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post #3271 of 3315 Old 04-10-2014, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

It does not look like any more than 70-79 HD's including ch 10 and 20 which are showing up as HD, though I doubt they are. How do you read your bit rates as I would like to look at that?

Sounds like a 650mhz system. Weird. I thought it was rebuilt...

You need a DVR that will show you the filesize in GB like a TiVo or MCE machine, and then just calculate the (average) bitrate based the file size and length.
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post #3272 of 3315 Old 04-11-2014, 05:15 AM
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Sounds like a 650mhz system. Weird. I thought it was rebuilt...

You need a DVR that will show you the filesize in GB like a TiVo or MCE machine, and then just calculate the (average) bitrate based the file size and length.

I run an HTPC with a Ceton tuner into a 2TB Hard Drive managed by Windows Media Center. I wonder if there is a way it might generate that data.
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post #3273 of 3315 Old 04-11-2014, 02:02 PM
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I run an HTPC with a Ceton tuner into a 2TB Hard Drive managed by Windows Media Center. I wonder if there is a way it might generate that data.

Uh, I hate to be a smart ass here, but right click properties will tell you how big it is. Then, based off of how long it is, calculate the average bitrate...
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post #3274 of 3315 Old 04-13-2014, 06:43 AM
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Uh, I hate to be a smart ass here, but right click properties will tell you how big it is. Then, based off of how long it is, calculate the average bitrate...

No one who shares his knowledge with a stranger is a smart ass in my book! In my Windows Media Center, however, after tuning in a station and then right clicking, I get program, details, zoom choices (4 of them) and a couple of other things, but no properties or diagnostics. My Sony XBR also does not seem capable of genrating any diagnostics for a PC signal via HDMI, only a direct cable or antenna signal. I am no computer whiz so maybe I missed something so happy to hear your ideas and I certainly appreciate your time and efforts.
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post #3275 of 3315 Old 04-13-2014, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

No one who shares his knowledge with a stranger is a smart ass in my book! In my Windows Media Center, however, after tuning in a station and then right clicking, I get program, details, zoom choices (4 of them) and a couple of other things, but no properties or diagnostics. My Sony XBR also does not seem capable of genrating any diagnostics for a PC signal via HDMI, only a direct cable or antenna signal. I am no computer whiz so maybe I missed something so happy to hear your ideas and I certainly appreciate your time and efforts.

The TV can't know what the bitrate is via HDMI, as the computer has already decompressed it. In order to get file properties, get out of MCE, and just use Windows explorer to browse to the file like you would any other file on a PC. That will get you the file size, and then through MCE you can get the length, and you can calculate bitrate... That's obviously an average bitrate, not instantaneous like a tuner might be able to give you... still it gives you a good idea of how much bandwidth they are giving any individual channel...
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post #3276 of 3315 Old 04-14-2014, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

The TV can't know what the bitrate is via HDMI, as the computer has already decompressed it. In order to get file properties, get out of MCE, and just use Windows explorer to browse to the file like you would any other file on a PC. That will get you the file size, and then through MCE you can get the length, and you can calculate bitrate... That's obviously an average bitrate, not instantaneous like a tuner might be able to give you... still it gives you a good idea of how much bandwidth they are giving any individual channel...

Will try that....much obliged!
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post #3277 of 3315 Old 04-14-2014, 03:00 PM
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I'll be interested to see what the results are. Keep in mind that the way Comcast muxes their channels, the encoders allocate bandwidth to all the streams on the QAM in real-time, so the bandwidth any one channel gets can vary based on what's on that channel versus other channels on the QAM. I can't prove it, but I think they "bias" the bandwidth allocation for major sporting events and the like on national channels...
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post #3278 of 3315 Old 04-15-2014, 08:55 AM
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I'll be interested to see what the results are. Keep in mind that the way Comcast muxes their channels, the encoders allocate bandwidth to all the streams on the QAM in real-time, so the bandwidth any one channel gets can vary based on what's on that channel versus other channels on the QAM. I can't prove it, but I think they "bias" the bandwidth allocation for major sporting events and the like on national channels...

