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post #1 of 3392 Old 04-19-2004, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if there's a Charter in MN thread but I couldn't find one...

I'm in Rochester, MN and we just got FSN-HD (just in time for Wolves-Nuggets!) I made a recording off of HDNet Movies last night and noticed a serious drop in PQ. Looking at the bitrate it looks like HDNet Movies is being capped at 13Mbs now whereas before it would go as high as 25Mbps. I haven't checked HDNet yet which also used to have higher bitrates and noticeably better PQ than the other channels.

I do have recordings prior to the bitrate cap which look noticeably better. I even had a cap of the same movie but I deleted it because it had lots of dropouts in it. Now, I don't know for sure that the addition of FSN-HD caused them to cap HDNet movies, but I'm awfully suspicious.

Anyone else with Charter in MN noticed PQ changes since the change in the channel lineup?
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post #2 of 3392 Old 04-19-2004, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Using the service menu on the 6200 and going to channel status you can get the real channel (i.e. frequency) of the digital channel you're watching. Doing this on the current lineup reveals:

Code:
Station       Digital Channel       Channel
-------------------------------------------------
HDNet              770             657 MHz
HDNet Movies       771             657 MHz
ESPN-HD            773             663 MHz
FSN-HD             774             657 MHz
HBO-HD             777             663 MHz
SHO-HD             778             663 MHz
NBC-HD             782             669 MHz
FOX                788             675 MHz
So you can see that FSN-HD is sharing throughput with HDNet and HDNet movies by virtue of it being on the same channel. So it looks like they're taking a single QAM256 channel at around 39Mbps and carving it up into three HD channels at 13Mbps each.

Unacceptable I say. In the first place because OTA is free and gives a better picture, but also because the locals they provide for some reason get their own channels! FOX isn't even HD and my NBC local is only 14 Mbps! I waited a long time to choose and HD provider and chose cable because they support firewire and theoretically they shouldn't have any bandwidth problems. They sure are being stingy with it. If this is a sign of things to come I'll just stick with OTA and wait for HD-DVD thank you very much. I'm not paying for this crap.

Off to e-mail Charter.
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post #3 of 3392 Old 04-19-2004, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Some caps:

This one is not bad. Some compression artifacts around Spree at the right:

http://www.davesbox.net:70/fsn_pics/FSN_not_bad.png

This one is typical. Lots of compression artifacts around players and lines on the floor:

http://www.davesbox.net:70/fsn_pics/FSN_bad.png

This frame I caught by accident but shows really nasty PQ. Everything is blocking in this one:

http://www.davesbox.net:70/fsn_pics/FSN_nasty.png

I realize still shots like this are a little unfair, but truly you can see these things in real-time. The floor dances with artifacts and the players have weird halos around them. It's really not good.
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post #4 of 3392 Old 04-19-2004, 11:42 PM
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I wonder if this will only be an issue when FSN is broadcasting HDTV. Lookes like they aren't going to use the channel unless there is something to watch based on the fact that there has been a test pattern since the timberwolves game ended.

I have to confess I watched Andy Richter tonight and I thought it looked real good, although the color seemed off, but that was probably the way they filmed it because of the subject of the episode.

Your grid shows ESPN, HBO and Showtime on the same frequency and I think HBO looked better before they added ESPN, I definitely noticed artifacts while watching Attack of the Clones which surprised me since I had heard how stunning it looked because of its digital roots.

Looks like the locals get there own frequency which is probably why KTTC looks dead on with OTA (from my perspective) But what a waste to have a whole channel for KLXT analog feed turned digital (hopefully this station will get converted to HDTV in time for NFL football and then the bandwidth will be needed).

I am sure that as they add channels they will have to compress even more, you cannot get capacity out of thin air and I believe they are probably maxed out.
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post #5 of 3392 Old 04-20-2004, 07:46 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by dfriend

So you can see that FSN-HD is sharing throughput with HDNet and HDNet movies by virtue of it being on the same channel. So it looks like they're taking a single QAM256 channel at around 39Mbps and carving it up into three HD channels at 13Mbps each.

