is the digital channels on cable the same quality as the all digital satalite channel

one028

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Feb 27, 2004
33
0
southeast michigan
i am still debating on the switch to dish. i read alot of over compression on the channels on dish. since the cable channels digital channels are pretty good, would it be the same for all the digital channels with dish? i have a 57" hdtv and think the digital cable channels are actually pretty good. i would assume that would mean that all the channels on dish would be good, alot better than the analog channels on cable.
 

MikeD-C05

Pub Member / Supporter
Pub Member / Supporter
Nov 25, 2003
26,250
16,240
Nederland , Texas
Time Warner Cable in my area has a lot of problems with pixelation and blocking and picture freezing on their premium movie channels. This is ironic since they claim in their commercials that with satellite you get rain fade and loose your picture. I only tried it for one month and I laughed at how many times I lost my picture . The channels from 2 - 78 weren't even digital but analog. Dish has all digital and with proper calibration for you tv for satellite you will see a big difference with your picture over cable. Dish also has dvrs . Once you have a dvr you will not want to go back to a regular receiver. They will change the way you watch tv. Time Warner Cable in my area still dosen't even hae a dvr yet. Go with Dishnetwork and try their digital home advantage plan. If you don't like it there is no commitment and you can always go back to cable if you want. I bet you won't go back once you try a satellite dvr .
 

ahlemann

Member
Feb 20, 2004
6
0
I just want to emphasize one thing Mike mentioned and that is that you have to properly calibrate your TV. I have never had digital cable so I don't know what that looks like but I just got Dish a couple of months ago and coming from analog cable, I never experienced pixelation and other digital artifacts and with my old TV settings, it looked pretty bad sometimes and I had to tweak it quite a bit to get a good picture.

I would also like to point out that the quality of the locals can be anywhere on the spectrum as it depends on the quality of the signal that Dish is getting from the local stations. So if your locals don't look good but everything else is, don't blame Dish.
 

arachide

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 15, 2003
32
0
Here is my two cents, based on Dish and on Comcast (San Francisco Peninsula). Some channels do look better on the digital cable, but some are just plain unwatchable. In my case, the analog channels look grainy, though I have heard this is an issue with the Motorola 5100. As for the digital channels, I noticed VH1 Classic and TV5 on cable had major pixelation. Dish's picture can vary from channel to channel. But I too would suggest making sure the TV is set up correctly (using Video Essentials) and to use decent video connectors. And the program guide for the Motorola box is a joke-the worst Dish program guide is 10 times better.

I would say in either case if you can, get an HDTV package with whatever you go for. My cable company offers locals, plus ESPN,INHD and some movie channels, and the picture really shows off what your HDTV set is capable of.
 

Stjtoday

Member
Apr 27, 2004
13
0
My dish will be reconnected Sunday after 4 months away with Comcast Cable. There price was too cheap to ignore, and the package was real nice with HBO/Showtime both with 1 HD, and all my locals in HD.

After 4 months I cannot watch it anymore, the quality compared to dish is pathetic. I have used a tivo unit to replace my pvr of old, you should really see what the cable signal looks like after its been recorded and replayed. Much of it looses its color. Cable company has been awesome about coming out and checking my signal, installing boosters and such. But they have determined that this is as good as it gets.

Come on Sunday!! :D
 

rad

Supporting Founder
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Lifetime Supporter
Sep 7, 2003
10,562
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Dripping Springs, TX
My Comcast systems digital tier channels look the same if not a tad better then D* or E* but the analog channels on Comcast are a mixed bag. Some were much better some were much worst. Comcast had four weeks to get it fixed but they had no idea what was causing the problem, so bye bye for now, back to DBS.
 

Stalker

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 21, 2004
217
0
Kentucky
one028 said:
i am still debating on the switch to dish. i read alot of over compression on the channels on dish. since the cable channels digital channels are pretty good, would it be the same for all the digital channels with dish? i have a 57" hdtv and think the digital cable channels are actually pretty good. i would assume that would mean that all the channels on dish would be good, alot better than the analog channels on cable.

Bottom line is on any dish system vs cable you get a lot more programming for your money and ALL of your channels including your local ones if you can get them will be in digital format and that also includes your sound.
 

rad

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Stalker said:
Bottom line is on any dish system vs cable you get a lot more programming for your money and ALL of your channels including your local ones if you can get them will be in digital format and that also includes your sound.

Bottom line is that you need to check YOUR cable system to see if what you said is true for everyone, which in my case it isn't. Yes, there are a number of analog channels still but a good analog feed will beat the pants off an overcompressed digital channel any day of the week. Also, my Comcast system has more channels available then either E* or D* and their Digital Platinum package cost is less then E*'s or D*'s top tier package and that includes the HD channels without having to pay an extra $10 per month. Since just about every cable system is just a tad different concerning the number of channels provided and the monthy cost I wish people would stop saying that DBS will always beat cable, it just ain't true anymore.
 

ken

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
296
0
You can't beat a GOOD (not counting HDTV) analog signal & the big IF in digital is the compression rate.
 

