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Comcast downgrading all 1080i HD channels to 720p

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Message 151 of 212
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Not sure if this was sarcasm or not but I did report it to the FCC and contacted Comcast about it. I know a policeman who is also not happy with the PQ if that counts... Smiley Happy 

 

I filled a complaint with the FCC and submitted feedback to comcast

https://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-support/vp-contact-form

They did reply but said this was an upgrade.....

 

If interested, here is one of our other threads on this topic

http://forums.xfinity.com/t5/Channels-and-Programming/Bring-back-1080i-VIDEO-for-HBO-Hallmark-AMC-Br...

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Message 152 of 212
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It is what it is. I'm not a comcast employee, am a former maintenance tech, and still use their service. True most of their customer service seems to be subpar and most of the replies, should probably have the signature "comcast bot", but that's because, no one that answers for them here are far enough up the tech ops chain to give a clear answer. But I'll throw my 2 cents in, from a technical standpoint. We all want 1080i, and 4k HD, heck most of us could care less about any SD programming. But in the world of HFC (Hybrid fiber coax) it's not that simple, as everything has a data rate. For instance, a single HD 1080i MPEG2 action film can at one second, consume roughly 15 megabits of information in a single EIA QAM256 channel. Those channels peak at 38 megabits. So mathematically they used to put 2 HD channels and one SD channel in the EIA. But now, we are demanding faster internet speeds, both on the download and upload. Well, more bandwidth gets consumed, so more things have to change. On comes MPEG4. Now they can cram more video channels into an EIA, great. But still it's not enough, we (and I am guilty of it to) want more. Well to give us more they have to do things that do not seem logical, but remember sometimes to go forward, you have to go backwards. So now, in order to free up bandwidth to increase upload speeds and download speeds of our internet, they have to move more channels into a QAM256 EIA. And MPEG4 allows them to do it at a resolution level. So, they're doing what needs to be done at that standpoint to get to the next level. As far as complaining to the FCC...i laugh at comments like that. There is no violation, in anything. They never have advertised full 1080i HD....just HD. And according to all standards, 720p is the beginning of the HD resolution. Contacting the networks, they don't care. Why? Almost every channel that we receive on our lineup, comes in at MPEG4 1080i. ESPN one decoder/transcoder that takes the MPEG4 1080i feed, and transcodes it to MPEG2 SD (480) and HD (720 or 1080), or MPEG4 SD and HD. HBO is the same way. They might say go to a different provider. But that's for their revenue. Comcast on average, pays the less per subscriber than most other providers, do to size and other negotiations. So, hypothetically, DirecTV might pay HBO say $3.25 a subscriber, Comcast might pay $1.25. Thats all hypothetical. I would say give them time. When they roll projects out like they're doing, it's not flipping a switch. It's stages upon stages. And what good would switching providers do. In all honesty, Comcast is a juggernaut tied into every aspect of this country's communication infrastructure. From a fiber backbone almost every provider jumps onto at one point, to the largest SIP and TDM Voip termination service, to offering satellite uplink for multiple networks (Discovery, ESPN and NBC to name a couple), satellie uplink for other providers (DirecTV sports package comes to mind), and satellite downlink to many small providers as well as a national authorization service for set-top boxes. They are a monster, a monster we all helped to make. Now, all we can do is wait and see if their moving stuff around is worth it.
Posted by
Service Expert

Message 153 of 212
2,592 Views

Mordred13 wrote:
It is what it is. I'm not a comcast employee, am a former maintenance tech, and still use their service. True most of their customer service seems to be subpar and most of the replies, should probably have the signature "comcast bot", but that's because, no one that answers for them here are far enough up the tech ops chain to give a clear answer. But I'll throw my 2 cents in, from a technical standpoint. We all want 1080i, and 4k HD, heck most of us could care less about any SD programming. But in the world of HFC (Hybrid fiber coax) it's not that simple, as everything has a data rate. For instance, a single HD 1080i MPEG2 action film can at one second, consume roughly 15 megabits of information in a single EIA QAM256 channel. Those channels peak at 38 megabits. So mathematically they used to put 2 HD channels and one SD channel in the EIA. But now, we are demanding faster internet speeds, both on the download and upload. Well, more bandwidth gets consumed, so more things have to change. On comes MPEG4. Now they can cram more video channels into an EIA, great. But still it's not enough, we (and I am guilty of it to) want more. Well to give us more they have to do things that do not seem logical, but remember sometimes to go forward, you have to go backwards. So now, in order to free up bandwidth to increase upload speeds and download speeds of our internet, they have to move more channels into a QAM256 EIA. And MPEG4 allows them to do it at a resolution level. So, they're doing what needs to be done at that standpoint to get to the next level. As far as complaining to the FCC...i laugh at comments like that. There is no violation, in anything. They never have advertised full 1080i HD....just HD. And according to all standards, 720p is the beginning of the HD resolution. Contacting the networks, they don't care. Why? Almost every channel that we receive on our lineup, comes in at MPEG4 1080i. ESPN one decoder/transcoder that takes the MPEG4 1080i feed, and transcodes it to MPEG2 SD (480) and HD (720 or 1080), or MPEG4 SD and HD. HBO is the same way. They might say go to a different provider. But that's for their revenue. Comcast on average, pays the less per subscriber than most other providers, do to size and other negotiations. So, hypothetically, DirecTV might pay HBO say $3.25 a subscriber, Comcast might pay $1.25. Thats all hypothetical. I would say give them time. When they roll projects out like they're doing, it's not flipping a switch. It's stages upon stages. And what good would switching providers do. In all honesty, Comcast is a juggernaut tied into every aspect of this country's communication infrastructure. From a fiber backbone almost every provider jumps onto at one point, to the largest SIP and TDM Voip termination service, to offering satellite uplink for multiple networks (Discovery, ESPN and NBC to name a couple), satellie uplink for other providers (DirecTV sports package comes to mind), and satellite downlink to many small providers as well as a national authorization service for set-top boxes. They are a monster, a monster we all helped to make. Now, all we can do is wait and see if their moving stuff around is worth it.

