Current Issues with VOOM's PQ

vurbano

vurbano

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Dvlos said:
Watching "Transporter" today I just thought I'd reopen this issue again. Nudge it along if you will. HD transfer looks good except this is an action movie, instead of crystal clear action sequences, explosions, fires, and bullets flying, you get macroblocking, pixelation, macroblocking, and pixelation.

This is really distracting for this kind of movie.
Its called statistical multiplexing. Bandwidth on demand. The same CRAP hardware OTA broadcasters use to help them destroy their HD picture with multicasting. IT sucks. Dish just went to them when they crammed 3 HD channels per transponder and their HD PQ is in the tank for everything except HDnet. It is also called Vooms 12 mbps average bitrate for HD. The sad part is that new HD owners wont know any better.
 
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Dvlos

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New HD owners will think HD is a crock of crap if every quick change of lighting means pixelation, which is not the case. I think it's more than that I think that Voom purposely keeps more bandwidth rate average for certain channels like Rave, Rush, and Worldsport, they maybe their most popular exclusives, or since they have more detail pull more bitrate and rob channels of what they need.

Interestingly enough, to me anyways, in their original SEC, Voom says they have 35/36 HD channels and 80 cable SD channels. If they moved all SD to the new Sat. they could hold 110+ SD channels and 39 HD channels. 80 SD channels shouldn't equal 3 HD bandwidth slots should it? Wouldn't it be more like 10-12? I wonder if they know they've overcompressed Rainbow 1 out of necessity and instead of offering 10 more HD channels overcramped, they already have in mind expanding the HD bandwidth to what it should be? Sorry I'm not more technical minded but it seems logical.

What blows me away with Voom is why not nix the barker channel? Unless their's a special event coming up, give that bandwidth back to the HD channels! Who in the hell is going to complain? The same crap that's on the channel 999 is on between movies and events on the exclusives? Why doesn't Voom consider killing channels like Auction and replacing it with WealthHD which is kind of the same damn thing anyway and save the in-house production costs. The exclusives are a nice "side dish" but I don't think anyone's buying Voom exclusively for the exclusives (?).

The problem is Voom installs wonderful OTA antennas for people, and watching Die Another Day, Medical Investigation, and Monday Night Football in OTA (ever with ABC multicasting ABC NEWS) the HD is excellent. I get no pixelation in any of the action in MNF, or CBS NFL. All the action in Die another Day looked excellent, so it's not the transfer, it's not my TV, it's the bandwidth... and no matter how hard the High Def. Guy on Voom or CSRs huff and puff "crystal clear high definition" that simply is not true yet on Voom and needs to be corrected... that's a 2nd reason Voom needs to push their MPG4 and new elliptical dish installations as fast as possible, this isn't a luxury for their customers it's a necessity.
 
Madtown HD Junkie

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Dvlos said:
Sean,



For my TV it's not "OMG CLAW YOUR EYES OUT EW!!" but it's not total HD hotness and it IS distracting. What I want Wilt, Voom, whoever makes the big dawg decisions in this company to know is, YES the average person can see these issues. No, you can't get away with twinkling down the bandwidth PQ to minimal levels and "no one will notice SHHH!!!".


Very well put...best description yet given IMO. :yes
 
vurbano

vurbano

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Dvlos said:
New HD owners will think HD is a crock of crap if every quick change of lighting means pixelation, which is not the case. I think it's more than that I think that Voom purposely keeps more bandwidth rate average for certain channels like Rave, Rush, and Worldsport, they maybe their most popular exclusives, or since they have more detail pull more bitrate and rob channels of what they need.

Interestingly enough, to me anyways, in their original SEC, Voom says they have 35/36 HD channels and 80 cable SD channels. If they moved all SD to the new Sat. they could hold 110+ SD channels and 39 HD channels. 80 SD channels shouldn't equal 3 HD bandwidth slots should it? Wouldn't it be more like 10-12? I wonder if they know they've overcompressed Rainbow 1 out of necessity and instead of offering 10 more HD channels overcramped, they already have in mind expanding the HD bandwidth to what it should be? Sorry I'm not more technical minded but it seems logical.



What blows me away with Voom is why not nix the barker channel? Unless their's a special event coming up, give that bandwidth back to the HD channels! Who in the hell is going to complain? The same crap that's on the channel 999 is on between movies and events on the exclusives? Why doesn't Voom consider killing channels like Auction and replacing it with WealthHD which is kind of the same damn thing anyway and save the in-house production costs. The exclusives are a nice "side dish" but I don't think anyone's buying Voom exclusively for the exclusives (?).

