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Topic # 54596 18-Dec-2009 23:48 Send private message

So after being brain-washed over and over by the Freeview advert I went out and purchased a satellite dish, three Freeview decoders, a WinTV HVR-3000 and enough coax cable to rival TVNZ themselves.  I have had Freeview Satellite in the house for just over a week now and I have to say that the visual improvments as well as programming quality are about as noticable as a black ant in a sea of tar.  Even though I try convince my parents every day that it was worth the three or four hundred dollars they spent on buying the equipment by explaining that the signal is Digital!  (I leave out the SD part....They wouldn't understand anyway.)

Infact, in so many more ways...I feel analogue is better.  At least when I want to watch the Simpson on TV3 at 7PM, I can watch it across the full 42 inches of my 4 thousand dollar plazma television rather than a small box the size of a squashed flea in the centre of the screen.

OK, so the sound and picture quality are both a little better over analogue...But if you are watching anything faster than the six o'clock news, strange artifacts and/or vertical tearing will start appearing!  The stuff that is actually recorded or upscalled in/to a 16:9 resolution does look much better on my TV.  However, when watching from my trusty VHF aerial, I don't get random glitches that seem to turn my intermitent satellite signal into a blue haze of splotches for a few seconds before returning to normal only to repeat another 5 or six times before it happens again 2 hours later!


When I flew to the gold coast, I had to endure Australian TV.  And I have to say it was the worse TV programming that my eyes have come to endure.  Its like watching "Home and Away" but imagine it is every single show, dipped in some sort of concentrated formula designed to enduce bordom!  To some extent it makes Freeview look like it was sent from the heavens.  But when the only decent thing to watch on TV is the parlement channel featuring Bill English with a few other rude long toothed members of parliment arguing about scandles, you know that the TVNZ network is headed for a long decent to the centre of the earth.  You never know, maybe they will meet Telecom!

I forgot to mention my favorite channel!  TVNZ 6!  I like to call it TVNZ666 because its the devils channel!  When kids are in the house, it may as well be the only channel avalable!  How come they can dedicate channel 6 to kids shows from six till' six, (hence the 666 reference) but they can't upscale the Simpsons to a slightly more watchable resolution?  I know this country is skint when it comes to bandwidth or anything digital or to do with internet, but surely they know the Simpsons is equally if not more popular than 3 News!

Not to rant more about the channels, but I thought I had to mention Prime.  When I was little we actually managed to get prime in its hazy form though a standard aerial when living in Auckland.  I thought it was good simply because of Top-Gear and was looking forward to having Prime again as the only shows advertised on other channels about Prime go about as far as Top Gear.  I watched The Late Show with  David Leterman for the first time in my life yesterday.  I honestly don't know how the Americans find that funny?  I tried as hard as I possibly could to giggle at the old coot, but I just couldn't summon the strength to waste on poor humor.  I don't think I could get a paid audience to laugh at his crap.  Maybe they just repeat the un-canny thought of him making 20 million a year doing the show!  I keep thinking Reece Darby is about to walk on stage and say something (anything!) in order to make his jokes funny...But he never comes.Cry

So over-all.  I don't feel like Freeview is up to all the hype.  I still don't see the point in investing money in broacasting an HD signal to only 75% of the country either!  Especially when all along they knew that satellite would reach 100% of New Zealand residents.  And since there are no plans for an HD signal for satellite, I guess I will be forever convincing my parents that they put their money to good use.  I'm still trying to convince myself that my 160 dollar WinTV card was worth the investment...I guess not.

I appologise if it is in the wrong place.  But I couldn't find a spam forum.  You never know.  I might spark second thoughts amongst those who already have good VHF reception and are considering upgrading.
Anyone else as happy as I am?Tongue out

/endrant





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  Reply # 283941 19-Dec-2009 07:42 Send private message

What receivers did you buy, what cable are they connected with and are the aspect settings correct?

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  Reply # 283947 19-Dec-2009 08:28 Send private message

First off I think there are a few concepts you need to understand which I'll attempt to clarify.

You talk about seeing the Simpons in fullscreen in analogue on your 42" TV. This is because you're watching it in what is known as "fatovision" where a 4:3 picture is stretched horizontally to fit a 16:9 panel full screen making people look fat. This is totally wrong because you're watching the broadcast in the wrong aspect ratio.

When you watch the Simpsons on digital (and many other older shows) that is broadcast in 4:3 the picture should only fill 2/3s of your 16:9 panel. This is because it was not originally recorded in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Virtually all new shows are 16:9 and will fill the screen. You may dislike the black borders on both sites but there is nothing you can do about it - it's the progression of the broadcast industry and 4:3 content can't magically be turned into 16:9 as it was never recorded in that format.

