Has nobody done objective research on THEE BEST, LEAST COMPRESSED HD broadcast tv sig - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-04-2019, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Has nobody done objective research on THEE BEST, LEAST COMPRESSED HD broadcast tv sig

I am really surprised that I cannot find a single study/objective research that anyone has done (only conjecture and anecdotal stuff) on THEE BEST and least compressed broadcast source for HD material, e.g. Directv, Dish, cable (Comcast, Charter, FIOS, etc.). And yes, we have heard consistently for years that antenna (OTR or "over-the-air") is THEE best, BUT...for many of us, that is not an option (e.g. trees, buildings, distance).
Is anyone familiar with any objective comparisons (forgetting reasonable price aside)...is streaming (e.g. You Tube, etc. less compressed than typical cable, or satellite?)

Again, I am surprised that more is not out there on maximizing what is available for "broadcast"/1080i.

Thanks for input.

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post #2 of 18 Old 07-04-2019, 11:57 AM
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Well, there's no "study" because there are too many variables. Plus, what sort of conclusion would you get? Let's say "THEE best" is KCBS via DirecTV (likely true). How does that help you? Unless you are on DirecTV in Los Angeles or qualify for DNS service, the information is of little use.

MPVDs can only carry what the station gives them. A scant few provide cable with a different feed than the transmitter gets, but it's almost always from the same encoder, so there's no difference (it's done so cable viewers get different commercials). I don't know of any broadcast station that has a separate air chain to provide cable/DSS with higher bandwidth than the transmitter gets. The expense for a secondary air chain is non-recoverable.

Then you have city-by-city differences. A Comcast system in Metropolis might compress HD stations more than a Comcast system in Central City. Declaring Comcast as THEE best at local broadcast carriage would be misleading.

So, a CBS affiliate in Kansas City might look only a little worse on local cable systems, about the same on DirecTV and like crap on YouTube. All while OTA is giving the best picture, though not by much.

Meanwhile, as we hear frequently, a CBS affiliate in MyCity, Wyoming via DirecTV might look like crap while KCBS via DirecTV looks stellar. Same network, same provider, two vastly different results. Largely because KXXX in MyCity has five subchannels while KCBS ..doesn't.

Not trying to plug AVSForum, but the Local HDTV Reception threads for various areas have already fleshed all of this out. Those communities can quickly tell you which provider has the best local affiliate picture. That is, given what they get from the broadcaster. It all starts with the station.

Simply put, the results are 100% local.

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post #3 of 18 Old 07-05-2019, 04:07 PM
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BTW: There have been numerous "comparisons" which derive the average bit rate by dividing the DVR File Size by the Duration Time.....but those "comparisons" are fraught with uncertainties. Each station may be using a different vintage and manufacturer for their Multi-Stream Multiplexer [combines Primary & Secondary Program Data Streams], which will have wildly different "Efficiencies", depending on whether using Constant Bit Rate [CBR] or Statistical allocation modes.... with the more recent ones being MUCH more Efficient than those from several years ago.

If Constant Bit Rate [CBR], each Data Stream is filled with NULLS until it reaches some stipulated max value, the sum of which cannot exceed 19.39 Mbps (for ATSC 1.0)....so there is LOTS of wasted capacity that would end up in any particular Recording....which explains the unusually HIGH "Bit Rates" [e.g. 15+ Mbps] reported many years ago when using CBR Mux's with just a SINGLE Primary Channel [even IF they deleted the NULLS].

