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Godfather
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On our large screen HD LCD (Sony 46" 1080p set), Mad Men (not "Man Men" as I mistakenly said in the title - I wish there was a way to edit the title), a great series for AMC, is just unwatchable in SD.

Normally, we watch some SD, mainly news shows but some dramas as well in SD, and, while they could be better, they look okay in SD and some even look terrific.

But Mad Men in SD has such little sharpness that my can't make out the expressions on their faces unless it's a close-up. I know SD is not as good as HD, but why is Mad Men so awful?
 

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Hall Of Fame
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2,119 Posts
I noticed the same thing...it is clearly the compression on the channel, since a dowload of the same episode from DirecTV On Demand looks much better (not great, but a lot better).

Part of the problem is that the series is being broadcast in HD, so it is letterboxed on the SD version. This makes everything smaller and exacerbates the PQ issues. Hopefully, we'll get AMC-HD on the 14th.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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3,136 Posts
This is pretty crappy. Last night, I noticed that I could not see much difference on Mad Men with my glasses on or off!

Fire up AMC-HD now. I can't imagine a channel as big as AMC that is missing from the lineup of the "HD Leader"
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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Unwatchable is an overstatement. It's very blurry and pixelated, yes it is. But hardly unwatchable.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Stuart Sweet said:
Unwatchable is an overstatement. It's very blurry and pixelated, yes it is. But hardly unwatchable.
Well, unwatchable IS a subjective statement. :)

On my 50" Panny it is bad...on my 67" Samsung it is god awful.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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1,301 Posts
Titan25 said:
I noticed the same thing...it is clearly the compression on the channel, since a dowload of the same episode from DirecTV On Demand looks much better (not great, but a lot better).

Part of the problem is that the series is being broadcast in HD, so it is letterboxed on the SD version. This makes everything smaller and exacerbates the PQ issues. Hopefully, we'll get AMC-HD on the 14th.
Yes, the letter-boxing involves two bad things: a fractional scaling with introduces round-off error BEFORE the compression; and a general loss of information due to fewer scan lines and less width.

Then the compression takes this and reduces it further, with the round-off errors from the scaler (i.e. random bits) being fed into the compressor as well making its results even less distinct.

DoD, what a concept! Have to try that. Probably easier and more legal than torrents.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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1,301 Posts
Stuart Sweet said:
Unwatchable is an overstatement. It's very blurry and pixelated, yes it is. But hardly unwatchable.
No, I watched the Season 2 premiere. It could be watched, although one could not avoid noticing how hard it was to see expressions or any other detail. Then I found other ways to watch the second episode because anything else was much, much better.

Note that many viewers get into series now from DVD and this kind of transition is hard to overlook.
 

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Impossible Dreamer
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Stuart Sweet said:
Unwatchable is an overstatement. It's very blurry and pixelated, yes it is. But hardly unwatchable.
Not much of an overstatement. According to my own subjective standards, it was indeed unwatchable...so I didn't (watch it via DirecTV).
 

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Legend
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203 Posts
Steve Rhodes said:
On our large screen HD LCD (Sony 46" 1080p set), Mad Men (not "Man Men" as I mistakenly said in the title - I wish there was a way to edit the title), a great series for AMC, is just unwatchable in SD.

Normally, we watch some SD, mainly news shows but some dramas as well in SD, and, while they could be better, they look okay in SD and some even look terrific.

But Mad Men in SD has such little sharpness that my can't make out the expressions on their faces unless it's a close-up. I know SD is not as good as HD, but why is Mad Men so awful?
Ditto. After watching Season 1 on bluray, I set the series to record Season 2. I just watched the first episode and was totally disappointed. I'm hoping its one of the new HD channel additions with the new satellite. Hopefully, we'll also get the chance to select the HD versions on VOD so I can re-watch the ones I saw in SD . They currently have all of Season 1 and the new premiered episodes of Season 2 in OnDemand (but they're all SD).
 

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Godfather
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332 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
kcmurphy88 said:
Yes, the letter-boxing involves two bad things: a fractional scaling with introduces round-off error BEFORE the compression; and a general loss of information due to fewer scan lines and less width.

Then the compression takes this and reduces it further, with the round-off errors from the scaler (i.e. random bits) being fed into the compressor as well making its results even less distinct.

DoD, what a concept! Have to try that. Probably easier and more legal than torrents.
Last summer we had a different setup: a big 40" CRT TV feed with a D* TiVo SD unit. On that Mad Men season was okay.

I tried watching this season on my son's similar setup but with a 32" CRT TV and, although it is slightly better than on my 46" HD, it was still pretty unwatchable, so I think the transmission this year, for whatever reason, is significantly worse than last year.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Steve Rhodes said:
For the first time, I may see a reason to investigate VOD. How do I do it and how much does it cost me extra, if any?
No charge. All you need to do is have your HR2x DVR networked and confirm the internet connection is working.
 

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Godfather
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426 Posts
I have a 73" Mitsu, watched some of S1 and it was bad ............ but nothing like S2.

I watched about 5 minutes of the first episode, deleted it and cancelled the series. I don't watch much SD but this was the worst I've seen.
 

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Legend
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DVDKingdom said:
No charge. All you need to do is have your HR2x DVR networked and confirm the internet connection is working.
Yes, fairly easy set-up once you connect the DVR to your wireless or wired network. They have each episode as a separate "On Demand" channel or item so its very easy to select the episodes to the queue. I'll wait for the HD version or when released to bluray if they don't offer it.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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1,167 Posts
rjdude said:
Yes, fairly easy set-up once you connect the DVR to your wireless or wired network. They have each episode as a separate "On Demand" channel or item so its very easy to select the episodes to the queue. I'll wait for the HD version or when released to bluray if they don't offer it.
I just started watching Breaking Bad Season 1 during the AMC replays. Is Breaking Bad available on DOD? I don't remember seeing it...
 

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Guest
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152 Posts
Funny. I just recently posted this:
I DL the entire 1st season and watched it over the second half of last week/last weekend. All of the sudden I wish we had AMC in HD

I was able to watch a couple of episodes On Demand in HD at my parents (Comcast) ... come on DIRECTV!
Here http://dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=135189

I canceled scheduled recordings and will just download from DOD from now on.
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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37,060 Posts
I'll be honest, I've got 37" TV and so I'm sure I'm not as sensitive to the quality issues as you all. I'd be willing to bet that it does look pretty darn blurry on a 60" TV. I'm sure there's a lot of subtlety that is being missed. But I still like the show despite all that. It's the only show I'm actually watching in SD right now except Daily Show/Colbert.
 

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Dry as a bone
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rjdude said:
They currently have all of Season 1 and the new premiered episodes of Season 2 in OnDemand (but they're all SD).
I downloaded Season 1 last week and so far I've watched the first 6 episodes. Sounds like S2 is much worse, as I wouldn't classify the DOD version of S1 as unwatchable (even on my 65").

Maybe I'll delete the premiere of S2 and download it instead.
 
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