It's interesting that they're doing this, since my understanding is that HDNet has been very demanding that their product be carried sans compression. KSTC-DT is showing the "broadcast" version of HDNet, and they had to squeeze a standard definition version of KSTC analog into the leftover space in the HDNet signal. Any compression of HDNet was a deal buster.

Makes me glad I have an antenna, though FSN (regular) doesn't look all that great on DirecTV, either. On the flip side, nobody is complaining up in the Twin Cities about picture quality, DirecTV or cable on www.hdtvtwincities.com.
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post #6 of 3392 Old 04-20-2004, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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AtogMuncher,

I recorded Andy Richter off of HDNet last night during the test pattern on FSN and looking at the stream and the file size indicates that it still has limited bandwidth, despite there not being any HD on FSN. That said, I agree that I would be hard pressed to find anything wrong with that HDNet broadcast.

As for their bandwidth capacity, I find it hard to believe they're stressed but I suppose looking at all their (mostly worthless) channels and factoring in broadband service maybe I can believe it. But if they're going to market HD and make people pay for it, they damn well better make it a decent service. That goes for any provider, of course.

Their non-HD channels are still QAM64... it seems to me they could go to QAM256 and sqeeze more SD into a single channel, but maybe that causes other problems. Of course, I wouldn't have a problem with them eliminating their entire digital cable tier to make room for HD, but they don't even need to do that. If they limited it to two HD channes per frequency, they don't need to use any more frequencies as long as they don't give KTTC and KXLT their own channels.

Scott,

I too wondered about the HDNet "bandwidth guarantee" I'd heard in the past but I didn't know if that was reality or rumor.

A friend in town had a projector hooked up to his cable box via DVI and he didn't complain about PQ either. Maybe I'm crazy, but I didn't like what I saw. It would be nice if people on other cable systems or D* who have the ability to record to the PC would take a look at their streams and see what bitrates they get, but solicitations for that kind of information in the past have gone largely unanswered.
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post #7 of 3392 Old 04-20-2004, 11:49 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by dfriend

A friend in town had a projector hooked up to his cable box via DVI and he didn't complain about PQ either. Maybe I'm crazy, but I didn't like what I saw.

Most people wouldn't recognize an MPEG artifact if it reached out and bit them. Since motion is the worst for MPEG2 to handle, and since we expect motion to be a bit blurry, most people are willing to accept a certain amount of blur in moving objects - they'll attribute it to their eyes rather than the source.

I love the referee on the far side of the court in your 'bad" shot. Who says these guys are just faces in a crowd?
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post #8 of 3392 Old 04-20-2004, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Well this guys is a co-worker and he's normally extremely picky about PQ. I showed him the screen captures and it was obvious to him what was wrong, but he still doesn't think he saw it.

Of course, the projector had to scale 720p down to 1024x768 letterboxed and may have hid a multitude of sins. I haven't watched my clips on my projctor yet so I can't say if I'd notice them or not. They're obvious as hell playing it back on a 19" monitor though.

I did finally send a note to Charter. They of course suggested I might have a reception problem. I have the e-mail address of someone who actually knows something (he notified me about IEEE1394 enabled set-top boxes) but I'm going to wait and see if someone with a clue ends up getting my note.
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post #9 of 3392 Old 04-28-2004, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I know no one is following this but since I sort of bad mouthed Charter I wanted to set the record straight:

I spoke to an inside technical guy at Charter today. He in fact is essentially the person who allocates bandwidth. He could not have been more helpful or candid and was more than happy to divulge all sorts of interesting technical information. For instance, he has realtime instantaneous bandwidth readings for both what they're receiving and what they're sending out and read them off to me over the phone.

