Really? I thought Shaw Direct passed what the broadcasters sent - 1080i for 1080i, 720P for 720P. Bell converts everything to 720P. Here's the FAQ, based on feedback from others as I have no direct experience:
My answer for Shaw Cable is the same, but I assumed that
would have asked in the Shaw Cable forum if that's what he was interested in. Also, many of his previous posts are in this SD forum.
Really? I thought Shaw Direct passed what the broadcasters sent - 1080i for 1080i, 720P for 720P. Bell converts everything to 720P.
I also thought Shaw Direct passed thru the originating program resolution. I did a quick search on the subject. Shaw Direct appears to be a little cagey about the subject. They always mention that their receivers are capable of handling 1080, but never mention channel resolution being full 1080, just "HD" (whatever that means now to Bell and Shaw).
720P is considered HD, hence Bell uses it for all their HD channels. This is because 720P uses less bandwidth than 1080i and bandwidth on satellites costs a lot of money.
480P is ED (enhanced definition) and was used for a short time by Fox over a decade ago.
1080i is HD and is easily deinterlaced to 1080P, so often there is not a significant difference in the end result on a 1080P TV, between it and 1080P. Some people call 1080P "Full HD". Some on-demand programming is available from some providers in 1080P, typically via downloads to a PVR.
4K is UltraHD. Some providers now have a few select channels in 4K.
Additional information on the formats is available in the FAQ in post 3.
In most ways, 720p @60fps is better than 1080i @30fps - provided that the video source wasn't originally 1080i (i.e. 30 effective fps), then deinterlaced and downsampled to 1280x720. That's the worst of both worlds.
If you're getting video @ 1280x720@60fps without interlacing artifacts (i.e. it was never interlaced), then that's better than 1920x1080@30fps with interlacing artifacts.
Sure, ideally we want 1920x1080@60fps, but you need a higher quality video provider for that.
Whether it's Shaw Direct or Shaw Cable, most set-top boxes that provide an HD Guide require that you permanently set the output to 720p, 1080i, or 1080p and therefore up/down convert the incoming video signal to match the output.
Most Televisions sets sold today are either 1080p or 4k native, so you're programming is probably getting converted more than once.
While that is true, it would be nice to know what the incoming signal is, then you can optimize the output format. For example, since most broadcast signals are 1080i, I would set the output of the STB to 1080i and let the TV do the final conversion since they are usually better at it. It would be "bad" to have incoming signals at 1080i, set the output to 720P and have the TV convert to 1080P (or 4K, or 768P)
I think I may be able to shed a little light on this.
I have Shaw Direct and use a Nextcom Wireless R5000 mod with my DSR505. What the mod does is allow a computer to be connected via USB to the satellite receiver, and have the direct MPEG2 datastream sent to the computer. As far as I know, this is the raw MPEG2 feed and no conversion has been done to it.
All HD channels I've tested are 1080i. I just double checked Fox Rochester and ABC Detroit (which I think are 720p originally), and they are 1080i via Shaw Direct.
Sadly the R5000 will slowly become a paperweight over the next few years as Shaw Direct transitions to MPEG4. The DSR505 doesn't support MPEG4, and Nextcom never made a mod for a Shaw Direct receiver that supports MPEG4.