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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone else unimpressed with MPEG-4 quality (in the Sacramento market)?

Can anyone else validate their MPEG-4 local HD stations are as clear as the MPEG-2 National HD stations for NBC, ABC, CBS, CW?

I'm experiencing lots of artifacts and pixalization on local HD channels whenever there's motion on the screen. (National MPEG 2 channels look great.) On every HD local channel I experience what appears to be rain/signal-fade often (~30 min)even though my signal is excellent and there's been no rain or even moderate wind. Happens with or without B-Band filters.

I'm on my 3rd HR20-700...
1st - Froze up at random times - had to use red button twice a day.
2nd - Video froze every 10 secs. regardless of HD or SD, audio was fine.

I've had 3 visits from the (same) installer per D* tier 2 support...
1st - Installed AT-9 dish, 20' cable run, excellent signal, professional installation
2nd - D* CSR said my local HD channels were coming down on Sat 99(b), transponder 1. Tried explaining the local HDs are Spots, not transponders to no avail. Installer verified cabling is perfect, alignment is perfect, LNBs are perfect.
3rd - D* CSR could not understand why local HDs are still spotty - felt that 3 receivers indicated it was a problem with the dish or installation. Installer came out with supervisor and confirmed Dish & Cabling are A-OK.

The installer & his supervisor have seen this on every HR20-700 installation in my area. They said D* is telling them "there's a software upgrade to address this coming in November". While this could be a problem with the local channel's up-link, my fear is that this is a problem with the MPEG-4 decryption that can't be fixed with a firmware update due to a limitation of the processing capability of the hardware.
 

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I was just about post the same observation. I get the Philadelphia locals and I was just watching the Tennessee-Bama game (CBS) and thought the on-the-field shots looked odd - almost like it was film. I noticed the same thing last week with another CBS game. I paused several times and the paused images were horrible! Full of decompression artifacts and washed out dark areas. I also have an antenna hooked up to my TV and I switched to it and the images are clean. I have only noticed this on the CBS - other HD locals are fine. I think previous discussions have concluded that there are problems in the local uplinks. Oh well, we can only wait for those problems to be solved or have the OTA feature activated....
 

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Legend
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I'm in the Sac DMA and the HR20 is my first DVR. Had the H20 before that. My experience is limited to those units and I don't have an OTA signal of any kind or National HD channels to compare. PQ seems fine most of the time except for major pixelation "events" that take place at least 1-2 times during each network show. The images become unwatchable for 2-5 seconds and then back to good. I haven't been tracking the details so don't know if it's in a motion scene but I'll try and start. Seems to happen in both recorded and live mode. It did happen with the H20 also. Maybe the new update fixed it. BTW, have you heard any update on when Fox KTXL Channel 40 will be added in HD to the Sac DMA? D* has Fox KCBA Channel 35 from Salinas as our Fox HD affiliate and they refuse to change it. KCBA doesn't have HD content?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
kenmoo said:
BTW, have you heard any update on when Fox KTXL Channel 40 will be added in HD to the Sac DMA? D* has Fox KCBA Channel 35 from Salinas as our Fox HD affiliate and they refuse to change it. KCBA doesn't have HD content?
No, I haven't - I just received a 'deny' letter from D* on behalf of KTXL to acquire the national HD FOX from LA. However, D* does show KTXL as my local Fox affiliate.
 

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Legend
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KTXL 40 is our SD Fox affiliate but NOT for HD. When I tried for the Waiver letter I got a generic denial postcard back from D*....not a letter. It did not mention KTXL specifically. I had a nice chat with the folks at KTXL to see why. They said they never got the Waiver request from D*? Since I am not able to get any OTA SD or HD signals from any TV stations (in the mountains and far away) I decided to follow up on the denial. I finally got someone deep in D* to state the Waiver Denial came from the station of record for Fox "HD" which turned out to be KCBA Fox 35 in Salinas....go figure. So I got turned down by a small station that I can't get anyway, is 200 miles away and probably doesn't even have HD content? KTXL was very nice, said it was wrong and actually granted me a Waiver and sent it to D* (it's clearly on my account records) but D* won't activate the HD content from the National Fox feed because KTXL is not listed as our HD provider. I was told by D* to write a letter to some HQ n Colorado and I did 3 weeks ago with no answer yet. Due to Baseball, football and "24" in 2007 it became my mission. Catch 342 so far.
 

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Godfather
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I thought the FOX affiliate in Sacramento and D* were in talks to get HD content soon? Is this not the case? I thought I heard they had already written things up, but had not finalized nor signed anything.

