I'm in the process of switching from DirecTV to cable (CableVision), so I'm paying a little attention to picture quality. Subjectively it seems fairly comparable, although I would say that while DirecTV's main failing is a sometimes soft picture, the cable picture's main failing is a sometimes noisy picture. Some of this seems to be analog noise presumably present prior to compression, while some of it is digital artifacting. I was a little surprised to see how low a bit rate is being used for HD. Typical seems to be around 10-15 Mb/s, with 12 Mb/s being fairly common. Is this typical of cable companies? Would be interested to hear about other cable companies and other CableVision customers. And who does the compression - is it the cable head-end, or is the cable system just re-transmitting an already-compressed stream that they receive from the content provider? I'll come back to this thread later today and post some numbers for some specific channels and programs. Would be interested in seeing some numbers from others for comparison.