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Guest Message by DevFuse

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On Demand way over-compressed


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   cover

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:34 PM

I used on demand to download 2 episodes of Magic City, one of which also recorded from the satellite. Both episodes that came from On Demand were seriously, noticeably over-compressed. This was particularly noticeable in scenes that panned so that the whole screen had to be updated. In those scenes, the picture nearly broke up and was redrawn in slices, kind of like banding you might see on a bad inkjet printer. Nothing like this was evident in the same episode recorded from the satellite.

I don't know who was responsible for compression - the content provider (Starz in the case) or DirecTV. But I found the over-compression very distracting. If all on-demand programming is compressed this way, I won't use it.

This is disappointing because there's really no good reason on-demand programming needs to be compressed beyond what is beamed from the satellite. I understand that cranking up compression will reduce file sizes, save bandwidth, and allow programs to download faster. But if the result is significant loss of video quality and compression artifacts that are distracting, I'd much prefer to wait a bit longer for full quality video.

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#2 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

I think it's just tug war - they do increase compression for better ROI and watching for a level of complains and a moment of declining revenue of the service.

#3 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

That's weird. Usually the OnDemand PQ is even better. I watched "Boss" via OnDemand a couple months ago and it was pristine. Showtime & HBO are also usually pristine.
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#4 OFFLINE   cover

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:45 PM

That's weird. Usually the OnDemand PQ is even better. I watched "Boss" via OnDemand a couple months ago and it was pristine. Showtime & HBO are also usually pristine.


I'm glad to hear that and hope this was just an isolated problem with Magic City, but both episodes did exhibit the same issue so it was not just a fluke with one download.

#5 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'm glad to hear that and hope this was just an isolated problem with Magic City, but both episodes did exhibit the same issue so it was not just a fluke with one download.


Which episode was it? I'll check it here.
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#6 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

There always can be a bad file, but generally VOD is or can be better than the SAT feed because the encoding isn't being done in real time like the SAT feed has to be.
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#7 OFFLINE   cover

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

Makes sense, VOS, and I hope this was just an anomaly.

sigma1914, the episodes were "Feeding Frenzy" and "Castles Made of Sand" from 1527 STARZ. The worst/most obvious scene I can remember is one in which there is a pan across the exterior of the hotel, but IIRC any scene that had a big pan in it looked pretty bad until most of the motion stopped. In scenes without a lot of motion, there was still evidence of softness and some compression artifacts - just not as noticeable.

I watched "Castles Made of Sand" all the way through since the DVR hadn't grabbed it from the satellite yet. "Feed Frenzy" I had pulled down before it recorded from the satellite and wife started the VOD version since she had the remote and didn't know the difference (choosing my battles, I didn't say anything). But, a few minutes in, the compression was bothering me enough that I stopped the VOD and picked up watching the one recorded from the satellite instead.

#8 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

I tried episode 103 and it was kinda bad...more blurry on movement but didn't see macro blocking.
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#9 OFFLINE   charlie460

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download? A lower resolution version for people with slower connections and the regular version? Is it possible you or your wife downloaded the low res version?

#10 OFFLINE   cover

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:49 PM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download? A lower resolution version for people with slower connections and the regular version? Is it possible you or your wife downloaded the low res version?


I've never heard that. The only VOD that comes up in search for Magic City is on STARZ 1527. I don't see anything about different versions.

#11 OFFLINE   Justin23

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:13 PM

I noticed the same thing with those 2 episodes of Magic City. I don't think it's an issue with the On-Demand service itself. I've watched plenty of content that was great PQ.

#12 OFFLINE   Justin23

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 02:14 PM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download? A lower resolution version for people with slower connections and the regular version? Is it possible you or your wife downloaded the low res version?


You're thinking of PPV movies. That option exists for the 1080p content.

#13 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:03 PM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download?

If there is a choice I think it's only whether you want SD or HD.
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#14 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:36 PM

Some of the VOD HD content asks you if you want the higher quality slower download or the slightly lower quality faster download when you choose the HD versions. I agree with most here that I usually find the VOD PQ better as long as its the HD version.

#15 OFFLINE   SPACEMAKER

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:49 AM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download? A lower resolution version for people with slower connections and the regular version? Is it possible you or your wife downloaded the low res version?


Yes they do for HD content. I always select the higher quality download.
And I watched both of the Magic City episodes op mentioned and the both looked great here.

Edited by SPACEMAKER, 22 April 2012 - 06:36 PM.


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#16 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:44 AM

I just went to try episode 103 and it did not download. It was preloaded via satellite on my disk. Maybe that is where the issue lies?
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#17 OFFLINE   cover

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:22 AM

I just went to try episode 103 and it did not download. It was preloaded via satellite on my disk. Maybe that is where the issue lies?


Interesting. They may have started preloading it based on popularity. It does seem to be airing on a number of different channels including Audience right now. When I first got it from VOD, it did download - though unusually quickly - which may be have been due to smaller file size from too much compression.

I do think preloading popular shows is a good idea in principle to make DTV's "on demand" a little more on demand even for those with slower internet connections.

#18 OFFLINE   Satelliteracer

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:25 AM

Doesn't DirecTV offer two separate versions for download? A lower resolution version for people with slower connections and the regular version? Is it possible you or your wife downloaded the low res version?


Yes
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