If you're seeing it in a small box with borders around all 4 sided of 4:3 content you have your aspect ratio set wrong. The aspect ratio on both your TV and STB needs to be set to 16:9 if you're plugging the box into 16:9 TV's.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "upscaling" to 16:9 resolution. Nothing is "upscaled" to 16:9, broadcasts are either 4:3 or 16:9 however all Freeview channels broadcast in a permanent 16:9 format with all 4:3 material broadcast within a 16:9 frame so people can't setup their boxes incorrectly and end up with content in "fatovision" on their TV's.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by artifacts but I'm guessing you're possibly meaning dot crawl. Are you using composite connections from the STB to your TV? This is a limitation of composite and is solved by using component or s-video cables to connect the box to your TV. If you're seeing breakup of signal it's probably signal related, who installed the dish for you? This is nothing to do with Freeview, it's simply a setup issue.

The reason for broadcasting Freeview|HD to 75% of the country (which will eventually expand to 87%) is because terrestrial is the primary broadcast platform. Satellite is an infill solution for the 13% of the population who will never receive terrestrial signals. Satellite is not the primary broadcast platform and was never intended to be. The reason? IDTV's and TV aerials are the norm for broadcast TV everywhere around the world. DVB-S as the primary platform simply makes no sence at all.

You are the first person I've ever met who thinks that analogue is superior to Freeview which is something that really does surprise me. The reality is that analogue broadcasts are shutting down here in New Zealand and Freeview is the replacement platform for analogue TV. The time between digital broadcasts beginning and ASO is very long here in NZ compared to some other countries so that does give people plenty of time to move.

As for content.. There isn't much anybody can do about that!

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  Reply # 283950 19-Dec-2009 08:35 Send private message

Yep. I hear you. Quite a while back the bitrate was reduced significantly on some channels. To my eyes, Freeview satellite used to be really really sharp and I didn't notice any glitches when I first got setup with it.

However, after the bitrate was reduced, the picture degraded and these artifacts appeared, I decided to tune my box into the Sky versions of TV1 and TV2 which aren't encrypted (are they still unencrypted?). They had actually previously seemed to me to be less sharp than the original Freeview versions. Also at about this time I noticed that analog started to look really good on my LCD (except for it being 4:3) - whereas previously to me the improvement with satellite was noticable.

I am in a Freeview|HD receiving area and have since then bought a box that does both HD terrestrial and satellite, so I am free from having to watch Freeview satellite, except for C4 where I prefer the sound quality of the satellite version. I have the satellite channels programmed in, and they look quite bad to me in comparison. TV 1, 2 & 3 all look really good on Freeview|HD.

Just my $0.02, YMMV, etc. Smile

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  Reply # 283955 19-Dec-2009 08:56 Send private message

The new episodes of the Simpsons are HD 16:9

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  Reply # 283977 19-Dec-2009 11:10 Send private message

sbiddle: You are the first person I've ever met who thinks that analogue is superior to Freeview which is something that really does surprise me.

I'll be the second person then - but I should quickly add that I believe that analogue broadcasts could be superior to standard definition digital broadcasts for only a few people. Those few people who had a perfect analogue signal may well have had better picture quality than they would get today with (standard definition) Freeview.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the graph below illustrates what I am getting at. With a perfect signal analogue picture could beat digital, but very few people could actually benefit from a perfect analogue signal. As the signal deteriorates, digital wins out because of it's error correction capabilities, and most people fall into that zone. Finally, signal quality gets so poor that digital TV runs out of error correction and it falls over "the digital cliff edge". At that point analogue TV wins again because it can still produce a fuzzy snowy picture while digital TV doesn't produce any picture at all - whether that's a win worth having with such a poor picture is very debatable.


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  Reply # 283980 19-Dec-2009 11:29 Send private message

I disagre. The problem with quoting the cliff effect for digital TV overlooks the fact that at the same signal level where digital will drop off analogue is typically so poor there is no way it's watchable.

Receiving crystal clear analogue TV with no signs of ghosting is really only possible if you're in direct line of site to a transmitter. Digital is superior in virtually all aspects, particularly when combined with a SFN infill network because it delivers a far more robust signal.

In a city like Wellington where there are large numbers of translators due to the hills it also creates significant issues with frequency reuse and interference. Digital completely solves that also since a SFN network allows the same frequency to be used from multiple sites for each MUX.


There are plenty of people getting crystal clear Freeview|HD pictures who have never been able to get clear analogue TV in their life. Try telling them analogue is superior.




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  Reply # 283987 19-Dec-2009 11:52 Send private message

sbiddle:
...Receiving crystal clear analogue TV with no signs of ghosting is really only possible if you're in direct line of site to a transmitter. Digital is superior in virtually all aspects, particularly when combined with a SFN infill network because it delivers a far more robust signal...


In Chch, much of the city has a line of sight to the transmitter. While a digital signal may be superior, what is being sent via the digital signal may be the deal breaker for some of us. When the compression level on the video being broadcast is set so high that it looks soft, and scenes with alot of movement have really bad artifacts, it's not really visually superior to the analogue image that some people can get.

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  Reply # 283990 19-Dec-2009 12:11 Send private message

grolschie: In Chch, much of the city has a line of sight to the transmitter. While a digital signal may be superior, what is being sent via the digital signal may be the deal breaker for some of us. When the compression level on the video being broadcast is set so high that it looks soft, and scenes with alot of movement have really bad artifacts, it's not really visually superior to the analogue image that some people can get.