CRT required interlaced format is old technology and the industry is ready to move on. Comcast previously announced that the future is IP delivered content (again leaving yet another old QAM technology). Comcast is probably delivering more and more of the customer's content via smart devices and desk/laptops in and out of the home and all of that streaming data must be in 'progressive' format. Progressive streaming is easily adjustable in size on devices (scaling) and the stream can be tested/trained to higher bit rate as the connection allows.  I'm not sure why you would want anything 'interlaced'. The new announced XG1v4 is even going to allow delivery over IP of various streaming resolutions higher than HD along with the ability to send to Customer owned equipment the ATMOS Dolby signalling, UHD and what is beyond that technology. Should be fun seeing the new tech stuff as it is widely released.




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Message 154 of 212
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This just happened to me and it ----s. The picture quality is quite obviously worse (which is precisely how I realized that they had done it). There are legitimate points to be made on both sides of the debate whether channels are better in 1080i or 720p, but there is NO benefit to taking a 1080i signal and turning it into a 720p signal (unless you have a 720p tv). Any modern flat screen is already going to turn a 1080i into 1080p (or better), so all this is doing is turning 1080i into 720p and then into 1080p, rather than going straight from 1080i to 1080p. This always and necessarily removes information and worsens picture quality. Any suggestion that this is beneficial to picture quality is false, plain and simple. It is bad enough that Comcast is doing this. To then have them instruct their employees to say with a straight face that this is an upgrade is really outrageous.

Posted by
Problem Solver

Message 155 of 212
2,536 Views

Just a slight correction on the last post. The picture you see on a 1080i signal is not 1080p. While the actual picture you see is (1920 x 1080) / 60p the frame rate is fast enough to be viewed similar to 1080p. However it is not as good. If you have a Blu-Ray player you would see difference for 1080p. The 720p signal is inferior because of fewer actual pixels.

 

They could go to 1080p in MPEG4 but they want (need ?) the extra space per channel for other uses. They have a new cable-box coming along that could handle 4K or 1080p on a few channels, but that is still wait and see. A 1080p cable-box could allow Blu-Ray movies or programs to be shown over cable, or broadband (IP).

 

For now your local stations outputting 1080i in MPEG2 are still being carried on cable that way. Other cable channels that were down-graded to 720p MPEG4 may have programs still shown in 1080i when viewed on ON DEMAND after the original showing on their channel.

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Message 156 of 212
2,531 Views

MNtundraRET wrote:

 

 

For now your local stations outputting 1080i in MPEG2 are still being carried on cable that way. Other cable channels that were down-graded to 720p MPEG4 may have programs still shown in 1080i when viewed on ON DEMAND after the original showing on their channel.


This is what I do now and you really notice the difference. I set shows to record to DVR but then when I pick the show I see if it is On Demand. I then watch the On Demand version as its quality is better.  My order of how I try to watch things now is

 

1. Bluray (This is really just movies though in our media/theater room. I still have Netflix Bluray delivered to my house)

2. Streaming app on AppleTV via my xfinity subscription - HBO Go, AMC, etc

3. On Demand

4. Recorded DVR

5. Live

Posted by
Problem Solver

Message 157 of 212
2,525 Views

Channels like PBS, National Geographic, Smithsonian, to name a few have been selling Blu-ray versions of their shows for the last decade.

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Message 158 of 212
2,505 Views

MNtundraRET wrote:

Channels like PBS, National Geographic, Smithsonian, to name a few have been selling Blu-ray versions of their shows for the last decade.


Yeah, I have gotten them for things like Planet Earth, etc. 

Posted by
Service Expert

Message 159 of 212
2,488 Views

Comcast takes one signal on non-local channels and 'transcodes/recodes' to all the various formats. The change is not taking a 1080i and converting it to 720 it is taking the originally provided signal and putting it on the linear channel (or TVGo stream) in 720p60. The 1080i on those channels was 'just' an output of the transcoder/recoder that provides the streams 'just in time'. The point is not to make interlaced streams.




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Posted by
Frequent Visitor

Message 160 of 212
2,357 Views

It's pointless complaining to FCC, they are basically owned by comcast.... Comcast is constantly degrading all services while charging more and more... in first world countries we have most expensive internet.... 3  times more expensive, cable, same thing. Comcast is evil corp monopoly

Posted by
Problem Solver

Message 161 of 212
2,344 Views

Not true!

 

A certain political party has been cutting budgets, and cutting regulations. Comcast legal makes sure they are meeting legal requirements.

 

Sometimes industries need regulation to protect segments of the public.

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Message 162 of 212
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This is so straightforward.  Going from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 free's up huge amounts of bandwidth.  Comcast is using that bandwidth to increase internet speeds at least once a year, often more than that, for no charge.  Comcast is paying for the equipment upgrades and free tech visits to swap equipment if you don't want to do it yourself.  Comcast rolled out IP streaming to any device in the home at no extra charge.  Comcast rolled out Cloud DVR for streaming of any DVR content in or outside the home at no extra charge.

