Originally Posted by CarlJF
.... Videotron advertises and sells their digital service has having better picture quality than analogue cable.
I agree with you. While the quality of each SD channel may be different, whenever the quality of the same SD channel is better in analogue than in digital, then Videotron has a serious problem.
In another thread I proposed an explanation for this. I imagined that Videotron has many satelite servers located all over its territory, one in each neighbourhood. Each satelite server receives high quality digital SD and HD images that are uncompressed using many very high bandwidth optical fibers coming from a central hub. Theses satelite servers re-create analogue SD signals for re-transmission to our homes and since there is no shortage of data capacity on the optical fibers, the analogue quality can be very high. But because the final distribution to our homes must pass over a single coax cable with a much lower capacity and given that this same coax must also carry VOD, and internet and VOIP telephone between a cluster of homes and the local server, Videotron has chosen to lower the bitrate for each digital SD channel.
Videotron must respect the channel bandwidth and channel spacing rules for analogue transmission which were established over 60 years ago. This standard assures a minimum quality for each analogue channel. I believe that one of the reasons that Illico cable boxes have become so inexpensive recently is because Videotron would like to eliminate analogue SD transmissions. Doing so would allow Videotron to make more money by recycling the analogue channels for use as digital channels.
The solution would be to have our homes linked by optical fiber instead of 75 ohm cable. We see fiber optic transceivers used in many industrial and commercial data processing applications. Given that many Videotron subscribers spend between $500 and $1000 per year for single or bundled packages, I can't understand why there hasn't been a desire on the part of the cable TV industry to make the final connections from the servers to the homes using optical fibers.
You are correct in stating that had you known about the limitations of digital cable, you might have chosen another supplier of speciality channels. The problem is that with any alternative supplier of a digital signal, whether using satelite, copper telephone lines, or cell phone antennas, there will always be pressure to reduce quality and increase profit. Only when subscribers can pay a tarif based on the quantity of data being purchased will we be able to strike a reasonable balance between quality and cost.