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post #91 of 121 Old 12-30-2018, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
Is this to provide an SD feed to local cable companies?
No idea. CableCos can do their own downconverts.

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post #92 of 121 Old 12-30-2018, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by unclehonkey View Post
I assume you are referring to KUTP 45 "Fox 10 Xtra" carrying a SD version of KSAZ Fox 10?
It probably has to do with KSAZ being on RF10 and issues with indoor antennas and VHF. So they simulcast it on RF45
Nope. 10.1 was FoxHD and 10.2 was FoxSD. If 10.2 was really on RF45, I wouldn't know that by looking at the TV.

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post #93 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mrvideo View Post
Nope. 10.1 was FoxHD and 10.2 was FoxSD. If 10.2 was really on RF45, I wouldn't know that by looking at the TV.
Yes, 10-1 is on VHF, while 10-2 is on UHF. For people with VHF issues, they likely see only 10-2.

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post #94 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 07:50 AM
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Since viewers will notice the picture suddenly going soft, the only thing you can do is strip out the high frequency detail all the time so the viewers won't notice that a channel is getting a lower bit rate occasionally.

I've noticed that some stations (mainly KOIN) have a noticeably softer image than they did five or six years ago based on recordings I still have from then. One station (KATU) appears to be removing high frequency detail and then sharpening it (adding low frequency detail) because most people just want a sharp-looking image on their televisions.

It looks like their goal for these stations is to make the picture quality somewhat better than standard definition but not much better. I think most viewers are happy with this.
I have also noticed this trend for the Atlanta stations, as more subchannels are added the original "Full HD" quality has gradually drifted downward as the high frequency detail is stripped out. I cut the cord back in 2016 but would be interesting to see whether the cable feed now exceeds the OTA quality, IF they are not using OTA as their source (!).

It's kind of startling now when I stream 1080i/p content, or watch a blu-ray disk, the image resolution really blows away the over the air "HD" channels. But the old saying about "content is king" does have some truth to it, since OTA still gets me the live news as well as the late night talk shows....for free.
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post #95 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tustinfarm View Post
I have also noticed this trend for the Atlanta stations, as more subchannels are added the original "Full HD" quality has gradually drifted downward as the high frequency detail is stripped out. I cut the cord back in 2016 but would be interesting to see whether the cable feed now exceeds the OTA quality, IF they are not using OTA as their source (!).
Even if the station is fiber-ing the signal to cable, it's unlikely they forked out the cash for a separate air chain just to give cable a better picture. I'm told it does happen, but it's rare. The only station I'm familiar with does this not for quality, but for targeted advertising. Cable gets sent different commercials than OTA.

Depending on the cable company, they'd probably rather have the lower-bitrate, anyway, as many already have bandwidth issues.

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post #96 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 11:56 AM
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Even if the station is fiber-ing the signal to cable, it's unlikely they forked out the cash for a separate air chain just to give cable a better picture. I'm told it does happen, but it's rare. The only station I'm familiar with does this not for quality, but for targeted advertising. Cable gets sent different commercials than OTA.

Depending on the cable company, they'd probably rather have the lower-bitrate, anyway, as many already have bandwidth issues.
Yeah, most just take the OTA signal and dump town 8VSBs onto a QAM. I suspect that Comcast may start taking higher bitrate fiber feeds when they covert to MPEG-4 to make their encoding job easier, but then they are going to cram them down to 3.8mbps MPEG-4, so you end up with garbage anyway. If the CableCos were really smart, they would take a high bitrate MPEG-4 feed from each station and stat mux 6 or 7 HDs per QAM and save on bandwidth AND get way better VQ, but no, they just take whatever crap the OTA stations give them and pass it through to the customer.
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post #97 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tustinfarm View Post
I have also noticed this trend for the Atlanta stations, as more subchannels are added the original "Full HD" quality has gradually drifted downward as the high frequency detail is stripped out.
Compared to Chicago or DC, Atlanta doesn't look all that bad. I could only find three dual HD stations: WHSG/63 and WATC/57 each air two HD religious channels, and WUVG/34 airs both Univisión y Unimás en 1080i. The next worst offender is probably the Ion affiliate, WPXA/14. According to RabbitEars.info it's simulcasting Telemundo (in SD) along with Ion's usual load of SD stations; if that's true, its main 720p subchannel probably doesn't look all that great. But Ion doesn't really air live sports; the bandwidth it has is probably OK for what it's showing.

