Did you know the Hopper 3 can “force” 4K output on all shows? (1 Viewer)

shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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Hey everyone!

I just bought a brand new 65” Samsung KS8000 TV (which as an aside, I highly recommend as the best picture quality you can find on a TV of that size for the lowest price) on Black Friday to use with my Hopper 3 receiver I got a few months ago. So the last few days I’ve been messing around with it and going through all the various settings and modes, because I’m obsessed with getting the highest quality picture. Here’s a recap of what I found.

If you have any 4K content from the Hopper to feed it, the quality is amazing no matter what. For Hopper 4K sources I sampled a PPV title, a free streaming show On Demand, and Netflix, and they all looked fantastic. The picture quality was not *as* nice as streaming 4K Amazon and Netflix titles from the built-in apps on the TV, but the difference is barely perceptible, and I suspect that is only because the content from Amazon supports HDR natively, and because nothing has to be transferred over an HDMI cable to get to the TV, “cutting out the middleman”, so to speak.

Regular HD content is where things get interesting, because that’s 95% of what I and most people will be watching for the foreseeable future, and what Dish primarily offers.

For most native 1080i programming, the quality is just “good”, with occasional visual artifacting. In general, any computer generated graphics (like the lower third graphics on the news) upscale perfectly on my TV. Other content can be hit or miss. This is where setting the different picture modes/profiles on the TV can definitely help, especially for movies.

For 720p native content, there are issues. I used the OSU-Michigan game on ABC/ESPN as a test for this. There were visual artifacts all over the screen, and the quality for this was the worst of anything I tested. A big reason for this is the image was being upscaled twice. The native 720p source was being output in 1080i by the Hopper receiver (because I had 1080i/1080p/4K selected in Dish settings), and upscaled again to 4K by the TV. To resolve it, I changed the output of the receiver to 720p to match the source, leaving the TV to do all the upscaling. After this change, the overall picture quality improved to “okay/decent” and a lot of the visual artifacting was gone, but at a cost of decreased sharpness everywhere, especially for still/slow-moving images.

The annoying thing then became switching between 720p and 1080i/1080p/4K in the Hopper settings any time a channel was changed, because Dish does not offer a “Source Native” mode. If you wanted to switch it manually like me, you can find out which channels broadcast in which resolution natively here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television_in_the_United_States

I was resigned to this less than ideal solution until I discovered a trick to make the Hopper output 4K regardless of what was being watched. All you have to do is turn on “Sports Bar mode” in PIP to push a 4K res image to the TV, and then select one of the 4 quadrants to make it full screen. The receiver remains outputting 4K and the resulting quality was MUCH better than anything before, for both 1080i and 720p sources. There was nearly zero artifacting and the image was as sharp as can be.

For other Hopper 3 users with 4K TVs, can you try this and see if your picture quality improves as well?

For any software engineers at Dish reading this, can you make 4K it’s own option in settings instead of lumping it in with 1080i/1080p so the receiver outputs that res all the time? It would be nice to not have to resort to the Sports Bar hack, and I suspect would be an even better solution than offering a “Native” resolution option that a lot of people were clamoring for.
 
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Tron2012

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Will be interesting to get feedback on this as from what I understand, there is no "push out 4K" for video signals that truly are NOT 4K as the source. As in the movies/shows that indicate they are 4K. Unless there is something happening that is different than "regular" viewing here? Our 4K TV's will try to upscape as best they can but from what I understand if the signal is regular HD then that's what the TV receives to with it as it may.

I have the H3 and will try this later today. I just bought a new 55" Sony 850D (was strongly considering the 8000 like you have) but decided to go with Sony as it has some better upscaping processing technology. But the Samsung was a strong contender (just never the curved option!)

For my Sony, I know I had to really mess about in the settings to finally get a picture I liked. They have many settings to select from including noise reduction which if set properly along with not too much sharpness can help reduce some of the artifacts or blocks you see due to image compression.



