Originally Posted by fjames
Know nothing about the tech, but maybe there's a difference in how locals get the signal to DTV? That's a variable you're not considering - locals screw stuff up all the time. I'm picky about PQ and I tried to find a difference on OTA v DTV and couldn't. Do all your locals have the same issues?
Well, I'm doing a direct A/B comparison of the OTA signal via the HDTV tuner, and the DirecTV version via the DSS receiver connected with a digital HDMI interface, via the Picture-in-picture feature on my Samsung HDTV. When I hit the 'swap" button, the A/B signal sources swap and you see a quality difference. The DirecTV signal is lower quality, no doubt about it.
It's not just the local channels, either. TNTHD, SpikeHD, LifetimeHD, USAHD, and DiscoveryHD generally look pretty good. SpikeHD is also rebroadcasting old network material, some of which is ABC 720p source, which is softer than native 1080i when upconverted. I see average quality on ABC Family HD, A&EHD, and FXHD - but I notice many are 720p signals. SPEEDHD and ESPNHD look generally very good on live sports, but with variable quality on replays - and ESPN HD is still broadcasting some basketball games with SD cameras upconverted to HD - really unbelievable, it has been YEARS.
Ovation and Chiller look bad, but are still SD, so I don't expect much. TCMHD is variable quality, but they often show OAR, so I'm thinking it may just be the film prints they used - right now for example they are showing the delightfull David Niven/Shirley MaClaine (1956) version of Around the World in 80 Days
, and the bright showy colors of Technicolor are there, the aspect ratio is the precise 2.2:1 of the negative, but the image is slightly soft.
SciFy continues to show a lot of SD upconverts and reality programming that is contemporary, but SD source (such as the current Haunted Highway
which is a 4:3 SD upconvert but was originally broadcast on 7/17/2012.
A real mixed bag. I hesitate to blame DirecTV for the quality issues on the cable channels, but they are entirely responsible IMHO for the reduced quality local channels. Not to mention, they entirely omit the local SD subchannels, some of which offer more compelling content than the main HD channel.