Picture quality: Cable vs. Dish vs. DirecTV

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by rsuch, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Mar 18, 2014 #61 of 100
    damondlt

    damondlt New Member

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    I dont get why the thread has to turn into a moderator power trip.
    p smith brought facts and everything needed to back up his statments, and was well on topic.

    Anyone going to sit there and say Directv and dish mpeg2 HD was not as good as the Mpeg4 crap we have now is either flat out blind or in major Dish / Directv Mpeg4 denial.

    Face it Directv HD is better then Dish on paper and by eye.
    My list

    Ota
    Fios
    Directv
    BRC
    Dish
    Comcast.


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  2. Mar 18, 2014 #62 of 100
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    What instrument do Electrical Engineers use to measure visual perception?
     
  3. Mar 18, 2014 #63 of 100
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    It is interesting to note that you're perceptions seem to be based on a snapshot in time and don't allow much for subsequent changes in hardware or bandwidth allocation yet you're more than willing to extrapolate that everything has progressed in lock-step.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2014 #64 of 100
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    The question is whether or not the facts presented represent the gamut of the parameters that impact the perceived program quality. I say no.
    And there are still those that think a six year old 720p plasma outperforms anything on the market because they like the way it presents the picture. Not everyone appreciates having their retinas torched out by artificially high contrast and saturation while others simply can't get enough.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2014 #65 of 100
    Diana C

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    Precisely. In my home we have 1080p LED TVs from Samsung and Vizio, a 1080 DLP TV from Samsung, a 720p LCD and a 720p Plasma from Panasonic. Everyone who comes into our home and watches television remarks on the high quality of the plasma set, despite being 6 years old and only 720p. The reason it looks so good in normal viewing is the deeper black level provided by the plasma technology. This is a factor that has NOTHING to do with PQ of the incoming media. All the TVs are obviously receiving the same PQ from the same source data stream. Yet human beings perceive the deeper blacks of the plasma display as "improved PQ."

    The term "picture quality" is a subjective one. It does not have an established scale and so can not be objectively measured. You can measure lots of the technical parameters of a digital video stream, but how that correlates to "picture quality" is totally arbitrary and itself highly subjective.

    Bottom line: since there is no device that measures overall "picture quality" objectively, the ONLY criteria that matters is whether or not an individual can discern the difference between two different sources. If you can, pick the one you like better. If you can't, look to other criteria to make your choice.

    After listening to these PQ debates for the past 15 years I have come to the inescapable conclusion that it just doesn't matter.
     
  6. Mar 18, 2014 #66 of 100
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Except when it does!! :)

    Agree, DC.

    I did extensive OTA-DirecTV-Cable comparisons the eyeball way. OTA was in only one case a bit better than DIRECTV, and cable was just slightly in third place. YMMV, as locals may have different compression rates, and even these can vary from time to time.
     
  7. Mar 18, 2014 #67 of 100
    Orion9

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    I remember back in the 80s and 90s when people would get a new large display, and then complain about the horrible video quality of: OTA, cable, recording devices etc. The typical answer was that they were watching the new display closer than NTSC had been designed for so there was no way their sources could look good.


    Now, it looks like HDTV has gotten ahead of the typical consumer and display, and we are now telling people that if they can't detect a difference, they should try getting closer to the screen.


    Perhaps in a few years when ~90 inch screens are common, we'll be back to people complaining about the source quality - if we haven't all moved to 4K by then.
     
  8. Mar 19, 2014 #68 of 100
    sregener

    sregener Godfather

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    In a sense, you're right on. People who say, "Dish's HD is perfect" aren't sitting close enough to their sets, or are not informed enough of what makes a perfect picture. People who say, "I can't see a difference between 720p and 1080i" may be using 720p set, or have a poor resolution coverter, or aren't sitting close enough to their set to see the improved resolution of 720p. The reality isn't that we're telling people to sit close enough to see these things, but rather that if they want to make an accurate comparison, they need to sit close enough to see them. Because 320i looks pretty good on my monitor when I'm standing 10' away.

