESPN they have been experimenting with data rates and some new compression that is used before broadcast compression.

Hopefully this is true and and the cause of the recent big games starting to look ....errrr.....well....."un ESPN like". Really really good.
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post #190 of 480 Old 01-12-2011, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wellman View Post

BTW, the Florida/Tennessee basketball game on ESPN looks fantastic.

Looked above average on E* but nothing outstanding.

Duke/Fla St is awful tonight.

Kansas/Iowa St on ESPN2 looks closer to Fla/Ten but not quite.
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post #191 of 480 Old 01-12-2011, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post

Looked above average on E* but nothing outstanding.

Duke/Fla St is awful tonight.

Kansas/Iowa St on ESPN2 looks closer to Fla/Ten but not quite.

There's so many variables on these individual games. It could be falling apart at the uplink truck. I did notice the Duke/FSU game looking very poor tonight but it looked like poor transmission. Maybe the encode was too aggressive. The problem with these smaller games is you use local crews so its often a crapshoot as to what you end up with and the wiring of the facilities can also be a hindrance especially in college. I noticed the FSU game seemed like the scoreboard did not have a digital output to the truck so the score bug graphic appeared to be the game clock cropped to fit. These kinds of things will plague a smaller broadcast.
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post #192 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trayns View Post

I knew this thread existed (and agreed with) but while watching last night's BCS game, I couldn't believe how awesome the pic quality was..best I have seen all year watching football. The couple of comments above confirm this for me. Thanks.

Video quality was quite good. However, the announcers sucked (compared to the top crew of each of CBS, FOX, and NBC). Also there were fewer good replays; the camera work sucked (relatively speaking).
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post #193 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 06:03 AM
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My wife and I observed that Monday night's picture was the best we have ever seen from ESPN. The image was extremely sharp, colors were accurate and appropriately saturated and contrast was excellent. We watch on a 98" screen so it's really easy to see problems and there were none Monday.
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post #194 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

Video quality was quite good. However, the announcers sucked (compared to the top crew of each of CBS, FOX, and NBC). Also there were fewer good replays; the camera work sucked (relatively speaking).

The announcers sucked? I totally disagree with you I think they do a great job
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post #195 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 06:09 AM
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I should have noted in my previous post that we have definitely observed much worse picture quality on other football games on ESPN this season.
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post #196 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

Video quality was quite good. However, the announcers sucked (compared to the top crew of each of CBS, FOX, and NBC). Also there were fewer good replays; the camera work sucked (relatively speaking).

??? What other college football shows have A & B crews? FOX doesnt broadcast CFB on its network and NBC only does Notre Dame. CBS is generally Verne Lundquist and Gary (Tim Tebow is the second incarnation of Christ) Danielson, Gumbel and Simms don't do CFB. I know people have issues with Musberger and Herbstriet but I don't know if its fair to say they sucked (especially after watching 3 years of Mike & Mike do the opening of Monday Night Football).

Also I actually thought the replays and camera work were actually decent. They had some great looks at the two controversial plays toward the end when they were trying to determine whether his knee had gone down. That Saturday Night crew is pretty solid they work together every week now for 5 years and have done maybe 4 or 5 BCS National Championship games. I'd be curious to know what you considered to be great football camera work.
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post #197 of 480 Old 01-13-2011, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ABCTV99 View Post

I'd be curious to know what you considered to be great football camera work.

Well, I probably shouldn't have said the announcers "sucked". It's just that I watch mostly NFL and I know and like those guys.

As to great camera work, NBC Sunday Night Football usually amazes me. Those guys have cameras on everything. Their replays are usually better than those from FOX and CBS. However, I think that's mostly because I'm in a backwater market and I wind up forced to watch the Seachickens a lot. I'm sure that FOX and CBS A-teams get more and better cameras than the 4th string crew, which is what we often wind up with.

Also, when I watch NBC on Sunday, then watch ESPN on the following Monday, I usually wind up thinking "yeech". The Sunday show is usually much better than Monday. Even though ESPN paid the NFL more than NBC for the rights, it just seems like Monday is a totally low budget production.

Finally, NFL network Thursday night games are IMO the dregs, especially the camera work. Ultra low budget.
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post #198 of 480 Old 01-14-2011, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

Well, I probably shouldn't have said the announcers "sucked". It's just that I watch mostly NFL and I know and like those guys.