OTOH: Most Stations today use a StatMux, where the various Data Streams are allocated capacity depending on how much they "NEED", so when lots of motion or scene changes occurs on one Stream, it will be allocated MORE of the Total Capacity....which works best when there are many streams, rather than say just two HD's. So the AVERAGE Data Rate calculated from the DVR File Size WILL be much smaller.....but MIGHT be able to also maintain a High Picture Quality.....but YMMV from station to station, depending on the Efficiency of the StatMux [mfr & year], how the Station set up the StatMux, Data Stream "Load" variance and mix of HD, SD and other Data Streams:
https://www.tvtechnology.com/news/multiplexing
https://www.harmonicinc.com/media/20...el_Sharing.pdf
https://playout.tvnewscheck.com/2017...airness-at-nab
https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1402/1402.0812.pdf
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/579...aaee53b9fa.pdf
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-05-2019, 04:32 PM
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CBS gave it their best shot by refusing to do subchannels on O&Os and having the highest forward-haul bandwidth. Nobody cared. Soon, CBS O&Os were at a disadvantage in markets where competitors were able to offer "value-added" inventory on diginets for the same price CBS O&Os were charging for normal ROS commercials. So, they caved and the general public never noticed. Gone are the days of Amen Corner looking as if you were actually there. The picture is still arguably better than the other networks, depending on the affiliate, but the early days of stellar HD are sadly gone. I still remember the HD Salt Lake City Olympics on WLWT in Cincinnati. Man, that was beautiful. And the PBS demo loop that ran before PBS started cramming 4-8 streams on one channel. Now, you have to turn to DirecTV's 4k channel just to get close to what we had back then. PQ doesn't drive ratings. Never did. Never will.
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-05-2019, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Dr. Don and others, this is all very interesting to me, and I sort of, well, marvel on your knowledge and experience on the subject. So, thank you for the responses.
But now, I tongue-in-cheek suggest to you, that, in a broader look at the subject, I cannot but think that, overall, you can recommend (other than OTA) in my relatively rural UpperMichigan area, say, what “should” be superior “food” to feed a new 65” OLED 4K 1080i broadcast so that it looks watchable. Some audio/video shops show cable 1080i that has “clay-like” appearance on faces on their 4K panels, even a Sony 900F.
I am wondering if satellite or even Directv Now OR You Tube might “show out” cleaner. It is difficult up here to even find people who have ventured beyond cable, or beyond 1080p panels !😕
You cannot offer an “educated guess?”
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by WOLVERNOLE View Post
...
I am wondering if satellite or even Directv Now OR You Tube might “show out” cleaner. It is difficult up here to even find people who have ventured beyond cable, or beyond 1080p panels !😕
You cannot offer an “educated guess?”

I would start with Roku Ultra + YouTube TV.
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post #7 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 11:17 AM
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You cannot offer an “educated guess?”
I can't offer an educated guess. Don't know where you live (I had no idea Dumphries, VA was in Michigan), what the affiliates are or even if DirecTV has them. I have no idea who your other MPVDs are nor how heavily compress channels. I don't have the education necessary for an "educated guess." Those who do... live there. You'll really need to find one of them. There is no "broader look." Only a specific one to your area and I don't have any experience with it outside of watching stations in hotels when I used to go to the UP back in the day.

If your goal is a great picture from your local stations, you're stuck with what they spit out. Take WJMN in Escanaba, for example. CBS 1080i, but with FOUR subchannels. Being Escanaba, I can almost guarantee you WJMN doesn't have the latest-greatest encoder. Almost. It's a Nexstar station, so it's possible they have newer gear, but not THAT much newer. Being Nexstar, it might be off of DirecTV due to the carriage dispute. I don't know. I don't even know if that's where you live. I'm just saying a small-market plant shoving CBS and four subchannels into one ATSC stream ain't gonna look great on a 65" OLED TV, no matter what MPVD's carrying them. Garbage in, garbage out.

You have other priorities to figure. DirecTV has the most 4k linear programming, but you live in the Land Of Nearly Constant Snow. If you can't put the dish where you can get a broom on it, that's gonna be an issue. Which might be why all of your neighbors have cable.

Cable has no 4k. Likely won't, especially in smaller markets. If you're in a Comcast area, Xfinity is starting to move in that direction. Useless without a pretty decent broadband pipe, though.

If I were you, I'd just call your local station's engineers and ask them. They always get feedback. Usually from station employees.

