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Topic # 13454 10-May-2007 21:46
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Well I have just called Telstra to get an update on what is going to be done regarding TV3's widescreen feed. In case you have not noticed after switching to the digital widescreen feed for a week or two they then switched back to standard 4:3 and I suspect analogue feed.


The switch back to standard 4:3 was because of the number of complaints from viewers according to the CSR that I talked to a week ago. At that time I was told a solution would be released early this month. It now appears that the solution is to do nothing leaving the signal as 4:3.

I asked what they intend to do when TVNZ switches to widescreen at the end of July and the CSR said he did not know.


From what I understand the type of complaints that caused the switch back are covered below (there may be others but these are the ones I have heard).


For those with 16:9 TV's

  • TV3 switching between 16:9 and pillar-boxed 4:3 with no ability to have the screen auto switch as a lot of people have there widescreen TV set to do.

  • If the TV had been set-up incorrectly the widescreen signal would appear in a 4:3 box with a black band all around the outside (windowboxing).


For those with 4:3 TV's

  • The 16:9 picture appears letter-boxed in 4:3 TV's. Any 4:3 material would appear in a smaller box in the centre of the screen.


In short the complaints are all based around the picture not filling the screen. In particular pillar-boxing as most people have become used to letter-boxing.

 

The issues above can ALL be handled by configuration of the digital set top box and or the TV.


Looking at the issues


TV3 switching between 16:9 and pillar-boxed 4:3

This is caused by TV3 sending all material as 16:9 and pillar-boxing 4:3 material in the 16:9 feed. This is how TV3 have chosen to handle the co-existence of both 16:9 and 4:3 material. Although the 4:3 material will slowly go there is a solution for those that insist on the picture always filling the screen.

It is the same solution that Telstra are forcing on us now. It is ugly and I would never do it or recommend it by choice but the reality is that there are people out there that care more about the picture filling their screen then they care about the picture not being distorted or getting the whole picture.

Set the digital box to 4:3 and set it to centre-crop. Then set the TV to full screen or stretch as you prefer.


Small box within the screen

This can be caused for example by the Digital set top box being set to 4:3 and the TV set to stretch to full screen. This issue simply comes down to the setting on the digital set top box and the TV being set incorrectly. This can be the fault of the installer or the owner.

This one can be fixed quite easily. Set the digital set top box to 16:9 and either centre crop or full screen as you prefer. Set the TV to full.


16:9 picture letter-boxed in 4:3 TV's

This is displaying correctly however because of the method of pillar-boxing 4:3 material used by TV3 4:3 will display in a small box within the screen. Also a lot of people prefer to lose the picture on either side rather then have the black letter-box top and bottom.

This can also be fixed. Set the set top box to 4:3 and centre crop. Viola fixed! They will lose the wide screen material but they are losing that now anyway.


So why are Telstra not doing this? Well frankly I do not know. Instead they have taken the possibility to watch widescreen TV off those of us that want it and given nothing that people could not have been set-up with anyway.


From TelstraClear's web site “* Full widescreen TV support” Yeah Right!








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  Reply # 70265 10-May-2007 22:09
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How about an even simpler solution? The existing terrestrial fed 4:3 feed of TV3 never changed and is still broadcast. Why not simply transmit both 4:3 and 16:9 feeds of TV3?

The big problem is going to occur with the TVNZ switch and TCL have backed themselves into a very big hole due to the inept technical understanding that exists within the organisation at many levels.


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  Reply # 70491 12-May-2007 16:35
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Wow, thats a great idea sbiddle!

Sure - it means an extra channel, and would need agreement from TV3 - but would be a very elegant solution. That way the customer can chose what's best according to their preference.

I hope someone from TCL is reading...

