Re: Comcast Blurs High Def Image...
It seems that all of the cable/sat companies use compression levels that vary from channel to channel. When I installed my first HDTV about 5 years ago there wasn't much HD available except for DirecTV and OTA. The signals from the DirecTV are always inferior to the ones coming Over The Air and the the differences in the quality of HD from one channel to another is vast. An interesting phenomenom to note: My first HD SAT receiver was a Samsung which I purchased at Circuit City. I compared several of the satellite HD receivers and felt that the DirecTV brand was the worst in terms of picture quality and GUI. Sony's was excellent, but too expensive. Today, there are no third party choices for DirecTV compatible receivers and we are forced to use the ones made by/for DirecTV.
2 Years ago I moved and DirecTV told me that they needed to update my system as my old receiver was not MP4 compatible. They replaced my equipment with their new stuff and the picture quality wasn't nearly as good as with the old stuff. After 3 weeks of working with their tech support, they agreed to allow me to reinstall my old receiver and return their H10 receiver. (I preferred to have 9 channels of high quality HD than 40 channels of inferior HD) When I learned that DirecTV had a new MP4 HD receiver available a few weeks ago (HR21) I upgraded to it and finally retired the trusty Samsung MP2 receiver. Not without problems though. The new receiver's picture quality was even worse than the first time I tried to upgrade to an MP4 compatible receiver. When I tried to point out to the installer that the new receiver was grossly inferior to my old one he said, "I can't see anything wrong with this picture. Its one of the best I've seen." We rerouted a cable from one of the bedrooms and hooked up my old receiver so that he could see the difference in a quick A/B comparison and all he could say was, "WOW! (Makes me wonder how many people THINK that they are getting the best picture possible, when in fact, it is far from it)
After a few calls to tech support I finally spoke with some guy who seemed to know his stuff. After I explained to him the very obvious inferiority of the picture quality of the new receiver he asked me to hold for a moment. While I was waiting for him to come back to the phone, the picture quality of the 2 receivers reversed. The new one suddenly got much, much clearer with better color saturation, less jaggies, and less motion artifacts. The old receiver's picture became noticeably softer. When the tech returned I asked him what had he done and he said that some 'adjustments' were made from his end. If you are unhappy with the quality of your picture, call and complain. Encourage your friends to do the same. We are the folks paying for this stuff. When enough people complain, companies act. If your current provider doesn't act, or isn't satisfying your needs, switch, or at least threaten to switch to one of the other providers. You'd be amazed what can happen when you say, "Cancel my service. I'm calling someone else."
There are still major picture quality differences between channels, and none of them (HDNET excepted) approach the beauty of OTA HD. Although I believe that DirecTV has more and better quality HD pictures than cable, AT&T and Dish, until they improve all HD channels to the level of OTA, I will continue to send emails to DirecTV asking for better quality.
Before I climb down off this soap box, I have one more thing to say. PLEASE, email the content providers and let them know that banner ads running across the screen during normal broadcasts of movies and sports is ANNOYING! If we allow this to get started, it won't be long 'till we'll be looking for pop up blockers for our televisions. If you think I'm wrong, remember when the theaters showed cartoons before the main feature? Not any more. We now sit through 20 to 30 minutes of commercials before the feature.