Or give up live network programming. Follow Johnny Antenna's lead. Hulu, CBSAA and others give you day-or-so after programming often with better PQ. YouTubeTV is saddled with the same thing as other MPVDs. They can only give you what they get from affiliates, assuming your market's even available.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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You cannot offer an “educated guess?”
I can't offer an educated guess. Don't know where you live (I had no idea Dumphries, VA was in Michigan), what the affiliates are or even if DirecTV has them. I have no idea who your other MPVDs are nor how heavily compress channels. I don't have the education necessary for an "educated guess." Those who do... live there. You'll really need to find one of them. There is no "broader look." Only a specific one to your area and I don't have any experience with it outside of watching stations in hotels when I used to go to the UP back in the day.

If your goal is a great picture from your local stations, you're stuck with what they spit out. Take WJMN in Escanaba, for example. CBS 1080i, but with FOUR subchannels. Being Escanaba, I can almost guarantee you WJMN doesn't have the latest-greatest encoder. Almost. It's a Nexstar station, so it's possible they have newer gear, but not THAT much newer. Being Nexstar, it might be off of DirecTV due to the carriage dispute. I don't know. I don't even know if that's where you live. I'm just saying a small-market plant shoving CBS and four subchannels into one ATSC stream ain't gonna look great on a 65" OLED TV, no matter what MPVD's carrying them. Garbage in, garbage out.

You have other priorities to figure. DirecTV has the most 4k linear programming, but you live in the Land Of Nearly Constant Snow. If you can't put the dish where you can get a broom on it, that's gonna be an issue. Which might be why all of your neighbors have cable.

Cable has no 4k. Likely won't, especially in smaller markets. If you're in a Comcast area, Xfinity is starting to move in that direction. Useless without a pretty decent broadband pipe, though.

If I were you, I'd just call your local station's engineers and ask them. They always get feedback. Usually from station employees.

Or give up live network programming. Follow Johnny Antenna's lead. Hulu, CBSAA and others give you day-or-so after programming often with better PQ. YouTubeTV is saddled with the same thing as other MPVDs. They can only give you what they get from affiliates, assuming your market's even available.
DrDon: Thank you for that thorough response and YES (good guess), I AM living in Escanaba !
We are in the “Land of Charter cable.”😱
I have yet to see a decently-rendered 1080i
but admittedly, our”best” local shop may not be doing all it can on its Sony 900F.
I am TRYING to find any place:anyone who has a 65” 4K hooked withDirectv. Even the darn Directv affiliate does not run channel 104/105. I find this pitiful.
Will keep looking.
Thanks again.
Hey, you sound vaguely familiar with the U.P. !!
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 01:18 PM
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Hey, you sound vaguely familiar with the U.P. !!
Anyone who's lived in Michigan for 20 years is either familiar with the UP or in denial. I've visited every waterfall the UP has and mailed all of my Christmas cards from Christmas, one year. Took the mine train in Iron Mountain.. you name it.

What's a "DirecTV affiliate?" You mean the store that has the DirecTV display? Not surprising, really. Haven't seen any displays here in Tampa, either. Probably because the C61Ks appear to be tough enough to get working in a home, let alone in a store environment. D* demo loops on flash drives would be better and more cost-effective.

As for locals, it appears yours are available via D* and in HD. MIGHT look better than Charter... might not. Neither will look any better than OTA and most likely not as good.

Our main set is still a 55" 1080p Sammy for one simple reason: We primarily watch sports and the sports we primarily watch aren't regularly in 4k, if it all. A 1080i picture looks soft on a 4k TV to my eyes. I was lucky enough to watch an NFL Network game replay via DirecTV on a 4K OLED and a 1080p at the same time. Fitting, since we're on D* and ST subscribers. The 1080p won. We'll put a 4K in the main room when there's enough of what we watch being carried IN 4k. Given that's mostly NFL and NCAAF, that could be a ways off. If Sunday Ticket or ESPN fronts something in 4K, then I'll be headed to Best Buy the very next day.
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey, you sound vaguely familiar with the U.P. !!
Anyone who's lived in Michigan for 20 years is either familiar with the UP or in denial. [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/IMG] I've visited every waterfall the UP has and mailed all of my Christmas cards from Christmas, one year. Took the mine train in Iron Mountain.. you name it.

