I see no noticeable differences between OTA and "E".
Many people cannot see the differences. I wish I was one of them. And it no doubt varies by market - if the local spot beams are full, then they have to compress more than an area where the local spot beams have plenty of bandwidth.
The two things to look for are 1) color depth - how rich and vibrant are the colors? An overcompressed picture will look dull. And 2) pixelization - parts of the screen going to blocks. The blockiness is temporary, and almost always on visually busy screens, so it can be hard to detect.
I recorded the finale of American Idol last year, and as the confetti flew, the screen was a horrible mess of large pixels on Dish, but OTA was nearly perfect. Quite often on close-ups of performers, their faces had obvious lack of color depth - there were distinct visible lines from one color to the next making it almost look cartoonish. Honestly, it was quite hard for me to watch. I've seen less evidence of trouble in NFL broadcasts, so maybe things have improved.
I too have gone back and forth, closely looking at the same program, when possible same scene, looking at fine details like hair on arms, facial details, looking for artifacts. I look standing at the 55" LG screen, and at viewing distance,for me about 10 feet. I may
see the most extreme slightest of difference as far that criteria goes, meaning no clarity or pixelization differences worth mentioning.
There is a slight, but a little more difference in the color saturation. Enough to set the OTA input with just a little less color saturation. Now that may mean there is a little less detail also, but I just can not see it.
We too have the last episode of American Idol on an EHD, so I looked at it. On the EA anyway, it has none of the problems noted. I can't compare it to OTA since I did not record it from there.
I can honestly say from normal viewing distance especially there is virtually no difference, or certainly not enough to be noticed. Different inputs have separate settings specifically for the things like different color saturation from different sources, so in the end, the color saturation is the same for both.
I don't doubt however it can be different on both sides for some people, satellite with maybe fuller HD spotbeams, or OTA with more or less sub channels. Screen size and quality of the TV also play a role. But I would say it is fair to say generally the Dish signal is at the least very close to OTA . If OTA is at this time the gold broadcasting standard, Dish is just about there. It's the end result, what you see that counts more than the technical numbers.
Contrast all that to Charter, many of my friends in Ct. where I am have, and you can most definitely see the difference. It's not subjective.
Edited by tampa8, 30 September 2012 - 08:53 AM.