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DIRECTV nomad PC version 1.01.40 and iOS version 1.0: Issues/Discussion


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#441 OFFLINE   Fraaaak

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:58 PM

I think quality is the discussion here, regardless of whether posters (including me) occasionally use incorrect terminology - your point is taken.

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#442 ONLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 06:34 PM

Yes, and Markrogo, I appreciate your explanation, which I will read and try to digest a bit later.

For me, a layman, resolution means the total visual experience, heavily dependent on there being enough pixels. As a photographer, I'd rather have 2,000 good pixels than 4,000 mediocre ones. Lots of variables in how one gets to good pixels that are right for the intended viewing screen's size and pixel count, and hardware putting out the signal.
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#443 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:54 AM

"As a photographer, I'd rather have 2,000 good pixels than 4,000 mediocre ones"

Yes, and in video the getting of those 2,000 good ones is that much trickier than it is with stills -- where as you probably know, megapixels don't equal picture quality in any way and 2 different 8 megapixel images can range in quality from awful to amazing.

Anyway, if after you read my long post you have a question, ask.

#444 OFFLINE   poppo

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:11 AM

-- where as you probably know, megapixels don't equal picture quality in any way.....


That's not exactly true. The higher the pixels density, the more detail. To exaggerate a bit, here is an example. A picture (still or video) with a very low pixel count, may have one pixel that would be assigned to someone's eye. So the whole eye would have to be one color. A higher pixel density might have 10 pixels assigned to that eye, thus giving you the ability to see the white and the pupil as different colors. Thus more detail and higher picture quality.

However the display device is equally as important. An LCD has a fixed number of pixels. So for example lets say it is 1024x768. Ideally the original picture would have been taken in the same resolution for a 1 to 1 pixel match. If the original is less pixels, then more pixels have to be assigned on the display device for each one of the original. That means some distortion will be introduced. You see this with the nomad main program (not the video) on an iPad when you blow it up to fill the screen. On the flip side if the device has less pixels then the original, then you have to decide what to discard. Again using the eye as an example, if it started out with 10 pixels, and now you only have 1 to display it, detail will be lost.

In the case of the nomad, the primary ways to increase the quality is to either transcode to the resolution (pixel count size) of the target device (not perfect if using different devices), and increase the bit rate.

Anyone who transcodes videos for portable devices a lot, knows that you have to select the target screen size (resolution) and select the best bit rate (the higher the rate, the better the quality, but at the expence of file size).

Now I don't know if the nomad could be made smart enough to know what device picked a show to transcode. In a perfect world, it would know the screen size of the target device and transode it specifically for that device. This would result in videos optimized for the device it will play back on.

However even if it could, the resulting videos will never look very good if played back on a different device (i.e. a HDTV) that will require scaling it back up again.

#445 OFFLINE   Fraaaak

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:10 AM

I have the pc nomad program running in a virtual machine - tonight I expanded the virtual disk a bit and now am getting "Account Validation Required - There is a problem with your DirecTV account. Please insure that you have internet access and Try-again if this problem persists Restart the application or call Customer Service at 1-800-531-5000 and report the diagnostic code below. 2-0-2"

I figure this particular installation needs to be reactivated - everything clickable is disabled, even the "?" help button.

Short of uninstalling the entire application (and deleting a couple of other folders that the uninstall routine forgets to, according to posts on DirecTV technical forums), is there anyway to reactivate? It can talk to the Nomad (I mean it's on the same local network, and my iPhone app is running fine), so where is the list of activated clients, and how do you delete and re-authorize clients?

edit: I ended up doing a full uninstall and reinstall, and that seemed to work fine. My fear was the "if you deactivate a device, you must wait 30 days to reactivate..." caveat in the manual. Apparently they aren't enforcing that yet?

Edited by Fraaaak, 05 December 2011 - 02:32 AM.


#446 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:03 AM

That's not exactly true. The higher the pixels density, the more detail. To exaggerate a bit, here is an example. A picture (still or video) with a very low pixel count, may have one pixel that would be assigned to someone's eye. So the whole eye would have to be one color. A higher pixel density might have 10 pixels assigned to that eye, thus giving you the ability to see the white and the pupil as different colors. Thus more detail and higher picture quality.

However the display device is equally as important. An LCD has a fixed number of pixels. So for example lets say it is 1024x768. Ideally the original picture would have been taken in the same resolution for a 1 to 1 pixel match. If the original is less pixels, then more pixels have to be assigned on the display device for each one of the original. That means some distortion will be introduced. You see this with the nomad main program (not the video) on an iPad when you blow it up to fill the screen. On the flip side if the device has less pixels then the original, then you have to decide what to discard. Again using the eye as an example, if it started out with 10 pixels, and now you only have 1 to display it, detail will be lost.

In the case of the nomad, the primary ways to increase the quality is to either transcode to the resolution (pixel count size) of the target device (not perfect if using different devices), and increase the bit rate.

