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HBO Moves to make all channels HD

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:01 PM   #16  
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Verizon has to use SOME kind of compression. The cable doesn't have enough bandwidth to carry uncompressed video.

I can understand your point. Were they distributing on coax you would be spot on. However, comma, one of the main selling points for FiOS when I put it in was that very point. As it happens, a former employee of mine is now one of the principal engineers at the head end in Richardson, TX. On a visit there, I've seen the signal flow. They don't compress. What comes in, goes out. Obviously there is a lot of processing and reclocking, combining, etc in order to put the stream together. But they do not alter the data rate or compress. What comes in goes out. The short haul from the ONT through your house to the STB needs to be in tiptop shape. There is provision for block switching at the ONT when the stream gets too wide for the short haul, but that is a ways down the pike.

They have plenty and more bandwidth for what they are doing now, and lots to spare. There is room for more channels (colors) on the fibers. Obviously, that means more gear on either end, but they are not up against the same brick wall as copper users are.

At present, all signals available are in the datastream presented to the ONT. VOD is switched into the stream as needed. We ran some tests after the install, and indeed, the streams are uncompressed. (I design & build TV Network facilities, and am fortunate to be able to lay my hands on a lot of nice expensive test gear). I was frankly astonished at what I saw coming out of the pipe. Compared to the CATV, DirecTV and DishNetwork feeds, it is night and day.

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:15 PM   #17  
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Let's be careful here... FIOS, the cable guys, the satellite guys are the distribution mechanisms... but the source signal ALWAYS has "compression." The issue is that to achieve higher "number of channels" it has been known a distributor applies additional compression (the infamous "HDLite").

AND we have documented cases where one of those signal sources (PBS) would multi-cast so much crap in their bandwidth that PQ was HUGELY effected (the most god-awful motion blur... on talking heads!).

As for FIOS, it is doubtful those living in multi-unit buildings may get fiber to their entertainment center. I live in a 40 unit, 10 story building and suspect when FIOS gets here it will be to the street outside, then copper the rest of the way. Which is damn close to what the local cable monopoly does... except I KNOW their fiber to copper point is around 150 feet away.

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Old 06-26-2007, 01:37 PM   #18  
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Default Compression

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Let's be careful here... FIOS, the cable guys, the satellite guys are the distribution mechanisms... but the source signal ALWAYS has "compression." The issue is that to achieve higher "number of channels" it has been known a distributor applies additional compression (the infamous "HDLite").

AND we have documented cases where one of those signal sources (PBS) would multi-cast so much crap in their bandwidth that PQ was HUGELY effected (the most god-awful motion blur... on talking heads!).
The point of my remarks has always been that unlike others, the FiOS system does not compress or alter the incoming signal. Obviously, they can't uncompress a signal any more than you can unscramble an egg. We are back to GIGO. In my experience, all the other delivery systems, CATV, Satellite, wet string, etc, alter the incoming signal to fit their "pipe". Indeed, there are OTA broadcasters who compress their incoming feed - witness a station in North Texas which is broadcasting two separate HD streams full time, over one OTA channel. C-W and FOX, I believe. Looks fair to crappy, but the average viewer at home won't know the difference.

You say "...(PBS) would multi-cast so much crap in their bandwidth.." - do you mean the local PBS broadcasting station? If so, OH, YES, BIG TIME! I don't believe their incoming streams look that bad, however, unless that particular station has severely limited incoming pipes. Most PBS stations get their main PBS feed from the PBS satellite distribution system, which is top drawer. There's a difference between the Network and the Local Station. PBS (The Network) is pretty cranky about their signal quality. What happens at the local broadcasting station's level can produce wayyy less quality than the Network's signal.

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Old 06-26-2007, 03:04 PM   #19  
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Verizon has to use SOME kind of compression. The cable doesn't have enough bandwidth to carry uncompressed video.




And you can change YOUR name to "Old Grouch". A grumpy bitter old man with nothing to contribute to the forum, except hate.

How can you say I contribute nothing to this forum???...

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Old 06-27-2007, 06:30 AM   #20  
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Were they distributing on coax you would be spot on. However, comma, one of the main selling points for FiOS when I put it in was that very point.
No. I meant EXACTLY what I said previously. You still have to use compression. Either MPEG2 or MPEG4 or some other lossy codec.

