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Impressing the Cable Guy

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Anonymous
January 5, 2005 1:38:21 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
program.

Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...

More about : impressing cable guy

Anonymous
January 5, 2005 1:38:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

On 5 Jan 2005 10:38:21 -0500, urban@panix.com (Michael Urban) wrote:

>Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
>cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
>offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
>at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
>I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
>indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
>explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
>for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
>I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
>programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
>than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
>program.
>
>Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...

As I was setting up my home theatre I was evaluating different
sources. As I was the first in the area to request the HD service from
comcast, they were still in the stages of firguring out the setups. I
had the tech and his supervisor out when they set up my box. I all
ready had OTA and DirecTv HD. After they set up we compared signals.
Same result. OTA and DirecTV had better picture with HD Cable in
third place. I am sure that part of it was the way that cable systems
re-encode the transmission to their broadcast scheme. The picture is
not as sharp, less clear. They were blown away by the difference.

Reg
Anonymous
January 5, 2005 1:38:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

X-No-archive: yes

"Michael Urban" <urban@panix.com> wrote in message
news:crh1ld$6pd$1@panix5.panix.com...
> Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
> cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
> offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
> at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
> I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
> indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
> explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
> for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
> I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
> programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
> than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
> program.
>
> Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...
>
================================
ALL my NTSC OTA stations are far clearer than anything that Comcast used to
deliver.
The OTA HD is fantastic. I get MANY local stations in DTV/HDTV OTA.
Related resources
January 5, 2005 1:38:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Michael Urban wrote:
> Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
> cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
> offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
> at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
> I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
> indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
> explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
> for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
> I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
> programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
> than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
> program.
>
> Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...

I have TimeWarner Cable HD and I also have an 8VSB HD (OTA) tuner built
into my set. Looking closely at the picture there is a noticable
difference between OTA and cable HD (OTA being the better quality), but
it is a nominal difference.

I initially elected to pay the extra $7.00/month for the HD cable
service because I figured it was worth it to get the extra eight
channels (If you're already a cable subscriber it makes sense, after
all you likely just paid $2000+ for an HDTV, so what's an extra few
dollars a month for more channels?). Now TimeWarner is offering HD-DVR
services, which I also subscribe to (at about 1/2 the cost of ReplayTVs
monthly DVR service fee) and absolutely love.

The cable companies are on the right track, but they must offer more HD
programming to stay ahead. The battle they are facing now is one of
standards. This battle is transparent to consumers because cable boxes
are generally leased, but inside the boxes the codecs used to decode
and encode the HD content is changing. MPEG-2 won't be the defacto
standard much longer and better compression will lead to the cable
providers ability to provide more content (limited bandwidth is their
biggest holdup).

I think Satelite providers will be the big losers in the years to come,
I say this because their customers have to absorb the cost of constant
change (since the equipment is typically purchased and subsidized
pricing), they may transition to a leased equipment model, but that's a
huge business model overhall.

-Jeremy
http://hdtv.0catch.com/
Anonymous
January 5, 2005 8:52:14 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Michael Urban" <urban@panix.com> wrote in message
news:crh1ld$6pd$1@panix5.panix.com...
> Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
> cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
> offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
> at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
> I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
> indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
> explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
> for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
> I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
> programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
> than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
> program.
>
> Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...

I get Time-Warner digital cable via CableCard. I have compared my HD
picture to OTA via an indoor antenna and to getting it through a Time-Warner
digital box. CableCard delivers the best picture of the three options. OTA
is pretty much the same picture but tends to pixillate -- which, sure, I
could probably fix (except for our local FOX channel which broadcasts
lightbulb-strength digital) with an outdoor antenna. Digital cable box
delivers the same or almost the same HD picture but a significantly worse SD
picture.

