1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Picture quality on digital channels

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by harveyadam, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. harveyadam

    harveyadam
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Messages:
    160
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +10
    I'm new to this forum so don't know if anybody has asked this before but...

    Has anybody noticed the astonishingly bad picture quality on some digital channels. I was (I am ashamed to say) watching Channel Five the other day and the image on the movie I was watching was pixellated beyond belief - like a dvd that has been encoded with a <3 bit transfer. Is it that they aren't encoding the picture very well and they are using poor quality source material or that they have been squeezed on bandwidth and it's the best they can offer. It seems worst on movies shown in widescreen as if they're using non-anamorphic source and zooming it to fill the 16:9. Analogue looked better than this!

    Digital has meant more 'choice' but picture quality seems to be suffering.

    Am I alone in this opinion?
     
  2. johndon

    johndon
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    1,924
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +88
    It's all down to the bitrate used for the transmission - the lower the bitrate the worse it tends to look as the broadcasters use different rates, the quality varies between channels. Having said that, Channel 5 is usually pretty good.

    John
     
  3. Archie Fax

    Archie Fax
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2003
    Messages:
    233
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +10
    Don't forget to add that ropey bitrates look ten times worse on expensive large screen tv sets. Which is why loads of people with 14inch portables say 'Digital picture looks fine to me'. LOL ;)
     
  4. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    I spoke with Sky about the very poor quality I was getting on my new 56" DLP and they were not able to offer a view - just an engineer visit for £65. :(

    The picture is fine on static images but the second the camera pans, the faces were left behind (wax effect) and sports were totally unwatchable (cricket losses the ball in flight and grass looks like water until the camera stops moving). :eek:
    I went out and bought a whole new set of IXOS cables and changed my TV setting to ensure minimum contrast but to no avail. :thumbsdow
    Is there likely to be a problem with certain Sky boxes that change over time where the quality of the image sent out over Scart deteriates? :confused: :confused: :confused:
    The TV seems very sensitive to poor source and cable quality but the RF feed (which should be poorer quality) is working fine and HD DVI from the PC and progressive from the DVD are both excellent.:rolleyes:

    Any thoughts? Perhaps if it is down to the box 'going off' I should ask for a referb box at £45 instead of an engineer visit?:(

    Cheers:hiya:
     
  5. johndon

    johndon
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    1,924
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +88
    I suspect that a £65 engineer visit is going to be a total waste of money. A 56" screen is going to show all the problems with compression in the signals via the digibox.

    I assume that you've got the digibox set to output an RGB rather than a PAL signal and that you've connected to an RGB enables scart on the TV?

    It may be that you can play with the settings of the TV to reduce the effects as, out of the box, there's normally a lot you can do to imporeve the picture quality.

    John
     
  6. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    Thanks John :hiya:


    I have RGB scart set both ends and have adjusted contrast down as I was told elsewhere here that that can reduce this effect but it seems to me to be getting worse rather than better over time.:(

    Cheers:hiya:
     
  7. Starburst

    Starburst
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    17,838
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ilkeston
    Ratings:
    +979
    Invest a grand on an external scaler/de-interlacer from a well known manufacturer (Iscan, Lumagen etc) which will do a far better job of converting SD digital images to match the DLP, at least far better than the built in hardware of the TV.

    Having said that there are channels on Dsat that are simply not good enough to be scaled upto anything approaching a large high resolution panel, they even show their problems on modest sized CRT's which rely on digital processing.

    Bascially digital broadcasting in the UK has not kept pace with the advances in display technology even though the current mpeg2 based broadcasts can improve the costs involved just to please a minority of viewers will be unacceptable. HD is the answer and benefits from being a new platform to generate extra revenue and viewers for the broadcasters.
     
  8. Starburst

    Starburst
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    17,838
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ilkeston
    Ratings:
    +979


    Five on Dsat is probably one of the better all round performers, are you watching on Dsat, DTT or cable?

    They do however occasionaly only have 4:3 broadcasts which will always suffer to a certain degree when being manipulated to a 16:9 ratio.
     
