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Until an infrastructure is in place, that allows the raw original uncompressed stream to get to the MPEG-4 encoders.... by definition on how the algorithms work.... something is going to be lost.

The question is... how much, and how good is the encoders on the MPEG-4.
As with the right equipment and software, those difference can be very very minor.

Here in Chicago, on an H20 (non-dvr), you can compare the two... at least on my TV, with my eyes, under normal (and even a little abnormal) viewing patterns... there is no difference.

The MPEG-4 are at full resolution. What is sent (or received), is what is transcoded and sent out to the MPEG-4 customers... there is no alteration of the image (just the "typical" compression influences).

There is no "over" compression being done.

Some of the encoding centers still have to be updated in hardware and software.... Chicago, New York, and a few other places have already been done. And no, I don't know the scheduled of those upgrades (different area that I don't have a regular conversation with).
 

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harsh said:
Those who want a fighting chance at access to PBS-HD and other majors like CW and MNTV are screaming for OTA. Then there are the digital subchannels that aren't otherwise available. Those dozens of markets that have HD but remain completely unserved by HD LIL are also clamoring. Finally, in markets as large as #14 and #23 who are missing two of the bigs, OTA is imperative.

Not everyone is so one dimensional that their needs can be served by two, three or four bigs.
To get an idea.... Here in Chicago, where I am located about 35 miles South. of the city...

Via my attic mounted antenna... I can get 28 "channels" via OTA...
If I wanted to go crazy and get a different antenna, and mounted it outsides... I believe I can get 40+ via OTA.. (Note.. with a better antenna I can receive CBS.. .but since I get via MPEG-4....) anyway..

Out of those 8 right now carry content in HD. Only 4 of those are available via MPEG-4... The other 4... The CW, WCIU, WPWR, and WTTW (PBS).. WCII carries a good amount of the local sports teams in HD during the year... WPWR no so much, but that isn't the point...

There are a TON of available channels out there... that simply supliment those that you get with DirecTV... and that won't be on DirecTV any time soon (don't count on the sub-channels any time soon).

Hence why OTA is an important feature of the unit....

NOTE: As a Side benefit to having an "Antenna Tree" installed...

If you got a good OTA antenna, and signal.
Split that bad boy, into the TUNER of your AMP... especially if you have one of the newer HD amplifiers.... And listen to the FM stations or now DIGITAL radio stations (And their sub channels)... and just enjoy your audio investments as much as you do your Video investiments.
 

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The only problem with instore displays....

You don't know how well the wiring is behind the "setups"...

I am sure they didn't have a dedicated receiver for each of thoses TV's... they where probably using some sort of splitter or something to send the signal to a bunch of units.

Plus then you have the tweaking of the settings...

There is no doubt that OTA will probably look better in all cases... the question is how much better... and is worth the extra space on the hard drive of the dVR for the OTA version
 
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