Broadcast Compression getting worse? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media

The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
Let's talk about anything media related.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 6th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Broadcast Compression getting worse?

So, it seems to me that even the most watched programs are being compressed heavily.
I was watching Mad Men and was just amazed at the poor quality of the image.
Anyone noticing a degradation of broadcast standards?

This is based on Comcast South Florida. OnDemand is even worse.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6th, 2012, 07:52 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Posts: 2,963
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

Cable is notorious for re-compression. Started with MPEG-2 at around 12Mbps and now we have H.264 streams at even lower bitrates being delivered on Cable and FTTH services. The least amount of accessible compression comes from ATSC over-the-air.

However, in Canada, even ATSC is not a guarantee for the lowest amount of compression as simsubbed programming usually takes a US ATSC signal and recompresses it for Canadian airing, and that is then passed through cable. So if you're watching a live show like American Idol on CTV, it's taking an American 720p60 ATSC signal, converting it to 1080i, then recompressing it first to ATSC on CTV, then again if it's going to cable.

The absolute worst case scenario is the CBC. They take a 1080i source and downconvert it to 720p60 for ATSC, but then cable re-upconverts it to 1080i from 1280x540 per frame. You get both de-interlacing and macroblocking artifacts.
__________________
I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
Jack Zhang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2012, 07:35 AM   #3
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

Boys, you ain't seen nothin' til you've seen the "This" network.
Josh Bass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2012, 10:15 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 677
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ahrens View Post
Anyone noticing a degradation of broadcast standards?
There aren't any standards that I can see. But if you are watching a signal from a cable provider, no doubt they will continue to shrink their bit-rate, crush blacks, and increase compression -- unless we stop them. Corporations only care about the money; remember that.

If you want a quality signal, your best bet is OTA. I've found that the actual broadcast stations (at least in my local area) are decently responsible and are interested in signal quality. Locally we prevailed (me and a bunch of other viewers) on the local NBC affiliate to rob bits from their subchannels to improve the bit rate of their main channel during the last winter olympics. They did, and the signal improved rather markedly. For the duration of the olympics anyway. Sigh...

I've also been known to hop on the station engineers for more bit rate during basketball games. A panning camera and a checked hardwood basketball floor can make complete mush without sufficient bit-rate. The engineers know this, and now that they've had a couple of years of phone calls about it they seem to ride bit-rate the same way I ride levels on a field mixer -- they know to increase bit-rates during the NCAAs and viewers don't have to call them now.

But the biggest problem I've seen with cable is their desire to crush blacks. It's almost as if they think everything below 15 IRE is free bits they can steal. Which they do, visual quality be damned.

OTA is higher quality, and its free. And I can get most of the programs from the cable channels on DVD or better yet, blu-ray (a year later, I'll grant you that, but what's the rush?).

On an optimistic note, people can't buy old analog 4:3 SDTVs anymore. So as TVs age out and are replaced, people have to buy digital 16:9 HDTVs. And those people are seeing the same thing you are. And at least some of them will complain about it like you are. When sufficient complaints hit the local Utility Commissions maybe some pressure will be brought to bear on the monopoly cable providers to improve their signal quality. We can only hope.
Bruce Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

Very interesting.
So, if they bump up the bitrate on a specific program or channel, they have to take it from somewhere else right? Whether it be from other channels, number of channels, or internet service bandwidth?
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2012, 09:08 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Arlington, TX
Posts: 2,230
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

Hey Mark,

They need to clear space for the crucial programming like 'Ice Road Swamp Loggers' :)

I have been with DirecTV from the beginning of the HD boom and think their image is very good. I have seen the Dish Netowrk's image and it is pretty compressed.

I would not be surprised to see the trend though, especially if they try to get some more interactive stuff going. Maybe when more fibre gets to homes they will have more bandwidth to play with.
Tim Polster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2012, 09:46 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Posts: 2,963
Re: Broadcast Compression getting worse?

FTTH will introduce H.264 delivery, which will increase compression further as they cram more channels in that bandwidth.

H.264 will also increase latency for interactive live broadcasts...

4DTV C-band Satellite if it still exists would be the least amount compression since they're taking master feeds from the networks. Sadly, that has gone extinct. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4DTV
__________________
I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
Jack Zhang is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:53 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network