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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my search on this topic yielded the most recent results from over a year ago so i'm sure a few things have changed. here's the background on why i'm starting this thread:


- 52" sony xbr9 lcd

- tivo hd

- fios hd service

- all connected via hdmi


since day one i've noticed macroblocking on all fast scenes. even something as simple as an animated logo flying in will show this. i've done every possible trouble shoot suggested by tivo tech support, verizon tech support and forums like this. i've even had my tivo switched out. nothing has helped. btw, movies and tv shows downloaded from amazon vod looked great with no macroblocking.


i was at a friend's house yesterday who has a similar set up with the exception of directv. i did some channel surfing and noticed no macroblocking on scenes i'm sure i would have seen it on my system at home.


so i'm considering dumping fios and going to directv but i wanted to get some opinions. i've read about the specs on how fios and directv deliver their hd content (uncompressed, mpeg4, etc.) but in my experience directv's picture seems to be better.


so what do y'all think? should i make the move? would moving to directv stop my macroblocking issues? thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alleyooptroop /forum/post/16962719


my search on this topic yielded the most recent results from over a year ago so i'm sure a few things have changed. here's the background on why i'm starting this thread:


- 52" sony xbr9 lcd

- tivo hd

- fios hd service

- all connected via hdmi


since day one i've noticed macroblocking on all fast scenes. even something as simple as an animated logo flying in will show this. i've done every possible trouble shoot suggested by tivo tech support, verizon tech support and forums like this. i've even had my tivo switched out. nothing has helped. btw, movies and tv shows downloaded from amazon vod looked great with no macroblocking.


i was at a friend's house yesterday who has a similar set up with the exception of directv. i did some channel surfing and noticed no macroblocking on scenes i'm sure i would have seen it on my system at home.


so i'm considering dumping fios and going to directv but i wanted to get some opinions. i've read about the specs on how fios and directv deliver their hd content (uncompressed, mpeg4, etc.) but in my experience directv's picture seems to be better.


so what do y'all think? should i make the move? would moving to directv stop my macroblocking issues? thanks in advance for any replies.

There is nothing to resurrect. FiOS is an uncompressed HD feed. DirecTV is not. By pretty much all end user accounts FiOS is better (I've seen one that says they are equal). End of story.


You have a technical issue that has not been resolved. By now you should have had escalated to Verizon high level technical support.


Beacuse you have a technical problem, switching to DirecTV may result in better HD image quality, but in light of the fact you already have a superior provider, I would not recommend it unless you exhaust all possible solutions with Verizon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/16962973


There is nothing to resurrect. FiOS is an uncompressed HD feed. DirecTV is not. By pretty much all end user accounts FiOS is better (I've seen one that says they are equal). End of story.


You have a technical issue that has not been resolved. By now you should have had escalated to Verizon high level technical support.


Beacuse you have a technical problem, switching to DirecTV may result in better HD image quality, but in light of the fact you already have a superior provider, I would not recommend it unless you exhaust all possible solutions with Verizon.

i'm worried that verizon will blame the problem on tivo. what would high level tech support do that regular tech support hasn't already done?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alleyooptroop /forum/post/16963070


i'm worried that verizon will blame the problem on tivo. what would high level tech support do that regular tech support hasn't already done?

Hopefully fix the problem. I'd start with a Verizon box, to see what that looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/16963129


Hopefully fix the problem. I'd start with a Verizon box, to see what that looks like.

i thought of this too. if the verizon box looks ok then i'll have to decide whether i want to live with the terrible ui of the verizon box which is a shame because i love the tivo. i think i'd rather switch to directv than live with the verizon dvr.
 

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'There is nothing to resurrect. FiOS is an uncompressed HD feed. DirecTV is not. By pretty much all end user accounts FiOS is better (I've seen one that says they are equal). End of story."


That's slightly incorrect, all digital/HD on all providers and via OTA is compressed with either MPEG2 or MPEG4. FIOS isn't passing uncompressed HD across their systems.


FIOS has the advantage of enough bandwidth so that they don't need to overcompress their signals to make them fit like some cable companies do nor do they need to recompress in MPEG4 like the satellite services do. They can pass them on untouched as provided by the channel they are providing. I'm assuming this is what you meant by your statement, just wanted to clarify so no one gets confused.



By the way, OP, have you tried a FIOS receiver to rule out the Tivo is the problem and not FIOS?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/16962973


You have a technical issue that has not been resolved.

