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The decline of DirecTV's picture quality

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by wilbur_the_goose, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Dec 20, 2013 #1 of 114

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    I hate to say it, but I fear that D*'s picture quality seems to be declining. Example - last night, I was watching the Duke/UCLA game on ESPN. Thought the picture looked a bit washed out, so I flipped on my alternate source, and the PQ on the same TV with the same video settings was a LOT better. Everything from color to detail was noticeably better. My wife actually asked what I did to improve the picture.

    Do you think that the launch and activation of the new D14 satellite will help PQ by increasing available bandwidth? If not, I'm seriously thinking for the first time of jumping ship over PQ.

    It's a real shame, because when I started with D* in 1996, the PQ was significantly better than anything else I could get my hands on. Then, when the new birds were first lit up, channels like HDNET were like watching a BluRay - amazingly great picture quality.

    But today's D* has decreased its picture quality.

    In a world where a low-bitrate MP3 played through cheap earbuds passes for high quality, I know I'm probably in the minority here. But I rue the loss of what brought me to DirecTV in the first place - great picture quality.

    For details, I was watching on a Panny 65VT25 plasma that was ISF-calibrated earlier this year.
  2. Dec 20, 2013 #2 of 114

    JohnBoy New Member

    Sep 8, 2011
    I had D* in 08-10 and the picture quality was out of this world back then and I just recently came back in July 2013 and have noticed the picture quality was not like how i remembered it.

    I compared my local ota to D* locals and it was not even close.The compression on my D* locals made fleshtones a bit hot compared to the natural look of the ota feed.Back then the two feeds were almost identical,you could be hard pressed to tell the difference.

    I too have a Panny GT30 calibrated set and learned through ocd on whats great pq.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Dec 20, 2013 #3 of 114

    randyk47 Icon

    Aug 21, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    Maybe I'm not observant enough but I don't sense or think I see a decline in the PQ from DirecTV. What I think I see is actually an increase in the PQ from other providers, almost like DirecTV set the standard early on and the rest have scrambled to catch up. I changed to DirecTV back in 1999 when the PQ from our cable provider was just plain poop. At that time we were in a brand new house in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia and were on one of the oldest cable systems in the US. Not only were they dealing with original cable buried in the 70's but it had been dug up, spliced, repaired, extended, boasted, etc., etc., to the point it was barely watchable. I never got around to installing an OTA in that house so I can't compare or speak to PQ in that respect. Moved to Texas some ten years ago and stuck with DirecTV as I'd become a NFL Sunday Ticket fan and didn't want to give that up. I have the choice here to go with cable (TWC) or OTA and the previous owner of the house installed a good antenna in the attic that I use with my AM21s and my one guest room TV that only has OTA. (NOTE: We have U-verse Internet here but they're not able or willing to provide U-verse TV yet.) Now my neighbors have everything from just OTA to TWC to Dish/DirecTV. The ones who have watched games with me are complementary about the PQ but then again that could be nothing more than I'm the only one with Sunday Ticket. Then again they watch that with me in my media room so there's the seating, the lighting, and the surround sound system. May not be totally state-of-the-art or perfect but it's darn good.
  4. Dec 20, 2013 #4 of 114

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    ESPN is in 720p and my 1080p Panny plasmas do not put out nearly as good a picture on 720p content as they do on 1080i content.

  5. Dec 20, 2013 #5 of 114

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    Netflix's Super HD is a good example of that. It blows away D*'s 1080i PQ. It takes me a few minutes to adjust to D*'s PQ after watching streaming NF SHD.

    1 person likes this.
  6. Dec 20, 2013 #6 of 114

    damondlt New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    I too agree with the HD PQ seeming to be not as good as it once was.

    Sent from my PantechP8010 using DBSTalk mobile app
  7. Dec 20, 2013 #7 of 114
    Jason Whiddon

    Jason Whiddon Hall Of Fame

    Aug 17, 2006
    You should see Dish... Locals do kinda stink IMO, comparing them to OTA on my Tivo, but Cable networks arent bad. Sporting events are hard to eval, because they vary on the source end. Just watch ESPN all day during football and you will see what I mean.
  8. Dec 20, 2013 #8 of 114

    itzme Hall Of Fame

    Jan 17, 2008
    On my Samsung 59D8000 plasma I especially notice Directv's lower bitrate when there are dark scenes or lots of black. On directv they look blotchy and irregular, but if I watch the same content OTA or from a video file, I don't see those issues.
    1 person likes this.
  9. Dec 20, 2013 #9 of 114

    TBoneit Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    What I suspect is that it has nothing to do with not being observant. It has to do with it happening gradually enough so that You do not notice it. What do You see if You compare recordings from years ago to the same channel no?

