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is HD TV a con?

redsnappa 15 2.0k United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 4:25PM
The reason I ask is that week en I watched two football match on my HD Ready TV via a freeview box. During both matches the image quality was terrible with the picture often breaking up when the camera panned to follow the fast action of the games. I did not think too much about it at the time as this was behaviour I'd normally expect to see.

During the rest of my weekend viewing and flicking through channel noticed that the image quality my TV was displaying improved during news programs, the reality shows and most other channels, interesting I thought.

On Sunday I caught some of the coverage of the Masters Golf tournament and I was amazed at the superb quality of the image also there was none of the image break up that normally occurs when watching football not even when the camera panned to follow the fast moving golf ball. The only time I'd seen my TV create such superb images was a few years back during coverage of the Ashes.

My questions are:
Why does it appear that broadcasters throttle back the bandwidth on certain programs to persuade us to buy HD set top boxes?

If my TV can produce such high quality images without a HD box why don't broadcasters transmit every program at this high quality?

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User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Apr 2010 4:39PM
Because we have led the Americans hugely in the field of television technology for so long (one of the few areas where we do) HDTV in UK can appear a bit of a con.

If you go over the Pond and compare SD with HD over there, the difference is huge and you can see right away why the Yanks will happily pay for HD.

Because our standard digital TV definition was so much higher than the American standard to start with, the difference we see with HD is relatively less.

I get my HD via Freesat so I really only have one HD programme so far - BBC HD. On some programming I can detect a small improvement over BBC1 or 2 when they are simulcast but with other programmes I honestly cannot tell the difference.

But there, of course, is another aspect to this. Even non-HD programming such as BBC1, 2, 3, 4 and the ITV equivalents do give an artificially enhanced picture quality when viewed on a good HD TV receiver. I think different receivers "process" the non-HD digital signals in different ways, so there may be some differences of quality between manufacturers. I use a fairly modern LG 37" model and don't feel I have been conned. But, because the quality difference in UK is less marked than in USA, I would not pay money to, for example, Sky for more HD channels.
Graflex 15 488 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 4:50PM
Certain programmes are transmitted in HD,that's why programmes like the golf or Antiques Roadshow look bril on a normal HD set.(without using the HD set box at a cost).
Football I believe is broadcast in HD via Sky.

The day will dawn when everything will be broadcast in HD with the receiver built in.BUT they are now talking 3D and the former idea might be shelved.

Broadcasters are looking at all ways of making money so we will not live in a perfect world after all,in the meantime our eyes suffer...

I can't see Granny sitting in her front room wearing 3D glasses can you.She already has difficulty in finding her National Health ones.
Sparkleson 9 134 England
13 Apr 2010 5:03PM
At the moment unless you have Sky, Virgin or FreeSat all the channels will be in SD as there isn't enough free spectrum to broadcast programs in HD.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 5:10PM
Freeview Channel 50 is HD, and ITV will also have an HD channel soon on Freeview. To my knowledge there will be 4 HD freeview channels

BBC HD, ITV1 HD, Channel4 and SC4. But you need to have new STD MPEG4 decoders. Which is a pain as they only went on sale this month. So my 1 year old TV is already behind the times.

To be honest they have made a mess of the Digital Roll out to my mind,
13 Apr 2010 5:12PM
I have worked in the CTV/Telecoms industry and you are quite correct in your assumptions on the throttling of bandwidth.

Go into any shop like Tesco's and watch the TV display showing the difference between "Normal" picture quality and new "HD" picture quality.

If your old TV was producing picture quality as bad as this display is trying to get us to believe, old JLB would turn in his grave.
blueday 12 21 England
13 Apr 2010 5:31PM
I find watching through an "upscaling" device (I have a Sony hdd dvd 910 all analogue inputs) give an enhanced picture quality which, although not HD, is very good.

I feel another year for the digital changeover to complete the freeview broadcasting and perhaps things will improve?

"I get my HD via Freesat so I really only have one HD programme so far - BBC HD".

Time to retune Eric, there is now itv HD also there are others if you can retune manually!
Google your Freesat tuner for "other channels".
DOGSBODY 9 1.4k 30 England
13 Apr 2010 6:57PM
We needed to replace our old CRT tele just after Christmas so I decided to go the whole hog and get freesat and a Bluray player so that I could watch HD. I'm not that sure that HD is really all that it is cracked up to be. Nature programmes look superb but when you watch an ordinary programme like a drama the difference in quality is not that pronounced and you soon forget to look for the extra definition anyhow (at least I do).

Home movies should be better quality if shot in HD though.
redsnappa 15 2.0k United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 6:57PM
I refuse to buy hd as is seems the broadcasters are transmitting a low quality image to just to persuade me to buy hd but I may bur one of the upscaling devices blueday mentions
Clactonian 12 88 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 7:33PM
Having upgraded my TV to an HD ready model for use with my existing Sky box, I decided to 'go HD' when the latter gave trouble. I was already enjoying a superb picture and frankly struggled to see any great improvement.
With football matches the crowd was better defined but that's about it. Films are certainly no better.
All in all a complete waste of money.
User_Removed 8 1.4k England
13 Apr 2010 7:36PM

Quote:I refuse to buy hd as is seems the broadcasters are transmitting a low quality image to just to persuade me to buy hd but I may bur one of the upscaling devices blueday mentions

You're a nutter mate.
elconguero 12 34 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 7:49PM
If you buy an upscaling device, you'll need a HD ready set. The upscaled signal is only available through a HDMI connection AFAIK.
POD 8 22 England
13 Apr 2010 8:03PM
You say you’re watching you TV through a free view box; if the free view box is connected to the TV with a scart lead you will not receive a HD signal you must use a HDMI cable.
BigRick 12 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2010 8:34PM
I have an HD TV and joined Lovefilm as i also bought a blue ray player.... i can tell the difference in picture and sound (5.1 surround) and on films that are animated there is a HUGE difference.

I am glad i bought it as we watch lots of films. Smile
NikLG 12 1.7k England
13 Apr 2010 8:36PM
Freeview HD ( sans dish, unlike FreeSat ) is rolling out pretty soon, once the analogue has been switched off. You'll need a new box though ( and maybe TV.. ).
I can't get Freeview where I ma, so have Virgin. I was going to upgrade to HD on the weekend but, despite '£49 upgrade' slapped all over the website that only applies if you have the HD box as an extra box, and keep your old one. Might seem like a good idea, but having only 1 TV ( though I do have a second Virgin outlet...if you see what I mean.. ) I didn't see the point. 75 notes simply to upgrade....
I do watch HD films through my Xbox 360 though. That's pretty good. Streaming as well..so nno download times...

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