Anyone who transcodes videos for portable devices a lot, knows that you have to select the target screen size (resolution) and select the best bit rate (the higher the rate, the better the quality, but at the expence of file size).

Now I don't know if the nomad could be made smart enough to know what device picked a show to transcode. In a perfect world, it would know the screen size of the target device and transode it specifically for that device. This would result in videos optimized for the device it will play back on.

However even if it could, the resulting videos will never look very good if played back on a different device (i.e. a HDTV) that will require scaling it back up again.


I agree with very little in your post.

It's simply not correct that the "higher the pixel density the more detail" unless you add the caveat "holding all else equal'. There are plenty of 14-megapixel cameras that capture less detail than better 8, 10 and 12-megapixel ones. Why? Sensor quality, lens quality, software quality, etc.

Yes, you need a certain amount of resolution to capture a certain amount of detail. No, it's nowhere near what marketing leads people to think it is.

Everything you say about video continues to ignore encode quality which is every bit as important as bitrate, resolution, etc. It's just not some spec-sheet item, so people can't measure it like their genitalia.

You can get better results from lower bitrates or better results from higher resolution or better results from all sorts of things. Yes, if you hold everything equal, more bits are better, more pixels are better, etc. But you rarely hold everything else equal. I promise you I could make videos from the same program source as Nomad with half as many bits, the same number of pixels, and dramatically better picture quality. It would, however, require my computer and much more time than Nomad takes. And that's the point.

#447 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 06:03 AM

My fear was the "if you deactivate a device, you must wait 30 days to reactivate..." caveat in the manual. Apparently they aren't enforcing that yet?

yes, they are enforcing this. But from your description, you didn't deactivate your device, you just reinstalled the software. The software/DirecTV knew this and didn't count your device twice.

#448 OFFLINE   Fraaaak

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:28 PM

yes, they are enforcing this. But from your description, you didn't deactivate your device, you just reinstalled the software. The software/DirecTV knew this and didn't count your device twice.


Hmm, I wonder why the program thought it couldn't run. I did make a couple of changes to the VM it's running in - expanded the allowable maximum size of the vm disk and changed the MAC address, perhaps that's what did it. But the DTV site still shows 3 authorized devices, which is correct.

#449 OFFLINE   KenW

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:54 PM

I've seen this in the past as well. My answer was also to reinstall.

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#450 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:36 PM

Resolution has a very very specific meaning. It refers to the number of pixels in the image.

It should be noted that this is the computerly definition of resolution. In TV, resolution is a much more meaningful (and perhaps more subjective) metric. TV resolution is a measure of how fine the detail of the finished product is.

The pixel matrix is one element of TV resolution but it only tells part of the story. TV resolution takes into account the ravages of the transport method that computer resolution doesn't consider. There's also the concern of display speed (much like CRT persistence) that literally muddies the resultant picture.

Somewhere in the middle, we have digital video resolution which is impacted by the pixel matrix, scaling and lossy compression damage.

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#451 OFFLINE   Hoffer

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:21 PM

I have the pc nomad program running in a virtual machine - tonight I expanded the virtual disk a bit and now am getting "Account Validation Required - There is a problem with your DirecTV account. Please insure that you have internet access and Try-again if this problem persists Restart the application or call Customer Service at 1-800-531-5000 and report the diagnostic code below. 2-0-2"

I figure this particular installation needs to be reactivated - everything clickable is disabled, even the "?" help button.

Short of uninstalling the entire application (and deleting a couple of other folders that the uninstall routine forgets to, according to posts on DirecTV technical forums), is there anyway to reactivate? It can talk to the Nomad (I mean it's on the same local network, and my iPhone app is running fine), so where is the list of activated clients, and how do you delete and re-authorize clients?

edit: I ended up doing a full uninstall and reinstall, and that seemed to work fine. My fear was the "if you deactivate a device, you must wait 30 days to reactivate..." caveat in the manual. Apparently they aren't enforcing that yet?


I got an "Account Validation Required" error today. I got error AR/3004 though. This is on an iPhone I've been using Nomad on for weeks. I even launched the app last night without issue.

Not sure what I should do about it. Do the uninstall/install thing I suppose.

#452 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:28 PM

It should be noted that this is the computerly definition of resolution. In TV, resolution is a much more meaningful (and perhaps more subjective) metric. TV resolution is a measure of how fine the detail of the finished product is.

The pixel matrix is one element of TV resolution but it only tells part of the story. TV resolution takes into account the ravages of the transport method that computer resolution doesn't consider. There's also the concern of display speed (much like CRT persistence) that literally muddies the resultant picture.

Somewhere in the middle, we have digital video resolution which is impacted by the pixel matrix, scaling and lossy compression damage.


!rolling

Resolution means the same thing on TV's, you're just confused.

What a TV does with a imagine at any given resolution and how it displays it does not change the physical resolution that a tv can display. Don't confuse quality and quantity.

