Satellites’ Blu-ray Clarity Claims May Be Dubious

waltinvt

waltinvt

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Satellites? Blu-ray Clarity Claims May Be Dubious - TVWeek - News


U.S. satellite companies’ statements that their so-called “full” high-definition broadcasts are as clear as Blu-ray may be murky, according to at least one analyst, who says Blu-ray growth won’t be hindered by such claims.

As HD disc and disc-player sales gradually pick up in the months since Sony’s Blu-ray emerged as the victor over Toshiba’s competing HD DVD format, leading satellite companies DirecTV and Dish Network have expanded their linear HD channel inventory well past the 100-channel mark. More recently, the satcasters have announced upcoming 1080-pixel broadcasts.

Last month, Dish said it would be the first in the industry to offer full-HD programming and that this month it would offer the Will Smith-starring “I Am Legend” on video-on-demand in 1080p resolution, “same as Blu-ray disc quality.” Larger competitor DirecTV also said in July that it would offer 1080p resolution “later this year,” calling it “the same format used by Blu-ray HD DVDs.”
Not so fast, says David Mercer, U.K.-based principal analyst at consultant Strategy Analytics, in a report this week. “I don’t believe that DirecTV or Dish will actually be offering programming at the same level of quality of [Blu-ray Disc],” Mercer wrote on his blog this week, adding that the Blu-ray Disc Association called the satcasters’ statements “irresponsible” and “misleading.” “The 1080p story is just another phase in that competitive battle, but it is unlikely to seriously affect Blu-ray’s potential.”

Indeed, the second quarter produced mixed results for satellite companies trying to boost customers with their HD service. DirecTV earlier this month said it increased its subscriber base by 129,000 during the quarter while Dish lost 25,000 subscribers, marking the first quarterly subscriber drop ever for a U.S. satellite television company.

Meanwhile, U.S. Blu-ray disc spending for the first half of the year jumped fourfold to about $200 million and will overtake standard DVDs as the primary form of content software within the next four years, U.K.-based consultant Futuresource said last week.
 
Primus

Primus

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And the first reply was very well said.

Bill:
There are many problems the satellite companies will face with their claims.
The first is that they just don't have the bandwidth to pump out a signal with the bit rate present on Blu-Ray discs. Sure they're sending 1080p, but it's comparatively compressed 1080p, and it's not 1920x1080p as on Blu-Ray.
Second, there's arrogance in respect to product. Dish's recent VOD of "I Am Legend" was blown up to 16:9 rather than the 2.35:1 of the theatrical release and Blu-Ray. Yes, the fight to see films in their original theatrical aspect ratios will continue on in the HD marketplace.
Bottom line, it's no different than the satellite companies' claims of giving viewers "HD quality" while compressing signals to lower resolution than program providers send them; marketing and reality are two entirely different matters in the world of satellite (and cable) TV.
 
yaz96

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and this is a surprise?????

these are the two companies who can't even count channels correctly, and they're going to tell the truth about something like this....
 
allargon

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Actually they do have the bandwidth. A Ku band transponder can pump out at least 36 Mbps. Moreover, OnDemand is stored on the hard drive. They can send it down at a lower rate in non-real time. Then the receiver can play it an average of bitrate of even 20 Mbps to be comparable to Blu-Ray. The issue is that none of the providers will even do that. 12 or (more realistically) 8 Mbps is good enough for most Joe6Pack's. Truth be told, they are right.
 
DishSatUser

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As Allargon states, the VOD is streamed to the HD and viewed later once the program has completed it's download to the hard drive. At that point, the capabilties are the same as from a "disc" if not slightly faster than a disc can operate at (Hard drive velocities exceed the speed of a Blue-Ray Disc).

Granted, DISH made a mistake in changing the format, but they did this to meet the customer demand. While many argue that it's best to view content in the original aspect ratio (OAR), a much larger number of customers complain about "black bars at the top and bottom of their new fangled HDTV".

