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So, a "friend of a friend" gave me a USB stick that had a few episodes of Season 3 Breaking Bad on it, and in watching it on my 61" HDTV, I was blown away by how good the quality was. I mean, it's certainly a lot better than the "HDTV" quality I get from AMC via BellTV. And even compared to the first two seasons that I have on Blu-ray, I thought it looked a little cleaner.

Where are these people getting their raw material from for making these copies? Season 3 isn't available on Blu-ray yet.
Audio track #1 was Russian dubbed over top of the English, but how are they even getting the high quality video to start with?

What's the process here? Is HDTV in Russia that much better quality?
 

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I can speak for bell, but I know the "HD" through my cable company is overly compressed to the point its not much better than SD,
Even the VOD HD is compressed crap, way better off watching from the playstation store for cheaper

as for the download I can't see it being better than Blu-Ray, but I've seen downloads on par with Blu-Ray quality, but the file size is usually way up there, to fit a hole season on a usb stick would be a large usb stick, like 30+GB at least,
 

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I must admit that I am really impressed with the quality of some of the HD .mkv files I get via Bittorrent, the quality is stunning. Just watched the fisrt episode of the new series of Midsomer Murders. It was a 2.2Gig .mkv, a 90 minutes episode, fantastic quality, much better than some so called HD on Bell TV.
 

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I can speak for bell, but I know the "HD" through my cable company is overly compressed to the point its not much better than SD,
Although HD on my Rogers is always far better than SD, the HD is definitely not as good as it could be.

Picked up a $20 elcheapo powered antenna from Monoprice, and tried it to see what stations I could get. Clamped it onto my chimney, aimed it where I think the CN tower should be, and attached it to my Samsung 40" LCD TV.

For those stations that I could get both OTA and on Rogers, flipping back and forth showed a very clear difference - the OTA signal was brighter, cleaner, sharper, and had much better detail. Overall, the OTA signal was much better.

I have an HTPC. If I were to mount the antenna and run the cable to the HTPC and do HD captures, I would end up with TV shows and movies that are supieror to what we see from Rogers.

This could explain how downloaded shows seem better than what you get on your PVR.
 

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Digital OTA tv is equivalent (same number of pixel) than Bluray if transmitted in 1080i which is the case for most station. But the source also need to be full HD and not an upscale from an another standard.
Most recent compression algorythm are very efficient, like the x264 use in many compression tools.

Why would the most recent season episode look better than previous one even compressed could be that older season were not recorded in full HD or the processing quality of the bluray player. Also when station are broadcasting they process the image with thousand dollars equipments that have no comparison with your bluray player or your bell decoder.

I would suggest that you try an antenna on your tv and enjoy the station that you can get at your location in full HD.
 

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Audio track #1 was Russian dubbed over top of the English, but how are they even getting the high quality video to start with?
If there were multiple audio tracks, it was probably a pirated Blu-ray. Pirated copies are often available a few weeks before the retail release date. In some cases the pirates have contacts before it hits retail distribution, eg. foreign language dubbing.
 

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Unfortunately a lot of programs get re-encoded by the Canadian networks, noticeably damaging the HD picture quality. Then the cable/satellite distributors corrupt the image further with extreme compression in order to increase their profits and because they think customers aren't bright enough to notice the quality drop.

As for how the bootleg videos can be much smaller, a lot of those are 720p, so right off the hop that's 56% less pixel to encode (1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720 )

Then they drop some audio tracks and compress others to save more space.

They use superior video encodings which maintain the same quality at much smaller space. Unfortunately this technique isn't widely available outside of bootlegs. These strong video encodings need powerful decoding, which isn't always available on mass market STB equipment.

The encodings benefit from the advantage that they don't have to be real time, whereas networks and distributors need to encoding at near real time.

That's not to say they couldn't do it if they wanted to. It would require more computing horsepower for the encoding, and an investment in updated STB's.
 

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There are the HDTV versions which still show the channel bug in the corner (ie. Fox). But then there are WEBDL versions which apparently come from ITunes and have no bugs and are apparently better than the usual 1080i tv sources.
 

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Bob_Mtl said:
Digital OTA tv is equivalent (same number of pixel) than Bluray if transmitted in 1080i which is the case for most station. But the source also need to be full HD and not an upscale from an another standard.
You're right if by "equivalent" you mean half the pixels per frame at a much lower effective bit rate.
 
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