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DBSTalk.com First Look: HR23-700

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Doug Brott, Nov 2, 2008.

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  1. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    You're probably already aware of this, but just in case... besides MPEG-2 vs. MPEG-4 compression differences, you are comparing two different TV inputs in this example, so it's quite possible that default color, contrast, sharpness, tint, etc. are adjusted slightly different by the display manufacturer for each input. I'm not saying that is absolutely the case, but it certainly could be the case. And if so, you would expect the display to be accurately calibrated "out of the box" for it's own OTA tuner. /steve
     
  2. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    The argument seemed to be that digital was digital and every device would obviously have to put out the same signal. Because displays seem to have to be calibrated for each input, this would seem to invalidate the claim.

    Those who are paying attention know that conversion circuitry includes capabilities other than converting from MPEG to raw. It also includes motion compensation and various algorithms that generally clean up the picture. That's how some of these upconverting DVD players and outboard converters manage to render near-HD quality pictures. All of this is in play.
     
  3. Extreme2KEclipse

    Extreme2KEclipse Legend

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    Just to share, looks like Mastec in Florida is starting to install the HR23-700's. I happened to see this first look today before the technician arrived to see if I could choose the new reciever...he only had one receiver (I was his last install for the day) and it happened to be the HR23-700 =D

    Off to see if there's a CE for it tonight =D
     
  4. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    It kind of IS what I'm saying, but not exactly. If "any" DVR includes only those that are using the same sort of process (MPEG-4 decoding) as is used in the HR2x, and if they are working properly, then yes, there will be no subjective difference in PQ as displayed, especially if connected to the same display calibrated to the same parameters. There can still be a difference in objective perception between the two, but not due to any real differences that exist anywhere but within that perception itself, which is what I'm saying can be the only factor that led to a "difference" being reported, unless the calibration was not identical on the display inputs, of course.

    As a limited example of that, record an MPEG-2 signal on both a 5-year old HR10 and a brand new HR2x (leave the 23 out of the experiment for now, for obvious reasons). Compare them over HDMI to the same display calibrating each input the same, and yes, the PQ will be identical, even though the boxes could not be more different from each other, with completely-different hardware and tuners from completely-different vendors.

    If you really want to do an experiment that proves this, have your set FULLY calibrated and have an assistant choose the input, either HR22 or HR23, when you are not looking. Write down which DVR you think you see when only your assistant really knows, 20 times in a row, using freeze frames of the same still video. Then swap the HDMI cables at the DVRs, and do it all over again. That is a true double-blind experiment, and will prove the PQ is the same.

    And apologies to Richie, I kind of glossed over one point, which is that PQ is fixed within the digital domain only until it is manipulated within the digital domain. For the sake of brevity I left out the compression part of the signal chain which can indeed affect PQ, and does (by manipulating digital signals). But of course this affects all HR2x's identically, so is for that reason not a part of what might make PQ different among them.

    And, spoiler alert, we can therefore predict even this early, knowing that basic concept, that the new 2009 HD Tivo that can get MPEG-4 channels from DTV will also have identical PQ to all varieties of HR2x. If it decodes the same (and it has to) then PQ will be the same. That's the basic concept at work here, and it is very difficult to first wrap your mind around, I know, especially because we are so used to thinking in a completely different way regarding analog processing. It took me weeks to feel like I fully understood the concept comfortably, so I can sympathize with the reluctance to buy into this theory. But then it really is not a theory, it is a fact.

    And, Mike, you have hit directly on the crux of the matter, which is the paradigm shift that digital is compared to analog. We no longer live in a world where every product is based on a unique design that will affect the final outcome. Things have changed drastically and completely since the days of "Stereo Review" comparisons of analog equipment, and we need to throw off the mantle of common comparisons and embrace a new way of thinking regarding processes that are digital.

    Digital provides us with 2 things for HD:

    1) a framework for video that can reduce the sheer amount of voluminous data involved down to something manageable.

    2) a domain where PQ and AQ can be locked, unchangeable, and immutable, for as long as the data remains in that domain. This completely levels the playing field for all viewers. Unlike analog, EVERYONE gets the same original PQ all of the time. And this (#2) is the real difference, right here, at the basis of my claims.

    Analog had lots of problems that digital just doesn't have. For instance, out of 1000 1k-ohm resistors, probably 10 of them are actually 1k. Most of them range somewhere between 800 and 1200. Same for every other electronic component, and there are typically thousands of them in the typical analog audio receiver, for instance. When the value of components is slightly different, this affects the analog signal slightly for each non-perfect value, and the effect is cumulative for every non-standard component. For that reason, even two receivers from the same manufacturer of the same model can sound slightly different. Comparisons brand-to-brand can be significantly different, especially since everyone does things their own way.

