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A comparison of Discovery HD between FiOS and cable with a 35.8% average bitrate reduction.  (Source: AVSForums user "bfdtv")
Canadian cable company compresses curious channel choices

HDTV enthusiasts in Canada having a chuckle at the expense of Comcast customers earlier this week are scheduled to receive similar treatment shortly. Beginning April 9th, Rogers Cable, one of the major cable companies serving the province of Ontario, is scheduled to begin compressing over a dozen high-definition channels.

Digital Home Canada
, a major site for Canadian consumer electronics, reported having been passed a technical brief from Rogers Network Engineering and Operations stating the impending compression and a listing of affected channels, shown below:
  • HD PBS Buffalo
  • HD WGN
  • HD The Score
  • HD Showcase
  • HD National Geographic
  • HD Mpix
  • HD Discovery
  • HD TMN
  • HD NBC Seattle
  • HD SUN
  • HD RAP
  • HDA&E
The selection of channels is similar in scope to those being compressed by Comcast -- so-called "premium stations" that most subscribers typically purchase as part of a bundle above and beyond the basic digital and HD channels. A sample of the compression artifacts seen on the Comcast feed of Discovery HD, compared to the same channel on Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic network can be seen to the right -- providing an estimation of what Canadians are in for.

Major American networks such as ABC and FOX, and Canadian networks CBC, CTV, Global, and sports network TSN were omitted from the list. While the American networks -- and The Sports Network -- may have been given a pass due to the large number of viewers, the immunity granted to the CBC may have roots within the regulations of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC.)

In the CRTC Broadcasting Public Notice dated June 12, 2002, paragraph 61 states that:
Accordingly, as a matter of policy, the Commission considers that a DTV signal distributed by a BDU [broadcasting distribution undertaking] to its subscribers should be of the same quality and in the same format as that received by the BDU, without any degradation.
However, no specific wording to this effect could be found within current CRTC regulations to this effect. With other major cable companies likely to follow suit, and opinions regarding the quality of Bell ExpressVu satellite service being less than stellar among the enthusiasts, the only remaining option for Canadian HDTV owners to obtain a crystal-clear signal may be to dust off the old antenna and fly it proudly on their roof.

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worse then analog
By SPOOOK on 4/3/2008 9:58:04 PM , Rating: 1
this is worse then analog i would not pay 5 cents for that
i will stay with non high def and dvds dvds are good enough
hd is not worth 5 cents

RE: worse then analog
By cmdrdredd on 4/3/2008 10:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
You have to be blind or an idiot. I'm betting on both. HD is TONS better than any analog stuff. Highly compressed HD is junk I'll admit, but go watch a Blu-Ray or Over the Air HD via an antenna then come tell me analog is better. Clearely it isn't.

RE: worse then analog
By tdawg on 4/4/2008 12:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
I would definitely be pissed if I subscribed to digital cable, paid for an HD cable box, and got pictures that are lower quality than standard cable. What's the point of delivering HD content to consumers when it looks like junk.

As for HD-DVD / Blu-ray, the picture difference is worlds better than standard def dvds. Anybody that claims different has to be blind. In my opinion, HD video, and it's accompanying audio, are worth every penny. I can't see myself ever buying another standard def dvd.

RE: worse then analog
By MrBlastman on 4/4/2008 9:48:12 AM , Rating: 2
Like all executives these days it seems, the general board room belief is "a sucker is born every minute"

People want their HD, they think cable will be better - why not sham them while increasing profits? Let them sign up for HD Cable and then degrade the signal - brilliant!

This is a pretty low, and sly move by the cable companies. It gives me another excuse to delay moving to HD.

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