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SD Quality...it is true!

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Sea bass, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

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    If you want to see what standard def is supposed to look like (on any TV), set your HD DVR or receiver to standard 4:3 TV Ratio and video to crop. Then output to 480i and tune to an HD channel. There you go. That's about as good as it gets.

    No doubt there's a slight improvement on some standard def channels that use HD sources (such as NASA in MPEG 4), but also we shouldn't forget that using an HD source for the above experiment (or a DVD for that matter) is kind of "cheating" since you're actually getting a horizontal res of 720 vs the standard 640.

    Suffice it to say, nearly all standard-def programming (including PPV) on D* is lousy PQ and is easily compared with VHS.
     
  2. coolman302003

    coolman302003 2014 NBA CHAMPIONS!

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    I have seen SD PQ on Netflix streaming that was quite good. Also, most of there movies (including SD ones) are usually in there original aspect ratio as the director intended and never any digital on-screen graphics.
     
  3. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    If you're really trying to check this, shouldn't you also change to composite or S-video?
     
  4. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

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    Obviously, you would want to use the best connection your TV allows, up to and including HDMI (if the comparison is only supposed to be being made between D* standard-def signals vs the best that 480i TV can be). However, it would also depend on your TV and video source device, and if you want to connect up your old VCRs (and maybe a still-active SD-only receiver). Comparisons could be made any which way you could choose to make them in those cases.

    Here's another one that I'd like to try, myself, sometime:

    Connect an old VCR to the output of the HD sat receiver (with the previously mentioned 480i, 4:3 cropped settings), make a recording (or multiple recordings) of various source material that could later be compared side by side with D* standard-def programming and see who wins. (Granted the VCR is still getting a 720 h-res leg-up to start with, but I'll bet the end result wouldn't look much, if any worse than D* SD.

    I might also mention that some higher-end standard-def equipment (VCRs and TVs) toward the earlier millenium-era actually did have component video connections.
     
  5. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I doubt there will be a general consensus here because PQ is subjective as it's in the eye of the viewer.

    As I've posted in this thread earlier, I send [4:3] 480i to my Sony XBR and can then "zoom" letterbox to full the display and it doesn't look too bad.

    I'm not going to go dig out my SVHS or Betmax and very old tapes for a comparison.
    Ten years ago, when I first came to DirecTV, I had a Sony HDSAT-200 and SD looked horrible as mountains would show "stair steps". Talking with a Sony engineer I learned it was a known problem and was resolved with their -300. It took many months before I got them to swap my -200 or a -300, which did improve the SD picture.
    It's known that the SD SAT feed is reduced to 480x480 and then scaled back to something like 480x560 on the output.
    Letterbox SD is even less than this, and might be 360x480 in the SAT feed, yet this can be scaled up by my XBR "fairly well", and "not as well" using the crop format of the receiver.
    Down converting an MPEG4 HD to SD should be better than the SD MPEG-2.
     
  6. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

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    Agreed.

    It's just too bad that we're not getting the full apparent benefit of even 480x480 due to compression limitations.

    But I have to admit that looking at it from an economic standpoint and considering that most folks when these DBS services were really getting going (especially in rural areas), were probably just fine with the PQ of VHS and not likely to complain too much while they'd be getting all these cable channels and not necessarily having to depend on snowy analog TV for network reception, the "dumbing down" of the picture should make some kind of sense. (I'm sure most of us have known this all along, anyway.)

    No doubt some TVs are better at displaying D*'s SD than the upconverters in the boxes themselves. I feel that the HR21 does a fairly good job for me, but I've heard that the 24 is supposed to be pretty lousy at it and most folks prefer to watch it "native" through their sets. Wondering if this is still true or if improvements were ever made...
     
  7. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    For SD the scaler is doing a lot of work. I have a 24 and don't know of it being any worse than the earlier receivers.
    Without "zooming" [my TV] or cropping [the receiver] the PQ for SD is about the same. The reduction in resolution is on the order of 16%, so adding it back "should be" barely noticeable [and why cable/dish, & DirecTV do this amount]. I'm not sure about "over compression" with the SAT, but I sure remember long ago when the cable went digital, they sure as hell did it and it showed [badly].
     

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