HD from satellite vs. D-VHS tapes vs. HD-DVD picture quality - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-24-2002, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello, everyone!

In the NTSC world, there was a clear difference in picture quality that you could expect from variou sources. In general, DVD is better than prerecorded VHS tape, which is better than recording from broadcast or cable onto a blank tape.

However, as I understand, in the world of HDTV, there will be no difference in picture quality between recording from satellite onto a blank D-VHS tape or hard disk recorder, and prerecorded D-VHS, and HD-DVD. If that's the case, why would anyone buy a prerecorded tape or HD-DVD, if for a fraction of the price, they just can record from satellite and get the same quality. Am I missing something here?

Thanks,
Stan
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-24-2002, 04:25 AM
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Hi Stan. So far, of course, HDTV DVDs have appeared mostly at shows, so there's no formal image-quality comparisons yet. I'd suspect there are quality variations between tape recorders.

There's lot of back and forth about DBS HDTV quality. In a recent thread I mentioned comments of Alen Koebel, a systems designer, in a January Widescreen Review article, "Digital Cinema and Home Theater." To limit bandwidth he indicated DBS HDTV uses some 1280-1440 instead of 1920 horizontal pixels. (BTW, 1440 is a filter limit of the widely used Sony HDCAM production tape hardware.) Other experts here have said DBS firms don't limit HDTV fidelity. --John
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-24-2002, 07:28 AM
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Different sources will continue to have different quality. You can make a case now that digital cable (the actual digital stations), Echostar, DirectTV, and OTA ATSC are now all digital TV. But technically they are not HDTV unless they are sent with a high resolution, say 1280x720p or 1920x1080i. And they are not GOOD HDTV unless they are sent with the high resolution, no obvious coding problems, and also a sufficiently high bit rate.

Since the various providers don't document the actual transmission rates you can only judge by the picture quality. But it is fairly obvious that a provider that is up against bandwidth limitations would have an incentive to reduce resolution and bit rate in order to save channel capacity.

So it is good to keep in mind that the same picture degradation that can sometimes be seen in low definition digital TV may also sometimes be seen in HDTV, for the same reasons. These might include softness, motion artifacts, or occasional obvious macro blocks.

But in practice of course HDTV is still much better in most cases.

- Tom

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post #4 of 8 Old 02-24-2002, 03:56 PM
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With D-VHS bit stream recording, what ever you would see live from a DTV/HDTV broadcast is exactly what you get on playback.

JVC is trying to address your question "why would anyone buy a prerecorded tape or HD-DVD, if for a fraction of the price, they just can record from satellite and get the same quality", by offering higher quality D-VHS prerecorded tapes. They will be compatible with current HDTV systems and resolution, using the ATSC standard, but will have more through put capability, for less artifacting.

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post #5 of 8 Old 02-24-2002, 05:42 PM
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Any of the following are possible:

1> D-VHS supports bitrate slightly higher than
the ATSC broadcast standard... So you might be
able to buy an "artifact free" 25Mbit/sec D-VHS
tape whereas the same movie on satellite
or OTA might have only been 17Mbit/sec.

2> Some movies could be offered exclusively
on D-VHS and never broadcast on HD satellite
or OTA.

3> You might be able to get a D-VHS movie that
is OAR whereas the satellite might have been
"pan and scan" or "zoom and crop".
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-27-2002, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I am also wondering if the HDTV broadcast or satellite transmitted movies contain 5.1 Dolby Digital. That could also be the difference encouraging people to buy prerecorded tapes.

Stan
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-27-2002, 09:58 PM
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DD5.1 is included in the ATSC spec.

HBO-HD on dish for instance routinely broadcasts
with DD5.1
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-28-2002, 07:27 AM
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Even when it's not 5.1, it can be incredible. Sometimes on those "Fly over" documentaries on HDNet, I turn all the lights off, turn the sound way up, and just almost float away with the wonderful music.

David S.
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