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Phoenix, AZ - HDTV - Page 338

post #10111 of 10856
Anybody else notice that CCI is back on Cox channels?
post #10112 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by switchflare View Post

Anybody else notice that CCI is back on Cox channels?

They sure are as of Today, last nights recordings are 0x00.

That did not last very long.
post #10113 of 10856
All of the Plus Package channels are now live but not Authorized for CableCARDs. I have noted all the frequencies below.

I would assume the Trio WH-DVR is in employee and/or customer testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan_CoxPHX View Post

The following Cox Plus Package channels have shown up in my Tivo channel listings.
Currently there is no guide data, but all channels are live and tunable but display "This channel is not Authorized"

HD service also required

1101 - Hub HD (Bonus Pak also required) - Live @ 891MHz
1133 - DIY HD (Variety Pak also required) - Live @ 885MHz
1134 - Cooking Channel HD (Variety Pak also required) - Live @ 885MHz
1161 - Outdoor Channel HD (Sports and Info Pak also required) - Live @ 957MHz
1900 - SWRV HD (Variety Pak also required) - Live @ 891MHz

Corresponding Premium subscriptions also required
1202 - HBO Signature HD - Live @ 909MHz
1203 - HBO Family HD - Live @ 927MHz
1204 - HBO Comedy HD - Live @ 933MHz
1205 - HBO Zone HD - Live @ 933MHz
1210 - HBO East HD - Live @ 897MHz
1211 - HBO2 East HD - Live @ 897MHz
1212 - HBO Latino HD - Live @ 903MHz

1222 - Action MAX HD - Live @ 915MHz
1223 - Thriller MAX HD - Live @ 945MHz
1225 - Cinamax East HD - Live @ 903MHz
1226 - More Max East HD - Live @ 915MHz
1230 - 5StarMAX HD - Live @ 945MHz

1242 - Showtime Showcase HD - Live @ 921MHz
1243 - Showtime Extreme HD - Live @ 939MHz
1251 - TMC Xtra HD - Live @ 939MHz

1263 - Starz East HD - Live @ 921MHz
1264 - Starz Kids & Family HD - Live @ 927MHz
1265 - Starz Cinema HD - Live @ 951MHz
1266 - Starz Comedy HD - Live @ 927MHz
post #10114 of 10856
Since the thread has been slow recently- I thought I'd try re-starting it by sharing something that has been bugging me for a while now.

With trepidation, again I say this refers to Cox

I travel out of the country ranging from a couple of weeks to a few months once a year. Last year nearing my one year anniversary, I called Cox and asked them to put my account on hold as it was going to be inactive during the 2 months I was going to be outside the U.S. My first long term trip since I signed up with them. They caught me off guard when they informed me that they would charge me $25 per month for those 2 months in order for them to keep my account 'active' and 'on hold'. I went with it as I had a good deal with them at the time (triple package paying about $100) and even though I was caught off guard- I really didn't have time to say much as I was swamped and getting ready to catch my flight the same day. Long story short- once I made it back I found out my special promotion had ended and my rates were going to go way up. For some crazy reason at the time, I thought that the $25 fee was them kinda putting my account active and on hold so this way my promtional rates were going to continue from my first official day back to its remaining 2 month conclusion. I know- again I didn't have much time at the time and didn't really think things through or ask questions and instead just went with it. I was peeved and ended up cancelling everything except my preferred internet which I'm using to this day. Adding insult to injury, I spent over 2 hours with a tech on that same day trying to restore my internet connection configurations and settings which was supposed to stay as is (the reason for the $50 I paid for the 2 months) to the day service was reconnected back again. The tech confirmed that this was supposed to be the case and didn't know why it didn't happen here.

I'm bringing this up because I'm getting ready to travel again in about a month and without doing any checking- I was wondering if I was going to face the same $25 fee again. I know, I know I haven't done my due dilligence yet and looked up cox's website or even contacted them but I'm sure I'll know either way very soon. It's going to absolutely suck if I have to put up $25 for a $50 monthly bill I'm currently paying for preferred internet if that's going to be the scenario. All my other service providers (car insurance, gym, cell etc) never require anything like this and are always easy to deal with.

