: TMN-HD - Major Macroblocking

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2004-12-12, 12:12 AM
"You Got Served" is a movie I recorded because I knew it would have a lot of fast dance sequences in it. There are several such sequences, but the only ones that I watched were the ones at the beginning of the movie and at the end.

The dance sequences are almost unwatchable due to massive macroblocking, compression artifacts and occasional video freezes (video would freeze for a second or two). Far worse than the macroblocking on Kill Bill. The first time I noticed this sort of issue was with the movie City of God - it had "video freezes" in the fast sequences near the start..

I recorded the programmes from TMN-HD, Rogers.

We're trying to track down the cause of this issue.

2004-12-12, 08:51 AM
Another movie that had too much macroblocking last night was Starship Troopers 2. When night battles raged on, the xplosions were aweful and it took a second or two to have a clear picture again. So bad, I didn't watch it.

2004-12-12, 10:28 AM
Caught Starship Troopers 2 last night as well...HORRIBLE macroblocking. Something is not quite right here. The question is, who's fault is it?

2004-12-12, 10:47 AM
I recorded ST2. I can confirm the macroblocking on "explosions and fight scenes". Danster and JG, were you watching "live" or "recorded".

Danster, you've got the Motorola. So it's either a Rogers or TMN-HD issue and not the STB...

Anyone with BEV pipe in and let us know if you saw the massive problems?

2004-12-12, 10:50 AM
I watched it live for at least 30 minutes before the phone rang, then watched it "time-slipped". The macroblocking was the same either way, but there were added 'pixelation' errors when time-slipping.

2004-12-12, 11:21 AM
Last I heard, Rogers delivers TMN HD movies from their own servers. I noticed a lot of problems when I had TMN HD with Rogers.

2004-12-12, 11:28 AM
I was watching yesterday ST2 on Starchoice (live) -DSR500). The image was great all the movie, no macroblockings at all.So for sure is not a TMN problem.

2004-12-12, 11:44 AM
I was watching live and it was too horrible. Even my wife was wondering what was going on and if we had a "bad" connection or something. It gave me the impression that the box couldn't keep up with the transmission. I haven't seen too many movies had that much macroblocking. Weird...

2004-12-12, 02:21 PM
If someone from Bell ExpressVu can confirm or deny macroblocking on the movies/sequences discussed above, that would help us track down the problem. I'm working with my contact at TMN-HD to try to isolate the problem.

Too bad BEV doesn't have an HD DVR...

2004-12-12, 04:03 PM
I'm with BEV (6100 decoder) and it was the worse HD i've seen (had HD for 2 months now). Major macroblocking, pixelation etc. It was especially horrible at the beginning of the movie and it seems to have gotten better later on but could not say for sure since I was watching on and off. I eventually stopped watching around 10:15 PM , got bored of the movie.

Don't know where the problem was but I was actually amazed they can promote this as hi-def and get away with this ...

While we're on the subject, I find the quality of TMN-HD pretty ordinary, especially when compared to what can be seen on CBS (football, cold case, CSI etc) for example. I was looking forward to watching movies in HD but so far, I've been disappointed. I have not tried any PPV-HD yet, can anybody comment as to how the quality compare with TMN-HD.

2004-12-12, 04:13 PM
Caught Starship Troopers 2 last night as well...HORRIBLE macroblocking. Something is not quite right here. The question is, who's fault is it?

Starship Troopers 2 was both a horrible movie AND a horrible HD presentation.

Watch ANY movie containing lightning like effects. You'll see the same thing. The sudden luminance changes wreak havoc on MPEG-2 compression. Remember, luminance is the actual high definition, with colour being about 1/4 the resolution.

It's a clear failing of the current broadcast HD bit-rates. And you can see why I have commented against locking into MPEG-2 standards at this point.


2004-12-12, 11:38 PM
Gary, we've been watching HD for about 3 years now. I don't recall the kind of macroblokcking problems that we've seen lately.

There were other action movies in 2003 and early 2004 and I simply don't recall this extent of problems.

I believe something has changed....

At first I thought it might have something to do with our SA8X00HDs, but the problems exist on BEV and they don't have an HD DVR and they're also on the Motorola STBs out east, then that's not the answer...

If anyone else has additional feedback regarding the PQ, keep the feedback coming.

2004-12-13, 09:44 AM
Got it here on BEV, too. I also agree it was unwatchable but I stuck with it since my wife and I were too sick with colds to care. I was pleasantly suprised to see the girl from Nip/Tuck :) but not a nice ending for her.

I've been very dissapointed with TMNHD on BEV since I got it about a month ago. I thought TMNHD was much better on Rogers over the past 2.5 years I had that but perhaps things have changed at the source and its not BEV's fault. The first movie I distinctly recall this macroblocking was Big Fish if that helps with a time line.

Hopefully the powers that be can find a solution. This is making regular DVD look better all the time.


2004-12-13, 10:46 AM
I think some brave soul here should go through all the digital channels and map out what channels are on what frequencies. I fear you'll find more than just the usual 2 HD channels on the HD-TMN frequency.

2004-12-13, 10:49 AM
I have Bell Expressvu and last nite it was unwatchable between 5:30 and 8pm. In Toronto thier was magior cloud cover and my signal level kept going up and down. I belive this would have been the cause of the macroblocking that was being viewed on Xvu.

2004-12-13, 11:23 AM
There were other action movies in 2003 and early 2004 and I simply don't recall this extent of problems.

I believe something has changed....

Possibly. I think I had questioned this months ago. Had there been a bit-rate reduction in 1080i broadcasts?

But, I didn't mean action. I meant specifically lightning. Flashing causing rapid luminance changes to the entire scene.

Look what I said in early 2003:

Severe block noise in scene of Dracula 2000 on HDTMN (http://www.digitalhomecanada.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4074)

I see this kind of thing whenever prominant lightning occurs. It may be worse now, but it has always been bad.


2004-12-13, 07:12 PM
Ummm, hate to break in on such a geat discussion, but for the uninitiated... quest ce c'est macroblocking?

2004-12-13, 07:29 PM
heavy pixelation in the picture. bunch of little blocks everywhere like if the computer is trying to make up a picture with missing info. You can cheat my ears but you can't fool my eyes....

2004-12-13, 09:35 PM
Thanks. But how can you differentiate between macroblocking and over compression?

2004-12-14, 12:40 AM
Macroblocking is caused by too much compression. Unfortunately an HD stream contains over 1.3 Gb/sec of information that needs to be compressed (using MPEG) to at most 19.4 Mb/sec (a compression factor of more than 60.)

Most of the time, it works just fine. Sometimes, when there's a lot of change on the screen, it doesn't.

If you wish to discuss macroblocking further, please start another thread on the subject as I'm trying to keep this one "clean" for my contact at TMN-HD. Thanks.