DBSTalk Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Lifetime Achiever
Joined
·
30,092 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HDTV: DirecTV Finally Gets The Picture
Source: http://www.tvpredictions.com/dtvpicture101306.htm

The satcaster's new H20 high-def receiver delivers stunning images and great sound.
By Phillip Swann

Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2006) -- As a High-Definition TV owner, DIRECTV has driven me crazy. The satcaster has launched just nine national high-def channels in the last five years. And the picture quality on those channels has ranged from okay to downright poor.

DIRECTV's less than tasty HD menu has often reminded me of that old joke about two guys at a restaurant.

First guy: "The food is terrible here."
Second guy: "Yeah, and such small portions."

However, about a month ago, I purchased DIRECTV's new H20 high-def receiver (with 5LNB dish) and I have to say that I am amazed. The colors are suddenly vivid and life-like; the detail breathtaking; and the sound, yes, sounds even better.

DIRECTV's new 5LNB dish.

Last night, for example, I scanned the dial from Fox's baseball playoff game between the Mets and Cardinals to NBC's sitcom, The Office, to HDNet's Penguins-Rangers hockey match. I was so impressed with each broadcast that I wanted to watch all three at the same time.

Still in disbelief at DIRECTV's turnaround, I walked over to another high-def set (I have three) which is connected to a Comcast HD receiver. After checking out Fox and NBC via the Comcast box, I have to say that DIRECTV's picture was a little better. (Comcast does not carry HDNet.)

So, what's different with DIRECTV?

DIRECTV is using the new MPEG4 compression technology to transmit local HD signals via the H20 set-top. Industry experts say MPEG4 offers cleaner and crisper images and, judging by what I've seen, I have to agree. High-def programs on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox have been eye-popping.

However, interestingly, the national HD channels also look remarkably better, although DIRECTV says it's not using MPEG4 to deliver those signals. (The satcaster says it will switch to MPEG4 for all high-def channels next year.)

The picture is also more consistent. In the past, DIRECTV's high-def images have been up and down. (Many high-def owners have accused the satcaster of purposely "squeezing" the HD picture at times to make room for more channels.) But I haven't noticed any significant change in the picture quality from day to day.

Over the last few years, DIRECTV's HD lineup has been the subject of much criticism on HDTV message boards. And rightfully so. The satcaster has been slow to add more high-def channels and the picture quality has been sub-par.

Concerned that some high-def viewers will flee to other services, DIRECTV has said repeatedly that 2007 will be a different story, with plenty of additional channels.

While DIRECTV still trails rival EchoStar (and most cable systems) in the total number of HD networks, the performance of the new H20 receiver lends hope that DIRECTV's HDTV future will be bright indeed.
 

·
Hall Of Fame
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
I'm sure he did not mean that D* trails "most" cable systems.
For every Comcast or Cox, there are 1000 Mom N' Pops with NO HD.

Still, a good, positive article, one I'm glad to see.
 

·
Lifetime Achiever
Joined
·
30,092 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will note though.

The H20 is not "new" it is almost a year old, so it may be new to him.

Not sure if just recently Phillip got HD Locals in his area, hence why he could check before.
 

·
Godfather
Joined
·
259 Posts
I can be tough on DirecTV at times. They really are behind the curve right now. But the more I read, the more I believe that in about 2 years they will have a bandwidth that cable will never be able to touch without going fiber.

I bet they lead the world in HD in a few years...

In the meantime, cable is best for me, but I keep an eye on this message board all the time... and start to think that I will be back...... someday......
 

·
Hall Of Fame
Joined
·
12,971 Posts
paulman182 said:
I'm sure he did not mean that D* trails "most" cable systems.
For every Comcast or Cox, there are 1000 Mom N' Pops with NO HD.

Still, a good, positive article, one I'm glad to see.
Depends on what you mean by systems. Comcast actually runs many, many systems. As does Cox. There is little synergy among the Comcast systems. I live in Howard County, MD, and don't consider my Comcast to be the same as my sister's in Montgomery County, my friend's in Baltimore County or my friend's in Anne Arundel County. To me and to many others, those are four different systems run by Comcast.
 

·
AllStar
Joined
·
65 Posts
I to have the H-20 and the 5LNB dish and had it hooked to a Panasonic 47" HDTV, projection. The picture was just outstanding however, the tv belonged to my son and he took it with him when he moved out. So, not wanting to see the H-20 go to waste, I brought out the Toshiba 32" Cinema series. It's about 10 years old but, still works great. So now, if I turn to an HD channel, even though the tv is analog, the picture is so outstanding, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between HD and analog. I can't afford to buy a new set at this time but, I sure hope to by next year sometime.
 

·
Beware the Attack Basset
Joined
·
25,435 Posts
ClubSteeler said:
But the more I read, the more I believe that in about 2 years they will have a bandwidth that cable will never be able to touch without going fiber.
Go ahead and be hard on DirecTV. We don't want them to think that declarations of superiority and promises to deliver are enough.

As for cable, much of it has already gone fiber. The huge advantage that cable has is that they can deliver a more focused range of programming as well as TCP/IP based services.

Spotbeams are helping with bandwidth, but not everyone is set up to receive the spotbeams. Satellite has a few advantages over cable though:

o satellite can find a larger market for obscure or limited appeal programming due to its large footprint
o satellite swings a big stick with programmers because they are a single entity representing millions of subscribers
o satellite doesn't have to "build out" to reach customers not currently served.
 