The problem is Voom installs wonderful OTA antennas for people, and watching Die Another Day, Medical Investigation, and Monday Night Football in OTA (ever with ABC multicasting ABC NEWS) the HD is excellent. I get no pixelation in any of the action in MNF, or CBS NFL. All the action in Die another Day looked excellent, so it's not the transfer, it's not my TV, it's the bandwidth... and no matter how hard the High Def. Guy on Voom or CSRs huff and puff "crystal clear high definition" that simply is not true yet on Voom and needs to be corrected... that's a 2nd reason Voom needs to push their MPG4 and new elliptical dish installations as fast as possible, this isn't a luxury for their customers it's a necessity.
You get no pixelation on CBS OTA HD probably because they are not running any subs channels maybe a radar is my guess? Max OTA HD is 19.6 mbps I think, you start seeing problems in my opinion under 16 mbps and pixels really start flying at 14mbps. But thats just my off the cuff subjective opinion.
Dont get me started on how I believe Voom needs to combine channels and content and give us better PQ. Ive talked till im Blue in the face. They dont care, its one reason I think they will die, hence I rent my equipment. They have to prove to me that they will survive and that they will improve PQ otherwise I am on the fence ready to jump to D*.
 
D

Dvlos

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vurbano said:
They have to prove to me that they will survive and that they will improve PQ otherwise I am on the fence ready to jump to D*.


Somehow I doubt it's more than just "They don't want to listen" they're only HOOK right now is "MOST HD - Don't have to buy the equipment".

I agree though Voom could kill channels not in their advertising lineup mainly 999, no one would care if it suddenly became "20 Exclusives!" and ESPN2HD gets added..and channel 999's bandwidth is redistributed. I think that they feel if they lose 2-3 exclusives the average JOe will be like OMG VOom sucks it's not as the Mostest HD as promised anymore! Fine... my main question that I would like answered specifically is:

Is Voom's plan to move all their SD to the new Satelllite lease, and THEN will they be able to dedicate a range of 15-17 mbps for their HD?

Will Voom not pursue channels like INHD 1/2, WealthHD, AMC-HD, IFC-HD, WE-HD initiatives because they have no more satellite space instead of dropping and combining "Exclusives" and providing more "Content".

The smart money would be to rewrite your next marketing campaign with the "Most Content" not just "the Most HD channels". Bringing on Rainbow's channels in HD and only on Voom could still be considered "Exclusives" and although they air commercials, they usually have better movies I think.

When you e-mail a CSR or watch their promos its "Crystal Clear this" and "Best HD that" yeah I know how the marketing machine works you are not going to stand up on a mountain and yell "Welcome to Pretty Good HD!!!" but is this problem on their minds?

If I knew that PQ bitrate is something they are away of, and have a plan to fix it, I'd feel much better.
 
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Sean Mota

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vurbano said:
They have to prove to me that they will survive and that they will improve PQ otherwise I am on the fence ready to jump to D*.

Go to AVS and read the complaints about PQ on D* HD channels as well. Do you think D* has better PQ?
 
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Dvlos

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Sean Mota said:
Go to AVS and read the complaints about PQ on D* HD channels as well. Do you think D* has better PQ?

Good point but everyone seems to agree that HDNet still looks hotness on D* and E*. With D*'s up and coming HD capacity...it seems they will have the ability to do this as well. If they also keep their HD ultra-filtered and I was D* customer I'd be pissed off come late 2005.

Also, I'm a V* customer I could give three farts about D* right now. I want my movies without pixelation. 1080i at 24fps that should be very, very doable IMO. I want HIGH definition, not Medium definition and if that's what everyone else is doing screw them, I want my provider to give me the High I see on my OTA. I admit when you don't know any better the first two weeks of HD are like ecstasy and amazement. Soon enough you're eyes settle and as you flip channels you start seeing things like "Hey CBS Sports (no multicasting) looks gorgeous compared to ESPNHD!" you don't need to be a videophile for this, just 20/20 vision and some time on your hands.

We always post ideas as to what will make V* more competitive, better, etc.. PQ is an issue with all providers, so it has to be addressed. Saying "Well E* and D* have HD PQ that's just as bad" is the worst kind of attitude to take IMO, because it's self defeating. You are saying, well since everyone else choses to offer bad HD PQ I'll just have to accept this as the meaning of HD, means that things will never change.

Also if HD now and in the future means the movies I pay for will be offered to me with good picture at times and inferior action sequences to even DVD, why am I spending money on HD? Let's go back to the good ol' days of DVD, and HDDVD and screw HD programming. I am not even talking about "ok see this dark sequence in Underground, see that tiny fuzz around the corner of her lips, that is unnacceptable".. no I'm talking.. "What the hell just happened? there was an array of 1" size pixel squares on this side, and dark mottled pixels on that said for a second... oh ok it's coming into focus now.. ok what just happened now???"

