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X1 Video quality seems poor

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

I have been sitting on the side-lines waiting for  a Comcast 4K (non-vcr) cable-box to eventually replace my Cisco RNG 150N (HD) cable-box, which evidently is no longer handed out by their service centers. At least my local center. I have never felt the need to rent a vcr box.

 

Basically; things have been working fine for my set-up. My 2015 120Mz, 65 inch curved Samsung 3D UHD television works great getting 4K programing over the Internet on my Wi-fi modem / router on DSL delivered to my neighbor-hood on fiber-optic cable. In fact; recently some cable channels look better for a 1280 x 720 / 60p for the picture received. I wonder if Comcast locally has done some changes on band-with on certain channels as part of the current phase on MPEG 4. Things like fine print shown on the screen are more readable. It seems there is less florescent on striped, or checkered, clothing the the tv up-scales from 720p to 4K (over 8 times as many pixels).

 

It seems to me the X1 cable-box and 4K DVR-box have more problems than my current Cisco cable-box. I was wondering if any people reading this post have fiber-optic cable for Internet from Comcast? Does that make any difference for overcoming the current problems?


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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

DSL is not fiber. It's either DSL or fiber, not both. If you're paying Comcast for TV and someone else for internet, you're definitely doing it wrong. The bundling is pretty aggressive, so you'll almost always get a better deal by bundling internet and TV together. Comcast's MPEG-4 is a total mess in general, but for relatively static images, it's pretty good, for the same reason that it's horrible when there is a lot of detail or motion, as they're using CBR encoding, so there's tons of extra bitrate when there is a static image on the screen. News channels are fine, MSNBC definitely loses some sharpness going from 1080i to 720p, but the overall picture is good for news, but I'm sure will be awful for the Olympics. Sports are unwatchable, as so much detail is lost due to the heavy compression and limit of 3.8-4.2mbps on each channel.

 

The few areas that have fiber for Comcast are RFoG, so it's exactly the same service you get over coax. The 2gbps symmetrical internet offering is just for internet, if you bundle that with TV and phone, the TV and phone still come over coax.

Expert

Re: X1 Video quality seems poor


@BiggAJW wrote:

DSL is not fiber. It's either DSL or fiber, not both. If you're paying Comcast for TV and someone else for internet, you're definitely doing it wrong. The bundling is pretty aggressive, so you'll almost always get a better deal by bundling internet and TV together. Comcast's MPEG-4 is a total mess in general, but for relatively static images, it's pretty good, for the same reason that it's horrible when there is a lot of detail or motion, as they're using CBR encoding, so there's tons of extra bitrate when there is a static image on the screen. News channels are fine, MSNBC definitely loses some sharpness going from 1080i to 720p, but the overall picture is good for news, but I'm sure will be awful for the Olympics. Sports are unwatchable, as so much detail is lost due to the heavy compression and limit of 3.8-4.2mbps on each channel.

 

The few areas that have fiber for Comcast are RFoG, so it's exactly the same service you get over coax. The 2gbps symmetrical internet offering is just for internet, if you bundle that with TV and phone, the TV and phone still come over coax.


You are misimformed. I have been on Fiber-optic cable for phone and DSL for over a year. It has been confirmed by Centurylink. The old lines were replaced. We have under-ground service for all utilities.


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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

Fiber != DSL. You're either on DSL or fiber. If you have fiber, you have fiber, not DSL. FTTN VDSL is not fiber either, any more than Comcast is fiber, since Comcast provides FTTN as well through an HFC architecture.

Contributor

Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

RobertWy, I must have missed your post before, but yeah, unfortunately, if you can't get DirecTV, or it's too expensive, keeping a smaller/lower resolution TV is your most practical option for now. It's sort of backwards that Comcast looks worse on a nicer and larger TV, but that's how it is for now.

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor


@BiggAJW wrote:

RobertWy, I must have missed your post before, but yeah, unfortunately, if you can't get DirecTV, or it's too expensive, keeping a smaller/lower resolution TV is your most practical option for now. It's sort of backwards that Comcast looks worse on a nicer and larger TV, but that's how it is for now.


BiggAJW, my X1 DVR looks great with my Samsung 60" 1080p.  The only reason I would replace it is if it burned out or Comcast started delivering 4K signals.  If I understand it correctly, streaming is the only way to get 4k now, along with 4k DVD's, and I expect them to disappear once 4k streaming of that content is available at a reasonable cost.

4K TV's with no content other than DirectTV, DVD, Netflix, and YouTube?  Am I missing something?

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

RobertWy,

You're not missing anything technically speaking, but you seem to be writing off a lot of really good content.

1. Movies: There are a lot of movies being released on 4k Blu-Ray, adn the studios aren't going to stop doing physical discs, as they sell, people like to collect things, and the studios are making a LOT of money on them.

2. DirecTV: There's not much on there. It's basically a technology demo at this point. DirecTV has the technical capbility to light up about 50 UHD channels on the Reverse Band within the next year or less, but there is no content to put up there right now. I'd bet against much linear 4k in the forseeable future.

3. Netflix, Amazon, etc: There is a LOT of content streaming. Netflix has a number of big series available partially or entirely in 4k, a number of documentaries and other content in 4k, as does Amazon, and YouTube has a lot of short clips in 4k. 4k is absolutely stunning in several Netflix series like House of Cards and Narcos.

While you're technically right about where the 4k content is and isn't, you have to realize that the whole content landscape has been moving away from linear pay TV for several years, even for cord stackers, and not just cord cutters, and towards streaming, so even if there is never linear 4k content, there is tons of content for 4k TVs. Unfortunatly, Comcast have severely devalued their pay TV service by making the quality so lousy just at the same time that better quality streaming in both 1080p and 4k is becoming widely and cheaply available.

