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actual resolution of cable HDTV


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#1 Dan Goulder

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 11:46 PM

Does anyone know if the HD content that is currently being offered over cable systems is full 1920 x 1080, or is it more of the 1280 x 768 variety? No one at the cable company seems to have a clue. Most consumer hi-def TVs tend to be 1280 x 768, and I was wondering if a 1920 x 1080 monitor would be worth the extra investment, or if it would be overkill. Thanks.
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#2 David Cox

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 02:06 PM

Does anyone know if the HD content that is currently being offered over cable systems is full 1920 x 1080, or is it more of the 1280 x 768 variety? No one at the cable company seems to have a clue.  Most consumer hi-def TVs tend to be 1280 x 768, and I was wondering if a 1920 x 1080 monitor would be worth the extra investment, or if it would be overkill.  Thanks.

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You might consider that it is worthwhile having the higher resolution if you took the view that you might get a HD-DVD or Blu Ray DVD player in the future, as they have the potential to supply 1920 x 1080 feature films. Also, you might justify it if you use your big screen to show the output of your computer - for stored HD images and for your digital stills.

Using the points above you can justify to yourself your new toy regardless of what the broadcasters send out ;)
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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:53 PM

You might consider that it is worthwhile having the higher resolution if you took the view that you might get a HD-DVD or Blu Ray DVD player in the future, as they have the potential to supply 1920 x 1080 feature films. Also, you might justify it if you use your big screen to show the output of your computer - for stored HD images and for your digital stills.

Using the points above you can justify to yourself your new toy regardless of what the broadcasters send out  ;)

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Specifically, I'm looking to set up a standardized monitoring arrangement where I can A B my work, which is currently 35mm transferred to HD D5, to the HD that's coming over the cable. My material is being transferred in full 1920 x 1080, and I'm just trying to verify if that same resolution is what's coming off HD cable. If the cable resolution is anything less, then it will throw off the results. (Of course, if I make the contemplated switch to HDCAM SR, that will probably further confuse the issue.)
By the way, am I correct in assuming that HD D5 is the format that most film-originated material is currently being transferred to, and thus broadcast from? Thanks.
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#4 David Cox

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 06:08 PM

Specifically, I'm looking to set up a standardized monitoring arrangement where I can A B my work, which is currently 35mm transferred to HD D5, to the HD that's coming over the cable.  My material is being transferred in full 1920 x 1080, and I'm just trying to verify if that same resolution is what's coming off HD cable.  If the cable resolution is anything less, then it will throw off the results.  (Of course, if I make the contemplated switch to HDCAM SR, that will probably further confuse the issue.)
By the way, am I correct in assuming that HD D5 is the format that most film-originated material is currently being transferred to, and thus broadcast from? Thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes - HD D5 has been the most used format for film work, because the original HD-CAM standard was thought to be too heavily compressed. Now HD-CAM SR offers some benefits because it is able to record 4:4:4 RGB whereas HD-D5 is 4:2:2. However, there are over 300 HD-D5 machines in Hollywood alone and so Sony have their work cut out getting people to ditch their very, very expensive HD-D5 decks. Thats more for work destined to be returned to film though, rather than for TV. I'm sure many companies feel that HD-CAM is "fine for TV" as the decks are cheaper than HD-D5.

As for comparing your work over cable, remember that apart from resolution there is also compression to consider. Your digital cable transmitions are likely to be heavily compressed using MPEG2 (or newer Mpeg 4 if you are lucky) and this will add various artefacts and degradation that will also colour your ability to make judgments. Here in the UK, some of the digital (SD) channels transmit down less than 2Mbits per second (slower speed than my internet connection!) and this represents a compression ratio in excess of 120:1 compared to an uncompressed digital SD signal. This mainly manifests itself as reduced shades and obvious banding, especially in the low lights, and oddities with large amounts of movement in a frame (such as a full screen of forest leaves etc)

david cox
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baraka.co.uk
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 07:54 PM

Thank you, David. I appreciate your input. Point taken.
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#6 Michael Most

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 01:01 AM

Specifically, I'm looking to set up a standardized monitoring arrangement where I can A B my work, which is currently 35mm transferred to HD D5, to the HD that's coming over the cable.  My material is being transferred in full 1920 x 1080, and I'm just trying to verify if that same resolution is what's coming off HD cable.  If the cable resolution is anything less, then it will throw off the results. 


Resolution is the least of your issues. Broadcast HD is compressed by a ratio of more than 100:1. If you expect to see some kind of transparency to the original master, or expect to perform some kind of sensible comparison, you're being a bit overly optimistic. That said, I've always felt that the fidelity to the original image in HD broadcast is quite good, even with that level of manipulation.

BTW, not every network uses 1080/60i as their broadcast standard. ABC (and that includes other Disney owned networks, ESPN in particular) and Fox both use 720/60p, so if your material is airing on either one of those networks there is no chance that your cable company or anyone else is going to get a 1080i original signal in the first place.
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