May also want to check out http://www.rtings.com/ if you haven't already. They do offer a good option for some typical configurations for TV's as a starting point, knowing that all this is user-subjective as far as what our eyes like to see!

Sam.png
 
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shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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Will be interesting to get feedback on this as from what I understand, there is no "push out 4K" for video signals that truly are NOT 4K as the source. As in the movies/shows that indicate they are 4K. Unless there is something happening that is different than "regular" viewing here? Our 4K TV's will try to upscape as best they can but from what I understand if the signal is regular HD then that's what the TV receives to with it as it may.
Yes I don’t believe this is “intended” functionality, which is why I call it a hack/workaround.

By default the Hopper 3 receiver outputs 1080i at all times on the 1080i/1080p/4K setting unless a program is marked as 1080p or 4K.

With Multiview/Sports Bar mode enabled in PIP however, the resolution gets switched to 4K, and once a program is chosen (indicated by a darker red border than usual), press select on it to load it full screen, and the resolution remains 4K. (I’ve verified this on my TV itself, at any point you can press a button and it’ll tell you the current resolution of the input source.)

You need to do it *exactly* like that though...if you simply open Multi-view mode in PIP and close it again, the 4K picture will revert to 1080i when you close it.

The PQ should look objectively better when the Hopper itself is outputting the 1080i/720p content in 4K before it even gets sent to the TV, regardless of any adjustments/filters/post-processing the TV does, which will vary by TV model and manufacturer.
 

patmurphey

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Dec 29, 2006
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When in sports bar, you are looking at 4 1080i pictures sent as 4k 2160 to a 4k TV. If you select one of them to full screen, it is still a 1080i picture from the Hopper3 upscaled by your 4k TV. There is no magic. Your TV may see it as a 4k input, but it is still a 1080 picture coming to your TV for processing.
 
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BatteryDude1975

SatelliteGuys Family
Dec 22, 2007
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Hey everyone!

I just bought a brand new 65” Samsung KS8000 TV (which as an aside, I highly recommend as the best picture quality you can find on a TV of that size for the lowest price) on Black Friday to use with my Hopper 3 receiver I got a few months ago. So the last few days I’ve been messing around with it and going through all the various settings and modes, because I’m obsessed with getting the highest quality picture. Here’s a recap of what I found.

If you have any 4K content from the Hopper to feed it, the quality is amazing no matter what. For Hopper 4K sources I sampled a PPV title, a free streaming show On Demand, and Netflix, and they all looked fantastic. The picture quality was not *as* nice as streaming 4K Amazon and Netflix titles from the built-in apps on the TV, but the difference is barely perceptible, and I suspect that is only because the content from Amazon supports HDR natively, and because nothing has to be transferred over an HDMI cable to get to the TV, “cutting out the middleman”, so to speak.

Regular HD content is where things get interesting, because that’s 95% of what I and most people will be watching for the foreseeable future, and what Dish primarily offers.

For most native 1080i programming, the quality is just “good”, with occasional visual artifacting. In general, any computer generated graphics (like the lower third graphics on the news) upscale perfectly on my TV. Other content can be hit or miss. This is where setting the different picture modes/profiles on the TV can definitely help, especially for movies.

For 720p native content, there are issues. I used the OSU-Michigan game on ABC/ESPN as a test for this. There were visual artifacts all over the screen, and the quality for this was the worst of anything I tested. A big reason for this is the image was being upscaled twice. The native 720p source was being output in 1080i by the Hopper receiver (because I had 1080i/1080p/4K selected in Dish settings), and upscaled again to 4K by the TV. To resolve it, I changed the output of the receiver to 720p to match the source, leaving the TV to do all the upscaling. After this change, the overall picture quality improved to “okay/decent” and a lot of the visual artifacting was gone, but at a cost of decreased sharpness everywhere, especially for still/slow-moving images.

