HBO-HDTV Question...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ric Easton, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    I just bumped up my Time Warner Cable box so that I can receive HBO HDTV. But on just about every show I have seen come on HBO I get a short message at the bottom of the screen as the show or movie is starting saying something like... "This program is not available in HBO-HDTV" Yet I am getting a picture on the HBO HDTV Channel and it is much better than what I am geting thru the regular cable and HBO channel. Movies also change from a 3x4 aspect ratio to a widescreen ratio on my Pioneer widescreen set. So what gives? IS it HD or what? If its not... it sure is better than what I was getting. What does HBO broadcast in HD?

    Ric
     
  2. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    Not everything you will see on HBO's high definition channel is truly HDTV.

    A lot is not.

    According to a recent article, a spokesperson for HBO is quoted as saying, "about 65% of what is run on the HDTV channels is actually HDTV. The remainder is standard definition, which has then been upconverted to 1080i."

    Also, in case you are curious, only about 20% of their programming on this channel is in 5.1 audio.

    Here are some additional thoughts...

    The best HDTV (by far) is when it is programming that originated in HDTV. For example, a network or a staion actually uses 1080i high definition cameras to film the programming. This is the stuff which will opften makes people say "Wow!" the first time they see it. HBO actually does run a little bit of this. "The Sopranos" (and a few of their original series and original films) have used this. "Band of Brothers" did, but the artistic vision called for a lot of grain in some parts, so you did not have that "window" effect.


    The next best tends to be some of the Hollywood films, which can sometimes be "converted" to HDTV. This is a lot of what HBO will run on that HBO-H channel. The overwhelming majority of HBO-H tends to be at this level. It looks good, but not as good as the above. So, when "Ocean's Eleven" comes around on your HBO-H channel, this will look very, very good. Not as good as a live sporting event which was shot on HDTV cameras. But, usually just a shade better than a very good DVD, still.

    HBO is running about 65% of one or the other, above.

    The rest (the remaining 35%) tends to be films, mostly, that were never converted to HDTV. They were only converted for regular old fashioned television. Some of these are recent films, some are older ones. Regardless, they were originally "converted over to video" using the older NTSC television standard. HBO runs a lot of these (close to 35%) right now. The station you are watching is "broadcasting" its feed at 1080i, so this standard definition film then gets "upconverted" to 1080i. Because of this, your TV and your Cable box and any other equipment thinks it is getting true 1080i, since it actually is receiving that many lines of resolution. However, it is still a lot of lines of resolution which are made up from fewer lines of resolution. It will not usually look anywhere near as good as the better DVDs, even. It often looks worse than a typical DVD, and only slightly better than a regular channel might. This is commonly referred to as "upconverted stuff."

    Also, you cannot trust the aspect ratio on HBO to tell you anything for certain. HBO has a bizarre philosophy on aspect ratios, and will try to completely fill a 16 X 9 screen regardless of the original. There are very few exceptions, and they tend to be the TV series they produce. So, almost all films will fill your screen on HBO-H, whether they were converted over to HDTV or not.

    Hope that this helps,

    -Bruce in Chi-Town
     
  3. PaulBoud

    PaulBoud Agent

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    I think what you may be seeing is the message that says "Close Captioning" is not available on HBO-HD. It goes by fast. Check it out again.[​IMG]
     
  4. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the info Bruce... And Paul, I will check it out! It does go by fast... but what you said sounds like it may be the case!

    Ric
     
  5. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    What Paul said is what the notice is your seeing.. Closed captioning is not available on HBO HD..
    Most of the programming on HB HD is in Fact HD...While some of the programming is a lot better quality than others, it all depends on the transfer..
     
  6. shane_watson

    shane_watson Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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