  9. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    Thanks Starburst

    I have Sky standard Sat dish with Multiroom. The old Sky box is in the bedroom and the Sky+ in the living room. Needless to say, the Pani 100mhz 28" in the bedroom shows the picture well enough, but the 56" DLP in the lounge does not:rolleyes:
    I wanted to try and scale the picture with the HTPC but cannot get a decent cable connection other than s-video to work from. There is a VGA on the Sky box but oddly, my VGA cables won't connect to this however hard I wiggle and twist it. :mad: Any other way to connect?:(
    Cheers:hiya:
     
  10. johndon

    johndon
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    1,924
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +88
    It's not a VGA connection on the Sky box, it's an RS232 connector.

    John
     
  11. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    Opps!! Well that explains that!:oops: Cheers:hiya:
     
  12. harveyadam

    harveyadam
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Messages:
    160
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +10
    I'm viewing on a 32" 100hz Panasonic w/screen tv (adjusted correctly). I always have the correct aspect-ratio maintained so I'm not zooming the picture when it should be in 4:3 this is being delivered thru NTL cable connectd with v good quality scart lead.

    It does seem astonishing that reasonable displays like mine should highlight the inadequacy of the picture being broadcast.

    I recently tried to watch 'My Fair Lady' on BBC3 (or was it 4?) the other night and the print they were using was awful (washed out, pixellated) + panned to 1:185 (16:9) instead of the correct ratio.

    When will broadcasters realise that a lot of people are investing in decent equipment now and want to see a decent picture being transmitted.

    Roll on HD-DVD...
     
  13. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    I am unhappy with the manufacturers who aught to be able to cope with poor feeds up to a limit and display (even with upscaling) at least a clean crisp image from any current or future source format - otherwise what are they in the business for? :rolleyes: - just to provide HDTV is taking account of just 10-20% of the current market and OK, HDTV is the future (we hope) but even then, if they can't cope with SD Analog, poor sky, broadcast stream interruption etc, what future is there in for example, Internet streaming and over-air HD broadcast from the BBC? :confused: We will all end up having to go cable just to get a secure feed:mad: :nono: :mad: Cheers:hiya:
     
  14. johndon

    johndon
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    1,924
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +88
    As Starburst said, you could add an external scaler which may help. Whilst TV manufacturers could add better scalers to their TV's they price would go up accordingly - you can more for a scaler than you would for the TV in the first place :eek:

    John
     
  15. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    9,748
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +270
    It's not that easy. Even the best scalers can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If the solution to all quality problems was to pass poor quality pictures through a scaler, broadcasters would be laughing all the way to the bank, because they would not have to invest in new HD TV gear. Expensive scalers will convert one picture format into another (say, interlaced to progressive) probably better than the average TV can, but no scaler can re-introduce picture information that was never broadcast in the first place.
     
  16. RMCF

    RMCF
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2000
    Messages:
    6,961
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +621
    Another example of the great digital scam that we are sold.

    When we were watching and listening to analogue signals on TV/radio we were told that digital was the future and that the difference in quality would be amazing.

    Yes, it has the ability to be vastly superior if done properly. But reading this forum all you see if complaints about digital signals. Some Sky channels are excellent, but while we have the explosion in quiz channels and more and more Babestation channels (!!) the overall quality is going to suffer.

    Same goes for DAB - it was hailed as the future of radio. But its rubbish overall.
     
  17. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    9,748
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +270
    That's what happens in the real world. A guy invents a near-perfect system, then he shows it to the marketing boys who are only interested in how much money can be made out of it. Digital TV is capable of excellent pictures. DAB radio is capable of excellent audio. The problem is that Joe Public isn't really interested in quality, he's interested in quantity and price, and the marketing people know it.
     
  18. machinehead

    machinehead
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    464
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Greenock
    Ratings:
    +12
    if you have aeuropean satelite box go to 19e then you will see seriously good pictures.from the german fta channel.at the end of the day if you are watching a 40 year old movie you won't get a good picture it doesen't matter a jot what kind of setup you have.
     
