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Why Does Some HD Look Better Than Other HD?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by CraigerCSM, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    Just curious, I watched the movie The Shooter in HD tonight and it had great picture quality and that was on TBS. Then if I watch Seinfeld or Friends reruns that HD picture quality is just ok. Does that have something that has something to do with stretching and if it is in Mpeg 2 or 4? Or if its in 1080p? Could they remaster old TV shows and Movies to have the same HD quality that the movie The Shooter was in? By the way all of the signals on my HD DVR are in the upper 90's. Sorry if this has been discussed before but I wasn't sure how to seach for this subject. Thanks.
     
  2. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

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    Wylie, Texas
    No.

    Yes.

    No. (not applicable)

    Yes.
     
  3. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    Thanks for the quick reply. What was The Shooter filmed in? Do you think they will ever remaster old TV Shows and Movies in that format anytime soon? I guess Seinfeld and Friends were shot in Mpeg 2? Will the new D12 make HD quality even better with old TV Shows and Movies? Thanks.
     
  4. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    HDNet remasters some old shows and movies to HD. They are the only ones I know of that do it.
    The actual source material is the problem. Lots of upconverted SD material. FWIW, both Mpeg2 and Mpeg4 are capable of excellent PQ. Most of DirecTv's sources are Mpeg2. Just have to find a source channel that uses the best quality transfers and not the cheaper SD version upconverted to "HD". HBO, Smithsonian, HDnet, HDNetMovies, Discovery HD Theatre are a few of the channels out there that appear to really care about the PQ quality of what they are sending out.
     
  5. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    So I guess it was also have to be at the network that is sending out their HD feed and if they would brodcast their TV Shows and Movies in Mpeg 4 HD?
     
  6. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Mpeg4 allows the same data in less bandwidth than mpeg2, however, they BOTH are capable of the same PQ (mpeg2 just uses more bandwidth). DirecTv just recompresses the mpeg2 sources to mpeg4, as well as the mpeg4 sources to its own version of mpeg4. For example, PBS HD has an outstanding Mpeg2 PQ. Its transmitted by the local stations over the air at reduced bandwidth i.e more compression. Some stations convert if from 1920x1080 to 1280x720 so it looks even more fuzzy. Irregardless, DirecTv picks up this Mpeg2 feed, and sends it up to their satellite in Mpeg4. If they sent it in Mpeg2, it would take more space on the satellite, but look just the same. The only thing that can improve the PQ would be for the source channels to use better PQ material, less compression during distribution if possible, or fewer recompression steps.

    You can fit 3 Mpeg2 channels, or 5 Mpeg4 channels on a satellite transponder without having to sacrifice quality. Some channels are sent in 1280x720p, and will always look fuzzier than a 1920x1080 channel. The best example is to watch football. Grass blades jump out at you on CBS (1080), but looks like a fuzzy blanket on FOX (720), but the CBS feed will have more motion artifacts (being interlaced) than the Fox feed (being progressive), so its a trade off.
    Blue Ray, which I believe uses 1080 progressive with much less compression is currently the benchmark for PQ. Broadcasters and Satellite just do not have the space available on satellite to send their material out in this format, even though they COULD do so.

    In any case, dont get caught up in a Mpeg4 looks better than Mpeg2 thought. Both can reproduce the original source material with equal PQ, one just uses more bandwidth to do it. The reason a lot of people are under the impression that Mpeg2 looks worse than Mpeg4, is because DirecTv only transmitted 1440x1080 resolution instead of 1920x1080 on their HD Mpeg2 channels, in order to save space. Their Mpeg4 is a full 1920x1080. Dish still uses 1440x1080. So, DirecTv subscribers comparing the same Mpeg2 and Mpeg4 channel on their TVs would notice the additional sharpness on the Mpeg4 channel, and assume it was Mpeg4 that was their benefactor. Its the higher resolution, not the compression standard.

    I am sure that Mpeg4 can technically produce a PQ with less PQ loss than Mpeg2, but nothing you will notice on a Tv screen with moving video.
     
  7. gphvid

    gphvid Godfather

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    Thousand...
    Actually, HDNET doesn't do the remastering. That is done from the studio side. They are remastering everything to industry standard 1080p 23.98. For broadcast, a 1080i 59.94 version is made with closed captions and stereo and surround sound which is what HDNET receives and uses.

    Alot of older shows are being remastered but first are being restored and cleaned up as best as possible. Seinfeld went through the process a year or so ago, as did Quantum Leap. They will still be side-matted 4x3 but it will be HD.

    I do work in a facility that does many of these so I know what is being done. For the movies, you should see how, depending on the movie, how painstakingly they are working on restoring from best elements possible to HD. And so far the results are beautiful and will look great on Blu-Ray.
     
