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MPEG-4 HD Quality

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by jeffnebraska, Nov 7, 2006.

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  1. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    Actually, I get told constantly by cable people that most cable companies don't mess with the MPEG2 stream they get OTA, and just remodulate the 8VSB signal into QAM, which doesn't change the quality at all.
     
  2. rsonnens

    rsonnens Legend

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    Nov 7, 2006
    NBC in the SF Bay area is worse than other local stations as well. It both has more pixelation on shows that are 'darker', like Studio 60 OTSS; also often a yellow column of pixles on the far let of the screen (this ONLY shows if your set can display full 1080i with no cropping/overscan--almost all sets crop some by default.)

    I am wondering if the issue is a local problem or a NBC problem.
     
  3. tzphotos.com

    tzphotos.com Godfather

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    Jul 12, 2006
    Just some background. I have been watching all my locals via OTA in Chicago for at least 3 years.

    I just had my first chance to see the MPEG4 HD Locals. ouch! They are no comparison to the OTA signal. I was watching this afternoons football game and as soon as the camera started to pan the grass(details) disapeared. Lots of microblocking when there is fast movement or flashes on the screen.

    I feel real lucky I have access to the orginal OTA HD signals, It's too bad my brother lives to far from Chicago to get the OTA without a large antenna.

    Maybe someday DirecTV will get the MPEG4 HD Locals looking better. Hopefully it is just a matter of getting a better MPEG4 Encoder upgrade.

    I also checked out 640 which is the local Comcast sports network and saw a lot of shimmering around the graphics and it didn't look good at all.

    I was thinking about putting a 5LNB dish up so I can get the national MPEG4 stations, but I think I will wait if this is what they will look like.

    I am really disapointed and was hoping to see a better picture than I saw from the MPEG4 HD Locals.

    I have to say when there was very little fast movement they looked pretty good.
     
  4. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    If you don't have a 5 LNB dish, you were not seeing the MPEG4 locals.
     
  5. tzphotos.com

    tzphotos.com Godfather

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    Jul 12, 2006
    I saw it at my brother's house.
     
  6. EMoMoney

    EMoMoney Godfather

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    Dec 18, 2005
    I felt the same way at first. The locals here in Baltimore were horrible, but the quality is five times better now.
     
  7. uncrules

    uncrules Godfather

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    Dec 20, 2005
    I just got an HR20 yesterday and while watching the NFL playoffs I couldn't tell a difference between the MPEG-4 locals from D* and the HD locals from OTA. I'm in the Greensboro, NC market.
     
  8. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Allen, TX
    They've greatly improved in Dallas. Fox has some dropout issues, but the BCS games are near OTA quality.
     
  9. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Nov 15, 2005

    Something is wrong then...

    I have been on MPEG-4 since last January.
    I have watched the entire Bears season this year via MPEG-4, until the last game.

    My TV is a native 720p system, so I have my unit fixed to that.
    And at least on FOX, I just can't see a difference between OTA and MPEG-4.
    Maybe when I stand right next to the TV... but when I sit on my chair, just don't see it.

    NBC I have seen it with some of their game coverage, but their series have been pretty good.

    CBS I haven't seen OTA CBS in a very long time, so nothing to compare. But the quality is pretty good.

    ABC though... I have seen a difference, and DirecTV is looking into it, as it was very different. But I don't watch much on ABC.

    For Comcast SportsNet...
    I have no comparison point for that, as I haven't seen it via the local cable-co
     
  10. rcoleman111

    rcoleman111 Guest

    I think the HD locals look great, but maybe that's because I'm accustomed to watching SD TV.
     
  11. tzphotos.com

    tzphotos.com Godfather

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    Jul 12, 2006
    Earl,

    The game I was watching yesterday was on CBS 2. I didn't see a direct comparison due to the fact that he doesn't get OTA out where he lives.

    I have been watching OTA for a while at my house and what I saw via MPEG4 was no comparison.

    I also turned on some bull riding on NBC 5 and could see a lot of microblocking during fast movement.

    As for Comcast it was just down right ugly. If that is what Comcast/FSN is putting out that is bad.

    He just completed the 5LNB dish yesterday, so he hasn't had that much viewing as of yet, but I did see the diffence.

    I am just hoping things don't look like that on the future MPEG4 National HD channels.