As to great camera work, NBC Sunday Night Football usually amazes me. Those guys have cameras on everything. Their replays are usually better than those from FOX and CBS. However, I think that's mostly because I'm in a backwater market and I wind up forced to watch the Seachickens a lot. I'm sure that FOX and CBS A-teams get more and better cameras than the 4th string crew, which is what we often wind up with.

Also, when I watch NBC on Sunday, then watch ESPN on the following Monday, I usually wind up thinking "yeech". The Sunday show is usually much better than Monday. Even though ESPN paid the NFL more than NBC for the rights, it just seems like Monday is a totally low budget production.

Finally, NFL network Thursday night games are IMO the dregs, especially the camera work. Ultra low budget.


Well Drew does a fantastic job directing Sunday Night Football those guys are the class acts of NFL. But Chip Dean and Jay on Monday Night are quite good, its a very different style though. Both shows use 30 cameras, Monday Night adds a bunch of ultra slow-mo cameras for replays as well as more liberal use of steadicam and skycam. Drew likes to cut closeups on skycam, Chip's compositions are very well composed everything on MNF is very thought out almost meticulous. The shots are almost always focal length matches (or field of view matches more appropriately) with slight zooms and pulls. The skycam motion is always directed with cued dolly moves, etc. Both directors are at the top of their game.

FOX's A director used to be Artie Kemper who now directs for NFL Network (and did the NBC Wildcard Seahawks game). Craig Janoff (who directed Monday Night on ABC in the 90s) used to do NFL Network. The biggest problem with NFL Network is they can't ever seem to find a groove production wise. Every week feels like the first week. It's like there's no rhythm.

CBS' Mike Arnold is a fabulous director as well though CBS' style is much more low key than either ESPN or NBC. NBC is a big ballsy graphics and music heavy show like its ABC predecessor. ESPN tends to try to do a show that's complex but looks simple (the opens, etc are very low key, often just black text over white background). It's almost stylized in a way with lots of wide angle shots and camera moves.
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post #199 of 480 Old 01-14-2011, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABCTV99 View Post

There's so many variables on these individual games. It could be falling apart at the uplink truck. I did notice the Duke/FSU game looking very poor tonight but it looked like poor transmission. Maybe the encode was too aggressive. The problem with these smaller games is you use local crews so its often a crapshoot as to what you end up with and the wiring of the facilities can also be a hindrance especially in college. I noticed the FSU game seemed like the scoreboard did not have a digital output to the truck so the score bug graphic appeared to be the game clock cropped to fit. These kinds of things will plague a smaller broadcast.

I think the observation that the problem is on the origination end is valid, whether it be insufficient bandwidth for a given codec, lesser cameras (I think the Sony 1500s usually look much better than LDK 6Ks), lesser crews or just bad conditions such as insufficient light. High quality satellite backhauls are possible with bitrates like 80Mbs and fiber can be uncompressed. The fact that some games look good demonstrates that the network distribution is capable of good quality. Video noise at the source will degrade subsequent encodes and gradually gets worse further down the line. Hopefully the improvements will continue with a move to true 5.1.
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post #200 of 480 Old 01-15-2011, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Marquette/Louisville basketball game on ESPN 2 looks average (although did improve by changing the tv setting from "vivid" to "standard" helped) but its not so bad where it is unwatchable. Vanderbilt/Tennessee on ESPN looks real good IMHO.

And the FOUL!
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post #201 of 480 Old 01-15-2011, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wellman View Post

Marquette/Louisville basketball game on ESPN 2 looks average (although did improve by changing the tv setting from "vivid" to "standard" helped) but its not so bad where it is unwatchable. Vanderbilt/Tennessee on ESPN looks real good IMHO.

Vivid Time to look into calibration.
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post #202 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I dunno about you guys, but watching the Australian Open on ESPN 2, the picture quality looks great. Makes me wonder how a sporting event some 7,000+ miles away (at least from California) can look great, but we can't get a sporting event in our own country to look that good from time to time. Even better is that there is no ESPN 2 Bottom Line. The only irksome thing is that the scorebox is off kilter and doesn't lineup with the transparent ESPN 2 bug.

Here's a link to the screenshot I took:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5140954...1738/lightbox/

And the FOUL!
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post #203 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wellman View Post

I dunno about you guys, but watching the Australian Open on ESPN 2, the picture quality looks great. Makes me wonder how a sporting event some 7,000+ miles away (at least from California) can look great, but we can't get a sporting event in our own country to look that good from time to time. Even better is that there is no ESPN 2 Bottom Line. The only irksome thing is that the scorebox is off kilter and doesn't lineup with the transparent ESPN 2 bug.

