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Are SD channels supposed to be THIS bad?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by F1aReD, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    While its certain that DIRECTV actually down-rezes SD channels this way in addition to MPEG (over) compression P. Smith, how do you know that OTA broadcast stations down-rez SD and then heavily compress on their secondary sub-channels in a likewise manner?

    I know the broadcast stations obviously use a high compression on any secondary SD sub-channels what with only a 19.3 mb/s total bit rate to work with and not wishing to really infringe upon their main HD sub-channel. But I wasn't aware of any standard practice of down-rezing of the original source material before compression as DIRECTV does.
     
  2. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Using OTA 8VSB receivers like Hauppauge! WinTV-HDR 950 and TSReader. Well I didn't state sub-channels are downrezzing, but I could check it fast here.
     
  3. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    I thought that was the implication of your categorization of a "normal" SD channel as opposed to a "sub-channel" one mentioned in your post to CCarncross earlier. That they down-rez and compress like DIRECTV as well.

    But anyhow I didn't know that TSReader could give the true image resolution of a DTV station's programming other than a standard stock listing for SD channels of 720 x 480 or 704 x 480.

    When I check the latest TSReader captures regularly posted on Trip Ericson's (Mark Colombo) web-site at RabbitEars.Info.com, it merely lists those two standard resolutions for all SD entries that I see.
     
  4. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    TSReader doing parsing video meta data for each PID/video service and do show what is streaming. Yes, it is what in stream... name it true or station's - it would be same physical parameter.
     
  5. jimbo56

    jimbo56 Legend

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    Correct website is RabbitEars.info
     
  6. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    This thread has changed the way I have my DVR set up on my Panasonic plasma, and I think it makes the SD channels look better.

    As I said upthread, I've used "Native On" and "Original Format" with on my DVR in the past. I also select all the resolutions on the DVR: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. Except for obviously a 1080p movie, all of the upconverting was done by the Panasonic.

    I haven't liked "Native Off" and "Pillar Box" because 720p broadcasts lost something after being upgraded by the DVR to 1080i (sorry, Maruuk).

    Yesterday, I switched to the DVR to "Native On" and "Pillar Box", and I have only the 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions selected. That way, 1080i and 720p HD broadcasts are delivered in their native resolutions to the Panasonic, but SD broadcasts are now upconverted to 1080i by the DVR. I'd swear they look better.

    A side benefit is the HD Guide now fills the entire screen even when watching SD broadcasts since only HD is sent from the DVR to the television. Plus since I have my television's aspect control on my Harmony remote, I can use "Zoom" to have the SD picture fill the screen if I have a windowboxed broadcast, with black bars on all four sides. I still like watching TCM, even in SD. I'd rather watch "Some Like It Hot" in widescreen SD than not watch it at all.

    Here's an old dog who learned a new trick.
     
  7. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Hey, nice idea;

    Trying it out myself here (HR22-100) and the PQ does seem to look somewhat better and I really like it that the HD-GUI remains in its native 16 x 9 format instead of it usually squeezed horizontally into a 4:3 frame when viewing it on an SD channel.

    Just one possible note of correction though. With native on and only 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions checked in the settings, the DVR scales SD channels only up to 720p not 1080i.
     
  8. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    Thanks. I think it's a good trick, too.

    I'm really pleased with the result, especiall now having the Guide in HD at all times. I watched Q&A on C-SPAN last night. There is no SD channel more compressed than C-SPAN, and I'd swear it looked better. Maybe I'm delusional, but I think the DVR does a better job at upgrading from 480i than my Panasonic plasma.

    And you are right about SD only going up to 720p. I would have sworn... Oh, well, it all gets upscaled to 1080p by the television, anyway.
     
  9. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Another pleasant surprise I notice about this "new" method too is that since my HDTV apparently bases its default format setting on an input signal's resolution and not its actual format (or aspect ratio). Under the "old" method whenever I watch a local news/PI channel here called "California NonStop" (OTA KNBC 4-2) which is a 480i 16:9 SD signal, my TV ignores the format and defaults to "4:3" regardless for all 480i/p resolution programs which annoyingly squeezes the image back to 4:3.

    I had to manually place my TV on "Wide" setting to correct the distortion, then remember to return the set back to its 4:3 default setting when finished viewing otherwise all other 4:3 SD programs tuned to would be stretched to 16:9.

