New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

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New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2008 5:50 pm

Good afternoon guys. I just thought I'd share a little rant with everyone here this lovely weekend. I've been a Dish HD subscriber for almost two years now, and I've been the proud owner of the Dish VIP622 HD-DVR. Great set, great DVR interface... pretty much everything I've ever wanted for my TV watching. I used to have this television:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-KD-36XS955-T ... B00067AXYU

It was an older CRT 4:3 HDTV, but the quality was pretty good. I did want to move on to something bigger and better though, so I sold it to a friend and got the following TV from Best Buy on a memorial day sale:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=953059

Based off that thread from avsforum and a few other things I had read about this set, I decided to take the plunge and buy it. I have to say, for such an inexpensive HDTV ($825 sales tax included out the door), it looks pretty incredible. After setting brightness/contrast and color levels with Avia Home Theater, it looks pretty incredible. Blu-ray movies on my PS3 are particularly impressive in all their 1080p glory.

However, I must say that this added definition really hurts my viewing experience with Dish Network HD. On my old TV, Dish HD looked just as good as any blu-ray movie I played. Now that I have a larger TV with higher detail, every flaw on Dish HD screams at me. Most of my upconverted standard def DVDs played through my PS3 look much better than the HD channels I'm getting from Dish Network. They added a lot of HD channels shortly before I got my new TV... I have to say that I'm a bit frustrated with DTV and Dish HD's philosophy that quantity is better than quality. I would much rather have 25 or 30 high bandwidth HD channels from them than the 90 channels worth of low bitrate garbage they're streaming my way right now.

Just wanted to get that off my chest... I have Netflix and will be renting many blu-ray movies to enjoy on my new tv rather than watching a lot of HDTV on Dish Network. What are fellow gerbil's thoughts on this?
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2008 6:09 pm

Guess what? "Quantity is better than quality" is the philosophy the cable providers employ as well, and the compression artifacts are often even worse. Eventually I suppose they'll offer a "premium" tier where you get the opportunity to pay more to have them compress it less, even when they're gone fiber and are no longer as bandwidth-constrained. The best quality is going to be OTA broadcast, so get yourself an antenna (the PBS nature broadcasts can rival the disc formats, if you have a local digital PBS station).
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2008 6:17 pm

I agree, PBS HD is serious business and the fact that it's completely free makes one of the best reasons to own an HDTV.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2008 11:24 pm

I would definitely get an OTA antenna, but I live about 60 miles outside Dallas and cannot get any kind of decent reception. Oh well...
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:38 am

firerules16 wrote:I would definitely get an OTA antenna, but I live about 60 miles outside Dallas and cannot get any kind of decent reception. Oh well...

Maybe this will do the trick for you.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:24 am

I have Direct TV HD and the Westy 37w3, 37" 1080p. I still have HD Cable in the house because I use cable for my internet and my roommate uses cable in his room. (Why we have both HD is a bit of a story so I'll move ahead.)

Anyway, I can easily compare the same channel at the same time between cable and my Direct TV - I find the quality of the Sat HD to be much better on some channels and the same on others.

Also, I know that Direct TV does not treat all HD channels equally. The absolute best picture is NFL football - it's fantastic. If I compare that to something like the Speed channel HD there is a huge quality difference. From what I understand Direct TV uses different levels of compression depending on the content.

I have no experience with Dish HD. Just thought I'd share what I've seen.

OT - Do you get the NFL package with Dish?
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:52 am

Dish DEFINITELY takes liberties with the compression. They have much less bandwidth than the cable companies and Verizon have to play with, so in order to remain attractive they need to have more channels. More channels on less bandwidth = worse picture. Most people never notice because they don't know any better, but I've seen it and it IS garbage. I have a local small cable company and generally never see any tiling or compression artifacts.

Bottom line is, if you want a good quality picture FiOS or Cable is the best solution.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:06 am

Corrado wrote:Dish DEFINITELY takes liberties with the compression. They have much less bandwidth than the cable companies and Verizon have to play with, so in order to remain attractive they need to have more channels. More channels on less bandwidth = worse picture. Most people never notice because they don't know any better, but I've seen it and it IS garbage. I have a local small cable company and generally never see any tiling or compression artifacts.

