A few weeks ago I asked how many people had given up on standard definition completely and only watch high definition. Interestingly, even though the majority of you had made the switch, it seems many were dissatisfied with the picture quality of their HD programming.
At the top of the HD quality pyramid is Blu-ray, of course. Lots of bandwidth, lots of storage, and pristine image quality are the hallmarks of what will surely be our last physical media format.
Quality degrades rapidly, though, as you change media. In many markets, the HD broadcast (over-the-air) signal is nearly as good as Blu-ray. But this isn't always the case. Many stations try to squeeze multiple channels within their allotted bandwidth (such as 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, and so on, all from the same station). This has a noticeable and negative effect on the quality.
Worse yet are cable and satellite TV, all of which have limited bandwidth to work with. Additional compression to fit in more total channels is the norm, as is adjusting the quality of more popular programming at the expense of the picture quality of less popular channels. Some providers are better than others, and I'd be very interested to read in the comments how you feel about the picture quality of your cable or satellite provider. … Read more