• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Remember the early days of HD

bachill

Standard Member
Remember when HD movies used to take up 12-13% memory on average. Lately its about 6-7%. The quality is still good, don't get me wrong, but HD certainly has lost that draw-dropping show-offiness it used to have. - Or am I doing something wrong? Any thoughts?
 

Ultra2man

Prominent Member
In a nutshell Sky have got thier MPEG4 decoding working more efficiently now.
I've not noticed any noticeable difference between the movies then and now.
I'm more dissapointed with the reduction in quality on BBC HD which to me looks a lot worse now than in the early days.
 

dr no

Moderator
I have definately noticed a drop in quality of the HD picture. Especially BBC HD and SS1/2 HD. The movie channels were so variable anyway that it's hard to tell.

I think currently think that Luxe HD has best picture - not that I watch it.

I think the better, more efficient coding is Sky ways of removing the need for a box with bigger Hard Drive. Although at some point they got to increase as more and more HD channels are introduced.
 

pwood

Prominent Member
Yip the quality could be better on BBC HD whereas Sky One HD is getting better. I had a good chance to compare SD and HD BBC last night whilst watching Hero's 1 & 2 the latter in HD. Apart for DD sound there was nowhere near the usual leap in quality albeit I am upscaling HD via my Onkyo. That said even doing this the difference between HD and SD is usually obvious. Thinking this was a one off I watched J Ross in both and again it was hardly night and day. Last year BBC HD was amazing but not anymore

RUSH HD and LUXE still give that wow factor!
 

Jaycee Dove

Established Member
One of the reasons that Rush does good HD is because much of its content is filmed outside in the sunshine which always shows off HD.

Some dramas (especially those using the attrocious in vogue filmising techniques favioured by arty directors - ie way too many) do HD no favours as if you make your programme look like it was filmed down a coal mine an HD coal mine is still going to look a bit gloomy.

Source does effect PQ in HD a lot. Although I tend to agree that there has been a slight drop with the new encoders. Not massive and probably a price we have to pay to get extra HD channels.

But this has to be the limit as Sky will not find it easy to persuade people to pay extra for HD if they try to squeeze the quality any further to fit in more and more channels.

The new encoders seem to be working but they also now seem to have reached the limit of their abilities.
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
Yip the quality could be better on BBC HD whereas Sky One HD is getting better. I had a good chance to compare SD and HD BBC last night whilst watching Hero's 1 & 2 the latter in HD. Apart for DD sound there was nowhere near the usual leap in quality albeit I am upscaling HD via my Onkyo. That said even doing this the difference between HD and SD is usually obvious. Thinking this was a one off I watched J Ross in both and again it was hardly night and day. Last year BBC HD was amazing but not anymore

RUSH HD and LUXE still give that wow factor!

And yet Rush HD and Luxe HD actually share transponders with many other channels yet most other HD channels have fewer channels or even only 2-3 HD channels.
 

MunichMag

Established Member
Yip the quality could be better on BBC HD whereas Sky One HD is getting better. I had a good chance to compare SD and HD BBC last night whilst watching Hero's 1 & 2 the latter in HD. Apart for DD sound there was nowhere near the usual leap in quality albeit I am upscaling HD via my Onkyo. That said even doing this the difference between HD and SD is usually obvious. Thinking this was a one off I watched J Ross in both and again it was hardly night and day. Last year BBC HD was amazing but not anymore
A long shot, but could it be that the BBC SD quality of the show's you're comparing is better than it used to be? I don't have HD, so can't comment on the PQ here, but for me (watching on Sky+ SD box over RGB scart to Samsung 1366*768 HD-Ready plasma) there is a noticeable 'wow factor' when watching shows that have been filmed in HD, such as Glastonbury, Johnathon Ross and Jools Holland when compared to other shows. Not a techie, so not really sure if this should be possible, but I really can see a big difference.
 

wednesday83

Established Member
There has certainly been a drop in quality over the last 6 month or so. We are often told on here how wonderfull the new encoders are and that they produce the same quality as the previous ones with less birate. Clearly the quality is not quite as good. I do aggree with your comments about quality on Sky Sports 1 and 2 as well. The football, specially premier league is no where near as good as it was. Compare the studio shots of Richard keys this season to last and last season wins hands down for me.

Also the detail on the pitch and the crowd is not as good on matches. Last season the crowd on majority of the games really stood out as did the pitch. As someone posted above, maybe its the price we have to pay for more channels.