Well, I tried last night, but I am no tech whiz and all I could see using windows explorer were the files for programs I had recorded, not the live channel(s) I was tuned to. Guess I have to go to computer college.
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post #3279 of 3315 Old 04-15-2014, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

Well, I tried last night, but I am no tech whiz and all I could see using windows explorer were the files for programs I had recorded, not the live channel(s) I was tuned to. Guess I have to go to computer college.

Live TV isn't a file. You have to take a file that you've previously recorded, find the size of that file, get the length of that program through MCE, and then calculate average bitrate. That's what I do with TiVo. There is a little bit of inaccuracy due to extra file overhead from MCE or TiVo, but you get a good *estimate* of the bitrate.
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post #3280 of 3315 Old 04-15-2014, 04:55 PM
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Of course you'd need a file from whatever channel you're curious about, and the type of content will determine how much of the tri-mux that particular program got at that point in time, so it does matter what program you do it for. As an academic exercise though, you could do it on about anything.
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post #3281 of 3315 Old 04-16-2014, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Of course you'd need a file from whatever channel you're curious about, and the type of content will determine how much of the tri-mux that particular program got at that point in time, so it does matter what program you do it for. As an academic exercise though, you could do it on about anything.

Now I see what you are driving at. Will do several, hopefully tonight or tomorrow night. Will come back with answers.
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post #3282 of 3315 Old 04-17-2014, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Of course you'd need a file from whatever channel you're curious about, and the type of content will determine how much of the tri-mux that particular program got at that point in time, so it does matter what program you do it for. As an academic exercise though, you could do it on about anything.

OK, here goes. Recorded two channels last night -
PBS News on Ch 13 (WNET) - Length 62:04, size was 5.33 GB (5,733,613,565 bytes)
NBC News on Ch 1004 (WVIT) - Length 39:58, size was 3.33 GB (3,585,867,776 bytes)
That tell you anything? I have no frame of reference or comparison obviously.
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post #3283 of 3315 Old 04-17-2014, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

OK, here goes. Recorded two channels last night -
PBS News on Ch 13 (WNET) - Length 62:04, size was 5.33 GB (5,733,613,565 bytes)
NBC News on Ch 1004 (WVIT) - Length 39:58, size was 3.33 GB (3,585,867,776 bytes)
That tell you anything? I have no frame of reference or comparison obviously.

So calculate the bitrate! That was the whole point!

5.33GB*8000 = 42,640mbit/(62min*60sec) = 11.46mbps (yikes!)
3.33GB*8000 = 26,640mbit/(40min*60sec) = 11.1mbps (yikes!)

For comparison, the Men's Final Four was about 12 to 13.5mbps average, depending on which teamcast vs. the main feed. The Women's final four on ESPN was over 16mbps, but they don't allow tri-muxing. I haven't calculated it for too many other things. 19mbps is the golden standard for HD, but 13-16mbps can look very good, depending on the resolution and how well the compression is done.
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post #3284 of 3315 Old 04-17-2014, 03:25 PM
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Also, the bitrate might be even a bit lower, as there's some Windows file overhead in those numbers. TiVo would have similar overhead, I'm not sure whether TiVo or MCE would have more, but each of them have something. I think TiVo's gets a lot bigger when you move it to a PC (maybe a few percent) because of the added copy protection.
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post #3285 of 3315 Old 04-18-2014, 05:50 AM
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Also, the bitrate might be even a bit lower, as there's some Windows file overhead in those numbers. TiVo would have similar overhead, I'm not sure whether TiVo or MCE would have more, but each of them have something. I think TiVo's gets a lot bigger when you move it to a PC (maybe a few percent) because of the added copy protection.

