Better picture; Time/Warner or DirecTV in NYC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-21-2002, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I just got the Time/Warner HD box installed (after waiting six months) and the picture quality on the SD stations is terrible compared to DirecTV. There are only two possibilities; one is that the TW compression/transmission is far inferior to DirecTV, which seems impossible since it is a wire, not a limited bandwidth satellite feed, and the other is that the TW box is using YPbPr outputs, not RGB which is what my projector is native (JVC G20). The RGB outputs of the box don't seem to work. Does anyone have comments or ideas?

Larry
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-21-2002, 06:50 PM
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When you use the component out from the box that twc gives you sd channels are converted to 1080i and they look terrible. For sd channels try the s out or the composite video out (many seem to think the composite looks better than the s).

If you have tried this already and you still find the tw (digital channels) look worse than those you pick up on directv it could be that tw compressing the data more to allow for more channels.

Nick
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-22-2002, 04:38 AM
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As mentioned, use the component out only for H/DTV channels on your cable system. Also, I've found with my SA2000HD, that it's best to use S-video only for digital channels and composite (or RF) for analog channels (under 100 here). Reason: the 2000HD's cheap filter for S-video does a poor job of splitting analog into S-video color/B&W components. Recently I outlined a sequence on how I'd convert my 2000HD to RGBHV from only 3-wire component (see here ).

Despite the digital channel compression TWC uses here (~10:1) most digital channels are okay. In recent months I've seen more MPEG-2 artifacts (small digital 'blocks' occurring with camera pans or character movement, plus blurring, especially with detail-rich scenes) on channels such as Sundance and The Golf Channel. IFC is often bad, too. Could be the programming source or it might be both the programmer and TWC, since TWC must collect ~10 channels and multiplex them into one 6-MHz slot, typically with Cisco video routers. Can't recall seeing many MPEG-2 artifacts with Time Warner's own sources such as the numerous HBO and Cinemax channels; there's some motion blurring on Dennis Miller's weekday 11 pm (ET) shows. Of course each local TWC system and even different head ends within a system can vary in quality.

Such cable-video routers , I've read, 'share' bandwidth between ~10 SDTV sources/6-MHz channel (or HDTV/SDTV mixes), so you'd think rapid movement and details in several MPEG-2-compressed channels sharing a 6-MHz slot would diminish the bandwidth available for other channels sharing the slot at those times. Anyway, you're certainly right about cable, especially if it's a hybrid fiber/coax system, having very large channel capacity. But NYC's TWC could boost channel capacity enormously by compressing more of its analog channels, which occupy about 600 MHz of its 750+ MHz bandwidth. Better yet, extending fiber optics to homes instead of local nodes (~500 subscribers) and eliminating bandwidth-restricted coxial-cable amplifiers would provide virtually unlimited bandwidth.

Some cable companies, though, are notorious for over-compressing digital cable, which leads to artifacts, noise, and reduced video resolution. Haven't used a satellite system, but curiously you see sharply contrasting opinions about the quality of video from the main DBS sources.

By the way, although D-ILA systems are excellent for 1080i HDTV because of their special progressive/interlace method of displaying all the HDTV pixels/frame despite the limited matrix of display elements, much earlier posts by D-ILA experts have pointed out that D-ILA projectors don't handle SDTV well at all. -- John
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-27-2002, 06:57 AM
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"Could be the programming source or it might be both the programmer ..."

John the above statement is just too hard to believe. Imagine a programmer putting out signals that look on par w/ VHS tape.

John please find someone w/ a big dish system and go have a look see at all the stations they get and make a note of the quality of the stations, then you can talk about TWC SD quality as an informed expert.

It's time to stop the conjecture.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-27-2002, 08:40 AM
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I'm aware of the excellent quality of signals available from BUD systems and broadcast hardware. But considering the wide variability in quality from virtually all sources, I'm not in a position to pin MPEG-2 artifacts positively on any part of TWC's delivery. So my post was deliberately broad in hope that someone with extensive cable-system expertise would pin such glitches down. You seem to be eager, imws, so let's hear what's going on. (No conjecturing, now) :) -- John
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-27-2002, 04:00 PM
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John c'mon let's face facts you've always been a big proponent of TWC digital offerings' PQ. Now all of sudden you're seeing glitches and you start making broad generalizations about programming sources and such.

You state that you're aware of the excellent quality of signals available from BUD systems, well that's nice, but I think you need to get your bearings straight and instead of being aware you have to actually see something on a BUD system. Once that is done, I'll accept your opinion of TWC, but until that is done, your measure of quality has no meaning outside your apt.

Now I've seen some of the very same channels that are digital on TWC on an analog cablevision system in NNJ and let me tell you it is night and day. These stations look better than best looking analog stations on TWCNYC.

It is just plain ridiculous to think that broadcasters would uplink VHS quality signals for the world to see. What's even more ridiculous is that people actually believe a broadcaster would do this.

You are clearly on the side of TWC, well I'm on the side of the broadcasters. Now it's up to you to see some of these problematic stations on a BUD system or on an analog cable system. Until that is done you really can't make the generous statements you've always made and continue to do about TWC.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-27-2002, 06:48 PM
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I am having trouble with my TWC digital signal on my NEC 42MP3. It is OK on channels other than HBO and the other movie channels, but sometimes those channels are unwatchable with breakups and lockups. I just turn it off and do something else. When I have these problems on HBO I can turn the channel to CNBC and the picture is fine. I don't have the problem on other TVs in the house. Is it the plasma? Is it a bad cable box? Is it a bad/weak signal in the room with the plasma? I think it may be a bad signal in that room. Would HBO and other premium movie channels have a weaker signal than the other channels? I haven't dealt with TWC on this yet because I am supposed to get a new HD cable box soon, and I think I will do it all at once. Any thoughts?
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