A suggestion to sky though would be to maybe axe channels that hardly anyone watches and increase the quality and channels with the bandwith saved. How many viewers does Luxe actually get?? How many viewers does channels like BEN and Nigerian movie channel recieve??? Could sky not save up space by doing rid of channels and replacing them???
 

bobcar

Distinguished Member
A suggestion to sky though would be to maybe axe channels that hardly anyone watches and increase the quality and channels with the bandwith saved. How many viewers does Luxe actually get?? How many viewers does channels like BEN and Nigerian movie channel recieve??? Could sky not save up space by doing rid of channels and replacing them???
Those are not Sky channels.
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
I'm sure Ofcom carriage rules state that if someone agrees to pay the carriage fees and EPG fees then Sky has to give them an EPG slot. Sky cannot choose who gets on and who doesn't AFAIK. I think you'd be surprised about the number of viewers some channels get. Although i don't have figures I had a great many calls when Nollywood went subscription and when BEN had a broadcast issue recently I also had quite a few calls.
 

gfsracing

Established Member
I had an earlier screening of cars on my planner that took up about 15% disk space.

I deleted it when they changed the compression and re recorded and it now takes 6%.

I can see a difference in quality. To me it does not seem as sharp
 

wednesday83

Established Member
I had an earlier screening of cars on my planner that took up about 15% disk space.

I deleted it when they changed the compression and re recorded and it now takes 6%.

I can see a difference in quality. To me it does not seem as sharp

Thats the problem with the new encoders. The pictures are not as sharp and the detail is not as good. Id imangine its only going to get worse as the number of HD channels increase.
 

gfsracing

Established Member
Thats the problem with the new encoders. The pictures are not as sharp and the detail is not as good. Id imangine its only going to get worse as the number of HD channels increase.

Great Name Wednesday 83. Up the Owls. Hope the picture quality is spot on when we spank the pigs in a couple of weels
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
There has certainly been a drop in quality over the last 6 month or so.



Has there?



We are often told on here how wonderfull the new encoders are and that they produce the same quality as the previous ones with less birate.



Technically they are, it's amazing what PQ you can get with bitrates that were totally impractical even 2 years ago when SKY HD launched. I have compared the same movies on both the old and new encoders and could not see a practical difference and that is what I base my comments on, it has to be the same movie/programme as the production choices made (film, video, lighting, post production effects etc etc) otherwise comparing different content in terms of PQ is pointless.


Clearly the quality is not quite as good.


Clearly?
Again stating a fact when it should be an opinion.

I do aggree with your comments about quality on Sky Sports 1 and 2 as well. The football, specially premier league is no where near as good as it was. Compare the studio shots of Richard keys this season to last and last season wins hands down for me.


I admire anyone whose memory is so specifically strong on visual information, I can't even in all honesty compare shows with a few weeks gap let alone a year. I can come out with a catch all statement that it was worse or better but unless I've kept notes I would be just blowing smoke.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
I had an earlier screening of cars on my planner that took up about 15% disk space.

I deleted it when they changed the compression and re recorded and it now takes 6%.

I can see a difference in quality. To me it does not seem as sharp




Nice one fgsracing, you've had the same movie using both encoders on the hard drive at the same time and compared them using the same TV etc etc in the same way I have done since the roll out began.
Since I consider my opinion of the PQ of the movies I compared as being 100% accurate based on my eyesight and display etc I accept your opinion on Cars in exactly the same manner, be a bit if a hypocrit if I didn't:)

The only way to accurately judge the performance of the encoders is by comparing the same movie and any changes in broadcast spec can then be included in the overall performance of the broadcast and not rely on the vaguries of human memory potentially coloured by existing opinion.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
Those are not Sky channels.




SKY don't even own the satellites, perhaps SKY have done to go a job convincing the masses that SKY=Satellite when in fact it's the most open digital platform serving the UK:)
Hundreds of channels are broadcast whose only contact with SKY is to pay for an EPG slot and while SKY have huge influence over channels within their pay packages they have no say in who can broadcast on satellite.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Has there?
While I have hitherto been in the front line of those denying that the reduction in bit-rate has been associated with a detectable loss of quality, I am beginning to get a little concerned after the last couple of episodes of Stargate:Atlantis. They've been noticeably poorer than the first few episodes in this series (just a few weeks earlier). A couple of weeks ago there was an episode where much of the action was set in swirling fog - that resulted in quite painful solarisation. Still, so far it just seems to be that one show. :rolleyes:

There also seems to my eyes to be a noticeable difference in quality between 2.35:1 films and 16:9 films these days, with the latter being visibly poorer. That could be coincidence - most big-budget new cinema releases are 2.35 - but I can't help but wonder if that's because the black bars are so highly compressible that it keeps ultra-wide-screen movies just the right side of a crucial bit-rate threshold.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
While I have hitherto been in the front line of those denying that the reduction in bit-rate has been associated with a detectable loss of quality, I am beginning to get a little concerned after the last couple of episodes of Stargate:Atlantis. They've been noticeably poorer than the first few episodes in this series (just a few weeks earlier). A couple of weeks ago there was an episode where much of the action was set in swirling fog - that resulted in quite painful solarisation. Still, so far it just seems to be that one show. :rolleyes:




I'll agree with you on the weeks before last episode of Atlantis, there was noticeable noise (not in the vid cam sequences) and it was also mentioned by Jaycee. As you say that was just one show (last weeks which I would have thought would be even worse with the smoke/fog held up much better at the same 3%) and so far at least for me not sign of a platform wide reduction in PQ, certainly existing issues with footy HD as we've know since WC2006 that stadiums play their part in HD PQ.




