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Welcome to UK, land of third world broadcasting..thanks SKY TV and others.

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by uncle eric, Apr 12, 2001.

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  1. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    When I was in Hong Kong last week I visited a friends (TK Chan) home for a demo of his set up. Previously over dinner, he asked if I had seen HDTV yet. I said of course no as I lived in UK where we only have the likes of Sky and ON digital as carriers of high quality bandwidth (thats a laugh).
    He mentioned that HDTV at 1080i and 720p (which of course even looks smoother than 1080i) looks more real than real???? Whats this guy talking about??????
    Anyway, after viewing around 6/7 of the best looking DVD's around, on his 8 inch Sony G70 through a Fara 3000 at 720p, using the interlaced output of his 5k Poineer flagship AX10 DVD player, I basicly thought I was in Home theater nirvana.
    Everything looked superb. The layers of contrast and colours with this very expensive combination of High end gear looked amazing. (The sound was handled by Mark Levinson and huge B&W Nautilas gear, sexy stuff)
    Just when I thought things couldent get any better (and basicly its very difficult to get a lot better with the native resolution that DVD has to offer, unless the studio's allow HD-DVD (Hi def dvd at 720p native...dont hold your breath waiting on this one) TK then pulls out some video tapes.
    They were normal S video tapes of American and Japanese Hi Def programing using a digital recorder (DVHS) at both the source and of course TK's end.

    HOLY MOTHER OF JESUS. Well, actually I used many swear words. Mostly meant for UK broadcasters.......
    This was amazing. Direct from tape to the G70 at 1080i (no processor involved, although there is a Fara 5000 whereby you can upscale 1080i to 1080 progressive, but the difference you would see would be minimal on an 8 inch CRT), however, as it was looked trully amazing. First step in the quality chain was when I watched part of a recording of the film 'Predator' and realized within seconds it looked miles better than the DVD.
    Of course this was still a some what 'second hand' way of doing things as this movie was originaly produced using film, scaned,then transfered over the air via Hi Def signals.

    What really made me sit up were the recordings of live shows such as Jay Leno's chat show, in which the shots are taken using digital Hi Def camera's and delivered directly to the consumers Hi Def decoder and straight through in component form to the Hi Def display.(note* this particular tv station is transmitted over the air and recieved by a normal rooftop ariel in the states, other HDTV stations are by satelite depending on the area). This was really something to behold. I have never ever seen images of this fidelity. The Japenese Hi Def programs were even a little better as they are using 2nd generation Hi Def camera's while the Americans gear is 2/3 years old.
    I'm affraid that this sort of quality will never be available in the UK (not in my lifetime anyway). Our rip off culture goes right to the core of most things bought and sold here.
    Sky tv has bamboozeled most of the british public with 'digital quality' broadcasting of such a poor standard that its actually a disgrace.
    In fact I recieve analogue satelite programs (via a motorized dish) that look ten times better than most of Sky's programing.

    Sky (the biggest and greed orientated culprit in my opinion) uses its allocated bandwith to deliver tons of rubbish instead of high quality video (or programming for that matter). 'On digital' is a waste of time as they buy most of their programming from Rupert god Mordochs Sky.
    The only chance we consumers have is if the Terrestrial corparations (BBC included) awake from their COMA and start thinking about quality broadcasting to go with 'SOME' of their quality programming.
    As Billy Cotton used to say a long time ago...WAKEY WAKEY !!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Hi Def is amazing when you see it.

    Eric did you know that they had to develop new ways of applying makeup when they started braodcasting things like Leno in hi-def as it was so easy to see how it was applied. They now airbrush the stuff on.......amazing.

    Gordon
     
  3. jlcrawford

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    I have to agree - when i was in the USA in March I popped into a Ht store for a quick demo and dragged in some friends whom I ski with -they have surround sound 29" tv sets and think I am a bit loose in the head with my gear -
    We were all blown away by the clarity and colour of the image and I am not sure what I was watching as the salesperson couldnt tellme if it was 1080i or not - he didnt know what I was on about
     
  4. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Jeff,
    Salesman not knowing what they are talking about is very very common both here and abroad. Unfortunately most of these guys just see it as a job therefore are mostly interested in sales not this great hobby of ours.

    Gordon,
    Very interesting about the make up. As I dont speak Japanese I will have to apply for a green card and go live in the land of Uncle Sam ;)

    Eric
     
  5. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Jeff,
    Salesman not knowing what they are talking about is very very common both here and abroad. Unfortunately most of these guys just see it as a job therefore are mostly interested in sales not this great hobby of ours.

