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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've tried searching everywhere, even did a search option for it and couldn't find anything that really answered my question. I know it's been talked about extensively here but to find a specific post that answers it is like finding a needle in a hay stack as you may well know.


I'm in Houston, Tx. I'm a D* subscriber with the HD Package and I think the HD channels (non-OTA/local) look pretty good. However...pretty much anywhere I turn to, regardless of which board it might be I keep seeing posts on how D* suffers from HD Lite and how this is not an issue on cable HD programming.


I guess the most suitable to direct this toward is to those whom previously had DirecTV HD service and have since then dropped D* in favor of cable HD because of this supposed "HD-Lite" issue D* suffers from. I've had my HDTV for about 3 months now and the first guys I've gone with are D* so I have zero HD experience with cable to make a comparion on. I only know of the HD material D* offers.


Like I said already, I think the HD programming for national channels like TNT, Universal, Discovery, HDNet and such look great....very HD like, nothing HD-Lite like that I can discern....but again, I have nothing else to make a comparison with so how valid can my surmise be that D* has pretty good HD material, right?


Those of you who've had both....does D* suffer from this supposed HD-Lite? If it does....using TNT HD aired movies as an example, does this particular channel look significantly superior on cable HD versus D*'s? Does the PQ difference warrant one to drop D* in favor of cable (TWC in my area) to attain the best HD PQ available and not getting hosed into believing I'm actually getting HD programming on D* when I'm really not?


Thank you all in advance.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Rafsta /forum/post/0


I've tried searching everywhere, even did a search option for it and couldn't find anything that really answered my question. I know it's been talked about extensively here but to find a specific post that answers it is like finding a needle in a hay stack as you may well know.


I'm in Houston, Tx. I'm a D* subscriber with the HD Package and I think the HD channels (non-OTA/local) look pretty good. However...pretty much anywhere I turn to, regardless of which board it might be I keep seeing posts on how D* suffers from HD Lite and how this is not an issue on cable HD programming.


I guess the most suitable to direct this toward is to those whom previously had DirecTV HD service and have since then dropped D* in favor of cable HD because of this supposed "HD-Lite" issue D* suffers from. I've had my HDTV for about 3 months now and the first guys I've gone with are D* so I have zero HD experience with cable to make a comparion on. I only know of the HD material D* offers.


Like I said already, I think the HD programming for national channels like TNT, Universal, Discovery, HDNet and such look great....very HD like, nothing HD-Lite like that I can discern....but again, I have nothing else to make a comparison with so how valid can my surmise be that D* has pretty good HD material, right?


Those of you who've had both....does D* suffer from this supposed HD-Lite? If it does....using TNT HD aired movies as an example, does this particular channel look significantly superior on cable HD versus D*'s? Does the PQ difference warrant one to drop D* in favor of cable (TWC in my area) to attain the best HD PQ available and not getting hosed into believing I'm actually getting HD programming on D* when I'm really not?


Thank you all in advance.

D* has used HDLITE since 2003. A normal HDTV picutre is 1920 lines by 1080 lines (or 1280 lines x720 lines).


D* saves bandwidth by throwing out every 3rd line so the 1920x1080 becomes 1280x1080.


They then stretch the picture back out on your screen so if your TV has a smaller screen, isn't 1080 native or is a set unable to to resolve higher resolutions (as most consumers have) they hope you do will not notice it.


This is only one of the things that goes into how a picture looks. If a program had a full 1920x1080 picture transmitted 30 times a second it would look the best. Unfortunately, that would take too much bandwidth and cannot be accomplished in the bandwidth an OTA TV station or what a cable company or satellite company is able to allocate to each channel.


Thus they send out a full picture and subsequent pictures only contain the changes in the original picture. How often you send out a full picture is critical to quality (and takes more bandwidth). The suppliers generally send out a full frame every 1/2 second - but D* only send out a full frame every second - again, saving bandwidth.


Thus as there is movement on a screen - or god forbid - a scene change - the picture gets fuzzier and fuzzier until the next full frame is sent.


This is very much an over simplificaiton of the I-Frame, B-Frame and P-Frame (and Fox for example will use variable lengths between I-Frames), but you get the idea.


Thus D* throws away 1/2 the lines and then sends out a full picture 1/2 as often the original.


What D* does is set in stone - its an absolute.


What a local cable company does is not. It varies from system to system, however, no one has a verified report of cable reducing the picture from 1920x1080 to 1280x1080. What SOME cable companies do is reduce the amount of bitrate to a channel - thus the pictures will not have a the sharp focus that they could at a higher bitrate.


Thus, the picture from you local cable company might be better than D* - or it might be worse than D*.


But that is the basic in a nutshell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So in essence it's give or take depending on what card you get dealt with? Damn it!!


I really wish I would have tried TWC with HD package first before going with D* to compare for myself.
 

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Very good explanation
 

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Excellent HDTVF.


But there is one missing part of the equation: your eyes (and, of course, your monitor).


