I don't worry much about secondary cameras, although they usually seem better than the main, unless it's obviously a cheapie. Any observation I post is for the "centerfield" camera unless stated.
When I said "soft" I'm talking about the look of the floor only. Soft would be the first step of deterioration for me. It must be nice to have a network affiliate that doesn't molest your signal. Tonight's game on my ABC affiliate was horrible. Noise everywhere, that halo effect, every contrast line, whether uniform to floor or painted line to floor was wavy-gravy. At least one game on ESPN from Boston looked similar, so I get a double dose of nasties after my affiliate gets done with it.
If I had your ESPN signal I'd probably be upset with TNT too
DirecTV has a good reputation for their HD picture, so I dunno. ESPN has so many channels, maybe some providers are more stingy than others bandwidth wise?
I don't know if this is common knowledge, but I never noticed before. I was watching the recap on the NBA channel and as they showed Pierce and Doc walking down the corridor after the game, while Garnett was being interviewed on the floor, I was walking in front of my surround (5.1) speaker. The sound from Pierce and Doc was clearly coming out of it. The main sound was from the floor interview. This sound wasn't really clear from my normal position on the couch when I saw the same thing live. I felt like I was eavesdropping, with my ear stuck up to the speaker to hear what they were saying. Something to remember for live broadcasts of anything really.