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Digital Cable vs Digital Terrestrial

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by aitor_ibarra, May 30, 2001.

  1. aitor_ibarra

    aitor_ibarra
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    I'd be keen to see a technical comparison between onDigital and NTL/Telewest...

    1)Picture quality: how well do you rate this vs analogue terrestrial and DVD? Do they transmit in anamorphic widescreen, or just crop 4:3 to 16:9?

    2)Sound quality: what's this like vs NICAM? Do the stb's have digital output so I can use my av amp to do decode? Do they support at least Pro-Logic?

    I live in a Telewest area (previously cable london) and my main interest is their blue yonder highspeed internet service. However, I may take TV as well, IF the quality is significantly better than analogue terrestrial (I don't watch much TV, my main interest is movies, either on DVD or at my local cinema, which is 5 mins away!)
     
  2. Fartpants

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    I have OnDigital, the idea that you just plug your arial in is utter b*££*cks. In the end I have managed to get perfect pictures on all the channels I pay for, I don't watch pay per view or the sky stuff so can't say what they are like.

    I have a box with a coax digital output. I occasionally get a slight loss of sound, and this is made worse because the Sony amp cuts of and on. Rarely happens now but it does annoy me.

    I have been thinking about getting a dish but haven't got off my backside yet.

    The broadcasts hmm not too sure, I set the set top box up for wide screen. Lots of stuff appears 16:9 but some 4:3 stuff has vertical bars. The grand prix are full screen but this looks like it is a stretched 4:3.

    Some films have been 4:3 with vertical bars, some foreign footy matches also 4:3. Thats is where the quality is really poor. When you get a close up of the players lovely picture, but the long shots look worse than analogue, I think this is common to all digital broadcasters.
     
  3. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Personally, I think that you should get Digital Satellite TV instead.

    ITVDigital (as OnDigital is now named) is useless, unless you live in a an already perfect picture area. Like the previous poster said, the idea of all you need to do is plug in your aerial, is total garbage! Also, the picture quality isn't great, often involving mass pixellation and corrupted image and sound, at the slightest hint of unruly weather. PLus, the channel selection is crap!

    Digital Cable: well I had NTL for over a year, but kept having awful picture quality on Bravo, E4 and the Sci-Fi Channel! No matter how many technicians came out, none of them could sort out the picture quality problem! Dumbass's!! The channel selection is often great, and it is reasonably priced, and you don't have to have a satellite strapped to the side of your house, but unless you get decent picture quality, I would leave it. The set-top-boxes can be set to receive either 4:3, Widescreen broadcasts, or Anamorphic 16:9, depending on what you want. Personally, go for Widescreen, that way if a film or series is filmed in widescreen, you get the bars, but the picture is at least accurately framed.

    Satellite: The one bad thing, is that you have to get a dish! Otherwise, excellent picture quality, even on minority channels; excellent choice of channels; often similar in price to digital cable; superb interactive stuff available that actually works properly. Even having to link the box to a phone-line isn't as bad as it sounds. I've never had any problems - touch wood!

    That's my opinion. Obviously, you need to decide for yourself, but I think that Digital Satellite is best.

    Pooch
     
  4. aitor_ibarra

    aitor_ibarra
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    Thanks,

    Actually, a dish is a turn off, and in any case I need planning permission, or something like it, because I'm in a conservation area.

    Technically speaking, there's no reason for cable to underperform sattelite. There's FAR more bandwidth available - although maybe it isn't being used properly - and as you have an electrical connection rather than a radiowaves from space there should be no problems due to atmospheric conditions.

    I really want to know if the cable stb's have digital out for sound. I've built a website that runs on NTL's platform, and the test box they gave us DOESN'T - however apparently Telewest have newer boxes - maybe they have it?
     
  5. Rotherhamfc

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    Hi,

    I have just upgraded from OnDigital to Telewest Digital in the last month, and while the extra channels and interactive features are good, from a home cinema point of view cable is garbage.

    The box is made by pace, as all Telewest boxes are, and is quite simply, ugly, no-where near as cosmetically pleasing as my Pioneer OnDigital Box. It comes with just standard audio outputs, no optical digital output, or any other sort of audio features.

    And worst of all, with the widescreen option on, all widescreen programs are set to widescreen, but then as soon as you change back to a 4:3 programme, the screen reverts to black horizontal lines, which u then have to change your tv settings to change to widescreen picture mode, everytime this happens! Whilst OnDigital used to stretch some programmes, it always showed thing in widescreen, with no option fiddling, and with good picture quality, which some cable channels lack.