Actually I'm one of those customers myself. I didn't go from letter boxed DVD's on my 4:3 SDTV to "letterboxed" results on my 16:9 HDTV.

Personally the 16:9 AR of "I am Legend" was more enjoyable for me and my spouse. Perhaps they can do two VOD choices, one in 16:9 AR and the other OAR for original format purists.
 
E

ekilgus

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We're listing to a source that thinks this is what the "p" stands for?


Exactly. I suppose this source thinks that the "P" means there are more pixels in the picture than 1080I. Maybe someone should clue him in that 1080I and 1080P has the same exact picture content. It's just that 1080I presents an interlaced image verses the non-interlaced (what they used to call it) image.

I don't many people could tell the difference in images unless they could see them side by side.
 
AriesGodofWar

AriesGodofWar

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We're listing to a source that thinks this is what the "p" stands for?

That was my thought as well............also, did anyone know this is a UK source? Do they come over to the US to get the Dish signal too? Now, I do have a question, though is seems like it is advertised that the 8PSK technology is related to the ability to have 1080p, since the data is all saved to the hard drive, there is no relation.

Is the plan to have streaming 1080p content at some point?
 
waltinvt

waltinvt

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We're listing to a source that thinks this is what the "p" stands for?
Good point - I didn't even catch that but the premise is still valid and providers will probably always dog-sh*t their transmissions enough so the disks continue to be the top of the quality spectrum. I'm not so sure that isn't forgone and un-intentional either.:(
 
DishSatUser

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Good point - I didn't even catch that but the premise is still valid and providers will probably always dog-sh*t their transmissions enough so the disks continue to be the top of the quality spectrum. I'm not so sure that isn't forgone and un-intentional either.:(

The premise may be valid if this was to "Live TV", but the 1080P Video on Demand, is the only "advertised" 1080P feature for DISH at this time. If that is what is being offered and if no additional compression is occuring to the content, then the premise isn't valid.

VOD 501 channels currently work where the receiver, when a tunner is unused between 1:00AM and 6:00AM streams down content (not at a live bit rate) and stores it to a special VOD partition on the disk. DISH purposely put in much larger hard drives, so even if the VOD partition fills up, there is no reduction to the users space for their own recorded content. Once that VOD content is completely downloaded, it's displayed in the guide and can be purchased for viewing. If it's downloaded and I want to watch it at 1:22PM, it starts at the very beginning at 1:22PM and I have the ability to fast forward, rewind and restart it as many times as I want for 24 hours.

Because the VOD streams are not transmitted at a "live" bitrate, they can download content of a very high quality and not be concerned that several seconds of video take a minute to stream off the SAT. Thus the viewing bitrate for the 1080P content off of the hard drive can be at a significantly higher rate than may be possible over a "channel" of 8PSK on the SAT transmission. This allows DISH, if desired for the program, to have Blue-Ray Disc quality content. Perhaps the hollywood studios might alter this content some to try and encourage the purchase of the Disc, but the technology is fully capable of that in combination with the "Hard disk" buffer. Plus Blue-Ray Disc houses, that embrace a possible method of allowing the user to click to purchase the Disc, could use the VOD to create additional sales. Simply at the conclusion of the video present a request to the user if they want to purchase the disc or not. DISH then ships it to the billing address on record and charges the SRP for the disc. It would behove DISH to ensure that the content viewed during the VOD is the same as the received disc, or customers would likely complain.

I watched 1080P "I am Legend" and was "blown away" by that much clarity from a HD DVR. The only beef I can see "anywhere" that has someone truely viewing the IAL content is that the aspect ratio was changed from the original aspect to fullscreen 16:9 AR. OAR purists would then have a valid reason to complain. Myself, I purchased an HDTV to get rid of letterbox gaps on my screen. Much to my dismay, many OAR content is still "letterboxed" and I actually enjoy 16:9 AR conversions better. This varies from customer to customer of course. Perhaps they can offer two versions of the VOD channel, one in OAR and one in the 16:9 AR.
 
