: Shaw Cable HD channels: Video and audio quality discussion
2008-01-04, 03:47 PM
Hmmm. That sinks my theory that you had an LCD. Sometimes I will see screens such as you've posted, but very rarely and usually when there is fast moving action going on. Have your tried setting your box to output 1080I? I have mine set to 1080I and also use component cables.
2008-01-04, 03:54 PM
I've tried both 720p and 1080i. It just looks compressed, not like there are errors or anything, so I'm thinking it's just the type of quality I'll have to live with if I stay with Shaw.
Sometimes I will see screens such as you've posted, but very rarely and usually when there is fast moving action going on.
Like I said, when there is a static picture, or a far-out shot of a hockey game, say, there isn't much blocking at all. But in an instance where there is movement or a quick colour change (best example today has been "celebration" shots after a goal), it looks like a 95% compressed picture.
2008-01-05, 03:41 AM
Tried switching back and forth, and I still get the same quality issues. When the TSN logo sweeps by, do you see a ton of macroblocking then?
Yes, but I'm not convinced they've done the graphic "in HD" per se. Red logos are the worst from what I've seen, which covers both TSN and CBC.
As for your screen shots, no wonder you're ticked. That's just awful. Those are definitely not what we see at on our TV (an LCD BTW). Generally a plasma should deal with fast action better than LCD, so that's another indicator something is wrong upstream of the TV.
Have they ever replaced your DCT? When you say older, does it have an HDMI output? If not, it's PhaseII (or earlier). We have a 6412 Phase III. Perhaps that's the difference, or your unit is defective.
Call them out again, and indicate you need the PVR replaced. Explain that the picture has gotten awful, etc. They should schedule a tech visit, complete with a replacement PVR.
See if they can bring a set of component cables as well (just to test). Not sure if they'll bring 'em, but couldn't hurt to ask.
2008-01-05, 12:49 PM
oilblue,, I've had my box replaced 5 times and i still get macroblocking. what else would you suggest??
2008-01-05, 02:59 PM
Macroblocking as bad as Mozza's screen shots? Yikes. If so, at least Mozza knows it's not necessarily a "Winnipeg" thing.
Someone with experience wiring could probably chime in on this, but I'm curious if a picture that bad could be due to RG-59 on long runs rather than RG-6? (i.e. in the wall) If so, that could explain a building/apartment problem...or not. I'd think you'd encounter error counts under diagnostics if this was the case. What kinds of numbers do you get under diagnostics:
- change to a problem channel
- turn it "off" (standby really), then press "select" within a second of putting it in standby
- on the menus, use the arrow keys to get to D04 - In-band status
- check the 5 second error counts (Correctable and Uncorrectable). Ideally, you should see zeros here.
Is the problem consistent on all HD channels? Or is it worse on some? Perhaps the worst ones are at a given frequency set, which might be a wiring problem? (guessing here)
When they've replaced the units I presume they verified the signal level, etc. Are they able to verify the level at different frequencies? Maybe it's fine at certain ones, but out of range (too strong or too weak) at others. I'm thinking those point to wiring too, but again, just a guess. I presume they can check specific frequencies, so if they come again, emphasize the HD frequencies
With all of that in mind (frequency sets, etc.), here's the MHz numbers for each HD channel on the Edmonton channel map as of a few days ago:
200 531MHz ABC West
201 531 CBS West
202 531 NBC West
203 615 Fox West
204 537 PBS (Seattle)
205 507 ABC East
206 549 CBS East
207 507 NBC East
208 507 Fox East
209 537 CBC Toronto
211 615 MC1
212 615 MC2
213 549 Sportsnet
214 537 TSN
215 549 WGN
216 543 National Geographic
217 567 CTV Toronto
218 543 Discovery
219 513 A&E
220 543 Showcase
221 513 HDNet Canada
As you can see from those numbers, it's pretty clear why 204, 209 and 214 generally all go out at the same time. If one goes, they all go (unless it's a problem at the source network). Earlier this week for example all three were out.
Mozza mentioned he's connected via component to a plasma display. Not that it should make a difference, but how about you?
Perhaps they should / could bring a PVR with existing HD content already recorded to see what that looks like. If there's a substantial difference, that indicates the problem is upstream of the PVR for sure. Bonus here is that gets past all the calibration / connection questions and has them focused squarely on the signal coming into your place.
A bunch of that's probably been done already...so you'd be understandably frustrated. A picture as bad as Mozza's shouldn't be tolerated in my opinion.
2008-01-05, 03:11 PM
Again, my picture isn't always that horrible, just when the picture changes quickly, or there's motion going on.