I guess I'm wondering if everyone here has a different experience when It comes to something like this and what your thoughts are. This probably belongs in the Cox thread but I did want to hear from people using DirecTV and Dish and figured it wouldn't hurt to ask for some feedback. I know personally- Cox lost a good paying customer with this experience for additional cable and home phone service (I was actually very happy with them and would have continued even with a rate increase until this happened) and possibly even HSI in the near future if this fee will be a requirement once again. On the plus side- my gym gets much more frequent visits and I don't really miss any of my favorite cable shows as much as I thought I would. Add HSI to this as well and all the late night surfings and postings like this one @ freakin' 2am instead of sleeping will stop as well. Yikes- I just remebered my Nokia N8 and I know that'll never happen. Sorry- at this point I'm just rambling...........

On a different topic- who else is glad that the NBA is back?
post #10115 of 10856
Thread Starter 
I may be joining you if they do away with Clear QAM. The only thing making Cox cheaper for me is not needing a box in every room. And I do agree you find you don't miss stuff as much as you'd think. This past summer I didn't keep up with any shows while on a 2-month vacation and life still went on.

I know DirecTV also charges a fee to keep service inactive, but I think it's quite a bit less than $25. My sister puts her service inactive for the winter at their cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Of course, that is just for TV and not internet/phone, so that might be the reason Cox is more. Might seem silly, but you are talking 3 services vs just 1. Then, too, I don't remember such a service back in the early days of cable at all.
post #10116 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I know DirecTV also charges a fee to keep service inactive, but I think it's quite a bit less than $25. My sister puts her service inactive for the winter at their cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Of course, that is just for TV and not internet/phone, so that might be the reason Cox is more. Might seem silly, but you are talking 3 services vs just 1. Then, too, I don't remember such a service back in the early days of cable at all.

I had my Directv on hold for 6 months, and they did not charge me a dime.
post #10117 of 10856
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sytyguy View Post

I had my Directv on hold for 6 months, and they did not charge me a dime.

I thought my sister said it cost like $10/mo, but maybe I misunnderstood, it's been a few years. I'll double-check next time I call her.
post #10118 of 10856
My experience with Cox is that it's usually a mess to get everything going with billing and services like you expected and once you find that spot, don't touch anything. Once your rates are no longer current, you're playing with fire any time you call to make any changes to your account.
post #10119 of 10856
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I thought my sister said it cost like $10/mo, but maybe I misunnderstood, it's been a few years. I'll double-check next time I call her.

I stand corrected. I just talked to my sister and she doesn't pay anything while her service is off.
post #10120 of 10856
Can anyone on Cox Phoenix with a CableCard tune channel 106 (Nick Jr)? Recently I haven't been able to tune the channel but a Cox phone tech says I should have it. He was just scratching his head and said he'd send another init. My kids love that channel and when I finally decided to do something about it, I'm noticing that 100-114 is now completely gone from my Cablecard channel map. I don't watch enough TV myself to know if there are other ranges like this.

Also now seeing on other forums that other Cox markets are maintaining different channel maps for Cablecard subscribers??
post #10121 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by switchflare View Post

Can anyone on Cox Phoenix with a CableCard tune channel 106 (Nick Jr)? Recently I haven't been able to tune the channel but a Cox phone tech says I should have it. He was just scratching his head and said he'd send another inti. My kids love that channel and when I finally decided to do something about it, I'm noticing that 100-114 is now completely gone from my Cablecard channel map. I don't watch enough TV myself to know if there are other ranges like this.

Also now seeing on other forums that other Cox markets are maintaining different channel maps for Cablecard subscribers??

I have a JVC set with a Cable card and another set with an HD cable box. The only extra I have is the variety Pac. The JVC receives 1079, 1102, 1103 and 1135 in the HD band and does not receive 100-114. My cable box receives 1079, 1102-1104, 1128-1130, 1131 and 1135 and in the low group 100-106, 109, 110 and 112-114. I have convinced myself that it's a waste of time to complain about this. I also know that once they added the Channel 1 On Demand channels that one way cable card systems would suffer. In fact it was announced early on.
post #10122 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by switchflare View Post

Can anyone on Cox Phoenix with a CableCard tune channel 106 (Nick Jr)? Recently I haven't been able to tune the channel but a Cox phone tech says I should have it. He was just scratching his head and said he'd send another init. My kids love that channel and when I finally decided to do something about it, I'm noticing that 100-114 is now completely gone from my Cablecard channel map. I don't watch enough TV myself to know if there are other ranges like this.