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T

transformers27

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Personally the 16:9 AR of "I am Legend" was more enjoyable for me and my spouse. Perhaps they can do two VOD choices, one in 16:9 AR and the other OAR for original format purists.

I am not so much an original format purist, but an OF realist. I have a front projector with a 10 foot screen, and when they change a movie to 16:6AR from 2.35 OAR, the image is just too darn big! Years ago I saw the movie T2 in one city at 2.35 OAR, and then was surprised to see it a second time at 16:9 in a different city. The second theater must have zoomed in the picture, and it made it hard on the eyes to watch--the image was just too big again.
 
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RockinHARD26

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Money, Money, MONEY! Its all stupid. Just burn your money away because that is what PEOPLE are DOING to such claims like this one!

Can not wait to see Dish Network Sued over this marketing CRAP. Post card and email sent to me saying, August 1st Dish Network upgraded VOD to 1080p and I would be able to see, I am Legend, for the entire month at a discounted rate of $1.99.

Well, sorry to say, its now August 31, still no 1080p VOD software or I am Legend available for me to watch!

I have a 1080p 71" TV, HDMI connection, 7.1 surround sound, never misses a 3am reset, and my bill is over $200 a month. There is NO REASON, why I was not able to have the software downloaded and installed. Plain and simple and I wish everyone the best who sues Dish Network because the post card and email mislead me into thinking my setup would have access. I even stopped recording the Olympics because of the 3am resets. I had to figure out Vista Ultimate's Windows Media player system to view the items I wanted.
 
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whatchel1

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Here is my reply to the guy. Makes me cringe that I belong to an industry that lets guys like this write a column.

By your statements here why are you even writing a column in an industry magazine? You don't even seem to know what 1080p is. The P has nothing to do with pixel resolution. It is progressive scan instead of interlaced.
 
waltinvt

waltinvt

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The premise may be valid if this was to "Live TV", but the 1080P Video on Demand, is the only "advertised" 1080P feature for DISH at this time. If that is what is being offered and if no additional compression is occuring to the content, then the premise isn't valid.
Whether live or not, the premise still potentially exists because in the end "X" amount of space is taken up on the HDD and the amount of that space IS related to the visual / audio quality of the VOD. And since, as you say, the amount of HDD space that Dish doesn't allow customers access to (without paying extra) is finite, there exists the incentive for them to cram as many of their products into it as possible.

To what extent they will remains to be seen but historically Dish favors quantity over quality.

DishSatUser said:
VOD 501 channels currently work where the receiver, when a tunner is unused between 1:00AM and 6:00AM streams down content (not at a live bit rate) and stores it to a special VOD partition on the disk. DISH purposely put in much larger hard drives, so even if the VOD partition fills up, there is no reduction to the users space for their own recorded content.
Do we know for sure that the proportions of these partitions have remained the same or is it possible that Dish has or could change these allocations via software downloads? It's hard to tell because of MPEG4 and 35 hours of HD movies takes up less space than MPEG2 did. I believe we can now hold more than 35 hours, so maybe they split the difference.
DishSatUser said:
Because the VOD streams are not transmitted at a "live" bitrate, they can download content of a very high quality and not be concerned that several seconds of video take a minute to stream off the SAT. Thus the viewing bitrate for the 1080P content off of the hard drive can be at a significantly higher rate than may be possible over a "channel" of 8PSK on the SAT transmission. This allows DISH, if desired for the program, to have Blue-Ray Disc quality content.
"If desired" being the operative phrase. Since allocated (storage) space is still an issue, don't they still have the choice of whether to offer "X" choices of 1080p VODs at full quality or "X+1 or 2" at less quality?
DishSatUser said:
Perhaps the hollywood studios might alter this content some to try and encourage the purchase of the Disc, but the technology is fully capable of that in combination with the "Hard disk" buffer. Plus Blue-Ray Disc houses, that embrace a possible method of allowing the user to click to purchase the Disc, could use the VOD to create additional sales. Simply at the conclusion of the video present a request to the user if they want to purchase the disc or not. DISH then ships it to the billing address on record and charges the SRP for the disc. It would behove DISH to ensure that the content viewed during the VOD is the same as the received disc, or customers would likely complain.
I suppose there's two ways of looking at that: show exactly what you can have if you purchase the BD or market that it gets even better with the BD.

