MPEG4 Picture Quality

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by pcdoc, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. pcdoc

    pcdoc New Member

    Feb 8, 2004


    As others here, I am thinking about giving up my 2 HR10s for 2 HR20s. The only thing holding me back is the degrading picture quailty of DirecTV over the last few years. For those who have made the switch, is the MPEG4 HD picture quality on the HR20 better or the same as MPEG2 on the HR10?
  2. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    I can't answer specifically. But, I think it is too soon, since DirecTV is still getting their ducks in a row.

    My estimate is that PQ should get better.
  3. joed32

    joed32 New Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    We will have a better idea in about three weeks, til then nobody knows.
  4. fasTLane

    fasTLane Member

    Nov 25, 2005
    Locals are not in mpeg4 now?
  5. Redux

    Redux No intent to annoy

    Oct 19, 2004


    We have already had reports that MPEG4 HiDef locals are just as good as OTA. I expect to hear more of this kind of report.

    The source must be considered. Yes, intended.
  6. IOTP

    IOTP New Member

    Aug 7, 2001
    Speaking of someone that has MPEG-4 HD locals in Phoenix let me share this:

    Watching 15 KNXV I have noticed some pixelation in the local nightly news in HD.

    I think it's from the uplink to DTV from the local tv provider.

    Since all the primetime shows are in "repeat" it's hard to tell. I havent noticed pixelation in other ABC broadcasted events. (eg football, etc)

    I pressed hard a couple of weeks ago when I had my HR20 and new dish installed for the install tech to LEAVE the OTA in place. He wasn't happy, but did it nonetheless.

    I can flip from 15 KNXV MPEG-4 to 15-1 OTA and notice that OTA receives no pixelation.

    Time will tell.

    I am still waiting, like we all are for additional HD channel. That is why I upgraded to the HR20 and new MPEG-4 dish. Having been on the HD bandwagon for 2+ years now.

    Local news on channels 3 (independent), 12 (NBC), and 15 (ABC) broadcast all local news in HD.

    Someone also told me, that the OTA locals broadcasted over most cities are not-compressed, whereas MPEG-4 obviously are.

    Bring it on, more HD channels that is.

    Hope this helps.
  7. tadrow

    tadrow New Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I was looking for artifacting or anything annoying when watching a football game in HD on an MPEG4 local channel. I didn't see anything that I would have been able to say was worse than what was being broadcast OTA. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. I watch on a 100 inch screen, so when things are a little ugly for most people, they are really ugly for me.
  8. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

    Dec 15, 2003
    I think, I believe that the OTA is better. If I put them on and switch back and forth, I can convinve myself that the OTA picture is better. When I look in dark color areas I think I can see greater pixelation. I guess I do.

    However, after I flip back and forth several times and get mixed up, I can't guess 100% accurately if I'm watching the OTA local or the MPEG4 local.

    I'll concede that I'm not a videophile, but that's been my experience.
  9. ken erickson

    ken erickson New Member

    Jan 8, 2004
    San Jose, Ca.
    I've changed over to the HR-20 two weeks ago and so far both the OTA and MPEG4 locals look about the same. I haven't had a chance to watch any HD games yet (missed the Raiders and the 49'er games so far). Hope get to see some games this holiday weekend.
  10. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

    Sep 6, 2004
    What in the world could you possibly be basing that on?

    Certainly not the laws of physics, which dictate that any time you chain dissimilar digital compression algorithms together, such as M2 to M4 (which affects every OTA channel and current sat channel delivered by satellite), the rounding errors can only increase and artifacting increases as a direct result.

    For digital video of any kind, the PQ ceiling is absolutely fixed at encode to M2. There are no exceptions. Anything done to it later on regarding re-encoding has no opportunity to improve PQ, and every opportunity to degrade it.

    I'm not saying that the PQ will get noticeably worse, but don't expect it to get any better. DTV is increasing payload rates 30%, and M4 will accept a 30% increase over M2 with identical levels of bit starving, so PQ should be not noticeably different, and this seems to jive with what foks are seeing.

    On the other hand, if they also abandon 1280x1080 for 1920x1080, PQ could get marginally better for some channels in regards to actual resolution (IOW, there would be less FURTHER degradation than they apply now under "HD Lite"), but that is not directly related to the move to M4, and does not release it from the shackles of chained algorithms which will still be in play.

    So I'm afraid your "estimate" really has no merit.
  11. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

    Sep 6, 2004
    I hope you resolve this issue, and I think you sharing it here is helpful, but everyone should keep in mind that what this experience is relating is purely a reception problem. This has no bearing on PQ as is commonly understood from an engineering standpoint. It is a common misconception that pixellation related to bitstarving due to poor reception is a PQ issue, but it really isn't, even though a picture that tears occasionally can be thought of in lay terms to have less "quality" than one that does not (and is probably why folks sometimes get this confused with PQ).

    My best guess is that if your dish were aimed properly and you could verify a clear path to the sats, that you could fix the pixellation problem you are experiencing. IOW, reaim the dish, and see if that doesn't help.

    If there actually were a pixellation problem related to actually delivering the M4 channels (rather than merely a random reception problem) then DTV would be in very deep doody with this program, undeniably.

