HBO HDTV Quality: Low or just me?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Miguel Paredes, Mar 16, 2001.

  1. Miguel Paredes

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    Is it just me or is the quality of the movies shown in 1080i not that good? It's nice, but it's not GREAT.
    I do notice quite a bit of difference in quality when watching Sopranos compared to movies in HDTV. Is this because the source material of the movies are 480 and the Sopranos are filmed in higher quality?
    Somebody please educate me!
    Lastly, I was fascinated by HDTV in 1999, when I went to Ft. Worth and saw a direct view set showing a parade of some kind in HDTV. It was soooo clear. I recently got HDTV (HBOE, HBOW, SHO) through my cable provider and I have yet to go "wow" like I did in 1999. I have the 40H80.
    Comments? Suggestions?
     
  2. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Well, the picture quality of an HD movie is directly related to the film stock and the HD mastering. Film is film and has to be mastered for a digital source whether that be for DVD, HD or whatever. You have to remember that not all of the "HD" movies being presented on HBO in a 16:9 ratio were actually mastered for HD. Many of them are simply upconverted from a 480p source. This is NOT HD no matter what HBO states on their website. Showtime seems to be much better at telling what is really HD and what is not.
    Hope this helps,
    C. Ryan
    [Post edited due to clarification given by Frank below.]
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  3. Frank

    Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    There is a great deal of variation in the quality of HDTV presentations on HBO. I have been watching it since November of 99. Some of their movie transfers are absolutely amazing and make the best DVDs pale in comparison. Some examples are:
    Braveheart
    Les Miserables
    The Last Emperor
    Star Trek Generations
    Without Limits
    Ghostbusters
    Three Kings
    Drop Zone
    City Of Angels
    and then there are movies like
    IQ
    Beverly Hills Cop II
    Made Men
    that don't look much better then DVD and in the case of Made Men look worse.
    The Sopranos looks fantastic. It is shot on 35MM film and transfered to HDTV digital tape just like most everything else. Perhaps the reason it looks so good is because it was transfered to digital almost as soon as it was filmed thus the film doesn't have any time to degrade at all.
    While I am sure the Toshiba is a great set, I don't think it can come close to resolving all the detail that is in some of these great looking HDTV transfers.
     
  4. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Frank, thanks for the clarification. Did not know the Sopranos was shot on 35mm. Thought I had read differently. I wonder what is going on over their at HBO? I guess many of the problems come down to source material. Of course many of their HDTV listings are not truely HD but simply upconverts.
    Generally speaking, how are most of the shows for network primetime shot? And how about the Demo channel on DishNetwork?
    C. Ryan
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  5. Timmy

    Timmy Stunt Coordinator

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    CRyan has it right here.
    Take a 480p DVD, upconvert it to 1080i, broadcast it on HBO HD; but it's native beginnings are still 480p.
    With my Dish Network HDTV setup; their demo channel has a mix of sources. If you look at the S.T. Insurrection clips, they are no better than progressive DVD; and I suspect the Ronin clips are the same. But the sports clips and outdoor senic shots are stunning; I assume because they are native 1080i.
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  6. Frank

    Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I recorded 'Star Trek Insurrection' and 'Ronin' in HDTV format. I also have the DVDs. The Showtime HDTV version of both looks substantially better then the DVDs. While STI is not one of the better HDTV pictures it is obviously a true HDTV transfer and so is Ronin. HBO rarely shows HDTV movies that are not true 35MM film to 1080i transfers. I suspect IQ, BHC II and 'Made Men' are upconverts but the others I mentioned are absolutely stunning 35MM to 1080i film transfers.
     
  7. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    OK Frank...spill it. What are you using to record HD? DV camcorder, Panny DVHS, or what? Also, who is your DBS provider?
    Thanks,
    C. Ryan
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  8. Frank

    Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    Panny D-VHS with DST-51.
    I use Dish for HDTV and only the sat at 61.5.
    I use a RCA DTC100 for DirectTV and HBO-HD.
     
  9. Dan Wesnor

    Dan Wesnor Second Unit

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    Answers first, then questions...
    Some older movies may not be in good enough shape to make a good HD master. Or HBO may not want to spend the Benjamins to make a new transfer when they've got an old one laying around. Also, some old transfers may ave been made in some form of HD (i.e., Telecined at a higher resolution than NTSC), and HBO can't justify the expense of a new transfer. It's probably a mix of these two things. Of course, there's no excuse for screwing up anything released recently.
    Questions...
    Do HBO and Showtime pretty much echo everything on the HD channels? Is there any need to point the dish anywhere but 61.5 if you only want the HD channels?
    How many movies is Dish showing on HD PPV these days? Still 3 a month?
    Is there a reliable guide somewhere on the net that tells who's showing what and when? E-town used to do it, but they appear to have gone eBankrupt.
     
  10. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Frank. I was wondering about this a few days ago actually. What interconnects does the Panny use for recording (firewire, component or what)?
    Dan. I currently only carry HBO, so that is all I can comment on. HBO-HD echos everything from HBO-East. And since almost everything that is shown on all the other HBO channels is usually shown on HBO-east eventually, you get about everything. However, there are still several 4:3 upconverts shown on HBO-HD which sucks.
    Anyway, DISH HD-PPV is pretty crappy with content. I would say that there are no more than 3 new PPV movies per month. It may be less some months. They will have a long run of one movie and then put another in its place for a couple of time slots. I have missed a few different showings because of this. I have not found a greatly reliable source for their HD-PPV programming. Their was a thread in the past few weeks that discussed this and did come up with a few sources. Might want to search for that one.
    Also, I am pretty sure you only have to point to 61.5 if all you are interested in is HD. Of course you do have to carry a standard programming package and the HBO and/or Showtime package to get the corresponding HD channels.
    C. Ryan
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  11. Frank

    Frank Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Timmy

    Timmy Stunt Coordinator

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