Because it really doesn't matter how many lines or pixels or anything else a provider transmits if your own eyes can't see the difference -- even if someone else CAN.


So it is up to you, Da Rafsta, to check a real TV broadcasting "real" HD, and then, if possible, watch a set next to it providing the DirecTV feed. Next best test: flip back and forth from the D* version to OTA.


Perhaps you can do it with an OTA signal in your own area. Perhaps not.


But what matters is if you see any difference in PQ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0


Excellent HDTVF.


But there is one missing part of the equation: your eyes (and, of course, your monitor).


Because it really doesn't matter how many lines or pixels or anything else a provider transmits if your own eyes can't see the difference -- even if someone else CAN.


So it is up to you, Da Rafsta, to check a real TV broadcasting "real" HD, and then, if possible, watch a set next to it providing the DirecTV feed. Next best test: flip back and forth from the D* version to OTA.


Perhaps you can do it with an OTA signal in your own area. Perhaps not.


But what matters is if you see any difference in PQ.

Excellent....great point!


I'll use that to compare and have done it already actually.


I do get OTA and the reception is superb! Local OTA HD looks phenomenal. It's (the OTA HD I get) no D* so it can't be HD-Lite.


When I tune into that same local HD broadcast via D*...the difference isn't very discernable thus not really making a difference. I watch my locals via OTA even though there's no difference noticeable enough to really choose between the two but I keep it on OTA cause logic (my eyes simply can't) tells me that OTA has to be technically better as I avoid the middle man (D*) and get the broadcast straight from the source themselves.


Is it possible that in my are, HD via D* just might be real HD and not HD-Lite? Or is the case that if D* suffers from HD-Lite then it's been proven to be HD-Lite across the board, regardless of what city or state you reside in?


For the record...my set is a Samsung HL-S6187W and don't even have my H20 connected via HDMI but instead via component and I still think the PQ of HD material with D* is quite impressive when comparing it to local OTA HD material, unable to notice any difference if any in a source (TV source button) by source comparison.
 

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It seems to me the PQ from the new H20 is substantially better than the HD TiVos. (I am leaving the argument about which interface is more user-friendly out of this discussion!)


Even on the national HD channels (which are still, as best I understand) MPEG-2), the PQ is slightly better on the H20. At least to my eyes.


But the locals (which here in LA, and everywhere they are ofered, I believe) are MPEG-4, when received through the H20) are a different story. When switching back and forth from that source and OTA, I cannot really tell any difference.


(And DirecTV, without any announcement, just added The CW and Channel 13 [MNTV] the other night. So we get six local channels and whatever games the two RSNs offer. The PQ, -- again with the caveat to my eyes -- is demonstrably better for all those channels than when I receive four local stations via the HDTiVo.)


But, as in all things, YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Rafsta /forum/post/0


Excellent....great point!


I'll use that to compare and have done it already actually.


I do get OTA and the reception is superb! Local OTA HD looks phenomenal. It's (the OTA HD I get) no D* so it can't be HD-Lite.


When I tune into that same local HD broadcast via D*...the difference isn't very discernable thus not really making a difference. I watch my locals via OTA even though there's no difference noticeable enough to really choose between the two but I keep it on OTA cause logic (my eyes simply can't) tells me that OTA has to be technically better as I avoid the middle man (D*) and get the broadcast straight from the source themselves.


Is it possible that in my are, HD via D* just might be real HD and not HD-Lite? Or is the case that if D* suffers from HD-Lite then it's been proven to be HD-Lite across the board, regardless of what city or state you reside in?


For the record...my set is a Samsung HL-S6187W and don't even have my H20 connected via HDMI but instead via component and I still think the PQ of HD material with D* is quite impressive when comparing it to local OTA HD material, unable to notice any difference if any in a source (TV source button) by source comparison.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0


Excellent HDTVF.


But there is one missing part of the equation: your eyes (and, of course, your monitor).


Because it really doesn't matter how many lines or pixels or anything else a provider transmits if your own eyes can't see the difference -- even if someone else CAN.


So it is up to you, Da Rafsta, to check a real TV broadcasting "real" HD, and then, if possible, watch a set next to it providing the DirecTV feed. Next best test: flip back and forth from the D* version to OTA.


Perhaps you can do it with an OTA signal in your own area. Perhaps not.


But what matters is if you see any difference in PQ.

I believe if you will check I did answer that it was dependent on the monitor


Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic /forum/post/0


They then stretch the picture back out on your screen so if your TV has a smaller screen, isn't 1080 native or is a set unable to to resolve higher resolutions (as most consumers have) they hope you do will not notice it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Rafsta /forum/post/0


Is it possible that in my are, HD via D* just might be real HD and not HD-Lite? Or is the case that if D* suffers from HD-Lite then it's been proven to be HD-Lite across the board, regardless of what city or state you reside in?