Also now seeing on other forums that other Cox markets are maintaining different channel maps for Cablecard subscribers??

Interesting you brought this up, I was having trouble with the Tuning Adapter Saturday/Sunday and was going through the channels Sunday night seeing if the problem was still happening, I did notice channel 106 was one that would not tune in. Tonight everything seems fine. The TiVo received a new channel line-up late this afternoon according to the Diag Messages.
post #10123 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan_CoxPHX View Post

Interesting you brought this up, I was having trouble with the Tuning Adapter Saturday/Sunday and was going through the channels Sunday night seeing if the problem was still happening, I did notice channel 106 was one that would not tune in. Tonight everything seems fine. The TiVo received a new channel line-up late this afternoon according to the Diag Messages.

I received a new lineup late last night with the channels I was missing and thought the problem was resolved, but this morning they are missing again. My TA has been stuggling to establish upstream for the past few days as well. This is definitely not signal issues...Cox is mucking around with things on their end.
post #10124 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan_CoxPHX View Post

What is going on at KSAZ Fox 10? Looks like every commercial and many non Prime Time programming is not in HD, and a very poor quality SD. I haven't watched Fox in a while so not sure how long it has been going on...

Hi Bryan.

Although you posted originally around Labor Day, I've been exceptionally busy and therefore off the boards for a while and haven't had a chance to check in, so I apologize for the late reply, but I might have a a source with a bit of inside information that can answer your concerns.

This summer all of the 27 FOX owned and operated stations (KSAZ and KUTP are the only network owned stations in the PHX market) moved from antiquated SD equipment to new HD equipment. Yes, they have had HD news and HD prime and sports from FOX and MyTV for years, but the way that is done technically (until the full HD transition can be done) is to basically switch around the core equipment, which while not easy, is much easier than replacing the core equipment. Now that about a third of commercials and over two thirds of syndicated programs are in HD, the time is probably right for them to make this change, as difficult and expensive as it may be.

If you can equate adding HD news or adding HD prime to getting a hip replacement or installing a pacemaker, you can think of replacing the core equipment as the equivalent of ripping out your entire skeleton and replacing that with a new and better one (without the down time of a hospital stay); it is something all stations do sooner or later, and it allows them to move to HD commercials, promos, and syndicated programs.

But it is also a wholesale change that brings with it lots of quirks and bumps and growing pains, and it takes time to iron these out. It also means that stations are shifting from a linear capture record of real-time video feeds to file-based delivery, which is the technical equivalent of viewers moving from VCRs to NetFlix and iTunes downloads, except on a massive scale with no allowed down time. That brings complications of its own, because we are trying to move a mature established technical industry from their old ways into a world where everything is completely different. And doing this is a little like replacing your fan belt without pulling the car over to the side of the road and turning off the engine, which implies a lot of inventive choreography; stations can't simply go off the air for construction for a couple of weeks. So what goes on the air during the transition is the equivalent of "Pardon our dust". There is just no way around that.

FOX also opted to go with a very new system just available that itself is still having issues, and that is because it is very cutting edge and advanced beyond what the normal HD equipment is even for the typical station making a similar move in 2011-2012. It holds much promise, however, and it will have advantages that current HD equipment will not have, including that it is based in software rather than in hardware and is built from Enterprise servers instead of proprietary media servers, which means it will not be mired in the era it was built but will be able to evolve as the technology moves forward, which that seems to be doing rapidly.

What you were seeing in September was the result of unintended but typical and unavoidable fallout from all of those changes. Fox, ABC and MyTV stations face a particular challenge in that they are 720p sites and much of the commercial and syndicated content they acquire is 1080i or 480i. That implies transcoding artifacts and re-compression stages at a low bit rate, which create unacceptable jaggies and deinterlacing artifacts either until the source material is available in 720p HD or the compressionists learn how to minimize those artifacts more effectively, which they eventually do. If you are a 1080i station this is much easier to do without the artifacts that 720p sites experience. And there is no road map here; every station has to figure it out on their own because the technology is both complex and so very new and different from the existing technology.

I'd like to think that FOX/MyTV have come a very long way in the last 3 months, however. Their transition is about 95% complete, and of the HD content available to them, about 95% of that is now brought to the viewers in HD. I also think that most of the visual problems are behind them, although you may see a commercial now and then that was coded during those dark days of late summer that may sneak through and remind us just how bad things could be.

