Cable hdtv vs satellite?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by JohnMM, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. JohnMM

    JohnMM Stunt Coordinator

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    Does cable hdtv usually look worse than satellite hdtv? My brother has a Hitachi 53" widescreen. He subscribes to Cablevision. The hdtv channels are not impressive looking- they look about as good as a DVD.

    In contrast, I watched Dish satellite hdtv at a friend's house last year and it looked outstanding - it left me drooling it looked so good.

    Does anyone have any ideas why Cablevision's hdtv channels are umimpressive looking compared to Dish hdtv?
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    What exactly were you watching on the Cablevision feed? Not all programming on HD channels are really HD. Also, even HD programming can vary in quality much like DVDs can. Many HD programs might have some sort of video filter applied to soften the image as well while others may retain a softer, yet detailed, film-look from their original film sources. And then some others are in lower 720p resolution, eg. anything on ABC HD. Fox doesn't even do HD programming at all, but broadcasts in linedoubled 480p, which can look worse than good movie DVDs w/ a decent deinterlacer.

    Since you're comparing it to Dish's HD channels from last year, you definitely did not see any network HD programming that you might be comparing to from Cablevision. For example, try checking out the HD programming (mostly demo loops) on PBS HD, Jay Leno on NBC HD, and HD sports programs on CBS HD from Cablevision to see how stunning it can look.

    Non-HD content on the HD channels will generally still look like most DVDs for PQ while the true HD content will look better w/ some being more film-like while others being stunningly life-like and razor sharp.

    Also, the actual display device might make a difference too...

    _Man_
     
  3. JohnMM

    JohnMM Stunt Coordinator

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    He's using Cablevision in Hamilton Twp, NJ. There are only 3 HD channels - HBOHD and 2 sports channels. HBOHD resolution was about that of a DVD. We then watched hockey on one of the other channels, but it didn't look all that great. By comparison, I watched hockey at my friend's house (who has satellite) and it was, to use your words, "stunningly life-like and razor sharp."

    Unfortunately Hamilton Cablevision offers only 3 HD channels right now, so he can't check out PBS HD, NBC HD, or CBS HD.

    I'm wondering if Hamilton Cablevision's broadcasts are less than 1080i. I've called them, but no one is able to answer that question.

    And your last point about maybe its the display device is very well taken, although I don't know how to verify that.
     
  4. nick_rh

    nick_rh Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    1080i has a pixel array of 1920 x 1080

    720p is 1280 x 720

    1080i has more temporal detail at 2 million pixels

    720P is at 1 million pixels.

    There are different camps that claim one to be better than the other ...

    Each format has its positives and negatives.

    Regards
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yep, the pros and cons of 720p vs 1080i are often debated like Michael says.

    What I find is that people usually see a sharper picture w/ 1080i sources. OTOH, few of us have even seen 720p on a 720p native display--I don't believe I have. Most people are probably seeing 720p converted to 1080i.

    From what I understand, for the most part, 1080i should look sharper and more detailed than 720p for fairly still images, but becomes more similar for moving images and during camera panning since the 1080i interlaced fields end up looking more like 540p frames. Depending on how sensitive your eyes are and how fast your brain can perceive images, you might even find 720p more pleasing than 1080i during such scenes, especially if compression artifacts become an issue due to limited bandwidth.

    Anyhoo, that's just a brief summary of some key issues.

    _Man_
     
  7. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    John I feel ya man. I posted this exact same question around super bowel time. And I still believe satellite hd must look better than cable HD. I feel the way you do, that cable hd only looks dvd quality to me, that's it. Only true 1080i hd thing I've seen on my set was a videogame, and it was amazing.
     
  8. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    Ok now I'm a believer. I've been watching REAL hd on my set and it is awesome. Discovery HD is being broadcast on time warner and it looks beautiful. I now understand what all the fuss was. Some times it so clear and detailed that it looks like it's in your room. Truely amazing. (but still show time and HBO have their moments when they suck, and other times it looks dvd quality if not better)
     
  9. ToddP

    ToddP Stunt Coordinator

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    To my knowledge, most things on HBOhd are not actually in hd. I could be wrong, but I believe the only things in hd on HBOhd is the original programming like "Carivale" and the "Sopranos", etc. and boxing events and such. I don't know if any of the movies on HBOhd are truly in hd.
     
