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I would bet that it's NBC and not necessarily your cable. NBC's HD presentation of Sunday Night Football was pretty poor last year with softness, loss of camera focus everytime it's zoomed, and just a poor, washed out look. I noticed this on the cable feed for our local NBC channel during most games as well as when I was at a friend's house watching the HD feed via OTA.

Tonight, I think the pregame show looked very poor (via Comcast) and the game itself has shown a lot of issues with PQ. NBC has a lot of catching up to do with CBS and ABC/ESPN for live games in HD.
 

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jtown said:
Just to throw in my two cents, I watched four games yesterday. Two on FOX, one on CBS, one on NBC. NBC's looked like crap. No question. Fox had the best image quality (tho only 720, of course). CBS looked good in 1080 but was noticeably washed out. NBC just looked like crap. Lots of compression artifacts.

BTW, a high bitrate is not an absolute indication of high quality. It just means the potential is there. Crap in = crap out.
I watched one complete game on CBS (go Steelers!!!), most of one on Fox, bits and pieces of the 1:00 Fox game during sommercials with the Steelers game, and three quarters of the NBC game.

Much like you, the picture quality of the NBC game was by far the worst of the three for me. I preferred the picture of the CBS game the most, but that could be a number of factors, including the native resolution of my TV more closely matches 1080i than 720p. Regardless, the PQ on the Fox and the CBS games were head and shoulders above that of NBC, and bit rate doesn't have anything to do with it (as the bit rates for all three were similar). I agree with your statement - crap in --> crap out.
 
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