  19. dunsters

    dunsters
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +7
    I was told today to pass my Sky Scart feed through my DVR box (progressive component output) and then to the TV as the DVR has a processor on board that makes best image from poor feeds (rather like the DCDi image processor by FAROUDJA is supposed to do on the TV) and that will give me a cleaner image ???:rolleyes:

    I will try this once I get home, but what is the opinion on that:confused:
    Cheers:hiya:
     
  20. Starburst

    Starburst
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    17,838
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ilkeston
    Ratings:
    +979



    Correct upto a point.

    The movie would have been filmed on 35mm (most of them still are to this day) and there is a possibility the master has been cleaned up for a DVD release and the broadcaster has access to it.

    Age is not always a good guide for picture quality.
     
  21. harveyadam

    harveyadam
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Messages:
    160
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +10
    It certainly isn't true - have you seen the picture quality on the restored version of 'Lawrence of Arabia' or 'Singing in the Rain'? When I got my first dvd player (back in 1998) more people were impressed by 'The Wizard of Oz' than the newest films that were out.

    The age of a movie - if it's been looked after - should have no impact. Knowing that a restored version of 'My Fair Lady' is out on dvd (and has been shown at the cinema) there is no reason why broadcasters, and especially the BBC, should not be using the best available source materials.

    I am afraid I have to reach the same conclusion as others on this debate; broadcasters don't care about quality of both picture and sound because the general public don't care. This explains the rise of 'lossy' formats as mp3 and many quite happy buying a dvd player and w/screen display then watching ripped / shrunk dvds or, even worse, vcds and saying the quality is 'great'!
     
  22. skap7309

    skap7309
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    435
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +5
    just bought a tosh 32zp48 and ive wanted to ask the same question. picture is absoloute crap on certain channels, while not too bad on others. had the picture perfect on my smaller panny 25 inch, spent hours adjusting settings, using ixos scarts etc but nothing works.
     
  23. Joe Pineapples

    Joe Pineapples
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,625
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Doncaster
    Ratings:
    +835
    one irony is that some of the cleanest, sharpest looking pictures, are to be found on 'QVC' and a couple of other shopping channels :thumbsdow
     
  24. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    544
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +10
    Hi dunsters

    You can get an excellent picture out of Sky. We have said it a million times (well, not quite a million) , the biggest problem that people have with Sky on large screens (DLP, Plasma, LCD etc) is that these large screens often have very poor tolerance for anything other than a high quality video signal. The "sky is rubbish because of a low bit rate" thing is a myth!

    Therefore the solution is simple, upscale the video first and then send it to the display.
    That DLP display of yours would look *much* better if you used your HTPC to drive it. All you need to add is a capture card (from £30 to £150 depending on the quality you are looking for) and then you are away.

    If you need any more help then feel free to ask!
     
  25. blackrod

    blackrod
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    571
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Ratings:
    +102
    The picture quality of the England-Austria match through Sky was bobbins too. I turned off my 42" panny plasma and watched in on our 28" CRT and it was still really poor! :thumbsdow

    Was that Sky giving BBC a crap feed? ;)
     
  26. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    544
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +10
    Yes, it was. But did you watch Liverpool v Chelsea on Sky Sports recently?
    It was stunning - much better in fact than some of the ropey high def demos that I have seen for SkyHD in the big retailers.

    ITV are always terrible with their football coverage as well... My point is that with the right kit between your Sky box and your display, and with the broadcasters doing their bit, the Sky platform as it stands today is capable of looking great even on a big screen..it really is a case of dont shoot the messenger!
     
  27. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    544
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +10
    yep, I would agree with that, a complete backwards step imho.
     
  28. blackrod

    blackrod
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    571
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Ratings:
    +102
    Right then, to get better pictures out of sky, is there a nifty little box out there for a couple of hundred quid or is it a remortgage the house jobby?
     
  29. Boy Lex

    Boy Lex
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm curious to know why there is this general assumption that hd will somehow magically solve all these problems - if anything it will only compound them. It will require more of the precious bandwidth and there will be a struggle to find it... You can heavily compress an hd picture just as easily as an sd picture - you'll still have all the pixelly artifacts, just more pixels doing it!

    Lets get real - hd isn't 'dvd piped into your home'.
     
  30. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Messages:
    9,748
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +270
    There's an old saying...... "If you open the stable door wide enough, all the (er.....) crap will blow in".
     

Share This Page

Loading...