Watching Sunday Night NFL on (Comcast) NBC right now, 1080 MPEG2. Pretty sweet HD (notwithstanding the fact that I'm watching via CableCard instead of my awesome attic antenna).
Watched Dodgers and Cubs on FS1 earlier, 720 H.264. Basically, it's a fuzzy, so-so HD experience. Surfed to neighboring CBS Sports, also 720 H.264, also fairly fuzzy picture.
So on *my* Sony 4k, "No" I'm not getting the benefit your are noting, as 720 H.264 is no match for 1080 MPEG2 on my TV. Not even close.
My Sony TV does both 4k upscaling and refresh upscaling (to 120 Hz), so other's milage may vary (e.g., depending on interpolation etc.). On mine, the "new" 720 H.264 is rendered such that it is visually noticably inferior to existing 1080 MPEG2.
What's funny to me is that this MP4 roll out (largely) bricked the (1st gen) CableCard slot on my 2006 Toshiba which was a 1080p TV. It's a decade since I bought that TV and I hope Comcast is not doubling down on 720. "The 2000s are calling, and they want their 720 back." Seriously, elsewhere (e,g., TV manufacturing and streaming spaces), seems people are ramping up for 4k. No one is ramping down to 720. Unless Comcast is about to pull an AT&T here and announce it's deprecating its current system and going all in on IPTV, this make no sense to me. If they hit the 1080 OTA channels with 720 as well, I'll be watching via antenna -- difference is just too big.
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On my 2015 Sony (which receives 60 fps from RPi2 client rendering HDHRViewer app), I can't tell any difference in frame rate between various Comcast-carried sports channels, or between those Comcast channels and OTA equivalents. It's all good. I can tell the frame rate difference between that new TV and a 10 y.o. Toshiba (with 1st gen CableCard slot) that is capped at 30 fps, with the latter being "slightly annoying" for really fast action.
However even then frame rate, to me, is significantly less important than resolution. In a 3 1/2 football game, real action (between snap and whistle) is often quoted to be something like 8-10 minutes (or insert your own low number). Real "fast" action (that would trigger a frame rate concern) is obviously some subset of that. Similar stats are often mentioned for baseball -- 90%+ of the time players are just standing around (maybe 99%, before new game flow rules this season <g>).
1080 is "pretty sweet" HD, while 720 is "a tad fuzzy" HD, with the difference being noticable 100% of the time for a given game.
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I'm noticing that in this transition (for SF Bay Area), channels that were 1080 MPEG2 are now only 720 for H.264 (aka MP4) -- for example (Comcast's own) CNBC Channel 762 in SF Bay Area. (There are others as well.)
I have CableCard feeding to HDHomerun tuner (which then feeds HDHRViewer app), which reports the exact resolution and codec for each channel.
CNBC was looking great at 1080, now just looks hohum. I don't need to see Cramer in 1080 BUT if the sports channels that are currently 1080 are downgraded to 720 in this transition, that would be pretty bad.
Question to Comcast staff: Is this downgraded resolution for H.264 channels temporary (as in just a few months or less)? If this isn't a short term blip, please leave the sports channels at MPEG2 (until 1080 for H.264 can be deployed).
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