If you are confident that the calculations are right for my type of system (which as stated is PC, not DVR), then I guess this explains why I have a stinky pq at my house. I guess I could also ask friends in other towns that have DVR's to look at their file sizes, right? If I am getting a lot less than, say Guilford or Branford, there is no reason why I should be paying their pricing. Am i also correect that a Comcast tech, if I were to demand a visit, would have a piece of equipment with him that shows the bitrate readout in a few seconds?
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post #3286 of 3315 Old 04-18-2014, 05:03 PM
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If you are confident that the calculations are right for my type of system (which as stated is PC, not DVR), then I guess this explains why I have a stinky pq at my house. I guess I could also ask friends in other towns that have DVR's to look at their file sizes, right? If I am getting a lot less than, say Guilford or Branford, there is no reason why I should be paying their pricing. Am i also correect that a Comcast tech, if I were to demand a visit, would have a piece of equipment with him that shows the bitrate readout in a few seconds?

Comcast's compression of cable channels is done nationally, and the tri-muxed signals are then sent via satellite to various receiving locations, and then by fiber to a head-end, where the whole cable signal is modulated together and then sent out over fiber to the nodes where the DOCSIS and VOD stuff is done on a per-node basis. As a result, all Comcast customers will get the same bitrate at that point in time for a given channel. I don't know if the locals are compressed for the whole state by Comcast, or if they are passing the OTA streams on directly bit-for-bit by doing a 2 to 1 re-modulation going from ATSC-8VSB to ATSC-QAM. The only thing that would be compressed locally is local access.

I highly doubt that a tech would be able to find a bitrate nor care, unless they're just looking at errors in the stream that result from signal strength issues. They have no reason to as long as the box is able to decode the signal it's getting. They are looking at signal strengths and other stuff. Bitrate is irrelevant to them. That's a decision that's made way higher up the technical chain, and a change in compression would affect the whole country or the whole state (technically Hartford-New Haven which is most of CT and part of MA).

What sucks about paying the same on a lesser system is the number of channels you get. I pay the same (or I would if I wasn't still on promo) that my parents do, but they get ESPNU HD and Al Jazeera English, and I don't since I'm on a 650mhz system. That sucks. Also, some of the channels that only 750mhz or 860mhz systems get are running way higher bitrates, as they have to fit the 70 HD's onto a 650mhz systems, and then those other channels don't really matter, so they seem to not be tri-muxing them (at least that's what ESPNU HD looks like).

Those calculations are estimates, I assumed 1GB = 1000MB, not 1024MB, and I don't know how much extra cruft MCE puts on top of the recording in it's file format. Still, they can explain a lot.
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post #3287 of 3315 Old 04-19-2014, 06:54 AM
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That is very enlightening and it makes good sense when one thinks about it. Well, last night I watched the Bruins game on ESPN and I was thinking "geez the picture is fairly good actually" and getting up close less "smeary" so I used your "system" and recorded an hour of it and measured. No wonder it looked better, as here are the numbers 60.38 minutes with a file of 7.10 Gb. My math shows that to yield 15.68 mbps, or about 37% better than what I was showing on the other channels the other night. I wonder if your ESPN and PBS rates as similar to mine as you note you are also on a 70 HD setup. As noted, I am going to get info from the other towns and ask Comcast why I should be paying the same as them for fewer channels and poorer PQ (You are right the channel count is the one that cannot be argued.) Other than ESPN-U and Al Jeerzeera whay else is on the list of 30 we don't get anyway? (Thanks again for your enlightenment by the way!)
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post #3288 of 3315 Old 04-19-2014, 08:35 AM
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That is very enlightening and it makes good sense when one thinks about it. Well, last night I watched the Bruins game on ESPN and I was thinking "geez the picture is fairly good actually" and getting up close less "smeary" so I used your "system" and recorded an hour of it and measured. No wonder it looked better, as here are the numbers 60.38 minutes with a file of 7.10 Gb. My math shows that to yield 15.68 mbps, or about 37% better than what I was showing on the other channels the other night. I wonder if your ESPN and PBS rates as similar to mine as you note you are also on a 70 HD setup. As noted, I am going to get info from the other towns and ask Comcast why I should be paying the same as them for fewer channels and poorer PQ (You are right the channel count is the one that cannot be argued.) Other than ESPN-U and Al Jeerzeera whay else is on the list of 30 we don't get anyway? (Thanks again for your enlightenment by the way!)

ESPN would be the same nationwide, as it is compressed nationally and satellite linked to individual states/systems.

*I think* PBS would be the same throughout the market.

