When is HD not HD?

[email protected]

Standard Member
Now we have a mluitude of HD film channels from Sky has anyone else questioned the quality? Recorded Titus in HD last night fulling expecting the visual to be stunning. Unfortunatly it looks worse than playback from DVD.

Also watched 5 minutes of Hot Shots & this didn't look like an HD version. If you flick between this & something like Casino Royal or Last king of Scotland you can see a major differance in picture qulity.

I don't think this is down to old films not having the resolution, film is film after all. Any HD version is going to be transfured from the original film footage - you'd hope.

Any ideas what they're up to now?
 

Matt2001

Novice Member
On most HD channels not everything being shown is true HD, some of it is upscaled SD. Check the EPG info, if it has 'HD' in the title bar then it's true HD, if not then it's upscaled SD.
 

[email protected]

Standard Member
Hi Matt.
I think your right about the upscaleing. But they are giving them HD tags in the EPG. Just Sky being noughty. :nono:
 

Matt2001

Novice Member
I must admit I haven't come across anything yet that was flagged 'HD' but was obviously upscaled. That's not to say it might not happen though, I believe others on here have noticed it before now... :thumbsdow
 

Starburst

Novice Member
Same here, I have no doubt if it carries a HD tag it's native HD and if it doesn't then it's upscaled HD, SKY open themselves up to all sorts of false advertising if they made a habit of falsely identifying HD content.

As always first make sure you are watching the HD channel not the SD, double check you are watching a native HD movie and using the HDMI/Component output and are aware of the Anytime 576 bug which can force HD out at 576p.

I will admit that a little channel surfing last night an 3:10 to Yuma was obviously bitrate starved, many shots were excellent but when the camera focused in the foreground a lot of background lost previously pristine definition.
 

Starburst

Novice Member
Now we have a mluitude of HD film channels from Sky has anyone else questioned the quality? Recorded Titus in HD last night fulling expecting the visual to be stunning. Unfortunatly it looks worse than playback from DVD.

Also watched 5 minutes of Hot Shots & this didn't look like an HD version. If you flick between this & something like Casino Royal or Last king of Scotland you can see a major differance in picture qulity.

I don't think this is down to old films not having the resolution, film is film after all. Any HD version is going to be transfured from the original film footage - you'd hope.

Any ideas what they're up to now?


As with all movies they tend to be very stylistic as the director and DP intended and depending upon your viewpoint that is a good thing or a bad thing and again depending it could be the DVD (lower res, softer image) may look better after being upscaled.

The problem with older movies is that HD masters are being created from print masters that have been literally gathering dust, have print damage and may have not used grade A film stock to begin with. Movies like Hot Shots (the recent Footlosse and Top Gun, well all Paramounts back catalogue:) ) should get a full restoration or at the very least a cleaning and general re-mastering to bring up the quality.
A movie being show in HD guarantees you nothing in PQ terms.
 
J

JennyW

Guest
On most HD channels not everything being shown is true HD, some of it is upscaled SD. Check the EPG info, if it has 'HD' in the title bar then it's true HD, if not then it's upscaled SD.
this is what our sky engineer explained to us. Within the HD Channels, not every programme listed is truly "HD".
 

Smith2004

Well-known Member
this is what our sky engineer explained to us. Within the HD Channels, not every programme listed is truly "HD".
I would have to agree with this, as I have noticed that not every film on the newly launched movie HD channels are actually HD. To be fair though, when I checked the EPG Sky was not listing them as HD anyhow. That said, it's also the case that some films 'scrub up' better in HD than others.
 
I don't think this is down to old films not having the resolution, film is film after all.
Not the case. Some film is better than others, some cameras are better. Often the original print is lost and digital copy's have to be made from cinema returns, which are likely to be less than perfect.
Quite a few of the films we now consider popular classics were low budget films or films made with low expectations, and as such poor film was used. True, pretty much all film is capable of delivering HD resolution, but that doesnt mean it recorded the scene very well. As with TV and printer and digital camera resolution, film size is no guarantee of quality. Its surprisingly common for the wrong speed film to have been used in dark scenes, resulting in washed out grainy images. Its also common for developing of the film to have gone wrong, or been done on the cheap. If the budget is low, or the time running out, retakes are not possible.

If Sky aren't showing a 'true' HD copy, chances are one doesn't exist. Why doesn't it exist? Probably because the original needs cleaning up first or it has been lost. Studios often lose old film stock due to earthquake or fires in Hollywood!
 
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wednesday83

Active Member
I will admit that a little channel surfing last night an 3:10 to Yuma was obviously bitrate starved, many shots were excellent but when the camera focused in the foreground a lot of background lost previously pristine definition.
I think most of the movie channels look starved of birate. I guess the more channels you have, the more the birate will drop and drop on channels. Its ok having all these wonderful new channels, but I guess sadly it means a drop in quality.
 

WATTS

Active Member
I will admit that a little channel surfing last night an 3:10 to Yuma was obviously bitrate starved, many shots were excellent but when the camera focused in the foreground a lot of background lost previously pristine definition.
Think you hit the nail on the head there. :smashin:

A lot more people are noticing the decrease in bitrate, well those who adopted SKY HD early and was used to the bitrate they used to pump out!
 

