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720p V 1080i: Whats Better For Fast-action Sport?

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All i have to say is that AFL on 10 looks spectacular on my 40" X series. No image blur and the most detail I've ever seen in footy ('House' is good too but thats getting off topic!).

Do you think it has to do with the x series having a good de-interlacer?

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I'm sure the expensive scalers that can detect the motion areas would produce better results than simply bob+weave. Whether it's better than 720p/50-60 remains to be seen (at least in my eyes). I'm sure someone or some company has compared the two (i.e filming the same action but using 720p and 1080i cameras).

As yet, I haven't found a website that has analysed the two formats:

1. 720p vs 1080i converted to 720p or

2. 720p converted to 1080p vs 1080i converted to 1080p

Some clip samples of each format to compare would be great to anyalyse.

Having the most expensive scalers just to convert 1080i into a high quality progressive format seems a lot. If only they could have stuck with some progressive formats (like 720p, 900p, 1080p), then the end user might not have to fork out as much to get a decent picture.

I have plenty of 720p and 1080i content with fast motion content and in my experience, using good deinterlacing, there is little in it for fast motion performance, but 1080i is superior for low motion or still content.

A lot of the time the video format is not a limiting factor. For example any sporting event shot in doors or under lights will suffer from shutter speed limitations which can impart dreadful motion blur, far worse then even poorly deinterlaced 1080i.

Some time back I posted a series of shots from an American football game from ABC in the US shot in 720p under lights in a big stadium, and although the video looks good in motion, if you capture a single frame of video where the camera or subject are moving at all, the frame is horribly blurred, to the point where even VHS tape look sharp in comparison.

Then there is the issue of video compression which drastically reduces resolution in fast motion.

Lastly, the human eye-brain is not that good at discerning detains in moving objects. Just try reading the paper while someone waves it around in front of you. :blink:

1080i has been around a long time and is not going away, so you will always need a good deinterlacer. Saying that it should not be required is pointless.

720p is just not as good as 1080i for most content and 1080p is only available in 24/25 fps, which is fine for film but useless for sport and a lot of other HD content.

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Omega,

I am still learning myself about all this, though 1080i broadcasts are at 50Hz (in Oz), as 1080p/50 doesn't exist as yet (or is not mainstream).

Interlaced basically means each field (or frame) is either all the "odd numbered" or "even numbered" horizontal lines of the footage.

Scan number one down the screen shows all the odd numbered lines, scan two shows all the even ones. This happens so fast that the image looks like it's all being shown at the same time. Note there would be 25 frames of odd's and 25 frames of evens (using all 50 cycles, or 50 Hz).

Progressive is where all lines are shown at the one time (from line 01 to 1080), at this point in time, at 24 times per second (hence 1080p/24).

To convert the interlaced material into progressive, the scaler or de-interlacer (usually found within recent Plasma's or as standalone units) grab frame one and frame two (the first cycle of both odd & even lines), and merge them together (by using the methods of either BOB, WEAVE, MOTION ADAPTIVE, or other variations), to create a 1080p frame. Therefore, as two (i) frames are converted into one (p) frame, the Hz is halved accordingly (50/2=25).

Note: As many films etc are shot or converted into 1080p/24, some frames may need to be displayed more than once to achieve 25fps (instead of the 24fps).

I believe the reasoning that 1080i/50 is considered better for sport is that it records in 50Hz (wheras shooting in 1080p/24...which is the only other viable 1080 option at present is shooting at 24fps), which isn't as good for fast motion. However the potential downfall to the 1080i/50 is that some methods of converting back to 1080p often are not able to keep the full 1080 resolution in the fast areas of the footage.....though may still look on par (or better) than similar footage shot at 1080p/24Hz.

If I am not on the right track, somebody please jump in and say so....

Basically right, but a few clarifications need to be made.

