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HD TV - Any Adopters?

 
 
Brian
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
If anybody has any HD questions feel free to fire away. I work in the HDTV Broadcast industry and write software to perform MPEG Decode/AC3 decode/PVR etc...In fact, the decoder chip I'm working with now is going into Sony's next generation HDTV.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
I've got two to start. Why isn't DLP more widely adopted by the RPTV manufacturers?

Also, what do you think of the Pioneer Elite RPTVs?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
Brian, WELCOME to A2K. Do you know anything about Comcast's cable HDTV offerings? I play DVD's on our HDTV, and there's not much difference in the quality of the picture when we recieve non-HDTV signals on our HDTV. Does Comcast in fact provide cable HDTV or not? c.i.
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cjhsa
 
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Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2003 06:00 pm
As I said before c.i., it varies by location. My opinion is that they do not currently in our area. I'll wait and see what Brian says, however, I tend to believe Sound & Vision.
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Brian
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2003 03:10 pm
I don't stay in tune with what types of TV technology is out there. However, I can give you lots of info on HDTV technology.

C.I. brings up a great question which will dispell the myths about HDTV. C.I. asks why his DVD's do not look any better on his HDTV.

Simple. DVD's do not play HD source material. Currently movies are shot on film and are not shot digitially with an HD video camera. In order for ANY piece of video media to be TRUE HD, say 1080i or 720P resolution it MUST be SHOT/encoded that way with an HD camera. What this means is this. Any broadcaster can output their video in HD format(1080i/720P) on a channel, but if the source was shot in Standard definition, the best you can hope for is a nice looking picture without a lot of noise(DVD/90% of the HD video you see broadcasted today). One exception is PBS. They are always broadcasting True HD material on their 1080i channel(the source material was shot with HD cameras). If you want to see true HD look at the PBS channel. ONce you see true HDTV you can tell the difference between true HDTV and an HDTV channel that is broadcasting Standard Def material. Films are converted to 480i(which is not really HD but is a digital format) for DVD's. Currently, true HD 720p and 1080i video cannot be put to DVD because of the space limitations of DVD media. Higher resolution=larger file size=too high for DVD. + like I said before, movies are shot on film, converting a movie to 720p or 1080i will make very little difference in the clarity of the original image.

Sorry if this was confusing but I'm in a rush and gotta go. Feel free to ask more questions if you'd like.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2003 04:00 pm
Brian, That was very clearn, and I understood everything you said. Thanks for taking the time. One more question, if I may. When do you think we'll begin to see real HDTV on more channels? c.i.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2003 04:22 pm
c.i, with a roof antenna and DirecTV or Dish, you'd have more HD content than anywhere else in the country. KQED broadcasts in HD all day long, though the HD content may vary from the NTSC broadcast. All the major networks carry at least some HD, in various forms. ABC and ESPN, for example, broadcast their HD content in 720p, which they claim is better for certain broadcasts than 1080i. Oddly, most lower priced sets don't support 720p, you only see it in much more expensive sets. Do you know if your set can do 720p, or does it "upconvert" it to 1080i? I bet the latter, but I've been wrong before.

I know you are happy with your picture, but I urge you to at least try true HD so you know what your set is capable of. If you have a decent rooftop UHF antenna with a coax feed, maybe you could borrow an HD decoder or rent one from a local reseller, along with component video cables.

Tonight, Thursday, ABC has nothing in HD. CBS will carry CSI and Without a Trace in HD. NBC will show ER and The Tonight Show in HD, and the WB will carry Family Affair (whatever that is).

HD over satellite includes HBO HD, SHOHD, DiscoveryHD, ESPN HD, and HD Net. These are 100% HD all the time, or at least they are supposed to be. Can't speak for the commercials.

HD over cable in CA is currently available in Alhambra, Burbank, Coronado, Glendale, Hesperia, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Riverside, San Diego, and Turlock. All provided by Charter, Cox, or Time Warner.
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Brian
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2003 08:03 pm
Btw, what I meant earlier by saying that I didn't follow what types of TV technology are out there, I meant to say that I don't follow display monitor technology which is an entirely different subject than broadcast television standards.

To answer C.I's question about when more content/channels will become available, that's hard to say. I think I may have a link or 2 at work that lists all of the channels in North America and even HD launch dates for certain networks. I'll try to post it when I get a chance.