He doesn't have a technical issue. Notice what he said: macroblocking on all fast scenes. In other words, his beef is with something that's fundamental to how digital TV works. (He is a newbie to digital TV.) But he refuses to accept this. The one thing that might help him would be to adjust his set, but he ignores advice to do this.

See the tedious sub-thread he started on TCF.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 /forum/post/16963456


'There is nothing to resurrect. FiOS is an uncompressed HD feed. DirecTV is not. By pretty much all end user accounts FiOS is better (I've seen one that says they are equal). End of story."


That's slightly incorrect, all digital/HD on all providers and via OTA is compressed with either MPEG2 or MPEG4. FIOS isn't passing uncompressed HD across their systems.


FIOS has the advantage of enough bandwidth so that they don't need to overcompress their signals to make them fit like some cable companies do nor do they need to recompress in MPEG4 like the satellite services do. I'm assuming this is what you meant by your statement, just wanted to clarify so no one gets confused.

It should be understood by anyone reading here that all HD coming to end users is compressed for network transmission, but you're right that it bears repeating.


In this case, we are talking about HD providers and their effect on HD image quality. For Verizon FiOS, they pass all HD to end users without any additional compression. This results in end users getting the best possible HD image quality. For DirecTV, they additionally compress all HD before passing it to end users, which results in less than the best possible HD image quality.


As for MPEG4 transcoded from MPEG2 sources, it can be used for provider distribution to end users without affecting HD image quality. It's incorrect to imply transcoding alone results in loss of HD image quality. Of course, in the transcoding process additional compression can be applied, which is what DirecTV does, among other HD image reducing techniques.


An illustration of MPEG4's capabilities is NBC's move from MPEG2 to MPEG4, for network distribution. It resulted in a vast improvement in it's HD image quality, because MPEG4 is roughly twice as efficient at compression and NBC continued to use roughly the same bandwidth as with MPEG2.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcbrine /forum/post/16963547


He doesn't have a technical issue. Notice what he said: macroblocking on all fast scenes. In other words, his beef is with something that's fundamental to how digital TV works. (He is a newbie to digital TV.) But he refuses to accept this. The one thing that might help him would be to adjust his set, but he ignores advice to do this.

See the tedious sub-thread he started on TCF.

I disagree.


Go back and read his comments; he is comparing DirecTV to FiOS, and believes DirecTV has less compression artifacts. All other things being equal, he has a technical issue with his FiOS service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/16963685


I disagree.


Go back and read his comments; he is comparing DirecTV to FiOS, and believes DirecTV has less compression artifacts. All other things being equal, he has a technical issue with his FiOS service.

yes. i wouldn't have even started this thread had i not gone over to my friend's house and seen the picture on his tv. no macroblocking whatsoever. i'm actually watching the opening animation to "the incredible hulk" right now and even the type that's animating off and on is macroblocking.


i called verizon on my way home to see if i could get a hold of the higher level tech support and they said i had to pay for it. he also said i could get a tech to come out if he could flash the cable card again (i've already done this once before). i'm going to do this tomorrow just to get a tech out but i'm not confident that will do any good.


i have yet to hear from a directv subscriber experiencing the same thing.


here are some pics i found in another thread here that are good examples of what i'm seeing. it's from this thread comparing (funny enough) fios vs comcast pq, only my picture looks like the comcast samples:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1008271










there's more in the link but i thought these red hot chili peppers shots demonstrated what i'm seeing. the "a" version of the shots are obviously what it should look like.
 

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Verizon's non-recompression only applies to channels distributed as MPEG2, which is an ever-decreasing fraction of HD channels. Many originators, including big names like Scripps (Food, HGTV, etc), HBO, and Viacom (Nick, MTV, Comedy Central, etc) have moved most or all of their feeds to MPEG4, requiring recompression to MPEG2 by Verizon. Presumably, DirecTV also recompresses these channels, though they also use MPEG4 instead of MPEG2.


Most compression artifacts on MPEG2 are caused by incorrect display settings. Excessively high contract and sharpness settings tend to accentuate the edges between MPEG2 blocks, causing the artifacts to be more noticeable than they would be on a properly-calibrated display. The MPEG4 encoding scheme used by DirecTV tends to blur rather than block, making these effects less noticeable. To the untrained eye, DirecTV may look better, but this is simply because the blocking is less pronounced due to the softening employed by the encoder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz /forum/post/16964308


Verizon's non-recompression only applies to channels distributed as MPEG2, which is an ever-decreasing fraction of HD channels. Many originators, including big names like Scripps (Food, HGTV, etc), HBO, and Viacom (Nick, MTV, Comedy Central, etc) have moved most or all of their feeds to MPEG4, requiring recompression to MPEG2 by Verizon. Presumably, DirecTV also recompresses these channels, though they also use MPEG4 instead of MPEG2.