 

So it looks like there was a trade-off.  Much faster internet, more on demand content, more channels, more freedom to use any device, more mobile options, but more compressed picture for now.

 

When the move to 100% cloud based DVR and IP streaming is complete things will be more reliable, more flexible, more fast.  There is no reason why once things go to IP streaming Comcast cannot allow content partners to store programs in any resolution they choose, since its all going to just be digging into a multi gigabit home connection that is used for every line of business.

 

As a customer, I am in favor of all of this, besides, if I want to watch a movie in high quality, I watch it on a source with the correct 24FPS and far higher bitrate than cable or satelite has ever provided.

Posted by
Contributor

Message 163 of 212
2,275 Views
I'm not sure any of this is "free". We all pay Comcast, right? And it's not cheap.
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Message 164 of 212
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You are 100% right. I should say "without rate increase". More for the same.  Or more aptly, as a trade-off.  There were a lot of comments about, "this only benefits Comcast".  If you are going to say this only benefits Comcast then you need to consider all the other changes only benefit the customer.  In reality, it is of mutual benefit.

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Message 165 of 212
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First, I am NOT a comcast/xfinity employee or shill.  I have had my problems with them over then years, but usually have issues corrected post-haste.

 

I juat have to say that the only thing I am disappointed in here in this thread is the complete lack of understanding by most of the posters in regards to the difference between progressive scan and interlaced scan.   People trying to compare a true 1080p wth 720p instead of 1080i with 720p, as well as not understanding the fps or the  compressions.  What we have for the most part are people who see 720 < 1080, ignore the rest and assume they are being ripped off.  I'm not here to give a lesson in how these things work, too many of you have failed to do the research yourself, and I refuse to type up an in-depth explanation that will fall on deaf ears because your minds are already made up.  I will say, those of you who are claiming that you are seeing a major degredation are most likely suffering from either confirmation bias OR a cheap/budget tv that doesn't have the graphical processing power to upconvert to native resolution. I know I sound like I'm coming off like a jerk, but for the love of all that's holy, please research what you are talking about before spouting off ignorance that only confuses people who run into this thread and get irate because they listened to the drivel you spew.  There is a REASON the Xfinity employee  keeps "parroting the talking points."  ...Because he/she keeps hearing the same illogical arguments from the uninformed.

 

-Computational Science PhD Student.

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Message 166 of 212
2,055 Views

Lucid_Shadow wrote:

First, I am NOT a comcast/xfinity employee or shill.  I have had my problems with them over then years, but usually have issues corrected post-haste.

 

I juat have to say that the only thing I am disappointed in here in this thread is the complete lack of understanding by most of the posters in regards to the difference between progressive scan and interlaced scan.   People trying to compare a true 1080p wth 720p instead of 1080i with 720p, as well as not understanding the fps or the  compressions.  What we have for the most part are people who see 720 < 1080, ignore the rest and assume they are being ripped off.  I'm not here to give a lesson in how these things work, too many of you have failed to do the research yourself, and I refuse to type up an in-depth explanation that will fall on deaf ears because your minds are already made up.  I will say, those of you who are claiming that you are seeing a major degredation are most likely suffering from either confirmation bias OR a cheap/budget tv that doesn't have the graphical processing power to upconvert to native resolution. I know I sound like I'm coming off like a jerk, but for the love of all that's holy, please research what you are talking about before spouting off ignorance that only confuses people who run into this thread and get irate because they listened to the drivel you spew.  There is a REASON the Xfinity employee  keeps "parroting the talking points."  ...Because he/she keeps hearing the same illogical arguments from the uninformed.

 

-Computational Science PhD Student.


This couldn't be further from the truth. This is well documented on many forums out there. When comcast flips from MPEG2 to MPEG4  and does their "upgrade" our TVs do not all of sudden become budget. As for "confirmation bias" those people come here because they are wondering why their picture is all of a sudden worse so they see the worse picture before ever reading these threads.  There is A LOT to all this including the area as all comcast areas are different and I won't even bother to go into it with you - just not worth it.  Here's to hoping one day the extra bandwidth allows for a good IPTV solution with better quality picture one day. 

Posted by
Contributor

Message 167 of 212
2,046 Views
Just here to chime in on the subject to muddy the waters a bit more. Comcast converting the signal and lowering the resolution (of many stations) and bitrate (beyond the mpeg2/mpeg4 comparisons) should also lower video quality. That should not even be questioned. I own a TiVo Premiere. After the conversion, I noticed. I also used the TiVo app on my iPad. I noticed. &lt;br&gt;That being said. The difficulties keeping TiVo and Xfinity working reliably finally took its toll on me. After many, many years, I retired my TiVo and picked up an X1 box this month. No V52/V53 errors. The bonus? The picture looks better. The X1 box picture quality really looks improved over the TiVo Premiere (connected to the same 4k 55" TV). And my area was transitioned to mpeg4 at the beginning of the year. Even the Xfinity Stream app video looks better than the TiVo app. I consider the improved video quality a surprising bonus. I was just trying to get away from cable card/signal dropout/TiVo guide data h*ll ***You used a bad word in the body of your post. Please clean up the body before posting***. I don't know what else to tell you.
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Message 168 of 212
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Lucid_Shadow wrote:
I juat have to say that the only thing I am disappointed in here in this thread is the complete lack of understanding by most of the posters in regards to the difference between progressive scan and interlaced scan.   People trying to compare a true 1080p wth 720p instead of 1080i with 720p, as well as not understanding the fps or the  compressions.  What we have for the most part are people who see 720 < 1080, ignore the rest and assume they are being ripped off.  I'm not here to give a lesson in how these things work, too many of you have failed to do the research yourself, and I refuse to type up an in-depth explanation that will fall on deaf ears because your minds are already made up.  I will say, those of you who are claiming that you are seeing a major degredation are most likely suffering from either confirmation bias OR a cheap/budget tv that doesn't have the graphical processing power to upconvert to native resolution. 