It's on all HD channels.
I wondered about a wiring issue, but I get 0000 on correctable or uncorrectable errors, and my signals are all "good". So it's either the PVR itself doing a poor job of decoding, or Shaw is compressing like mad.
Watching the first Canadian goal in the Juniors right now, it was clear until they scored, and then it was full of 1cm x 1cm macroblocks. Ewww.
I know it isn't setting issues, because my TV is set exactly the way it was when I had Bell ExpressVu, and I saw NONE of these issues then.
2008-01-05, 03:23 PM
When I first started watching HD back in 2002 with my 5100 box, I experienced similar issues with my CRT HDTV. Shaw came out and replaced something in the ally as well as all my connectors and cable going to my junction box. Since that time I haven't had any real issues to speak of other than I had to replace a 6412 P3 box once due to severe pixelation.
2008-01-05, 06:04 PM
i'm watching the seahawks/redskins game right now and the compression is absolutely pathetic. Take a look at the space under the scoreboard at the bottom of the picture. It's laughable!
Shaw is getting a call from me.
2008-01-05, 06:34 PM
The audio drop outs have settled down for now but watching the seahawks/red skins game i am experiencing major blocking... this is horrible..... is this typical shaw HD? if so count me out.... Shaw spend some money on your technology or forget about offering HD all together..
2008-01-05, 07:03 PM
Seahawaks game today vs. Redskins is unwatchable. Get your act together Shaw. I don't want new channels just give me quality of what I already have. This is pathetic performance by Shaw.
2008-01-05, 08:53 PM
I watched the second half on 3 separate channels (CTV-E, NBC-W, NBC-E). No major macro blocking at all. Only noticed some slight macro blocking on the NBc-E feed (Detroit).
2008-01-05, 09:35 PM
i talked to a tech at shaw regarding the hawks/skins game. He agreed that the signal was horrible, and said he had already received several complaints about it. He recommended watching it on channel 202... which although still not great, was the best feed that he could find. The NFL games lately have just been brutal. Pats/Giants game was almost as bad. I'm wondering if it's a problem with the source feeds, not the compression from shaw.
2008-01-05, 09:59 PM
Macroblocking seems to be random like the audio dropouts, as in it varies from show to show and channel to channel. Sometimes HDnet looks incredible, sometimes it has massive macroblocking that makes it unwatchable. Shaw HD is pathetic.
2008-01-05, 10:45 PM
I recorded some of the hockey games today, to show a tech what it looks like, but really I can turn to any HD channel at any time to prove my point. If it means I get a newer PVR out of the deal instead of the refurb I have now, then at least that's something. But I'd much rather have actual HD quality 100% of the time than have a new PVR. It's what I'm really paying for.
I remember when I first switched to Bell from MTS, how it was always a toss up about picture quality between Bell and Shaw. Now it's so obvious, I wish I could go back to Bell now!
2008-01-06, 03:08 AM
Mozza: Have you had the PVR replaced? (question from my earlier post) I realize it didn't help Merve04, but your screen shots are just not good. Maybe something is a little off in that PVR.
Anyway, here's a bit of an update from today's games.
I did notice some occasional macro-blocking during the Can/Swe gold medal game. Main camera was fine, but a couple of the corner rink cameras had problems once in a while. I not certain all cameras in the building were HD though.
There's also a thread in the main Sports forum about the Jrs. Might just have been a broadcast issue as Rogers had problems too. Might have been a limitation of bringing the broadcast from Europe, who knows.
TSN's logo sweep is awful though...
Watched the Oiler game tonight on CBC, and it looked great! Much better than the Juniors.
2008-01-06, 10:20 AM
Even if the cameras weren't HD, they wouldn't/shouldn't macroblock like that.
I can buy a "broadcast from Europe" issue for the Juniors, but explain to me why HDNet would macroblock even worse during "Nothing But Trailers"...?
2008-01-06, 08:26 PM
Just watch the trailers from apple.com,, there better quality and 1080p :D
2008-01-06, 09:21 PM
Oh yeah, it by no means explains everything that you're seeing.
Still curious Mozza, has Shaw ever replaced your PVR with another one?
2008-01-06, 11:30 PM
The only time I've had a tech out, he told me that he agreed the macroblocking was bad, but that I had to live with it because of the PVR I have (the refurb Phase 2 I think?)... so I don't have any confidence it will be replaced, but I will call this week and book.
2008-01-07, 03:19 AM
I would insist that they bring another unit. At worst, it doesn't help. On the other hand...it just might be the problem. It's worth a shot anyway.