I suppose PQ has gone down a bit over the last decade or so, with most Atlanta-area stations now airing two or more SD subchannels; even the CBS and Fox affiliates have given in and air multiple SD subchannels. Also, there's more 1080p and even 4K content available now, making OTA look worse than it used to simply by comparison.

I could see cable beating OTA's PQ in Chicago, but I'd be surprised if it beats OTA in Atlanta.
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post #98 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
If the CableCos were really smart, they would take a high bitrate MPEG-4 feed from each station and stat mux 6 or 7 HDs per QAM and save on bandwidth AND get way better VQ, but no, they just take whatever crap the OTA stations give them and pass it through to the customer.
I don't see cable shelling out to install parallel air chains at local television stations. That's a lot of expensive gear with no way to recover the cost. Plus, if they do it for a couple of stations, the rest will work that into their carriage negotiations, too. All for a PQ bump most customers will never notice and certainly won't want to pay more for.

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post #99 of 121 Old 12-31-2018, 05:54 PM
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[...] but then they are going to cram them down to 3.8mbps MPEG-4, so you end up with garbage anyway.
Actually 3.8 Mbps H.264 can look really great. But, there is a catch... it needs to be 2-pass encoded.
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post #100 of 121 Old 01-01-2019, 08:29 AM
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I don't see cable shelling out to install parallel air chains at local television stations. That's a lot of expensive gear with no way to recover the cost. Plus, if they do it for a couple of stations, the rest will work that into their carriage negotiations, too. All for a PQ bump most customers will never notice and certainly won't want to pay more for.
True. Comcast has proven that the people who still pay for pay TV are either too oblivious or too stupid to notice that their "HD" channels are actually DVD quality. So instead, they just pay for channels that are otherwise available for free OTA and get the exact same over-compressed mess.

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Actually 3.8 Mbps H.264 can look really great. But, there is a catch... it needs to be 2-pass encoded.
There's no way you can make 3.8mbps H.264 look good for movies or sports. Comcast actually looks fine for news channels.

EDIT: I see, you're talking about offline encoding, like Netflix. Yes, you can get way lower bitrates with offline encoding than with online encoding. Online encoding at 3.8mbps H.264 just doesn't work for movies or sports.

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post #101 of 121 Old 01-01-2019, 12:07 PM
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True. Comcast has proven that the people who still pay for pay TV are either too oblivious or too stupid to notice that their "HD" channels are actually DVD quality.
I'd say it's more just not a priority. Quantity over quality. You see it all the time. People want "their" programs, which happen to be spread out over a number of channels. And everyone's channel set is different. So, the service with the most choices wins.
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post #102 of 121 Old 01-01-2019, 01:00 PM
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Streaming was supposed to be the solution to that. Instead of sending every channel to every subscriber 24/7 (and so having to constrain the bandwidth of each channel so that forty-eleven gazillion channels can all fit on one coax cable), you just let each subscriber stream, say, three channels (one for Mama, one for Daddy, and one for the kids) over the Internet at one time, and let the subscribers decide what they want to watch.

For traditional "cable" channels, that model isn't bad: hence services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue, etc. (My apologies if I left your personal favorite in the "etc." bin.) But there's no guarantee that streamed local channels will have better PQ than OTA or cable. True, a local channel's stream wouldn't have to go through a statmux, but it still has to start at the local station, so the PQ depends on what the local station is willing to invest in its streaming infrastructure.

Of course, streaming comes with a downside too - no DVRing to skip commercials, time-shift, or the like. But since this thread is about PQ, it'd be interesting to hear folks' experiences with streamed local channel PQ. Is anyone getting better PQ via streaming than via OTA or cable? Worse? About the same?
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post #103 of 121 Old 01-01-2019, 03:48 PM
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I'd say it's more just not a priority. Quantity over quality. You see it all the time. People want "their" programs, which happen to be spread out over a number of channels. And everyone's channel set is different. So, the service with the most choices wins.
Comcast fails at that too. They have far fewer HD channels than DirecTV or other providers. It turns out that Comcast is a broadband monopoly in many areas and can use that leverage to sell their video services, combined with people being oblivious to what's right in front of them.