1080p 50/60 is not used as a video format anywhere to my knowledge. Video camera’s can capture at that rate but the bandwidth requirements are to great for the production and distribution chain, therefore 1080p 50/60 is not likely in the foreseeable future.

When discussing 1080i it important to differentiate the source from the video format.

Film is converted to 1080i 50 by playing it back 4% fast at 25fps and dividing each progressive frame (instant in time) into two fields (50 fields per second). All the display needs to do is join (weave) the two field back together and display the resulting progressive frames at 25fps, a simple and lossless process.

The other form of 1080i comes from an interlaced video camera. In this situation the camera captures 50 fields per second, but each field is not necessarily related to the one before or after as they where captured at different points in time.

To maintain the smooth 50 updates per second motion of this form of 1080i, it must be deinterlaced to 50 frames per second, not 25. Each field needs to be treated as an individual frame. Simple bob deinterlacing does just that by scaling each 1920x540 field to full screen resolution and displaying them 50 per second. Unfortunately doing this cuts the vertical resolution in half (540 not 1080).

To regain vertical resolution, the deinterlacing system needs to look at the preceding fields and following field or fields and use the data in them to recreate a 1080 frame without interlacing artifacts and with as much vertical resolution as possible over the entire frame, which will vary depending on motion in each part of the image.

Various methods are employed to do this complicated task, “Motion Adaptive”, “Vector Adaptive”, “Pixel Adaptive” and the very demanding “Motion Compensated”.

All are potentially much better then simple bob, and maintain much more vertical resolution in motion.

Having said all that, a 50% drop in vertical resolution is surprisingly not that noticeable, since horizontal resolution remains the same, and in motion where other factors also contribute blur, it’s just not very significant in the overall scheme of things.

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The other form of 1080i comes from an interlaced video camera. In this situation the camera captures 50 fields per second, but each field is not necessarily related to the one before or after as they where captured at different points in time.

To maintain the smooth 50 updates per second motion of this form of 1080i, it must be deinterlaced to 50 frames per second, not 25. Each field needs to be treated as an individual frame. Simple bob deinterlacing does just that by scaling each 1920x540 field to full screen resolution and displaying them 50 per second. Unfortunately doing this cuts the vertical resolution in half (540 not 1080).

To regain vertical resolution, the deinterlacing system needs to look at the preceding fields and following field or fields and use the data in them to recreate a 1080 frame without interlacing artifacts and with as much vertical resolution as possible over the entire frame, which will vary depending on motion in each part of the image.

Various methods are employed to do this complicated task, “Motion Adaptive”, “Vector Adaptive”, “Pixel Adaptive” and the very demanding “Motion Compensated”.

All are potentially much better then simple bob, and maintain much more vertical resolution in motion.

Having said all that, a 50% drop in vertical resolution is surprisingly not that noticeable, since horizontal resolution remains the same, and in motion where other factors also contribute blur, it’s just not very significant in the overall scheme of things.

Just to clarify this a little further (in my mind at least), these deinterlacing methods you mention, they all occur at the user-end don't they? Or is it done prior to broadcast?

Cos if they are broadcasting the 1080i50hz to us as its captured from the video cameras at the ground, it will be entirely out choice of deinterlacing that ultimately determines how good a picture we can extract from the material broadcast to us, wont it? i.e. will end up either being done ,in my case, by the SXRD, or MCE and videocard if using the HTPC?

Is that correct?

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Planet earth is very grainy and is almost certainly shot on film; however it may be only 16mm, which would explain the low resolution.

Actually most of the series was shot on a Panasonic Varicam in 720 24p video. Some parts were shot on 35mm film (mostly in the humid regions) and some parts such as the Penguin scenes were shot on 16mm.

"Panasonic's AJ-HDC27 VariCam replicates many of the key features of film-based image acquisition, including 24-frame progressive scan images, time lapse recording, and a wide range of variable frame rates (4-fps to 60-fps in single-frame increments) for “overcranked” and “undercranked” off-speed in-camera effects. The AJ-HDC27 VariCam also features CineGamma™ software that permits Panasonic's HD Cinema™ camera systems to more closely match the latitude of film stocks."

