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skottey
06-22-2008, 04:32 PM
Today I did a comparison between CNN HD on DirecTV and the newly added CNN HD on BHN.

My hookup-
I currently have my BHN box hooked up via HDMI (looks better than component on my Sony HD set) and my fairly newly subscribed DirecTV box (about six weeks) is hooked up via component still (I have an HDMI 4 device switch on the way for both HDTVs). Having had both BHN and Dish Network, I stand behind the HDMI looking better than component on this particular Sony HDTV with any tested source (including Xbox360, Dish Network 622, BHN HD box). I have not yet hooked my DirecTV H21 up via HDMI. But in general, HDMI is known to look better than component (I realize not always) but this has been the case with my Sony HD television.

The comparison-
I tuned to CNN HD on both my BHN box and DirecTV. I then switched back and forth between video inputs, in a non-scientific eyeball examination of CNN HD on each source. Keep in mind, DirecTV is using the component connection, which in general looks worse on this television.

The Results-
1- CNN HD on DirecTV is about 5 seconds ahead of CNN HD on BHN. I'm not sure why BHN has such a delay.

2- CNN HD looks far better to the naked eye on DirecTV than it does on BHN. In fact, I got macroblocking on BHN during my trial. But even when it wasn't pixelating, the BHN picture was washed out and not nearly as sharp.

My thoughts-
I hope this is not a sign of things to come with BHN once they start using SDV (if this isn't SDV already). It is entirely possible they are feeling pressure to add channels and reducing bandwidth (think HD Lite) in order to squeeze in channels. I often (almost always) found BHN HD to have a better picture on the same channels as Dish Network HD last year when I subscribed to both, but that is clearly not the case when comparing DirecTV to BHN. DirecTV is far better to the naked eye. I'll test again when I have both hooked up via HDMI later this week and compare some other channels. DirecTV looks great now, it should be even better with HDMI.

Your thoughts-
Anybody else do a comparison test yet? How about BHN vs. FIOS. Oh wait, I don't think FIOS gets CNN HD yet. But you could test other channels.

bdraw
06-22-2008, 05:17 PM
This has been my experience as well between BHN and DirecTV's new MPEG4 HD channels, but it has been almost a year since I had BHN.

I did have DirecTV and FiOS at the same time last year and while the PQ is almost identical, when the signal would block (likely do to the source as both blocked) it would take the DirecTV signal longer to clear up. I assume this is because DirecTV is transcoding from MPEG2 to MPEG4, so it takes the encoder a little longer to recover. Either way, I don't see anyone choosing FiOS or DirecTV based just on PQ, especially considering the lineup. (DirecTV has the best in the industry while FiOS has one of the worst).

I did my testing on a Pioneer PDP-6010FD connected via component.

AmelFl
06-23-2008, 09:26 AM
thanks guys for the comparison

anyway to put some pictures up skottey?

skottey
06-23-2008, 09:54 AM
thanks guys for the comparison

anyway to put some pictures up skottey?

I can do that. Later today perhaps.

DSquare
06-23-2008, 10:52 AM
One of the my wish's with the updates on the software is to show bitrates. Kind of like either put up or shut up. Show us how good your HD channels are. Same with FiOS. They say they just pass the signal along then there should be no shame on displaying the bitrates for the channels.

bdraw
06-23-2008, 03:56 PM
Actually I kinda agree with them not doing this, there are just too many people who incorrectly believe that more bits ALWAYS means better PQ. Trust your eyes.

It would be interesting for us geeks who want to compare though.

skottey
06-25-2008, 12:50 PM
I took a few screenshots but even with a 7.1 megapixel camera, could not capture fully the difference between the two providers. You can kinda see the sharpness in the DirecTV screenshots (especially the 2nd) as opposed to the softer, washed out image of BHN, but the difference is more obviously clear in person. Sorry I couldn't get better shots.


CNN HD on DirecTV
http://www.floridapcpro.com/2008/cnn_directv1.jpg
http://www.floridapcpro.com/2008/cnn_directv2.jpg

CNN HD on BHN
http://www.floridapcpro.com/2008/cnn_bhn.jpg