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Streaming was supposed to be the solution to that. Instead of sending every channel to every subscriber 24/7 (and so having to constrain the bandwidth of each channel so that forty-eleven gazillion channels can all fit on one coax cable), you just let each subscriber stream, say, three channels (one for Mama, one for Daddy, and one for the kids) over the Internet at one time, and let the subscribers decide what they want to watch.
SDV was the solution for cable providers, but Comcast never went down that road. It's not applicable to local channels though, as they are watched far too frequently to be on SDV. SDV is great for narrow niche cable channels that almost no one watches.

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post #104 of 121 Old 01-01-2019, 05:23 PM
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SDV was the solution for cable providers, but Comcast never went down that road. It's not applicable to local channels though, as they are watched far too frequently to be on SDV. SDV is great for narrow niche cable channels that almost no one watches.
You might be surprised at the channels that end up on SDV on different systems. Spectrum Detroit has The Weather Channel, BET and MTV among its SDV channels. Yeah... The Weather Channel. Unless there's something big, it's ignored, these days.

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post #105 of 121 Old 01-02-2019, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
Comcast fails at that too. They have far fewer HD channels than DirecTV or other providers. It turns out that Comcast is a broadband monopoly in many areas and can use that leverage to sell their video services, combined with people being oblivious to what's right in front of them.

SDV was the solution for cable providers, but Comcast never went down that road. It's not applicable to local channels though, as they are watched far too frequently to be on SDV. SDV is great for narrow niche cable channels that almost no one watches.
Not to appear ignorant, but what is SDV?
Sorry, found this... "SDV - Switched Digital Video - A method of broadcasting only channels that are currently tuned, rather than every channel offered at once."
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post #106 of 121 Old 01-02-2019, 07:22 AM
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True. Comcast has proven that the people who still pay for pay TV are either too oblivious or too stupid to notice that their "HD" channels are actually DVD quality. So instead, they just pay for channels that are otherwise available for free OTA and get the exact same over-compressed mess.



There's no way you can make 3.8mbps H.264 look good for movies or sports. Comcast actually looks fine for news channels.

EDIT: I see, you're talking about offline encoding, like Netflix. Yes, you can get way lower bitrates with offline encoding than with online encoding. Online encoding at 3.8mbps H.264 just doesn't work for movies or sports.
Most people watch their TVs at a distance to far away to notice. For instance most people I run into might be twelve feet away from a 55", 65", or 75" TV. Even at 75 inches that is too far away to see how bad Comcast really looks.

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post #107 of 121 Old 01-02-2019, 07:28 AM
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Streaming was supposed to be the solution to that. Instead of sending every channel to every subscriber 24/7 (and so having to constrain the bandwidth of each channel so that forty-eleven gazillion channels can all fit on one coax cable), you just let each subscriber stream, say, three channels (one for Mama, one for Daddy, and one for the kids) over the Internet at one time, and let the subscribers decide what they want to watch.

For traditional "cable" channels, that model isn't bad: hence services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue, etc. (My apologies if I left your personal favorite in the "etc." bin.) But there's no guarantee that streamed local channels will have better PQ than OTA or cable. True, a local channel's stream wouldn't have to go through a statmux, but it still has to start at the local station, so the PQ depends on what the local station is willing to invest in its streaming infrastructure.

Of course, streaming comes with a downside too - no DVRing to skip commercials, time-shift, or the like. But since this thread is about PQ, it'd be interesting to hear folks' experiences with streamed local channel PQ. Is anyone getting better PQ via streaming than via OTA or cable? Worse? About the same?
It is definitely better than on most of the streaming services I just tried. Because they were using other stations around the country instead of the DC ones. So I'm using sling TV right now. While you can record local news etc, which has quality basically the same, for the national content they are sending me a stream from a different station. I know one is from Texas. And the quality from that station is easily better than my recordings from DC OTA or FiOS.

The only bad thing is that I only have access to Fox and NBC on Sling Blue. So I need to use Hulu for ABC, CBS All access from CBS and OTA/FiOS for the CW. Well at least for now.

