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Brad Fitzpatrick

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MPEG artificats in analog cable!? [Oct. 11th, 2005|08:17 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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Why the hell do I see MPEG artifacts during commercials on analog cable?

Is the new way to distribute commercials to studios via crappy MPEG files?

Lame. Not that I care about commercial quality much, but I hate this "digital" world being used to lower costs more than increasing quality. Kinda depressing.

[User Picture]From: brad
2005-10-12 04:14 am (UTC)
I guess I should've clarified "digital" a little... I have no doubt digital is used everywhere (as it should be). I have an issue with incredibly lossy digital showing up in my living room where I have to look at it.
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[User Picture]From: vanbeast
2005-10-12 04:41 am (UTC)
I was probably a step ahead of myself too. One of the natural consequences of moving to a digital distribution network is that people will start to want their content faster.

MPEG was a pretty natural choice then (and is still pretty much the only video compression standard with any industry backing) so they went with it. When it became obvious that the transmission speed wasn't going to keep up, they started moving toward higher compression.
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[User Picture]From: edm
2005-10-12 05:06 am (UTC)
_Have_ to look at it? I generally assume all adverts will make me unhappy, and try to avoid looking at them even without artifacts :-)

Here (New Zealand) pretty much all the stations (which are all analogue, all the time) have used MPEG or similar as part of their transmission process (long haul links down to the local repeaters, I think), and you see MPEG blocks/artifacts from time to time in programs when the signal to the repeater breaks up. I assume they do that with commercials too.

If you were seeing an otherwise normal picture, just with compression artifacts, then chances are the advertiser supplied a too-heavily-compressed MPEG file for screening. I used to see this effect in some adverts in the "digital" movie theatres; and it really sucked having what looked like a 320x240 heavily compressed MPEG image shown on a large-movie-theatre sized screen. I tried not to watch that too.

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[User Picture]From: maxvt
2005-10-12 06:35 am (UTC)
Bandwidth is finite. Until enough people raise hell about crappy video quality (and it is crappy), current channels are going to be squeezed even more to make space for new (and profitable) programming. However, 95% of the people either don't notice or don't care.

Also, less popular channels are also more compressed.
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