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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Dish Network vs Comcast picture quality comparison


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5 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Jack White

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:46 PM

I just got a Comcast HD Dual Tuner DVR hooked up to my 7.1 channel reciever via optical connection and S-video, and my receiver outputting S-video to my SD Trinitron TV and my Moto DVR outputting analog audio directly to my tv via rca audio cable.
Dish 625 was also hooked up via S-video to the receiver and Optical connection for audio.
I did many A/B comparisons using my receiver to switch and watch the exact same channels on both.
The DVR interface is inferior to Dish. It's especially noticable that on Dish DVRs you can pause on a dime and do slow motion. When you pause on Comcast, you're lucky to be within 5 seconds of where you wanted to pause, and there's no slow motion and that's something I really miss. I hope they'll fix this with a firmware upgrade in the future.
The other big advantage Dish has is Sirius Channels sound quality, the Crisp Clean, Razor Sharp 192 Kbps audio is lightyears ahead of the tincan quality sound from the Comcast music channels. Analog Comcast Channel Picture quality is actually HUGELY degraded by the HD-DVR, it must have the most rudimentary notch filter for conversion of analog cable channes to be output by S-video, Component, and HDMI.
When the Analog cable is hooked directly to the television's RF input, the picture quality is vastly superior to Dish, but when the HD-DVR is used for analog cable viewing, the picture quality is EVEN softer than Dish's picture quality, but when it comes to sports, even this soft picture beats Dish because of the inherent superiority of an UNCOMPRESSED analog video at fast motion even when softened by a crappy notch filter. The Digital channels 100+ are sharper than Dish's SD channels and have less pixiliation in fast motion. They are better than Dish SD but not lightyears better the way Fiostv, OTA, or analog C-band is.
On Demand: Here's where cable really shines. The image quality is equal to the digital channels even for content that was aired on analog channels.
All programs on on Demand are at least in Dolby Digital 2.0, and the sound quality is CONSIDERABLY better than the locals DVRed on Dish.
You can also watch many old episodes, even start watching a new series from the start months after the original pilot aired.
HD-Channels via S-video, well, the picture quality is great, perhaps even better than OTA SD and perhaps rivaling Analog C-band.
The Sound Quality is pure Dolby Digital 5.1 on most if not all the HD channels, a few lip sync issues once in a while, but overall beautiful sound with fully dynamic range, wide frequency response, and deep earth shaking bass.
The only huge downside is that there's NO way to get an anamorphic 16x9 image via S-video out. For some reason it can only output it letterboxed an not TRUE Anamorphic Widescreen via S-video. Unfortunately 25% of the vertical resolution is lost limiting resolution to 720x360 for 16X9 HD content via S-video out.
That being said, the picture quality is BETTER than ANY DVD downconverted to 16X9 Letterboxed, but still below a TRUE Anamorphic Widescreen DVD Quality.
SD Digital Channels:
Well, the annoying part is that even the picture quality is great, the 4:3 content only takes up 75% of the screen with black bars on all 4 sides.
16x9 Digital SD content is watchable though.
All Digital Channels are basically usless unless they're showing widescreen content, or unless I go into the the tv's sevice menu to make the content FULL Screen. When I get my Plasma, I'll finally be able to take adavantage of the 4:3 SD Digital Channels.

Well, it does have some serious drawbacks including the inferior remote, dvr functionality, etc, but all in all it's still better than Dish because of the improved picture quality in most cases, and the Huge advantage of On Demand with its superior picture and sound quality.

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#2 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:56 PM

It seems unreasonable to rate the PQ of an HD receiver using an SD display.

It seems kind of apples and oranges to compare the PQ of an SD DVR with that of and HD DVR too.

#3 OFFLINE   TulsaOK

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:12 PM


We're all very happy that you're happy. We'll look forward to your identical post on alt.dbs.echostar.
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#4 OFFLINE   finniganps

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:49 PM

I understand the image is better. I'm not really into On demand - I can tape what I want on the DVR and watch it later (I have too much on the DVR as it is). I don't think you're comparing apples to apples as the 2nd poster mentioned. I also think the interface and remote will drive you crazy and I wouldn't expect a firmware fix anytime soon since people have complained about this problem for a LONG time (yet people keep getting the boxes). I wouldn't switch based on the DVR problems alone.

I used my sisters TiVo for a weekend last year and couldn't stand a lot of it's quirks and like Dish's DVR much better. Yes, TiVo is pretty bulletproof, but the quirks were killing me by the end of the weekend. Your report confirmed why I'll stick with Dish.