Here's a link to the screenshot I took:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5140954...1738/lightbox/

I would not say it looks great, but looks good. Australian Open is shot in 1080i50Hz. US Open blows it away. However anything that is 1080i originated always look better on ESPN that anything that is 720p.
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post #204 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 08:30 AM
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Commented in current Australian Open thread that PQ is very good this year on ESPN2-HD. That's with the 1080i50 capture converted to 720p60, piped through my NYC TWC system, converted to 1080/60i (1080i30) by my cable STB, then to 1080/60p by a high-end 1080p pro plasma (with 18-bit video processing ). Lots of overseas matches seem to show stuttering tennis ball flights, sometimes so bad it's hard to see where the ball lands. Haven't seen any of that from the Open this year.

Speculated during some U.S. golf games last year, when 1080 cameras fed both ESPN's 720p and 1080i networks, that 720p sometimes looks so good because the 1080=>720p downconversion may make images 'sharper'. That is, lower and mid-range frequencies are boosted in contrast. So images seem to appear 'crisper'. Effective resolution (resolvable detail) boosting might also approach the 1280X720 format resolution, while 720p capture (presumably) for mid-'90s ATSC approval tests delivered 1139X550 (static), 1068X420 (dynamic). Data was converted from the test report's table 2.3; yup, hardware's changed since the mid-90s. Arri's Hans Kiening outlines resolution versus sharpness in this paper (see figs. 6 and 8).

Recording games delivered in both 720p and 1080, from 1080 capture, and comparing background details, such as crowds and signs, shows 1920X1080's slight resolution advantage, it seems. Maybe someday we'll see whether 1080 downconversion from, say, ~4k cameras, would provide a similar 'sharpness' and effective resolution boost to 1080i delivery.-- John
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post #205 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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@ John Mason

Out of curiosity, which ESPN network broadcasts in 1080i native resolution? As long as I have known, all the Disney owned networks (including the ESPN Family of Networks) broadcast in 720p native resolution. I always have my STB/DVR set to output "native" resolution because I believe my tv does a better job processing the HD signal than the STB/DVR. I know, to some people the delay in switching channels between 720p & 1080i resolutions can be an annoyance, but to me it's a small price to pay for picture quality in my opinion.

And the FOUL!
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post #206 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wellman View Post

@ John Mason

Out of curiosity, which ESPN network broadcasts in 1080i native resolution? As long as I have known, all the Disney owned networks (including the ESPN Family of Networks) broadcast in 720p native resolution. I always have my STB/DVR set to output "native" resolution because I believe my tv does a better job processing the HD signal than the STB/DVR. I know, to some people the delay in switching channels between 720p & 1080i resolutions can be an annoyance, but to me it's a small price to pay for picture quality in my opinion.

ESPN does not and has not ever broadcast 1080i. The point John was making is that oftentimes when they are doing side-by-side productions, especially abroad, they are not the host broadcaster (i.e. producing the feed). Examples would be the Australian and British Opens, The Masters and the World Cup. What he was saying is that when a host broadcaster's native feed is 1080i, to his eye it looks better downconverted to 720p, than does 720p origination.
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post #207 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for clarifying that ABCTV99. I am no longer confused as to what John Mason was pointing out.

And the FOUL!
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post #208 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 04:15 PM
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Duke NC State looks terrible. Super soft and tons of compression artifacts. Watching on E*.
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post #209 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Duke/North Carolina State along with Cincinnati/Notre Dame looks ok to me. Not bad, not great, but not so bad that it is unwatchable. Still overall much better than other NCAA Basketball games on ESPN Family of networks compared to a year ago this time, or even as recently as this past November. I'm starting to think that that the picture quality of ESPN produced sports is on the upswing. As they always say, with different pay tv providers, your mileage may vary.

And the FOUL!
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post #210 of 480 Old 01-19-2011, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wellman View Post
Duke/North Carolina State along with Cincinnati/Notre Dame looks ok to me. Not bad, not great, but not so bad that it is unwatchable. Still overall much better than other NCAA Basketball games on ESPN Family of networks compared to a year ago this time, or even as recently as this past November. I'm starting to think that that the picture quality of ESPN produced sports is on the upswing. As they always say, with different pay tv providers, your mileage may vary.
I agree somewhat. About a month ago there was approx a two week window where nearly all programming looked much better on ESPN. But since it seems to have reverted back to where subpar PQ is the norm.
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