    I'm able to appreciate better picture quality. Especially when it comes to macro blocking and color depth. But I'm also able to watch DVDs and not have the picture quality completely distract me from the experience. I prefer Blu-Rays, because I appreciate the sharper, more colorful picture. But I can live with DVDs. But the day someone tells me, "DVDs look just as good as Blu-Rays" is the day I start to question their ability to assess picture quality. Same story here, except that the differences between Dish/DirecTV/Cable are probably much more subtle.
     
  9. Mar 19, 2014 #69 of 100
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    When I saw The Phantom Menace in the local movie theater the most unsettling part of the presentation was not Jar Jar Binks, it was the pixels. I could see the pixels on the movie screen and it distracted me. Big screen with a lot of pixels but still a problem with picture quality.

    I don't see how getting closer to the screen until flaws are seen helps. One is exceeding the design of the display. One needs to work within the design of their display equipment. Too close is as big of a problem as too far away. Most video is designed to be viewed in motion ... not a freeze frame.

    I've seen bad PQ ... besides Jar Jar. I've seen local stations take the potential of a high quality MPEG2 ATSC signal and destroy it with poor engineering - even without adding subchannels. Nice looking numbers but not pleasing to the eye.
     
  10. Mar 19, 2014 #70 of 100
    tsmacro

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    Just wanted to point out that earlier in this thread someone said that Dish has a 30 day trial period, they don't. They did try that briefly a few years ago but haven't done it for quite a while. Once your Dish equipment is activated in your house if you singed up in the typical way (promo w/ leased equipment) you are locked in for 2 years, no 30 day trial.
     
  11. Mar 19, 2014 #71 of 100
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    If one is seeing pixels, one is too close, be it a movie screen, huge HDTV or laptop.
     
  12. Mar 19, 2014 #72 of 100
    RAD

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    I had that problem also, but I think it might have just been the quality of the projection system being used back then.
     
  13. Mar 19, 2014 #73 of 100
    Diana C

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    First, I don't think ANY video source is "perfect"...since no one gets the direct output of the HD video camera delivered to their living room, ALL video we get has been compressed - a LOT!. So, ALL digital video will have flaws - digital artifacts like macro-blocking or aliasing - it is just a matter of many there are, and are they noticeable. If you examine it closely enough, you will see flaws in even a 4K or 8K data stream. So, all we are talking about is how many defects there are and whether or not they are distracting.

    If you are looking for the ultimate videophile experience, use BluRay exclusively since everything else will be inferior to that. But if you are interested in just sitting down in the evening and being entertained by the latest episode of Community, or NCIS or Walking Dead, then the question you should be asking is which service gives me the best entertaininment experience. Sure, PQ may play a role in the entertainment experience, but so does sound quality, content quality, diversity of channels, cost, and much more. Saying someone that accepts the Dish Network HD quality is "not informed enough" is, I'm afraid to say, rather condenscending and dismissive. I don't think one needs to be "informed" in order to be able to know what they find pleasing and entertaining. As has been reported, a large portion of the viewing public still watches SD sources on their HD TVs. Who are we to say they are uninformed or foolish? If they are happy, that is all that matters.

    Look at it this way...some people will only drive BMWs, maybe because they prefer the styling, or because BMWs handle so well, or whatever the reason. Other people swear that the only car they will drive is an Audi, or another person may prefer a Lexus. Meanwhile, there are millions of people who could afford a BMW or a Lexus or an Audi, but prefer to drive Fords or Volkswagens or Hondas. Without question, the technical specifications for an average BMW will be superior to those of an average Ford (better acceleration, better weight distribution, better cornering, etc.). Does that mean that the Ford/Honda/VW drivers are "uninformed" or somehow wrong or misguided? Not at all...they just prefer to drive whatever car they prefer and, in most cases, simply don't need or don't really see how the "better" specifications relate to a "better" car.

    If someone finds the PQ of Dish or cable or any other source distracting, then they should look for a different provider. But these are subjective opinions. Regardless of the technical specifications, if a given provider delivers a PQ that the viewer finds acceptable, then, by definition and for that customer, the PQ is equal to any other provider he or she also deems acceptable. It is the individual's judgement that matters. All we can do is offer our opinions. The TS and anyone else in that circumstance, will need to form their own opinion.
     