Bottom line is, if you want a good quality picture FiOS or Cable is the best solution.


FIOS maybe, Cable? Oh hell no...
I used Cox cable for years (just recebntly switched to Dish), and i can tell you without a doubt that their HD quality is lower than Dish HD. Comcast is even worse, There's a lot of threads and discussion on the internet right now about that very thing. Comcast is compressing their HD channels so much, that it looks worse that Standard definition, much less competitors HD offerings.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:28 am

MethylONE wrote:Also, I know that Direct TV does not treat all HD channels equally. The absolute best picture is NFL football - it's fantastic. If I compare that to something like the Speed channel HD there is a huge quality difference. From what I understand Direct TV uses different levels of compression depending on the content.
Yeah, I worked with DirecTV back in '95 or so when they were still putting up their birds. Apportioning bandwidth in different amounts for different channels based on content was a key factor for them. The two things that show the most compression artifacts are smooth gradations and fast motion. The NBA was the worst, because you have large blocks of the screen in fast action (in most football shots the players are relatively small and there's a lot of empty field) and you have a lot of skin tones and faces, which the human visual system is very attuned to and picks up small oddities in. It turns out porn is bad for the same reason, but they went ahead and compressed the heck out of the Spice channel etc anyway because they knew they wouldn't hear a lot of complaints.
Last edited by UberGerbil on Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:36 am

UberGerbil wrote:Guess what? "Quantity is better than quality" is the philosophy the cable providers employ as well, and the compression artifacts are often even worse. Eventually I suppose they'll offer a "premium" tier where you get the opportunity to pay more to have them compress it less, even when they're gone fiber and are no longer as bandwidth-constrained. The best quality is going to be OTA broadcast, so get yourself an antenna (the PBS nature broadcasts can rival the disc formats, if you have a local digital PBS station).
Reference post. Very well said.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:12 am

toxent wrote:
Corrado wrote:Dish DEFINITELY takes liberties with the compression. They have much less bandwidth than the cable companies and Verizon have to play with, so in order to remain attractive they need to have more channels. More channels on less bandwidth = worse picture. Most people never notice because they don't know any better, but I've seen it and it IS garbage. I have a local small cable company and generally never see any tiling or compression artifacts.

Bottom line is, if you want a good quality picture FiOS or Cable is the best solution.



FIOS maybe, Cable? Oh hell no...
I used Cox cable for years (just recebntly switched to Dish), and i can tell you without a doubt that their HD quality is lower than Dish HD. Comcast is even worse, There's a lot of threads and discussion on the internet right now about that very thing. Comcast is compressing their HD channels so much, that it looks worse that Standard definition, much less competitors HD offerings.

My comcast, and now Service Electric have been phenomenal. I don't know where you live, so maybe different markets are different, but in and around Philadelphia, Comcast's picture quality is fantastic.
Last edited by Corrado on Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:16 am

I'm gonna do some digging because I remember some video geeks that were able to compare resolution and compression from all the different sources. It may have been AVS Forums but I'm not sure. I remember in some cases the video was downsampled resolution wise then upsampled back to 1080 at the box.

I remember them having a pretty comprehensive list. I'll try to find it and post here...

Edit: Just gonna add links as I find them.

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/ ... ecret/C176

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1008271

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00084.html
Last edited by MethylONE on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:34 am

Wow, I'm surprised by the reception this thread has received. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with complaints about this on this forum. If I want higher quality, my only option right now is an OTA Antenna for locals and PBS (thanks for the link titan, I'll have to look into that antenna). In my small town, we only have a cable company by the name of Suddenlink, and their HD cable is terrible. They're great for internet service, as I'm getting about 8 mbps with them right now, but I tried their HD Cable a couple of years ago... the artifacts and blockiness were terrible even on my old TV. We also do not have Verizon, so no Fios here either.