  10. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    No, pretty much all the movies on HBO-HD are truly in HD. (This is not true of Showtime). But HD transferred from film looks different than HD shot on HD video cameras.
     
  11. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I don't think the boxing is either. Most fight's I've seen on there look upconverted. Doesn't look anything like Discovery channel hd.
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    HBO HD does not even broadcast all of their movies in HD. Many of them are upconverted to 1080i from 480.

    A reason that they look like DVDs. [​IMG]

    Also true of their original programming—much of the new stuff is in HD (but not all—K Street for example is not). Most of their older series are not in HD (Sex and the City, for example).

    As for ESPN HD, there is really only a little that is in HD right now. When you get something in HD, it is pretty evident. Hockey for example is unmistakable in HD.
     
  13. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure if ESPN is in HD yet where I am. But I would love to finally see a freakin football game in HD. I'm at work on Monday night football.[​IMG]
     
  14. Ed_Palubicki

    Ed_Palubicki Auditioning

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    I have Time Warner HD and like most have said the only true HD that I have seen so far is a few HD Discovery programs and PBS programing (awsome!!).

    Monday night foot ball is pretty sweet too.
     
  15. MarkDesMarais

    MarkDesMarais Stunt Coordinator

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    I've read that Direct TV is compressing their HD channels more than Dish (or cable or OTA) due to transponder limitations (ie, they have too many channels).

    Markd
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  17. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think cable ends up being the winner in the case. Although most satellite signals are only affected by big time weather problems it does happen and with clouds the signal will go down and become not as good. With cable you never suffer this problem. Both satellite and cable offer HD programs and they both fit the amount of information required through there networks.

    Even though cable carries alot more than satellite does (such as internet, analog tv, other information) I believe it is a better source than satellite. Make sure you are watching a true HD program, something such as Discovery HD is just amazing. Once you see that in HD you will be stunned at how it looks like it is in real-life... I couldn't believe it myself. I also saw this on a digital cable box from cablevision. Truly amazing.
     
  18. Tom_-^*M

    Tom_-^*M Auditioning

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    How the heck do I watch HDTV? I was researching online today and even called a Directv rep about it. You guys watching HDTV subscribe to the HD Package from Directv, right- or something similar from another sat or cable provider? I checked with them and they offer an hbo, an espn, a discovery, and a couple other channels. What about the individual shows I see "available in HDTV" on NBC, CBS, and ABC like football, tonight show, etc? The rep told me I need a tuner, either built-in to the tv or separate (I understand this part) and a roof-mounted or indoor antenna for the "local channels." Either way - for shows on my local channels broadcast in HDTV or the HD package from Directv - I need their $500-$700 hd receiver set-top-box (hazy on this part)? If that's the case, I think I'll just get regular directv which is basically free after rebate from most places instead of $500-$700 for like a handful of HD channels which you guys are saying sometimes don't even have HD programming. But I'm really fascinated from reading about HDTV - I want to see a football game in HD darn it! Whew, help me out here. Some of you may have seen my first post in the HT beginner forum. My dad wants me to help him replace and modernize everything in the basement. What a pain in the... [​IMG]
     
  19. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    Well, I don't know about direct tv. So I can't help you there. But with time warner. It's only like $14 bucks, so it's no biggie. But I get abc, and I think cbs local. But it differs from city to city.
     
  20. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Tom,

    Check www.antennaweb.org to see what HD locals are available to you. You can just buy an over-the-air (OTA) tuner like the Samsung SIR-T151 for ~$200 off eBay to receive HD locals, if that's all you really want right now.

    OR you can do as LaMarcus suggests and check out your cable provider to see about HD service. Right now, I'm using Time Warner and pay the same price as plain digital cable service although we don't get ESPN or Discovery in HD here in NYC (yet). TWC's pricing is different though in other parts of the country, especially where they already offer the additional HD channels. Also, I recently hooked up a Sammy T151 w/ an old indoor antenna to check out OTA broadcasts.

    _Man_
     

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