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Broadcast Engineer
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Shades228 said:
It's a HD box so it's primary function is HD. Just because they allowed people to use the SD outputs at the same time does not mean that they support or care about people who decided to use it this way...
In your own words.

They do not support or care about people who have faithfully been letting them hold us up every month for "HD" access fees. This is something akin to a protection racket.

They don't support them, and they don't care. But then they never miss an opportunity to cash the check, do they?

To me it is just one more hurdle to moving content to a DVDR (I have to reset the format of the DVR to 480p). I can put up with one more annoyance, and I will, but this is not the first and I fear not the last in a series of annoyances that underline how arrogant and non-caring this company is regarding the ergonomics of their product.

OK, now that is one way of looking at it, but I think it probably is not the right or realistic way.

From another point of view, I should probably cut them a break this one time because they may not actually have had any choice in the matter. If you look at what they are trying to do from a technical standpoint, the necessary hardware to do it the right and best way just isn't there already, and it needs to be to do it without annoying all of us that sometimes depend on the SD outputs.

The box has a hardware rescale to composite video built in, which is ubiquitous and cheap to do. That would make it just as cheap to do that for the GUI (rescale the HD GUI to SD for the composite ports) except that the existing legacy boxes would need a third hardware rescale process available to do that for the GUI overlay (the second one is the one that feeds the HD ports), and you can only up rev the software in a legacy DVR, and obviously can't up rev the hardware to include a third rescale process unless it is futured for that, which it very likely isn't.

Were the hardware available, it would be cheap and easy for the new GUI to take advantage of that. As a matter of fact, that is not too different from how the old GUI worked; they rescaled the SD GUI overlay on the fly to match the HDMI/component output format (you cant overlay a 480 GUI over a 720 or 1080 signal without rescaling it first), and sent an unconverted GUI overlay to the composite ports. Since both the composite ports and the GUI were both already SD, no rescale there was necessary.

But now that the GUI is HD, it has to be rescaled to fit both the HDMI/component output, and rescaled to SD for overlay on the rescaled composite outputs. Apparently there is no way to use the process that rescales HD video down to SD to do the same thing for the GUI, because it is an overlay and a second video source and the overlay can only happen after the down-rez of the main video to SD.

And that makes sense; if the original video is 720p, and you are using the HD rescale process to convert that to 1080i while simultaneously deinterlacing a 1080p GUI to 1080i for overlay, neither one of those processes can also be available to simultaneously rescale the 1080p GUI to 480 to match the rescaled SD video feeding the composite ports.

IOW, with the main rescale process busy feeding the HDMI/component ports, and the SD rescale only available for the main downscaled SD video, that leaves no rescale process available for the GUI overlay for the SD ports.

This means that the only possible workaround is to make us match the HDMI/component format to the SD port format; if the main format is set to 480 then the rescale that handles the GUI overlay can handle both the HDMI/component outputs and the SD composite outputs because then it is the same rescale process. And of course this also means the inclusion of two other one-frame overlays to use as nag screens when we don't do this.

So, they're off the hook this time in my book; you can't make an omelet without breaking an egg or two, and apparently you can't retrofit an HD DVR that has an SD GUI with a new HD GUI without a certain amount of compromise in the process, either.
 

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Broadcast Engineer
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4,153 Posts
Shades228 said:
I know it was my words I typed them. I also typed them for a specific reason and that reason is this. If you design a product to be used in a specific manner and people use it in another manner you don't care if it will make something happen in a manner you don't support if it makes your product better for people using it correctly...

The bottom line is that DIRECTV doesn't support their equipment being used for multiple TV's and even though you can make it work they don't have to care about inconveniencing people who aren't using their product the way they design it to better the experience for those who do.
Well, thanks for sharing, but I don't think anyone was questioning that you might not have understood what you yourself said. And thanks for rehammering it home, but your "specific reason" for typing those words was also pretty obvious.

And you will note that I had the courtesy to take care not to take you out of context. But there is no harm in AGREEING WITH YOU, is there? Or in co-opting your words to underline a point we both seem to agree with? That is probably of one of the reasons they put a quote button on your post in the first place, and that is the spirit in which it was used. Sue me.

I think we disagree on only one point, and we may even agree on that. No good deed goes unpunished. DTV wanted to do the right thing by giving us a HD GUI. Hurray for them. We all appreciate it. But sometimes making things happen for good has unintended consequences, or means there may be some unavoidable element of compromise, which is probably how this played out.

My feeling is that you should never stop trying to do the right thing just because it might turn out to be problematic, and you should always try to minimize the damage to customers, who in this case are now, some of them, burdened with a clunky workaround that they could live blissfully unaware of in the era of the SD GUI.

I also feel that DTV probably did everything possible to uphold both of those goals, but sometimes doing everything possible still results in irksome changes. We just have to deal with that, but there is no evidence at all that this is based on the customary arrogance they have shown in the past. They may very well have cared deeply about causing this problem, but may also have had no other choice. Presumed innocence is hard to challenge here.

So my approach will be to move on, stop moaning about it, count my blessings, and adapt, which is the same advice I would give were I ever solicited.
 

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Broadcast Engineer
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4,153 Posts
JonW said:
It has nothing to do with that.

Besides, broadcasters were never overly concerned with subscribers recording poor quality low definition copies for their own use. It's the HD copies possible through component video and even HDMI that concern them.
It may have nothing directly to do with it, but it is still very much "in line" with it as the poster said, and is part of a host of similar issues facing all of us.

And speaking as a Broadcaster (but then not for all broadcasters) most of us have always been concerned that customers get the best quality available even if they were shooting themselves in the foot by recording it themselves in VHS SLP. That folks don't seem to care about preserving the quality we give them is much more irksome to us. We don't care if you record it in HD or distribute it in HD to a friend or archive it in HD for your library. It's the production houses that care about licensing and ownership, not us. Just don't pirate it and sell it.

After all, we are the keepers of the highest quality, and the only place you can get the highest quality other than buying it on Blu-Ray (and have you seen what they are asking for a year of Fringe in hard copy these days?) We used to be the only place to get content, and our industry has to adapt to the fact that you can get content anywhere, so one of the things we are holding on to, at least for the next few years, is that no one else can give you the PQ that you can get OTA.

So we do indeed care that you get HD in the highest quality, and we want to make it convenient for you to have access to it, which means time-shifting, archiving, and sharing it. That is one way for us to remain relevant. We just don't have a lot of control over the archiving and sharing aspects of it. The last thing we want to do is piss off customers by providing them a shoddy product. I'm not sure that applies to The Jersey Shore, however.

Roku is great. Netflix is great. Hulu is great. But even if you are wealthy enough to be able to afford really good internet and lucky enough to have really good internet available in your area, the quality just is not there, and it goes down from there if its a shared pipe or if your MB connection or GB ceiling is not a high number. So exclusively high quality is one of the things we hang our hats on.

So please don't paint Broadcasters with that brush; over-regulating and rationing content is the object lesson from the record industry that we will hopefully learn from, and we certainly won't be on board for doing that by down-rezzing the quality of the content.
 
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