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Basically right, but a few clarifications need to be made.

1080p 50/60 is not used as a video format anywhere to my knowledge. Video camera’s can capture at that rate but the bandwidth requirements are to great for the production and distribution chain, therefore 1080p 50/60 is not likely in the foreseeable future.

As I said elsewhere, the lastest ABC studios & AFL coverage cameras are 1080p50/60. TV doesn't use that format yet, but Videcraft offers the full camera - VTR editing in 1080p60 sampled at 4:4:4 RGB.

While they will get used for film work first, it will become more common, and it can be rented - at a cost. Any TV station with Sony HDCAM SR VTRs can play these tapes, but yes the TX will be a while. Then we will see decent HD images.

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As I said elsewhere, the lastest ABC studios & AFL coverage cameras are 1080p50/60. TV doesn't use that format yet, but Videcraft offers the full camera - VTR editing in 1080p60 sampled at 4:4:4 RGB.

While they will get used for film work first, it will become more common, and it can be rented - at a cost. Any TV station with Sony HDCAM SR VTRs can play these tapes, but yes the TX will be a while. Then we will see decent HD images.

So the cameras being used can do it...but they are just choosing to operate 'below capacity' for bandwidth reasons?

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Like I said, current cameras can capture 1080p 50/60 but since TV networks cant transmit it anywhere in the world, cinema film is 24fps and BluRay and HDDVD both do not support 1080p 50/60, how in the hell is anyone ever going to see it in there home?

We don’t have the bandwidth for 1080p 24 let alone 50 or 60 frames per second, it’s just not happening in the foreseeable future, and if it did it would look like crap because of the lack of bandwidth.

1080i 50/60 is 90% as good and FAR better with available bandwidth.

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Like I said, current cameras can capture 1080p 50/60 but since TV networks cant transmit it anywhere in the world, cinema film is 24fps and BluRay and HDDVD both do not support 1080p 50/60, how in the hell is anyone ever going to see it in there home?

We don’t have the bandwidth for 1080p 24 let alone 50 or 60 frames per second, it’s just not happening in the foreseeable future, and if it did it would look like crap because of the lack of bandwidth.

1080i 50/60 is 90% as good and FAR better with available bandwidth.

But if they have spent extra on the equipment, hopefully that means they intend to have the bandwidth available to use the equipment they bought in the not-too-distant future...unless the life-span of a camera is like 30 years or something. hehe. :blink:

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Even if the TV networks stopped transmitting the SD channel and EPG, and devoted all bandwidth to one HD channel, they would still only have half the data rate needed for good quality 1080p 50. However 1080i looks outstanding at the same data rate, and so close to 1080p 50 at double the data rate it just does not matter.

Satellite providers have much less bandwidth to play with, and even with h.264 compression, 1080p 50 is not even close to feasible.

There is also no tangible benefit in TV networks providing 1080p 50, so it’s just not happening.

As far as other methods of video distribution are concerned, we are only just getting into BluRay and HDDVD, which don’t support 1080p 50/60, so we will have to wait for some future format to be released before 1080p 50/60 will be available in our homes. God knows how long that will take.

Even people with huge 1080p displays will be hard pressed to pic the difference between 1080i 50 and 1080p 50 if good deinterlacing is used. Personally I prefer true 1080i to 1080p 24, image detail looks the same and motion is much smoother with 1080i.

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Even if the TV networks stopped transmitting the SD channel and EPG, and devoted all bandwidth to one HD channel, they would still only have half the data rate needed for good quality 1080p 50. However 1080i looks outstanding at the same data rate, and so close to 1080p 50 at double the data rate it just does not matter.

