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· AllStar
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was really close to signing up for Directv last year during their Sunday Ticket promotion, but ended up passing after seeing the downrezzed HD in person at a relative's house.

Now, I know they've launched some new satellites that have added a ton of new HD channels, but are the new channels actually in full HD that's comparable to the better cable company's HD channels?

Is downrezzing/HD-Lite a thing of the past, or do some of these channels remain?

Thanks in advance, this is the main thing I want to know before making the switch.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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The old channels are still lower quality MPEG2 (ESPNs, HDNets, UHD, HBOHD, SHOHD, Discovery Theater, and others I forgot possibly). The others are in MPEG4 and are as good as it gets. All of the HD channels added since last summer have been very good as far as picture quality. The issues with picture quality from those is considered by the great majority to be at the source and would be seen in any delivery.
 

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gregjones said:
The old channels are still lower quality MPEG2 (ESPNs, HDNets, UHD, HBOHD, SHOHD, Discovery Theater, and others I forgot possibly). The others are in MPEG4 and are as good as it gets.
But with that in mind, it should be noted that the old MPEG2 channels are due to be available in MPEG4. Soon. The rumor is: by the end of the month.
 

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FreeBaGeL said:
I was really close to signing up for Directv last year during their Sunday Ticket promotion, but ended up passing after seeing the downrezzed HD in person at a relative's house.

Now, I know they've launched some new satellites that have added a ton of new HD channels, but are the new channels actually in full HD that's comparable to the better cable company's HD channels?

Is downrezzing/HD-Lite a thing of the past, or do some of these channels remain?

Thanks in advance, this is the main thing I want to know before making the switch.
Forgive me if I am wrong but very few HD channels are Mpeg2 channels (the channels typically in question). All the Mpeg4 content is good. Again TV, connection cable and other factors determine quality. I also turned down certain settings on my HDTV along with having it calibrated which improved the quality.
 

· Legend
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HD content on the HD channels looks great IMO, its when they show SD content over HD channels (which is really only a few shows here and there) thats the only time i get fustrated with it.
 

· Éminence grise
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Very few channels show only HD content and upconverted SD (some of which is stretched :( ) is still pretty common on some channels (but improving). Unfortunately there are a number of "HD" channels which have yet to show any true HD content.
 

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First off the best picture you can get right now is OTA Over The Air with a antenna.
This will give you the best HD picture available.
Second, all signals over cable, Satellite, or Fios is down rezzed. Actually it is down rezzed twice before you ever see it on your screen.
The actual channel that is shooting the show down rezzes it the first time so they can send it to the cable, satelitte com, or who ever to send it to you. Then the Sat company, cable company or who ever down rezzes it again to fit into there bandwith parameters. This is a fact of life. The cable, sat , etc. companies only have so much room on there systems for so much content. No company right now can give you full HD content in full HD. Fact of life. You, I or no one on here can change this right now. Yes some companies do us less down rezzing. But they still only have so much room on there system for each channel.
 

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It's important to distinguish between downrezzing, and compressing (or re-compressing and overcompressing). Not everything is downrezzed. But most of it is re-compressed. Even OTA can be re-compressed. But there HAVE been cases of good quality on satellite... feeds that can be better than OTA. I know during the Olympics Dish had feeds direct from NBC that were something in the 26Mbps range. And OTA can look bad if there are lots of subchannels. So far, it appears they are giving the MPEG4 channels enough bandwidth that the re-compression isn't significantly detrimental.
 

· AllStar
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dave said:
First off the best picture you can get right now is OTA Over The Air with a antenna.
This will give you the best HD picture available.
Second, all signals over cable, Satellite, or Fios is down rezzed. Actually it is down rezzed twice before you ever see it on your screen.
The actual channel that is shooting the show down rezzes it the first time so they can send it to the cable, satelitte com, or who ever to send it to you. Then the Sat company, cable company or who ever down rezzes it again to fit into there bandwith parameters. This is a fact of life. The cable, sat , etc. companies only have so much room on there systems for so much content. No company right now can give you full HD content in full HD. Fact of life. You, I or no one on here can change this right now. Yes some companies do us less down rezzing. But they still only have so much room on there system for each channel.
I understand how it all works, but there was a reason that Directv's HD used to be referred to as "HD-Lite" while no one else's HD was referred the same. I think I recall this was more than just "down-rezzing" as you describe it, but altering the actual resolution of the content (in-spite of any compression, 1080i on Dish/cable was still always 1920x1080 interlaced, whereas Directv was actually changing the resolution to something like 1280x1024, and bitrates were astronimically lower than competitors).