    For digital signals, none of this matters, because none of this affects the quality one way or another. A $500 CD player with optical outputs from 1993 sounds EXACTLY like a $40 CD player from 2008, even though they are structurally nearly completely different, because the process used to move the signal from "grooves and lands" on the CD to PCM decoded by your receiver is virtually identical, and because the differences in the two will not affect the actual data enough to make the actual D-to-A process any different. That's the beauty of digital, in that it locks the quality by putting everything into a domain where analog differences in processing those digital signals are irrelevant.

    Likewise, once DTV digitizes and compresses the video on any channel, it is completely impossible (ignoring digital manipulation such as compression, which is the same for all receivers) to make any change to the PQ either accidentally or on purpose, until it gets to the decoding process in the DVR, and later the D-to-A process in your HDTV. None of the typical things that can change analog signals can have any affect on digital signals, assuming they are received properly. So everything remains equal for everybody, right up until the decoder in the DVR.

    Now does one DVR decode differently than another? Hardly. 99% of the intelligence in he encode/decode process is in the encoding and in manipulation of encoding parameters. Decoding is a fixed process, meant to be a method of making educated guesses about the data that was removed in encoding. It follows a very strict standard meant to be a reversal of the encoding process, and is done exactly the same in every decoder using any particular algorithm (in this case, MPEG-4 AVC part 10). The instructions for how to do this (decode) are written directly into the firmware of the chip, and being the identical algorithm, are written into any "new silicon" in an identical fashion, guaranteeing an identical outcome. Compliance between encoding and decoding is absolute.

    "New silicon" or differences in component values again have no way of modifying the process. For compressed/encoded video there is a set of existing coefficients, and a set of missing coefficients which are derived from FIXED instructions built into the MPEG-4 algorithm. Decoding will fill in the blanks with the new numbers and the end result will always be the same regardless of the "silicon" or supporting electronics, and therefore the PQ will not change simply by any possible virtue of a "new" DVR design.

    Things can indeed change once back to the analog domain, but with HDMI that doesn't happen until after the signal is safe inside your HDTV, so whatever DTV DVR you used to get it there can't possibly be a factor in the PQ you finally see. There is a lot of analog processing in EVERY HDTV, though, so one TV can look very different from the next.
     
  5. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Sorry, but no. You have confused the issue just a bit here.

    The first statement refers to perception, which as I have stated over and over again, is malleable. It is very possible that your perception is different from one DVR to the next, from one moment to the next, from one mood to the next, and from one expectation to the next. Again, that is part of the nature of human perception. IOW, I believe you perceived a difference. Otherwise, there would be no use in reporting it, which you did honestly, I'm quite sure.

    The second statement refers to the science which proves that a new DVR will not provide a different PQ, which I elaborated on above.

    Both statements are true. They are not in contradiction with each other whatsoever, which sort of removes the house of cards beneath your theory about MY credibility, on which charges you seem to have based it.

    IOW, you perceived a difference. Granted, but a difference which can not possibly exist. That's completely possible due to the nature of perception. Witnesses to crimes report wildly-different characteristics regarding the same purse-snatcher. If I'm colorblind, I might see a blue sky differently than you might. I couldn't tell that the blue lights on my HR20 were even on when wearing Blu-Blocker sunglasses the other day. My perception was that it was DOA. A misperception, of course.

    Perception is a funny thing. And a very involved process that is much more than just "seeing". We modify our senses significantly by secondary processes. Our job, as humans, is to try to make sense out of things, order out of chaos. Sometimes our senses can give us information that fools the perception process leading to incorrect conclusions. It's part of the human condition.
     
  6. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Only if you swallow your premise whole, which is a very different premise than mine. My premise is that while in the digital domain, nothing regarding the final decoded and converted to analog signal can change accidentally due to the nature of what actually can and can't affect the signal. Also, DTV does nothing while in that digital domain other than general compression, to make changes on purpose. Once in the analog domain, all bets are off for keeping PQ unchanged.

    You would have to first decompress to make changes, for one thing, which only happens very late in the game (in your DVR) and you would have to include active circuitry that performs mathematical operations on every digital coefficient in the restored 1.5 Gb/s data stream, which is extremely costly and impractical at a consumer level. Remember, DTV is actively finding new ways to reduce the cost of DVRs, not the exact opposite.

