Originally Posted by JudgeSmails
I have a stupid question. Generally I consider myself pretty well-versed in the HD and HT world. But this one has me stumped. Why do "good" network TV shows in Comcast HD have such variance in quality? I don't mean why do stretched shows on TBS HD look bad compared to other HD shows, I understand that of course. What I mean is stuff like this - yesterday I was flipping through the channels and saw Ugly Betty was on. Not a show I regularly watch, but the image quality was so good I was floored. It just jumped off the screen and really popped. I found myself watching it just because the quality was so good. No noise or artifacts, the picture was crystal clear. Later I watched (one of my favorites) Lost on the same channel. While it looked good, it didn't look nearly as good. Some noise, faces were not as crisp or clear, etc. Is this due to different camera types or directing styles? Are they purposely going for a photorealistic look for a show like Ugly Betty and a more busy and choppy look for Lost? Another example is American Idol and Hells Kitchen on Fox. American Idol is like Ugly Betty, it is fantastic video quality. Hells Kitchen then comes on and the drop in quality and clarity is strikingly apparent. Yet another would be The Office vs. Law and Order. The Office always looks good in HD (but not great like UB and AI) and Law and Order always looks atrocious in HD. Any thoughts on this? Am I just mad?
It's also production values and cost. These shows are not owned by the network, they are distributed by the network but are owned by different production companies. (Well, Fox may own American Idol, I'm not sure). Anyway, there's no one standard they have to follow for HD. There is a more established standard for SD: "network quality" is a great SD show. For HD, you can upconvert and it's still "HD".
Some of these production companies may not want to invest in all the equipment necessary to make a pristine HD image.
I know at the network I work at we had to invest much money, much time in equipment and training people for HD. We broadcast in HD -- and we have native HD shows and we have upconversion HD shows. As time passes we will have more native HD shows. You can't just snap your fingers and make all cameras, all edit bays, all field units suddenly HD. EVERYTHING has to be replaced, all technical people have to be re-trained.