There also seems to my eyes to be a noticeable difference in quality between 2.35:1 films and 16:9 films these days, with the latter being visibly poorer. That could be coincidence - most big-budget new cinema releases are 2.35 - but I can't help but wonder if that's because the black bars are so highly compressible that it keeps ultra-wide-screen movies just the right side of a crucial bit-rate threshold.


Interesting thought.
I can't say I've really tried to catagorise the PQ levels of movies in terms of their ratio, given the flexibility of the H.264 codec it's quite possible the wider ratio given the same bitrate has an edge.
 

Jaycee Dove

Established Member
I was also hoping that the HD PQ reduction on Stargate was a one off but I am also concerned, as again this week's was detectably less good than previous episodes. There was less sharpness and definition to my eyes.

The drop is subtle, not drastic and it still is easily better in HD than SD.

This may be a show thing. The series has been axed and maybe they have cut the budget?

But it is something we need to watch out for.

I have not seen a drop in things that usually look good in HD (such as Sky's football) and drama can be hit and miss.

I am reserving judgement on Bones as yet. This was always one of Sky's flagship HD series in terms of sharp, clean images. The London set episodes were twaddle so it was hard to judge PQ between laughing about the )hopefuly deliberate) OTT cliches about Dick Van Dyke style Brits.

But if this show starts to display a loss of PQ as well then I think there would be grounds for suspicion.

Now that Sky are pushing HD as to the go to box and cuttings its cost massively (if you dont have it already that is!) then there has to be a temptation to gradually lower the threshold. If the calls to remove the D sub continue then that can only be accompanied with a PQ loss. It stands to reason.

I would rather pay a sub for a guaranteed better picture but there are just a few hints creeping in of the early days of Sky HD when the bit rate was not delivering and it had to be upped. We are not at that stage yet in my view. But it is a situation we should monitor as we are at that dangerous stage where Sky try to take their HD service mainstream rather than a top end niche market and that is precisely where the risk of compromise is bound to be greatest.
 
Last edited:

WATTS

Established Member
I too have noticed a minor reduction in details on some HD channels.

BBC HD has lost the vibrance / sharpness / strong colours it used to have. Not overly so but i can tell there is some change.
I remember the rolling BBC HD preview with torchwood and in particular a scene in the rain. Man that looked awesome!

I am not knocking Sky's improved compression technology as it does a fantastic job but you cannot deny the fact that more compression = less detail.
My re encoded 7.4 gig WMVHD movie although looks excellent wont look as good as the Blu Ray it came from. Not much to start crying over but there is a difference.

If others here have noticed a small decrease in quality then there is no denying the possobility that something has changed with the compression technology, enough for some to notice it.
Also the space it takes to store a HD movie is a big give away of more compression (although fantastic by sky).

Then again i could have it all wrong and it could be down to the plasma TV i have had for 1.5 years is not as vibrant as it used to be.

Whatever the true cause i still love my HD though!! :smashin:
 
Last edited:

Starburst

Distinguished Member
I too have noticed a minor reduction in details on some HD channels.

BBC HD has lost the vibrance / sharpness / strong colours it used to have. Not overly so but i can tell there is some change.
I remember the rolling BBC HD preview with torchwood and in particular a scene in the rain. Man that looked awesome!

I am not knocking Sky's improved compression technology as it does a fantastic job but you cannot deny the fact that more compression = less detail.



The rain scene in the Torchwood premiere was impressive at the time and overall issues with BBC HD production choices seem to have been the bugbear of the channel over the last year. The season two premiere of TW did kinda emphasis the difference in the the HD PQ, I'm not sure if it's fair to say the PQ dropped thanks to simply bitrate or the show was produced to look that way.

If you were using the same spec of encoder then yes, more compression means losing more information but if you are compressing using a new process then you can compress more and lose less.
Take mpeg2 compared to mpeg1, far more compression but you also retain far more detail using mpeg2 and while SKY are still using H.264 it'll be just like DVD the encoding will vastly improve overtime allowing more compression while retaining more of the original picture after all H.264 was performing well under spec and not providing the upto 40% bandwidth saving over mpeg2 when it was introduced to market.
 

Starburst

Distinguished Member
Ok just got home from work and found the The Postman on SKY Action HD I recorded this morning took 20% for three hours, not having that sort of bitrate wasted on a fairly average print, don't have the hard drive space to spare having got used to around 4% an hour:D
 

The latest video from AVForums

CES 2023 Round Up: New TV Lineups for 2023 from LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Hisense & TCL
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom