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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.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mart
2005-10-12 07:07 am (UTC)

Cable company Telewest here in the UK produces their analogue (analog ;)) feed essentially just by stuffing their digital cable output through a modulator. Last I looked, they were even failing to properly scale widescreen transmissions leading to a distorted picture. They get their feeds from most of their upstream providers as a digital (MPEG2, I think) stream too.

The upshot of this is that bad weather or other disruption anywhere along the supply chain causes frame dropping and MPEG artifacts that you'd normally associate with digital cable. I imagine in your case too only the last little hop to your home is analogue, and that the cable company is actually putting more effort into stripping it down to an analogue signal just so they can charge you less for it. Or something.

Crazy cable companies.

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[User Picture]From: mordant
2005-10-12 08:51 am (UTC)
The upshot of this is that bad weather or other disruption anywhere along the supply chain causes frame dropping and MPEG artifacts that you'd normally associate with digital cable.

Ditto with Foxtel Digital here in Australia - I think it relates to bad frame interleaves when the carrier dips for a second and framelock dies in the ass.
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[User Picture]From: idigital
2005-10-12 03:08 pm (UTC)
People still have analog cable in the UK? Wow. I thought nearly everyone was on digital cable by now.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2005-10-12 05:08 pm (UTC)

Due to Telewest's financial troubles they are still unable to offer digital cable nor cable modem service in a bunch of their service areas. They are offering the reduced analogue service in the hope that it'll keep people interested and keep the money flowing long enough that they can eventually get them to go onto digital cable rather than jumping ship to Sky. (Beyond the first sentence this is obviously speculation.)

Aside from this, a cheap “just the terrestrial channels plus Sky One and a few cheesy shopping channels” package is quite popular in my home town since a new building in the late 80s destroyed the over-the-air reception. It's cheap enough to be negligible, so a lot of people pay it just to improve their TV picture for the basic terrestrial channels.

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