The annoying thing then became switching between 720p and 1080i/1080p/4K in the Hopper settings any time a channel was changed, because Dish does not offer a “Source Native” mode. If you wanted to switch it manually like me, you can find out which channels broadcast in which resolution natively here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television_in_the_United_States

I was resigned to this less than ideal solution until I discovered a trick to make the Hopper output 4K regardless of what was being watched. All you have to do is turn on “Sports Bar mode” in PIP to push a 4K res image to the TV, and then select one of the 4 quadrants to make it full screen. The receiver remains outputting 4K and the resulting quality was MUCH better than anything before, for both 1080i and 720p sources. There was nearly zero artifacting and the image was as sharp as can be.

For other Hopper 3 users with 4K TVs, can you try this and see if your picture quality improves as well?

For any software engineers at Dish reading this, can you make 4K it’s own option in settings instead of lumping it in with 1080i/1080p so the receiver outputs that res all the time? It would be nice to not have to resort to the Sports Bar hack, and I suspect would be an even better solution than offering a “Native” resolution option that a lot of people were clamoring for.


I also have the 65 ks8000 and will try what you have said. I'm still messing with settings to get the best picture. Would you mind telling me what settings you have on the tv? Also, you mentioned playing a free streaming show on-demand. Where is that located? I can't seem to find it on the receiver.
Thanks.
 

shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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When in sports bar, you are looking at 4 1080i pictures sent as 4k 2160 to a 4k TV. If you select one of them to full screen, it is still a 1080i picture from the Hopper3 upscaled by your 4k TV. There is no magic. Your TV may see it as a 4k input, but it is still a 1080 picture coming to your TV for processing.

The source is still 1080i, that obviously doesn’t change. But when you go full-screen in sports bar mode, the Hopper *receiver* is outputting that 1080i source in full 4K to the TV. My TV (and my eyes) aren’t lying about that. There is a very clear difference. If I just close sports bar mode without selecting anything, it reverts back from 4K and both the TV and my eyes confirm a 1080i output. The TV info updates in real-time.

I don’t know how I can confirm this to you but the way I’m doing it, a 4K signal is still being sent to the TV through the method I described. Not 1080.
 

wemathis

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Apr 22, 2013
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I can see a difference. I did notice a little hiccup. I was watching NFL Redzone and the first time I made it fullscreen the TV reverted to 1080i. I went back the quad screen and picked another channel and it stayed in 2160. Then when i went back Redzone it stayed in 2160 that time. It did this every time.
 
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shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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I also have the 65 ks8000 and will try what you have said. I'm still messing with settings to get the best picture. Would you mind telling me what settings you have on the tv? Also, you mentioned playing a free streaming show on-demand. Where is that located? I can't seem to find it on the receiver.
Thanks.
For settings on the TV, like the guy above me said, this is a good place to start: http://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/samsung/ks8000/settings

The free streaming show is called “Superstore”, and the entire 2nd season is available on Dish VOD in 4K.

I can see a difference. I did notice a little hiccup. I was watching NFL Redzone and the first time I made it fullscreen the TV reverted to 1080i. I went back the quad screen and picked another channel and it stayed in 2160. Then when i went back Redzone it stayed in 2160 that time. It did this every time.

Thank you! Validation!
And yes that happened to me a couple times. I’m guessing it’s some kind of software bug that our TVs end up benefiting from.
 

Tron2012

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For me I tried this a number of times. I did not see a noticeable difference. I did see the TV's info banner note the resolution difference though.