I'm pretty sure ESPN is so powerful as a content provider that they mandate a certain bitrate of the provider. I guess all that power that they use to charge absurd rates does have it's upsides...

The PQ is the same on all systems, as least for national channels, and probably for local channels within a market. The only place you'd see a difference is like comparing Danbury to here, because they are NYC DMA and we are Hartford-New Haven, so they have different local channels with different amounts of compression. The channel number argument is the one to use. I think Branford is now serviced out of the Clinton office, so grab channel lineup rate cards to see. Their website is now almost impossible to use, I can't figure out how to get much of anything useful off of it. TVGuide is way more useful. It even says (non-rebuild) for Clinton and Groton, and (Digital rebuild) for Branford... interesting.

Based on TVGuide, 06443 (Madison, CT) get the following HD channels that 06355 (Mystic, CT) does not. Those are the Branford and Groton systems, respectively. There are also SDs, like Al Jazeera, I didn't look at them or at locals, as Madison gets NYC and Mystic gets Providence and WGBH Boston:

BBC, IDHD, NGWILD, SMITH, H2, WE HD, OXYHD, OVTNHD, GALAH, FUSED, UPHD, SPROUT, HUBHD, MLBHD, FXXHD, ESPNUHD, ENCHD, HBO2HDe, HBOLD, SHO2HD, TMCHD

That's actually only 21 channels, not 30, so we're not in as bad of shape as I thought, but still, there are a few good ones on there, like ESPNUHD, NGWILD, SMITH (apparently my dad's new favorite channel). There are some other sports channels that go each way, due to regionalization between different markets... Their premium channel lineups are poor even on the Branford system, and they are still missing a lot of national HD channels that they don't carry anywhere. Sundance and Al Jazeera America come to mind.
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post #3289 of 3315 Old 04-19-2014, 11:55 AM
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Wow, thanks fro taking so much time. Clinton has always been a mess, was very slow to even go all digital. Notwithstanding your comments, I will have a look at a Guilford, Branford or North Haven bitrate set up. In general though it makes me mad that countries that were a pile of rubble 70 years ago are ahead of us now in many aspects of communications, such as PQ. Uncompressed or minimally compressed HD is amazing on a good set.
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post #3290 of 3315 Old 04-19-2014, 03:18 PM
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Wow, thanks fro taking so much time. Clinton has always been a mess, was very slow to even go all digital. Notwithstanding your comments, I will have a look at a Guilford, Branford or North Haven bitrate set up. In general though it makes me mad that countries that were a pile of rubble 70 years ago are ahead of us now in many aspects of communications, such as PQ. Uncompressed or minimally compressed HD is amazing on a good set.

The bitrates will be the same on any system. It's just a matter of channels. Yeah, it sucks how much stuff gets re-compressed. FIOS and DirecTV offer far better picture quality. I like my TiVos, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to move to a FIOS area in the near future. Otherwise, I probably would have just gotten DirecTV... Most of CT has been a mess with Comcast. They have a whole bunch of different systems that all have slightly different offerings, and now they are just refusing to rebuild many of them, which is strange, as they rebuilt Branford, Norwich, and a few others...
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post #3291 of 3315 Old 04-21-2014, 10:17 AM
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Yesterday the Bruins game was on NBC and it did not look nearly as good as the ESPN broadcast Friday, so I recorded it for an hour: Bitrate was only 11.53.
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post #3292 of 3315 Old 04-21-2014, 02:01 PM
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Yesterday the Bruins game was on NBC and it did not look nearly as good as the ESPN broadcast Friday, so I recorded it for an hour: Bitrate was only 11.53.

Yeah, that sounds about right. The local channels are heavily compressed. I still don't know if Comcast is re-compressing them or if the affiliates are massacring the streams themselves.
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post #3293 of 3315 Old 04-21-2014, 04:48 PM
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Yeah, that sounds about right. The local channels are heavily compressed. I still don't know if Comcast is re-compressing them or if the affiliates are massacring the streams themselves.

I find it interesting that you watched the Bruins on ESPN.