Most compression artifacts on MPEG2 are caused by incorrect display settings. Excessively high contract and sharpness settings tend to accentuate the edges between MPEG2 blocks, causing the artifacts to be more noticeable than they would be on a properly-calibrated display. The MPEG4 encoding scheme used by DirecTV tends to blur rather than block, making these effects less noticeable. To the untrained eye, DirecTV may look better, but this is simply because the blocking is less pronounced due to the softening employed by the encoder.

i had read about screen settings as a possible cause for what i'm seeing and i have tried reducing sharpness, contrast etc. but was never able to get rid of the macroblocking.


in your first paragraph above, what does that mean in terms of pq for fios vs directv?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/16963685


Go back and read his comments; he is comparing DirecTV to FiOS, and believes DirecTV has less compression artifacts. All other things being equal, he has a technical issue with his FiOS service.

All other things are not equal. He's comparing his setup to his friend's, and not controlling for any number of variables.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcbrine /forum/post/16965917


All other things are not equal. He's comparing his setup to his friend's, and not controlling for any number of variables.

Obviously, not all things are equal, but if the screen shots accurately represent what he/she is seeing, that's a problem.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alleyooptroop /forum/post/16964421


i had read about screen settings as a possible cause for what i'm seeing and i have tried reducing sharpness, contrast etc. but was never able to get rid of the macroblocking.


in your first paragraph above, what does that mean in terms of pq for fios vs directv?

On the channels that are distributed as MPEG2, Verizon will have the best quality because they do not recompress. This includes most of the older HD channels like ESPN, HDNet, and TNT, and all of Fox's (FSN, BTN, FX, Speed, Fox News). On the MPEG4-distributed channels, things aren't as clear because both Verizon and DirecTV recompress; Verizon to MPEG2 so that the older boxes can use it, and DirecTV to MPEG4 so they can fit more channels. Verizon's MPEG2 will give sharper results at the expense of some occasional blocking on extreme scenes, while DirecTV's MPEG4 will simply wipe out more detail and produce a softer picture with fewer noticeable blocks on the screen.
 

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Quote:
On the MPEG4-distributed channels, things aren't as clear because both Verizon and DirecTV recompress; Verizon to MPEG2 so that the older boxes can use it, and DirecTV to MPEG4 so they can fit more channels.

It's a lot more clear than you are saying.


Using the term 'recompressing' is a misnomer. Transcoding from MPEG2 to MPEG4 does not necessary affect image quality, if additional compression is not used; this is how Verizon transcodes.
 

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Compressing with a lossy algorithm like MPEG2 or MPEG4 does necessarily mean data is discarded, affecting quality. This loss can be minimized by the use of good equipment and sufficient bitrate, but it will always be there. There's no magic wand to wave to convert MPEG4 to MPEG2 with 100% precision. In any conversion of this nature, the video is fully decoded and then fed into an encoder. More compression is always done. Whether it can be seen by the viewer depends on far too many factors to automatically say one is better than the other.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz /forum/post/16967978


In any conversion of this nature, the video is fully decoded and then fed into an encoder

Disagree. I've been told otherwise, by those who should know.
 

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There apparently are other factors at work which could cause a visible difference in PQ b/w an MPEG4 feed from D* vs. an OTA feed or an OTA/ local feed distributed by Verizon.


I consistently prefer D* HD DNS MPEG4 vs. OTA with identical programming and through the same receiver due to less macroblocking. Whether this due to some sort of "smoothing" effect from MPEG4 as has been mentioned I don't know.
 

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For those with 1080i/p displays with known full-resolution capability, wonder what HDNet's Saturday am resolution-wedge patterns would show between D* and FIOS (search HD.Net for times)? Non-numerical references, such as MPEG4 "smoothing," seem pretty vague. With this technique, (how to convert lines/PH to lines PW), effective-resolution comparisons should be possible. A few AVSers have reported nearly full 1920X1080 from HDNet's pattern. A while back a NYC-area FIOS subscriber measured about 1400 lines effective resolution with a 1080p display. In general, clearly not a complete description of PQ, but grist for the comparison mill. -- John
 
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