The problem is the underlying horrible compression and bit-rate, not the resolution and scanning.  If you're a compsci person, then you know GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).  Doesn't matter how many bits of resolution you have if the underlying picture is inferior.  Bigger and higher resolution displays exacerbate the problem.

Posted by
Service Expert

Message 169 of 212
2,009 Views

bit rate reduction is due to the ability to code more data in less stream room (bits per second). Mpeg4 and the streams we 'get' are re-codings of an HEVC feed from the 'networks' that stream as SD and HD QAM delivered channels as well as the "TVIP" streams to the Roku and desk/laptop and iOS and android smart devices. The whole function of the mpeg numbering is that there must be a minimum savings of bit stream with a lab-verified same or better video image. mpeg2 >> mpeg4 >> HVEC mpeg"H". The 'lower' bit rate is not a measure of decreased image recreation but a measure of the technology itself.




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Posted by
Contributor

Message 170 of 212
1,990 Views

Rustyben wrote:

The whole function of the mpeg numbering is that there must be a minimum savings of bit stream with a lab-verified same or better video image. mpeg2 >> mpeg4 >> HVEC mpeg"H". The 'lower' bit rate is not a measure of decreased image recreation but a measure of the technology itself.


Yes, but what is the optimal bitrate? Take Handbrake for an example. This page shows the compromises you can make in the name of file size- https://mattgadient.com/2013/06/20/comparing-x264-rf-settings-in-handbrake-examples/

Many of us with good TVs can see the difference. Comcast banks on the reasonable assumption that most of its customers do not have quality equipment or do not care about quality in general. Just price. The fact anyone is posting here automatically puts "us" in the minority. I know this may just be growing pains and we have to work thru it. Quality can only grow at the rate storage and bandwidth become cost effective. I get it. I'm happy with my X1 box picture over my Tivo Premiere picture viewing the new 720p mpeg4 format on a 55" 4k TV. I'm extremely disappointed in the amount of storage space the X1 box has over the Tivo box.

And to add insult to injury. It automatically deleted apps off my iPad I had not yet watched when the X1 box deleted them to save space. I've had to rethink my viewing habits. Luckily on-demand is integrated much better, but the X1 should at least replace a DVR recorded show with an on-demand version if it knows I haven't watched it yet. I'm losing track of what I'm supposed to watch and when.

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Service Expert

Message 171 of 212
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Cydeweyz wrote:

Rustyben wrote:

The whole function of the mpeg numbering is that there must be a minimum savings of bit stream with a lab-verified same or better video image. mpeg2 >> mpeg4 >> HVEC mpeg"H". The 'lower' bit rate is not a measure of decreased image recreation but a measure of the technology itself.


Yes, but what is the optimal bitrate? Take Handbrake for an example. This page shows the compromises you can make in the name of file size- https://mattgadient.com/2013/06/20/comparing-x264-rf-settings-in-handbrake-examples/

Many of us with good TVs can see the difference. Comcast banks on the reasonable assumption that most of its customers do not have quality equipment or do not care about quality in general. Just price. The fact anyone is posting here automatically puts "us" in the minority. I know this may just be growing pains and we have to work thru it. Quality can only grow at the rate storage and bandwidth become cost effective. I get it. I'm happy with my X1 box picture over my Tivo Premiere picture viewing the new 720p mpeg4 format on a 55" 4k TV. I'm extremely disappointed in the amount of storage space the X1 box has over the Tivo box.

And to add insult to injury. It automatically deleted apps off my iPad I had not yet watched when the X1 box deleted them to save space. I've had to rethink my viewing habits. Luckily on-demand is integrated much better, but the X1 should at least replace a DVR recorded show with an on-demand version if it knows I haven't watched it yet. I'm losing track of what I'm supposed to watch and when.


even with 3 DVRs I got some early episode deleted this season, so been there myself. To keep up with episode watching there is a free app (i paid a single $ to make ads go away) called TV show Tracker. Won't help with 'specials, one-offs, movies though.




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Posted by
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Message 172 of 212
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Last night I watched various parts of the latest Game of Thrones episode using three different mechanisms on a 75" tv:

 

1) DVR recording of HBO channel

2) On-demand

3) HBO Go App (XBOX One S)

 

In my opinion the picture quality was significantly better via the HBO GO App than On-demand or the HBO broadcast on Comcast.  The difference was so great that I don't think there is really much room for debate...there is a big degradation in quality in the re-encoding to 720p with a much lower bitrate. Hopefully Comcast is able to work out a better solution, particularly for premium channels such as HBO.

 

Thankfully the workaround of using the HBO Go app is reasonable, but many stations (e.g. AMC) don't necessarily have an equivelent or always provide access to full episodes of the latest seasons. 