    I would probably go for a Sony Sky Digital box with Opt. Dig. Out, as I am told that Sky offers good widescreen facilities, and has the best picture quality of the lot, as well as a better channel choice. Plus Rupert Murdochs just decided to start showing footy on Sky Sports Extra - Sky Only!!
     
  6. Fartpants

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    Yep back in 98 when I moved to Reading I thought cable should give me a good picture all the time, the company was called Comtel then, now they are NTL.

    I don't know why the shoulds turn into it doesn't, it could be trying to save money on components, or bad installations, but what you get is not what you think you are getting.

    There is an advert on in my area, some wife tells her hubby he can't have a dish, he then sees a NTL van pulling away from his neighbours and runs after it.

    The van does not stop, in real life it wouldn't because they would assume it is an angry punter chasing after them to do them some damage after giving up trying to gety throug to the help line.
     
  7. Guest

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    I've had NTL cable digital for ages now and whilst there were problems at the begining, I get a perfect picture on all channels. The only time the picture is a bit grainy is when there's an old program like Porridge or the Sweeney on but that's not down to the signal.

    My orginal install was cocked up which took them ages to discover, the signal was too strong and they'd put some booster thing on that wasn't needed etc etc etc, but mine was one of the first installed when it came to Manchester (originally was Cable and Wireless) so they've obviously learnt a bit.

    Interestingly if you ever phone support about the phone or the TV, even if you just want to change channel packages or whatever you get through pretty much straight away - at the start you'd be holding for ever!

    Not sure whether Telewest / NTL is bascially the same service but I definately get some form of stereo but it's definately not got digital out. My exisiting TV has Virtual Dolby (3 speakers) and the stereo effects are very good from the NTL broadcasts.

    You have the option for 4:3, Letterbox or Widescreen on my STB. Letterbox was great for when I had a 4:3 TV because it meant that Widescreen broadcasts were displayed widescreen but 4:3 were full screen. Now I've got a Widescreen TV the Widescreen setting pushes everything out widescreen where applicable and the TV auto switches to suit the broadcast.

    Overall I'm well pleased with NTL Digital, the only thing that'll make me swap is if any of them start to broadcast sound in 5.1 or the like.

    Cheers
     
  8. Richard Harnwell

    Richard Harnwell
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    I have digital terrestrial (Nokia & Philips boxes). I'm in a fringe reception area, but I I don't get break-up too frequently. My aerials are in the loft at the moment. I think (/hope) my recption should be pretty much perfect once I get them on the roof.

    I can't get cable in my area, but I have been tempted by Sky didgital. There are a couple of things that put me off, though.

    1. No ITV/ITV2

    I hope this will be rectified in the coming months.

    2. Lower bitrate for free-to-air channels?

    I have seen a number of people complain that the free channels (BBC in particular) seems to be coded at a lower bit-rate on Sky, giving a lower qulaity image.
     
  9. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    Digital Terrestial

    I own a Sony KV32DX20 IDTV and I borrow a Nokia dodgybox.

    I haven't seen cable but the best pictures I have seen with digital TV are terrestial FTA channels on Sony IDTVs.

    I live about 30-35 miles from Sutton Coldfield but I still get the occasional breakup, the box breaks up when the TV is fine. Usually on analogue taping say there would be interfearance and sometimes Nicam dropouts.

    The quality issue is a big worry with DVB-S, as is the lack of IDTVs, IDTVs will be the future of TVs and I reckon Ondigital are bettin on this. :) :)
     
  10. KAO

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    It always makes me smile when I hear people saying that having a dish put sthem off getting satellite (or even worse, that they need planning permission for a dish). IMHO, a mass of twisty rusty metals sticks welded together and stuck on my roof looks far worse than the small black Sky dish I have. And if you're in a bad reception area and need something with more gain than a standard aerial...well, it starts to look like a NASA outstation quicker than you can say Hello Houston...
     
  11. paiger

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    I also live in a conservation area and you can't just go sticking things on your house unless they comply with certain rules. In my opinion, dishes do nothing for the look of a house due to where most people put them.

    I am looking into getting Sky but would wish to put the dish on the roof where my aerial is now, possibly on the same pole.

    S
     

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