What's a "DirecTV affiliate?" You mean the store that has the DirecTV display? Not surprising, really. Haven't seen any displays here in Tampa, either. Probably because the C61Ks appear to be tough enough to get working in a home, let alone in a store environment. D* demo loops on flash drives would be better and more cost-effective.

As for locals, it appears yours are available via D* and in HD. MIGHT look better than Charter... might not. Neither will look any better than OTA and most likely not as good.

Our main set is still a 55" 1080p Sammy for one simple reason: We primarily watch sports and the sports we primarily watch aren't regularly in 4k, if it all. A 1080i picture looks soft on a 4k TV to my eyes. I was lucky enough to watch an NFL Network game replay via DirecTV on a 4K OLED and a 1080p at the same time. Fitting, since we're on D* and ST subscribers. The 1080p won. We'll put a 4K in the main room when there's enough of what we watch being carried IN 4k. Given that's mostly NFL and NCAAF, that could be a ways off. If Sunday Ticket or ESPN fronts something in 4K, then I'll be headed to Best Buy the very next day.
Ha ! Agree 10,000 x. You “know the territory!” Agree about 1080i (broadcast) as on a 4K TV. Faces look “clayish” as compared to my 10 year-old Panny plasma1080p TV. And 1080p Blu-ray is “plenty good enough.” Really, the only thing I regret looking back is not getting the 55” version of that VT model.
I may well “sit it out” for my college football more regularly broadcast in 4K. That would be, at best, 2020 season. Meanwhile, my 10-yr. old VT Panny plasma still chugging along. I have heard murmurings of the networks making a 4K move on 2020. Any knowledge of rumors there?
Thanks again,DrDon for your insight. A pleasure. Say “hi” to Florida for me. I went to school in St. Pete and Tallahassee. Fond memories.
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post #11 of 18 Old 07-06-2019, 02:12 PM
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I have heard murmurings of the networks making a 4K move on 2020. Any knowledge of rumors there?
Depends on the network. If you're talking OTA, that ain't happening anytime soon, if ever. There's no money in it and too few stations that'll be able to carry it. Blame that on the ATSC 3.0 channel-sharing transitional scheme. Even if/when they do, Marquette will likely be waaay down the list to carry it and you'd definitely need an antenna, then.

Now, if you're talking HBO or FS1 or some such, it's a tiny bit more likely. But, again, there's no money in it.

You can follow along in our ATSC 3.0 thread for some insights and predictions.

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Thanks again,DrDon for your insight. A pleasure. Say “hi” to Florida for me. I went to school in St. Pete and Tallahassee. Fond memories.
You're most welcome and I will do. If I do get back your way, it'll likely be Mackinac Island. We must have done a dozen vacations, there. You're not a man if you can't pedal a bike from Ryba's all the way past the fort. And everyone needs to spend a few nights at the Grand. Everyone.
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-30-2019, 09:06 AM
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Depends on the network. If you're talking OTA, that ain't happening anytime soon, if ever. There's no money in it and too few stations that'll be able to carry it. Blame that on the ATSC 3.0 channel-sharing transitional scheme. Even if/when they do, Marquette will likely be waaay down the list to carry it and you'd definitely need an antenna, then.

Now, if you're talking HBO or FS1 or some such, it's a tiny bit more likely. But, again, there's no money in it.

You can follow along in our ATSC 3.0 thread for some insights and predictions.



You're most welcome and I will do. If I do get back your way, it'll likely be Mackinac Island. We must have done a dozen vacations, there. You're not a man if you can't pedal a bike from Ryba's all the way past the fort. And everyone needs to spend a few nights at the Grand. Everyone.
From the DFW area in Texas I have used Layer3TV now called TVision by TMobile for a couple of years (used Direct TV for 20 years). This is IP delivered via Spectrum internet. Picture quality is superior to anything I see the cable boys sending out. They have some 4K when available. The HDMI will upconvert all signals to 4K if you set the box up for this resolution. I think they are using HEVC. Only 12 cities with their service currently.



