TCM HD looks fuzzier than its SD counterpart (1 Viewer)

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TNGTony

Thread Starter
Unashamed Bengal Fan
Sep 7, 2003
10,019
803
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Before some one says it, yes I know TCM HD is really an upconvert of the SD channel right now. That will soon change as I hope the current state of the HD channel's patented "Sepiatone Fuzzyvision"™. I have seen some awesome HD transfers of black & white movies so anyone stating that HD doesn't do them justice has never seen HDNet's transfer of "Judgment at Nirenberg" or "To Kill a Mockingbird". Those transfers were pristine.

Today during several movies I did a "blind blink test". I put TCM on one of the tuners and TCM HD on the other on my 622 receiver. I then read a few articles on my laptop while pressing the swap button the 622 remote so I could not keep track of which of the two channels I was looking at. After that I paid attention to the picture on the TV and compared scenes as I only hit the swap button. I repeated this until I picked what I thought was the superior picture. Then I hit the cancel button to see where I was. TCM SD... Crap. Try again. Same result. okay maybe one of the tuners is better than the other. I Swapped channels on the tuners and repeated the experiment. Again the SD version wins.

The reason why has to do with contrast and definition. The HD version has a Sepiatone cast to the picture (more yellow) and the black level is about 5% higher (brighter-less contrast). The picture also seems to be fuzzier. While watching "A place in the sun" in a court scene, the faces of the people in the gallery were sharp and easily definable on the SD version. On the HD version they appeared smeared with no real features. On close-ups of faces, you can see much more detail of the skin texture and hair on the SD than the HD version. And finally on the SD version seems to recover from motion much faster than the HD version, which is really surprising. As a person's face moves within a close-up, both lose skin texture definition which is normal for MPEG. But when the motion stops, detail returns much more quickly to the facial features on the SD version than the HD which is not normally the case due the the faster bit-rate and higher number of key frames.

The sound on the HD version is better to my ear. It seems to have higher, clearer frequencies. with crisper sound and richer bass. The SD version sounds like there is a sock over the microphone muffling the sound.

While watching a color studio segment after a movie, the color saturation is about the same on both versions, but the "fuzzyvision"™ filter was still very apparent on the HD version.

Anyway I guess TCM HD is a myth right now. It will eventually start actually showing HD programming, but today the three times I actually watched it for any length of time, the SD version was preferable. I'm a little disappointed, but hopeful that this will change sooner rather than later.

See ya
Tony
 
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emathis

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 12, 2006
81
3
At this time there is no channel called TCM HD. It may be coming soon....or not.
At tcm.com there is not any mention of such a channel or any news that it may happen.
Wide screen movies are being shown window-boxed.
Anyone that has ever seen a HD black and white movie can easily see this channel is not in HD.
There is no TCM HD logo ever shown. There is no disclaimer such as "In HD where available" before a movie starts. Anyone seeing any improvement in the picture is probably because of the additional bandwidth of this new channel. But that extra bandwidth is being wasted right now.
 

JFaber99

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 9, 2009
129
13
Huntsville, AL
I noticed the same thing on AOTS on G4HD; the faces appeared fuzzy/blury to me. After twenty minutes I gave up on watching because the fuzziness was too much of a distraction!
 
Last edited:

emathis

SatelliteGuys Family
Mar 12, 2006
81
3
G4HD does have some shows in HD. They actually admit to having such a channel (see logo lower right corner). TCM doesn't admit to having a HD channel.
 

Young C

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 30, 2008
213
0
I noticed the same thing on AOTS on G4HD; the faces appeared fuzzy/blury to me. After twenty minutes I gave up on watching because the fuzziness was too much of a distraction!

I watched yesterday's AOTS and the camera zoomed in for a close-up face shot of one of the hosts. It looked HORRIBLE. Macroblocking (right term?) x 1 million.
It looked SO bad... I thought it was a prank on the viewers. (Yes, your watching G4 in HD so here's a 1 million macroblocking special :p )

Maybe that's what people are reporting?
 

--sexy-warlock--

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 8, 2009
489
0
Chattanooga
Hopefully that sketch is not what people are talking about. It was more than obvious where the joke was going with that one. AOTS as a whole did look fuzzy though, but I am willing to bet it is a source problem. My local CBS station now does their news in HD. It's crisper than SD, but it is very soft, and has edge enhancement looking similar to G4HD.
 

JFaber99

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 9, 2009
129
13
Huntsville, AL
I watched yesterday's AOTS and the camera zoomed in for a close-up face shot of one of the hosts. It looked HORRIBLE. Macroblocking (right term?) x 1 million.
It looked SO bad... I thought it was a prank on the viewers. (Yes, your watching G4 in HD so here's a 1 million macroblocking special :p )

Maybe that's what people are reporting?


I got the prank part! That was funny. But for the next twenty minutes everytime Kevin moved his head you could not tell where his chin stopped and his neck started? (Unless your saying this was still part of the prank?):confused:

I will watch again tonight and swap to SD to see if I can see what Tony is saying. It did not bother me too much last night because I assumed they will get it fixed, like they did the last time they launched a bundle of new HD channels.:cool:
 

JFaber99

SatelliteGuys Guru
Apr 9, 2009
129
13
Huntsville, AL
Hopefully that sketch is not what people are talking about. It was more than obvious where the joke was going with that one. AOTS as a whole did look fuzzy though, but I am willing to bet it is a source problem. My local CBS station now does their news in HD. It's crisper than SD, but it is very soft, and has edge enhancement looking similar to G4HD.



Hopefully they can fix it!!:D
 

Young C

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 30, 2008
213
0
Oh ok.
Then that's all I was speaking of. I did not notice anything else.

I wasn't paying that much attention, I was on the forums.

I'll look tonight.
 

DustoMan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Apr 9, 2010
1,247
18
Sparta, Wisconsin, United States
For sure X-Play is shot in HD and has been since December or January. AOTS supposedly switched over to HD April 5th. I didn't catch Attack of the Show yesterday but I will check it out tonight to see what you guys are talking about. X-Play unfortunately isn't on this week so we will have to wait till next Monday to see a new episode of that.
 

Blackloz

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 22, 2009
861
80
Minot,ND
TCM HD must exist because along with my Direct I also have BellTV which launched AMC HD & TCM HD around Christmas time and while not ALL movies on TCM HD are in HD obviously. I have seen quite a few that where shown in true HD. I even recorded a few like Ben-Hur ect, ect. I do see the TCM HD logo on the screen as well, so unless they get a different version of TCM HD up in Canada where my BellTV sat system is from you guys with Dish should see some stuff in HD.
 
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minkbarn

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 27, 2004
61
9
I did a side by side comparison using PIP with two (fairly) equal size signals- one TCMhd and one TCMsd. The TCMhd was definitely better (at least on the old black and white movie that was on) but it wasn't hugely better.

Also both images were cropped and not wide screen. I imagine over time TCM will adapt their library to take better advantage of hd. Also their letterbox movies will probably look way better in hd right now, though I haven't seen any yet.
 

nextoo

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jul 9, 2008
29
0
I did a side by side comparison using PIP with two (fairly) equal size signals- one TCMhd and one TCMsd. The TCMhd was definitely better (at least on the old black and white movie that was on) but it wasn't hugely better.

Also both images were cropped and not wide screen. I imagine over time TCM will adapt their library to take better advantage of hd. Also their letterbox movies will probably look way better in hd right now, though I haven't seen any yet.

OAR for countless titles will never fill our 16x9 screens. They were produced for a different aspect ratio. What we get is the directorial original intent. Not what fits our 16x9 screens.
 
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