Satellite providers have much less bandwidth to play with, and even with h.264 compression, 1080p 50 is not even close to feasible.

There is also no tangible benefit in TV networks providing 1080p 50, so it’s just not happening.

As far as other methods of video distribution are concerned, we are only just getting into BluRay and HDDVD, which don’t support 1080p 50/60, so we will have to wait for some future format to be released before 1080p 50/60 will be available in our homes. God knows how long that will take.

Even people with huge 1080p displays will be hard pressed to pic the difference between 1080i 50 and 1080p 50 if good deinterlacing is used. Personally I prefer true 1080i to 1080p 24, image detail looks the same and motion is much smoother with 1080i.

Good points, and i suppose there is a lot of "waste" in a 1080p50 videostream as for most things, and most scenes, there isnt enough stuff changing to warrant taking 50 seperate images per second.

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1080i 50 video cameras take 50 images per second, that’s why true 1080i has such smooth motion compared to 1080p 24 or 1080p 24 contained in 1080i.

1080i is a very good compromise between 1080p 24/25 and 1080p 50.

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1080i 50 video cameras take 50 images per second, that’s why true 1080i has such smooth motion compared to 1080p 24 or 1080p 24 contained in 1080i.

1080i is a very good compromise between 1080p 24/25 and 1080p 50.

sorry, by "seperate" i mean 50 "full" images, as opposed to just the parts of an interlaced image. I meant to say the waste was due to all 1080 lines being 're-captured' 50 times a second even though nothing was changing for most of those.

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As I said elsewhere, the lastest ABC studios & AFL coverage cameras are 1080p50/60. TV doesn't use that format yet, but Videcraft offers the full camera - VTR editing in 1080p60 sampled at 4:4:4 RGB.

While they will get used for film work first, it will become more common, and it can be rented - at a cost. Any TV station with Sony HDCAM SR VTRs can play these tapes, but yes the TX will be a while. Then we will see decent HD images.

So the cameras being used can do it...but they are just choosing to operate 'below capacity' for bandwidth reasons?

Kind of.

They are choosing to operate in compliance with the Australian Standard which implements DVB in Australia.

In brief, DVB is largely built upon the American ATSC digital HDTV system. ATSC was developed at the same time MPEG2 was being drafted -- so there really wasn't much option other than to pick it, despite the following critical problem. MPEG2 could not compress a 2 Mpx image stream into a 6MHz terrestrial broadcast channel (well, not without turning it into cubist blobs). Thus 1080p was out of the question. A 1 Mpx image stream could be compressed quite reasonably with MPEG2 into 6MHz -- part of the reason for the 720p standard. In comparison. A 2 Mpx image stream interlaced to 1 Mpx (i.e. 1080i) isn't quite as easy to compress which is why most 1080i terrestrial broadcast signals are actually 1440x1080i not 1920x1080i (plus there is some MUSE-related camera hardware history too).

We don’t have the bandwidth for 1080p 24 let alone 50 or 60 frames per second

Huh? Progressive compresses better than interlaced meaning that if we have the broadcast bandwith for 720p50/60 there is sufficent bandwith for 1080p24 too. So it is no surprise that 1080p24/25/30 are part of the ATSC and DVB-T standards. Just to be different, the Australian Standard does not support 1080p24 per se; instead it nominates 24p>25p speedup with 25p or 25pSf transmission.

... and even with h.264 compression, 1080p 50 is not even close to feasible.

There is also no tangible benefit in TV networks providing 1080p 50, so it’s just not happening.

The European Broadcasting Union doesn't seem to agree with you. Back in 2004 they recommended moving to 1080p50 using H.264 (see commentary here). Euro1080 has already moved to MPEG4.

So, if we were to have "HDTV v.2" it probably would be based on 1080p using H.264 (or similar).