And they are not done; it will take another couple of months to ensure that all of the quality issues are behind them and that 100% of what is available in HD will reach the customers in HD. I know there are a lot of very bright folks over there that have been working tirelessly to put this all together for you, and that the end result will be well worth the intermediate glitches that may occur. Stay tuned.
post #10125 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCat View Post

What you were seeing in September was the result of unintended but typical and unavoidable fallout from all of those changes. Fox, ABC and MyTV stations face a particular challenge in that they are 720p sites and much of the commercial and syndicated content they acquire is 1080i or 480i. That implies transcoding artifacts and re-compression stages at a low bit rate, which create unacceptable jaggies and deinterlacing artifacts either until the source material is available in 720p HD or the compressionists learn how to minimize those artifacts more effectively, which they eventually do. If you are a 1080i station this is much easier to do without the artifacts that 720p sites experience. And there is no road map here; every station has to figure it out on their own because the technology is both complex and so very new and different from the existing technology.

Funny, after reading the e-mail containing this posting, I was going to mention that it is 1080i/480i, only to discover that you've already corrected it

Now, if only all of the HD material was 1080i. 20th Century Fox insists on delivering their product in 720p, resulting in the 1080i stations to have to go the other way. Plus, it is a double whammy because the source is normally 1080p23.976. That is downconverted to 720p59.94 and then upconverted to 1080i29.97. Ouch!

As for converting 1080i to 720p, if the source is 2:3 pulldown 1080i, then the video can be converted to 1080p23.976 and from there to 720p59.94 with 2:3 pulldown.

I converted 1080i 2:3 pulldown to 1080p23.976 all the time and the results are amazing.
post #10126 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

...Now, if only all of the HD material was 1080i. 20th Century Fox insists on delivering their product in 720p, resulting in the 1080i stations to have to go the other way. Plus, it is a double whammy because the source is normally 1080p23.976. That is downconverted to 720p59.94 and then upconverted to 1080i29.97. Ouch!

As for converting 1080i to 720p, if the source is 2:3 pulldown 1080i, then the video can be converted to 1080p23.976 and from there to 720p59.94 with 2:3 pulldown.

I converted 1080i 2:3 pulldown to 1080p23.976 all the time and the results are amazing.

If the conversion is done in hardware in real time, or in software in non-real time, deinterlacing is pretty transparent for streaming full-blown non-compressed HD video. The problem is trying to do the deinterlace in software while the file is still in compressed file format, as it is not practical for TV stations and networks to move files from place to place in any other fashion; they can't easily or practically decompress and convert it to real time streaming first (although some of the ways folks work around this problem is to be forced to resort to exactly that). The other problem is that TV still uses a very inefficient compression scheme, MPEG-2, which they are locked into as long as all legacy HDTVs only have an MPEG-2 decoder. It would be much easier if they could use VC-3 or H.264.

And interlacing progressive video does not create the sort of artifacts that deinterlacing interlaced video does; one is easy, the other isn't.

It does seem puzzling, though; a $200 HDTV can deinterlace real time video (1080i or 480i to 1080p) without even breaking a sweat and with great results all day long, while a $100,000 server can't seem to do a very good job of deinterlacing during the transcode of a 1080i file to a 720p file even if it takes 6 times real time to do it. The difference is one is real-time video after it has been decompressed and reconstituted to full HD video, and the other is a procedure performed on a compressed file still in file format to create a second compressed file in a different format. The TV doesn't have to either figure out how to deinterlace something that is compressed, transcode it to a different format, and then recompress it losslessly in a different format or take the compression apart and create it all over again, plus, the TV has a hardware deinterlacer.

The whole 59.94/29.97/23.98 thing is simple math comparatively speaking to the above task; these are simply 60, 30 and 24 minus 1/1000th of each rate. Some algorithms simplify the math by adding that 1/1000th back in, doing the math using the whole integers it creates (which minimizes rounding errors), then subtracting that 1/1000th afterwards.

