Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:33 PM
I take the time to assemble this post to help save many flat foreheads and point out some significant changes underway.
Historically, we have had several years now where we have been able to say pretty safely that an MPEG4 channel was an HD channel and an MPEG2 channel was an SD channel. And for the most part those rules were true. Sure there were two or three HD channels still broadcast in MPEG2. And yes, there were a few SD channels broadcast with MPEG4 compression. But except for a handful of these oddball situations, the MPEG4 = HD rule held true.
The beginning transformation of the Puerto Rico market into a ‘DMA-Like’ entity begun on 12/17/12, to be served as a part of the U.S. Domestic market has accelerated the transition that was already heading our way. In this new LIL Network #724/Market #213, we have HD Channels in MPEG4 compression. But we also have SD Channels provided in MPEG4; and unlike the U.S. market, even the Sonic audio-only channels are provided in MPEG4.
Using the bandwidth savings of MPEG4 makes perfect sense for Directv, in a situation such as this where concern is not required for legacy MPEG2-only receivers.
The wrinkle is that we are steadily losing the ability to distinguish HD channels from SD channels. Although we can tell that a given channel is in MPEG4 compression and fully capable of carrying an HD payload, we cannot ascertain what programming it actually IS carrying, be it 480I, 720P, 1080I or 1080P. Perhaps soon – if it is carrying 2160P, the new 4K resolution.