    Gordon,
    Very interesting about the make up. As I dont speak Japanese I will have to apply for a green card and go live in the land of Uncle Sam ;)

    Eric
     
  6. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Well I know quite a few people from/in the states all from the film and TV industry. Most of them big home cinema fans.

    Everyone thinks Hi-Def is a really bad idea. Its too expensive , its bandwidth heavy , its prone to glitching by virtue of the huge datastream. The studios are well cagey about transmitting hi-def features. (hence all the sport and live shows) (don't blame em!) Chances are that only a few of the major channels will ever be able to implement it in a remotely succesful manner.

    Most of the transatlantic bods I know think digital TV over here from the likes of Sky and Ondigital is the business. (yes I know!) mainly because they can go out buy an affordable 16x9 TV and actually find something to watch on it apart from dvds. I even heard of one guy who was interested in exporting a lot of UK spec widescreen sets (the normal ones nothing fancy) to the states as they are far better quality all round and people are crying out for affordable widescreen sets rather than 10K hi-def monstrosities with nothing but football repeats to watch.
     
  7. jlcrawford

    jlcrawford
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    When I was in Lake Tahoe the price of the huge 50-60" rptv sets brought tears to my eyes at between $1800-3000.
    I am in Florida from 31 May and plan a few trips to home cinema stores to gather info and just pretty much **** off the wife really . I cant imagine the price of UK sets imported into the US after duty etc being at all competitive but if it happens good luck to the guy.
     
  8. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Mr D,
    Let me answer your post point by point,

    Firstly, just who exactly are the people in the industry that you know who say HDTV is a bab Idea??? Are you kidding with me???
    In fact, as this is still early days for HDTV studio's are being bombarded with requests for more programming, mostly by the very people you mention.
    Video guru's Stacy Spears and Joe Kane actively support HDTV (Joe Kane wants to see the smoother 720p as the standard rather than 1080i)
    The people that I have had contact with in the USA (and believe me, I have lots of contact), think its the best thing since colour tv, and not as you say "a bad idea".

    As for the studio's being 'cagey', this paronoia particularly from Hollywood is not new. In fact this is the reason that on some of the Warner owned programming, 1080i defaults to 480i, (just in case some one wants to go into the cartoon business). They have recieved many complaints about this practice so hopefully this will subside in all but their most valuable programming.

    Your other point "Many people in the USA importing UK spec Widescreen tv's" is probably the daftest statement I've heard since Chompys infamous post (in another forum) a few weeks ago.
    Why would anyone in the USA import Uk spec sets. Inch for inch, they ARE a lot more expensive. They would have no use whatsoever for the scart socketry (most of our sets dont even have component or Svideo for that matter) Most would need a voltage converter thereby adding more video noise into the allready bad equation!!!!
    As for 10K monsters. One of the best sets currently available in the USA market is the 55" Philips HDTV set at 6000 usd (4000 pounds)
    In fact HDTV sets now start from as little as 4000 usd (less than 3K pounds).
    By the way, the 3 little holes (component) you have on the back of your dvd player would actually get some use with one of these USA spec sets. Also, as these sets can scan high enough to do 1080i they can also take a 480p signal from a progressive dvd player, which is actually a reason to buy one of these players...!!!!
    Mr D, sorry to be so harsh, if you are going to post something, try posting FACTS.

    Eric
     
  9. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    The majority of the people in question are employed directly in the film and TV industry specifically in digital imaging (like myself).

    The UK TV importing story was told to me by a friend and colleage recently returned from LA and NY. Said friend has held the positions of MD at three of the largest post-production houses (in the world) He is currently a VFX producer on a couple of the large summer blockbusters.

    $4000 for an HD capable display device may seem reasonable to a home cinema enthusiast. However in order to adequately fund the implementation of a system as expensive as HD there needs to be at the very least the possibility of a reasonably large installed user base to ensure HD can attract and generate sufficient advertising revenue.

    From what I can gather (and I admit most of this is second hand information albeit from very reliable first hand sources) the feeling is that the bulk of the viewing audience do not percieve HD programming as being desirable enough to warrant an outlay beyond the current prices of standard TV sets. However 16x9 IS percieved as attractive hence the interest in "affordable" widescreen sets: ie the importation suggestion. 16x9 standard res sets are rare in the US last time I checked.

    Additionally a lot of the affordable HDTVs are incapable of resolving more than approx 700lines (mainly because manufacturers are having a hard time making 1080 displays to cost although this is improving with time).I agree that 720p is preferable to 1080i but i believe manufacturers are locked into the DTV standards which call for 1080i compatability(might be wrong though) In a similar vein because the reject rate for Hi-def sets at the factory is very high this is also having a knock on effect on availability.

