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TCM: Finally in Real HD?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Tom Logan, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Tom Logan

    Tom Logan Stunt Coordinator

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    Turner Classic Movies has been upconverted to HD as long as I've had it on my HD system.

    Now I think it's changed to true, non-upconverted HD, but I'd like to get some confirmation. (Google yielded nothing, and found nothing at the TCM site.)

    What I'm seeing (JVC RS-1 on 122" screen):

    Flipped randomly to Sweet Charity recently, and it looked like real HD. I thought for a minute I'd surfed to MGM-HD (real HD) it looked so good, but I checked: it was TCM. Hm.

    Not totally convinced, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to A-B compare: Magnificent Obsession (MO) was going to be on the next day, and I had already DVR'ed it from long ago, also from TCM.

    So today I did the A-B comparison (MO recorded 2/20/? "old MO" vs. MO recorded yesterday, "new MO"), and new MO is MUCH clearer, with crisp credits' lettering and much sharper image overall, especially noticeable in such details as print on fabrics. The old MO recording shows the artifacts and blurriness of being upconverted. Significant improvement.

    But here's the final piece of evidence: On the old MO, at the very beginning when the Universal logo comes on, it begins letter- and pillarboxed (is there a word for both of these at once?) but then jumps a few seconds in to fill the 16:9 screen. (This is the moment of upconverting, no?)

    But on the new MO recording, the Universal logo fills the screen from the beginning--and it's sharper to boot.

    So: If TCM hasn't gone real HD, what am I seeing? How can I know for certain? :)
     
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Second Unit

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    I don't have an answer, but I have noticed in the past that some of the films they show look like real HD and some are questionable, just upconverted. I don't think they would have real HD transfers to show of 1930s and 1940s era films unless they are really classics. I just wish there was some way to know which ones are shown in real HD.

    Last month they showed "Twice Told Tales" (1963), a horror film I hadn't seen in decades. I was amazed at how good it looked. I don't think this title is available in Blu Ray either.
     
  3. aPhil

    aPhil Supporting Actor

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    I just noticed the new look on TCM last night (Monday Nov 17). Now the 1.78 images fill the entire HDTV frame.

    Before, anything widescreen was windowboxed on all 4 sides, and it always looked terrible -- Only 4x3 movies looked good, and anything else was unwatchable. I hope their widescreen offerings will now look good, and that more of their older movies will be true HD.
     
  4. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Supporting Actor

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    I noticed this last week. The bits that show between films now fill the whole screen, not letterboxed within a 1.33 box in the center of the screen. I am also not seeing the windowbox effect where the image is surrounded by black on all sides.

    But what was especially striking were the broadcasts of GYPSY, PILLOW TALK, and KISMET on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The 2.35 image now fills the full width of the screen and the image clarity and detail definitely indicate HD. I think not all of the films they show are going to have a HD transfer available, so I am sure it will vary depending on what is available. For example they showed Jack Clayton's OUR MOTHER'S HOUSE on Friday. It filled the screen but was somewhat blurry and had video artifacts that indicate a lesser level of transfer. I am also noticing the HD transfers have better sound.

    I just hope they will maintain their correct aspect ratio policy... in the last year there have been times when they have cropped 1.33 films to widescreen, etc.
     
  5. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I definitely noticed an uptick in picture quality recently on many films they show (but not all). A lot of stuff from Warner certainly looks like genuine HD to me (and exists in HD on Warner Instant Archive).
     
  6. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    I posed this question in the past and was strongly told 'no' ( although the only 'proof' cited was the lack of a formal announcement)I do wonder if the current conflict with certain dish providers (supposedly due to fee increases) might be related to a switchover to real HD (my own speculation).
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I still doubt it.nothing but old b&w on until tonight. Casablanca has an hd version so maybe we can tell when thats on.


    Directv is about perfect in their show descriptions in the guide on what is and isn't hd, still nothing there showing hd as of now.
     
  8. Tom Logan

    Tom Logan Stunt Coordinator

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    FYI, my cable provider is Comcast.
     
  9. Roger Grodsky

    Roger Grodsky Stunt Coordinator

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    SWEET CHARITY looked incredible with much improved clarity, color and contrast. My mind was boggled! There was an issue with the sound; some voices and instruments inaudible even though the sound was stereo (true both through the TV speakers as well as through the 5.1 decoder). Impossible to tell if the fault was TCM's, Time-Warner's or Universal's. I'll ascribe it (hopefully) to growing pains. POLTERGEIST also seemed to be HD and even SUNRISE looked like the new restorations. I'm not sure why TCM is not shouting from the rooftops about this.
     
  10. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Ok I caught the bumper before Casablanca and it was clearly HD.

    The interview before the movie is HD but looks a little weird, maybe a frame rate thing going on.

    The movie also appears to be an hd broadcast.

    Odd that the channel itslef still isn't offering an HD tag anywhere on or before the show.
     
  11. davidmatychuk

    davidmatychuk Cinematographer

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    Oh you Americans. You're just rubbing it in about your TCM-HD. "It looks upconverted", "No, damn you, it looks like true HD". Try crossing your northern border and having to settle for plain old Oatmeal-Vision TCM. Yeesh.
     
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  12. Tom Logan

    Tom Logan Stunt Coordinator

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    The Green Berets comes on in an hour or so, and it's out on Blu-ray (i.e., we know there's a HD transfer available), so it should be an interesting test case.
     
  13. Roger Grodsky

    Roger Grodsky Stunt Coordinator

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    They also seem to have stopped saying "letterboxed" on the pre-film bumpers. Are they still specifying on the analog channel?
     
  14. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Supporting Actor

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    Tonight's CASABLANCA broadcast was clearly HD.
     
  15. Tom Logan

    Tom Logan Stunt Coordinator

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    The Green Berets definitely looks HD. :)

    This is great! Waited YEARS for TCM to make this happen.
     
  16. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    Agreed. It looks terrific.
     
  17. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    BTW Quatermas and the Pit or 5 million miles to Earth is on Saturday at 6est.
    Hopefully it will be the hd version avaiable on the foreign bluray.
     
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  18. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    TCM is easily my favorite channel, and I currently cannot get it because DISH is in a dispute with Turner at this time. Last night, I saw a commercial (probably for Direct TV or Comcast) that DISH may eventually lose TNT and TBS. Now, I could really do without DISH or cable entirely, and watch my gazillion DVDs and Blu-rays and stream the rest. However, my wife is addicted to endless reruns of Castle, NCIS and Bones on DISH. I considered switching to U-Verse, where I could probably get a good deal as my phone and internet are U-Verse; but they don't carry Hallmark channels because of a similar dispute to what DISH is having with Turner (the wife likes the Hallmark chick flicks).

    Now that TNT may be leaving (it's the Castle reruns channel), even my wife is OK with the idea of dumping DISH. I've tried to get her to learn to use the ROKU or Blu-ray player. We can stream Bones, and we have 8 seasons of NCIS on DVD and could get Castle on DVD.. But she is a technophobe and prefers to let the programmers show her the episode of their choice rather than go to the trouble of selecting it on her own. This stunt by DISH may finally lead to something else. I hate paying $110 or so a month to watch about 10 channels, ans then have several of them taken away. I expected DISH to have worked this Turner SNAFU out by now.

    I wish TCM had a Roku channel... :(
     
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  19. David Weicker

    David Weicker Producer

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    Not to sidetrack this thread too much more, but apparently Dish may also be dropping CBS (based on the big red crawl during last night's Person Of Interest)
     
  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I watched Supernatural last night and The CW had the same thing crawling across the screen.
     

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