To summarize the conversation, he agreed with me that 3 HD channels per QAM channel (or just "per QAM" as he put it) is too much. He did say that the corporate engineer agrees also, but of course they don't set the policy and there are bigtime marketing pressures on bandwidth. If I read between the lines it's essentially "HD doesn't pay" and their main focus is adding as many SD channels as possible.

He also said that right now they are limited to only the 4 QAM they have now for HD. Both of the locals each have to have their own QAM because by law they have to preserve the PSIP data and their multiplexer hardware can't mux together two streams and preserve the PSIP. He did say however that there is a software upgrade to correct that and that he would get that as soon as possible, after which he'll put KTTC and KXLT on the same QAM. FSN-HD is also going away after this evening I believe so HDNet and HDNet Movies should return to essentially full bandwidth even sooner.

Even after the changes however, they're still limited to 4 QAM for HD and at 2 channels per QAM for acceptable quality they max out at 8 channels. After the disappearance of FSN-HD they'll have 7. I asked about using QAM256 for the SD channels since they only use QAM64 now and it essentially boils down to hardware investment. Technically that will work but they'd need new equipment. They could possibly eke out 9 channels if they put KXLT, KTTC and SHO all on the same QAM (SHO-HD is apparently only 13Mbps). I didn't really ask if there were any channels going to be added soon... I kind of doubt it since their current setup was so strained.

So the good news is that HDNet and HDNet movies will go back to being spectacular soon and there should be a boost in the quality of ESPN-HD soon as it gets moved to it's own QAM. HBO-HD may see a marginal increase in PQ... apparently it's only 15-16Mbps coming in anyway. But one could argue that transcoding from 15 to 13 is a lot worse than it sounds. Also SHO-HD is apparently only 13 Mbps so that won't see any quality improment unless again, the transcoding isn't being done very well.
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post #10 of 3392 Old 04-28-2004, 09:11 AM
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I'm glad I found this thread, because it confirms what I have been seeing. I've been thrilled to get the T-Wolves in Hi-Def on FSN-HD but have noticed a significant drop in PQ for HDNET and HDMovies. In the past, HDNET was always a spectacular picture, but recently it hasn't been nearly as good. I notice when the picture changes fast that there is pixelation(?)...like the bandwidth can't keep up. I noticed it a lot in the soccer game the other night. I was worried that Charter was compressing or reducing the signal. HBO and NBC look as good as they always have. Thanks so much for the technical information. While I can visually see what's going on it's always difficult to get someone who can REALLY explain why. It's been very nice having the add'l FSN-HD, but I'm looking forward to getting HDNET back to the "WOW" kind of picture. Also, an improved picture for ESPN-HD is good news. The programs they broadcast in HD look good but not as spectacular as broadcast previously on HDNET (like NHL). All of this does concern me though on how soon we will get additional channels. I was really hoping to get CBS soon, but don't want to see a trade-off of reduced PQ.
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post #11 of 3392 Old 05-03-2004, 07:07 AM
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Well....no FSN HD this past week and HDNET and HDMovies are still not the quality they once were. It's especially noticeable on HDNET during sporting events. The boxing they had on the other night appeared to have a lot of artifacts. It seems whenever the picture changes rapidly there is a split second or two where it pixelates (?) . Steady shots, for instance, an interview or something look fine. Also, last night on True Music there was a guy who had a black t-shirt with white lettering. There were a lot of moving artifacts (like zebra striping) through the lettering. Again, the PQ is okay, and maybe some people wouldn't notice it but HDNET used to be near perfect, in my mind, and it has definitely degraded. Hopefully, there is just a time lag between the drop in FSN HD and the return of the PQ on HDNET, but now I'm getting concerned because I would have thought it would be immediate. Anyone else still noticing the same things?
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post #12 of 3392 Old 05-03-2004, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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tjay,

Yes, the PQ of HDNet and HDNet Movies are still the same as they were (i.e. crappy ). My contact at Charter said that even though FSN was taken out of the channel lineup, he still had in the multiplexor taking bandwidth from HDNet and HDNet movies. He said he would correct it on Friday but I don't think he did. I sent him another e-mail about it but haven't heard back. I think he's pretty busy with the launch of the Moxi boxes last week, although I don't know in what capacity he's involved.