Pulldown isn't an issue, or it's a different issue. MPEG doesn't even transmit pulldown; if pulldown is detected, it deletes repetitive frames and transmits only the original 24. The MPEG decoder then detects a metadata flag that is created during this process and recreates those frames, including the pulldown, locally at the decoder. That is a clever little addition to the MPEG suite and is known as "film mode", and is done for the sake of transmission efficiency. It essentially means that when 1080i30 content is transmitted, if the original source was shot at 24 fps, then what is really transmitted is 1080p24, and it gets returned back to 1080i30 right at your STB or HDTV.
post #10127 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

Funny, after reading the e-mail containing this posting, I was going to mention that it is 1080i/480i, only to discover that you've already corrected it ...

So what I hear you telling me is that it is probably not a good idea to edit posts after the fact (it's a bad habit of mine; I try to edit first and then there's that one last mistake I need to edit later) because as soon as I post if you are forwarded an email of it because you may have the thread on a watch list or whatever, you will get the "unedited" version? Good to know, I'll try to be more careful.
post #10128 of 10856
There's no inherent reason why that $100k server can't do the same or a better job of deinterlacing in real time than a TV or PC. Sloppy job of programming on grossly overpriced hardware, but that's par for the course in the industry.

Few broadcasters utilize the repeat field/frame functionality in MPEG2 anymore. Too many broken decoders choke on it, including some that were used by DirecTV and Dish to feed their HD LIL encoders. HBO and Showtime still use it on their MPEG2 feeds, but they can be reasonably sure that the handful receivers and cable boxes that will actually receive their stream will be able to decode it, unlike OTA where there are a few orders of magnitude more devices that might receive their signal and have to decode it properly. Doesn't take many phone calls complaining of jerky video to get that option switched off.
post #10129 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCat View Post

So what I hear you telling me is that it is probably not a good idea to edit posts after the fact.

Nope, not saying that at all, as I too fix posts after the fact. In this case you just beat me too it. D
post #10130 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCat View Post

If the conversion is done in hardware in real time, or in software in non-real time, deinterlacing is pretty transparent for streaming full-blown non-compressed HD video. The problem is trying to do the deinterlace in software while the file is still in compressed file format, as it is not practical for TV stations and networks to move files from place to place in any other fashion; they can't easily or practically decompress and convert it to real time streaming first (although some of the ways folks work around this problem is to be forced to resort to exactly that). The other problem is that TV still uses a very inefficient compression scheme, MPEG-2, which they are locked into as long as all legacy HDTVs only have an MPEG-2 decoder. It would be much easier if they could use VC-3 or H.264.

I do not like deinterlacing, especially if the original source 23.976. IMHO, it reduces vertical resolution. I'm not sure if you are saying stations are moving around compressed or uncompressed video. AIUI, HD-SDI uses uncompressed video. It seems that uncompressed is the way to go, as ingested video can be MPEG-2 or H.264, especially ABC and NBC affiliatess, since they are fed H.264 video.

Quote:


Pulldown isn't an issue, or it's a different issue. MPEG doesn't even transmit pulldown; if pulldown is detected, it deletes repetitive frames and transmits only the original 24. The MPEG decoder then detects a metadata flag that is created during this process and recreates those frames, including the pulldown, locally at the decoder. That is a clever little addition to the MPEG suite and is known as "local mode", and is done for the sake of transmission efficiency. It essentially means that when 1080i30 content is transmitted, if the original source was shot at 24 fps, then what is really transmitted is 1080p24, and it gets returned back to 1080i30 right at your STB or HDTV.

I capture 720p/1080i (MPEG-2 and H.264) all the time (satellite, not OTA) and have yet to find any feeds that are fed 1080i23.976 with the metadata for pulldown. I'd have to double-check with the authors of the video editing software that I use to make sure, but none has been fed in the manor you describe.

What little I've captured from my local NBC affiliate has never been 23.976 with the metaflag.

I would have loved it if the 1080i/720p captures were already 23.976p, as it would have saved me from telling AVIsynth that it needed to IVTC the video.
post #10131 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

THBO and Showtime still use it on their MPEG2 feeds

Too bad I can't get the HBO/Showtime feeds to see what they look like
post #10132 of 10856
It is strange to see ABC-15 being used here, while at home it is NBC-15. Yes, I am here in Phoenix until Friday night.

In any event did I see the promo on the ABC affiliate correctly, in that they are going to add Live Well, or that they already have Live Well? I'm thinking that they are going to be adding Live Well. If so, I feel sorry for the viewers.
post #10133 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

In any event did I see the promo on the ABC affiliate correctly, in that they are going to add Live Well, or that they already have Live Well? I'm thinking that they are going to be adding Live Well. If so, I feel sorry for the viewers.