Speaking of artifacts, I have to say that isn't really the main gripe I have with Dish HD. More than anything, it looks washed out. It's like they're applying some sort of filter to the video to hide the artifacts, and it looks like a blurry mess. And, some look better than others... my local ABC channel through dish looks pretty good, whereas NBC or CBS look terrible. All my other favorites, Discovery HD, the Science Channel, National Geographic, etc, look pretty awful to my eyes.

I'll probably have to live with it for now, but I've considered cancelling... if my wife didn't like it so much, I probably would, and she doesn't care about the quality as much as I do. :roll:
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:35 am

What i read , the census is Comcast is the worst for HD , then Dish TV, and Timewarner little better then both. But for best HD right now its FIOS, but trying to get fios is harder then finding a virgin in porn industry.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:38 am

I would like to point out that DirecTV and Dish are two different companies. It hasn't been clearly stated here but seems as though the two are being lumped together. (Just like Comcast and Time Warner are different.)
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:46 am

I have Dish HD and it is really good. The quality is easily better than digital cable that is offered here in Gainesville. I have the ViP 722. How do you have your set up? HDMI or component? 720p or 1080i? How are the scalers on your TV? Maybe they are doing a poor job.

I believe it was frobozz who said that his cable receiver could be set to output that channel's native resolution, be it 1080i or 720p or 480i depending on which channel you were watching. I wish Dish would incorporate that feature.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:00 pm

Corrado wrote:Dish DEFINITELY takes liberties with the compression. They have much less bandwidth than the cable companies and Verizon have to play with, so in order to remain attractive they need to have more channels. More channels on less bandwidth = worse picture.

It's not that cut and dry, though, because many satellite channels use MPEG-4 compression, so you can get more bang for your bandwidth compared to Comcast's heavily bitrate limited MPEG-2 streams. They may also downsample the resolution to 1280 x 1080 or 1440 x 1080. With fewer pixels for a given bitrate, you lose some fine detail but don't get as much macroblocking. That part is somewhat personal preference but I'd prefer a slightly smoother image from resolution loss and rescaling than sharper still images with very noticeable macroblocks during motion.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 5:35 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:I have Dish HD and it is really good. The quality is easily better than digital cable that is offered here in Gainesville. I have the ViP 722. How do you have your set up? HDMI or component? 720p or 1080i? How are the scalers on your TV? Maybe they are doing a poor job.

I believe it was frobozz who said that his cable receiver could be set to output that channel's native resolution, be it 1080i or 720p or 480i depending on which channel you were watching. I wish Dish would incorporate that feature.


This could be it too. With my Motorola box, on Comcast, SD looked horrible... with a Pace HD-DVR on Service Electric, SD is worlds better. HD looks similar, and very very clear, no visible compression artifacts etc. It could be the NTSC tuners in the Pace box are better, or that Service Electric doesn't compress SD as much as Comcast did etc. Don't know, just an observation.
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:10 pm

Usacomp: All my devices (with the exception of my Wii of course) is hooked up via HDMI through a Monoprice 5 port HDMI switch. I was thinking that it could be the scaler in my TV as well, so I tried setting my PS3 and Xbox 360 to 1080i rather than 1080p. I played some high def WMVs from my PC through both my systems, and it still looks great in 1080i, so who knows? I've tried setting my VIP 622 to 1080i and 720p, and I really couldn't tell much of a diference between the two pictures. I also briefly took my VIP 622 off of my HDMI switch and plugged it straight into the TV. Didn't seem to make a difference, and I didn't think it would anyway... that HDMI switch is really good.

I was, however, flipping through some stuff on Dish today... they were playing Band of Brothers on the History Channel HD, and it actually looked pretty darn good. Maybe I'm just getting spoiled by watching such pristine sources like Blu Ray?
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Re: New HDTV, disappointed with Dish HD

Postposted on Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:36 am

I will definitely agree that some channels look better than others. HGTV is quite excellent, and some of the ESPN broadcasts are as well. A&E and SciFi are hit and miss, depending on the show. HBO is quite amazing.

I will say the difference is probably not as great for me since I'm using my Dell 2407 connected via HDMI->DVI so it's not a true HDTV.
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