For what it's worth, he also said that he was going to mention this issue to the rest of the engineering staff in a meeting last week and push for no more than 2 HD channels per QAM rather than the 3 they have now. That means over 19Mbps per channel which I think is a pretty good standard to set. Unfortunately that limits them to 8 HD channels (or perhaps 9 since some of the channels won't use 19Mbps anyway), unless they can get permission to use more than 4 QAMs for HD. I also don't know how well that recommendation went over at their meeting. I hope to find out but I don't want to pester the guy too much.
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post #13 of 3392 Old 05-03-2004, 04:41 PM
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dfriend,

Thanks so much for the information!!! It's great that you've got a contact that can tell you what's going on so you can share it. While I'm not happy about the change in PQ, at least hearing the details on why it happened and that is it not permanent (hopefully), help to greatly ease my mind. It's nice to know that it isn't just me or my TV. Thanks again!
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post #14 of 3392 Old 05-04-2004, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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tjay,

I was going to send you a private message to take this conversation off the forum (since we're probably the only two reading this) but you have PMs disabled. Since you're new I didn't know if that was on purpose or not.

Anyway, I had another exchange with my contact last night and I'm getting a little worried. He insists everything is right at his end and started asking the standard "Maybe your signal strength is bad" questions, which I consider to just be a catch-all when they don't know what the hell is wrong. Fortunately the Moto boxes have error counts on them so I can verify that my streams are all error free. I also can measure bit rates of my recordings and they're all still coming out too low. I told him as much and send him some screen grabs and tried to nudge him in the direction of checking his gear again.

It's touchy... he's a nice guy and all but nobody likes to be told by an outsider how to do their job so I'm not about to just yet. I want to keep him as a future source of information too. But this definitely needs to get fixed because HDNet is horrible. They played an extended Spider-Man 2 trailer last night and it was damn near unwatchable.

Bottom line, I'm trying to stay on the case, but it's taking longer than I hoped and now I'm starting to get resistance. Hopefully he's just overworked and missed something.
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post #15 of 3392 Old 05-04-2004, 11:54 AM
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I live in St. Louis, home of Charter's Corp offices. I currently subscribe to Dish, but after the DVR921 firewire fiasco I refuse to pay $1000 or a box I may not keep. I keep thinking about moving to Charter, but currently they only offer a few channels (NBC/CBS/FOX locals + HD Net and ESPN HD, perhaps a few more)

I wonder if the problem is they can't get contracts signed to increase offerings or if there is a technical limitation here. I would like to know before I make a desicion to change.

Thanks for your info on this subject!

Dave
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post #16 of 3392 Old 05-04-2004, 12:24 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by dfriend

I was going to send you a private message to take this conversation off the forum (since we're probably the only two reading this) but you have PMs disabled. Since you're new I didn't know if that was on purpose or not.

You're not the only two reading the discussion.

I like to keep an eye on Charter in Rochester, because all of my friends have it and don't understand why I don't.
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post #17 of 3392 Old 05-05-2004, 01:20 PM
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dfriend,

I'm glad I searched and found this thread. I live in Roch.

I just picked up a new 50" lcd projection (lov'in the tv), and was jacked for some HD. Wow was I disappointed. I'm very new to this stuff and haven't gotten into bitrates and what not, but I too have had a tech come out and say the exact same things your talking about, about not piping to us over 13mbs. I've had the TV for a month now, and have noticed quite a varying PQ regarding the HD channels. Two weeks ago it was terrible, most of the HD channels would just lock up on me.

I have to also mention that I'm testing this new Motorola Moxi DVR box. I know 2 others who also have this device and hate it. One guy had the regular HD decoder before and when switching to the Moxi noticed an instant drop in PQ on his HD channels. I asked this tech about that and he said that these PVR boxes are not good with HD. So i'm returning mine ASAP and picking up the regular HD box. What is your experience with this?