I'm talking about unwatchable sections of movie because of low bitrate.
 
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Sean Mota

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I undertand but what I said was that: if one's major reason to change provider was "PQ issues in HD Channels" then the reality is that every provider seem to have problems with "PQ on HD channels" or are at the same level.

Yes, I give you HDnet on E* or D* but I cannot say what it would be like in V* because well...you know... it's not available in V*. But my speculation is that if HDnet was on V*, it would look as good as in E* or D*.

I asked the other day that if HDnet is the benchmark for Outstanding PQ (everybody seems to agree on this) why is it that E* or D* who had been longer on the HD arena than anyone else have not made the HD channels that they carry (HBO, SHOWTIME, ESPN, DiscoveryHD) to look as good as HDnet.

Just an example, take ESPN-HD. My local WB does a better job on their PQ but let's not go further. When HDnet had baseball, it was WOW! Look at INHD baseball, it makes you go WOW! look at ESPN baseball it makes you go "ok".

P.S. not saying that we should accept inferior PQ in HD Channels. I am just given a realistic picture of PQ of HD channels.
 
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Dvlos

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Then what is the factor? Does INHD and HDNet mandate a certain bitrate for their channels? DarrellP has reported image problems with E* on HDNet and then back to good, recently he posted it had gone bad again. Then what is it?

I don't have E* and or D*, does anyone else see the same pixelation I'm talking about? IMO I haven't watched a whole entire movie on E* or D* but I will say that D*'s image on HBO HD looks a bit softer and smoother, maybe people think this is better PQ, I don't because I like sharpness. V* gives me sharpness via DVI but their PQ means more grain and mosquito noise because of their bitrate scheme. The bottom line reason for all HD PQ problems seems to be bandwidth.

Why does bandwidth vary and not everyone give 19.xx mbps to it? Because then they'd be able to carry less HD with thier current Satellite space(s). True it could also be the provider, ESPN may be using K-mart cameras to air their baseball, and INHD Hubble Jr. HD cameras... fine I'll let that go... but I can't put up with pixelation and swirly mosquito noises on stuff that should not.

Take last night's Showtime fight in HD it looked "ok", yet Showtime's Tyson fight was "YEAH!!!!!!!!" it's not just a whimsical opinion or that I liked one fight more than the other because the Tyson fight sucked and this last one was actually entertaining.

I am also convinced that certain channels have more bandwidth to produce that WOW either that or they have more onscreen content giving these channels like Rave a better picture (still not enough at times). Ironically channels like Ultra, Gallery, and Auction have more WOW than anything usually with their monotone backgrounds and slow moving images. Also if you are bandwidth limited and are at or way above your capacity for HD, why keep a channel like 999 on all the time? No more political conventions or boxing matches in the foreseable future, TURN IT OFF, and give that bandwidth to the HD premiums.
 
DarrellP

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HDNET is back to great....for now. I am conversing with an HD engineer at Dish and letting them know on a daily basis what I am seeing, but since my flurry of emails to Dish and Mark Cuban, the PQ has been outstanding. I wish Voom would do the same.
 
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Sean Mota

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This is only my opinion:

Your question is a legitimate one but think about this: Before SD LIL became a reality for DBS providers, the SD channels looked as good OTA SD (if I may say so. Those were the good old days). After SD LIL were mandated to E* and D*, the PQ on SD channels took a big hit. So right there E* and D* set the standard for what we know today as all sort of compression artifacts on SD Channels. When that MPEG image is blown up on a 60+ inches HDTV, it is never the same.

I am afraid that the same is going to happen with HD (whether you get it through D*, V*, E* or Cable). ESPN-HD has set a very bad standard for PQ of their HD events. It still good but not the WOW factor that you get from INHD. Every programmer should be looking at INHD or HDnet to set the standard but how realistic is that going to be. Do you think the avg Joe will care about PQ of their programs? I do not think so. How many times have we read that something was not shown in HD on TNT-HD and yet someone posted here or at AVS that it was, but when you look carefully it is not. Look at Starz/Encore, they give you WideScreen 1080i high resolution movies that are not True HD but yet they look good and can fool a lot of people.

This whole thing about PQ has two dimensions: the technical and the business model. Many times these do not go hand in hand (like the Starz/Encore example or the TNT-HD example). I do not think there is "one solution" but various aspect of the problem.

Funny that you mention the fight on Showtime. I saw it on the first night (saturday) and it looked quite good (going by the showtime standard) that night. Do not know what happened when you saw it. But I did not notice pixelation on it.
 
