TCM-HD Discussion - do they use HD Masters? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-08, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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TCM-HD Discussion - do they use HD Masters?

In the following thread rauschpfeife stated that the movies on TCM-HD were upconverts from the SD channel. I found that difficult to believe, based on experience from other channels that have both HD and SD movies. (since then, rauschfpfeife has been shown to be correct)

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...72#post1109672

Nevertheless, rauschpfeife and I exchanged some PMs in the past few days and rauschpfeife has indicated that he has information indirectly from TCM that they indeed do upconvert, rather than use HD masters for the HD channel.

Based on these exchanges, today I recorded both the SD and HD version of Dr. Zhivago and can clearly (pardon the pun) state that the version on the HD channel did indeed leave something to be desired in terms of quality.

So, despite there being HD masters available for these movies (as seen on other channels), TCM-HD may not be using the HD masters for their movies.

Since TCM-HD airs a lot of older (and some very old) movies, especially B&W, it's often difficult to discern if they are HD masters or not, since the original quality may not be that great. Of course, great films, if properly stored and telecined can look great (and HD) since they have more than enough "resolution" as discussed in the following thread/post.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...673#post950673

So, we open this thread to comments.

rauschpfeife has indicated that he has some screen captures and I look forward to seeing them.

Edit - See post 10 of this thread for my screen shots.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-09, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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More confusion - after giving this some additional thought, if they're airing upconverts and not HD Masters, why are there blackout issues on the HD channel as discussed in the following thread?

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=117585

Perhaps they have to pay more for the second channel, even if it's not using HD masters?


BTW, TCM SD is DD2.0, while the TCMHD is (mostly?) DD5.1, but that can be accomplished as discussed in the following post with an "upmixer":

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=64024

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-09, 03:34 AM
 
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The objective of this quick test was to evaluate the assertion of whether TCM HD is showing true HD material, or whether it is at least sometimes feeding upconverted SD material. TCM concentrates on older movies, which complicates this somewhat. However they ran "Doctor Zhivago" recently, which is plenty modern enough to be of very high image quality. It is also convenient because I have a recording of this film from another network, that was fed in HD.

These comparisons are best done directly from the raw data. I use R5000s to capture the original transport streams fed by the provider, which obviates any additional conversions and compressions. I'm a newbie here and cannot post images directly. Normally I'd simply upload these to my own server, but per mod request I've trudged through flickr for the first time and hope this link works:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5095795...812461/detail/

I have a whole movie of frames to compare, but I started with an opening credits frame, as these often have a fair amount of detail. The first couple of full-size frames at flickr are the originals as output from the codec for both TCM HD and the HD reference.

The HD reference is not that good, but a casual examination should identify fairly drastic differences in resolution. To make this trivial, I zoomed a portion of both frames 500% without interpolation and included these subframes on flickr. As a final exercise, I took the HD reference and downconverted it to SD, and then upconverted the SD back to HD. If you compare this dual-converted subframe to the TCM HD subframe, one finds the dual-converted image to have a bit more resolution than the TCM HD subframe. This is not surprising, but indicates the master TCM used for their HD feed was almost certainly only SD.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-09, 09:47 AM
 
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Based solely on my own observations, I'd say TCM HD airs SD upconverts the majority of the time, but there does seem to be the occasional title that is broadcast in true HD.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-09, 10:37 AM
 
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Worth appears to be correct.

