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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lets say you record a Cable TV Broadcast of a sporting event or television show.


If you had to give a percentage for HQ mode, SP Mode, LP Mode and EP mode -- what would you grade them based on the original cable broadcast out of 100%?


Personally I would say 92% for HQ mode, 75% for SP Mode (but not good for sporting events cause of blockiness), and after that I have not tried.


I would also say my Digital8 recordings are 92% (DV compression scheme, which I think DVD HQ uses).


Anyone what would you guys give as a grade for each mode based on your DVD recorders ability to retain the original broadcast quality?
 

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Of course, this depends on the recorder (or is that the point of the question?). I think it also depends on the monitor one is using.

Given all of this, for my E80, (using dishNetwork rather than cable), I would give XP a subjective 98% (although sometimes, I honestly can't tell a difference switching from source to recording). SP is 90% (but not if there's lots of motion). LP is 80% (I consider it about the same as VHS, maybe a little better. OK for time-shifting unimportant stuff). EP is 50% (I have used it for time-shifting, but only out of desperation).

However, I should state that my students consider me a fairly easy grader.
 

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I would have to agree with the good doctor's grading assessments for the Panasonic recorder's various modes.


BTW the various mode's resolutions & recording times per disc are:


XP 704X480 & 1 hour, SP 704X480 at ~ half the bitrate of XP & 2 hrs., LP is 352x480 & 4 hours, and EP is 352x240 & 6 hours. The Panny recorders trade resolution to compensate for the lower bitrates at the longer play modes of LP and EP. Pixellation is still pretty bad at EP mode. I've seen VCD's (same resolution) that have better PQ.
 

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I too agree with doxtorRay - I did the test using our Johnstown Charter Cable QVC shopping channel (which believe it or not is much sharper and clearer than the picture on DirecTV). I used this channel because of the static product description graphic, by changing the recording speed you can readily tell the difference by looking at the printed graphic degrade with each speed change. To tell the truth I would rate XP speed at 100%, to me it looked that good when switching back and forth, SP 95%, LP same and EP will NEVER use. Back to Cable v. Direct - Monday recorded Oprah from Cable - arrived home before show completed - started playing recording from the beginning and "thought" the unit didn't receive the command because the picture was so clear - it had - I switched to the actual broadcast and really could not tell the difference. Left the recording on the machine and set recorder to record the corresponding follow-up Oprah After the Show from DirecTV - when I played it back I could not believe how awful the DirecTV picture was (LP quality) - same show topic - 2 different providers and dramatic quality difference. Would not have believed it until I saw it for myself - side by side - with this recorder. I would seriously consider going back to cable were it not for the HDTV content.
 

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JimL, you did not mention which channel you recorded from for Oprah. If it was D* local channel using a spot beam feed then it was highly compressed. Typically, my D* looks better than cable. However, it does matter which channel you watch. If you flip through the channels on D* you will notice that some are highly compressed. They keep compressing them to provide local channels.

For instance VH1 Classics is more compressed than VH1 or MTV.

Monday I recorded Las Vegas from the down rezzed OTA NBC HD feed (DTC100) in SP. I burned it to RAM (high Speed) and popped into my RP91 and displayed it on 9'x5' with the panny L300 projector. I was quite impressed with picture quality. Darn near store bought quality DVD. When it was recorded it was squeezed. I expanded the Aspect Ratio with the Projector and it as in 16x9. Additionally, the audio was great with good rear sound from the DD 2.0. BTW I didn't watch the whole show so no comment on the content of the show.
 

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gwlbe


Oprah was recorded from Cable (no DirecTV locals available in Johnstown) and Oprah After the Show was recorded from D* Oxygen channel. I only subscribe to our cable's local channels and have not viewed any of their other offerings via their digital cable. The only channels I have on basic cable AND D* to compare signals side by side are QVC and HSN shopping channels - and the difference is very noticeable. Charter Cable must have done something very recently that almost all of the basics are so good they put even the best of DirecTV to shame (except for the HDTV channels) so good that if D* ever offered locals in Johnstown I would not purchase them. I have been a D* subscriber since 96, when cable was horrible, and a very picky and vocal complainer to D* when their quality deteriorates, and I never thought I would see the day I would say that our cable picture was better.


I too have "tested" recordings from my DTC100 down rezzed from our local NBC OTA HD channel (which is the only OTA HD channel I can get here) with good results, but I have noticed that the picture of these NBC HD shows vary from show to show and NONE of them look anything like the picture on HDNet. Last nights cable E80 (non HD down rezzed) recording of Whoopi & Frasier in SP mode was beautiful!
 

