Shaw Direct's Next Technological Leap? - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-14, 10:26 AM
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Most HD channels that were HD before 2012, will still be MPEG2 HD. They likely won't switch to MPEG4 until there is a critical mass of new receiver users to warrant a switch.
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-14, 06:02 PM
 
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How about native aspect ratio on all channels!

In the absence of that critical mass of MPEG4 receivers, surely the obvious and easy next step is for ShawDirect to broadcast all it's channels in native resolution.

e.g. 16:9 channels should be broadcast as 16:9 even when broadcast in standard def. What a waste of resource to reduce the channels down to about 3/4 of the available 480 lines and broadcast black bars at the top and bottom. Sure if there are odd channels still in 4:3 keep them at 4:3, but as for the rest do them justice.

If all the CTV2's, Yes TV, Omni1, Omni2 and no doubt a host of other channels can only be given room by ShawDirect in standard definition, they should at least fill the screen with them.

I understand why cable companies (like Shaw Cable) transmit their remaining analogue channels in 4:3 because they are using NTSC. But that rationale does not apply to Shaw Direct.

Not a technlogical leap I know, but at least it would catch up with the year 2000.
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-14, 06:07 PM
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Shaw Direct does not "broadcast" - they are a service provider. What you see is simply the service provider passing the signals through from the broadcasters. If the broadcaster sends out a letterboxed SD signal, then that's what you get. If the broadcaster sends out cropped 4:3, then that's what you'll get from any service provider (Shaw, Bell, Rogers, etc). Most programming today is 16:9 since it's originally HD or widescreen. What the broadcasters then do is send out 16:9 letterboxed, or crop the 16:9 to 4:3. SD channels take up very little bandwidth.

The satellite service providers never had any analogue distribution and the cable providers have removed most (or all) of the analogue channels, depending on the provider/location.

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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-14, 06:13 PM
 
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Do you mean that they can't even take a 16:9 HD signal and convert it to a 16:9 SD signal? I used to have cheap digital converters that could do that.

Is the use of the term signal al'right?
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-14, 07:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 57 View Post
What you see is simply the service provider passing the signals through from the broadcasters. If the broadcaster sends out a letterboxed SD signal, then that's what you get. If the broadcaster sends out cropped 4:3, then that's what you'll get from any service provider (Shaw, Bell, Rogers, etc). Most programming today is 16:9 since it's originally HD or widescreen. What the broadcasters then do is send out 16:9 letterboxed, or crop the 16:9 to 4:3. SD channels take up very little bandwidth.
lf I can also just add, now that I have more time, all of that supports my point. I am well aware of what broadcasters (and also the BDU's) currently "do" and what we "get."

This thread is about suggestions and speculations as to what one specific BDU could do differently. It is ironic how a thread about what could be done differently generates posts on here with the same apparent "can't do" or "won't do" attitude so typified by Shaw. Cynicism is often borne of experience I suppose.

BTW, before satellite broadcasting / signals were digital, they were analogue.
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post #21 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 12:23 AM
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Do you mean that they can't even take a 16:9 HD signal and convert it to a 16:9 SD signal?
To whom does the term "they" refer?. The broadcaster does just that for his SD channels in most instances (although it is letterboxed). The BDU doesn't do that because the material on the SD channel can be different from the material on the HD channel, so the BDU provides an HD channel if they are fed an HD channel. If they are fed an SD channel, they will send you that SD signal, unaltered. Although some SD channels (Deutsche Welle) on Rogers can be converted by some Rogers STBs to full screen widescreen (no bars), this is not done a lot due to the fact that it saves little bandwidth and the fact that legacy equipment may have issues with handling this.

Many people also don't want their screens "forced" into 16:9 fullscreen because the original picture quality is often not that great with an SD channel. People would prefer the smaller (16:9 letterboxed) image and have the option to zoom the image on their end if they want, either with their TV or STB's zoom function. This way the people who want to fill their TVs with an SD signal can and those who don't can leave it the way it is. If the BDU or the broadcaster fills their screen, there is typically no way to "unzoom".

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post #22 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 03:20 AM
 
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For the answer to the question in your first sentence please refer to the title of this thread.

Again, I am aware of what content providers and BDU's "do." My suggestion is different. You are free to support the current BDU line.
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post #23 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 11:34 AM
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Do you mean that they can't even take a 16:9 HD signal and convert it to a 16:9 SD signal? I used to have cheap digital converters that could do that.
They are not allowed to under CRTC regulations. I also doubt that most subscribers would want them to. Such switches in format often cause issues with equipment at the receiving end. The way this is typically handled is through adaptive compression. Adaptive compression detects when a signal can be compressed further without significant loss. SD content on an HD channel is a good candidate for added compression using adaptive compression. It can allow a BDU to squeeze an extra channel or two onto a transponder but it does have undesirable side effects. These include glitches and loss of picture quality when all of the channels require high data rates. I went through this when Bell TV started to use adaptive compression and it was a mess. It's much better to use a more efficient compression technique such as H.264 or H.265.

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Most HD channels that were HD before 2012, will still be MPEG2 HD. They likely won't switch to MPEG4 until there is a critical mass of new receiver users to warrant a switch.
Yet another instance of how Shaw fails to leverage new technology by failing to make investments in their business. Shaw could replace the remaining receivers incapable of receiving MPEG4 (as Bell TV did) and move to MPEG4 for all HD channels. Instead, they choose to push the cost of obsolete receiver replacement onto customers and deprive customers with MPEG4 receivers the full benefit of that technology. (As most of these obsolete receivers are not capable of receiving MPEG4 due to an oversight by Shaw itself, this is an especially egregious failure.) This is not the only area where Shaw takes such a short sighted approach to technological upgrades on its Shaw Direct service. This is why I left Shaw Direct and it will prevent my return as a customer.
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post #24 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 11:45 AM
 
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easy next step is for ShawDirect to broadcast all it's channels in native resolution.
I think their is some confusion here on terminology.

