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SD v DVD v Freeview v HD

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Steve.J.Davies, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Hope this is deemed applicable to this forum but its all about PQ and resolution (I think) and we have some extremely knowlegable people in this field who hang here. Am sure Moderators will move if it if deemed.
    I have cable TV (analogue)
    Just put the Sony Freeview box (800) in my sons' bedroom.
    last night Lake Placid was on BBC. I have this on DVD and am familiar with what it looks like on my 32 inch CRT.
    Also familar with what it looks like on my PC (with flatscreen).
    So last night I was watching it on the beeb and then went up to compare the picture on the freeview on my sons 28 inch CRT.
    It just blew me away ! - oodles better than the 32 incher and better than playing on the PC.
    Is this a resolution thing ?
    I am aware that I will have to bring down his freeview box and plug it in to the 32 incher to see a comparative difference using the same display.

    I post this as I am teetering on going digital for the telly (cable,sky or moveable dish...) and on getting into HD.
    I though I had my plans all firmed up but this viewing has me wondering...
    should I just stop wondering, **** and plug his box in downstairs to see if its just my 1997 TV thats the issue.

    Thing that is getting me is why there was so much more detail (not to mention depth) in the freeview signal than in the cable (NTL) one. they are both 625 lines. even the older telly should have shown them surely.

    Maybe I should just go digital, upscale to a new telly that supports 720 and wait a few years for HD to firm up...

    aaarggh....splut...
     
  2. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Same resolution on a smaller set will often appear sharper. However if your 32" set has digital processing like 100Hz, and the 28" is a straight 50Hz set, you may be find that you don't like the visual processing that 100Hz and other digital systems introduce to "improve" the picture.

    It is unlikely - though possible - that the BBC One Freeview encoding at 4.8Mbs permanent (if you are in England - with a double encode from 9Mbs if you are outside London?) is likely to be higher quality than the DVD mastering.
     
  3. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Thanks Stephen,
    32 incher is 100 hz - but I must see if its swtichable. I have all the noise reduction gizmoids turned off on the set BTW.
    This was much more than a size restriction difference - at least to my eyes. My PC screen is smaller again but it wasn't as good as the freeview on the 28 inch CRT.
    I believe I am getting the Crystal Palace signal...
    If the Beeb source is higher quality than DVD (more resolution) that means their source material is much higher def than DVD ? I can't believe they convert film stock
    so what is this source they use ? Do they upconvert DVDs using v.expensive kit to get this ?
    Dr Who looks better on freeview than on the DVDs as well..

    I gotta slap that freeview box on the downstairs telly and see...

    looks like I am sold on at least going digital then...
     
  4. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Some digital processing can be switched off - and Sony DRC sets allow you to either run 625 lines (576 active) at 100Hz aka DRC100, or line double to 1250 lines (1152 active) at 50Hz aka DRC50. The latter usually looks better to me, with less visible processing.

    That may be a single encode at 4.8Mbs - the way BBC One London is derived has changed so many times I've lost track!
    The BBC run their transmission areas in 16:9 720x576/50Hz - which is the same resolution that DVDs are mastered in. (4:3 BBC material is limited to 544ishx576, whereas 4:3 DVDs are usually 720x576) There isn't a resolution difference between DVD and BBC DTT transmissions.
    These days I think the BBC take delivery of feature films for transmission on Digital Betacam standard definiton video tape. This is 720x576 (same resolution used for DVD and for broadcast) . I don't think the BBC routinely transfer feature films for TX themselves these days.

    The BBC wouldn't broadcast from DVDs as source - they are too heavily compressed for decent quality broadcast purposes. (The artefacts that are present on compressed material may not be that visible - but further compression and decompression would emphasise them)

    Instead they use a broadcast VT copy provided by the film distributor. This may be a copy of the same master also used to master the DVD - though often the DVDs are in the original film aspect ratio, whereas the BBC would broadcast a full-screen 16:9 transfer with no letterboxing.

    Haven't seen the current Dr Who DVDs - but the BBC Three transmission looks dreadful on Freeview on my 28" Sony 50Hz set and on my PC. The BBC One broadcasts look better - but are still very artefacty.

    The DVDs of old Dr Whos look much cleaner.

    I'm lucky enough to see Digital Betacam recordings every day, and I can tell you that they make DVDs and off-air Freeview look very poor in comparison.

    Yep.

