Should SD versions of HD channels go the way of analog?

ajc_trw

DTVUSA Member
#1
Verizon FiOS more than traditional cable systems as FiOS, IIRC, started as a digital cable service with some analog as opposed to traditional cable who started analog and added digital later on.
Should FiOS drop SD channels available in HD to make room for more HD channels? It would mean removing SD only boxes but the benefits would be worth it IMHO.

1) The decision of center-cut vs letterbox would be in the hands of the viewer, not Verizon who ultimately ticks off a good portion of its viewers regardless.
2) People with standard TVs will see an increase in PQ on HD channels.
3) People with HDTVs won't have to go to the "HD" section as all channels will share a common line-up.
4) Space will be freed up from SD VODs. Also see reason 1.

P.S.: The small SD converter boxes should have HD ready counterparts just as small if not the same size as Zenith DTT-901s.

All IMHO so YMMV. :bowdown:
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#2
2) People with standard TVs will see an increase in PQ on HD channels.
That's not really the case. Downconversion at the node is likely to be superior than downconversion at the STB.

You didn't list the problems with your approach. First and foremost among the problems is that it would render DTAs useless. Remember just how much work went into getting those DTA waivers, as a reflection of how much value they represent. That's not even mentioning how much it would cost to replace all the SD STBs with HD STBs. All that lost value and added cost would have to be made up with, somehow, by your approach, and I don't see anything that would come close to representing enough additional revenue to make up for it.

So basically I see calls for this to be little different from spending someone else's money. I suspect folks who support such an approach would be unlikely to foot the bill for its cost, i.e., having all HD subscribers (an only HD subscribers) subsidize all SD subscribers' superior boxes. Many HD subscribers already selfishly complain about having to pay more for the added value that they get -- just imagine how much they'd complain if they're now going to be paying yet-even-more to pay for the added cost of providing SD subscribers with HD receivers.

Also, I think you've oversold the benefits. The most notable benfit... the freeing-up of bandwidth... while of value, isn't really as significant as some would think. Generally, service providers provide about 45 HD channels for which there are ADS (SD) channels. That translates into space for only about 8 additional HD channels.
 

BCF68

DTVUSA Member
#3
Also, I think you've oversold the benefits. The most notable benfit... the freeing-up of bandwidth... while of value, isn't really as significant as some would think. Generally, service providers provide about 45 HD channels for which there are ADS (SD) channels. That translates into space for only about 8 additional HD channels.
So 8 is better than nothing. Then of course that 8 new HD channels don't need their SD counterparts so that'll free up enough bandwidth for another HD channel for a total of 9. I'll gladly take another 9 HD channels right now. Besides you don't see broadcasters sending out both a SD and HD version of the same channel over the air.
 

Yes616

The Mod Squad
#4
Someday this will be normal but not just yet. HD channels on SD do not look so great as on a 4:3 screen as you will either over scan or have the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen.

Someday there will come a time when almost everyone has 16:9 HD screens and then it will be time to say goodbye to standard definition. That day has not come yet.
 

BCF68

DTVUSA Member
#6
Right, but it doesn't justify as much of the other detriments I alluded to as, say, 45 more HD channels would. It actually only justifies a small fraction of what it may seem to justify.
At some point having both is redundant and pointless. I'd say when 95% of households have HDTVs then keeping SD digital is being wasteful.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#7
That's not really the case. Downconversion at the node is likely to be superior than downconversion at the STB.
I am not aware of any cable system that downconverts at the node. One would think that they'd do that at the headend.

Furthermore cable companies often get separate feeds for SD and HD, some of which even have different graphics from their HD OTA and HD cable counterparts on occasion. So some downconvert, some have the downconversion done for them.
 
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n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Verizon FiOS more than traditional cable systems as FiOS, IIRC, started as a digital cable service with some analog as opposed to traditional cable who started analog and added digital later on.
When FiOS started out they had analog. They dropped it because they faced the same issues as other cable providers - the analog channels were taking up valuable room for HD channels.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#9
I am not aware of any cable system that downconverts at the node. One would think that they'd do that at the headend.
Either way... still likely to be superior than downconversion at the STB.

Furthermore cable companies often get separate feeds for SD and HD, some of which even have different graphics from their HD OTA and HD cable counterparts on occasion. So some downconvert, some have the downconversion done for them.
Indeed, so downconverting at the STB definitely isn't going to be an improvement.
 

ajc_trw

DTVUSA Member
#13
They're not "crappy" they are just not as good as the HD feeds, even when the HD feeds are downconverted.
Agreed. :cheers:

My main point of downconverting the HD channel at the STB comes from my experience with OTA STBs. The HD signal converted to 480i always looked better than the cable SD counterpart.

Also, I get WMAR ABC 2 from Baltimore which downconverts their HD signal to SD to put on channel 2.2 (I'm guessing to handle the downconvert themselves rather than let the cablecos do it). In my experience the 720p downconverted looks much better than the 480i on my SDTV.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#14
My boss has cablevision and he said he thinks that there aren't any duplicate SD feeds anymore. I don't know for sure but I could believe that. I am fortunately no longer a cablevision customer so i cant tell for sure.
 
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