15 years ago that argument had merit. IMHO it now it has very little.

TV networks are now largely storing content in digital formats. That content is also being recorded from cameras that are now largely using digital recording formats (remembering DV Cam has been around since the mid 90's). International satellite feeds are digital. The days of networks having analogue content are disappearing very quickly.

Right now lots of the content you see on TV is from a digital source that is required to be converted to analogue before it's broadcast on analogue TV. Any visual disturbances from the codec or compression used will be present in an analogue broadcast as well if the disturbance is from the original recording.

Softness in MPEG2 really only occurs if the compression ratio is set far too high, with H.264 this is nowhere near the same issue and our H.264 broadcasts are at a high enough bitrate to ensure this shouldn't happen within the end to end broadcast from the broadcaster to the STB/TV.



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  Reply # 284028 19-Dec-2009 15:46 Send private message

(edited)
You are kidding right? The picture issues were not as bad on the Sky transmissions when I switched over. Why haven't I noticed these quality issues in TV1, 2 & 3 on DVB-T?

When a network reduces the bitrate on channels on a satellite transponder to fit more channels on, it doesn't result in lower picture quality and artifacts? As an aside, when some terrestrial digital channels have too low a bitrate for their audio, this doesn't affect the sound quality?

The picture quality issues of Freeview DVB-S have been discussed previously:
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=83&topicid=34088
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=31942
http://www.nzdtv.com/forum/showthread.php?t=985

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 284034 19-Dec-2009 16:08

grolschie: (edited)
You are kidding right? The picture issues were not as bad on the Sky transmissions when I switched over. 

When a network reduces the bitrate on channels on a satellite transponder to fit more channels on, it doesn't result in lower picture quality and artifacts? As an aside, when some terrestrial digital channels have too low a bitrate for their audio, this doesn't affect the sound quality?

The picture quality issues of Freeview DVB-S have been discussed previously:
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=83&topicid=34088
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=31942

http://www.nzdtv.com/forum/showthread.php?t=985


 

They are having the same complaints in the UK on their Freeview satellite service. They started reducing the bitrates to squeeze more channels on and have degraded the picture so noticeably they are drawing a lot of complaints about it.

I gather the main reasons it has got squeezed here so much is that they (the TV networks) wanted to have 'regional' advertising - so instead of one satellite version of TV1 (for example) there are something like 5. (Auckland/Hamilton/Wellington/Christchurch/Dunedin - not sure if this is totally accurate - but close enough). So that means they need to squeeze (for example) 5 TV1s where previously there was just one for the whole country. You get the picture - if you pardon the expression.

 

At least I get Freeview HD - I think I would resist migrating if satellite was the only option - mind you are you getting the Aussie channels - SBS etc?




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 284040 19-Dec-2009 16:18 Send private message

robjg63:
At least I get Freeview HD - I think I would resist migrating if satellite was the only option - mind you are you getting the Aussie channels - SBS etc?


Yes to SBS. I don't know for how long though. We bought a Hyundai AH-3110 which can decode HD on both DVB-T and DVB-S. Smile

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  Reply # 284065 19-Dec-2009 19:50 Send private message

sbiddle:

In a city like Wellington where there are large numbers of translators due to the hills it also creates significant issues with frequency reuse and interference. Digital completely solves that also since a SFN network allows the same frequency to be used from multiple sites for each MUX.


There are plenty of people getting crystal clear Freeview|HD pictures who have never been able to get clear analogue TV in their life. Try telling them analogue is superior.


Amen to that. I live in sight of KauKau but my OTA reception even with a good aerial has always been average to poor. So I have had to put with TCL cable to get a reasonable picture. Now with FreeviewHD I can get all the channels in crystal clear glory and for TV3 at least in DD5.1.  If I could wean the family off Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Food Network I would ditch TCL cable completely.




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  Reply # 284095 19-Dec-2009 22:36 Send private message

I am guessing that problem is the quality of the picture on the FV DVB-S service, not the quality of the digital signal on the DVB-S service.

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  Reply # 284128 20-Dec-2009 08:10 Send private message

grolschie: I am guessing that problem is the quality of the picture on the FV DVB-S service, not the quality of the digital signal on the DVB-S service.


It is primarily an issue only with the TVNZ channels. They have heaviy compressed their channels so they could fit in additional TV1 feeds for regional advertising.

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  Reply # 284134 20-Dec-2009 08:43 Send private message

Sounds like what many of the US networks are doing. When they are supposed to have 19Mbs (MPEG2) for an OTA HD channel, many networks (or could be the local affiliate) cram in 2 other channels in the same frequency for other spurious content. I have heard complaints from US folks who say when they compare the same channel (a network) OTA versus cable versus satellite, that there are marked differences between them all depending on the policy of the broadcaster.

I don't have a major complaint about FreeviewHD PQ wise apart from TVNZ still not broadcasting DD5.1 - it's more about the actual content.

A small poll - how many readers watch TV6/7 or find TV3+1 that useful?




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Check out my blog at lchiu.blogspot.com

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