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  #1  
Old 08-27-2009, 07:53 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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Have we reached a lull in new advances in TV/media?

I somewhat hesitate to say this, but it appears to me that we may have reached a lull in new advances in TV, media, etc. I hesitate to say this since change is constant, but I don't see much happening in the next few years vs. the last couple of years. But I don't see that much compelling me to buy new hardware in the near future.

1. In the last two or so years we have had the introduction and adoption of BluRay and its defeat of HD-DVD. We aren't likely to have the next generation any time soon. SageTV handles BluRay very well and once you have a BluRay reader in your PC and an extender at your TVs you are set. How long is it until I will want something better for watching movies?

2. We have just had the end of the adoption of digital TV for OTA, at least in the US. We aren't going to see anything better than 720p or 1080i for TV broadcasts any time soon so your existing OTA tuners are probably going to last for quite a while in your SageTV setup.

3. With the introduction of the HD-PVR a little over a year ago you can now get HDTV from pretty much any cable or satellite box into your TV. There may be some competition in this space in the future but assuming that your HD-PVR is stable then you are set for a long time, at least until component outputs are disabled, but then there is the HD Fury (I think that is what it is called) that converts HDMI to component.

4. CableCard has been rather a fiasco and its successor, which I believe is known as Tru2way, is not likely to appear very soon and even if it does why would you care given the HD-PVR?
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2009, 08:20 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Looking at this from an industry-wide perspective, I see a lot of things going on in the areas of TV/video distribution. I'd probably say the rapid adoption of DVRs is one of the biggest things to have happened in the last few years. I think we'll see some evolutionary changes there, with various types of multi-room DVRs being released.

Many of us still have to make it through the transition to all-digital cable. That's going to be a big deal for a lot of us. Some of us might even be in locations where they move to SDV, although that isn't any harder for us to deal with (we need set top boxes either way).

We're really just starting to dabble in the area of Internet video distribution. We're going to see more and more of that over the next few years. I don't think things like Hulu and Netflix are going to take over any time soon, but how this area progresses in the next few years will shape the future of Internet video distribution. I think that's a pretty big deal. And I think Sage is going to have to try to do something in this area to stay relevant in the long-term.

So, I think we'll see some interesting developments over the next few years. You seemed to focus on the resolution of video. I don't see a need for that to go up, unless we move towards really, really big screens, which there doesn't seem to be much desire for right now. In fact, I think that the next big thing after blu-ray is Internet streaming, so we're likely to see video quality drop. You're probably right that you won't have to go out buying new hardware, but I bet there's a pretty large number of Sage users out there still using analog tuners.

And by the way, I'd love to have better alternatives to the HD-PVR. I don't want to deal with 5-8 second channel changes if I can help it. Firewire recording works fine for me now, and seems to be much faster than typical HD-PVR tuning/recording, but who knows how long that will last for me.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2009, 09:40 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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You're right Reggie - I totally missed the online streaming. Part of that is because much of this is unavailable to me here in Canada. But the big downside to a lot of the web streaming video is that it is not HD, as you mentioned. I can't see myself going down in resolution to get something online. I also think that it is going to take much longer than people think to connect your TV to the internet for the average person. AppleTV hasn't really been a hit. There are also vested interests that may worry about damaging existing relationships - you would think that Cisco (aka Scientific Atlanta / Linksys) would have an AppleTV type of device out but they likely do not want to antagonize the cable companies as they are one of the largest suppliers of cable boxes. Why isn't Web streaming functionality built into Scientific Atlanta cable boxes - they have pretty much everything required except an ethernet connection today? Likely because the cable companies would absolutely hate it!

And there could be a hybrid solution where you record a show but it resides on a hard drive at the cable companies' office rather than in your house. Personally I prefer having the content on my hardware without DRM - otherwise you never know when it will get turned off or disappear - look at the Kindle "1984" fiasco.

I didn't mean to imply that resolution will go up. What I meant is that HD is now pretty much standard for both TV and DVD and the equipment for HD is now commonplace which was not the case a couple of years ago. There is not much likelihood of moving to SuperHD any time in the near future so the changes from that perspective are done for now, at least in the US and Canada (except Canada doesn't shut down analog OTA for a few more years). But the big story of the last few years has been the adoption of HDTVs, the switch to HDTV broadcasting and BluRay.

I don't think the move to digital (or SDV) is an issue - I have been using TiVos and HTPCs for about 7 years and I have always had a digital cable box in the equation since much of the content that I watch is not available on basic cable. Some of my channels went to SDV about 6 months ago and it is transparent to you if you have a STB. It is a slight pain in the butt but there is no way around it unless future CableCard standards are more consumer friendly.

I agree that it would be great to have alternatives to the HD-PVR but the channel tuning time isn't an issue for me since I almost never watch live TV.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:24 AM
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HelenWeathers HelenWeathers is offline
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I look at it this way: The revolution is over, but the evolution (always trickle down) has a long way to go.