It really doesn't matter much because the real issue here is that they've already gained (and are using) the ability to prevent you from keeping the movie on your HD DVR - that was the important thing. Now they can play around with marketing gimmicks and pricing because they're insured that unless you want to wait for it to trickle down the media chain, you're going to have to pay one way or another every time you want to watch a movie........ OR you're going to have to purchase it.

DishSatUser said:
I watched 1080P "I am Legend" and was "blown away" by that much clarity from a HD DVR.
And I wonder how many people will be smart enough to wonder why then, if this kind of quality IS possible on an HD-DVR, haven't they been getting it right along? Maybe some will even be smart enough to realize progressive vs interlaced doesn't account for all the difference and maybe they've been getting something called "Dish-HD" instead of the full quality HD that was initially (probably a big mistake)offered.

If anyone cares to research old threads, I stated back when "E" followed "D" and lowered the picture quality of their HD (that's when they renamed it "Dish-HD" BTW), that you've likely never see full HD again on satellite unless they worked out a way to be able to charge you more $$ and restrict your ability to archive it.
DishSatUser said:
The only beef I can see "anywhere" that has someone truely viewing the IAL content is that the aspect ratio was changed from the original aspect to fullscreen 16:9 AR. OAR purists would then have a valid reason to complain. Myself, I purchased an HDTV to get rid of letterbox gaps on my screen.
HDTV has never claimed it would eliminate the letterbox gaps - only provide a format closer to wide screen aspect ratios of movies while still being able to show tv's 4:3 AR reasonably well.
DishSatUser said:
Much to my dismay, many OAR content is still "letterboxed" and I actually enjoy 16:9 AR conversions better. This varies from customer to customer of course. Perhaps they can offer two versions of the VOD channel, one in OAR and one in the 16:9 AR.
As you say, it varies from customer to customer and the bottom line is some would rather degrade the programming they paid for to use all the screen they paid for while others would rather get ALL the picture they paid for and realize that, just like the theater, in a darkened room with a dark tv surround, they can't even tell that the picture proportions doesn't quite match their tv screen size.
 
R

rich88

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Mercer wrote on his blog this week, adding that the Blu-ray Disc Association called the satcasters’ statements “irresponsible” and “misleading.” .

What???

That just isn't possible!!

Dish and Direct would never ever do that!!

Say it ain't so!!

:D:p
 
E

ekilgus

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For what it's worth, "I am Legend" will be shown on Cinemax in October. The first showing will be October 1st at 10pm.
 
DishSatUser

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waltinvt said:
Do we know for sure that the proportions of these partitions have remained the same or is it possible that Dish has or could change these allocations via software downloads? It's hard to tell because of MPEG4 and 35 hours of HD movies takes up less space than MPEG2 did. I believe we can now hold more than 35 hours, so maybe they split the difference.

While it is "possible" that the partition sizes could be changed due to "software upgrade" capabilities of the receivers, it's improbable.

The reason is, and I'm sure you've seen this on Desktop PCs, additional software is required to "resize or reallocate" partitions without data loss. In the PC world, this is PartitionMagic or other competing products. Since programming space itself is a premium and Dish likely wants more "pay" interactive services, it's not probable a dynamic resizing utility is included on the receiver. So to resize the partitions, there would a complete loss of customer based recordings. This would have significant impact on customer satisfaction and not likely to be a point they'll change.