 

 

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Message 173 of 212
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mikeym1 wrote:

Last night I watched various parts of the latest Game of Thrones episode using three different mechanisms on a 75" tv:

 

1) DVR recording of HBO channel

2) On-demand

3) HBO Go App (XBOX One S)

 

In my opinion the picture quality was significantly better via the HBO GO App than On-demand or the HBO broadcast on Comcast.  The difference was so great that I don't think there is really much room for debate...there is a big degradation in quality in the re-encoding to 720p with a much lower bitrate. Hopefully Comcast is able to work out a better solution, particularly for premium channels such as HBO.

 

Thankfully the workaround of using the HBO Go app is reasonable, but many stations (e.g. AMC) don't necessarily have an equivelent or always provide access to full episodes of the latest seasons. 

 

 


It's sad that we need to use workarounds when we pay good money for Comcast service.  I can clearly see a difference on my 65" TV.  Comcast must test the picture quality on iPads or something.  It's rather ridiculous.

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Message 174 of 212
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I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I've had Comcast service since January of this year with an X1 DVR and a Vizio 4K television set from 2016 (E-series I believe). I've noticed the muddy and generally unsatisfying PQ of Comcast's HD channels like everyone else on this thread (except for Comcast engineers), so I tried changing the X1 to output 720p this week instead of 1080p.


Some observations:

 

1. The guide (and all overlayed text produced by the X1) is much easier to read. Channel logos in the guide are crisper. There's no doubt in my mind that it just looks better and is much easier to read.

 

2. I think -- but it's so hard to be certain -- that HD channels in general look better when I leave the upscaling to the TV and not to the X1. After switching the X1 to 720p, I watched a variety of channels including USA (Modern Family, Law and Order SVU), ESPN (live baseball), TNT (Wrath of the Titans), and some other channel (Man Of Steel), and some local channels. On all of these channels, the muddiness seemed to be gone, there were very few compression artifacts and absolutely no macro blocking. Subjectively, the quality of the image seemed as good as what I remember on DirecTV and better than the X1 when set to 1080i or 1080p.

 

I'm wondering if anyone else can confirm the same thing? Unfortunately, I can't do a live, side-by-side comparison.

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Message 175 of 212
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The suggestion of changing the cable box to 720p from 1080p is an interesting one and could very well help with image quality as most TVs probably upscale better than the X1 box.

 

Unfortunately this has the downside that your local NBC/CBS (which are still in 1080i) will go through an unneccessary downcoversion.  

 

Older Comcast boxes used to offer a 'direct' option, where 720p would be sent as 720p and 1080i as 1080i.  As near I know this is not available on X1 hardware.

 

Let's hope that Comcast takes this image quality issue seriously and takes a hard look at their encoding options and ultimately IP delivered TV.

Posted by
Service Expert

Message 176 of 212
1,748 Views

mikeym1 wrote:

The suggestion of changing the cable box to 720p from 1080p is an interesting one and could very well help with image quality as most TVs probably upscale better than the X1 box.

 

Unfortunately this has the downside that your local NBC/CBS (which are still in 1080i) will go through an unneccessary downcoversion.  

 

Older Comcast boxes used to offer a 'direct' option, where 720p would be sent as 720p and 1080i as 1080i.  As near I know this is not available on X1 hardware.

 

Let's hope that Comcast takes this image quality issue seriously and takes a hard look at their encoding options and ultimately IP delivered TV.


all flat panels remove 'interlace' then use a proprietary format for their native panel display drivers. To do this they take the 1080i and estimate it (basically to the 'quality' of 560p and then still has to display the 'made up, computed' lines that were created to make the interwoven interlaced frames each of which has 560 lines of picture. The interlaced is processed by the TV as 'deinterlace' (the estimation process) and then upconvert the approx 560p to the TV's internal 1080 format (or 2160 etc). The cable networks are generally providing the mpeg-"5" (actually h) HEVC feed which comcast then feeds out in the various formats (like SD or HD and mpeg4 for streaming). the 720p60. Comcast has already said in a meeting that TVIP (TV over IP) is the future. That means soon no more QAM is the future. the any device in your home is all TVIP so the feature is already here. The Xi3/XiD in role of DTA is receiving pure TVIP now too it seems although we haven't been told the method of receiving the streams. 




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Message 177 of 212
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Rustyben wrote:

mikeym1 wrote:

The suggestion of changing the cable box to 720p from 1080p is an interesting one and could very well help with image quality as most TVs probably upscale better than the X1 box.

 

Unfortunately this has the downside that your local NBC/CBS (which are still in 1080i) will go through an unneccessary downcoversion.  

 

Older Comcast boxes used to offer a 'direct' option, where 720p would be sent as 720p and 1080i as 1080i.  As near I know this is not available on X1 hardware.

 

Let's hope that Comcast takes this image quality issue seriously and takes a hard look at their encoding options and ultimately IP delivered TV.


all flat panels remove 'interlace' then use a proprietary format for their native panel display drivers. To do this they take the 1080i and estimate it (basically to the 'quality' of 560p and then still has to display the 'made up, computed' lines that were created to make the interwoven interlaced frames each of which has 560 lines of picture. The interlaced is processed by the TV as 'deinterlace' (the estimation process) and then upconvert the approx 560p to the TV's internal 1080 format (or 2160 etc). The cable networks are generally providing the mpeg-"5" (actually h) HEVC feed which comcast then feeds out in the various formats (like SD or HD and mpeg4 for streaming). the 720p60. Comcast has already said in a meeting that TVIP (TV over IP) is the future. That means soon no more QAM is the future. the any device in your home is all TVIP so the feature is already here. The Xi3/XiD in role of DTA is receiving pure TVIP now too it seems although we haven't been told the method of receiving the streams. 