The HiDef standards have been set for TV and disc media and they'll remain the same for some years to come.

On TV recording, the biggest problems that I see are in the signal quality control. When I watch OTA HiDef I frequently see signal glitches in audio and video. Bad transitions (in the studio) from program to commercial to commercial and back to program. Problems with both aspect ratio switching and audio format switching.

I happened to be watching a local channel on my TV last night off the antenna and there was an entire 15 second commercial where the audio just went "brrrrrpppppp", "brrrrrpppppp" without a single recognizable word. Of course that signal was picked up from the station by cable and satellite for re-distribution with all it's warts. I wondered how the HD PVR would have dealt with that signal from my STB.

I see audio and video glitches all the time from USA, TNT and many others on my STB as well as OTA ATSC glitches. Until high quality, clean signals come out of the broadcast studios, capture devices (like the HD PVR) will have issues dealing with them.

That's where I see most of the work needs to be done. Studio equipment will get better, broadcast equipment will get better and our recordings will get better. Sometimes I forget that my occasional crappy recording is actually a perfect recording of a crappy signal.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2009, 02:45 PM
cncb cncb is offline
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3D

3D might be the next big thing. Unfortunately it sounds like it will (of course) require new equipment to experience it (new version of HDMI, new tv, etc.).
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2009, 02:55 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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We also have to remember, that up until a few years ago, all television was 480i and it was this for 50 years! So using that as a basis, we won't see the next revolution until about 2055

Obviously this isn't true, but I am not sure how we can expect the "next big thing" in television already when we hadn't had this big of a revolution in a very very long time (previous was going from black/white to color).
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  #7  
Old 08-27-2009, 03:17 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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Well, there was also the transition from VCR to DVD a decade or so ago. If you have a TV that can handle 1080p, a BluRay player and a Sage setup with HD-PVR(s) then there really isn't that much new hardware to lust over in the near future. When the HD-PVR was announced at the CES 18 months ago I wanted one ASAP.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2009, 06:12 AM
valnar valnar is offline
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OP: I can only hope and pray that things calmed down. I'd be happy if nothing changes again for decades. All these changes just create a fiasco for us.
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2009, 06:52 AM
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I'm hoping that HTPC's start to get a LITTLE more mainstream, to help push for better CabeCard/DishPCI/DTVPCI whatever support. I don't care if it's locked down with DRM, as long as it can still play on authorized devices. It would still be a way to avoid the crappy encoded_broadcast->STB->Analog->HD-PVR->Encoded_Recording waste. I much prefer the CableCard or R-5000's encoded_broadcast->Encoded_Recording path.
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2009, 06:58 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
...a way to avoid the crappy encoded_broadcast->STB->Analog->HD-PVR->Encoded_Recording waste. I much prefer the CableCard or R-5000's encoded_broadcast->Encoded_Recording path.

How is CableCard's quality any better than HD-PVR really? If you're seeing bad PQ or audio quality it has to do with the crappy Cable coming in - not the encoded recording imo.
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:34 AM
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Well, basically, the differences are as such:

HD-PVR recording:
MPEG2 TS via QAM/MPEG-2 or H.264 via Sat -> STB decodes and converts to Analog -> HD-PVR redigitizes, reencodes to H.264 -> H.264 stream saved to HDD.

CableCard/HDHomeRun/R-5000HD:
MPEG2 TS via QAM -> Tuner -> Original MPEG2 TS saved to HDD.

Other advantages of this is that proper flagging is retained (FILM/Progressive), which aids in proper deinterlacing, if implemented correctly, and if the broadcasters are actually switching it properly.

Basically, if you are transcoding the video, especially after going through an analog step, there WILL be added artifacts (from the transcode) and loss of color accuracy (from the analog conversion).
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2009, 07:48 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
...Other advantages of this is that proper flagging is retained (FILM/Progressive), which aids in proper deinterlacing, if implemented correctly, and if the broadcasters are actually switching it properly.

Basically, if you are transcoding the video, especially after going through an analog step, there WILL be added artifacts (from the transcode) and loss of color accuracy (from the analog conversion).
All good points and I agree there is bound to be some loss & artifacts due to the "transcoding." But the visual difference - even on a 46" Plasma is next to nothing imo. Now compare to a pure, Blu-ray or even OTA and you'll find that both CableCard and HD-PVR output are in the lesser category, but I just don't see that much difference between CableCard or HD-PVR. ymmv of course.
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  #13  
Old 08-29-2009, 08:29 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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Originally Posted by valnar View Post
OP: I can only hope and pray that things calmed down. I'd be happy if nothing changes again for decades. All these changes just create a fiasco for us.
But there were huge benefits for us as well - essentially we have just finished the transition from a world where 480i in stereo was the best you would get from TV or DVD. We are now at the stage where most TV is available in 720p or 1080i and DVDs are at 1080p and both are availabel in at least DD5.1 audio. In some ways it was a fiasco but what we ended up with is a lot better than where we started.
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  #14  
Old 08-29-2009, 09:34 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by Brent View Post