Starburst

Novice Member
I think most of the movie channels look starved of birate. I guess the more channels you have, the more the birate will drop and drop on channels. Its ok having all these wonderful new channels, but I guess sadly it means a drop in quality.



I don't:)
3:10 was the first time I've noticed a movie I have seen before have definite compression issues and as we've explained as long as the new transponders are used to carry new channels the load on existing ones doesn't change. SKY now have 8 HD transponders, they had 5 only a few months ago.
So I don't accept the equation more channels means lower quality as a general rule when it's hand in hand with a new level of mpeg4 encoding however if I do see something I don't like I will say so hence 3:10 on the other hand X-Men on Friday night was very nice indeed:)
 

scarface30

Novice Member
Same here, I have no doubt if it carries a HD tag it's native HD and if it doesn't then it's upscaled HD, SKY open themselves up to all sorts of false advertising if they made a habit of falsely identifying HD content.
Marathon Man carried a HD Tag and was definitely an upscaled version and a poor one at that.

If Sky aren't showing a 'true' HD copy, chances are one doesn't exist. Why doesn't it exist?
Slapshot was shown upscaled and yet there is definitely a HD 1080i version available.
 
There are exception of course and the banner is sometimes wrong, but Sky aren't deliberately avoiding HD versions. Remember Sky is Fox and studio rivalry exists!
 

Rizob

Member
I started watching The Matrix the other day and there's definitely something strange going on. It was tagged as HD but had aliasing, especially noticeable on the edge characters faces. It looked like an upscale to me.
 
The Matrix isnt that sharp, the detail seems to max out at about 720P. It is slightly soft (and green) on purpose.
 

Starburst

Novice Member
Marathon Man carried a HD Tag and was definitely an upscaled version and a poor one at that.



Slapshot was shown upscaled and yet there is definitely a HD 1080i version available.


Didn't watch the movie but I'll accpet your opinion and I wasn't implying they never made mistakes:)

There may be HD versions doing the rounds with other broadcasters and really it's too easy to make a HD master for broadcast which is why the standard is so low for catalogue titles however that doesn't mean current contracts provide SKY with said master.
 

ROBERTT

Active Member
Hi guys,

As the new channels have been added, I have been watching carefully for any compression issues and problems due to lack of bitrate.

I must say that in general PQ has held up well and I have not noticed the obvious compression artefacts that were present (obviously seen on large expanses of the same colour ie a background wall) when SKYHD first went live with the old encoders.

However, after looking here HDTV channels - KingOfSat, I have noticed that four of the new channels.... Modern Greats HD, Comedy HD, Horror/scifi HD and Drama HD share the same transponder:thumbsdow

I have been impressed by the new encoders at 3 channels a transponder, but think that 4 HD channels per transponder is pushing it a little:thumbsdow Maybe this is why we are noticing a subtle drop in PQ.:mad:

With more HD channels due to go LIVE before xmas, are they going to be on dedicated new transponders or are SKY going to go for 4 HD channels per transponder as a matter of course. If so, I feel that this is the start of the slippery slope as far as PQ goes as HD becomes more and more mainstream:thumbsdow:eek:

what do you guys think?
 

Matt2001

Novice Member
The only HD channel that still has the Wow! factor for me is DiscoveryHD, in particular 'Deadliest Catch' which looks absolutely stunning and has more fast action and detail than most movies and sports and I would have thought would be a tougher job for the encoders. I guess the Sky movie & Sports channels have a lower bitrate than Disc.HD, hence the loss of the Wow! factor
 

Starburst

Novice Member
However, after looking here HDTV channels - KingOfSat, I have noticed that four of the new channels.... Modern Greats HD, Comedy HD, Horror/scifi HD and Drama HD share the same transponder:thumbsdow

I have been impressed by the new encoders at 3 channels a transponder, but think that 4 HD channels per transponder is pushing it a little:thumbsdow Maybe this is why we are noticing a subtle drop in PQ.:mad:

With more HD channels due to go LIVE before xmas, are they going to be on dedicated new transponders or are SKY going to go for 4 HD channels per transponder as a matter of course. If so, I feel that this is the start of the slippery slope as far as PQ goes as HD becomes more and more mainstream:thumbsdow:eek:

what do you guys think?

I would agree, 4 at the bitrates these new encoders can run at removes the wiggle room any stat-muxing needs to work as you would want it.

However currently Action HD is all by it's lonesome as that is unlikely to be the shape of things to come I expect SKY will be juggling channels around for the rest of the year and they've already added three more transponders so you do wonder exactly how many more they have up their sleeves, 2C was mainly aimed at coverage not as more capacity so even Dsat has limits.

It's a tricky question, as HD becomes more mainstream then can the £10 be justified if indeed more corners are cut to offer a more eclectic assortment of channels, at the end of the day it'll probably upto use to pass the final judgment with out wallets:)
 

wednesday83

Active Member
The quality has been on the decline for a while in my view. Its ok adding all these wonderful channels. But whats the point in HD when the quality is getting worse. The quality should be improving all the time not getting worse.

Theres no point at all in all these movie channels in my view. Sky have added them simply for marketing purposes. All the films shown could quite easily be shown on Sky Screen 1 and 2 hd.

SKY REAL LIVES HD??? Why not show the HD content on sky one HD????

Oh well more channels due out by xmas which means even lower quality. Bring it on.
 

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