    The 8-VSB modulation scheme for DTV is not regarded all that highly by some transmission friends of mine. (bit sketchy here but it can be difficult to recieve not a prob with cable mind)

    So. Broadcasters and manufacturers don't like hi-def because its expensive to implement. Distributers don't like the idea of the general public getting hold of effectively 1K copies of their products (film is 2k to all intents by the way). The "general" public don't like it because its expensive and limited in material . Advertisers don't like it because its not a particularly large user base. See a feedback loop forming yet?

    Hi-def is undeniably attractive but...
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    this is from Joe Kane: I think the last line is particularly indicative of HDTV problems in the states.
    http://www.videoessentials.com


    Notes From Joe Kane?s Presentation at the five CEDIA Regional Conferences for the year 2000.

    From the Desk of Joe Kane:

    It has been said that DTV can be rather complex. There are the obvious considerations of multiple scan rates, multiple
    aspect ratios, lack of video test patterns for setup, component video switching, component video routing, display device
    scan rate and resolution issues. Any one of these topics may be beyond the average consumer, let alone all of them together.
    DTV is complex enough so that most early adapters will need the help of a well qualified home theater installer.

    Adding to the confusion about DTV there is a bantering of sorts going on between the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the broadcasters (FCC and NAB). The quality of products being brought on the market that are "DTV Certified" don?t all meet broadcasters? expectations. CEA is hinting that the broadcasters might be going slow, suggesting that they are possibly abusing the trust Congress placed in them by providing a second TV channel during the transition from analog to digital. There are certainly suggestions that part of the 8-VSB versus COFDM transmission system discussions are designed to slow the rate at which broadcasters have to implement DTV. (In reality, the 8-VSB or COFDM modulator is
    such a small part of the package as to be of little or no consequence in time or cost.)

    In the mean time consumer products sponsored HDTV programming on the three networks looks spectacular. (That too may go away as sponsors are not seeing a short term return on their investment.)

    Taking a close look at DTV at this early stage you might say it?s one step forward and several steps backwards. Certainly we are back to putting up antennas and having to pay particular attention to the quality of the RF distribution system. Once the RF is demodulated and the digital signal converted to baseband analog, three wires are required to route the video, not one as in NTSC. It takes a far better display device to show DTV signals, standard definition or high definition. Every DTV
    scan rate has to be individually set up. Then there are all those aspect ratios.

    Of equal concern is that certain DTV equipment of particularly good quality has come on the market then disappeared or is
    about to disappear. Among the items already gone are the Panasonic TU-DST 51W DTV Receiver and the Panasonic PV-HD1000 D-VHS recorder. As of April 2000 we?re even finding the AY-DF300 tape is in short supply although Panasonic assures us that will be resolved in short order. There are still some DTV receivers and D-VHS machines left in the retail pipe line. Our latest sightings have been at Sears and Costco stores. About to go away is the Princeton AF3.0HD, the only good option in a direct view DTV monitor in its price range.

    Replacements for these devices will eventually come to market. Depending on the item, it will either be a long time arriving and/or cost a lot more.

    While there are many of us who would like to see D-VHS go away; search functions on tape can?t begin to match DVD, it?s all we have to record HDTV at the moment. In April 2000 JVC announced a copy protection system for D-VHS that may bring that product back to life until recordable HD-DVD takes its place.

    As complex as DTV may seem, there are workable solutions, even if they are currently hard to find. It is certainly hoped
    that advancements in technology will make DTV?s implementation relatively simple in the future.

    It has been suggested that the next few years are a dress rehearsal for the real coming of DTV in the year 2006. That?s the year congress hopes to be able to pull the plug on analog terrestrial TV transmission. We suspect it will be long after that before high quality DTV is easy to implement.

    The best we can do here is to make you aware of problems we?ve encountered in implementing DTV and provide an overview of the solutions. We?re covering a lot of basic information, including some of which hasn?t been critical in installations since the coming of cable TV, yet could now spell trouble in a good DTV installation. The most important part of this presentation is the inclusion of resources, places where you can find answers.

    It is important to keep in mind that the real justification for DTV is efficient use of bandwidth. We may not see a lot of high definition from broadcasters, but consumers and broadcasters should be forced to quickly move to DTV.
     
  11. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Mr D,
    I dont have time for a long protracted point for point reply (sorry).
    I will say this however. HDTV will of course have slow take off, but its is most definately the future of broadcasting in the USA and Japan.

    As for the suggestion of importation of UK spec TV's into the USA, I think I made my point in my previous post. I dont want to be rude again.

    Eric
     
  12. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Hey whatever makes you happy Eric and you misquoted me by the way.
     
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