How is CableCard's quality any better than HD-PVR really?
I just received a shipping notification on my HD-PVR, so in a couple weeks I might be able to comment on this. I'm not too concerned about a loss of video quality compared to direct recording, but I am concerned about tuning time, because I do watch live TV from time to time. I should be able to get another firewire box, but even then it sounds like the lag time is pretty long. My firewire recording box is already getting pretty close to where it would start annoying me, and that's with the tuning delay set to about 1 second.

On my firewire box, it takes 5 seconds from when I hit "watch" to when the video appears on the screen. I don't know what to expect on the HD-PVR, but it sounds like it will be closer to 10 seconds than 5. Though, I'd be much more tolerant of 5-10 second wait times if SageMC did something to indicate that it's tuning the channel (instead of just sitting there doing nothing for several seconds). It would be even better if there was some sort of progress bar counting down some user-configurable amount of time. I suggested this a while ago, but no one responded to the suggestion. I think the default UI does something like this.

Last edited by reggie14; 08-29-2009 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:20 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Channel change time with the HD-PVR for me (I use firewire for channel changes) is approximately 5 - 7 seconds.

EDIT: And more to the topic of the thread - I belive the lull in the TV & Media markets is certainly a bit of a slowdown, but part of it is due to the economy. And like others, I don't mind seeing things slow down a bit so we can keep up. I REALLY would like to see a HD-PVR type device work over the network like the HDHR does. Any additional solution to break through the CATV and Satellite TV shackles they are working towards would be welcome indeed. I think TVs are plenty good enough and don't see a need for a ton more advancement in the short run

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Old 08-29-2009, 10:46 AM
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MeInMaui MeInMaui is offline
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I think TVs are plenty good enough and don't see a need for a ton more advancement in the short run
I have to disagree here a bit. I'm hoping that the lull in new technology will give the existing technology a chance to mature. I'm looking for things like better black levels for non-plasma TV's, lower power consumption, larger screens at lower prices, 2.39:1 aspect ratio screens, etc.

Aloha,
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:57 PM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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We may not see a lot out of broadcast TV for a while (ie the types of signals they are producing), but there have been very few major changes in that arena since it was created (color TV, and the change to digital/HD are about all I can think of).

Broadband/internet streaming and interactive TV is definitely where we will see the biggest changes in the next 10 years. Verizon's FIOS TV is just the start. Soon other providers will appear. We'll also see internet capabilities built into more and more TVs until it is standard on all of them.

TV viewing will become much more interactive in the next few years. You'll be able to pull up information on things you are viewing or stats on sports etc. You'll be able to buy the things you see in ads right then online, etc, etc, etc.

I honestly think we are on the edge of the next great thing in TV (interactive TV). I certainly don't see a lull anytime soon.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:11 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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I think the biggest potential change is in direct broadcasting from content providers over the internet - but this only works if you can get reliable bandwidth that can deliver HD. So if you want to watch Montreal Canadiens hockey games then you buy a subscription from the team and go to their website to stream the games. This could be done via a PC or a box that sits on your TV, not unlike your cable or satellite box today (or Sage extender for that matter).

This cuts out two middlemen - the sports network and the cable/sat company. You would only need cable (or the phone co) to provide you with lots of commodity broadband. This is kind of what has happened to phone service today - I buy my phone service from Vonage and it doesn't matter whose pipe it goes through to get to my house. The physical line into my house has been disintermediated from the telephone service.

The only problems with this model are (1) It will be fought be vested interests like TV networks and cable companies as they becume redundant, and (2) do we have enough bandwidth to reliably stream HD video, particularly if you want to watch multiple shows simultaneously. So I am skeptical that we will see this in the near future.

The reason that I started this post is that I no longer lust after any hardware - and it makes me feel kind of empty

After you have an HDTV (or several), BluRay, Sage extenders, HD-PVRs to be able to record all HD cable channels, and surround sound receivers then what else is there?
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:27 PM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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This thread reminds me of that famous quote made by (I can't remember who) in the 1920's that the US Patent office should be shut down because there was nothing left to invent.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:15 PM
hufnagel hufnagel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeInMaui View Post
I have to disagree here a bit. I'm hoping that the lull in new technology will give the existing technology a chance to mature. I'm looking for things like better black levels for non-plasma TV's, lower power consumption, larger screens at lower prices, 2.39:1 aspect ratio screens, etc.

Aloha,
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all of which are nothing more than evolutionary changes, much like the advent of solid state control over tubes or the introduction of the remote control. frankly a couple years of evolution would be a great thing.
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