Maybe my new Sony is just really good at 4K upscaling like it claims. ;-)
 
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DishSubLA

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Apr 9, 2006
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FWIW, I have been impressed with my aunts very recent UHDTV because as Dish HD being the sorce, it upscales VERY nicely with both sharper image (easier to see detail) AND almost NO artifacts such as jaggies, etc. It is a very noticeable PQ imporvement. BTW, one of the benifits of UHD (not quite real 4K) is that the higher resolution does seem to eliminate quite a few artifacts from the picture, even in lower resolutions pictures like HD and even SD. She does not have any 4K sources yet. She bought UHD only because she had to replace her main TV and wanted to "future proof" for when she does have 4K content, and NO, for now she will NOT pay Netflix a penney more for UHD/4K content, but she willing to consider it later and hopes Dish may have some, and MIGHT pay more. The UHDTV she got was not priced more than many others and being able NOT to find a UHDTV is getting to be almost impossible these days unless you are getting a screen size under 40".
 

shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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For me I tried this a number of times. I did not see a noticeable difference. I did see the TV's info banner note the resolution difference though.

Maybe my new Sony is just really good at 4K upscaling like it claims. ;-)

Haha that is very well possible. Sony’s upscalers are the best in the biz for a reason

Also you have a 55” screen, correct? I would imagine the effect would not be as noticeable. With a 65” screen or higher sitting somewhat close, you can definitely see improvements in the final processed image in 4K mode. You can also see any degradation/limitations of the original source material in the clearest possible way, if that makes sense.

Hell, even the text of the Dish HUD is clearer on my TV when it’s outputting in 4K.
 
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shoes22

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Sep 20, 2004
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The artifacts you are seeing is Dish Networks OVER Compressed HD.
Its got nothing to do with the HDMI cable "Middle Man" VS Netflix/Amazon Sources.
Dish doesn't run a Full res 1080. Thats the first issue.

In the section you’re referring to I was comparing *UHD* content on Dish, to *UHD* sources from the TV itself. All 4K sources besides the PPV, (from the Hopper or otherwise) was streaming over the internet. So Dish’s satellite/source compression wasn’t a factor on that part.

As for the over-compressed 1080i content from the satellite, I’m sure that’s also possible, and I’ve known that to be historically true for Dish for several years.

However, one of the somewhat high-up DIRT response team members assured me a few months ago that with the introduction of the Hopper 3, they've upgraded their transponders and improved their MPEG4 compression encoding for higher quality streams, and as part of it they were able to switch their "soft" HD res of 1440 x 1080 to full 1920 x 1080.

I haven't personally confirmed this and i have no idea if that was just company Bullsh!t to placate a customer like myself, but so far i have no reason not to take him at his word.
 
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MikeD-C05

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Maybe Scott could get with his contacts at DISH and ask them about their improved mpeg 4 compression? I would be interested to know if this was true. Of course DISH couldn't come out and say publicly that they improved it ,because they would have to say also that they had used HD lite all these years, since the cancellation of the VOOM channels.
 
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patmurphey

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I did a multiple channel test and saw zero difference in the picture, even though it showed 2160 on my TVs info page. Retuning to 1080 showed no change in quality. The image was always consistent with the TV's normal upscaling.
 
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shoes22

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I did a multiple channel test and saw zero difference in the picture, even though it showed 2160 on my TVs info page. Retuning to 1080 showed no change in quality. The image was always consistent with the TV's normal upscaling.
What's the size of your TV? Which manufacturer and model?
 

primetimeguy

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I did a multiple channel test and saw zero difference in the picture, even though it showed 2160 on my TVs info page. Retuning to 1080 showed no change in quality. The image was always consistent with the TV's normal upscaling.
I would agree with you. Differences in upscaling are minimal at best these days. If there is a very obvious difference then something else is at play.
 
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Troch77

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Maybe Scott could get with his contacts at DISH and ask them about their improved mpeg 4 compression? I would be interested to know if this was true. Of course DISH couldn't come out and say publicly that they improved it ,because they would have to say also that they had used HD lite all these years, since the cancellation of the VOOM channels.
I betting its still HD lite.
No doubt in my mind.
 
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primetimeguy

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I betting its still HD lite.
No doubt in my mind.
Agree. Any improvements in compression will not translate to better picture. They will continue to try to add channels that can make them money. Improving quality doesn't make them any money and most people unfortunately think it is great or good enough.
 
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