So if it's this Moxi that's partially to blame, i won't get a true picture of the HD channels until i'm rid of it.

If you send me this email, I have no problem sending this guy some complaints. Charter is charging me for these channels, and I can't even watch them half the time cause their so bad.
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post #18 of 3392 Old 05-05-2004, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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The PQ problems aren't the fault of the Moxi box. Any drop in picture quality associated with it's installation is probalby a matter of coincidence, since the real problems started a week or so before they were available.

It's a matter of their bandwidth allocation and it should be easily fixable. We were on that path but nothing has happened for about a week now and I'm starting to get frustrated.

I don't want to give out my contact's e-mail address because he's not a CSR and I don't think he'd appreciate me doing that, but if you send a complaint to Charter with enough detail about your problems that it's obvious it's not signal related, it will almost certainly get bumped to him. I had two e-mails I sent to Charter get routed to this guy on their own.

I do encourage you to complain and specifically mention that the picture quality of the HD channels is bad, and describe what you're seeing. What I see on HDNet is a lot of what they call macroblocking, which is the picture getting "chunky":

http://www.davesbox.net:70/hd_pics/hdnet_bad.png

My hope is if you and your friends complain it will elevate the problem. My contact has been helpful but I'm starting to wonder if he's starting to think I'm just some crazy HD zealot (which I am ). His last e-mail was pretty much "Well, we're doing everything right... maybe you have a signal problem?" I just groaned when I read that... what they're doing is clearly wrong. My response was to convince them that it's not a problem on my end, other people have it and in fact you can see it in their own damn showroom so it's definitely their problem. No word yet but I'm going to stay positive. If this keeps up much longer though I'm going to call and demand a refund for last months HD bill.

By the way, if you or others you know have the Moxi boxes and have info to share, there was a thread on the Recorders forum with a bunch of people who were dying for info on the boxes. I demo'd a unit very briefly at the local office but I couldn't answer most of their questions because I didn't spend much time on it. I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you wrote a quick mini-review.
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post #19 of 3392 Old 05-06-2004, 08:40 AM
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Quote:

I'd send that link to mark@hd.net (that's Mark Cuban's email address, and he does read it.) They spend a lot of money to put out the highest quality HD signal possible, and I'm sure he'd be offended to see what your cable company is doing to it.
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post #20 of 3392 Old 05-06-2004, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dfriend
The PQ problems aren't the fault of the Moxi box. Any drop in picture quality associated with it's installation is probalby a matter of coincidence, since the real problems started a week or so before they were available.


dFriend

To clarify that about the Moxi, i've had this box for almost 3 months now, as part of some limited beta test (the tech told me only 25 went out to Roch). So i've never seen the HD channels other than through the Moxi. But hearing a friend say he saw the HD quality drop the day he got it back in March, and also hearing a charter tech confirm that they are not good HD boxes, that maybe they have some to blame on the poor HD i've been seeing. Also, of the two people I know who has a Moxi, they have had them replaced 2x each already. So they definitly have issues

Regarding emailing Charter about these issues, are you just going to their website and sending in a note? I have a special Moxi email address for this beta test, but who knows where the note goes.

Have you noticed any issues with NBC HD? Do you know if that's being broadcast in 1080i or 720p?

This stuff really frustrates me that we don't know what stream were getting. My tv handles 720p native, and that's my preferred res. I can go into the Moxi and specify what to send to the tv. Should I be sending 720 or 1080i to the tv? I was going to impress my fiance with my new tv purchase by watching her favorite show - ER - 2 weeks ago in HD, and i was so pissed when it was unwatchable. I think that it's the Moxi to blame though, as it would just lock up. All the HD channels would lock up. As soon as I tell Moxi to output 480i, everything would be fine. Lately NBC seems to be better. I've not seen the lockup problems over the last week. But I really haven't been home much to watch them either.

check your PM too please
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post #21 of 3392 Old 05-06-2004, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I could be wrong about the Moxi box then. You sound like you know more about it than I. The problems I'm reporting are really independent of the set-top box, but that doesn't mean the Moxi doesn't have problems of its own. Was the tech that told you the Moxi was a bad HD box just a run-of-the-mill installation guy, or a HD or Moxi specialist? My experience is that the install techs don't know much and will tell you things without knowing they're true. Same with techs on the phone.

