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Hi, I was wondering if any of you guys knew which offers the best quality in picture between these choices, even though they are SD channels I still want to know which is the best SD picture I can get:


1. OTA Stream using HDTV antenna into STB (I wanted to emphasize the HDTV antenna as there is an obvious difference between analog and digital SD)


2. Direct stream off the channel on DirectTV


3. Direct stream off the channel on Dish Network


4. Direct stream off the channel on a digital cable provider.


Thanks in advance.
 

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Well, it really depends. With OTA, you know it's not getting re-compressed, but at the same time, they could be multiplexing multiple feeds off of their one frequency, which can reduce quality. Cable could use rate shaping or other re-compression to reduce bandwidth requirements, but on the other hand they could be getting direct feeds of the HD channel before any multiplexing. DirecTV is already known to do some re-compression on some of their HD channels, which can reduce quality, though some who have compared them to Dish say they can't tell the difference. To the best of my knowledge, Dish has not yet done any re-compression to their HD feeds.


At this point, I think you will find a much greater quality difference between the material (film vs. video, how it was mastered, etc.) than you will in various ways the signal gets to you. There may be a point where some carriers have a definite edge over others, but at the rate the technology, available bandwidth, expansion, etc. are going, I don't think there's much difference that you can count on right now.
 

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It depends on how the station is digitizing the signal. I have seen some pretty poor NTSC to 601 decoders being employed by some stations.


If done properly, the answer is number 1.


Coming in second, ahead of 2, 3 and 4, is one you didn't mention. If you get a good signal, that is free of ghosts and noise, off air reception of the analog signal will be better than any dish or cable provider.
 
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