    The DVR however seems to be based solely on the received program's format, not its resolution. So with the DVR placed on 16:9 in the settings, even an SD signal gets treated like an HD one if its native format is 16:9. So the format setting of the remote has no effect on the display and my TV automatically defaults to "Wide" for proper display of the 16:9 SD picture without me having to switch the set manually.

    Great side benefit .... :)
     
  10. SPACEMAKER

    SPACEMAKER Freethinker

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    I unchecked the 480i and 480p. Can't see a huge difference but it appears that it keeps the guide from showing up in SD when I am on an SD channel. That right there is a bonus.
     
  11. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    This 16:9 local channel you speak of - I have a similar situation. Our local Antenna TV is shown 16:9 widescreen SD (WGHP 8.2 Greensboro NC). They pillar box the shows but show local commercials in 16:9 (if they ever did a newscast on there, I assume it wouls be 16:9, too). It used to come in on the AM21 but something happened to it on the Directv end and it no longer does. The engineer is working with Directv to get it fixed. That's not my point...

    My point is another question... Do you have the directv box set to Pillar Box or something else? Without the functioning 8.2 to play with, I can't test it for myself.
     
  12. HoTat2

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    I normally keep the DVR on Pillar Box for this new configuration so 4:3 SD channels (which constitute all but CA. NonStop in this market) aren't stretched to 16:9 when tuned to them.

    But as I stated the interesting point is when its a 16:9 SD program, the DVR (when on 16:9 in its settings) treats it just like an HD signal and the DVR's format setting has no effect on it.

    The output always remains in a 16:9 aspect ratio irrespective of the DVR's format setting, even when viewing it at 480i resolution.
     
  13. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    Gotcha. That's what I thought you meant - and what I was hoping to see.
     
  14. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    There is a BIG difference in SD quality depending on what kind of TV you have!!

    When my old tube-type TV broke down, I went to a TV dealer looking for a new flat screen HDTV. I like watching classic TV shows and channels that aren't in HD and I had no intention of subscribing to HD from DirecTV (and still don't).

    Much to my shock, the local TV dealer had their "wall of TV's" tuned to HBO instead of a hidden Blu-Ray DVD player running a film that looks impressive in HD. It was early on a weekday and there were no other customers so I asked if the cable box could be tuned to HBO SD so I could compare the sets in SD. "We don't have cable-we have DirecTV" the salesman said!! "But we can only get HD channels" he continued. He also advised me that others have requested a comparison. After advising the salesman that you could indeed get SD versions of the channels from DirecTV he told me none of the other salespeople could figure out how. "Oh, I know how" I told the bemused salesman and quickly proceeded to "unhide" the SD channels on the HR21-300 they had!

    What a shock!!! It was UNBELIEVABLE the difference in quality when looking at the "wall of TV's" in SD while they all looked pretty much the same in HD. Some were so blurry they were indeed unwatchable.

    But a Toshiba REGZA looked sharp and clear in SD obviously because the designers knew people were going to be watching SD for a long time. In addition, it had a wonderful feature called "Theater Wide". This eliminates the black bars at the top and bottom BUT it also only stretches the picture at the very left and right sides to fill the screen so the content in the middle is undistorted. I bought one on the spot and love it to this day-three years later.

    That's why I still have SD and find the quality from DirecTV to be excellent. I use an R22 and feed the Toshiba TV with an HDMI cable in 480p.
     
  15. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Interesting. What size flat screen did you get for SD? Did the good SD look good on larger Toshiba's as well as the smaller ones?
     
  16. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    42"

    On the small (32" and smaller) TV's there was much less of a difference between SD and HD. On the 42" it wasn't bad. But if you went up to one of those monsters you would constantly be grumbling about the "out of focus" perception when watching SD-even on the Toshiba. Remember, it's just like a photograph. If you get wallet size prints they are sharp and clear. But if you blow them up they lose resolution quickly and get fuzzy.
     
  17. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    ... but but but... WHY not have HD? It's free with auto pay!?!?!
     
  18. Glen_D

    Glen_D Legend

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    Depends on what programming package you have. The lesser programming packages aren't eligible for free HD for existing customers.
     
  19. Red Orc

    Red Orc Legend

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    My SD channels don't look that bad. They don't look anywhere nearly as good as the HD channels but I would definitely not describe them as unwatchable. And until DTV gets DIY BBC America National Geographic Wild & the Cooking Channel in HD I don't have any choice but to watch them in SD.
    I have an LG 42". I don't remember the model # but it's about three years old.
     
  20. CCarncross

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    It definitely helps that its only a 42" tv...try a 55" or bigger....:nono2:
     

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