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Sean Mota

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DarrellP said:
HDNET is back to great....for now. I am conversing with an HD engineer at Dish and letting them know on a daily basis what I am seeing, but since my flurry of emails to Dish and Mark Cuban, the PQ has been outstanding. I wish Voom would do the same.


Do the same for HDnet on V*? V* does not carry HDnet. Why not work with the same engineer and ask him to the same for ESPN-HD on E* that he did for HDnet. That way we can set a standard as well for all the other channels and this.
 
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Dvlos

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Sean Mota said:
Funny that you mention the fight on Showtime. I saw it on the first night (Saturday) and it looked quite good (going by the showtime standard) that night. Do not know what happened when you saw it. But I did not notice pixelation on it.

I didn't either, but the image seemed softer, lacked pizazz, the Tyson fight was to me, the definition of "Crystal Clear". You don't even have to compare INHD to ESPN, look at ABC!!! All owned by Disney and for some reason ABC OTA looks slightly better for NFL (since that's all ESPN wants to show now), and both are blown away (IMHO) by CBS.

Sean, do you think the Tyson PPV was just as good as Showtime's fight last night or Saturday?

I understand that maybe it's just me and a handful of people that look at their 60+" TVs and see PQ problems, but MY wife who has NO IDEA what HD is and means and didn't even realize that HD means 16x9 notices the PQ problems. When their's really bad pixelation she asks "What is it raining?". She asked me in her laymen's language "What does everything get all boxy?" while watching Underworld in certain scenes. You're right the average Joe may not delve into the internet and find out what bitrate, bandwidth, transponder, resolution means... what he will think is that HD is a piece of crap why is he paying $100 to any provider let alone Voom for if HD means "kind of like DVD but more expensive"??

Also the TNT in true HD for their movies shocks me.. I can tell it's Strech-O-Vision on a analog TV. Just look for faces that are twice as wide as humanly possible. The only thing that can fool people, I think for the first few seconds is the widescreen ED Nascar races, that may satisfy some.

The success of DVD over VHS, IMO proves that the average Joe nowadays is more into a good picture, maybe not videophile levels, than back in the old black and white versus color TV days. When I was a kid I knew only 1 guy who was a "videophile" because he bought a laserdisc and a nice Sony pro logic receiver. Big screen TVs and surround sound systems are more common place than you think, which indicates to me your "average" consumer DOES have some idea and appreciation for excellent PQ. I can remember the days when I invested some cash into a Surround Sound receiver and placed speakers in the corners of my family room and people (especially the wife) was like this is insane who puts speakers all over the house? What's the point I've always heard movies JUST FINE! Suddenly when the old DD 2.0 was heard everyone shut up. Now my 56 year old Dad hads a Kenwood DD 5.1 surround system. Yes I picked it out and installed it for him, but he wanted it. His TV is a 40" HD Toshiba, he wanted HD. This from a guy who I had to print out a listing in 16 point font that says "1) Turn on receiver with the remote labeled "Kenwood"

2) Choose "AUX" on the remote (lower right hand corner) or "DVD" (lower left) for watching DVDs

... etc"

Case and point, my wife now doesn't like SD channels unless she "HAS" to watch something. She likes to only watch HD, she knows only to buy Widescreen DVDs not because I made it a family rule or something, because she noticed the difference even when DVD was new and we had analog TVs. Average Joe doesn't stay "average" when exposed to his new techonology for a while IMO. Again I use my wife as a model, and she is as "un techno friendly" as you can get, I still have to help her switch sources and options to get her from playing a DVD to watching Voom to turning on the Xbox to the kids, and I've had the HT since May.
 
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Sean Mota

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No way. Tyson fight was far superior. But the showtime fight was as good as showtime gets it. No more no less.
 
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Dvlos

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Weren't they both done by Showtime? Maybe even the exact same crew?
 
DarrellP

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RE: ESPNHD; when I was talking to the Dish HD engineer, he said it was ESPN's fault. I told him how on widefield shots, the grass would "twitch" back and forth and he gave me a name for it; Iframe something or other and that's what causes it, so Dish has no control over ESPN, whereas Cuban really cares and works close with Dish on PQ issues. I don't know why he let's D* get away with compressing the hell out of it, maybe because Rupert doesn't give a Rat's tush?

Do the same for HDnet on V*? V* does not carry HDnet.
What I mean, Sean is I wish Voom would care about improving HD quality like Dish does. EquatorHD has been on the air for 3 months now and still looks like Rat Crap.
 
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Dvlos

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Well the PQ on Equator has improved it's more like cuddly gerbil crap now.
 

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