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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I just got Comcast HD installed yesterday. (I'm currently a Dish subscriber and got tired of waiting for them to do something in the HD area. I picked good timing in my jump to Comcast, considering their recent announcements of their new HD package, and their deal on the 6000's. Oh well, I'll still wait for a while and see when the Superdish comes out and what deals they have on the new receiver.) But, that's another story for another thread...

My impressions:

First channel I watched was the local PBS HD channel. Wow! about sums it up. The picture was absolutely amazing. When primetime rolled around, I wanted to see what the networks had to offered. I must admit, I'm a bit baffled and annoyed at how they are handling their HD, (I think it's them and not Comcast, but I could be wrong?). First of all it seems that shows in 4:3 (I think Drew Carey was one) are often stretched to 16:9 and have some cropped off of the top and bottom. WTF is up with that?? Why don't they just leave it in the original aspect ratio, and let the end user decide if they want to use a zoom mode on their TV. Then, I turned to the West Wing. Now that one was really bizarre! It had black bars all around it! It seemed to be a widescreen presentation inside a 4:3 box. Is this normal?? I couldn't do anything to make it look right. Switched TV between normal/wide, cable box from 16:9 to 4:3 letterbox, 4:3 pan/scan, all no dice. (Unfortunately my TV, Samsung 61" DLP has no zoom mode that would make this look good. On HD sources it only lets me do Wide and Normal. Oh Samsung, why did you limit me so???)


If this is really how the networks are broadcasting, what are they thinking?


I also watched a bit of HBO-HD. The movie was Poncho Villa something. I'm not sure if this wasn't just an upconvert, rather than a true HD presentation. It looked ok, about like DVD's upconverted from my Samsung 931. Sex and the City looked pretty darn good too.


I guess I'm a bit disappointed because I which there were more channels in true HD, and I wish the left the aspect ratios alone. Hopefully it will be better when Comcast adds the inHD channels soon. I just wish they would also get Discovery HD Theater and CBS HD. I am glad I'm not a fan of the West Wing because that presentation in the black picture frame was just plain annoying.
 

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The West Wing has been letterboxed for a couple of seasons now. This upcoming season will be its first in HD.


4:3 shows that are stretched are done so by the channel, not by Comcast.


Sex and the City isn't in HD.


Most true HD programs on the networks are shown during prime time. You must have been watching a syndicated Drew Carey show or a re-run, because it is shown in HD.
 

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Comcast only passes what the local stations broadcast.


Not all programs are in HDTV.


In general, anything on an over-the-air network, not in full 16:9, is not HDTV.


The movie on HBO was an HD film transfer, not HD video. Both live HD video (or HD video from tape or server) and film transfered HD are native HDTV, but they look different, just as a movie on regular TV looks different than live TV or video tape. This has been discussed extensively, and I mean extensively. Try a search for the various terms; film transfer, native HDTV, etc.


Also, read the HDTV Programming Synopsis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, so that was actually normal for West Wing to have black bars on all four sides? Strange, but I'm glad they are changing it for this season.



Ken:


I read the HDTV programming synopsis. Could you clarify a couple of things? For the shows listed in the synopsis as HD, does that generally mean that they will be broadcast in an original aspect ratio of 16:9, or are some shows listed as HD really 4:3, but will be cropped and resized to 16:9 (or just left in 4:3 but in HD resolution)? I noticed it mentioned that HBO liked to do this (crop to 16:9), just wondering how widespread it is.



Also, have you heard anything about Comcast possibly getting Discovery HD theater in our area?


Thanks,
 

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Mike,


I talked to someone recently at Comcast about Discovery and they said that they are currently working on it.

I was also disappointed at how many programs were not HD but as the fall shows kick off it looks like many will be in HD.

I was so excited when we got fox here in Michigan last Thursday but was PISSED when I turned on the Lions game on Sunday and it wasn't in HD, bummer!!!! Hopefully soon. I love ABC Monday Night Football, I think the PQ is great.


Ed
 

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I was so excited when we got fox here in Michigan last Thursday but was PISSED when I turned on the Lions game on Sunday and it wasn't in HD, bummer!!!!
Fox does not broadcast any NFL games in HD, so your only chance to see the Lions in HD is if they are either (1) the national game on CBS when hosting an AFC team, or (2) the ESPN Sunday Night or MNF game. They are not scheduled for #2 this season, and the chances of one of their two home games vs. the AFC being the CBS national game are slim to none.


Fox does two "widescreen" games per week, but I doubt the Lions will be one of the two games very many weeks. Since Barry Sanders retired, there's not much national interest in the team. They need to improve the team before they get any national coverage.
 

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Originally posted by Scott M
Since Barry Sanders retired, there's not much national interest in the team. They need to improve the team before they get any national coverage.
Good point!!!!

I am just spoiled now with MNF and ESPNHD that I wish every game was HD.


Ed
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott M
Fox does not broadcast any NFL games in HD, so your only chance to see the Lions in HD is if they are either (1) the national game on CBS when hosting an AFC team, or (2) the ESPN Sunday Night or MNF game. They are not scheduled for #2 this season, and the chances of one of their two home games vs. the AFC being the CBS national game are slim to none.


Fox does two "widescreen" games per week, but I doubt the Lions will be one of the two games very many weeks. Since Barry Sanders retired, there's not much national interest in the team. They need to improve the team before they get any national coverage.
Their first game was a step in the right direction! As a transplanted Lions fan, I have to chose this weekend between Lions-Packers on Sunday Ticket in SD, or Patriots-Eagles in HD.


Wait! Ken H reports that the Pats are on at 4pm! Whoo hoo! After missing all the games last week, looks like I'll make up for it this week.