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My own experience would say that if it's a digital source it's pretty damn good on SP. Recording on XP just isn't cost effective, or time effective to me. I should also say that most recording I make are made to RAM discs. If I want to save it I flip it over to an ISO and then record it to an R-. I've done some direct recording to R-s but prefer to send things to RAM.


As to sports. . .any mpeg encoding of a sports event doesn't seem very good unless at a very high bit rate. And if the channel is already compressing it. . .I can watch live games on Fox, CBS, ABC and for the most part be satisified either through the Panasonic or my Replay. But I've seen clips on both ESPN and Fox sports channel (mostly the later) that are embarassingly bad. But have never had a problem with HBO on digital cable with the same clips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How would S-VHS record sport programs? Would they look close to my digital8 SP recordings?


How would you compare S-VHS SP Mode with DVD SP Mode and Digital8 SP when recording sports?


Or how would you compare LP S-VHS with DVD SP Mode or D8 SP mode?
 

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JimL,

No question D* quality is going down and HDNet is the reference point for picture quality. I have Adelphia cable and its horrible. Out of 60 channels only four are stereo. I only keep it for locals and the kids TVs. At 5 bucks for additional receivers, I opted the cable route. I only keep 2 D* receivers active, but I'm considering adding a third for recording to my E100. The only HD OTA I receive is NBC which doesn't have much that I like. Although Sunday nite I flipped back and forth between ESPN HD football and Law and order. I thought the LAW and Order had great picture quality. I would have recorded it but the DTC100 doesn't simultaneous feed 480i s-video and 1080i component. No dropping D* as long a s they have exclusive rights to the Sunday ticket. I've considered ExpressVu. Anyways I love my e100, and the best qulaity recordings are from down rezzed HD, OTA or D* feeds.
 

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I do not plan on doing anything rash at this point (too much invested in D* - 3 receivers + Ultimate + HD) especially since Charter Johnstown just announced a sale to another company by the end of the year. Will wait to see how service is then between the 2 companies. Also, I really should "borrow" a neighbors digital box and hook it up to evaluate all the other channels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How would S-VHS record sport programs? Would they look close to my digital8 SP recordings?


How would you compare S-VHS SP Mode with DVD SP Mode and Digital8 SP when recording sports?


Or how would you compare LP S-VHS with DVD SP Mode or D8 SP mode?
 

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Nikos20,


You're dealing with a different technology. SVHS doesn't encode programs the same way that DVD recorders do.


First DVD SP mode, given a good source, is better than SVHS. I know little or nothing about Digital8. SVHS has always appeared grainier to me. And I've got a good JVC 7xxx model. I don't record anything at LP or EP because it just looks crappy on the big screen.


RE DVD: The problem I've noticed on occassion with sports programing occurs when part of teh screen is in close up and there is fast action. This tends to cause pixelation for the mpeg encoder. As my normal viewing is done through a RePlay 4504, I really notice this most of the time on Fox Sports Net, which doesn't have very much bandwidth, here. Most pro-games on the major channels are fine, but occassional exist the same problem depending on the city source.
 

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Regarding S-VHS vs. Digital8 (I have both), I think the tradeoff is that S-VHS is lower resolution and a bit grainier than Digital8 (although my JVC 7800u S-VHS, which has a TBC and some digital processing, is a bit better than my JVC 5900u). However, Digital8 (and miniDV) does seem to introduce noticeable pixelization on some fast-action sequences, as hroeder says. I would still favor it over S-VHS, but the final determination depends on personal preference and what you want to use the recording for.

Regarding EP (on an E80), it is pretty bad. Partly, it seems to change the white clip and gamma, in addition to producing a blotchy picture (worse than VHS at EP). I've only used it for time-shifting news or talk shows that I know I will never want to view more than once, and don't want to use too much precious HDD real estate on. From a practical standpoint, such recordings may still be a good use for VHS or S-VHS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So perhaps I should consider getting a D-VHS to record my sporting games at resolutions as good as Digital8 (if not better) while fitting much more TIME on ONE tape?


Like I can fit maybe 8+ hours on D-VHS (2-3+ games) @ a quality that as almost as good as the original source right? Perhaps Digital8 quality at SP which I like but on a D-VHS tape -- and this time I DONT HAVE TO BE THERE when recording like I would have to be with my D8 camera.


So does the D-VHS sound like the best option since S-VHS longer recording modes don't yield good quality?
 

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What are you going to watch the recording on? Are you looking to save it?


DVHS will record a digital stream. But you give up things like random access and commercial skip. Editing out commercials on a DVD is really relatively easy.
 
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