The point is that SD does distribute broadcasts in its native resolution today. i.e./ SD simply passes through the signal it receives from the broadcaster which, as noted, is what they are supposed to do.

Issues with what is broadcast should be taken up with the broadcaster while issues with signal delivery should be taken up with the distributor.
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post #25 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 02:33 PM
 
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Wetware,

I would agree that there are nuances in the way that words are legitimately used in different contexts. The solution is to clarify and explain what is meant. Regarding native resolution, it is counter-intuitive to regard a television broadcast as having multiple natives resolutions (or even multiple natives aspects ratios) but I do understand your line of thinking from a BDU's processing perspective.

I trust we can all agree that

Quote:
Originally Posted by 57 View Post
Most programming today is 16:9 since it's originally HD or widescreen. What the broadcasters then do is send out 16:9 letterboxed, or crop the 16:9 to 4:3.
Thus the typical native aspect ratio today (as I would define it and use it) is 16:9, regardless of how the image is later degraded, spliced and diced and regardless of whichever division of Shaw, Bell or Rogers etc is doing the degrading, splicing and dicing.

I want to see movies and television programmes in their original native aspect ratios, even when Shaw Direct has (albeit by a series of poor decisions as described by ExDilbert) excessively limited the amount of HD channel space they have available to themselves. Hence the suggestion.

Last edited by Obed; 2015-02-15 at 02:48 PM.
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post #26 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 02:44 PM
 
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They are not allowed to under CRTC regulations.
That would not surprise me at all. Would you have a specific reference for that stipulation please?

As we know however, rules and regulations are regularly changed. On the assumption that the rule exists it can be changed.

Regarding the definition of terms, I am assuming your they is the same as my they.
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post #27 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 03:04 PM
 
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Many people also don't want their screens "forced" into 16:9 fullscreen because the original picture quality is often not that great with an SD channel.
Of course the picture quality is not that great with a "forced" degradation to a 4:3 letterboxed pseudo-standard definition channel. That is exactly my point.

Standard definition was based upon 480 lines.

What you are referring to only has the equivalent of 360 lines because of the black bands of wasted resource at the top and the bottom. That is not standard definition is it SUB-STANDARD definition.

With a 33% improvement in definition (from 360 back up to 480) you may well find that some of those "many people" will change their opinion.
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post #28 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Obed View Post
What you are referring to only has the equivalent of 360 lines because of the black bands of wasted resource at the top and the bottom. That is not standard definition is it SUB-STANDARD definition.

With a 33% improvement in definition (from 360 back up to 480) you may well find that some of those "many people" will change their opinion.
Again, this "sub-standard" has been done by the broadcaster and there is nothing that the service provider can do to get the resolution "back".

What may be possible, if allowed by the CRTC and the broadcaster (which it is not yet) is to use the HD channel signal by the BDU to provide better quality SD at the customer end. Most HD STBs have an SD output for those with SDTVs. However, this would require:

- that every customer has an HD STB (or one capable of receiving HD channels)
- that the CRTC and original broadcaster allow this
- that the SD channel is deleted from the lineup to recover bandwidth.
- the programming on the SD and the HD channel would need to be identical and that is not always the case.

At some future point this will be moot as there will be no SD broadcasts, which will be good.

For those channels that are SD only, there is nothing that the BDU can do by themselves to "recover" resolution lost at the broadcast stage.

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post #29 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 04:42 PM
 
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Again, this "sub-standard" has been done by the broadcaster and there is nothing that the service provider can do to get the resolution "back".
Again, I've already explained how technically this could very easily be done for those channels with an HD feed, which is the vast majority of them. No need to get hung up on the others (see my original post's "Sure if there are odd channels still in 4:3 keep them at 4:3, but as for the rest do them justice." ). Obviously we both already know the impossibility of recovering lost resolution - and even true facts of physics can be wrongly used in straw man argumentation.

Regulatory and contract permissions can very easily be done with a little will (especially for those broadcasters and BDU's under common ownership as you very well know).

In 1953 standard definition in this context had 483 visible lines.
62 years later it has 360 lines.

It is a no-brainer to fix it.

The real issue more likely resides in the fact that the BDU's and broadcasters are both under the combined ownerships of a handful of corporate giants. When the BDU's are permitted to charge extra for HD channels, it is no wonder that with this financial incentive they are also all aligned on degrading the standard definition signals well below what people used to regard as acceptable. They have been so successful at this sleight of hand, "many people" have bought into it even at the same time as complaining about the quality of standard definition.
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post #30 of 45 (permalink) Old 2015-02-15, 05:05 PM
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The real issue is that too many people want to hang onto their legacy SD receivers or analog cable and refuse to upgrade to HD receivers. That's true even of many people who have purchased HDTVs. Some of those SD receivers barely work, especially with modern digital signals, and they all use very inefficient encoding techniques. If BDUs could get rid of the 200 or so SD channels that some of them carry, they could add between 50 and 100 HD channels on satellite. For every analog channel removed on cable, up to 3 or 4 HD channels could be added. Subscribers would enjoy better quality TV signals even on legacy SDTVs. Alternately, the extra bandwidth could improve the quality on existing HD channels by reducing the amount of compression required. Cost per channel would also be reduced due to the removal of duplicate SD and HD feeds. Getting rid of SD is a win-win for BDUs and anyone with HD receivers. It's a relatively small, one time cost for people with SD receivers (now mostly 5 years old or more) and BDUs.
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