The reason why HD hasn't taken off is because it's not cost effective for the broadcasters. They have to broadcast 2 signals. A Standard Def signal that all NTSC/normal televisions can reproduce and an HD signal that HDTV's can reproduce. There's really no money in it for them yet, particulary because advertisers aren't doing their commericals in HD yet. I will tell you this though. I have been working in HDTV land for 4 years. Every major Cable/Satellite box/TV manufacturer is now switching to HD in their products. My company hasn't made money yet from HDTV, but we are busier than ever, even in this economy.

As for CJ talking about how 720P is better than 1080i in some respects, this is true. The reason why is that 720P means 720 "Progressive" scan. The "i" in 1080i means "interlaced" scan.

I will try to explain this. When video is being displayed as "interlaced" it is done like this. The first field of video is displayed, and then 15 milliseconds later the second field of video is displayed. Because of this time difference between the 2 fields, it can create bleeding between 2 parts of an image in the video, flickering, and aliasing on text.

With Progressive scan, both video fields are displayed almost simultaneusly, therefore you do not have the issues that 1080i has. However, to be honest, I could not tell you which is which if I did a blind test. They both look fantastic.

The reason why Progressive TV's cost more is because of the higher scan rate/speed at which they need to be able to display the video fields. FYI, computer monitors use Progressive scan too.

Where Progressive really shines is at a pseudo-HD resolution called 480P. It is really just a standard definiton resolution but it scans progressive, so it can make flickery NTSC television look a lot better.

C.I.- CJ is right. If you have an HDTV at home but are not receiving HD broadcasts/decoding HDTV signals, your HDTV really is not doing anything for your picture. You might as well have a cheap SDTV.

CJ- Just to be clear. A lot of networks are broadcasting in HD. That is correct. However, like I said before, most of the source material is SD being upconverted, therefore it looks no different. Sure it's digital and sure it looks clean, but the detail isn't there. However, if you're a huge sports fan like me, you got to watch The Stanely Cup in true HD, and the Super Bowl in true HD. I haven't seen DiscoveryHD but I'd bet a lot of their nature shows are in true HD. I would suggest trying to find PBS HD. LIke I said, they broadcast true HD 24 hours a day, and much of it is from really cool landscapes from around the world.

One last thing. What makes HD even better is that the audio is always Dolby Digital/AC3, which is great if you have surround sound in your home. The combination of the video/audio is quite incredible. If you ever want to talk surround sound, I know quite a bit about that too.

Sorry if I'm rambling but you're talking to a guy who's been working with this stuff for years, and it's rare that I get to "show off" because frankly not too many people give a flying you-know-what about it.

Btw, I finally got sick of Abuzz and that's why I'm here. It seems like the extremists have taken that site over and it seems to go completely unmoderated. Shocked
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2003 10:01 pm
Brian, Ramble on all you want. I enjoy every word. Nice to hear from an 'expert,' who understands this technology. As a consumer, I try to avail myself the latest toys to a certain extent. My wife isn't into 'surround sound,' so I'll have to skip that. Fry's Electronics has a surround sound sample room, and it can blow you away. As I've mentioned before during our discussion with cjh, we're pretty happy with the quality of our t.v. picture. It's crisp enough for our needs. c.i.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2003 12:56 pm
Sully, for one, bids you WELCOME TO A2K from the land mines of Abuzz.
We try not to over-moderate at the site but some have left in a huff because they couldn't flame without being reprimanded and warned. Don't let the door hit them in the butt....

My cable company, Time-Warner, is offering an HDTV cablebox which means one doesn't have to buy one if they have an HDTV ready TV. It also has digital sound outputs (which makes it difficult if you are using your home theater receiver inputs for DVD). You can use the optical port for the DVD sound, of course, and the RCA jack ports for the cable tuner (I don't think they offer an optical output on the HDTV cable tuners). I'm actually waiting until Plasma and LCD comes down in price -- at least until the largest screens come down to under $5,000.

c.i. - My Mom lives at my house and she's put-off by the surround sound. I just adjust the compression on the home theater receiver to curtail the dynamic range. That way, when you've got the dialog adjusted to hear plainly and a sound effect comes crashing in, it doesn't blow you out of your chair. Of course, I just played the new Bond film and I talked her into watching it without compression. She still left the room several times. Hey, I took her to the theater to see "The Lord of the Rings" and we went to one that had a projectionist who like to break eardrums. She had her fingers in her ears half the time. I have to say, ti was a bit much (a matinee with not enough people in the theater to dampen the loudest sections). The sound of "Fellowship." incidentally, was re-mixed on the extended version to bring the music up and tone dwon the sword crashing effects (since Howard Shore won the Oscar!)
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