Another HD-Lite Comparison - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-19-2005, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Tonight's NBA championship game gave me an easy comparison that was very visible.
The parquet basketball floor was easy to monitor while switching among several sources. Bit-starved services made it look all wrinkly and "busy". The higher the bitrate, the more natural the floor looked.
The worst - DirecTV Channels 86 and 87. Pixelization and busyness were obvious at all times and of course was the worst when players were running rapidly down the floor.
Much better - OTA via KXTV-DT in Sacramento. Distortions were not visible at all under normal movement, and barely visible when there was rapid player movement.
As good as OTA - WXYZ Detroit via Star Choice. They put a maximum of two HD channels per 36 MHz satellite transponder. DirecTV may put as many as three. Of course with D*, this is temporary until more satellites are launched. It is nontheless distrubing to hear them claim they have the best HD quality when in fact they don't.
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 04:47 AM
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Are you using a SC 500 series receiver or one of the older ones with the Motorola 20X HD decoder?
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl033
DirecTV may put as many as three. Of course with D*, this is temporary until more satellites are launched.

I firmly believe D* will continue to cram as many HD channels as possible onto a single transponder with no regards for the effect on picture quality. Past history has shown picture quality on D* only worsens over time. Even with MPEG4 my bet is they will try to put 6 HD channels or more on a transponder and bring HD quality down to levels just above their current over compressed SD channels. D* core subscribers will except the lower quality because it looks better than their SD and looks better than analog cable. Regardless of the fact that it looks nothing like the content producer intended.

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post #4 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 06:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl033
DirecTV may put as many as three. Of course with D*, this is temporary until more satellites are launched.
I wouldn't be too sure of that.
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 07:53 AM
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy McNasty
Are you using a SC 500 series receiver or one of the older ones with the Motorola 20X HD decoder?
Yes, I have the DSR500 SC receiver. Its only HD output is component, but I understand they will begin shipping an updated version with DVI and component outputs this summer. Comparing outputs on my Hughes HTL-HD, the component is a tad bit softer (more filmlike) than the DVI. No biggie - they both look great on my new Samsung HLR-4667W DLP.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-20-2005, 11:57 AM
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I have TW cable in Cincinnati and while watching HD-ABC I noticed the same squiggly lines instead of a smooth 3 point curve on the floor. It was extremly annoying and disorienting to the point I couldn't even watch it. However, when I watched the highlights on HD-ESPN the floor looked great.

Are cable companies doing the same thing? Or is ABC just broadcasting in HD-lite or whatever you want to call it?
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-21-2005, 06:42 AM
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Seems like a lot of things are going on that affect image quality. I tuned in briefly, via NYC's Time Warner Cable, because I'd read they might use new Sony 1080/60p cameras, downconverted to 720p, for the final games. (Googling for [Sony 1080/60p NAB] should uncover Sony links outlining this.) Anyway, such oversampling/downconversion, reportedly used for the Super Bowl, should boost both vertical and horizontal resolution (slightly) over the standard limiting resolution of 720p.

Also often go by the clarity of basketball-court flooring to help judge HD quality. Seemed good on the snippets I caught. Believe my cable head end gets a direct fiber feed from WABC-DT, but not sure if that bypasses potential PQ reductions from reduced bit rates due to subchannels. Understand 720p, even with subchannel delivery, can get by with lower bit rates compared with the maximum ~17 Mbps (video payload) out of 19.39 Mbps.