Although I have a Premiere Triple Play bundle for inside the home, could you please clarify a bit more regarding "no more QAM is the future".  Would that eliminate OTA broadcasting of local channels to HTDVs connected via OTA antennas, or are we only referring to Comcast connected HDTVs? I have an OTA antenna connected to small HDTV in the garage, and also connected to the RF input of one Comcast connected HDTV in the house. Thanks.

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Problem Solver

Message 178 of 212
1,703 Views

It does not refer to over the air channels, just cable. Many HD televisions may have had QAM tuners  which allowed the television to handle cable channels without a cable-box. That ended when new cable-boxes were introduced that allowed using the cable-box + tv to order PPV through the cable-box. People with low end service from Comcast may have still been able to use the tv's QAM tuner up till now.

 

the method for scrambled channels changed so the tv QAM tuner became obsolete and you used the cable-box for changing channels. Tv's have separate tuners for OTA with the antenna.

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Regular Contributor

Message 179 of 212
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MNtundraRET wrote:

It does not refer to over the air channels, just cable. Many HD televisions may have had QAM tuners  which allowed the television to handle cable channels without a cable-box. That ended when new cable-boxes were introduced that allowed using the cable-box + tv to order PPV through the cable-box. People with low end service from Comcast may have still been able to use the tv's QAM tuner up till now.

 

the method for scrambled channels changed so the tv QAM tuner became obsolete and you used the cable-box for changing channels. Tv's have separate tuners for OTA with the antenna.


Okay thanks, but just to to be sure I understand, you're not really saying that HDTV mfgs are now all eliminating the separate QAM tuners from their digital HDTVs ... Right?

 

I just bought a small new HDTV for the garage and it still has a separate QAM tuner ..... I can't see how the FCC would ever allow digital HDTV mfgs to eliminate separate OTA QAM Tuners from their HDTVs .... otherwise no-cost HDTV OTA becomes problamatic, especially in some rural areas where there is no cable service (yet).

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Problem Solver

Message 180 of 212
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HD televisions like my 2005 Sony 1080P TV came with 3 tuners: one for analog channels OTA, one for digital channels OTA, and the QAM tuner for cable channels. Only the QAM tuner will be phased out.

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Message 181 of 212
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MNtundraRET wrote:

HD televisions like my 2005 Sony 1080P TV came with 3 tuners: one for analog channels OTA, one for digital channels OTA, and the QAM tuner for cable channels. Only the QAM tuner will be phased out.


Okay ... I get it .... Thanks!

 

I was confusing ATSC (HDTV) Digital OTA Tuners with QAM Tuners for cable services ..... my HTDVs all have ATSC OTA Digital tuners plus QAM tuners (which like you said QAM may soon become obsolete for cable transmissions in the future).

 

Everything seems to be working well here where it is a combination of  OTA ATSC and a Triple Play Premiere Bundled cable package (all U/G fairly new utilities) in the great PacNW, USA ... so apparently worries here.   At both 65 years old, I think my wife and I should be all set for whatever the future holds (aside from upgrading occassionally our HDTVs and any new cable supplied equipment along the way, etc).  As long as my new Garage OTA HDTV continues working OTA and my wife can access the Food Channels over the Kitchen's fairly new 1080p HDTV via cable, then we're all good.

 

Hopefully someday Comcast will join the myriads of other corporations who offer token senior discounts for low volume HSI users, etc .... wishfull thinking of course.

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Regular Contributor

Message 182 of 212
1,601 Views

mikeym1 wrote:

Last night I watched various parts of the latest Game of Thrones episode using three different mechanisms on a 75" tv:

 

1) DVR recording of HBO channel

2) On-demand

3) HBO Go App (XBOX One S)

 

In my opinion the picture quality was significantly better via the HBO GO App than On-demand or the HBO broadcast on Comcast.  The difference was so great that I don't think there is really much room for debate...there is a big degradation in quality in the re-encoding to 720p with a much lower bitrate. Hopefully Comcast is able to work out a better solution, particularly for premium channels such as HBO.

 

Thankfully the workaround of using the HBO Go app is reasonable, but many stations (e.g. AMC) don't necessarily have an equivelent or always provide access to full episodes of the latest seasons. 

 

 


Agree, I have been saying this on various forums and doing this ever since I went back to Comcast from DirecTV. I set shows to record but then go see if it is available on an app via AppleTV, if not, I go OnDemand. If it is just live recorded I tend to not even watch. I then go and delete the recording as a way to know I watched it. My "recordings" are now more a list of what I want to watch and not how I watch it. 

 

2 shows that are the worst on Comcast are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. I hope they do not do whatever junk they are doing to the live feed to the OnDemand feed anytime soon.

 

Then to take it a step further - the X1 boxes with tuners in them actually have a slightly better picture than the small remote boxes. Sorry for the lack of exact models but I switched the small remote boxes for XG2v2 and saw a slight improvement of picture.  So the different boxes have different degrees of quality as well.  When I first went back to comcast I had received an XG1 and 2 small remote boxes. I had a recorded episode of The Walking Dead and played through one of the small remote boxes vs the XG1 box on the same TV, same input, same everything was worse. I had a tech come out and he saw it also and switched them to XG2v2 which gave me the same PQ at all 3 TVs, although still the bad quality we talk about but it was even worse!

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Message 183 of 212
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Posted by
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Message 184 of 212
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Well all my channels moved over on Aug 2 and I'm not happy.  I might be able to accept a slight degradation in picture quality, but this was more than slight.  Comcast had already switched over HBO back in January and I've been using HBO Go because the picture quality is so much better, but there's no equivalent to that for all channels.  Comcast On Demand appears to now be using the same compressed feed as it doesn't look any better.  