    For info - it is possible to record the BBC off-air digital broadcasts using a PC Freeview card, and burn this MPEG2 stream directly to DVD. This means the DVD is identical (with no change to the compressed video as broadcast) to the Freeview live broadcast - the MPEG2 data used for broadcast is identical to that used for DVD mastering - so it isn't a format difference.

    (I've made a number of DVDs from Freeview off-air captures - and they really are lossless copies of the original broadcast - as received)
     
  5. Rimmer

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    I don't know why you find the same content looks better on Freeview than DVD. Bit rates are lower, and some channels such as ITV2, ITV3, and E4 broadcast at the lower resolution of 544 x 576, 25% less than DVD. Is your DVD player configured to output RGB over SCART rather than composite? Obviously you are going to see a noticeable difference in picture quality between analogue cable and digital terrestrial, though once you spot the compression artefacts you may want to go back to analogue!
     
  6. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    Yep - though the non-terrestrial analogue cable channels will be received from satellite off-air I think - so will have both analogue cable noisiness (it is significantly worse than a decent aerial fed signal IMHO) and the digital artefacts...
     
  7. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    I am RGB scart connected. Ithink it must be the signal coming down the cable before it pops out of the wall that has that noisiness. will slapl that freeview boc on downstairs in thenext couple of days (after SWBO gives permission for me to haul out the TV and reconnect stuff) and find out. Will post findings here in case its of interest. If my suspicions rae correct re signal from cable I gotta woonder if my provider 'steps on' the digital signal...(or am I paranoid..)

    This is now making much more sense.
    I thank you very much for taking the time to explain this all to me (and explain it well to boot).

    Looks like I will also be getting a freeview card...will plunder the fora for recommendations.
     
  8. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    I should add that I will have to wait until they broadcast a flim I have on DVD to make that particular comparison but after reading your info I suspect that that is now moot...
     
  9. StevenBagley

    StevenBagley
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    The DVDs of the current series are much better than any transmission of the series certainly they should looks streets ahead of BBC3's current freeview transmission. They average bitrates in the 8s and 9s and look very similar to the clips I saw off Digi earlier in the year -- although I've not done a a/b comparison. Certainly they are streets ahead of any broadcast of them (in the UK at least).

    Absolutely... Although DVD can produce a fair facsimile if you don't over fill the disks, at least on domestic displays.

    Steven
     
  10. Rimmer

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    If you don't want to go down the PC route you might want to consider a Freeview PVR, which will also give you broadcast quality recordings. Some PVRs have USB ports to allow you to transfer the hard disk contents to PC for archiving purposes (to DVD, for example).

    Telewest have a high-def capable PVR in the works, and something similar should become available to NTL customers if/when the merger goes through.
     
  11. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Thanks Rimmer. PC route holds no fears and I prefer the flexibility and versatility.
    Its the new telly and other stuff that holds the fear (costwise....).
     
  12. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    Not really, just plug the freeview box in one scart and the NTL box in the other, and swap av inputs, I bet the freeview box beats the NTL one hands down.

    NTL digital is bad, analogue is abismal!

    Personal choice is Sky, terrestrial, freeview and then if I really had no other choice NTL.

    Problem with a lot of these set top boxes is, well, the set top boxes.
    I am really surprised someone hasn't brought out a top end box with decent D/A converters etc.
     
  13. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Yep I can compare the Frreview NTL things that way. I was really talking about the three way compare with an existing DVD that I own such as the Lake Placid showing which started this off. (could include PC playback),
    I am pretty sure freeview will blow the NTL picture away. Fear is it will still make me swap the telly ! (well, fear tinged with excitement...).
     
  14. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    How do NTL source BBC One and Two digital? I thought they re-broadcast the DTT feeds losslessly, with no quality difference? (Or is this Telewest?)

    Reason I say this is that when the BBC changed the way it statmuxed some of its channels, at least one cable channel had problems because the data rates instantaneously became too high for them to cope with... (Which made me think they were rebroadcasting the MPEG2 programme streams without re-encoding)

    The interactive streams are received from DSat - but I don't know if they are re-encoded or not.
     
  15. mike7

    mike7
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    I'm wondering what the NTL references refer to,

    NTL digital is bad, analogue is abismal!

    Like Gizlaroc I live in Norwich and I was switched over to digital about 5 years ago. I've recently changed to a Samsung box. I would say the NTL digital reception is as good as Freeview,better on some channels than others. I would also say that it is better than some of the Sky I have seen, but that may be down to the quality of the tv involved. My only quibble with the Samsung box is the lack of any outputs other than 2 Scarts.
     

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