We subscribe, for an extra $10 a month, to the "HD tier" from Time-Warner,
which gives us some channels like INHD, DISCHD and ESPNHD. I would pay that
just for Sunday Night Football on ESPN; everything else is a bonus.

mack
austin
January 6, 2005 12:42:23 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Isn't it wonderful? I turned everyone onto it at work... I was in
awe from the ABC feeds of the bowls.. the picture OTA was stunning...
even on a 'older' Sony HD 65" (2000 model)

On 5 Jan 2005 10:38:21 -0500, urban@panix.com (Michael Urban) wrote:

>Yesterday, I had the Comcast service people in to replace my failing
>cable modem. They saw that my cable TV box was still analog, and
>offered to replace it with a digital box, free of charge (and billed
>at the same rate). Seeing my 42" Panasonic plasma, they said that
>I should consider purchasing their HD service. I pointed to my
>indoor antenna atop the video cabinet and my HD receiver and
>explained that I was already getting local broadcast HD programming
>for free (OK, mumble, still amortizing the cost of the receiver).
>I turned on the local PBS station, which always runs HD or widescreen
>programming, and showed them. Their comment? "Gee, that's better
>than the picture we deliver." I don't think it was even an HD
>program.
>
>Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 2:03:52 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Reggie" <Reggie@nospam.com> wrote in message news:945ot0ph1ghib68c3jrcha54vb3n1ctdiq@4ax.com...
> >Broadcast digital/HD dead, moribund, or irrelevent? I think not...
>
> As I was setting up my home theatre I was evaluating different
> sources. As I was the first in the area to request the HD service from
> comcast, they were still in the stages of firguring out the setups. I
> had the tech and his supervisor out when they set up my box. I all
> ready had OTA and DirecTv HD. After they set up we compared signals.
> Same result. OTA and DirecTV had better picture with HD Cable in
> third place. I am sure that part of it was the way that cable systems
> re-encode the transmission to their broadcast scheme. The picture is
> not as sharp, less clear. They were blown away by the difference.

Well Comcast here consistently delivers incredible pictures on the
INHD channels, so what you're seeing is not intrinsically a cable problem.

Don
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 9:59:44 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

In article <7aydnR9FMrILJUHcRVn-vg@comcast.com> "Don K"
<dk@dont_bother_me.com> writes:


>Well Comcast here consistently delivers incredible pictures on the
>INHD channels, so what you're seeing is not intrinsically a cable problem.

No offense Don, but unless you are able to perform A:B comparisons on the
same receiving equipment via something like a coaxial switch, or
equivalent, your remarks would appear to have no basis.

The very nature of hybrid (Analog + Digital) cable-tv distribution
systems, using a series of multiple signal amplifiers in cascade, will
cause gradual signal quality deterioration. The more amplifiers in
cascade, the worse the video quality. Digital signals do not suffer from
the same type of impairments as analog, but at more than 2 amplifiers deep
in cascade the signal quality differences (vs OTA) can be measured and
beyond 6 or 7 amplifiers deep in cascade the difference in signal quality
can be visibly seen with the trained eye. At 10 or more amplifiers in
cascade even the untrained eye can recognize the quality difference.

If you are fortunate enough to be near the cable system "head-end" or
digital insertion/mixing point, then yes, your digital cable PQ should
very closely approximate that of OTA, but it will never be "better than"
OTA unless you're able to look at it at the input of the broadcast control
room's studio-transmitter microwave link.

The big problem with cable is that on most systems everything below about
channel 80 is still analog and therefore compares very UNFAVORABLY with
both OTA and satellite.
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 11:56:09 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

'Bout the same analogy exists for OTA if you don't live close to a broadcast
station. If you're out on a fringe area, I'll bet that cable signal is
looking pretty sweet:-)

Don

"Mr Fixit" <MrFixit@msn.com> wrote in message
news:frlrt09eadadjlgh8lg8b0hp6akpp2p3sa@4ax.com...