  8. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    I don't think they did a great job with remastering Seinfeld. I also don't think they did a good job on remastering Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond if they remastered those.
     
  9. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    The answer is: it depends, but often the answer will be "no."

    TV shows shot and edited on 35mm film, with a high-quality print or negative available, can be remastered and look pretty fantastic.

    TV shows shot on 16mm (common for many TV shows) usually won't look as good. 16mm was often used for TV work because it was considerably cheaper than 35mm, plus it is much easier to manage for hand-held camera work. Since the target was SDTV, the reduced resolution wasn't considered a liability at the time.

    TV shows shot on video can't really be improved, as there is no additional resolution in the first place, unlike film, which was of higher resolution than the videotapes they were subsequently transferred to for broadcast. And *very* early TV that was captured via Kinescope is worse still; you won't see The Honeymooners in HD.

    Some examples: the original Star Trek was shot entirely on film, and has been remastered in HD. It looks great.

    Star Trek: TNG and DS9 were shot on film, but the film was transferred (in SD resolution) into a computer for editing, and all of the special effects are done in the computer at SD resolution, with the result being exported to SD videotape (1" broadcast quality, but still SD). The amount of money necessary to go back to the original unedited film (assuming it's even still available, which is far from certain) and do all the editing over again, then do the effects over again, is significant, and there's not much guarantee that it would be profitable, so it's pretty unlikely you'll ever see these in HD, despite the obvious value of the content itself (it's still in heavy syndicated rotation 20 years later).

    Then there is the aspect ratio problem. SDTV is almost all 4:3, while HD is almost all 16:9.

    Seinfeld has been remastered from the original film, but they have altered the aspect ratio by zooming/panning/cropping to get a 16:9 frame size out of the original 4:3 prints. Picture quality is high, but parts of the picture (top and bottom) have been cut off in order to fill the screen. That's mostly acceptable for a show like Seinfeld, but would be very difficult to do for many others.

    Converting a show to HD is a complicated and expensive process (and for some shows, much more than others), making such conversions a difficult decision for the studio in many cases. In the end, it comes down to: will it make a profit? If the answer is not a certain "yes", then conversion is unlikely.
     
  10. Thaedron

    Thaedron Hall Of Fame

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    Very nice clarification Battlezone.

    Just to reiterate... The actual quality has very little to do with MPEG2 or MPEG4, but everything to do with the original recording method and subsequent processing. Yes MPEG 2/4 may play a part, but the stream that gets to that point has a bigger impact.
     
  11. kovach

    kovach Mentor

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    Might have something to do whether the broadcast is 1080i or 720p, and whether your TV is 1080i or 720p.

    The best picture is when they match as there's less conversion.
     
  12. Sartori

    Sartori Legend

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    Just too add something, I watched an old John Wayne movie awhile back...

    El Dorado I think it was, anyway was one of the best looking HD movies I"ve ever seen on DirecTv...wild huh....
     
  13. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    My HDTV can handle up to 1080p.
     
  14. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    Thanks. So I guess it all comes down to what the TV show or movie was shot on and remastering in HD wont bump it up to BluRay quality?
     
  15. LameLefty

    LameLefty I used to be a rocket scientist

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    Middle...
    That's not the point. I have a 30" LCD unit in a bedroom that can accept and "handle" 1080p inputs, but it's still a 720p native screen. And even 1080p displays (like the 56" screen in my living room) still has to deal with signals that might be 720p (anything from ABC, ESPN or Fox, for instance) or else let the Directv receiver do the scaling. Different types of TV's do better or worse with different types of input signals.
     
  16. CraigerCSM

    CraigerCSM Guest

    I was just answering Kovach's question.
     
  17. Thaedron

    Thaedron Hall Of Fame

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    The resultant picture quality has very little to do with whether the TV is 720p / 1080i / 1080p for the question at hand. Though ultimately that will be a factor, just a lesser one, it doesn't matter if the HD DVR and TV are outputting/receiving 1080P signals if the source material was 4:3 480i recorded on video tape.

    In other terminology:
    It doesn't matter if you have a 2.5 inch fire hose to spray water on your fire, if at some point the water has to pass through a 3/4" garden hose on the way, you're simply not going to have much water pressure...

    :D
     
  18. Thaedron

    Thaedron Hall Of Fame

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    One example of this is Hogan's Heros which HDNet does run occasionally. For "really old" content, it looks fabulous in HD.
     
  19. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    Yes.

    But, 720p 60Hz and 1080i 60Hz are the only two HD formats used by the OTA/Live TV industry.

    Cable and sat providers can offer 1080p 24Hz. But, this is primarily for movies.
     
  20. Kansas Zephyr

    Kansas Zephyr Hall Of Fame

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    +1 :)
     

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