    I can still remember back when DirecTV first started how bad the PQ was and they gradually improved it, granted they seem to be going in the other direction, when it comes to the SD channels.
     
  12. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    The NBC Bullriding yesterday, I don't think was in HD... I didn't spend much time watching so....

    Hmmm I did watch most of the CBS Game yesterday, and really didn't see "that" bad of a picture... I haven't seen OTA CBS (as I said), in a very long time so..

    Comcast Sportsnet always looks "washed out" and bad... but I didn't think there was any HD on yesterday.... Sure you where on the MPEG-4 version? as it is 2nd in the list of 640's

    It's all about the bandwith.
     
  13. tzphotos.com

    tzphotos.com Godfather

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    Jul 12, 2006
    The guide didn't state that the Bull riding was HD, but it was.

    There was some kind of College game that I flipped on via Comcast. I have always thought FSN/Comcast was really bad in SD so I have no way of comparing it to Comcasts HD feed from another source.

    All in all I am just hoping it is a matter of tweaking the MPEG4 encoder to keep improving the MPEG4 HD image.
     
  14. Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

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    Hmm...

    Funny...they can't manage to get all of their other programming in HD... but they can get Bull-Riding...

    Ah well.
     
  15. johnz16

    johnz16 New Member

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    Nov 2, 2006
    Ok, I'm tzphotos.com's brother and everything he has mentioned reflects pretty much what I've been experiencing. I have been using the HR20 for about 3 months now and have been fairly happy with it (only one RBR so far).

    Like my brother said, getting the OTA locals for me is difficult if I don't have an antenna on the roof of my home so i really have nothing to compare it to. What I have noticed though is live events like football or basketball seem to have the microblocking and what I relly noticed was during a bulls game if a camera flash went off you would see some "artifacts".

    Pre recorded programming looked far better. For example last night Desperate Housewives looked really good.

    I installed the 5lnb dish myself and I believe I have it lined up really well. I spent about 1 hour actually aligning the dish using the instructions (along with the Accutrac22 pro signal meter) and following the installer videos found on Solid Signals website. I was wondering if the dish were slightly out of alignment would that create the problems we saw with the football broadcast.

    The HR20 is hooked via HDMI into a Sony KDS-55A2000 SXRD. The HR20 is set to 1080i.
     
  16. jediphish

    jediphish Godfather

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    Dec 3, 2005
    Can someone explain to me how D* "grabbs the OTA signal" from every local affilliate in every market that is offered? Does this mean that D* has set up antennas in every market to receive the terrestrial transmissions. If that is the case, then wouldn't the sat-delivered HD channels suffer the same problems that all users of OTA antennas encounter (multipath, blocked reception, etc.). Has D* purchased land directly within line of sigh of every transmitter just for this purpose.

    I'm no expert, so please excuse my ignorance on this particular subject.
     
  17. spolaski

    spolaski Legend

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    Sep 12, 2006
    I think there's a couple of factors:

    1) Sports programming is subject to rapid scene changes which can cause macroblocking. Camera flashes are also notorious problem makers. The first time I ever noticed the effect myself was years ago watching Twister on Pay per view. With each lightning flash the entire screen macro-blocked. I didn't know anything about video compression at the time and recall being kind of puzzled by it. It's annoying, and probably something that won't go away anytime soon.

    Pre-recorded shows (despite my example of Twister) often have less fast scene changes and compress with less loss and macroblocking.

    2) Bit-starved broadcasts. Whether it be from the source or from D* some broadcasts are bit-starved. This means that they're being over-compressed to save bandwidth. This is analogous to using a low bit-rate when ripping music to your computer resulting in a higher loss of fidelity (but lower file size). At it's worst, a broadcast would look like one of those imbedded reporters reporting from Iraq.

    If you're getting a signal that isn't pixelating or freezing constantly your signal strength shouldn't be a factor.
     
  18. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    No, when you're dealing with digital signals, you either have the signal or you don't. The PQ doesn't change with the signal level.
     
  19. Jeremy W

    Jeremy W Hall Of Fame

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    They have LRFs (Local Receive Facilities) in every market where they offer locals. Most of the time, they are just grabbed OTA with an antenna. But those issues you mentioned are all problems that can be resolved when installing the antenna. Since DirecTV has professionals installing the antennas at the LRFs, they can make sure that everything is setup correctly and optimally.
     
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