Shows that look good in HD?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Doug^Ch, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    I don't know if this is the right place to post this question. I am a HDTV newbie. While I have had a television capable of High Def for sometime now, I just decided to get a HD signal via a cable card. Here are my video observations so far: The nature shows and travelogues are mind-blowingly clear, and it is better than real life. NCIS was shown in HiDef last night, and I was less than impressed. Do all network shows look this mediocre in HD? What defines HD? Do shows have to be shot with HD cameras to look incredible? Most of my TV on DVD looked better in standard def than this episode of NCIS in HD. If this is a reflection of what TV on Blu-Ray will look like, I will not be rushing to buy one anytime soon. Any comments on this issue would be appreciated. I'm trying to learn.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    (I split this off from the NCIS thread because it was more of a general HDTV topic)

    NCIS isn't one of the better shows in HD, there are better shows to watch in HD on TV: Try CSI (pretty much any of the 3 are good) and Without A Trace. There other CBS offerings, like Friday night's lineup (Ghost Whisperer, Close to Home, Numb3rs) are pretty good. For some reason, NCIS is one of the worst looking shows in HD. Maybe there's some video conversion going on that makes it look as it does.

    ABC has good stuff too, like Lost, Invasion. NBC's Monday lineup is good (Surface, Las Vegas, Medium).
     
  3. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    Thanks for the information Patrick. Unfortunately, my area is way behind on the HD bandwagon with no over-the-air HD available, and only one CBS and PBS affiliate in HD on cable. I will check out CSI tonight to see how it looks.
     
  4. Tim Jin

    Tim Jin Supporting Actor

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    Discovery HD and HDNet.

    Over the air broadcast HD channels looks the best. They are not trying to compress every bit through Cable or Satellite.

    If you are watching a live event, like football in HD, you will notice a difference from OTA vs. Cable. OTA will look better.
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I think anything that has a higher resolution of 480 can be stamped "HD".

    IIRC, Discovery HD and HDNET are broadcast in 1080i while most network broadcasts are 720p. Now, depending on your set, it may be converting that 720p up to 1080i and perhaps that's where the problem lies in the picture quality.

    Some will tell you that 720p actually looks better than 1080i due to the fact that it's progressive as opposed to interlaced. Personally, I don't think there's anything better than watching a praying mantis devour her mate in 1080i on Discovery HD. [​IMG]
     
  6. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I find the CSI shows look good. Plus like someone mentioned earlier....Discovery HD & HDNet
     
  7. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Oh yeah, the original CSI looks great, especially the quick exterior shots of Vegas.
     
  8. Ryan L. Bisasky

    Ryan L. Bisasky Second Unit

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    i'd say Lost, how i met your mother, and arrested development look the best in hd for me. also, any sporting event (i can't wait until the super bowl hits, hd and 5.1 sound is kick ass.
     
  9. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Watching 24 and LOST in HD has made me not even bother with the DVD releases anymore, as it's like taking a step backward.
     
  10. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    CSI, Two and a Half Men, Joey (before it was yanked) all had fairly vibrant colors imo.
     
  11. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Nature shows usually pop the most. What I've noticed is that these shows shot with true hi-def cameras will definitely be higher quality than filmed shows which are converted IMO. We have our cable box set to power up to Discover HD Theater for this reason...there's always a wow factor. As for what constitutes hi-def, I'll defer to the hi-def mathmeticians. If you do some searching there should be plenty of info throughout these forums on that.

    Shows that are filmed should look a touch grainy because you're seeing more detail from the source material. At first this might lead you to believe that it's lower quality than an SD broadcast. (Never hurts to do a recalibration with Avia or Video Essentials, though.)

    Lost always looks fantastic.
    I had that experience with the Crossroads Guitar Festival on PBS-HD. I DVR'd it and inadvertently changed the save time and lost it. I picked up the DVD set and was really disappointed. There is a lot more material, but I was really spoiled with the true HD version. I'm not planning on being a terribly early adopter, but I'll jump right in to Blueray if I see that title.

    Welcome to Hi-Def Doug!
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Also you aren't necessarily getting an HD signal when you're watching the HD feed of your local affiliate. In my neck of the woods we have some of the worst TV and radio engineers in the world, and screw-ups are constant. (Dead air or overlapping feeds for ten or fifteen minutes at a time on radio is not uncommon.) I can't tell you how many times I've see the SD signal going out on the HD channel for local stations until someone finally notices and throws a switch. It is mostly prime-time fare that is HD ready, so up until about 8 PM most of my local channels just show the SD feed on both their channels. They also switch back to SD when they compress the image to squeeze news items or lottery results onto the screen, then go back to HD. (When they remember to do so.) So it even possible that you were watching the SD feed the entire time. Just because the chennel says "HD", doesn't mean that's whet you're getting.

    (Last night Lost aired in SD for about 15 mintues, then broke up for about 10 more minutes, before finally settling down to a relly good-looking episode.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  13. Mike Slade

    Mike Slade Second Unit

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    Call the station and ask master control to flip the switch. When we first got HD around here I had to call a couple times a week to remind a couple of our stations. They eventually got their act together.
     
  14. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the information guys! I guess I'm not alone when saying that the Wow! factor are mostly centered around the nature shows shot with HD cameras on HD Net and HD Discovery Theater. I did watch CSI last night. While it was significantly sharper than NCIS, it still wasn't eyepopping except for brief outdoor shots. I guess I just expected that network shows would look equally breathtaking, and I just don't think that is the case. While I can't speak to shows like Lost and 24 in HD, because like I've already stated they are not available around here and probably won't be for at least 2 years. As far as picking up OTA HD that will never happen here. Standard Definition OTA is almost impossible to pickup even in VT's largest city so I don't expect better with HD. It must be heaven to be able to pick up HD for free OTA - I can't even imagine.
     
  15. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    I thought Rome looked pretty good. Six feet Under looked a little dark, but that is probably intended.

    Everything I've seen on ABC has looked no better than DVD. In all cases, watching Alias, Desperate Housewives and Lost on DVD on my 16:9 looks better than seeing the same shows on HDTV. Maybe it's my provider. But other channels like HDnet look awesome.
     
  16. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    From what I understand there aren't that many shows actually shooting with HD cameras. One of them that does, Battlestar Galactica, I read actually adds a grain effect.

    Personally I see the most consistent quality from my CBS affiliate. I don't know if it's the affiliate or CBS.
     
  17. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I'd say that it has to be at least 720. Otherwise, you can take 1080i content and halve it to 540p. I wouldn't call that HD.
     

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