Instead, they could simply put in a larger HD in the future and rebrand the same receiver as the ViP 1022 (8xx and 9xx numbers being skipped due to end of production equipment already in those ranges). More $ to them for the new equipment that simply provides more recording space. Granted, many customers can simply use an external USB HD to get the same results, sans VOD space, but they rely on the majority of the customers being clueless to this fact.

But the point is, it's most likely improbable they'll do anything to the partitions.

waltinvt said:
It really doesn't matter much because the real issue here is that they've already gained (and are using) the ability to prevent you from keeping the movie on your HD DVR - that was the important thing. Now they can play around with marketing gimmicks and pricing because they're insured that unless you want to wait for it to trickle down the media chain, you're going to have to pay one way or another every time you want to watch a movie........ OR you're going to have to purchase it.

Thought the real issue wwas the "dubious clains at Blu-Ray clarity" and not if Dish or DirecTV controls the move on your HD DVR. So does Comcast or "any" DVR vendor that provides the capbilities for software updates (so to that extent even stand alone Tivo's). It's simply a mater for them to exercise that capability. But to me, the important issue is it at the same level of clarity? The article went into the HD channels and not the "exclusivity" of the VOD channels that Dish advertised. In that case, I could extend the claim to say....

"Yep it's BS on the clarity, the SD channels even prove that!" That's not what Dish advertised. To the extent that the "VOD and VOD only" for the terms that Dish advertised, the capability to stream to the HD allows for the "clarity to match Blu-Ray".

Now as you suggest, it is also possible for Dish if desired to compress the result for more VOD on the system. For that mater, any provider can compress the heck out of anything they want. What's to stop them? However, Dish does have market share to claim if they stick by what they advertised for the VOD. By doing the background stream, the only benefit of compression at all is more content to the VOD partition. I can't argue that this may occur, but at this point it is not the case in terms of the VOD partition's capacity.


waltinvt said:
And I wonder how many people will be smart enough to wonder why then, if this kind of quality IS possible on an HD-DVR, haven't they been getting it right along? Maybe some will even be smart enough to realize progressive vs interlaced doesn't account for all the difference and maybe they've been getting something called "Dish-HD" instead of the full quality HD that was initially (probably a big mistake)offered.

If one takes what was advertised and then applies it in general, then yes I can see the confusion to those individuals. The only way around this due to bandwidth limits of the SAT's is to reduce content choice or .... not offer live TV and require a buffered amount on the HD before you could even view TV. The last option is not acceptable to the consumer so compression is required. Again this is not what Dish is advertising with the 1080P VOD channels.

[SARCASM ON]But your right! Perhaps Dish should can the VOD channels and we can all just be happy with the DishHD compression channels. The option of renting 1080P VOD is just tooooooo much! For shame Dish for offering me more choice and options with my equipment![/SARCASM OFF]

waltinvt said:
If anyone cares to research old threads, I stated back when "E" followed "D" and lowered the picture quality of their HD (that's when they renamed it "Dish-HD" BTW), that you've likely never see full HD again on satellite unless they worked out a way to be able to charge you more $$ and restrict your ability to archive it.

Dude!! You've got kitchen sink syndrome as I never argued against your old threads. I specifically called the validity of the article into question as they extended the 1080P VOD claim to the live TV HD channels. A point that would be accurate on the live TV, but isn't "yet" accurate on the new 1080P VOD, at least demonstrated with the "single sample of IAL". Somewhat premature to jump to those conclusions. Time will bear it out.

So here's how I see it. Some can do the $$ and enjoy the 1080P VOD (although you and others may question the wisdom when perhaps they can rent the Blu-Ray Disc, a valid point there, but some may not be in an easy rental locall such as a majority of the "rural America") and others can ignore it.

Now if a there is a petition thread to DIsh to reduce the compression on the Live TV HD threads, I'll certainly sign onto that. I get your point there.
 

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