Now you are sounding like our friend in Ohio who claims he has a different feed of UniversalHD than everyone else in the country



Back to reality, D*'s signal (outside of some testing on HD-LIL in different markets) is the same for everyone nationwide.


You should also be aware that on their SD channels, they go from 640x480 - giving you SD-LITE at 480x480 - again throwing away 25% of the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0


But, as in all things, YMMV.

What's implied here? Are you saying that my OTA HD reception might not be strong enough and that's why my D* HD material is comparable to OTA HD reception which therefore means that the same way D* outputs HD-Lite....thus my OTA HD reception is HD-Lite as well since it's not strong enough? I'm around 25 miles from the towers on average and I never really have an issues with trying to get a good signal from my local OTA HD sources.


That's the only thing I can think of cause mileage, in my mind, is a non-existent factor with D* as it's satellite based so a conviction can't be made that one geographical area is better/closer to the satellites than another. That sounds peculiar to me and quite ludacrous....but alas, I could be wrong. If I am, please correct me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa /forum/post/0


Even on the national HD channels (which are still, as best I understand) MPEG-2), the PQ is slightly better on the H20. At least to my eyes.

What you are seeing is the evolution of output circuits in the STB that continue to pass higher and higher resolution.


This is true with Dish and Cable STBs as well.


The S/A 3250HD could only resolve around 950 lines, the S/A8300HD 2 years later could resolve upwards of 1300 lines. A cablecard does not have to convert data to YPbPr or DVI/HDMI and convert it back in the set, thus they have resolutions upward of what is possible in the set's internal circuits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic /forum/post/0


Now you are sounding like our friend in Ohio who claims he has a different feed of UniversalHD than everyone else in the country



Back to reality, D*'s signal (outside of some testing on HD-LIL in different markets) is the same for everyone nationwide.


You should also be aware that on their SD channels, they go from 640x480 - giving you SD-LITE at 480x480 - again throwing away 25% of the picture.

LOL...come on now, I'm only inquiring...
I figured that much (what you brought up) but figured I'd ask while I had you well informed folks' attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic /forum/post/0


What you are seeing is the evolution of output circuits in the STB that continue to pass higher and higher resolution.


This is true with Dish and Cable STBs as well.


The S/A 3250HD could only resolve around 950 lines, the S/A8300HD 2 years later could resolve upwards of 1300 lines. A cablecard does not have to convert data to YPbPr or DVI/HDMI and convert it back in the set, thus they have resolutions upward of what is possible in the set's internal circuits.

Oh yeah, so with the help of my hardware, I could be making up for some of the shortcomings of HD-Lite........or is this something I should throw out the window as chances of not getting hosed with my D* HD package subscription?
 

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D* can do HDLITE all they want (in theory) if the output of their STB circuits only resolve 1100 lines as you would (in theory again) not notice the resolution being worse.


Once the output circuits manage to match the limitations of the system, further advances will most certainly show the limitations of the delivery.


I walked into the Qualia store in Las Vegas 2 years ago and the picture from the Qualia 004 looked like dogmeat (not a good selling point for a $30,000 projector) and since I never speak my mind
immediately said in a few seconds this looks like dogmeat (I said dog something and it wasn't meat - but the better for the censors here).


Obviously, this took the salesperson by surprise - as he was using HDNET and DiscoveryHD. Knowing full well those channels looked much better than what I was seeing, it took all of about 60 seconds to realize and confirm the Sony Store was using Directv HDLITE.


After I persuaded him to put on a BluRay Disc, the projector performed as it should - but again - 2 years ago I could tell in literally seconds the picture wasn't right with the output circuits available at that time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic /forum/post/0


After I persuaded him to put on a BluRay Disc, the projector performed as it should - but again - 2 years ago I could tell in literally seconds the picture wasn't right with the output circuits available at that time.

They had a BluRay Disc player available to hook up to it 2 years ago?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vman41 /forum/post/0


They had a BluRay Disc player available to hook up to it 2 years ago?

Qualia Store = Sony


Yes - and they had numerous things from their Studios (Spiderman 2 for example) - remember they have been available in Japan for a while.


It was demo unit for the Qualia 004/006 HD room only. Not for sale.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Rafsta /forum/post/0


What's implied here? Are you saying that my OTA HD reception might not be strong enough and that's why my D* HD material is comparable to OTA HD reception which therefore means that the same way D* outputs HD-Lite....thus my OTA HD reception is HD-Lite as well since it's not strong enough?

I've found that multicasting OTA stations -- must be careful here to keep vow not to bash -- that their HD PQ clearly isn't as good as those that don't multicast. HD Lite is HD Lite is HD Lite!
 

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One thing I didn't see mentioned is that signal strength is not an issue. You will know when it is too weak, there will be macroblocking and audio dropouts. If you are not getting any macroblocking the picture is as good as it gets.


Another point is that if your display is 720p native (which most are but that is changing) you wont notice the D* downrezzing because the display would scale the 1920 to 1280 anyway.


In other words, the picture quality issue has so many variables there is no one answer
 
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