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DTV - I hope HDTV is much better...  

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My girlfriend and I love to watch Six Feet Under on Sunday nights - it's probably the only piece of TV I watch regularly.

In between the end of last season's SFU and the beginning of this season, my girlfriend and I upgraded to DTV (Time Warner Cable), and I must say that the picture is terrible.

The primary problem I've noticed is very noticible "blocking" when the screen fades from bright white to a picture. The blocking isn't pixelization - it's in larger groups of squares, I'd say about 20-30 pixels wide (guestimate - don't hold me to that measurement). MPEG artifact?

Backgrounds are really fixed now. When I mean is this: when watching a film which has a static background, the image still seems to "move" a bit - it is not frozen on the screen with the same tones (or perhaps it is, and it's less noticible). With DTV, it seems like the MPEG compression has determined that such backgrounds indeed don't move, and are therefore never updated. In these areas, it's very easy to see posterization.

Now, I know some of these might be avoidable. DVDs played through my FP system (which ain't anything special - vt540 with a panny rv-31 via an IScan Pro, or the same vt540 with my HTPC) have me concentrating on the movie rather than annoyed by artifacts. Granted DVDs are higher bitrate...

Will DTV get better in the future? Is HDTV any different, or is the main improvement only resolution/progressive scan? It seems there have been many smart people involved in DTV (and specifically HDTV), so can someone please please please tell me that things are better in the world of HDTV?

-Jon (hoping in Brooklyn)
post #2 of 8
I notice similar blocky artifacts watching Dishnetwork. I have an LT150 running through VB50 for satellite or Iscan pro for DVDs. Blocks are there no matter the scaler, but dvds look good. I believe what we are seeing are compression artifacts as well.
Waiting for HDTV . . .
post #3 of 8
This is the paradox of cable. It is the only delivery method that can economicly provide the bandwidth for uncompressed HD but they will never do it.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Funny thing is that I noticed this on my _old_ (i.e. ~1991) Sony set, which is only about 27". If I saw this in its full 4:3 glory on an 80" screen, I think I probably would've cancelled cable and gone to live in a cave for a while.

So, I guess this is how it is, huh? Interresting - it's a bit like the whole digital vs. analog sound arguments, but it's a lot more perceptible for me (I have rather bad ears now - physically, I mean - so sound just has to be "good enough" :-( I used to enjot it so much).

Arg, another promising development has met it's demise.

That cave is starting to sound nice...

Thanks, all.

post #5 of 8
Went on at length recently (my 3/9 post) about how I've also been noticing this macroblock breakup on more and more of TWC's digital-cable (DTV) movie channels (Manhattan's system). No need to repeat it all again. Anyway, as I mentioned, don't believe I saw as much of this breakup a year or so ago. I'd gone from a 2000 DTV cable converter to a 2000HD converter within the past year. There's just a chance it could be a quirk with aging and perhaps overheating 2000/2100/2000HD converters. But more likely, IMO, it has something to do with the amount of digital MPEG-2 compression TWC is using to jam digitized channels (10-15 of them) into each 6-MHz slot of bandwidth. Note: I see virtually no such breakups from TWC's four 1080i HDTV channels (only two per 6-MHz slot) on my RPTV. -- John
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks - it'll be an interresting read.

I can definitely understand the issues of efficiency (i.e. many more digital channels in the space of a single analog), but I thought the quality would've had a higher priority that it apparently does.

Either that, or I'm pickier than most of the population. My girlfriend didn't notice the artifcats.

post #7 of 8
Originally posted by yubyub
I thought the quality would've had a higher priority that it apparently does
He he he, are you sure you've always been a cable customer? ;)
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
He he he, are you sure you've always been a cable customer?
To top that off, I'm a DSL customer, too ;)

In the past, tho, it was the programming I was pissed about. When the picture was there, it was fine - I spent my time trying to find good content. Now I find myself spending time trying to find good picture, regardless of conent.

I can't begin to describe how bad things are when you see artifacts on a rerun of "Saved by the Bell." It's absolutely nauseating, getting it from both ends like that.

I really hope HDTV is better. I hope TWC NY does some decent HDTV rollout here in Brooklyn (I've heard very little about it actually coming to light).

It's all going to end up like 1984, isn't it? I mean, put the whole mind control and big brother idea aside - it's those little ugly sets with bad picture in every room that I'm striving to avoid.

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