Originally Posted by R11
I grew up in Lake Grove and remember when Mt Park was but a hill with trees and grass fields. My mother was a Girl Scout Leader for a while back then and they had their summer campouts up there
. Times have changed and it's a "mature" neighborhood now...
I bought my unit from the original owner, who had been there since 1980; at that time, there were no other buildings around, above or below, and she could see clear to the valley from where they launched their hot-air balloons. Now I can't see 50ft without another rooftop; but I like it, it's like living in a forest - it smells just like Mt. Hood.
Regarding Comcast practices, all I've ever heard about them was that they don't downrez any material. And I believe that. Beyond that, I don't think they're any different than anybody else.
Not just downrez, but manipulate the bitstream in any way… if the content provider offers full-bitrate 18mbps, Comcast passes it through. Again, there are exceptions - supposedly the Bay Area is a notorious 550MHz holdover - but those are more from acquisitions which have not yet been upgraded. We have
been upgraded - rather significantly - but we're still not top-of-the-line. Of course, switching off analog would mean we wouldn't need to be.
Not too long after I got the Comcast service I checked in to see how the PQ on "CARS" (cropped to 16:9) was and it looked good... until the faster race sequences began and the usual pixelation broke out.
Starz (as well as Showtime and HBO) outputs a realtime MPEG-2 variable bitrate 14.3mbps MAX bitstream, with encoders that detect the 3:2 cadence of film-sourced material and attempt to encode accordingly (and look better doing so), but unfortunately lose track of that cadence when the action gets too intense - thus the usual pixelation in the faster race sequences; it can look no better than that, unfortunately, without better encoders on the content provider's end. You want to see Cars
the way it's meant to be seen? Pick up the Blu-Ray this November… while you're at it, check out Ratatouille
(only the best movie of the year!!1) and the Pixar Shorts Collection
A while later I found that they actually had the movie up on the HD on-demand free movies queue in full 2.35 widescreen. So I watched it from there and not only was the aspect ratio full, but the PQ was solid. No pixelation at all.... Now some might say that the crop job on the regular version may have contributed to the worse PQ it had but I don't think it would have made nearly that much difference. I just think they were providing adequate bandwidth to support it via on-demand.
Yes, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio helps, but more from the lack of picture on the top and bottom (black is a lot easier to compress), not so much from the "crop job" - which in this case wouldn't have been a "crop job" as it is a digitally-rendered animation; they can reframe however they see fit.
But also the fact that it's encoded ahead of time - offline instead of realtime - can make a big difference; unfortunately, they face similar - if not even more stringent - bandwidth limitations, and I would beg to differ on the point of "solid" PQ. I've seen several Starz/Encore HD on demand titles which were anything but "solid;" Blade
in particular stands out in my memory as a truly horrendous encode… of course it was an anamorphic-shot film that they cropped to 1.78:1, and the transfer looked about as soft as I'd ever seen, but that actually should have helped the compression… it didn't, there was macroblocking everywhere. Unfortunately, you're not going to escape that on any kind of broadcast or narrowcast solution; bandwidth will always be a battleground fought over by hundreds of invading hordes.
At any rate, the general consensus from people that have had both seems to be that the FIOS PQ is a level better.
Again, it depends upon the cable company and their respective network in your respective location. Here in Portland, we're fairly well-off with what Comcast provides now, but we also have no room for additional content at this time; so either they have to start recompressing, upgrade the network, or start turning off analog; either/both of the last two would be fine by me.
Since I won't have access to it for a good six months anyway I'll let the PDX "early adopters" tell me if it's worth the switch or not
I should think it would be worth it on price alone… plus bandwidth to burn that cable will not likely match in the near future… and HDNet…