The e-mails I sent to charter were via the website. They eventually got bumped to my contact.

NBC should be just as good as our OTA, which I watch very little of because nothing on NBC is to my taste. KTTC unfortunately multicasts so they're only using about 75% of the available bandwidth for HD. The first HD I ever watched though was the '02 winter olympics via our local NBC affiliate and there was lots of macroblocking on that too. At the time I didn't know what was going on or who was to blame but I remember it vividly. Leno also used to macroblock as well at the beginning of the show when they did fast camera pans of the audience. I have no idea if it still does it or not. I've been meaning to check and to compare OTA to cable but I always forget.

As for your TV, you should probably check the TV forum for ideas. Some TVs and some set-tops are finicky about what they like to output or receive. You should be able to output 1080i to your TV, which it will then scale to 720p, or you should be able to output 720p to your TV, so when a channel is 1080i the box will scale it to 720p first. And then you choose which one works best. I would expect nothing less than both of those options to work, but that's not always the case.
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post #22 of 3392 Old 05-06-2004, 03:45 PM
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I just emailed charter and flamed a bit. They of course are forwarding that to their 'senior technical manager'. So i'll get going from my end.

They went live with the Moxi last week they said. Ha, what a joke. Between myself and 2 others we've had 4 boxes replaced, and still have issues. Moxi is not part of Charter, they are actually based in Seattle I believe, and they were no help in getting back to me either the one time i sent them an update. Charter didn't bother to contact any of us to ask how the beta test went. They just went live anyway.

That's what i noticed on NBC too, is the very beginning of the show with those fast camera pans of the audiance, it just can't keep up.

It's to bad really, with people buying all these nice tv's and the networks starting to broadcast HD that cable companies like Charter are just to far behind the game and more worried about quantity than quality.

I'll probably really look into Sat later this summer, as it just soundsl like Charter will go nowhere.
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post #23 of 3392 Old 05-07-2004, 08:43 AM
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Leno also used to macroblock as well at the beginning of the show when they did fast camera pans of the audience. I have no idea if it still does it or not. I've been meaning to check and to compare OTA to cable but I always forget.

I watched it last Friday night and it looked fine to me. Granted, I have a smaller set (30") but I'm pretty sensitive to macroblocking.

KTTC should look into what KSTC-DT is doing up in the cities. They have a full HD feed of HDNet on their digital signal, but by reencoding the HDNet signal and using the "extra" space, they squeeze in a copy of KSTC-analog as well. Granted, the KSTC 480i image is a little lacking in color depth, but how many people are watching KTTC-DT-10.2 compared to 10.1?
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post #24 of 3392 Old 05-07-2004, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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KTTC should eliminate 10.2 altogether... a stupid traffic camera or whatever it is serves no purpose. Even if they did want to keep it, they could crush it down to 0.5Mbps or something, I won't quibble over that.
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post #25 of 3392 Old 05-08-2004, 08:11 AM
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KTTC should eliminate 10.2 altogether... a stupid traffic camera or whatever it is serves no purpose. Even if they did want to keep it, they could crush it down to 0.5Mbps or something, I won't quibble over that.

10.2 is usually a 4:3 version of their programming, I assume a digital version of KTTC analog 10. This might be so cable companies that distribute their programming have a clean, clear picture to distribute.
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post #26 of 3392 Old 05-09-2004, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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10.2 is usually a 4:3 version of their programming, I assume a digital version of KTTC analog 10. This might be so cable companies that distribute their programming have a clean, clear picture to distribute.