    Some of the best PQ I see is from Cable on locals tuned in on the TV set's ClearQam tuner.
    Then I Have satellite TV. I can compare recordings from back in 2006 when I got the HD DVR. Knock Wood, 7+ years and still working BTW. followed by the DVD recorder with hard drive when recording the HD locals. The Satellite TV quality still looks just as good to me. However I am on a 32" HDTV and a 24" HDTV and a Sony SDTV. I find the Sony is still the best way to watch SD content from Satellite and DVDs.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Dec 20, 2013 #10 of 114

    inkahauts DIRECTV A-Team

    Nov 13, 2006
    I'd never chose a espn live broadcast to determine pq.

    Look at discovery and HBO etc and compare there and see if you see these differences and then check the settings on your tv. So often people have higher contrast and brightness on other inputs. Maybe you need to do some tweaking.
  11. Dec 20, 2013 #11 of 114

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    What was the alternative source?

    I was appalled at the PQ in the recent 49er's football game on Fox. Dunno how much was Fox, how much DIRECTV....
  12. Dec 20, 2013 #12 of 114

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    inkahauts - I have both sources going through a Denon AVR-4311 with video processing disabled and sent to the same input on my TV. To me, that's an equal test.

    The decline in PQ is like the old "boiling frog" metaphor to me.
  13. Dec 20, 2013 #13 of 114

    sigma1914 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

    Sep 5, 2006
    Allen, TX
    To those comparing to OTA - That's a ridiculous comparison between technology. Two different things with too many variables.
  14. Dec 20, 2013 #14 of 114

    lugnutathome Hall Of Fame

    Apr 13, 2009
    Woodburn, OR
    Dumb question # 897.43:

    When you change source does it switch inputs on your TV? If so are your individual inputs independently set for picture settings? Are these different? Whoops just read your response to inkahauts. OK. . .

    When using a live sporting event as a baseline you are on slippery ground between carriage agreements, actual program source quality, and technical/weather issues between the source, its broadcast, Direct TV's receive/retransmit .

    I've not seen any degradation on any of my "haunts".

    Don "and I'm looking for em too" Bolton
  15. Dec 20, 2013 #15 of 114

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

    Jul 19, 2005
    I guess I would never use ESPN as a measuring stick of PQ...their PQ usually sucks on every provider. I do occasionally compare PQ between OTA and sat delivered locals, or try to see how a sat delivered picture compares to one of my BD's....
  16. Dec 20, 2013 #16 of 114

    inkahauts DIRECTV A-Team

    Nov 13, 2006
    Anything that's live id not use as a measuring stick because you don't know if they take significantly different routes that aren't equal and can't be balanced to be equal either. Just to many what ifs. I'd be curios if you had the same issues with all channels is really my point. Espn has issue IMHO.
  17. Dec 20, 2013 #17 of 114

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    What is the alternative source for ESPN?
  18. Dec 20, 2013 #18 of 114

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    I dont know what his was, but I get ESPN on my Roku, or computer via internet after logging in with my Comcast password.
    I havent really noticed the Roku stream was better than DirecTv, nor can I say the Comcast (Xfinity) cable feed is better/worse.
    Pretty much all 720p content looks the same on my 60" LCD. Only on the 1080i stuff do I notice a difference, and even then its not that large a difference, but DirecTv is slightly better than Comcast on identical channels, and for those channels that have a C band feed that is not scrambled, the C band feed blows both DirecTv and Comcast away. Watch Fox football games on CTV on Sundays is the only source of 720p material I have see that is noticably better. The C band 720p channels look MUCH better than any other source I have.
  19. Dec 20, 2013 #19 of 114

    acostapimps Hall Of Famer

    Nov 5, 2011
    ESPN looks good to me 720p or 1080i, maybe the tv settings needs adjusting, however some of the Viacom cable channels in particular MTV looks degraded somewhat but not horribly bad, But I never noticed until now, But I'll put up with it since it's a crappy channel anyway.
  20. Dec 20, 2013 #20 of 114

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    My alternate source is Verizon FiOS. Both signals go into the same input on the TV (They are passed unprocessed through a Denon receiver - HDMI all the way).

    I used to think ESPN always had PQ issues before I saw ESPN on FiOS.

    For what it's worth, it's better across the board.

    I'm not planning on giving up D* because of NFLST combined with the horrible channel number mapping on FiOS (seems like the channel numbers were plucked out of a hat). BUT - if D*'s PQ doesn't get better after D14 launches, I'm going to think long and hard about ending my 15+ year relationship with D*.

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