BarryO

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 11, 2003
188
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ahlemann said:
I would also like to point out that the quality of the locals can be anywhere on the spectrum as it depends on the quality of the signal that Dish is getting from the local stations. So if your locals don't look good but everything else is, don't blame Dish.

So it's not Dish's fault that they pack 12 local channels on each transponder? So whose fault is it, then? Dish really has the quality on the locals turned down very low (except for the Denver locals, interestingly enough).

As far as "Digital video" quality goes, it can be all over the map. Anything from those videophones they used during the Iraq war, up through HDTV, is all "digital video". The PQ will depend on the coding systems used, and the bit rate the provider is willing to allocate to the channel.

In general, the SD channels on cable and DBS will look fine on a 27" set, and look progressively worse as you increase picture size. Just how bad it gets depends on how the provider has set things up. But it's always worse than the C-Band or OTA source material.

And calibrating a set won't do anything to help with the pixellation and posterization you get with excessively compressed signals, although it may help make the best of the mediocre material. The one possible exception is turning the sharpness down low enough that the pixels are less visible, but you'll get a very soft-looking picture.
 

fslove

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 16, 2003
99
0
ahlemann said:
I just want to emphasize one thing Mike mentioned and that is that you have to properly calibrate your TV.
Pixilazation is not caused by TV's being out of calibration. Pixilazation is caused by the content providor and their equipment. It's when there are missing bits that you start seeing pixils and it is the content providor's problems delivering a full digital bitstream that is the culprit. Cable is MUCH more apt to suffer from pixilazation then satellite is. Artifacting is mostly due again from the content provider's side but some artifacting can be introduced by a TV if it has a line doubler built-in.

The main difference between Digital cable and Digital Satellite is that outside of the premium movie channels all the cable channels are basically Analog channels which are then digitized to save space. Satellite on the other hand receives all it's channels (except a few LIL's that are not setup as fiber feeds yet) digitally from the source (or via fiber feed) so it stays digital from source to your box.
 

snathanb

Supporting Founder
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Feb 26, 2004
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You sure about that... I think a very strong clean Analog OTA station looks better than the same channel on Digital.
 

BarryO

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 11, 2003
188
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fslove said:
Satellite on the other hand receives all it's [sic] channels (except a few LIL's that are not setup as fiber feeds yet) digitally from the source (or via fiber feed) so it stays digital from source to your box.

Not true. Alot, if not most of the channels come over good ol' analog C-Band.

Of course, it may be analog, but it's really good analog -- wide-deviation FM modulation, which gives a very clean, albeit composite video NTSC formatted, signal. But other than the NTSC cross-chroma/cross-luminance effects, it can look pretty good. It's basically the same as Laserdisk quality.
 

Stalker

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 21, 2004
217
0
Kentucky
rad said:
Bottom line is that you need to check YOUR cable system to see if what you said is true for everyone, which in my case it isn't. Yes, there are a number of analog channels still but a good analog feed will beat the pants off an overcompressed digital channel any day of the week. Also, my Comcast system has more channels available then either E* or D* and their Digital Platinum package cost is less then E*'s or D*'s top tier package and that includes the HD channels without having to pay an extra $10 per month. Since just about every cable system is just a tad different concerning the number of channels provided and the monthy cost I wish people would stop saying that DBS will always beat cable, it just ain't true anymore.

I guess cable rates must vary from company to company then because i get the top 180 dish package for 54 dollars a month including all the HBO and Cinemax feeds and Charter cable here doesnt even offer that many channels and with expanded digital package it can run you close to 90 a month.
 

rad

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Sep 7, 2003
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Dripping Springs, TX
Stalker said:
I guess cable rates must vary from company to company then because i get the top 180 dish package for 54 dollars a month including all the HBO and Cinemax feeds and Charter cable here doesnt even offer that many channels and with expanded digital package it can run you close to 90 a month.

Yep, even the same company has different rates from city to city, it's a pain. That's why I say everyone needs to check their own system and not just take what someone says about theirs.

Looks like even Dish can do that. Looking at their web site, AT180 (no locals)is $44.99 and HBO/Cinemax is $17.00, for $61.99. So depending on what special Charlie's running at that moment your price at E* will vary.
 

Frank Jr.

Beati pacifici 5:9
Supporting Founder
Apr 8, 2004
13,504
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Columbia S.C.
I have Time Warner Cable in one house and Dish Network in another. I have related before that there are pros and cons on both sides. Far as picture quality goes flip a coin. I do think that Dish has more options than cable does. I have experienced outages with cable due to cut lines and or downed utility poles etc. Cable can leave one without service for hours. Dish in my opinion has business practices which have "A LOT TO BE DESIRED". Satellite however has almost become a hobby with me and do enjoy having my own system and even this web site that I enjoy very much thanks to the other members and Scott the administrator of SatelliteGuys. I have learned a lot and continue to do so.
 
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