An uncompressed movie requires somewhere around 1000 gigabytes (~40 HD-DVDs), and 1,400 megahertz bandwidth. NO technology can do that.*
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The point of my remarks has always been that unlike others, the FiOS system does not compress or alter the incoming signal.
True. You did originally say, "The feeds are not compressed between their arrival at Verizon's head end and their arrival at my TV."




* (Actually it is possible to carry uncompressed video, but you'd only be able to carry ONE channel to each home, not hundreds.)

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Old 06-27-2007, 11:50 AM   #21  
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Default Transport and compression

Indeed, there is usually some form of compression used in long haul transport of digital signals. In the case of remote telecasts, I hand off the signal from the truck to a transport medium. THe signal I hand them is native uncompressed 1080, 720 or 480, depending on the wishes of my customer. In the case of most SDI trasmissions, audio is embedded in the datastream.

The transport then uses encryption and some form of compression to get the signal from the origination point (the side of my mobile unit) to the network HQ or other aggregation point. Then there is decoding, processing, branding, whatever else is done in packaging the final product before it is sent for distribution to local stations, the Head End In The Sky (trade mark), or however else the signal is sent to the transmission device prior to your reception via CATV, satellite receiver, fiber optics or off the air.

Local TV stations, Cable head ends, Satellite transmission companies, etc all may use some form or another of compression according to their business practice.

All, however, except for Verizon FiOS. In a conversation with several of the Senior Engineers and the Project Engineer overseeing the install of the head end for the North Texas area as we stood in their NOC, I was told several times "No additional compression is applied to any of the signals presented to us for inclusion in the Fiber Optic stream". "Whatever bitrate, whatever bandwidth is received, we retransmit it exactly as received". There is local commercial insertion on some channels, but other than that, they don't alter the incoming data stream except to translate it to their fiber transmission scheme.

So either the engineers were standing in their control room lying through their teeth or there is some part of this thread that is being misunderstood. The FiOS system doesn't need to degrade the signals they pass. The bandwidth of the fiber system is wayyyyy wider than that needed to send all the data than they presently send, leaving them plenty of room for expansion.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:46 PM   #22  
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The FiOS system doesn't need to degrade the signals they pass.
Neither does Cable. They could easily pass the DTV stream straight from NBC (for example) to each person's home. There's plenty of bandwidth on the cable's waveguide.

And many cable companies DO pass the source signal without modification.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:24 PM   #23  
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Neither does Cable. They could easily pass the DTV stream straight from NBC (for example) to each person's home. There's plenty of bandwidth on the cable's waveguide.

And many cable companies DO pass the source signal without modification.
If they have that much excess bandwidth, I wonder why they are so dead set against carrying each local station's analog (for the present) and digital streams, including the HD and the sub channels, as well as offering more of the HD streams from all the program providers? They certainly seem to be spending a lot of time and money fighting the Must Carry provisions for some reason.

I think that with a little research, comparing apples to apples, you will find that the amount of data (analog or digital) you can push along a piece of coaxial cable at practical power levels is a mere fraction of what you can push along a piece of fiber. Else I daresay we wouldn't have spent all the money we have spent on fiber systems for our cameras, we would be pushing 1080i down the same triax (a good grade of RG-11 with an extra shield) we have been using for 30 years. Fiber is a pain in the butt to us in our application owing to its relatively fragile nature, having to run separate conductors for power, the difficulty in reterminating cable in the field, expense of the cable and the connectors, and so forth. And Ma Bell would probably still be using the coaxial cable it used before the advent of microwave and then light guide, now more popularly known as fiber optics.

As to your statement that many cable companies do onpass the inbound signal without compression, well, maybe NTSC analog signals, but in my experience across the county, this isn't the case. It simply isn't possible to squeeze that much sausage into that size casing.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:32 PM   #24  
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If they have that much excess bandwidth, I wonder why they are so dead set against carrying each local station's analog (for the present) and digital streams....
Isn't it obvious? The company can make more if they only broadcast the DTV streams in the higher, more-expensive 100+ Tier. (For example if I wanted DTV versions of my local stations, I'd have to increase my Comcast bill from $45 to $90 a month.)

If the FCC forces Comcast to offer the DTV streams for free (must carry) as part of the basic package, then they'd collect less cash.




As for capacity, you only need 6 megahertz per HD channel. Cable can carry over 500 such channels without any loss.
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