#5 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

I just got a Comcast HD Dual Tuner DVR hooked up to my 7.1 channel reciever via optical connection and S-video, and my receiver outputting S-video to my SD Trinitron TV and my Moto DVR outputting analog audio directly to my tv via rca audio cable.
Dish 625 was also hooked up via S-video to the receiver and Optical connection for audio.
I did many A/B comparisons using my receiver to switch and watch the exact same channels on both.
The DVR interface is inferior to Dish. It's especially noticable that on Dish DVRs you can pause on a dime and do slow motion. When you pause on Comcast, you're lucky to be within 5 seconds of where you wanted to pause, and there's no slow motion and that's something I really miss. I hope they'll fix this with a firmware upgrade in the future.
The other big advantage Dish has is Sirius Channels sound quality, the Crisp Clean, Razor Sharp 192 Kbps audio is lightyears ahead of the tincan quality sound from the Comcast music channels. Analog Comcast Channel Picture quality is actually HUGELY degraded by the HD-DVR, it must have the most rudimentary notch filter for conversion of analog cable channes to be output by S-video, Component, and HDMI.
When the Analog cable is hooked directly to the television's RF input, the picture quality is vastly superior to Dish, but when the HD-DVR is used for analog cable viewing, the picture quality is EVEN softer than Dish's picture quality, but when it comes to sports, even this soft picture beats Dish because of the inherent superiority of an UNCOMPRESSED analog video at fast motion even when softened by a crappy notch filter. The Digital channels 100+ are sharper than Dish's SD channels and have less pixiliation in fast motion. They are better than Dish SD but not lightyears better the way Fiostv, OTA, or analog C-band is.
On Demand: Here's where cable really shines. The image quality is equal to the digital channels even for content that was aired on analog channels.
All programs on on Demand are at least in Dolby Digital 2.0, and the sound quality is CONSIDERABLY better than the locals DVRed on Dish.
You can also watch many old episodes, even start watching a new series from the start months after the original pilot aired.
HD-Channels via S-video, well, the picture quality is great, perhaps even better than OTA SD and perhaps rivaling Analog C-band.
The Sound Quality is pure Dolby Digital 5.1 on most if not all the HD channels, a few lip sync issues once in a while, but overall beautiful sound with fully dynamic range, wide frequency response, and deep earth shaking bass.
The only huge downside is that there's NO way to get an anamorphic 16x9 image via S-video out. For some reason it can only output it letterboxed an not TRUE Anamorphic Widescreen via S-video. Unfortunately 25% of the vertical resolution is lost limiting resolution to 720x360 for 16X9 HD content via S-video out.
That being said, the picture quality is BETTER than ANY DVD downconverted to 16X9 Letterboxed, but still below a TRUE Anamorphic Widescreen DVD Quality.
SD Digital Channels:
Well, the annoying part is that even the picture quality is great, the 4:3 content only takes up 75% of the screen with black bars on all 4 sides.
16x9 Digital SD content is watchable though.
All Digital Channels are basically usless unless they're showing widescreen content, or unless I go into the the tv's sevice menu to make the content FULL Screen. When I get my Plasma, I'll finally be able to take adavantage of the 4:3 SD Digital Channels.

Well, it does have some serious drawbacks including the inferior remote, dvr functionality, etc, but all in all it's still better than Dish because of the improved picture quality in most cases, and the Huge advantage of On Demand with its superior picture and sound quality.


I told you the remote was vastly inferior. The keys are like putty. But I wish you the best.

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#6 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:18 PM

I told you the remote was vastly inferior. The keys are like putty. But I wish you the best.

Yeah, I agree, best wishes.

Why do I always feel confused reading these discussions?

According to the "experts" at Cnet when discussing HD in terms of tv enjoyment, the average person sitting 9' or further away can't really see significant picture quality differences on a 42" or smaller tv absent "glitches" in the digital stream being fed (which on the local networks frequently seem to present from the source). I got kinda sick sitting 6" from the screen the one time I tried to get a good look at the resolution, so I leave that level scrutiny to Cnet.

I'll admit, much to my surprise I have found that the leap from SD to 720p/1080i HD has created some significant increase in our enjoyment of tv. (Not as much as going from B/W to color back in the 50's, however.)

But (other than BluRay) at this time in HDTV development, it seems as though source problems (ranging from SD programming strech-o-vision to pixelation except when watching a channel like HDNet), plus delivery glitchs by the satellite and cable companies, plus frustration with remotes and box hardware and software limitations, plus compatibility and other problems related to feeding the signals through a brand X A/V receiver to a brand Y tv and a brand Z surround sound system, all seem to combine into an equation related to the whole experience. That doesn't take into account the quality of the programming available from the various channels, of course.

None of this, of course, takes into account using an S-video connection....:confused:

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