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AT&T U-Verse - Worst HD quality available?

Old 04-02-07, 07:49 PM
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AT&T U-Verse - Worst HD quality available?

So I signed up for AT&Ts IPTV service mainly because it is pretty affordable and the internet gives you solid speeds unlike normal DSL. Overall I'm pretty happy. They supposedly use MPEG4 to compress their channels and the standard def channels look great. The box even seems to upscale them once I set it to 1080i because they look better on my HDTV than Time Warner's cable channels.

The problems, however, are with their HD service. I have heard that Direct TV has horrible compression artifacts on their HD channels, but I think AT&T may have topped them. HDNET which has a reputation for quality looks like a video CD. Granted the video is HD, but the artifacts are everywhere. It is so bad that the HD channels are practically unwatchable. I had taken down my OTA box, but I put it back up. Night and day difference comparing it to AT&Ts channels.

I have to wonder if HDTV really is the future. Even Time Warner's HD service was no great shakes though it was better than this mess from AT&T. How can anyone take HDTV seriously when companies like AT&T and Direct TV refuse to give it the bandwith it needs.

If people are experiencing HD for the first time this way its no wonder few of them want to invest in HDTV or Blu-ray. Sad future indeed.
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Old 04-02-07, 08:21 PM
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I have Direct TV and when I first got it I thought it looked great. Then I got into HD and BD and now I think it looks horrible besides some shows like CSI Miami and Lost.
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Old 04-03-07, 12:08 AM
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24 is the worst HD available. Love the show, but horrid picture quality. i have many DVDs that look better.

Hardly matters who sends it to you, they can only make it worse.
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Old 04-03-07, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
24 is the worst HD available. Love the show, but horrid picture quality. i have many DVDs that look better.

Hardly matters who sends it to you, they can only make it worse.
24 is only 720, which would explain why it doesn't look all that spectacular compared to other shows. The CSI shows look fantastic. If you truly want the worst, though, check out anything on NBC. Apparently they feel that a show can never have too much macroblocking. Their 1080 shows look worse than 24, if you ask me.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:05 AM
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U-Verse is coming to my city this summer. Thanks for the info, I'm not nearly as interested in signing up now.

darkside, are you using their DVR? How is it?
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Old 04-03-07, 06:57 PM
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Vipper II,

No, it's not because it is 720. My TV is only 720, so that would not be an issue. It is because it is overcompressed before it even heads out the door. And the many, many dark scenes are not handled well. Not sure why, as you point out, other shows do fine.

Agreed that NBC is easily the worst network, esp for live events. But 24 appears like an NBC show. NBC's shows look just fine, if the network or the provider doesn't destroy the signal.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Chew
U-Verse is coming to my city this summer. Thanks for the info, I'm not nearly as interested in signing up now.

darkside, are you using their DVR? How is it?
The DVR is fine. They include a DVR with the service so it is a great value. The service is fine outside of the problems with the HD channels. I have my OTA box hooked back up and switched back and forth on the NCAA Finals last night and when you do a back and forth its obvious that AT&T is compressing the hell out of the signal. The OTA signal was clean throughout with only minor artifacts from time to time. The AT&T signal was loaded with artifacts and would even drop out completely for a few seconds.
I'm not sure how much bandwidth the local affiliate uses for CBS, but I would bet the AT&T signal was about half. I have the HD service free for two months and I'm going to call them to see if there is any way it can be improved. If not I will drop it because it is not worth $10 extra a month. You can forget watching any scenes with lots of black or red in them. The macroblocking makes your eyes bleed.

I will say again outside of this U-verse is great. I have the 3MB down, 1MB up internet and you get every bit of that speed. The SD channels all look great so the MPEG4 encoding they use is fine on those channels. It is a bit weird having TV through the internet, but really it is satellite service without needing a dish.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
24 is the worst HD available. Love the show, but horrid picture quality. i have many DVDs that look better.

Hardly matters who sends it to you, they can only make it worse.
Agreed. 24 is probably my favorite show but it looks absolutely horrible in HD. The DVDs do look better IMO.
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Old 04-04-07, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
So I signed up for AT&Ts IPTV service mainly because it is pretty affordable and the internet gives you solid speeds unlike normal DSL. Overall I'm pretty happy. They supposedly use MPEG4 to compress their channels and the standard def channels look great. The box even seems to upscale them once I set it to 1080i because they look better on my HDTV than Time Warner's cable channels.

The problems, however, are with their HD service. I have heard that Direct TV has horrible compression artifacts on their HD channels, but I think AT&T may have topped them. HDNET which has a reputation for quality looks like a video CD. Granted the video is HD, but the artifacts are everywhere. It is so bad that the HD channels are practically unwatchable. I had taken down my OTA box, but I put it back up. Night and day difference comparing it to AT&Ts channels.

I have to wonder if HDTV really is the future. Even Time Warner's HD service was no great shakes though it was better than this mess from AT&T. How can anyone take HDTV seriously when companies like AT&T and Direct TV refuse to give it the bandwith it needs.

If people are experiencing HD for the first time this way its no wonder few of them want to invest in HDTV or Blu-ray. Sad future indeed.
I totally agree but unfortunatly the TV and Cable industry i all about quantity over quality. They would rather kick out 200 channels that wer medicore quality than cut back to 100 channels that had awsome quality. Of course those numbers are just an exagerated example but the point is they are all about getting as many channels as possible into thier service thus they lower the badwidth as much as humanly possible. It really does reflect poorly on the HD name and most people dont know that the HDdisc formats offer a substantial increase in quality over the HD channels on TV.

Bottom line I would be perfectly content with like only 25-30 super HQ channels instead of getting a hundred garbage channels that I will never watch anyways and I think most people out there would agree with that. Most people I know are bewildered at the number of channels that some of the services out there provide these days and again to me its just an utter waste of bandwidth. As is I have yet to see a TV channel even come close to what my HD DVD player can do on my new Plasma and its a shame, it really is.
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