KNXV 15-2 has had Live Well since September, as I recall.

- Trip
post #10134 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

KNXV 15-2 has had Live Well since September, as I recall.

Then their encoder is a helluv a lot better than what Madison's ABC affiliate has,even without Live Well, the video is a lot better.
post #10135 of 10856
KNXV's PQ has always been pretty good, even when they were using some ancient monstrosity of an encoder with a single-digit serial number. They were one of the first DTV stations on the air in the country, and I think the first in Arizona (correct me if I'm wrong here, memory isn't so great a decade+ later). Wonder if Scripps ever kicked loose a few bucks for a new one?
post #10136 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post

I do not like deinterlacing, especially if the original source 23.976. IMHO, it reduces vertical resolution. I'm not sure if you are saying stations are moving around compressed or uncompressed video. AIUI, HD-SDI uses uncompressed video. It seems that uncompressed is the way to go, as ingested video can be MPEG-2 or H.264, especially ABC and NBC affiliatess, since they are fed H.264 video.



I capture 720p/1080i (MPEG-2 and H.264) all the time (satellite, not OTA) and have yet to find any feeds that are fed 1080i23.976 with the metadata for pulldown. I'd have to double-check with the authors of the video editing software that I use to make sure, but none has been fed in the manor you describe.

What little I've captured from my local NBC affiliate has never been 23.976 with the metaflag.

I would have loved it if the 1080i/720p captures were already 23.976p, as it would have saved me from telling AVIsynth that it needed to IVTC the video.

If the "manner" I describe is "film mode" (which I incorrectly listed as "local mode"), that has been a required, no-opt-out part of the MPEG suite since MPEG began. You do not ever see it because it is reconstituted with pulldown added back in, as a middle-late stage of the decoding process. IOW, it emerges from the MPEG decoder as it it were 1080i30 all along, because that is what it was originally, even though transmitted as 1080p24. One other advantage is it is transmitted progressively, which is easier to compress efficiently.

Note that "film mode" is only an aspect of transmission, and not file storage per se. If you were to pull such a file into a utility such as MediaInfo or G-Spot (really an unfortunate name), it would list it as 1080i30, because that is what it is; the "film mode" metadata flag is created after the fact in the transmission process. The file only briefly morphs into 1080p24 during transmission, and morphs back to 1080i30 during decode. The file never actually transcodes for storage intentionally, other than possibly on a DVR HDD which technically is normally considered a virtual buffer stage of a live transmission process.

I think it would be great if it could be used as a permanent crossconversion, which would be terrific for certain purposes, but the MPEG-2 algorithm was designed to use that improvement only to improve transmission efficiency (I guess it could be hacked out as 1080p24). The design intent of the MPEG-2 transport stream algorithm was to not include things that might increase incompatibility, and I think they locked it in as a simple transparent feature of transmission with no handles available to be manipulated in that spirit, but of course that last part is just my best guess, since I didn't sit on the committee.
post #10137 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

KNXV's PQ has always been pretty good, even when they were using some ancient monstrosity of an encoder with a single-digit serial number. They were one of the first DTV stations on the air in the country, and I think the first in Arizona (correct me if I'm wrong here, memory isn't so great a decade+ later). Wonder if Scripps ever kicked loose a few bucks for a new one?

Actually, that distinction goes to KSAZ FOX who was up and running (broadcasting digitally) just before labor day 1999, a full 3 weeks before anyone else in Phoenix (I can say that with assurance because I had close ties to folks who were on that team at the time). It was a minor point of pride for them, to go along with the first local news live sat uplink and first helicopter live microwave news report in the 80's (competing stations used to invent silly competitions such as that). Of course ironically, they were the last of the big 6 to have prime in HD and news in HD, but benefited by the screaming pace of innovation allowing them to do it with state of art equipment far advanced over the early birds.

But if I recall correctly, the top 10 markets were required to be up and running in DT in 1997.

Most stations here are on at least encoder # 2 by now, which is one reason why HD looks so much better now than it did back then.
post #10138 of 10856
Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

There's no inherent reason why that $100k server can't do the same or a better job of deinterlacing in real time than a TV or PC. Sloppy job of programming on grossly overpriced hardware, but that's par for the course in the industry.