But pragmatically, the fact is that it has taken a bloody long time to get HDTV to its current half-baked state (esp. in Australia where 576p is deemed to be HD, FFS) and the broadcast industry probably has little stomach to even contemplate HDTV2 (and would probably fight any change to the standards -- just as Network 7 argued against HDTV in the first place). If Optus or another PayTV provider had the guts to try it, I'd see HDTV as vaguely more likely to occur over sat/cable than FTA.

1080i is a very good compromise between 1080p 24/25 and 1080p 50.

Yes. Well it was back in the days of analog SDTV and HDTV/MPEG2. Michael Robin (a fellow of the SMPTE) talks about the benefits of the interlacing compromise (here and here). But personally, I think that with advanced codecs such as H.264 the bandwidth arguments in favour of interlacing have greatly diminished. Or to put it another way, with MPEG2 interlacing was needed to get a 2 Mpx image stream into the target bandwith, H.264 can do the same bandwith compression without the need to interlace.

Adrian

PS Actually, having HDTV2 based on 4K@72Hz would be even cooler ... :-)

And even more unlikely to eventuate in the next 10-20 years -- the re-tooling costs for industry and consumers is just too high to do this sort of stuff quickly.

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Probably a bit off-topic....does anyone know if the x series TVs run at 24fps.... and the whole 50/60hz stuff...(new at this....so what is good??)

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But personally, I think that with advanced codecs such as H.264 the bandwidth arguments in favour of interlacing have greatly diminished. Or to put it another way, with MPEG2 interlacing was needed to get a 2 Mpx image stream into the target bandwith, H.264 can do the same bandwith compression without the need to interlace.

I take it Australia has missed a great opportunity to change to a system where the progressive formats can be broadcast using the newer codecs H.264 and MPEG-4 AVC. The question then is, will 11-13mbps H.264 or MPEG-4 AVC 720p or 1080p look better than 720p or 1080i MPEG2 at the same bitrate?

Something else interesting I found is that ESPN opted for 720p because they thought it was better for fast moving images. I would imagine they would have conducted some tests with 720p and 1080i footage before they made this statement.

Why Did ESPN Choose 720p versus 1080i?.

If ESPN are using MPEG2 to compress their 720p content, then that would be one reason why some don't like the picture quality and prefer the 1080i format.

There's really no point in me arguing about whether 720p is better than 1080i. There are too many variables involved and not a single universal standard. With the system we have in Australia, it looks like 1080i with a very good scaler is the way to go.

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sorry, by "seperate" i mean 50 "full" images, as opposed to just the parts of an interlaced image. I meant to say the waste was due to all 1080 lines being 're-captured' 50 times a second even though nothing was changing for most of those.

Yes I know what you are getting at, but I wanted to make the point that true interlaced 1080i 50/60 is deinterlaced to 1080p 50/60 and quite obviously has 50 or 60 motion updates per second when compared to 1080p 24/25. The fact that the full vertical resolution is not captured for every frame is not really that important or noticeable if high quality deinterlacing is employed. The step up to 1080p 50/60 is not big, and will be unnoticeable in most circumstances.

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Huh? Progressive compresses better than interlaced meaning that if we have the broadcast bandwith for 720p50/60 there is sufficent bandwith for 1080p24 too. So it is no surprise that 1080p24/25/30 are part of the ATSC and DVB-T standards. Just to be different, the Australian Standard does not support 1080p24 per se; instead it nominates 24p>25p speedup with 25p or 25pSf transmission.

Yes progressive formats are more efficient to compress, but not that much more efficient.

The typical 12Mbps streams used in Oz are not capable of doing justice to 1920x1080p24/25 or 1920x1080i50 (both use the same bandwidth). If we used the full available bandwidth for a single HD channel it would be a different story.

1080p24 would be more efficient then 1080i but it’s no use for sport and its not practical to change from 1080p to 1080i on the fly during transmission. 1080i is really the only practical option as it can carry both 1080p 25 and 1080i 50 content.