 

To show how much of a degradation it is, I took a photo of a scene from Game of Thrones paused and the same point on my TiVo connected to a 40" Sony Bravia 1080p TV about 8 feet away and an iPad Air 2 at arms length running the HBO Go app.  The picture blurred someone during the shot, but even still the difference is easy to see.  Basically people lack facial features now on Comcast. 

 

I posted it on Twitter as it's really too large to post here.

https://twitter.com/morac/status/894743092485472257

 

On a side note, since the conversion the audio on Discovery Family HD has been cutting out extremely frequently.  The only time it doesn't is when Comcast injects its own ads and local ads.  I don't know if those are H.264 or not, but they are still 720p. 

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Message 185 of 212
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Hello, in my area we already switched to mpeg4 and I noticed improvment in picture quality, but I am also noticing pixelation on fast moving scenes on espn and fs1 and others when I watch sports and that's weird. I do have a XG2 X1 box. Still picture looks sharper. But when I watch broadcast channels which are still mpeg2 nbc, fox, and others the picture quality it does look softer to me on mpe2 channels but on fast moving scenes I notice no pixaliation. I hope they fix the pixalation problem, my signal look good. So in your case I don't know why your picture quality is degrated, I saw the comparison but I think Ipad has a smaller screen than your TV and that's why Ipad will have better picture quality and if you don't have an X1 box your picture quality will not be as good. I would make sure get a good X1 box and put the box setings on 1080p and then I think you should see improvment in picture quality. Non X1 box doesn't have 1080p settings.
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Contributor

Message 186 of 212
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Both previous posts are probably correct. I recently switched over from a Tivo Premiere to a Xfinity X1 box. After the mpeg4 switch, my Tivo Premiere channels did not look as good. When I caved and picked up an X1, the picture quality looked much better. Is it a limitation of Tivo hardware or cable card? Who knows. Did X1 boxes look better or the same when my area was still mpeg2? I don't know. I can confirm in my case that Tivo+mpeg4 looks worse than X1+mpeg4. X1 TV/mobile/web is just a much better experience (a whole lot less of a hassle to deal with).

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Service Expert

Message 187 of 212
1,214 Views

com100 wrote:
Hello, in my area we already switched to mpeg4 and I noticed improvment in picture quality, but I am also noticing pixelation on fast moving scenes on espn and fs1 and others when I watch sports and that's weird. I do have a XG2 X1 box. Still picture looks sharper. But when I watch broadcast channels which are still mpeg2 nbc, fox, and others the picture quality it does look softer to me on mpe2 channels but on fast moving scenes I notice no pixaliation. I hope they fix the pixalation problem, my signal look good. So in your case I don't know why your picture quality is degrated, I saw the comparison but I think Ipad has a smaller screen than your TV and that's why Ipad will have better picture quality and if you don't have an X1 box your picture quality will not be as good. I would make sure get a good X1 box and put the box setings on 1080p and then I think you should see improvment in picture quality. Non X1 box doesn't have 1080p settings.

is your set top box putting out 1080i (in your setting)? if so switch to a 'P" seting (progressive). some broadcast channels (local) are still 1080i and are not converted to progressive (part of the change to mpeg4).




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Posted by
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Message 188 of 212
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We just switched to Comcast from Directv.  We could not get HD from Directv due to tree issues, so had SD.  When we switched, I was expecting to see a huge difference in crispness and clarity on the HD channels.  I actually think they are "softer" and less crisp than Directv SD.  I am quite disappointed.  Now I am thinking that perhaps this 720 issue is the reason I am not getting a nice, crisp HD experience with Comcast, even though we are paying dearly for it with upgraded everything.  May have to go back to Directv SD. 

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Message 189 of 212
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Do you have an X1 box. X1 box gives you the best picture quality.
Posted by
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Message 190 of 212
1,162 Views

dusty65 wrote:

We just switched to Comcast from Directv.  We could not get HD from Directv due to tree issues, so had SD.  When we switched, I was expecting to see a huge difference in crispness and clarity on the HD channels.  I actually think they are "softer" and less crisp than Directv SD.  I am quite disappointed.  Now I am thinking that perhaps this 720 issue is the reason I am not getting a nice, crisp HD experience with Comcast, even though we are paying dearly for it with upgraded everything.  May have to go back to Directv SD. 

 

I am very disappointed with this new Comcast 720P downgrade but it should still look better than a DirecTV SD picture - although some channels remind me of 480p Widescreen DVD from the HDTV early days. Assuming you had an HDTV with your DirecTV SD picture you were either watching stretchovision or you had a 4:3 aspect ratio going - the upgrade to HD there alone would make it better.

 

The new Comcast HD is very soft and dark scenes are laughable compared to other HD sources but still better than any SD. You may want to have a tech come out and look at all your settings.

Posted by
Problem Solver

Message 191 of 212
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The 720p picture in 16:9 aspect would really not look better than a 480P 4:3 aspect picture (DVD quality) since 720P televisions just had the extra pixels added to fill out the new wide-screens on the tvs. This made it easier to show Imax movies shown at theaters, now on a wide-screen television. If you were to view 480p movies, etc., the people used to look short and fat on widescreen. 720p is no better for sharpness than SD in 4:3.

 

The 1080P televisions had more than double the pixels and a far superior picture for either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The only problem was to view a movie in 1080p you needed to purchase a Blue-Ray player. As I have posted here before: "Seeing is believing".

