Cricket on Channel 4

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Bernard Barnett, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    Watching on a plasma via Freeview, I was disappointed by the picture quality of the two Test matches to date. Focus was lacking and the grass was ill-defined. It was as if they were using 4:3 equipment and zooming it to 16:9. It was a very sorry contrast with the BBC's coverage of the Open golf a few weeks ago, which was absolutely excellent. Does anyone else have any views on this?
     
  2. Starburst

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    I would be surprised if CH4 were filming in 4:3 and then broadcasting that within a 16:9 frame but I suppose anything is possible.
    More likely it's the simple matter of the DTT broadcast not having a high enough bitrate to allow for the much lower compression that would be needed for live sport especially when played on a hugely detailed grass surface.
     
  3. superpixel

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    One word: analogue.

    I watched the cricket 5 feet from an old 50" Pioneer plasma - glorious.
    On Sky it was unwatchable.
     
  4. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    What made me wonder about that (in addition to the poor PQ) was the fact that when the BBC showed bits on the news they were 14:9 instead of 16:9. When the Beeb has bought in 4:3 material it invariably zooms to 14:9, never full widescreen.
    Superpixel's praise for analogue would seem to reinforce the point, as that of course could only have been 4:3.
     
  5. Starburst

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    I spent more time watching last years Euro championships on analogue simply because both the BBC and ITV coverage was so poor on Dsat.

    Quite amzing to think that OFCOM do not regulate PQ on the PSB's digital channels.
     
  6. Dutch

    Dutch
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    Yep, I complained to (the then) ITC regarding the lamentable picture quality put out by ITV on Sky, saying that it wasn't "broadcast quality". Basically, they didn't give a stuff! :rolleyes: Obviously nothing has changed with Ofcom.

    Steve
     
  7. RMCF

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    I think this thread is going down the route that I have been moaning about for ages. When I first got Sky digital I was more than happy with the vast majority of the channel wrt picture quality. However, over the last couple of years I have noticed more poor quality pictures. I feel that they are filling too much bandwidth with babestations, quiz tv, shopping, 6sec ab progs and overall picture quality is suffering.

    Digital TV has the potential to be much better than analogue - if its done right !!
     
  8. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    I sent a note about the PQ to Sunset & Vine, the production company that produces the C4 coverage. This afternoon the producer, Paul Ryan, called me to discuss. He said when the pictures leave them they're perfect and would have ascribed the problem to Freeview quality but for my point that the commercial breaks were fine. He was therefore somewhat at a loss to explain it and could only suggest a transmission (i.e. compression) issue. He also said the coverage was definitely shot 16:9. Superpixel you'll be glad to hear, too, that he much prefers analogue to digital! Anyway he undertook to monitor what happens in the next Test - he said he was calling from the control truck at Old Trafford - and gave me his mobile number in case I wanted to discuss while the match was in progress.
    This is so unlike any other response I've ever received to a complaint, in any sphere of activity whatever, that I was amazed. Frankly I doubt the situation will change as it seems to me C4's transmission standards are simply not up to delivering the quality the BBC can achieve (admittedly on a different mux).
     
  9. Starburst

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    Now that is certainly a level of interaction with the viewer you don't expect.
    I expect the communication you sent was head and shoulders above the usual complaints and thankfully it was received by someone who was more than willing to discuss the issue.

    It is not surprise that the quality leaving the OB unit is reference standard and the weak link being the transmission standards used by CH4, same applies for other broadcasters as well especially those who simply have squeezed too much onto a mux or transponder.
     
  10. wookie6262

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    I was dissapointed with the quality of the last test on my Sky+ (Amstrad) on channel 104. Try channel 964 it was better but still looked a bit blocky.
     
  11. Paul Shirley

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    The BBC don't do well on live sports with any camera motion... analogue is almost always better.

    It's the near-realtime compression at fault, caused by the inherent difficulty of compression fast motion (games like rugby), the amount of fine detail in both the grass and all those people on screen and generally poor motion vector generation during camera pans. On drama the background will usually be out of focus - less detail - less bits to code it.

    Panning seems to cause the most problems, I guess all the grainy detail in pitches stops the compressor picking the right blocks, its the most time consuming part of mpeg coding and absolutely essential for good compression rates. If that fails you need more bits for the frame and they aren't there, the end result is massive amounts of blurry blocking not in sync with the camera motion and quality loss elsewhere.

    Personally I find the Q appalling even with the camera still, shimmering fringes round every player on the pitch are normal. There's just not enough processing power or bandwidth to go around for detailed pictures.
     
  12. garbon

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    I have not noticed any problems, am watching Freeview Echostar 105. PQ seems Ok with no artifacts. 2nd test was fine also (taacelston transmiter)
    Looks like we are in for a good score?
     

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