    As someone geographically close, I have a vested interest in the outcome (PM me with your results if you get a chance) yet I don't receive M4 channels as of yet, and hope to never receive them. It could also be a problem with DTV's reception OTA locally of these channels before being fibered to their uplink site. If so, all spot Phoenix viewers would have the same problem and reaiming would not help, so I would also try to verify whether your friends and neighbors have the same issue if you can.
  12. IOTP

    IOTP New Member

    Aug 7, 2001
    Again, only noticed it on the Local HD news. I'll try and watch more ABC and see if I can see any sort of pattern.
  13. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    I switched from an HR10 to an HR20 in June. It's my very strong opinion that MPEG4 is better PQ than MPEG2. My MPEG4 locals look just as good to me as they do OTA.

    The only direct channel comparison I can offer is YES. With my HR10, I would get YES-HD games on channel 95 from time to time and they never looked that good. Now I get the MPEG4 version of YES-HD and the games simply look amazing. Same with Mets games on SNY-HD.

    When I swapped receivers I made no other changes to my setup - I'm even using the same HDMI cable.

    To make long story short, I'd advise anyone who'd listen to not let the fear of MPEG4 PQ being worse than MPEG2 PQ stop them from going to the HR20.
  14. IOTP

    IOTP New Member

    Aug 7, 2001
    Are the channels in 94 / 95 area MPEG4? I was wondering when you receive your YES-HD or SNY-HD, are these channels MPEG-4 content?

    Wondering because I would like to have my FOX SPORTS ARIZONA (649) in HD if possible. Only HOME games broadcast on KTVK are in HD, FSN AZ are SD and it's just not the same.

    Threads and people say the regional FSNs and other regional sports will "eventually" be HD. The future is now.

    It's like I say to myself, crap, "it's not in HD."
  15. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

    Sep 6, 2004
    (I wanted to address this point separately)

    All digital video that is delivered to consumers is compressed to one degree or another. This includes DVDs, OTA, M4, M2, Blu-Ray, or what-have-you. The degree of compression is what can make a difference in how good the PQ is, as can the quality of the original analog video whenever the source is not digital. Compression can range from having no visible degradation to having significant visible degradation.

    DBS quality is typically about the same for any good-quality source, whether M2 or M2 converted to M4, generally speaking.

    Also, FSA and other FOX regional sports channels are all actively converting to HD and should be finished this year. Whether DTV carries them or not will be a separate issue. KTVK did not renew their D-backs contract, so all of those games will move to FSA.
  16. patsfan123

    patsfan123 New Member

    Jul 12, 2006
    I upgraded to the HR20 a few weeks ago (I still have my HR10-250 in a different room).

    The MPEG4 HD channels definitely look better than the MPEG 2 channels. I don't have OTA anymore so I can't compare to that (except from memory), but between MPEG2 and MPEG 4 it is crystal clear on my 50" Pioneer plasma that MPEG4 is better.

    Which is good news for all of us in the long run.
  17. pcdoc

    pcdoc New Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Thanks, Patsfan. That clinched my decision. I call D* and just told them about my many random reboots lately and they are sending me an HR20 free, as I have the replacement plan on my account. Also, as others have mentioned, I keep the HR-10.

    Everyone, thanks for your opinions.
  18. milominderbinder

    milominderbinder New Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Last winter you could still tell the difference between OTA and HR20 MPEG4. Not anymore, at least not in the Chicago DMA.

    I am able to split screen the OTA antenna and the HR20 side-by-side on a new Mitsubishi 73".

    I have had friends and family compare. You just cannot tell the difference.

    I have done the same results comparing the OTA antenna and the H20.

    Again, no one can tell the difference.

    The only reason to avoid the H20 is you will be miserable because it is not a DVR.

    The real comparison is not MPEG4 to MPG2. The real comparison is HD to SD.

    We are in our final countdown to 70 MPEG4's in September.

    And then 100 by years end. And then 150 by year end 2008.

    The D10 satellite is up and ahead of schedule.

    Vinyl to CD, VHS to DVD, Black & White to Color, SD to HD.

    When big changes come some ride the wave and have a blast. Some are swept behind.

    You have invested roughly a gazillion dollars in your HD so far, right?

    If you have an HR10, you should be able to get the $19 price and free installation still.

    If you don't like the HR20, suspend it and you are out only the $19 to try it. Or hedge your bet by using both the HR10 and HR20 for just the $4.99 extra mirroring fee each month. Or sell the HR10 on eBay for $180 and make a profit on the HR20.

    The HR20 has been reliable for months now. The new VOD beta is wonderful.

    Can you explain it again...what is the the reason to not try the HR20?

    - Craig
  19. Ein

    Ein New Member

    Jul 7, 2004
  20. Redux

    Redux No intent to annoy

    Oct 19, 2004
    "[Robert] Mercer [DirecTV spokesman] said there's nothing lacking in DirecTV's current quality and said that quality would not change despite the addition of extra channels."

    If you can say with a straight face that there's nothing lacking in DirecTV's current quality, you can say just about anything.

    But unless they get greedy with the compression level and/or stack compressions there should be no decline. And even then, there are many with eyesight such that they won't notice. A lot of money could have been saved in home sound systems over the years if people would simply get their hearing tested first.

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