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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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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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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.

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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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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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

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.
 

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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. :D
 

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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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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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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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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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Shaw Direct does not "broadcast" - they are a service provider.
Some actual Canadian specific definitions:

2. (1) In this Act,
“broadcasting”
« radiodiffusion »
“broadcasting” means any transmission of programs, whether or not encrypted, by radio waves or other means of telecommunication for reception by the public by means of broadcasting receiving apparatus, but does not include any such transmission of programs that is made solely for performance or display in a public place;

“broadcasting receiving apparatus”
« récepteur »
“broadcasting receiving apparatus” means a device, or combination of devices, intended for or capable of being used for the reception of broadcasting;

“broadcasting undertaking”
« entreprise de radiodiffusion »
“broadcasting undertaking” includes a distribution undertaking, a programming undertaking and a network;

“distribution undertaking”
« entreprise de distribution »
“distribution undertaking” means an undertaking for the reception of broadcasting and the retransmission thereof by radio waves or other means of telecommunication to more than one permanent or temporary residence or dwelling unit or to another such undertaking;

“network”
« réseau »
“network” includes any operation where control over all or any part of the programs or program schedules of one or more broadcasting undertakings is delegated to another undertaking or person;

“programming undertaking”
« entreprise de programmation »
“programming undertaking” means an undertaking for the transmission of programs, either directly by radio waves or other means of telecommunication or indirectly through a distribution undertaking, for reception by the public by means of broadcasting receiving apparatus;
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/B-9.01/page-1.html#docCont

ShawDirect is:
- a distribution undertaking, and,
- a broadcasting undertaking, and,
ShawDirect does:
- broadcast by radio waves for reception by the public.

Q.E.D.
 

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My word "broadcast" was in quotation marks for a reason - so that it was possible to distinguish between a "channel" that "broadcasts" and a BDU (that rebroadcasts?).

There are some "broadcasters", like specialty channels (non-OTA) that don't actually broadcast because they don't "transmit" in the traditional sense, rather they can send their signals via fibre for example directly to the BDU .

So, my differentiation was a means to distinguish the "broadcasters" from the BDUs, although I'm sure you knew that.

The water is even muddier than that though since some BDUs, like Rogers, Bell, Shaw own "broadcasters" like Global, CTV, etc.

Your use of the term Q.E.D. indicates that you wish to be known for having superior logic. You may feel that way if you wish.
 

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The definitions were also in quotation marks at source. The way to have meaningful terms is to explain your own meaning and usage and apply understanding and nuance when reading and hearing others.

Issuing blunt corrections that are neither generically true, nor even reflective of the technical definitions with quotation marks do nothing to promote cordial discussion on this board. With regard to the Q.E.D. you will interpret that as you will, for my part my attitude when posting was more of "sigh... I wish it was not necessary" in the original context of "which had to be proven".

Thank you for taking the time to explain your perspective also.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
No idea if this will ever amount to anything, but I got a pop-up on the SD site today for a survey. Some of the questions were hardware related, including how interested I would be in whole-home PVR, live TV apps, the ability to record more than 2 channels at once, would I like more storage space etc. If you get the pop-up, I encourage you to complete it
 

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I spoke to a tech support guy last week and asked about whole-home-PVR. He was quick to jump in with, "Well it's a lot more difficult to do that with satellite. Much easier with cable."

Hopefully that doesn't mean we won't get one.
Yeah, it's so difficult that no satellite provider anywhere is able to do it. [/sarcasm]

Typical CSR response from a person who knows nothing. Dish's Hopper is now officially 3 years old, and DirecTV's Genie will be 3 years old later this year. So Whole-Home DVR can be done, it's just whether or not the provider wants to spend the money to get the technology, which Shaw Direct (not Shaw Cable, who already has it) clearly doesn't want to do (though mind you they should be upgrading soon, since August 2015 marks the 5-year anniversary since they launched the 630).
 

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"Well it's a lot more difficult to do that with satellite. Much easier with cable."
Which is total hogwash. It can be done just as easily. The 630 is basically 10 year old technology. Whole home PVR is the new standard and Canada's satellite providers are, as usual, 5 years behind the times.
 

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rpokane, different encryption methods, Shaw uses Digicypher, Direct uses Dss videoguard, where as Dish and Bell both use Nagravision.
 

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OK
Again (out of curiosity), how hard would it be for SD to change to Dss videoguard?
Wouldn't access to more relevant/tested hw be worth it?
 
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