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Heard this from a Comcast technician at my place on August 20, 2005. Once again I was complaining about how many channels with good content were only available in analog format. He said, "All those channels will be available in Standard Digital format starting about September 15, 2005 in the Federal Way, Washington area and then in the rest of Seattle and King county. The analog channels will be phased out by December 2006." So I won't be swithching to D* or E* yet because Comcast still has the most HD channels available in this area at this time. I have also been enjoying some OTA HD channels. I'm one of the few with a Toshiba 34HFX84 CRT HDTV. Got it as an interim measure to handle the analog stuff. Am patiently waiting for Toshiba (Canon) SED sometime in 2006 or 2007.
 

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ADS has been rolling out in the Boston area for some time. I live in teh PRovidence area and even those OTA stations are digital now- at least to the house. I think that the signal coming into the system is plain old antenna at the head end.


IMHO, OTA 480 picture on an HD feed is still far superior, but it depends onteh station. Especially seen during teh news. SOme stations send out the signal in as crisp a format as possible, while some make it so soft that you rub your eyes. (WBZ$ is perfect, WHDH is blurry)
 

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I was told that the DS is complete in the Phila. area.


I am interested to know, if they really will phase out Analog by the end of '06. Actaully, they had said that before, but just in regards to Standard service. I just wonder if they will do it so soon.


They were planning to keep Basic service available on Analog, until the Digital OTA transition is completed, now it is end of '08, IIRC.
 

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Be careful what you wish for...



IMHO a properly maintained CATV plant's analog side is better than the digital portion for conveying signals THAT WERE ORIGINALLY COMPOSITE NTSC SIGNALS (480i). That includes any stations received at the CATV headend off-the-air using antennas, and many (but not all) of the standard-def satellite-delivered cable-only services.


Why do I say that? Because not only do the CATV head ends convert these types of sources to digital, but they usually agressively compress them with MPEG-based encoders, often fitting 6 to 12 channels in one 6MHz wide "channel" that used to be occupied by 1 analog signal. You can readily see why they want to do this: they can fit in a lot more services in their limited 550 or 750 or 1GHz available bandwidth, and still have room for many dozens of PPV channels, and if you are lucky a few HD offerings too.


Folks these signals are not compressed losslessly. A fair amount of the original motion resolution is thrown away forever in the process, and while many people can't see the difference, if you did an A-B test with off-air from your own antenna, many of you WOULD see some artifacts and a noticable loss of resolution. Not to hijack an already over-used term, but in my opinion, these signals wind up on your set as "NTSC-lite".


On the other hand, many of the cable program services are now delivered by satellite to the head-ends in an already-compressed format. This lets the provider fit multiple services on one satellite transponder, similar to the cable plant issue. In this case there is probably no additional degradation by passing them throught the plant to the customer as "digital".


In addition, SOME of the services start out as component digital sources, and although compressed, you have the possibility to get some programs to your set never have been encoded as composite video. In other words if your CATV STB has component video outs, you may actually get a better picture than in possible with composite video.


So for the remaining time for analog terrestrial transmission, whatever that my be, I want my CATV provider to continue to give me the "full" uncompressed analog retransmission of my locals off-the-air. This could even be turned into a good marketing strategy for cable providers, as the DBS providers doing locals-into-local use heavy compression and it usually shows.




I know, this is a rather small issue in the currently rapidly evolving television distribution technology, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Thanks for the bandwidth.


Mike
 

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We have channels over 750MHz, so I guess it is a 860MHz systems.


All DS channels look much better than Analog through the box looked; and better than a direct Analog RF connection.


It's not even close, we even have a few excellent Analogs here, and I can see the difference.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori84
Be careful what you wish for...


IMHO a properly maintained CATV plant's analog side is better than the digital portion for conveying signals THAT WERE ORIGINALLY COMPOSITE NTSC SIGNALS (480i). That includes any stations received at the CATV headend off-the-air using antennas, and many (but not all) of the standard-def satellite-delivered cable-only services.
I agree with you. I certainly would rather view a perfect analog signal over digital any day. I would even rather see a little snow than pixelation, macro blocking, and compression artifacts. As it is now on Comcast (at least here in NW Wa.) the Comcast digital channels really suck. Even my 10 year old prefers to watch the analog Nickelodeon over the digital Nick on 127. Because as he puts it "This Nick is not all squiggly like the one on 127".
 

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I'm in Philadelphia, and the digitally simulcast SD channels look awful. Macroblocking and pixellation aren't the problem as much as color saturation/fidelity. The channels that were always digital look just fine, but wow, the new simulcast channels are ugly.
 
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