Actually, there is indeed an inherent reason, which I explained very thoroughly a few posts back. Any Chief Engineer would be happy to budget 3 times that much for equipment that could do that (what is currently "the impossible"); it's just not available. No other industry offers that capability either, so it is hardly a matter of sloppy programming or high prices; there isn't a price high enough for equipment and technology that doesn't yet exist.


Quote:


Few broadcasters utilize the repeat field/frame functionality in MPEG2 anymore. Too many broken decoders choke on it, including some that were used by DirecTV and Dish to feed their HD LIL encoders. HBO and Showtime still use it on their MPEG2 feeds, but they can be reasonably sure that the handful receivers and cable boxes that will actually receive their stream will be able to decode it, unlike OTA where there are a few orders of magnitude more devices that might receive their signal and have to decode it properly. Doesn't take many phone calls complaining of jerky video to get that option switched off.

As is typical, it is not clear what you are referring to. But I can tell you this: the only thing that has changed regarding MPEG-2 decoding is the price and the speed. One plummeted, the other skyrocketed.

What has NOT changed is the algorithm itself; all decoders from the beginning have been required to use the same exact suite of decoding tricks that are used in the current ones. MPEG-2, and unfortunately digital broadcasting, is frozen in time, actually mired in the past in that respect, handcuffed to technology that became greatly outshadowed by newer technology about 2003. They have no choice; they must be completely compatible with all legacy tuners out there, so the design has not changed, not even a little bit, as far as the algorithm itself goes. It can't, not without marooning every HDTV that exists, and we don't want another add-on decoder fiasco. MPEG-2 had to be set in stone once we all were going to be using it, which is was. Improvements are abundant, but only in newer generations of compression, and not in MPEG-2.

On the encoding side, again nothing has changed as far as the MPEG-2 suite of tools either, and for the very same reason. What has changed there, however, is how compressionists have learned to use better "recipes" for the 30-odd MPEG capabilities in the toolkit. It has made the resultant PQ incrementally much better than it was, which is why 2nd and 3rd-gen encoders are giving us better pictures, not because of changes (there haven't been any) to MPEG-2 itself.

Not available to the compressionists is the ability to thwart "film mode", and there would not be a reason to anyway; it is low-overhead, simple, efficient, and a win-win improvement for all 24fps original content, and not using it would never be as advantageous as using it, which probably explains why it is hard-coded permanently "on" in MPEG-2. It is an automatic and an inherent part of the process, and always has been.

But generally speaking, the decoder must be able to be an exact inverse of the encoder, and since it is impossible to change the decoder population in any meaningful way, the encoder algorithm remains unchanged as well. DBS moved to better technology, but they had to replace every single STB decoder in their HD universe to accomplish that.
post #10139 of 10856
Repeated fields are signaled in MPEG2 through the use of a repeat first field (RFF) flag, along with a top field first (TFF) flag that controls display order. While this has indeed always been part of the spec, in the real world, some decoders are broken and don't handle it correctly. The correct answer to this is to fix the broken decoders, but try telling a viewer to call whatever crappy fly-by-night Chinese company made their hardware/software that can't decode your station correctly and see how far that gets you.

I agree that in theory film mode is a great function that provides a free improvement to the video. In practice, it doesn't always work that way, aside from potential decoder issues later on. The encoder first has to detect that the fields are the same, and has to have some level of tolerance in there to account for lossy compression coming from the upstream source. If the tolerance is too low, then some efficiency is lost because not all fields can be matched; if it's too high, then some fields with little motion get incorrectly detected as repeats, which can lead to judder in playback. ABC upgraded their O&Os to NetVX encoders a few years ago and between the issues on the encode end and decode end, they had to turn off film mode to get consistent playback for all viewers. KPHO used to use it when they finally got HD on the air, but it was gone the last couple times I was in Phoenix. No other broadcaster in Phoenix had ever used it when I lived there, but most were still on Flexicoders, which didn't support it at all on HD video.

Best way to detect the presence of pulldown/repeat flags is to run a clip through DGIndex. Pure 24p sources like a DVD will show a video type of Film 100%, encoder-detected flags will run somewhere less than 100% (I usually see around 70-90% on HBO), and no film mode in use will show as Interlaced.
post #10140 of 10856
NFL RedZone is down for the last day of the season. Thanks Cox.
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