Originally Posted by StevenJB
Do you measure bitrate? What kind of equipment is needed?
The general rule of thumb is that the less sub-channels there are, the higher the primary channel's bitrate will be. (All ATSC channels have an identical overall bitrate - 19.39Mb/s or something like that). Some things, like MobileDTV, or how they have their stuff configured, can affect that, but in general you should get the best picture from the channels that have the least number of subchannels. No special equipment required!
You can, however, measure this data with a computer-based tuner and a tool called "TSReader". The tool examines the ATSC stream in detail and provides information about each of the substreams, including the current bitrates. As I learned from the folks out here, it's easy to be fooled by these numbers sometimes, though. Made that mistake at least twice
The computer-based "HDHomeRun" tuners can also provide that information, since they only send the relevant streams to the PC over ethernet. It reports the total data rate of both the video and audio streams as a single number.
There are probably other ways, but the PC-based tools are likely to be the easiest. TSReader has a "Lite" version that's even free, but it doesn't support every single PC tuner on the market.