> If you are fortunate enough to be near the cable system "head-end" or
> digital insertion/mixing point, then yes, your digital cable PQ should
> very closely approximate that of OTA, but it will never be "better than"
> OTA unless you're able to look at it at the input of the broadcast control
> room's studio-transmitter microwave link.
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 2:00:36 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Mr Fixit" <MrFixit@msn.com> wrote in message news:frlrt09eadadjlgh8lg8b0hp6akpp2p3sa@4ax.com...
> In article <7aydnR9FMrILJUHcRVn-vg@comcast.com> "Don K"
> <dk@dont_bother_me.com> writes:
>
>
> >Well Comcast here consistently delivers incredible pictures on the
> >INHD channels, so what you're seeing is not intrinsically a cable problem.
>
> No offense Don, but unless you are able to perform A:B comparisons on the
> same receiving equipment via something like a coaxial switch, or
> equivalent, your remarks would appear to have no basis.
>
> The very nature of hybrid (Analog + Digital) cable-tv distribution
> systems, using a series of multiple signal amplifiers in cascade, will
> cause gradual signal quality deterioration. The more amplifiers in
> cascade, the worse the video quality. Digital signals do not suffer from
> the same type of impairments as analog, but at more than 2 amplifiers deep
> in cascade the signal quality differences (vs OTA) can be measured and
> beyond 6 or 7 amplifiers deep in cascade the difference in signal quality
> can be visibly seen with the trained eye. At 10 or more amplifiers in
> cascade even the untrained eye can recognize the quality difference.

My observation is that certain HD cable channels always have a superb
picture and the HD quality of the network channels vary considerably.
In particular, INHD is the best IMO, followed by Discovery, PBS,
and the premium pay channels.

All of these signals go thru the same cascade of amplifiers, etc.,
yet there is a clear difference in picture quality.

Don
January 8, 2005 9:11:21 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

In article <frlrt09eadadjlgh8lg8b0hp6akpp2p3sa@4ax.com> MrFixit@msn.com (Mr Fixit) writes:

>The very nature of hybrid (Analog + Digital) cable-tv distribution
>systems, using a series of multiple signal amplifiers in cascade, will
>cause gradual signal quality deterioration. The more amplifiers in
>cascade, the worse the video quality. Digital signals do not suffer from
>the same type of impairments as analog, but at more than 2 amplifiers deep
>in cascade the signal quality differences (vs OTA) can be measured and
>beyond 6 or 7 amplifiers deep in cascade the difference in signal quality
>can be visibly seen with the trained eye. At 10 or more amplifiers in
>cascade even the untrained eye can recognize the quality difference.

The advantage of a digital system is that if the bits get there, the
picture will be as good as it was when it was modulated in the head end.

Unlike analog, there isn't a degridation at each amplifier, adding noise
at each step, complete with the herringbones of intermodulation and random
oscillations.

So, your statement applies well to analog, but not to digital. If the
bits get there, the picture will look just as it was sent. If they don't,
there won't be a picture at all.

A real problem is that cable companies want to squeeze the most they can
into the cable, so they may compress the signal into fewer bits. Thus the
signal will look worse. However, it will look just as bad at the point it
leaves their head end.


Alan
January 8, 2005 9:21:45 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Hi,
Yes, Off-the-air HDTV is excellent. However, the tuner used is important
also. Until last month, I used the 811 high-def box from Dish Network to get
off the air broadcasts. The problem with the 811 is that if you look at an
HDTV broadcast it looks super on my DTV input. But for digital or analog
non-HD programs, I had to use an S-Video input to get the best picture. I
switched to TIme Warner Cable's 8000 HD box 3 weeks ago, and all channels
look quite good on the DTV input, though the HD is not as crispy clear as on
Dish. Must be a compression problem as someone said on this thread.

All said and done, until something better comes along, I'm staying with T-W
and the 8000. Its digital video recorder (HD and SD) is superb. It can start
recording a program at 8 pm, and you can finish dinner and start watching
the program at 9 pm from the beginning to end with telephone or bathroom
breaks!!!

Roger
!