I agree, we need HD 24!! :)
 

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kenmoo said:
I'm in the Sac DMA and the HR20 is my first DVR. [...] BTW, have you heard any update on when Fox KTXL Channel 40 will be added in HD to the Sac DMA? D* has Fox KCBA Channel 35 from Salinas as our Fox HD affiliate and they refuse to change it. KCBA doesn't have HD content?
Can you elaborate on this? Are you saying thet DirecTV is giving you KCRA, KXTV, KOVR from Sacramento, and KCBA from Salinas?
 

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jkc120 said:
I thought the FOX affiliate in Sacramento and D* were in talks to get HD content soon? Is this not the case?
Last I heard, that whole situation was still pending. Not an issue between KTXL and D* per se, but rather between KTXL's parent company (Tribune) and D*. As near as I can tell, there are currently no Tribune stations being carried in HD.
 

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Legend
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No, on the KCBA feed from Salinas. I get the KTXL CH 40 SD feed but no Fox "HD" feed at all. When I followed through after the Fox HD Waiver Denial I was told by D* that the Denial was issued by Salinas KCBA (not Fox 40 KTXL) and it took precedent over any waiver approval or denial from KTXL because D* shows KCBA to be our Fox HD local. D* agrees that KTXL is our SD local and that it makes no sense. It was a humorous conversation. The CSR in the Distance Network Service dept actually told me that those errors can only be corrected by the "folks in the back room". He did say he would pass on my concern. And, yes, I got the same info (from KTXL) that KTXL is owned by the Tribune Corp and they are in negotiations with D* for all their Tribune Fox stations at one time. KTXL is very eager to get their HD signal to the Sac DMA. Does that make more sense?
 

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Ah yes, that clears things up. I sympathize with your situation -- believe me, the folks at KTXL would love to be up there, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it happens. Hopefully not too much time.

On the waivers, I went through something similar. When CBS bought KOVR, I applied for a waiver to get KCBS-HD from LA. I didn't NEED it, but CBS was offering it, so I figured I might as well have that as a "bonus." D* turned me down, and said I needed a waiver from KHSL in Chico, and KPIX in San Francisco -- two stations that are 100+ miles away and I can't receive. When I contacted those two stations, they said "HUH? You don't need a waiver from us -- you're not in our area." I said, "tell that to D*!" In the end, I got waivers in writing from both of them, and D* turned on KCBS for me.

That was really a whole "who's on first?" situation! :hurah:
 

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videojanitor said:
Last I heard, that whole situation was still pending. Not an issue between KTXL and D* per se, but rather between KTXL's parent company (Tribune) and D*. As near as I can tell, there are currently no Tribune stations being carried in HD.
Ahh. So who knows when we can expect Fox HD on the local MPEG-4 feeds in Sacramento? :nono:
 

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jkc120 said:
Ahh. So who knows when we can expect Fox HD on the local MPEG-4 feeds in Sacramento? :nono:
Probably after OTA is activated, so I won't care as much.

Last I heard, they were "hoping" before the end of the year.
 

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cal87 said:
Probably after OTA is activated, so I won't care as much.

Last I heard, they were "hoping" before the end of the year.
That'd be nice, as it'd be in time for 24's season premier in January :)
 

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Mentor
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I'm an HDTV newbie and I'm planning on upgrading to a new set and new services. I currently have a DirecTivo that's about to die, and I'm contemplating moving up to the HR20.

Is it (and D* Sacramento service, for that matter) as bad as people say?

Thanks!
 

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Wolo said:
I'm an HDTV newbie and I'm planning on upgrading to a new set and new services. I currently have a DirecTivo that's about to die, and I'm contemplating moving up to the HR20.

Is it (and D* Sacramento service, for that matter) as bad as people say?

Thanks!
Take the negatives with a grain of salt. I have been a D* customer for 10 years and have lived in Stockton for 7. The bugs in the HR20 are annoying but are getting better with every software upgrade and I think the PQ is great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wolo said:
I'm an HDTV newbie and I'm planning on upgrading to a new set and new services. I currently have a DirecTivo that's about to die, and I'm contemplating moving up to the HR20.

Is it (and D* Sacramento service, for that matter) as bad as people say?

Thanks!
The ONLY reason I 'upgraded' is because my DTivo hard-drive was on it's last leg. I'm on my 3rd HR20 and on every one of them the MPEG4 signals are hit and miss. In fairness, 95% hit 5% miss, but 5% equals ~30secs. of garbage for every 30 minutes of HD signal which is pretty darn annoying. If you can wait until mid November, I reccomend you do so - the CSRs are now commiting to having a fixed firmware by then.
 

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I realize there are some problems with the new technology, and I'm doing everything I can to "study up" and avoid asking stupid questions.

That said what, other than the box itself and a new dish, would I need to get receive HD programming? Do I need to get an OTA antenna or can I get everything through the box?

Thanks again...I really appreciate it.
 
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