·
Lifetime Achiever
Joined
·
30,092 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WANDERER said:
Man this is old info - I received the H20 over a year ago already. Swanni?
It may be new to him... or the HD Locals may be new to the area...
 

·
Legend
Joined
·
219 Posts
As for cable, much of it has already gone fiber. The huge advantage that cable has is that they can deliver a more focused range of programming as well as TCP/IP based services.
I think he was referring to FIOS which a 100% fiber. Cable may have more bandwidth but unlike DLS or Satellite it is shared. Picture quality and Computer service depends on the area. Many parts of NJ are highly populated and until Verizon arrives with it's FIOS, HD satellite will always be very popular here.

Ian
 

·
Godfather
Joined
·
432 Posts
SatelliteJim said:
I to have the H-20 and the 5LNB dish and had it hooked to a Panasonic 47" HDTV, projection. The picture was just outstanding however, the tv belonged to my son and he took it with him when he moved out. So, not wanting to see the H-20 go to waste, I brought out the Toshiba 32" Cinema series. It's about 10 years old but, still works great. So now, if I turn to an HD channel, even though the tv is analog, the picture is so outstanding, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between HD and analog. I can't afford to buy a new set at this time but, I sure hope to by next year sometime.
Yea, I agree. I had my H20 hooked up about a week before I got my Akai 42" Plasma and I couldn't believe how great the HD signal looked on an old analog 32" screen.

I also think that D* will pass the others next year with HD offerings.
:dance07: :jumpingja :joy:
 

·
Beware the Attack Basset
Joined
·
25,435 Posts
rbpeirce said:
You can take your dish and receiver with you on vacation. Or, you can have a second dish at a permanent vacation home and just take your receiver.
This "advantage" is prohibited in the customer agreements of both DBS providers. Both providers are making agressive moves towards spotbeams to prevent this from happening.
 

·
AllStar
Joined
·
80 Posts
Very first day D* transmit to first customer they had more bandwidth than cable with 2 polarity X 500mhz = 1ghz. Cable (non fiber) has less than 1ghz. Now D* has maybe 6ghz when all satellite are working. Does someone know practical max bandwidth of fiber? Could be D* is getting close to this?
Claus
ClubSteeler said:
I can be tough on DirecTV at times. They really are behind the curve right now. But the more I read, the more I believe that in about 2 years they will have a bandwidth that cable will never be able to touch without going fiber.

I bet they lead the world in HD in a few years...

In the meantime, cable is best for me, but I keep an eye on this message board all the time... and start to think that I will be back...... someday......
 

·
Beware the Attack Basset
Joined
·
25,435 Posts
Claus said:
Very first day D* transmit to first customer they had more bandwidth than cable with 2 polarity X 500mhz = 1ghz. Cable (non fiber) has less than 1ghz. Now D* has maybe 6ghz when all satellite are working. Does someone know practical max bandwidth of fiber? Could be D* is getting close to this?
Claus
D* needs a whole lot more bandwidth than cable because cable transmits their content more efficiently and they don't have to carry 140+ markets worth of LIL (Dish Network currently carries 170 markets of SD LIL but most of it is on spotbeam).

Raw bandwidth availability is not a valid metric.
 

·
Godfather
Joined
·
501 Posts
Another advantage over cable is hurricanes! Cable tv was knocked out for 60 days in some locals last year, my cable internet was down 36 days! But with a generator I had my Dtv up and running, no more watching the same 3 local stations off the antenna that talk about the same crap 24/7!

Sure DTV couldn't find my house 3 times to fix my dish, so I fixed it.. Seems only the post office can find my house when they send me a bill.
 

·
AllStar
Joined
·
80 Posts
Video compression used by satellite is much more efficient than cable. D*or E* can fit 12 or more "channel" in 24mhz bandwidth and cable/OTA can fit 3, maybe 4 in same space.
New UHF digital OTA is another story and so is LIL over satellite of course.
Claus
harsh said:
D* needs a whole lot more bandwidth than cable because cable transmits their content more efficiently and they don't have to carry 140+ markets worth of LIL (Dish Network currently carries 170 markets of SD LIL but most of it is on spotbeam).

Raw bandwidth availability is not a valid metric.
 

·
Hall Of Fame
Joined
·
3,985 Posts
I'm no expert on this subject, but as far as I know, the contents of a single, 30 Mhz-wide satellite TV QPSK transponder, which carries 13 or 14 standard definition channels of television programs, can get "transcoded" into one 6 Mhz-wide 64 QAM digital channel for cable TV. That makes cable bandwidth 5 times as efficient as satellite TV. I think that MPEG 4 lets DirecTV put three HDTV channels on a single 30Mhz wide transpoinder, where it previously only would have had space for two, which is comparable to the improvement in efficiency that cable enjoys when it upgrades to 256 QAM. I think the Ka band transponders are 40Mhz wide, so I guess they are supporting four MPEG 4 HDTV channels on each.

DirecTV now owns 6 Ghz of Ka band spectrum, but I think 2 Ghz of it is only licensed for backhauling. They also own about 700Mhz or so of Ku spectrum in satellite slots A, B and C, all of which can be set up as CONUS at some point a few years down the road when everyone has MPEG 4 receivers and can get their locals off the 99/101/103 Ka transponders.

As I understand it, in order for DirecTV to get equivalent COUNS coverage from any of its Ka satellites, it would have to set up an overlapping array of lots of Ka spots. I'd say that even when DirecTV is fully utilizing all of its bandwidth, it will be at a slight bandwidth disadvantage to a cable TV 860 Mhz system
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top