Also noticed ESPN-HD's remarkably enhanced news show PQ compared to standard cable SD images this weekend. ESPN-HD showed a brief clip from the women's golf match I'd been monitoring in snippets from The Golf Channel. There was a really amazing difference in PQ that couldn't be accounted for by ESPN-HD's 480i upconversion to 720p; my cable converter normally upconverts everything to 1080i YPbPr. Only explanation seems to be that ESPN's 'clean' feed from the Golf Channel didn't undergo the same PQ-degrading process that fuzzes up SD Golf Channel images. ESPN-HD on my cable system, of course, has a lot more Mbps capacity than the SD channels. -- John
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-21-2005, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantethedog
I have TW cable in Cincinnati and while watching HD-ABC I noticed the same squiggly lines instead of a smooth 3 point curve on the floor.
Check out the local Cincinnati thread ... this is a known equipment issue with your ABC affiliate, and has nothing to do with your cable system.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-22-2005, 11:44 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I'll check out the Cincinnati thread.
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-22-2005, 06:34 PM
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True or false.Right now, the order of HD quality from best to worst is OTA,Comcast Cable, Dish, Direct TV .

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post #12 of 19 Old 06-22-2005, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl033
DirecTV may put as many as three. Of course with D*, this is temporary until more satellites are launched.
Oh ye of childlike faith :)

I doubt DirecTV will do anything to improve the quality of the HD channels once the new birds are in place. They'll probably use the capacity for more HD channels at the expense of better quality. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-22-2005, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn
True or false.Right now, the order of HD quality from best to worst is OTA,Comcast Cable, Dish, Direct TV .

Art
Seems accurate from what I read.
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-25-2005, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRMan
Seems accurate from what I read.
Thanks ! I have Direct TV and the PPV HD is beautiful but HDNet Movies and HBO HD are so bit starved I usually just turn it off after a few minutes of macorblocked soft images.

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post #15 of 19 Old 06-25-2005, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn
True or false.Right now, the order of HD quality from best to worst is OTA,Comcast Cable, Dish, Direct TV .

Art
Star Choice is right up there with OTA. Only two HD channels per transponder.
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post #16 of 19 Old 06-25-2005, 10:12 AM
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Steve Martin's DirecTV Transponder table http://www.widemovies.com/dtvtransponders.html indicates that C-8 is carrying only Ch. 86 ABC-E & Ch. 99 PPVH. C-12 carries Ch. 87 ABC-W & Ch. 74 UHD.

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post #17 of 19 Old 06-25-2005, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncD2000
Steve Martin's DirecTV Transponder table http://www.widemovies.com/dtvtransponders.html indicates that C-8 is carrying only Ch. 86 ABC-E & Ch. 99 PPVH. C-12 carries Ch. 87 ABC-W & Ch. 74 UHD.
*C's ABC-E feed on Anik F2, has transponder 27 all to itself, according to the Lynsat listing. So it's no surprise that their PQ is a bit better to that on D*'s Ch 86 or 87 (all other things being equal). But when two or more channels share a transponder, the statistical multiplexer at the uplink often borrows bits from what would normally be assigned to one channel when another channel requires more data throughput. So on any given channel, the data rate will often vary as a function of time. For whatever reason, ABC's HD coverage of the final two NBA championship games from D* was inferior to OTA and *C. The pixelation on the parquet floor was quite noticeable on both of D*'s HD channels.
To be fair, I'll check a couple of other common HD feeds on each service and report back.
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-26-2005, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
I tuned in briefly, via NYC's Time Warner Cable, because I'd read they might use new Sony 1080/60p cameras, downconverted to 720p, for the final games. (Googling for [Sony 1080/60p NAB] should uncover Sony links outlining this.) Anyway, such oversampling/downconversion, reportedly used for the Super Bowl, should boost both vertical and horizontal resolution (slightly) over the standard limiting resolution of 720p.
Sony HDC 1500L cameras comprised the majority of those used on American Idol this year. The camera's spatial down conversion allows for good depth of modulation in the high frequencies. Many people reported that the 720p PQ was pretty good at home. They really shined at NAB this year when Sony showed one dual linked for 1080/60p.
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post #19 of 19 Old 06-26-2005, 10:01 AM
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D*. The leader of HD-lite.
W/ mpeg4 on the horizon, they might have better PQ since there are still very few National HD networks. But that remains to be seen...

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