The downfall is TMobile made a lot of changes and took the reliability down to their knees. It took several months but it is back where Layer3 had it. I sent almost daily update reports on their issues but have not needed this since mid July.


Layer3 customer service was very good with people you could understand. TMoblie moved the CSR to Dallas and frankly they are well less than useful except to reboot your box.


Just another way to get your signal. Oh I do have an antenna as backup. You know when the cable internet is down it is down for a couple of days. No TV DVR, no VOIP Phone, no internet for the computer. The wife is unhappy. Oh well it is just technology.

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post #13 of 18 Old 08-30-2019, 12:23 PM
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Just another way to get your signal. Oh I do have an antenna as backup. You know when the cable internet is down it is down for a couple of days. No TV DVR, no VOIP Phone, no internet for the computer. The wife is unhappy. Oh well it is just technology.

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Bless you for your years of broadcast service. I know it wasn't easy.

The thing about alternate delivery methods for local television stations is that it's very, very rare that those providers get an alternate air chain output. 99% of the time, it's the same bandwidth the transmitter gets.

There's a possibility that, should enough ATSC 3.0 affiliates light up that one or more networks provide a higher-quality fronthaul (FOX is rumored to be considering 1080p), then I see the possibility of non-3.0 stations leveraging that with MPVDs and streaming providers for higher carriage fees. It'd have to be worth the expense, though.

As for the internet going down, get a generator if you can. I've found if I can power the modem, cable internet can last hours if not days after a power failure (depending on the root cause). I have DirecTV and, naturally, that works fine off of a generator.
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-18-2019, 03:25 PM
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Having the advantage of reception from another country that simulcasts American network programing (late night show specifically) I was able to compare the US station with the Toronto station real time and I could decern a difference. Not huge, but still a difference in detail, something I look for. This was a number of years ago long before the sub-channel mania hit. (Canadian stations do not have sub-channels, at least in the Southern Ontario market)

Talking about CBS, the local affiliate now has piggyback a 3rd rate (so called) network (CW) together.
I thought I would never see that with the big three.

.
.
Recording free OTA TV for 'time shifting' has been here since 1975. Will there be DVR's to do the same when ATSC3 obsoletes existing DVR's??
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-18-2019, 03:38 PM
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doesn't add to the thread, but my sister graduated (twice BA and Masters) from NMU. I was stationed in Iceland during her first years there and it was often colder there than where I was in Iceland.

Vinyl, tape, digital... I don't care as long as I can listen to my music...
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post #16 of 18 Old 10-02-2019, 09:09 PM
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doesn't add to the thread, but my sister graduated (twice BA and Masters) from NMU. I was stationed in Iceland during her first years there and it was often colder there than where I was in Iceland.
Your sister is quite academic, is she going for a PhD at some point ? Some of the coldest spots in North America are not where you would expect.

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get a generator if you can. I've found if I can power the modem, cable internet can last hours if not days after a power failure (depending on the root cause).
Agree, we are on DSL so less likely to loose Internet during an extended power outage then cable. No outside plant nodes that need power. Comcast around here tries to keep as many running as possible but sadly many of the generators they chain to utility poles sprout legs and walk away.

We have a portable backup generator and I built a DC UPS to replace the wall warts to keep our LAN/Internet connection alive when we are not running a generator during an outage.
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post #18 of 18 Old 10-04-2019, 09:19 AM
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Your sister is quite academic, is she going for a PhD at some point ? Some of the coldest spots in North America are not where you would expect.
No, she is currently getting a 2nd degree in whatever it takes to become a librarian. Unsure if it is a specific BA/BS or if it is a Masters.

I was in Iceland from April 1992 to Oct 1993, so she was there @ NMU from 1992 to around 1998.

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