That's a recent change then. In the past 10.2 rotated through the various traffic/weather cameras they have downtown and elsewhere. Totally and completely useless. Perhaps that was only certain times of the day, but I've never seen their 4x3 feed on 10.2. But then I almost never watch KTTC.
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post #27 of 3392 Old 05-10-2004, 11:05 AM
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I am taking a class where one of the people who work for FOX in Rochester was telling me that they are planning on using their five HD Channels among other things is multiple NFL games on sunday...I wonder how Charter would handle that? Five of each channel...when they can barely handle one now
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post #28 of 3392 Old 05-10-2004, 12:06 PM
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I emailed Charter to complain about the degradation in PQ on HDNET and HDMovies. They responded that they would forward it on to an engineer for investigation. I hope that getting more input from customers will help resolve the situation. I just want it to be as good as it was, a month or so ago.
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post #29 of 3392 Old 05-10-2004, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally posted by wrmMoxi
I am taking a class where one of the people who work for FOX in Rochester was telling me that they are planning on using their five HD Channels among other things is multiple NFL games on sunday...I wonder how Charter would handle that? Five of each channel...when they can barely handle one now

What they're talking about is multicasting, where they take their entire bandwidth and carve it up into (in this case) 5 pieces in effect creating 5 separate channels. This is one advantage of digital television. A broadcaster can get multiple channels in the same 6MHz UHF band that under analog only had one channel. You can't do that indefinitely, obviously. At some point even SD picture quality will suffer. So in a 19.4Mbps OTA digital stream you could put 3-5 SD channels and still be OK. For sports I would guess 5 is probably pushing it.

However, a single HD channel takes up a lot more of that bandwidth and some people around here (me included ) think that if you're going to broadcast HD you should use all the 19.4Mbps for it.

So, the short of it is if FOX is going to multicast, none of the games will be HD. Which would suck since FOX is supposed to be going HD this fall. I don't want 5 games I don't care about in SD, I want the Vikes in HD.

All that is of course before you get to the cable problem. Multicasting has been a point of contention between broadcasters and cable companies. Theoretically, it shouldn't impact the cable company at all. FOX should be able to send them their 19.4Mbps stream and the cable company simply de-muxes however many channels there are, re-encode them to QAM256 and maps them over to their digital cable channels. But my guess is that's not as easy as it sounds, at least not right now. It sounds like channels have to be added manually, so if FOX wanted to vary between 1 HD channels and 5 SD channels, something would have to be done with the 4 unused channels.

If you talk to that person again, you might mention that we'd prefer 1 HD to 5 SD games, and if he tries to tell you they'll all be HD, laugh at him.
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post #30 of 3392 Old 05-10-2004, 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by dfriend
A broadcaster can get multiple channels in the same 6MHz UHF band that under analog only had one channel. You can't do that indefinitely, obviously. At some point even SD picture quality will suffer. So in a 19.4Mbps OTA digital stream you could put 3-5 SD channels and still be OK. For sports I would guess 5 is probably pushing it.

Well, I'm hoping they have the HD equipment by the fall. Right now, they're not even set up for "real" digital programming at KXLT. They're doing an upconvert of the analog signal at the tower (post microwave transmission) and it is by far the worst looking DTV signal I've seen.

A 6Mhz UHF analog band is capable of delivering the equivalent 6Mbps of data, so 3 SD channels fit easily with 0 compression on a 19.4Mbps digital stream. 5 is only moderate compression for an SD image. They would probably look a little soft, which isn't very different to KXLT's current digital signal.

I don't know what the rights are for broadcasting multiple games in a viewing area. I'm sure the television contract Fox negotiated with the NFL didn't have much in the way of multicasting rights.

Fox announced earlier this year that *all* NFL games on Fox will be in HD. That means that every Vikings game not on CBS is guaranteed to be shown in HD, provided local affiliates are capable of showing it.
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