Lions-Packers @ 1pm, SD :)

Pats-Eagles @ 4pm, HD :D

Bears-Vikings @ 8:30pm, HD :D


[Not to mention Michigan-Notre Dame on Saturday...:D even if it is SD]
 

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Which network has the Lions on Thanksgiving this season? If it's CBS, then it'd be in HD I'm assuming. (Another Lions fan beaming at the prospects of Harrington to Rogers for 10 years!)
 

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Originally posted by mike_pro
For the shows listed in the synopsis as HD, does that generally mean that they will be broadcast in an original aspect ratio of 16:9, or are some shows listed as HD really 4:3, but will be cropped and resized to 16:9 (or just left in 4:3 but in HD resolution)? I noticed it mentioned that HBO liked to do this (crop to 16:9), just wondering how widespread it is.
Any program in 4:3 is not HDTV. A 4:3 program on an HD channel is known as an upconversion. Most all HD programs are 16:9, some movies are in a wider aspect ratio; 2.35:1. On a 16:9 display, this means you'll have small bars at the top & bottom of the screen area.


All 16:9 programs on HBO are HDTV, but they will zoom, or pan and scan a 2:35:1 movie to fill the entire 16:9 screen area. This usually means a movie on HBO is not in the original aspect ratio (OAR), which disturbs many movie fans, including me. I'll still watch a movie on HBO, but would prefer OAR.


Quote:
Also, have you heard anything about Comcast possibly getting Discovery HD theater in our area?
Last I heard, Comcast & Discovery were a ways off in their negotiations. The thinking on Comcast's part is since INHD is due to premier on 9/15, and will carry much of the programming on Discovery HD, there is no urgency to sign up with Discovery. Comcast is also very committed to holding the line on programming costs, and as the largest multichannel provider in the country they are well positioned to do so.


On the other hand, the recent carriage of Discovery HD by DirecTV may influence the discussions. Thus, my Magic 8 Ball says something will happen sooner rather than later. And no, I don't know what that means anymore than you do.
 

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Exactly my thoughts, I've seen a couple of "HD" shows on the local channels and all of them were 4:3. What is up with that??? I mean why do they the HD way but only half way... I think 99% of HD TV sets sold are 16:9, do they ever consider this?


Ovidiu O
 

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Originally posted by ed.howell


Do you know why CBS isn't available in HD on Comcast yet? Or when it will be?
CBS HD is actually on quite a few Comcast systems. With one exception due to a grandfathered agreement (Chicago), the stations you won't find on Comcast are the CBS Owned & Operated (O&O's) stations.


CBS O&O stations are: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Marquette, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Green Bay.


CBS & Comcast are currently discussing a carriage agreement for O&O HDTV, among other issues.


CBS stations in other cities are owned by independent companies, and must come to their own agreement with Comcast for HD carriage. This assumes the local CBS station is broadcasting HDTV.
 

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Originally posted by Ovidiu O
Exactly my thoughts, I've seen a couple of "HD" shows on the local channels and all of them were 4:3. What is up with that???
It was just explained above. Read the HDTV Programming Synopsis.
 

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Which network has the Lions on Thanksgiving this season? If it's CBS, then it'd be in HD I'm assuming.
The Lions play the Packers on Thanksgiving, so it will be on Fox. CBS will broadcast the Dallas game. So, no Lions in HD on turkey day.
 

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Mike_pro, maybe you already know this but be sure you are tapping the HD output from your cable box. If you don't, if for example you use S-video, you will see black bars on all 4 sides with some material. It's wide screen material inside a 4:3 frame which in turn is in a 16:9 frame.
 

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Originally posted by Scott M
The Lions play the Packers on Thanksgiving, so it will be on Fox. CBS will broadcast the Dallas game. So, no Lions in HD on turkey day.
Well, at least that means they'll be in HD on T-Day in 2004 since CBS and FOX rotate the game every year. And since by that time they should be greatly improved we may actually have something to be thankful for! :)
 

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Anyone know when ABC will be in HDTV in the Atlanta area
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike2567
Mike_pro, maybe you already know this but be sure you are tapping the HD output from your cable box. If you don't, if for example you use S-video, you will see black bars on all 4 sides with some material. It's wide screen material inside a 4:3 frame which in turn is in a 16:9 frame.
I am using the HD component outs form the cable box. For the West Wing, that was exactly what I saw - wide screen material inside a 4:3 frame, displayed on my 16:9 TV. This wasn't an HD program, it was just an upconverted signal of the West Wing, which I guess is actually presented in widescreen within 4:3 box. So, it looked weird. And, the annoying thing was I had no useful zoom modes to use on my DLP since it was an HD input. Oh well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
On another note - I finally got around to checking out some of the analog channels. Viewing through the box's component outs they look like crap, as I'm sure most people have found. What I did was run a splitter before the cable even goes into the box, and feed directly into Antenna A. (I guess the box has an RF bypass box on the back of the box that you can do the same thing. I never tried it as I wanted the most direct route into the TV.)


Well, I was amazed at how good the PQ was! It actually looks better than my over-compressed Dish signals! There is some variablity in channel quality of course, but the majority looked very good. I guess I have a strong signal, as there was little analog noise/ghosting. The Tech did replace some of my line at the pole. Maybe the TV's processing, DNIe, etc is helping too. My neighbors down the street have HD as well, and a Toshiba 50HDX82. Their analog signal looks like complete crap, very noisy and fuzzy.


After seing that and hearing others experiences, I just couldn't believe it looked better than the Sat signal, (which looked pretty bad blown up to 61"). So, I now am actually pleasantly surprised with the Comcast HD. I suspect it will get even better as the fall season starts up and primetime HD gets in full swing. Now, if only they wouls add CBS HD, Discovery HD, (and whatever other HD channels they can find), and get their PVR capable 6200 box out I would be in heaven!
 
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