The European Broadcasting Union doesn't seem to agree with you. Back in 2004 they recommended moving to 1080p50 using H.264 (see commentary here). Euro1080 has already moved to MPEG4.

Lets wait and see how many networks actually use 1080p 50. Even using the full 20Mb (approx) available bandwidth for TV transmission with h.264, 1080p 50 will be bit rate starved.

So, if we were to have "HDTV v.2" it probably would be based on 1080p using H.264 (or similar).

But pragmatically, the fact is that it has taken a bloody long time to get HDTV to its current half-baked state (esp. in Australia where 576p is deemed to be HD, FFS) and the broadcast industry probably has little stomach to even contemplate HDTV2 (and would probably fight any change to the standards -- just as Network 7 argued against HDTV in the first place). If Optus or another PayTV provider had the guts to try it, I'd see HDTV as vaguely more likely to occur over sat/cable than FTA.

Free to air is stuck with Mpeg2, and would rather multi channel then provide a single high bandwidth HD channel. Basically we are stuffed.

Foxtel will go HD and probably h.264, but 1080p 50, not on your life.

Yes. Well it was back in the days of analog SDTV and HDTV/MPEG2. Michael Robin (a fellow of the SMPTE) talks about the benefits of the interlacing compromise

Papers like the one you linked are based on the use of 1080i CRT displays and predated advanced deinterlacing systems and 1080p displays. We have moved past that stage.

But personally, I think that with advanced codecs such as H.264 the bandwidth arguments in favour of interlacing have greatly diminished. Or to put it another way, with MPEG2 interlacing was needed to get a 2 Mpx image stream into the target bandwith, H.264 can do the same bandwith compression without the need to interlace.

I am not a lover of interlacing as such, but 1080i offers both high resolution and smooth motion in a limited bandwidth, as well as the ability to carry progressive and interlaced video, a combination progressive formats can’t match.

h.264 compression is not the savior many would think. I have the same content in 1080i 60 18Mbit Mpeg2 from US pay TV and 1080i 50 10Mbit h.264 from European pay Sat, and the Mpeg2 version is way better then the h.264 version.

The h.264 version looks fine when there is no movement, but on scene changes and fast motion it breaks up intolerably, where the higher data rate Mpeg2 version does not.

The h.264 compressed version also suffers from significant posterization, a problem I have noticed on most h.264 content and other Mpeg4 systems, even at quite high data rates.

Mpeg2 may be old, but given sufficient data rates it performs outstandingly well.

I have a large collection of HD content and in my experience there is not substitute for data rate. Fancy compression systems offer better performance at very low data rates, but picture quality is significantly compromised.

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Lets wait and see how many networks actually use 1080p 50. Even using the full 20Mb (approx) available bandwidth for TV transmission with h.264, 1080p 50 will be bit rate starved.

Free to air is stuck with Mpeg2, and would rather multi channel then provide a single high bandwidth HD channel. Basically we are stuffed.

Foxtel will go HD and probably h.264, but 1080p 50, not on your life.

All they (TV transmission) need to do is 'shoot' in 1080p50/60 and then transmit in 1080i50/60. The p aquired frames will be preseved as in each field of TV will be half the info. This would allow anyone wanting to 'deinterlace' to do it with out too much trouble.

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H264 requires about half the bandwidth of MPEG-2 to give what most people would consider 'good' quality. In a bitrate-starved environment, H264 is much better - no question. At high bitrates, the difference between MPEG2 and H264 is only slight.

As the early MPEG2 Bluray discs showed, with 1920x1080 at 30Mbit, H264 looks much better than MPEG2 since 30MBit is still a relatively low bitrate for such high resolution material. With DTV bandwidth limited to about 20Mbit, H264 is the only way that it would ever look half decent. The only options to make MPEG2 viable are to lower the resolution (eg 1440x1080) or blur the image slightly to ease compression or both. Or just do what Ch10 do with the AFL - try not to move the camera much!