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post #108 of 121 Old 01-02-2019, 08:20 AM
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You might be surprised at the channels that end up on SDV on different systems. Spectrum Detroit has The Weather Channel, BET and MTV among its SDV channels. Yeah... The Weather Channel. Unless there's something big, it's ignored, these days.
Well, to be fair, look at what The Weather Channel has turned into. When is the last time you watched it? My point exactly. There's less than 50 HD channels that a lot of people watch often, the other 150 or so can be put on SDV to save a lot of bandwidth. Meanwhile, Comcast only has 120 total with severe over-compression due to their lack of SDV, lack of bandwidth, and lack of willingness to do regionalized stat muxes.

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Most people watch their TVs at a distance to far away to notice. For instance most people I run into might be twelve feet away from a 55", 65", or 75" TV. Even at 75 inches that is too far away to see how bad Comcast really looks.
That's also true. When you're 15' from a 55" TV there's no point to more than 720p.
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post #109 of 121 Old 01-09-2019, 08:13 PM
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Well, to be fair, look at what The Weather Channel has turned into. When is the last time you watched it? My point exactly. There's less than 50 HD channels that a lot of people watch often, the other 150 or so can be put on SDV to save a lot of bandwidth. Meanwhile, Comcast only has 120 total with severe over-compression due to their lack of SDV, lack of bandwidth, and lack of willingness to do regionalized stat muxes.



That's also true. When you're 15' from a 55" TV there's no point to more than 720p.
I think most people will notice motion issues and frame rate problems before resolution problems/perceived problems, especially when not watching still images.

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post #110 of 121 Old 01-09-2019, 08:21 PM
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Streaming was supposed to be the solution to that. Instead of sending every channel to every subscriber 24/7 (and so having to constrain the bandwidth of each channel so that forty-eleven gazillion channels can all fit on one coax cable), you just let each subscriber stream, say, three channels (one for Mama, one for Daddy, and one for the kids) over the Internet at one time, and let the subscribers decide what they want to watch.

For traditional "cable" channels, that model isn't bad: hence services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PS Vue, etc. (My apologies if I left your personal favorite in the "etc." bin.) But there's no guarantee that streamed local channels will have better PQ than OTA or cable. True, a local channel's stream wouldn't have to go through a statmux, but it still has to start at the local station, so the PQ depends on what the local station is willing to invest in its streaming infrastructure.

Of course, streaming comes with a downside too - no DVRing to skip commercials, time-shift, or the like. But since this thread is about PQ, it'd be interesting to hear folks' experiences with streamed local channel PQ. Is anyone getting better PQ via streaming than via OTA or cable? Worse? About the same?
A little better with OTA but not a huge difference vs. Sling and Direct TV Now. But all of our network affiliates here are owned by the networks so they have some serious money sunk into equipment.

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post #111 of 121 Old 01-09-2019, 08:27 PM
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True. Comcast has proven that the people who still pay for pay TV are either too oblivious or too stupid to notice that their "HD" channels are actually DVD quality. So instead, they just pay for channels that are otherwise available for free OTA and get the exact same over-compressed mess.



There's no way you can make 3.8mbps H.264 look good for movies or sports. Comcast actually looks fine for news channels.

EDIT: I see, you're talking about offline encoding, like Netflix. Yes, you can get way lower bitrates with offline encoding than with online encoding. Online encoding at 3.8mbps H.264 just doesn't work for movies or sports.
OTA is not given when you have valleys and mountains to contend with or for apartment dwellers that find a large building is being constructed right across from them.

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post #112 of 121 Old 01-09-2019, 11:21 PM
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OTA is not given when you have valleys and mountains to contend with or for apartment dwellers that find a large building is being constructed right across from them.
True. That is the case in certain situations. Still, having to pay for local channels in cable is maddening, as you can't unbundle them.
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post #113 of 121 Old 01-10-2019, 03:24 AM
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That's also true. When you're 15' from a 55" TV there's no point to more than 720p.
In baseband terms I agree - higher display resolutions need shorter viewing distances to make sense in display terms. However nothing is ever that simple is it?

720p is often compressed harder than 1080i/p, which itself is often compressed harder than 2160p, and compression artefacts on a 720p compressed signal will be larger (in relative 'on screen size' terms) to compression artefacts on a 1080i/p or 2160p signal scaled to 720p.

If you compare a received 720p signal displayed at 720p, with a received 1080i/p signal displayed at 720p, and a received 2160p signal displayed at 720p - you get a slightly different story.