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  Reply # 70608 14-May-2007 08:52
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i can't see it being a big issue.  Foxtel in Australia - using the same decoder by the way - have 2 or 3 channels for each of their main channels.  This is because they stagger program start times on these channels.  So for instance the main channel would have regular timed programs, the 2nd channel would have programs that start 2 hours later than the 1st, the 3rd would be 4 hours later, etc....this way you have 2 or 3 opportunites to view a show if you missed the first one.

telstraclear could no doubt do the same here but in the manner suggested - send one aspect ratio down one channel and another down the other.

not hard at all.



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  Reply # 70612 14-May-2007 09:29
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So the only stumbling block that I see is TV3 kicking up a fuss. Now the strange thing is that from my correspondence with TV3 made is sound like they have no control over what signal Telstra use. In fact the guy suggested that Telstra possibly get their TV3 signal from Sky which we know is not correct.

So the question is there any agreement between TV3 and Telstra or can Telstra do what they like?








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  Reply # 70613 14-May-2007 09:39
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Nety:

So the only stumbling block that I see is TV3 kicking up a fuss. Now the strange thing is that from my correspondence with TV3 made is sound like they have no control over what signal Telstra use. In fact the guy suggested that Telstra possibly get their TV3 signal from Sky which we know is not correct.



TCL's 4:3 feed comes via terrestrial from Mt KauKau. This feed is still used for an analogue broadcast. Their WS feed came from the TV3 D1 transmission. C4 used to come from Mt KauKau via terrestrial but this was always a terrible picture. The C4 feed for both analogue and digital is now sourced ex D1. The funny this is TCL are still transmitting the WS C4 feed and transmit National Georaphic in WS. It's just TV3 that they have made their strange decision with.

I know TCL did receive a huge number of customer complaints over the WS feed but applying a band aid fix and reverting back to the 4:3 feed isn't a solution, it's merely delaying the switch which they will have to make eventually. Sky have made the switch and haven't reverted back and with a much larger TV customer base are sure to have been receiving customer complaints as well.

If I was a TCL Digital Customer with a WS TV I know I'd be very annoyed. In fact I'd be so annoyed I'd dump the service and switch to Sky..




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  Reply # 70617 14-May-2007 09:58
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I am effectively locked in... I dumped our landline for a VoIP phone not long ago. You can only do that if you have two other services (TV and cable internet 20G for me). It took some time to convince the wife that this was a good plan so to change now would be BADWink

But your right as above I have considered dumping them. Although the other issue is that by the sound of it the Telstra feeds are better then Sky for TV1 and 2 and possibly to an extent the others (even though they are sky feeds) just because of the transmission method.









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  Reply # 70619 14-May-2007 10:18
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Nety: I am effectively locked in... I dumped our landline for a VoIP phone not long ago. You can only do that if you have two other services (TV and cable internet 20G for me). It took some time to convince the wife that this was a good plan so to change now would be BADWink


You don't need two services to not have a phoneline. You can have the 20GB plan by itself without a phoneline. The only restriction would be a term contract if you entered one to get a cheap install.

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  Reply # 70645 14-May-2007 13:28
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I find the 4:3 transmissions of TV3 mildly annoying on TCL, mainly because that is how I record TV3 when I need to. I tend to watch TV3 over Freeview. If I can find a a way to record Freeview (integrating the STB into my current PVR setup) I would do so.

No reason why TV3 couldn't send down a 4:3 and 16:9 signal on D1 and TCL transmit them both. If and when TV3 goes HD I can't their not having a SD feed at the same time so prepare for two feeds now. This is the US model.

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  Reply # 70704 14-May-2007 21:29
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TV3 would not want to send two streams, why would they, its 2007 the correct broadcast is 16:9, lets get with the program!!!!. I suspect TCL were using transcoders to shift the D1 FreeView services to the cable, thus there is no mpeg decoder, therefore they could not take the 16:9 TV3 stream off D1 and generate a direct  4:3CentreCut without decoding. Then again, the 16:9 stream could be a direct transcode, and the butched version.......... well who cares, obviously those who watch it havnt a clue.