I know it'll probably be another 10 years but does anybody know what will be done with the bandwidth from the old analogue channels?

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H264 requires about half the bandwidth of MPEG-2 to give what most people would consider 'good' quality. In a bitrate-starved environment, H264 is much better - no question. At high bitrates, the difference between MPEG2 and H264 is only slight.

As the early MPEG2 Bluray discs showed, with 1920x1080 at 30Mbit, H264 looks much better than MPEG2 since 30MBit is still a relatively low bitrate for such high resolution material. With DTV bandwidth limited to about 20Mbit, H264 is the only way that it would ever look half decent. The only options to make MPEG2 viable are to lower the resolution (eg 1440x1080) or blur the image slightly to ease compression or both. Or just do what Ch10 do with the AFL - try not to move the camera much!

I know it'll probably be another 10 years but does anybody know what will be done with the bandwidth from the old analogue channels?

My understanding is that they are already ear marked for other comunication stuff - non TV. Sad I know.

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As the early MPEG2 Bluray discs showed, with 1920x1080 at 30Mbit, H264 looks much better than MPEG2 since 30MBit is still a relatively low bitrate for such high resolution material. With DTV bandwidth limited to about 20Mbit, H264 is the only way that it would ever look half decent. The only options to make MPEG2 viable are to lower the resolution (eg 1440x1080) or blur the image slightly to ease compression or both. Or just do what Ch10 do with the AFL - try not to move the camera much!

I cant quite agree with that. I have plenty of 1080i 60 18-19Mbps Mpeg2 content, and it looks sensational, I have trouble faulting it most of the time.

1080i 50 needs less bandwidth and should be a bit better still, so there is definitely no need for h.264 compression if 20MBits is available.

So far I have vet to see any h.264 content that looks better to me then good Mpeg2 content, but I’ll withhold final judgment until I have seen a wider range of h.264 content.

There is something unnatural and “digital” about a lot of h.264 content that I don’t find pleasing.

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H264 is simply an advancement of MPEG-2. There is nothing that MPEG-2 can do that H264 can't. Perhaps because of the more advanced features of H264 there's more that can go wrong but a lot of it comes down to the skill of the encoder or the people who designed the encoder. In the early days of MPEG-2 there were some very inferior encoders out there but eventually people got to grips with it and certain encoders started making a name for themselves.

There's plenty of software MPEG2 and H264 encoders out there for people to do their own comparisons and it's clear to see that getting the settings right is even more critical for H264 particularly for the target bitrate. I don't think anyone could conclude that MPEG-2 is superior in any imaginable way other than reduced complexity. Of course Sony made some claims to that effect but then again they do have a monopoly (along with Philips) on royalties for MPEG-2. Mysteriously, most of the new Blu-ray releases have stopped using MPEG-2.

There's some H264 material out there which looks astonishing and other stuff at a similar bitrate which is full of artifacts so we need to be fairly scientific before making any conclusions.

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Yes I am aware that h.264 and other Mpeg4 incarnations should be as good, but it seems the industry has not got it sorted as well as Mpeg2 at this time, at least going on what I have seen.

The problem I have with h.264 or other Mpeg4 content is not pixilation, although I have seen posterization problems, but more to do with an artificially smoothed look, as if heavy noise filtering has been used, colour texture seems to be missing. It reminds me of what LCD displays can do to images. A lot of people seem to like that look, but I don’t.

Like I said, I want to see a greater verity of h.264 content before I come to any conclusions.

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Yeah, that's fair enough. The degree of smoothing (or compression matrix) is an encoding choice so again, there's bound to be content which suffers more than other content. I also don't like the smoothed look. I like the image to retain as much of the detail of the original uncompressed frame and that's usually the goal of any encoder. A skilful encoder is able to make compromises which are the least detectable to humans. I would agree that it's only very recently that content is emerging that shows the potential of H264.

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