This exact issue has been discussed thoroughly on U.S. forums. Apparently, by their own admission, the vast majority of TCM HD's offerings are, in fact, upconverts. They only began showing true HD last November with a couple of titles. They plan to increase the percentage of true HD, but admit it's going to be a long process.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-09, 01:15 PM
 
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I wasn't there, but at a panel discussion at their Classic Film Festival in April TCM allegedly said all material on TCM HD is currently upconverted from SD.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-06-28, 10:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VuMax View Post

They only began showing true HD last November with a couple of titles.
Where does this info come from. From what I've read, TCM HD has yet to broadcast anything in hd. I've had the channel since it launched on Bell TV, and have never seen a hd broadcast.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-07-06, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lars View Post
Where does this info come from. From what I've read, TCM HD has yet to broadcast anything in hd. I've had the channel since it launched on Bell TV, and have never seen a hd broadcast.
Their broadcast of Gladiator was definitely real HD. I've seen one or two other titles that I'm pretty certain were HD as well, but I can't remember what they were.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 2010-07-06, 08:43 PM
 
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I didn't see this broadcast, but if " Gladiator " was shown in hd it didn't get any notice on the American forums I've seen.

Personally I don't think TCM has the capability yet to show anything in hd. Robert Osborne's introductions are still in sd. They could be taping these spots in hd for future use, but I'm guessing they are shown in sd today because the infrastructure for broadcasting in hd isn't there.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 2011-05-22, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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To follow up on this discussion from last year, I was finally able to record an HD version of Dr Zhivago recently on PBS. So I have TCM-SD, TCM-"HD" (upconvert) and PBS-HD below. I zoomed into some small writing in the opening credits with my camera. No digital zoom or processing, only cropping to fit 600 pixels wide as requested by this site.

You can clearly see the differences with the roman numeral year unreadable in SD, with TCM-HD (actually an upconvert as discussed in this thread) a bit better, but with the PBS-HD clearly readable, as is the Metro part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. With proper positioning on your browser, you should be able to see all three photos.

TCM-SD:


TCM-HD (Upconvert)


PBS-HD


Interestingly, the PBS movie had the opening credits OAR, however, the movie itself was cropped to 16:9, whereas TCM kept the OAR for SD and HD airings, so I didn't photograph the movies themselves, which also showed obvious clarity differences.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 2012-01-07, 07:14 PM
 
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Ken H a moderator at AVS forums who sometimes posts in this forum has posted a new official quote from TCM regarding their hd channel on Jan. 4th 2012 on AVS.

Quote: " TCM's programming is currently upconverted. In its upconverted form, TCM is sharper than standard definition. Also, many movies in wider formats are easier to watch in HD, which makes the viewer experience better. We've received many positive comments from our viewers about TCM HD. We expect to offer TCM in native HD in the future. "

So the timeline for TCM to start showing native hd is very vague, they at least acknowledge that all their programming is upcoverts.

Last edited by 57; 2012-01-07 at 11:56 PM. Reason: Moved to appropriate thread.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 2012-01-07, 07:36 PM
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The main advantage to TCM HD is that widescreen movies are broadcast at full screen width, not 4:3 letterboxed widescreen. That results in a much sharper image for those movies.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 2012-01-16, 07:12 PM
 
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Anyone else notice that WS movies on TCMHD still do not fill the sides of your 16:9 screen?

I still have very thin black bars on the sides, does anyone know why this is. It is the only HD channel that I see this on.

Once you go Plasma you will never go back.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 2012-01-16, 10:56 PM
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^^^^
I have also seen that on PBS with British shows.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 2012-01-17, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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I'm guessing this is due to the way they are scaling their movies. Since these are upconverts, they are also "zoomed" and TCM can zoom by whatever percentage they like. Perhaps the picture quality would suffer too much if they zoomed more. Or perhaps the zoom setting they used was for a previous movie that was perhaps an aspect that was not exactly 1.78:1 - say 1.7:1 (there are such movies since aspects can vary from about 1.1:1 to 2.8:1). They would then zoom so that the top touched and the sides were slightly black. (speculation)

Unlike most TVs, they can probably zoom by any percentage they like. I can confirm that the movie "Black Girl" airing right now has a small black border all the way around. This is with my TV set to zero percent overscan. TCM could also be "zooming" for TVs with the (more standard) 3% overscan in which case there would be no black bars/borders on most movies, except for movies with an aspect higher than 1.85:1, or lower than 1.7:1

0% Overscan FAQ: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...236#post793236

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