Nonetheless, from the responses above it sounds like the new MPEG4 channels do not suffer from the same excessive downrezzing, and the old MPEG2 channels will be switching over by the end of the month. In that case, I'm ready to jump on board.
 

· Registered
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Dave said:
First off the best picture you can get right now is OTA Over The Air with a antenna.
This will give you the best HD picture available.
Second, all signals over cable, Satellite, or Fios is down rezzed. Actually it is down rezzed twice before you ever see it on your screen.
The actual channel that is shooting the show down rezzes it the first time so they can send it to the cable, satelitte com, or who ever to send it to you. Then the Sat company, cable company or who ever down rezzes it again to fit into there bandwith parameters. This is a fact of life. The cable, sat , etc. companies only have so much room on there systems for so much content. No company right now can give you full HD content in full HD. Fact of life. You, I or no one on here can change this right now. Yes some companies do us less down rezzing. But they still only have so much room on there system for each channel.
Don't confuse "downres" with compression. Downres implies less resoultion, and that is not the case on nearly all channels on DirecTV or most cable systems, most of them send exactly the resolution they are getting either 1920x1080 or 1280x720. (Dish is a ? mark for me here, I think I read they had all HD at either 1440x1080 or 1280x720).

OTA is going to be a crapshoot no matter where you are, multicasting can absolutely kill a great HD source and make it look like upconverted SD. So don't fall into the trap of thinking the broadcasters have an advantage. They get it from the networks just like DirecTV, Dish or cable companies do, and by the time they finish draining off the bandwidth for subchannels its usually just ok as far as quality is concerned.

All HD you will EVER get in your home will be compressed, nobody can afford the backbone it would require to deliver uncompressed HD to the end customer, it is on the order of 1Gb per second for one stream.

Something else to note is that a lot of "broadcast" cameras can only capture at 1440x1080, so it is questionable whether or not you are even seeing "true" 1920x1080 from ANY source other than film transfers.

The thing to do is look at the channels YOU would watch and decide if it is acceptable to you.
 

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I also think MPEG4 is better than MPEG2 HD. I also think DirecTV is the best bet, even from cable. And nothing being broadcast can even begin to compare to Blu-Ray or 1080p HD DVD's.

The other component is your TV. If the TV you are using is 720p, I doubt quality is your biggest issue. And not all 1080p TVs are the same. So checking out HD quality at your budy's house or worst, your local store or cable shop probably isn't a good idea.
 

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AlbertZeroK said:
I also think MPEG4 is better than MPEG2 HD. I also think DirecTV is the best bet, even from cable. And nothing being broadcast can even begin to compare to Blu-Ray or 1080p HD DVD's.

The other component is your TV. If the TV you are using is 720p, I doubt quality is your biggest issue. And not all 1080p TVs are the same. So checking out HD quality at your budy's house or worst, your local store or cable shop probably isn't a good idea.
Let's not turn this into a 720p/1080i/1080p debate.
 

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gregjones said:
Let's not turn this into a 720p/1080i/1080p debate.
Sorry, my point was more about HD looking different on different TV's.
 

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FreeBaGeL said:
Is downrezzing/HD-Lite a thing of the past, or do some of these channels remain?
Currently it is a thing of the past. It may reappear in the future though as even more channels become available in HD. D* has shown they were willing to compromise HD quality for quantity so if at some point the number of channels they want to carry exceeds available bandwidth, lookout.
 

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tcusta00 said:
As far as I know there's been nothing publicly said about it and I doubt there ever will be. The closest to admitting to HD-Lite is when DirecTV CTO Romulo was interviewed by Engadget about it.
He actually had the gall to say he didn't know what the term "HD Lite" meant. The CTO doesn't know what a common term (often said about the technology he's in charge of) means?
 
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