    The cost of digital manipulation of raw HD video is exactly why 99.99% of HDTVs convert all digital signals into the analog domain (YUV component HD) immediately as they exit the HDMI receiver chip and head for further processing while inside your TV. Your "digital" display is only "digital" in that it uses "digital" processing to handle the signals. But those signals are typically in the analog domain for the bulk of that "digital" processing. That's of course slightly different than what the sales literature would like to imply, but true, nevertheless. Processing within the analog domain in this case is actually a much better option than processing within the digital domain, whether the actual processing itself is handled "digitally" or not. It's a subtle difference, but an important one.

    Separately calibrated inputs make sense for analog signals, and make sense for those who want to sell TVs to savvy customers. But they are really not necessary for digital inputs. I had 3 HR10s connected by HDMI to my Sony. In the end, the calibration for each turned out to be exactly the same. Why? Because the output of each DVR was exactly the same. When the HDMI died on two and I had to revert to component, guess what, the calibration remained the same, which validates the accuracy of the YUV conversion process.

    Other than motion compensation as an inherent part of all MPEG-4 decoding, it is actually NOT in play for DTV DVRs. "Clean up the picture" is a very generous characterization IMHO of minimally-effective analog after circuitry (which, BTW, does not exist in current DVRs) and is even less effective on signals that are already arriving as digital and don't really need "cleanup" (and typically are bypassed out of the signal chain for them). As such, they can indeed create a slight perception of "improvement" in very limited cases where the PQ is questionable to begin with. Especially if the salesman told you they could and you laid out a couple of grand for the privilege.

    But then running a green magic marker around the edges of your CDs to soak up the red laser light that might otherwise reflect also can create the illusion of "improvement", even though if you "pay attention" enough to understand how D-to-A in a CD player actually works, you will understand how ludicrous that really is. They sold a lot of those at $20 a pop back in the 90's. P. T. Barnum was right.

    Most of us are already "paying attention". Some of us are even paying much closer attention than some who might think they are.
     
  7. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    Does anyone know when we will be able to get our hands on one of these HR23-700 DVRs?
     
  8. dave29

    dave29 New Member

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    there have been rumors of people receiving them from directv when ordering a new receiver online
     
  9. ndark

    ndark Cool Member

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    Hooked it all up this weekend and it worked perfectly. Ran the ethernet cable to the HR23 in ethernet1 and then ran another to the Samsung BD-P1500 from ethernet2 on the HR23. Right when I turned on the BD a message popped up telling me there was a new version of firmware.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  10. luckyram

    luckyram New Member

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    Has anyone seen a HR23-100 on display for purchase (lease-able) yet?

    I'd really like to get one but DTV doesn't have them advertised yet and the phone drone says they can't guarantee which box I'll get...yada, yada
     
  11. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I'm not aware of an HR23-100 .. I did check out the Best Buy here today and they had HR22-100.

    The HR23 model is from pace an HR23-700
     
  12. loudo

    loudo Well-Known Member

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    Was in BB today and they just had HR22's.
     
  13. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    The HR23-700 is not out yet commercially even though some installers may have received them by now. I have looked at valueelectronics.com and solidsignal.com and neither have reported that they have the unit it yet and they are usually the first to get the Directv units especially Value Electronics which is owned by Robert who is Earl's buddy.
     
  14. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I demand evidence of this. From the very beginning it has been surmised that DIRECTV is "punching up" their MPEG4 HD content.

    Even digital equipment has "resolution" factors associated with the processing. Switching rates and other factors tell us that digital isn't 100% accurate when converting from one domain to another.
     
  15. idontfeelright

    idontfeelright New Member

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    I'm a Technician for DTV and I can confirm that I just got a truckload of HR-23-700's!! Woo Hoo
     
  16. Roger Atkinson

    Roger Atkinson New Member

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    Does anyone know what the remote control code would be for the new DTV, HR23NC-700 HDDVR. I have an Onkyo AV receiver, I would like to use the remote from it to control the HDDVR, but lack the correct code number. Any assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Roger
     
  17. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member DBSTalk Club

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    Do the Onkyos even control the DirecTV HD DVRs well? I'd imagine there would be a lot of functions unavailable with the Onkyo remote. I've got an Onkyo myself and find its remote way too complicated. That's one reason I popped for a Harmony 880.
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

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    If you ever get a chance to take one apart, I'd be real curious to know what CPU is inside those puppies. 7038/7411 combo, 7401 or 7400? TIA. /steve
     
  19. stewa348

    stewa348 Cool Member

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    I currently have a H20-600 connected to a slimline dish. I am interested in switching to the new Hr23-700. Will I have to have a second line run for the second tuner, or does the slimline dish have the SMW that you are talking about? Thanks for your help.
     
  20. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

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    What's the benefit of the HR23 over my HR20?
     
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