#453 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:28 PM

I got an "Account Validation Required" error today. I got error AR/3004 though. This is on an iPhone I've been using Nomad on for weeks. I even launched the app last night without issue.

Not sure what I should do about it. Do the uninstall/install thing I suppose.

Same thing happened with my iPad this AM. I haven't had time tonight to see if I still have the same problem.

#454 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:37 PM

!rolling

Resolution means the same thing on TV's, you're just confused.

What a TV does with a imagine at any given resolution and how it displays it does not change the physical resolution that a tv can display. Don't confuse quality and quantity.


Precisely. Resolution = pixel count.

All the other things mentioned in the post you quote are not resolution, even if they are part of picture quality. In fact, that's what I've been harping on with Nomad from the beginning. It's "weakness" appears to be the quality of its encoding, which has nothing to do with the resolution choice DirecTV has made per se. If they upped the resolution and still made mediocre encodes, the picture would look no better or not much better.

A great example is YouTube where many of the "HD videos" have clearly higher pixel counts, but have as much digital noise, macroblocking, etc. as some of the lower res ones (rarely are they are bad as the lowest resolution ones, which honestly are too low resolution for full-motion video that mimics what the eye sees) and they have no more color information some of the time. The problem is -- and this is where it gets confusing -- some of those YouTube videos look amazing, but why?.

People have conflated the term resolution with all sorts of things it doesn't mean thanks in part to things like YouTube where is technically just means pixels, but often also appears on better encodes with higher bitrates, more color info, etc. Those things that are not pixels, however, are not resolution.

#455 ONLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 07:25 PM

Here's another wrinkle: The same transcode (of Arial America:Hawaii) looks better on an iPad than on a new MacBookAir, especially if the pictures are stopped and compared. Running, not so much. Same with America's Test Kitchen- better on iPad than new MacBook (screens sized the same). The ones on the laptop are softer that the iPad display. If there's that much discrepancy between two recent products from one company who's outstanding in display technology, imagine how hard it'd be to optimize for every dang device.....

Further, the quality of AA:Hawaii is higher than ATK on both screens, leading me to believe that that's a function of the quality of the transcode, or original pixels provided by the content maker to DIRECTV®.
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#456 OFFLINE   Rtm

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:21 AM

I would like a higher quality choice, because the artifacts are noticeable on 15" macbook pro.

Are the resulting videos watermarked with the dtv account?

Bootcamp? how are you watching on macbook pro? I wanna watch on my 17" macbook pro

#457 OFFLINE   Fraaaak

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:59 AM

Since my reinstall yesterday, I have been getting frequent 8-8-0 messages (the nomad could not be found). I check that the nomad is pingable, which it is, and hit the Retry button - but that just gives me the 8-8-0 message again.

If I quit the Nomad program and then restart it, it immediately finds the Nomad - so there seems to be a problem with the Retry routine.

Also, if I just hit cancel and go into offline mode, there seems to be no mechanism for going back to online connected to the Nomad mode. That would be a nice feature to have.

Edit: got the same message this morning, but the Retry option did work. Thankfully, the Nomad itself keeps chugging away at transcoding programs while the client is disconnected

Edited by Fraaaak, 06 December 2011 - 12:59 PM.
update


#458 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 02:29 AM

Here's another wrinkle: The same transcode (of Arial America:Hawaii) looks better on an iPad than on a new MacBookAir, especially if the pictures are stopped and compared. Running, not so much. Same with America's Test Kitchen- better on iPad than new MacBook (screens sized the same). The ones on the laptop are softer that the iPad display. If there's that much discrepancy between two recent products from one company who's outstanding in display technology, imagine how hard it'd be to optimize for every dang device.....

Further, the quality of AA:Hawaii is higher than ATK on both screens, leading me to believe that that's a function of the quality of the transcode, or original pixels provided by the content maker to DIRECTV®.


Certainly interesting info. The freeze frame differences could be a function of how the respective video playback software freezes a frame, though. I really have no basis for comparison. You said the running video looks similar though?

Anyway, interesting insight either way.

#459 OFFLINE   Fraaaak

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:56 PM

Bootcamp? how are you watching on macbook pro? I wanna watch on my 17" macbook pro


I'm using Vmware Fusion, with Win7 64bit in a virtual machine. Parallels is another popular vm option. I'm sure BootCamp would work just as well, though you would have to reboot into it - the virtual machine products allow you to run windows from within os x.

This is on an early 2011 macbook pro (8,2) 2.2 GHz i7 - with OS X Lion

Edited by Fraaaak, 06 December 2011 - 01:08 PM.
not allowed to reveal version number of lion build.


#460 OFFLINE   poppo

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 04:09 PM

I agree with very little in your post.

There are plenty of 14-megapixel cameras that capture less detail than better 8, 10 and 12-megapixel ones. Why? Sensor quality, lens quality, software quality, etc.


As I agree with very little of yours. You are talking about cameras, and we are talking about transcoding. Apples and oranges.




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