Originally Posted by Mike99
Regarding your Comcast DVR. I have read other postings where some people feel that regular analog channels received on the DVR, even thou you are watching live, look worse than if received by your cable ready TV or a regular cable box. The thought is that everything that comes into the DVR is converted to MPEG-2 since it goes to the hard drive. In other words, all Standard Def analog gets converted to MPEG-2, thus degrading the picture.
1) Do you feel watching thru the DVR looks works than if viewed without the DVR?
My setup is kinda messy, with generic cables, and switches/splitters, and an old TV, so I can't really make a distinction unless there is something that screams (eg macroblocking, haze, smoothing, etc). I did notice fewer artifacts if I record live to the ES20 rather than record on the DVR first (the double compression effect). I am assuming that the DVR converts/saves everything to MPEG2, otherwise it wouldn't be able to pause/rewind at any given moment. Some of the LP macroblocking of the ES20 is triggered by the compression of the DVR recording. Similar recordings made directly to the ES20 have fewer artifacts - they may still have some macroblockign but it is even less pronounced.
2) Could some of the artifacts that you are observing be caused from downloading a MPEG-2 video from the DVR and re-converting it again to MPEG-2 when recording to the ES20? In other words a double conversion.
That seems consistent with my experience. Some artifacts seem to be introduced by the Comcast DVR compression - granted they don't advertise that their DVR is using a lossless format, but it's supposed to be an XP/SP mode. They advertise up to 60 hours of analog channels on a 120GB hard disc, but in practice, it is 33 hours (1 hour of analog TV is ALWAYS 3% of the hard disc, 3 hours are 9%, etc). The digital channels range from 1% to 3% per hour. Some digital channels are consistently at 1%, which is a bit better than their estimate of 90 hours. The HD channels seem to suffer the least from compression.
I'd like to get a DVD recorder with a HDD, but there are just too many postings with EPG problems on just about every model. Kind of defeats the purpose for recording while you are away. And since there is a $50 rebate on the ES20, I may just get one.
Do they have EPG problems if you only use manual recording? Although it is convinient to use the EPG-style, there are times when I am fighting with the stupid DVR interface, and it has some bugs (eg ghost programs that refuse to be deleted and Comcast CSRs that don't seem to be interested in acknowledging/fixing them).
My master plan is to replace the DVR with a HDD-based model, and then I can use the HDD-model along with the ES20 so I can record two things at once. The only thing they can't do is record digital channels using the RF tuner, and about half of what I watch is digital channels.