Compression artefacts (particularly in systems with fixed macro-block sizes - like MPEG2) are much visible (as the source pixels for 'mosquito noise' and macro blocks are both larger and more visible) if a signal is carried via a 720p compressed route than a 1080i/p or 2160p compressed route.

This is one reason why SD broadcasts on an SD display often look far worse than an HD broadcast displayed on an SD display (and this is without NTSC composite footprints being involved)

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post #114 of 121 Old 01-11-2019, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
In baseband terms I agree - higher display resolutions need shorter viewing distances to make sense in display terms. However nothing is ever that simple is it?
True. There's a lot more to it than resolution. Higher resolutions aren't necessarily less compressed, although that's often the case. That being said, it remains the case that if you're too far away from a too-small TV, then higher resolutions are of marginal, if any benefit. I just moved and got my 65" 4k TV set up about 7' from my seat and it's amazing.
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post #115 of 121 Old 01-12-2019, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
OTA is not given when you have valleys and mountains to contend with or for apartment dwellers that find a large building is being constructed right across from them.
Radio waves have an incredible ability to get around things. I've stayed in hotels in large cities in the middle of downtown facing the wrong direction and was always able to watch HDTV on my laptop with a little antenna in the window.
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post #116 of 121 Old 01-12-2019, 07:52 PM
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I've been amazed too. A nearby auto dealer has the TV in their service dept. waiting area hooked up to an indoor antenna (specifically, a Terk HDTVi) but the direction to the towers is completely blocked by the service area. Yet, you can usually find a "hot spot" for the antenna....

The drawback, though, is that it depends on the channel you're watching, as the "hot spots" are frequency dependent. Also depends on your tuner, since their ability to deal with multipath can vary greatly. So you may have to hold your mouth just right while watching....

All that said, there's a big difference between a building blocking your signal (where you can often pick up a reflection) and mountains blocking it. Ask @JoeKustra , who lives in a valley making OTA reception essentially impossible.
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post #117 of 121 Old 01-12-2019, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
I've been amazed too. A nearby auto dealer has the TV in their service dept. waiting area hooked up to an indoor antenna (specifically, a Terk HDTVi) but the direction to the towers is completely blocked by the service area. Yet, you can usually find a "hot spot" for the antenna....

The drawback, though, is that it depends on the channel you're watching, as the "hot spots" are frequency dependent. Also depends on your tuner, since their ability to deal with multipath can vary greatly. So you may have to hold your mouth just right while watching....

All that said, there's a big difference between a building blocking your signal (where you can often pick up a reflection) and mountains blocking it. Ask @JoeKustra , who lives in a valley making OTA reception essentially impossible.
Very frequency dependent with UHF, High VHF can be pliable but UHF can be very line of sight.

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post #118 of 121 Old 01-13-2019, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
Higher resolutions aren't necessarily less compressed, although that's often the case. That being said, it remains the case that if you're too far away from a too-small TV, then higher resolutions are of marginal, if any benefit. I just moved and got my 65" 4k TV set up about 7' from my seat and it's amazing.
True - but the compression artefacts (mosquito noise, block size etc.) are also relatively smaller, so in comparison to lower resolution video seen at the same distance and on the same lower resolution display, they look cleaner. (Mosquito noise in particular can often be less visible when a decent filtered downscale is used)
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post #119 of 121 Old 01-14-2019, 12:02 PM
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The particular channels I "experimented" with were both UHF, but fairly low frequencies (specifically RF 19 and RF 24, on two different occasions). I suspect the dealer's setup wouldn't have worked so well up around RF 48, but I wasn't about to start changing channels in front of a room full of customers. I just moved the antenna (including shortening the rabbit ears; unneeded for those channels) to try and stop the pixelation and dropouts that were annoying me, and was surprised at how successful that was.
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post #120 of 121 Old 01-14-2019, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
True - but the compression artefacts (mosquito noise, block size etc.) are also relatively smaller, so in comparison to lower resolution video seen at the same distance and on the same lower resolution display, they look cleaner. (Mosquito noise in particular can often be less visible when a decent filtered downscale is used)
That has more to do with codec than resolution. H.264 and H.265 have much less mosquito noise and smaller macro blocks.
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