Is Video Quality of Recorded HDTV Shows From OTA Better Than From Cable/Satellite?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by jaykchan, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. jaykchan

    jaykchan Guest

    I would like to know if the video quality of a recorded HDTV show from
    OTA antenna is better than the same show that we receive from cable or
    satellite set-top box. Here, I am talking about using a PC to record
    the shows; I am not talking about using a DVR such as one of those that
    we rent from cable or satellite company.

    The reason I am asking is that I am under the impression that recording
    shows from cable or satellite set-top box into our PC will likely not
    be the best video quality. What I have heard are:
    1. Video from cable or satellite needs to be decode in the set-top box
    and convert from digital into analog. When the tuner in the PC
    receives the analog video signal, it needs to convert the video back to
    digital in order to save the video into our hard disk. This is not a
    direct path from digital video signal into our hard disk. The multiple
    conversions may degrade the video.
    2. The cable or satellite company only has limited space in their pipe
    feeding our home. If they need to condense a lot of pay-per-view
    channels into the same pipe, they need to degrade the video signal of
    all the other channcels.

    Is my understanding correct so far?

    My questions are:
    - Does the tuner in a PC that is connecting to a OTA HDTV antenna be
    able to avoid all those conversions mentioned above and directly save
    the digital video signal into our hard disk?
    - Does the HDTV video signal over-the-air take up the entire air wave
    that has been allocated to the HDTV channcel (such as public TV
    channel) -- instead of being splitted into further sub-channels?

    Thanks in advance for any info.

    Jay Chan
     
    jaykchan, Mar 17, 2006
    #1
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  2. jaykchan

    Ty Ford Guest

    I think you are on to something. OTOH, I have rarely seen better OTA HDTV
    than during the Utah WInter Olympics. The Greek and most recent Olympic
    broadcasts were a real let down for me. I THINK, perhaps because OTA stations
    are now multicasting and dividing their own bandwidth.

    It a shame because the Utah broadcasts were freaking stunning on my Sony 34"
    16:9 glass WEGA.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford




    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at www.tyford.com
     
    Ty Ford, Mar 17, 2006
    #2
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  3. jaykchan

    J. Clarke Guest

    If the signal coming out of the box is HD then it's digital carried on an
    analog carrier, there is no degradation, bits are bits no matter what's
    carrying them.

    If what's coming out is analog and not digital on an analog carrier then
    it's standard definition, not high definition.
    If there are digital to analog conversions then the video will be degraded.
    But other than component there is no analog standard for carrying HDTV so
    if there is even one digital to analog conversion you'll have SD.
    With analog video yes, with HD they'd have to decode and reencode the stream
    to degrade the signal, which I've never heard of any cable company doing.
    It extracts the digital signal from the analog carrier and records that to
    the disk.
    The signal takes up the entire allocated channel regardless of what data is
    being carried by it.
    First, I'm assuming that you're in the US. TV standards differ widely--when
    you ask TV questions you really need to say where you are so that someone
    conversant with the appropriate standards can advise you. I don't have
    occasion to deal with non-US TV systems so have no incentive to keep up to
    speed on them.

    Now, if you're recording an HD signal off of cable you're using QAM and
    getting the full digital stream, there is no digital-to-analog conversion
    stage. If you're recording off of the s-video or composite output of the
    cable box then you're getting standard definition, not high definition.
    The only way you would get analog HD into your computer would be to use an
    HD component capture board, which is pro equipment and quite costly if you
    can find one at all.

    If you're recording QAM the image should be the same as OTA. If you're
    recording component then there will be generation loss, whether it's
    noticeable or not depends on how good your hardware is. If you're
    recording s-video or composite, then you're not getting HD so there will be
    very noticeable degradation compared with OTA HD.
     
    J. Clarke, Mar 17, 2006
    #3
  4. jaykchan

    JoeA Guest

    How about bandwidth on digital cable?
    I've heard people say that Comcast (my CableCo) compresses each
    channel's signal in order to squeeze more channels in--and I have seen
    cable video pixillate on occasion (SD, not HD).
    Is this correct?

    J.Asling
     
    JoeA, Mar 18, 2006
    #4
  5. jaykchan

    eightsome Guest

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    eightsome, Mar 28, 2006
    #5
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