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  Reply # 70705 14-May-2007 21:34
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cyril7: TV3 would not want to send two streams, why would they, its 2007 the correct broadcast is 16:9, lets get with the program!!!!. ..
Cyril


That's a bit one eyed. Let's say TV3 decides to go HD. How they could they possibly transmit only a HD stream and alienate all the users who cannot receive HD. They would have to transmit SD (4:3 or 16:9) as well as a HD stream so if there is an issue now, then transmit both AR's




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  Reply # 70709 14-May-2007 21:56
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TV3 need only transmit one stream on the Freeview service as STB's to recieve it can be set to format either 4:3LB or 4:3PS (CentreCut). Analog viewers are fed with a 4:3PS of the original 16:9 image.

It would appear that TCL either dont understand how to explain to their viewers how to set the STB's to display an image that suits them, or there is a fault with their system. Their analog service need only take a 4:3 source from whereever (KauKau or a 4:3PS or the D1 feed), and let TCL digital customers make their own mind up. Education is the solution, not running away from the eneviatable.

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Reply # 70712 14-May-2007 22:06
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Would their be some false advertising going on here?


From TelstraClears website....


Superior picture and sound quality compared to analogue InHomeTV........ How can they claim this when TV3 and Prime (well in CHC anyway) is retransmitted from an analog source?.. I guess that since both Sky and Telstra dont provide any digital outputs from their decoders, would that mean they are not really providing a real digital service?, I guess its all how you really define it...but come on!!


Also from their site, Full widescreen TV support, yeah I guess your decoders support fullscreen, but not much good at the moment:)

I'm kind of anoyed as I just changed over to Telstra TV, Still have my Sky Decoder as its set to be cancelled for the end of the month, guess I need to make a hard decision!


Does anyone know for sure that the other sky channels remain in MPEG between Sky and Telstra, or do they have a heap of decoders with some analog out like component before its injected into the cable network, becuase the picture does not look as crisp as Sky.


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  Reply # 70713 14-May-2007 22:13
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Does anyone know for sure that the other sky channels remain in MPEG between Sky and Telstra, or do they have a heap of decoders with some analog out like component before its injected into the cable network, becuase the picture does not look as crisp as Sky.


The fact that the pics look far worse than off Sky direct, and observation of the dreaded "Rain Fade" screen would indicate that TCL just have a large bank of decoders pulling the streams back to analog video and then recoding, as there is no way you can get a Sky "Rain Fade" screen without using the graphic output pane of one of their decoders.

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  Reply # 70724 15-May-2007 06:44
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somewhat:


Does anyone know for sure that the other sky channels remain in MPEG between Sky and Telstra, or do they have a heap of decoders with some analog out like component before its injected into the cable network, becuase the picture does not look as crisp as Sky.



There is a bank of specially h8x0red Sky decoders to provide the signal.

I've also seen a Foxtel rain fade message on TCL a while back as well so I'm unsure where they came from!




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  Reply # 70867 16-May-2007 14:10
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Well I went into Telstra's "shop" in Wellington and got some answers...

I did have to get the guy I was talking to call someone as he had no idea what was going on... did not even know that they were sending it out in 4:3 not 16:9. He then took a bit of convincing that it was not 16:9 as "they just send out what sky give them".

So to the answers, well as many as I could get.

The TV3 feed does come from sky but reading between the lines Telstra have set it to 4:3 and centre cropped it before sending it back out.

Telstra say that they had no prior warning from TV3 on what was happening so were left scrambling when TV3 switched to deal with the complaints.
The "solution" for now is 4:3 centre cropped as above. It was quite funny as the guy tried to tell me they had gone back to the better picture. I asked him why a standard 4:3 picture was "better" then a 16:9 anamorphic one. He dropped the argument at that point.

The good news is that Telstra and sky are in discussions with TV3 to come up with a solution. However the scary thing is that we don't have any way to know that the solution is not to just keep doing what they are now or some equally silly solution.

There is not time line on when the solution will be put in place (what ever that may finish up being)








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