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Directv HD Picture Quality

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I noticed this all last fall and never got around to asking. Now that college football is back it has come up again.

I have Directv and notice some issues with their picture quality. Mainly on Saturdays with ABC. While the game is technically in HD, the picture quality is no where near a true 720p or higher signal. Sometime it is downright laughable.

I have always heard that Directv compresses the signals to broadcast more HD channels, is this true? If so I would assume that is why the PQ is so bad.

I know its not the original signal quality because the replayed the ABC game on the Big 10 Network the following Monday night and the PQ was far and away better.

I called Directv and they played dumb of course.

Any ideas? I doubt there is anything I can do but was just curious what others thought. Unfortunately I can not get and OTA ABC signal in my basement.

Thanks,
post #2 of 12
Satellite (D* and E*) is typically known to highly compress their feeds. Perhaps more than cable...
FWIW, I see little or no difference between OTA and FiOS with local channels.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MGHuskers1 View Post

I noticed this all last fall and never got around to asking. Now that college football is back it has come up again.
I have Directv and notice some issues with their picture quality. Mainly on Saturdays with ABC. While the game is technically in HD, the picture quality is no where near a true 720p or higher signal. Sometime it is downright laughable.
I have always heard that Directv compresses the signals to broadcast more HD channels, is this true? If so I would assume that is why the PQ is so bad.
I know its not the original signal quality because the replayed the ABC game on the Big 10 Network the following Monday night and the PQ was far and away better.
I called Directv and they played dumb of course.
Any ideas? I doubt there is anything I can do but was just curious what others thought. Unfortunately I can not get and OTA ABC signal in my basement.
Thanks,

What about the other networks, is it just ABC or is it all of them?
post #4 of 12
Providers can only retransmit what they receive. If your ABC affiliate has a couple of subchannels, then there's a good chance the main channel suffers from the loss of bandwidth. DirecTV can only retransmit what they get. The Big Ten network has no such sourcing issues, so a game shown on a bit-starved 720p broadcast channel is going to look much better on a cable/DSS channel where bandwidth isn't as much of an issue.

I'm sure if you discuss this with people in other cities, you'll find some have identical issues while others have none. I have access to five ABC affiliates and the same game will look fantastic on three of them and like hell on the other two.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Satellite (D* and E*) is typically known to highly compress their feeds. Perhaps more than cable...
FWIW, I see little or no difference between OTA and FiOS with local channels.
That's old news. While satellite has actually improved their compression levels (especially with newer codecs), a good number cable companies have actually started compressing things more than in the past.

FIOS is still at the top of the food chain for now, though, followed by D*, then a mix of either cable or E* followed by other cable companies.
post #6 of 12

And I'll add than many people complain about the PQ on ABC/ESPN compared to other networks.  So add the not so great feed from the station and additional compression by D* and you are stuck with what we call HDTV of today.  Nothing like it was years ago.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post

And I'll add than many people complain about the PQ on ABC/ESPN compared to other networks.  So add the not so great feed from the station and additional compression by D* and you are stuck with what we call HDTV of today.  Nothing like it was years ago.
Well, I know my ABC affiliate sucks no matter what you watch it on. It's probably because of the Livewell crap.


My NBC and CBS affiliates look great OTA or via D*. Fox varies, as does the CW.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

That's old news. While satellite has actually improved their compression levels (especially with newer codecs), a good number cable companies have actually started compressing things more than in the past.
FIOS is still at the top of the food chain for now, though, followed by D*, then a mix of either cable or E* followed by other cable companies.
Thanks for that update (or correction?). rolleyes.gif
Perhaps that's not "old news" to the OP.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Thanks for that update (or correction?). rolleyes.gif
Perhaps that's not "old news" to the OP.
I wasn't replying to the OP, though.

There really wasn't any reason to hit me with the Rolleyes icon, either. I was pointing out your information was no longer accurate. Would you prefer the OP get the wrong impression about the various service options?

Further, it doesn't matter who is aware of what - it doesn't change the fact that it is old news. D* and E* haven't used the large amount of compression they used to since both migrated HD to MPEG4 - which was years ago. They've even changed the equipment and how they sell it (or, more accurately, how they don't sell it) since then.
post #10 of 12
But I was. smile.gif

Spoken like a true D* fan (stockholder or employee).
Have at it....

Not every D* or E* channel is MPEG4, nor does every subscriber have a "new" STB that supports MPEG4. Nor are all feeds/spot beams created equal. But.... you seem to be the expert so, have fun. tongue.gif
(I didn't use a rolleyes icon this time. biggrin.gif )
post #11 of 12
Not everyone has an STB with Mpeg4 capability but everyone who has a subscription that includes HD does. All of the HR models are Mpeg4 and all HD is sent out as Mpeg4.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

But I was. smile.gif
Spoken like a true D* fan (stockholder or employee).
Have at it....
Not every D* or E* channel is MPEG4, nor does every subscriber have a "new" STB that supports MPEG4. Nor are all feeds/spot beams created equal. But.... you seem to be the expert so, have fun. tongue.gif
(I didn't use a rolleyes icon this time. biggrin.gif )
Why is it that when people spout stuff about a service that isn't true, anyone who corrects them must either be a fanboy or work for them? Neither is true in my case. I most certainly do not work for D* and I have no particular loyalty to them other than they happen to be good enough to have stayed with them a while. If FIOS or Google fiber were to roll into town, I'd seriously consider either one, though. Living in a Comcast/AT&T area means D* is my best choice.

1) We're talking HD here, meaning if you watch HD on D*, you have to have the new equipment or you can't get it. MPEG2 is gone for HD on D*.
2) The main difference between how affiliates look in various areas is dependent upon the signal from the affiliate. Spot beams are divided and compressed pretty similarily from market to market. A crappy signal will look just as bad or worse when recompressed, like my ABC affiliate does. On the other hand, a great signal, like I get from my CBS or NBC affiliates, will look just as great. However, there's more chance of noticing the loss of fine details if that source signals is really good compared to D* because compression is always going to affect the picture in some way. How noticeable it is will depend on the quality of your satellite signal (which is affected by dish alignment, line of sight, cable/connections and sometimes the weather), the size of your TV and how your TV is set up. In my case, with a great signal from D*, a good affiliate signal a moderately sized TV, and a proper calibration, the signals for my CBS and NBC affiliates look identical unless I really, really work hard to find differences.

Where the differences really come in is with the national channels. TNT on D* may look better or worse than TNT on other providers, depending on how those other services stack their channels and how much compression they use on that particualr channel to fit it in.
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