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Regular Contributor

Message 192 of 212
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MNtundraRET wrote:

The 720p picture in 16:9 aspect would really not look better than a 480P 4:3 aspect picture (DVD quality) since 720P televisions just had the extra pixels added to fill out the new wide-screens on the tvs. This made it easier to show Imax movies shown at theaters, now on a wide-screen television. If you were to view 480p movies, etc., the people used to look short and fat on widescreen. 720p is no better for sharpness than SD in 4:3.

 

The 1080P televisions had more than double the pixels and a far superior picture for either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The only problem was to view a movie in 1080p you needed to purchase a Blue-Ray player. As I have posted here before: "Seeing is believing".


Correct - filling in the screen would make it look better.  My guess is if he had a HDTV he wasnt watching in 4:3 but strecthing it which a SD to HD - however bad the HD is - would still be "better" regardless of how crappy this 720p "upgrade" is. 

Posted by
Service Expert

Message 193 of 212
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MNtundraRET wrote:

The 720p picture in 16:9 aspect would really not look better than a 480P 4:3 aspect picture (DVD quality) since 720P televisions just had the extra pixels added to fill out the new wide-screens on the tvs. This made it easier to show Imax movies shown at theaters, now on a wide-screen television. If you were to view 480p movies, etc., the people used to look short and fat on widescreen. 720p is no better for sharpness than SD in 4:3.

 

The 1080P televisions had more than double the pixels and a far superior picture for either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The only problem was to view a movie in 1080p you needed to purchase a Blue-Ray player. As I have posted here before: "Seeing is believing".


no television stations/networks broadcast in 1080p. 1080i is approx same as 540p but with all kinds of motion issues. 720p60 is 60 full images every second, and no 'motion' issues. Mpeg4 conversion allows much higher bit-rates of actual picture data as compared to less efficient mpeg2 of broadcast TV.




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Posted by
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Message 194 of 212
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Yes, we have the latest x1 box.  I had the setting on 1080i...just changed to 1080p; not sure that will make any difference.  I mostly notice that all the faces, arms, etc., are missing details..everything looks flawless, as though they have all been airbrushed....similar to the effect of editing photos....where you can totally brush out all details and imperfections.  Makes all the people look like wax replicas. Perhaps I will get used to it.  I just got a new Samsung MU8000, haven't connected it yet, but now am wondering if there is any point.  It seems the better the tv, the more noticeable the HD deficit. 

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Frequent Visitor

Message 195 of 212
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With Directv SD we probably were watching with a 1080 setting.  We primarily moved to Xfinity for internet, but thought we would try out the cable.  Maybe we will end up switching back to Directv.  We really miss One America News also (not available on xFinity).  I do, however, like the flexibility offered by xFinity...like the streaming, like the easy-to-use remote, like the speak feature, like the cloud dvr function, wish they had external storage capability...500 GB is nothing these days, like the ability to record and see on any tv....

 

As far as the HD though, the color and outlines of objects are clear, but it is what I think you are referring to as the softness that so disappointing.  I like the detail that better HD provides...detail in peoples' expressions, detail in texture....skin textures & detail are non existent and look unnatural and even "blocky" with Xfinity HD.   It is so disappointing.  I find that I don't notice it as much when I watch TV without my glasses.  Maybe that is my answer!    

 

I was reading on the dsl forum (I think) that xfinity is moving towards total cloud and IP transmission (not sure I understood all of the tech talk).  They have rolled out their Roku app with total streaming of xFinity programming...still beta stage, so maybe that is where they are headed. I have docsis 3.1 so am ready for anything new that is coming down the pike...just hope it will improve picture quality. 

 

 

Posted by
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Message 196 of 212
1,092 Views

My dvr is set to 1080p/60.  Is there any way I can tell if a broadcast is 1080i?  I am still quite a novice at xfinity navigation.

Posted by
Problem Solver

Message 197 of 212
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Only your local channels that broadcast over the air would be left that way at Comcast for now. They are still broadcast as 1080i in MPEG2.

 

NBCsn (NBC sports) is still in 1080i MPEG2. Comcast and NBC are part of the same family. Do we have to wonder why?

 

Your local channels would likely be: CBS, NBC, PBS, and CW. Both Fox and ABC are 720P.

Posted by
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Message 198 of 212
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XG2 box might give you a better picture quality but that's non dvr. Or get Xg1v4 their latest Dvr box.
Posted by
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Message 199 of 212
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Unless X1 is pulling an IPTV feed, it should look similar to what the TiVo outputs.  The Premiere is two generations behind though so that could explain the quality issues there.  Newer models can output 1080p, while the Premiere cannot. 

 

On a whim I decided to try and do a side by side comparison video of HBO (TiVo Roamio) on Comcast and HBO go (Roku) on the same TV to eliminate any screen bias.  Do to limitations the only way to do this was to film both with an iPhone 7 Plus.  That's not ideal, but it should be good enough to give a basic example of the difference in picture quality.  That difference isn't as noticeable on a small screen,  but is very easy to see when watching the video on a large screen monitor. 

 

https://youtu.be/28fvNETx4Gs

 

 

Posted by
Official Employee

Message 200 of 212
787 Views

Hello all, if you're using a non X1 box, try this: 

 

  1. With the "Watch in HD" highlighted yellow on the left side
  2. Select "set up" directly under
  3. Then select "HDMI Setup"
  4. Change TV Output Resolution to 1080i

 




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