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  14. Mar 19, 2014 #74 of 100
    RAD

    RAD Well-Known Member

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    Didn't we go through all this back when DIRECTV was doing HD Lite and Dish wasn't? :hair:
     
  15. Mar 19, 2014 #75 of 100
    Diana C

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    Glad I missed that go around. :)
     
  16. Mar 19, 2014 #76 of 100
    Stewart Vernon

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    For me it has been pretty simple... IF I sit a foot away from my HDTV, it looks like crap... even Blu-rays look like crap sometimes with my 60" HDTV if I sit a foot away from it. But I'm not supposed to be sitting that close!

    I always forget the metrics... but if I sit within a foot or so of the optimal viewing distance for my size HDTV, then I find most of the Dish HD looks pretty sharp. Some channels are better than others, and some of that isn't Dish's fault either... sometimes the channel is not as good and sometimes the content itself is not as good.

    DirecTV might be better. I honestly don't know because outside of a showroom setting, I've never seen DirecTV HD. I had DirecTV a couple of times many many years ago... but that was long before HD. By the time HD was around, I had already been with Dish a year or so... so I've never been in a position to compare the two.

    I have compared Time Warner... a little. I hedge slightly because my father had a different HDTV than I did when he had Time Warner Cable. Sometimes at his house I thought his picture looked better on some channels... but then when I was at home I would realize mine looked good too... I never was in a position to do a side-by-side comparison.

    We could debate numbers all we want, but that really isn't the issue with picture "quality" as most people "see" it.

    It all comes down to you and your setup and how you think it looks with your eyes.
     
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  17. Mar 20, 2014 #77 of 100
    sregener

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    I think you read into my statement something that was not there. I said, "perfect", not "acceptable." I'm a videophile and I find Dish's HD acceptable, and have for almost the last two years. But I find it acceptable in part because I saved over $600 by switching to Dish from DirecTV. No savings, and it would have been a much harder sell. I recognize that people choose their programming provider for a variety of reasons, not just one, unlike how we choose who to vote for as president.

    If you can't see the flaws, whether it be Dish, DirecTV or cable, then you are not in a position to compare them for quality. Because of the extreme compression all those providers use, there are a ton of flaws in their picture, and it is visible to those who sit at proper distances and know what they're looking for.

    It is rare that I pay attention to video quality while watching a program. Typically, it takes something to distract me from what I've viewing. But once distracted by a shadowy background that is all blocks, or a singer who becomes unrecognizable as they're illuminated by a strobe light, those flaws grab me more and more and become an issue. For me, Dish's HD LiLs are unacceptable. But that may just be in my market. But Dish's national HD is acceptable. Still not what I know it can be, but acceptable.
     
  18. Mar 20, 2014 #78 of 100
    normang

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    These debates will rage on forever.. its all up to the individual's perception, and its always more than just the numbers as the postings about plasma vs LCD etc prove. The specs are a contributing factor of course, but ultimately it comes down to what the person see's on their screen. And even the screen varies, walk into a store showing the same feed across a number of different models, some will look better than others.. it might be adjustment, it may not.

    I can view a 4K feed on a nice 4K display in a store and it can look really really good, but I also know that the chances I'll ever get that level of quality outside of a store without having access to the demo video they are showing, highly unlikely.

    The best you can do is try and view what you want to watch from the various providers on a Tv that is close to yours, and even then, it may not match your own viewing experience once you deploy your choice.
     
  19. Mar 20, 2014 #79 of 100
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    If you have to be "informed" about what should please you, you have much deeper issues than we can address here.
     
  20. Mar 21, 2014 #80 of 100
    sregener

    sregener Godfather

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    I'll grant you that point. However, the issues here is whether or not you're qualified to give other people input about a service. If you know nothing more about cars than, "I buy the green one because it looks good, and this one works fine for getting me to and from the office," you wouldn't be qualified to tell people who are very knowledgeable about cars that your car is the perfect car. It may be perfect "for you", but that's a different statement. When someone asks, "Which service offers the best picture quality?" you had better have an idea what makes the difference.
     

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