It really depends on the channels .... the PPV and Premium Movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc) tend to be the best. Local channels and local Sports Networks tend to be the worst. And, of course, all of the look worse on a very large screen HiDef TV compared to a smaller screen TV.
Sd looks so much worse since my new slimline install more than a month ago. I agree with the local channels looking among the worst. Especially KCAL 9 here in L.A. I love the Lakers but I have a very hard time trying to watch them in that condition. My tv is a 32" Sony Wega (tube)
I don't understand why people say D* PQ sucks. I've had both cable & D* side by side (only because I need 2 1.2M dishes for HD with D* - another story...) for a few months know and on SD channels D* beats TWC hands down. This is on my 50" Sony HDTV. Maybe Sony's DRC pallete has a little to do with that though...
It really does seem to depend on the channel. Since I got my new 46" TV a couple of weeks ago, I've noticed that there is a big difference in PQ from one channel to another. Some Star Trek reruns on a local channel looked just fine in SD. One of the worst seems to be NFL Network. I've been appalled at how fuzzy some of the video highlights look. The NFLST shortcuts, on the other hand, don't look too bad.
I think DirecTV is overcompressing a lot of the SD stuff. Before I got my new HDTV, I noticed that the picture was soft on many of the NFLST channels, even on my old 30" CRT TV.
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