It's Comcast. I think all providers over-compress the signals on locals. I know that the locals in Vermont look 100% better OTA than on Comcast. (Same for Dish Network). It does vary by market. The general consensus is that overall HD quality is best on Directv.

I watched the NBC hockey game on my NBC on Directv and I was shocked as to how GOOD the quality was! Far better than the Hurricanes games on FSSouth.
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post #3294 of 3315 Old 04-21-2014, 04:58 PM
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Yesterday the Bruins game was on NBC and it did not look nearly as good as the ESPN broadcast Friday, so I recorded it for an hour: Bitrate was only 11.53.

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I find it interesting that you watched the Bruins on ESPN.

It's Comcast. I think all providers over-compress the signals on locals. I know that the locals in Vermont look 100% better OTA than on Comcast. (Same for Dish Network). It does vary by market. The general consensus is that overall HD quality is best on Directv.

I watched the NBC hockey game on my NBC on Directv and I was shocked as to how GOOD the quality was! Far better than the Hurricanes games on FSSouth.

It quoted the wrong one...
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post #3295 of 3315 Old 04-23-2014, 06:33 AM
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Last night was a chance to compare two identical broadcasts of the Bruins-Redwings game, one on NESN, the other on VSN (I think that is what it is called). I pulled an hour of each: NESN bitrate 17.3, VSN 15.7.
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post #3296 of 3315 Old 04-23-2014, 01:43 PM
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Last night was a chance to compare two identical broadcasts of the Bruins-Redwings game, one on NESN, the other on VSN (I think that is what it is called). I pulled an hour of each: NESN bitrate 17.3, VSN 15.7.

Whoa... NESN is really good. May be because it's not compressed and tri-muxed nationally since it's a regional channel, so it gets half of a QAM...
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Who has 5.1 on HBO and who doesn't? I posted a thread about it, and one poster said that they have 5.1 in Atlanta, so Comcast nationally has 5.1. Here in Groton, every channel that is supposed to have surround sound, has surround sound. Except for HBO. It's been outputting stereo audio for almost everything, including VICE, some documentaries, and now Silicon Valley, even though the program descriptions show 5.1. To make things even weirder, there was a short period of 5.1 right at the end of Silicon Valley for the credits, but everything else was stereo.
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post #3298 of 3315 Old 04-27-2014, 11:09 AM
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Whoa... NESN is really good. May be because it's not compressed and tri-muxed nationally since it's a regional channel, so it gets half of a QAM...

Yesterday I did another test since the hockey was on NBC. I compared the PQ on cable vs. my antenna signal. The antenna was better, but not wonderful. Guess what I found? Same sort of unclear titles like fuzzies around the NBC peakcock symbol and by no means a rock em sock em HD picture overall. A bit better than the cable perhaps but not much. That has me thinking that some compression or distortion is taking place in the network feed to the station or in the station's transmitter itself (don't know how Comcast greabs its NBC signal in my area). I was at a hotel near Chicago Thurday night. PQ was terrific, way out of our league here in Clinton. Sad.
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post #3299 of 3315 Old 04-27-2014, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

Yesterday I did another test since the hockey was on NBC. I compared the PQ on cable vs. my antenna signal. The antenna was better, but not wonderful. Guess what I found? Same sort of unclear titles like fuzzies around the NBC peakcock symbol and by no means a rock em sock em HD picture overall. A bit better than the cable perhaps but not much. That has me thinking that some compression or distortion is taking place in the network feed to the station or in the station's transmitter itself (don't know how Comcast greabs its NBC signal in my area). I was at a hotel near Chicago Thurday night. PQ was terrific, way out of our league here in Clinton. Sad.

WVIT's feed is probably heavily compressed due to using subchannels. Some cable providers get a direct fiber feed that would be way better quality than an antenna feed, some don't, but it still depends on how they compress that feed.
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post #3300 of 3315 Old 04-28-2014, 06:36 PM
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That makes sense. Tonight NBC News looked quite good, the peacock was not all fuzzy etc, so it seems to me this is a situation that varies up and down quality-wise, but as noted way short at its best, of what folks in Tampa, Chicago etc. are seeing.
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