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor


@BiggAJW wrote:

RobertWy,

You're not missing anything technically speaking, but you seem to be writing off a lot of really good content.

1. Movies: There are a lot of movies being released on 4k Blu-Ray, adn the studios aren't going to stop doing physical discs, as they sell, people like to collect things, and the studios are making a LOT of money on them.

2. DirecTV: There's not much on there. It's basically a technology demo at this point. DirecTV has the technical capbility to light up about 50 UHD channels on the Reverse Band within the next year or less, but there is no content to put up there right now. I'd bet against much linear 4k in the forseeable future.

3. Netflix, Amazon, etc: There is a LOT of content streaming. Netflix has a number of big series available partially or entirely in 4k, a number of documentaries and other content in 4k, as does Amazon, and YouTube has a lot of short clips in 4k. 4k is absolutely stunning in several Netflix series like House of Cards and Narcos.

While you're technically right about where the 4k content is and isn't, you have to realize that the whole content landscape has been moving away from linear pay TV for several years, even for cord stackers, and not just cord cutters, and towards streaming, so even if there is never linear 4k content, there is tons of content for 4k TVs. Unfortunatly, Comcast have severely devalued their pay TV service by making the quality so lousy just at the same time that better quality streaming in both 1080p and 4k is becoming widely and cheaply available.


I am aware of what content there is.  But I watch most of my content in my Den.  If I want to view 4K content, I will have to replace my TV, my  

DVD player, my a/v receiver, and my X1 DVR, along with my HDMI cables.  Then I have to sign up for Amazon, etc, along with Netflix 4K.

 

I don't think I'm "writing off a lot of really good content".  I'm just waiting until it makes more sense financially for me personally.  I've even tried K***, but my wi-fi isn't fast enough, and that was 1080p and not 4K.  And then there is the Comcast 1TB limit.

 

 

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

RobertWy,

You still seem to be overestimating the cost and difficulty of getting 4k content, and underestimating what is out there, even though you seem to have the technical details down pat. I will say that if you have a small TV in your den, then 4k isn't really worth it. You need a big screen to make it worthwhile, my 65" looked great with 4k, I could imagine going even larger would look great.

Yes, you have to get a UHD BD player if you want disc-based content, and of course a 4k TV. You don't need a 4k AVR, as you can wire sources directly to the TV, although it would definitely make a 4k setup easier to use. HDMI cables are like $7 each, so not really a big factor, and having extras is always good. Netflix 4k only costs a couple bucks more than regular Netflix, and while I don't know if I've streamed much off of Amazon in 4k, it's a freebie anyway with Prime shipping.

I won't defend the concept of a cap, it is indefensible, but practically speaking, if I had a cap on Comcast (I don't- Northeast), UHD wouldn't be a big deal towards hitting it. Even binging a whole season of a Netflix show is like 90GB, and that's 13 straight hours of TV, so it's not like you can do that every week!

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor


@BiggAJW wrote:

RobertWy,

You still seem to be overestimating the cost and difficulty of getting 4k content, and underestimating what is out there, even though you seem to have the technical details down pat. I will say that if you have a small TV in your den, then 4k isn't really worth it. You need a big screen to make it worthwhile, my 65" looked great with 4k, I could imagine going even larger would look great.

Yes, you have to get a UHD BD player if you want disc-based content, and of course a 4k TV. You don't need a 4k AVR, as you can wire sources directly to the TV, although it would definitely make a 4k setup easier to use. HDMI cables are like $7 each, so not really a big factor, and having extras is always good. Netflix 4k only costs a couple bucks more than regular Netflix, and while I don't know if I've streamed much off of Amazon in 4k, it's a freebie anyway with Prime shipping.

I won't defend the concept of a cap, it is indefensible, but practically speaking, if I had a cap on Comcast (I don't- Northeast), UHD wouldn't be a big deal towards hitting it. Even binging a whole season of a Netflix show is like 90GB, and that's 13 straight hours of TV, so it's not like you can do that every week!


Hmm.  I have a nice 60" Samsung 3D Smart TV.  Until I can replace it with an LG 65" E7 OLED, I am happy with what I have now.

 

I live in the Houston area, and we are still putting our home back together after Harvey.

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X1 Video quality seems poor

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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

Kali77 is right on the money here. There is nothing that different boxes or anything else will do about Comcast's atrocious MPEG-4 quality.

 

One note I would make is that it's not the fault of MPEG-4, but rather Comcast, for improperly implementing MPEG-4 and using too low of a bitrate and not stat muxing. DirecTV's MPEG-4 looks great.

Expert

Re: X1 Video quality seems poor


wrote:

Kali77 is right on the money here. There is nothing that different boxes or anything else will do about Comcast's atrocious MPEG-4 quality.

 

One note I would make is that it's not the fault of MPEG-4, but rather Comcast, for improperly implementing MPEG-4 and using too low of a bitrate and not stat muxing. DirecTV's MPEG-4 looks great.


the MPG certified mpeg4 as being 50%+ more efficient without affecting video quality. Are you speaking of cable channels or local must-carry channels? Comcast moved to 720p60 on the cable channels and leaves the local channel's format in place (mpeg2 and 1080i or 720p). the next format is nicknamed mepeg-G some call it mpeg-5 but is actually HEVC and it is what the cable channels are provided by the networks now. it is another 50% more efficient (smaller files) than mpeg-4



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Re: X1 Video quality seems poor

Most/all master feeds on C-band are MPEG-4, but they are at much higher bitrates.