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  1. I've been reading upon the various compression codecs. It is my understanding that over-the-air HDTV (and I believe Sat. Dish TV) uses MPEG-2 compression. However, it is also my understanding that MPEG4 part 10 (i.e. h.264) is a superior codec and is the "future" of compression standards (until the next one comes out).

    Given the above, does anyone know if broadcasters will be shifting to h.264 soon? If so, will that make my current HDTV (with built-in ATSC tuner) obsolete when trying to watch over-the-air broadcasts? If so, isn't this going to mess a lot of people up that are flocking to get HDTVs and HDTV tuners now given the switch to digital in the U.S. in 2009?

    Thanks for any constructive input.
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  2. Member Epicurus8a's Avatar
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    I'm not aware of any immediate plans to drop MPEG2. Engineers, however, are already hard at work trying to make HDTVs obsolete someday. If they get their way, you'll be replacing your TVs often as you replace your computer.
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  3. Thanks. After posting I also found this while Googling. If correct it appears that European broadcasts are prepared for h.264, but U.S. currently is stuck with only MPEG-2

    "MPEG-2 versus H.264

    When agreeing upon standards for digital television, Europe and much of the rest of the world implemented the DVB standard, which permits broadcasters to use either MPEG-2 or H.264 codecs. In the United States, ATSC permits only MPEG-2 as the codec. Each format has its advantages. MPEG-2 is a well understood, established video format. Playback is not computationally demanding, and most modern dual-core (and many recent single core) systems can easily manage playback. H.264 is a newer standard, but improves upon MPEG-2 in several ways. H.264 can achieve identical quality to MPEG-2 at 60% of the bitrate. Accordingly, a full-channel-bitrate (17.89 Megabit/s) H.264 stream compared with an identical-bitrate MPEG-2 stream will look substantially better. This comes at a much higher computational expense. Playing 720p and 1080i H.264 streams (at full bitrate) can be difficult, even on recent systems. Playing 1080p H.264 can often be nightmarish for those unfamiliar with tweaking playback options."

    source: http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Configuring_HDTV#MPEG-2_versus_H.264
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    ATSC remains MPeg2 at least for the primary channel*. Broadcasters are free to use anything else on the subchannels but most use MPeg2 so the average TV ATSC tuner can tune it. If they use another standard, an external set top box is required.

    Sat is going to MPeg4 for HD. That means your old set top box needs to be replaced with a model that works with MPeg4. Cable may someday do the same to double channel capacity. That also would mean a new set top box at your end.

    In all cases, your HDTV is OK so long as you have an HDMI connector. If you don't be worried if in the USA because the next Congress is likely to be owned outright by Hollywood interests. That means the broadcast flag may well pass.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast_flag


    * The ATSC working group is investigating addition of MPeg4/AVC (h.264, VC-1 or other) to a new ATSC II standard. You would need a new tuner for future MPeg4/AVC subchannels. The primary channel is likely to remain MPeg2 for backwards compatibility.
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  5. Thanks edDV!

    I haven't heard of that flag stuff, but I recently came across info about the INDUCE Act proposal. Wow, between the two of them if they get past, the average Joe might as well bend over and ask Hollywood, "Thank you sir, may I have another!" Given that the networks seem to be putting more of there stuff streaming on-line, the flag may not be such as big a deal if they didn't have such crappy flash players. Well maybe they will finally show Sony (originator of home recording???) that they got their way, and tell us all that "NO, you can't record our stuff unless we allow you."

    As far as HDTV and h.264, it looks like maybe the Europeans were thinking ahead allowing for both. This all seems to be the dirty little secret in the U.S. that your new HDTV (or better described--it's built-in tuner) could very well be obsolete sooner than you think!

    Don't forget the Radio ACT of 1934--"..the airwaves belong to the people...(paraphrasing)". I'm sure Hollywood, sat. and the mobile phone companies would like us all to forget this fact.
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  6. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by wild4trv30
    Thanks edDV!

    I haven't heard of that flag stuff, but I recently came across info about the INDUCE Act proposal. Wow, between the two of them if they get past, the average Joe might as well bend over and ask Hollywood, "Thank you sir, may I have another!" Given that the networks seem to be putting more of there stuff streaming on-line, the flag may not be such as big a deal if they didn't have such crappy flash players. Well maybe they will finally show Sony (originator of home recording???) that they got their way, and tell us all that "NO, you can't record our stuff unless we allow you."

    As far as HDTV and h.264, it looks like maybe the Europeans were thinking ahead allowing for both. This all seems to be the dirty little secret in the U.S. that your new HDTV (or better described--it's built-in tuner) could very well be obsolete sooner than you think!

    Don't forget the Radio ACT of 1934--"..the airwaves belong to the people...(paraphrasing)". I'm sure Hollywood, sat. and the mobile phone companies would like us all to forget this fact.
    The ATSC standard came first. Broadcast testing was well underway by 2002 and was required by 2003-4 depending on size of market. The rest of the world waited another four years and were able to formally incorporate h.264. ATSC left the subchannels open so that MPeg2 or any future standard or just data broadcasting could be used. Required tuners had to support MPeg2 but other standards can be optionally added (e.g. wmv, VC-1, h.264, etc.). The government left that to the broadcaster and TV manufacturer to find a market. ATSC II may add several new formats.
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  7. Member [_chef_]'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by wild4trv30
    I've been reading upon the various compression codecs. It is my understanding that over-the-air HDTV (and I believe Sat. Dish TV) uses MPEG-2 compression. However, it is also my understanding that MPEG4 part 10 (i.e. h.264) is a superior codec and is the "future" of compression standards (until the next one comes out).

    Given the above, does anyone know if broadcasters will be shifting to h.264 soon? If so, will that make my current HDTV (with built-in ATSC tuner) obsolete when trying to watch over-the-air broadcasts? If so, isn't this going to mess a lot of people up that are flocking to get HDTVs and HDTV tuners now given the switch to digital in the U.S. in 2009?

    Thanks for any constructive input.
    Nope, HDTV these days via satellite uses mpeg4/H.264 mainly, mpeg2 HD is rarely used and will slowly disappear.
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by [_chef_
    ]
    Originally Posted by wild4trv30
    I've been reading upon the various compression codecs. It is my understanding that over-the-air HDTV (and I believe Sat. Dish TV) uses MPEG-2 compression. However, it is also my understanding that MPEG4 part 10 (i.e. h.264) is a superior codec and is the "future" of compression standards (until the next one comes out).

    Given the above, does anyone know if broadcasters will be shifting to h.264 soon? If so, will that make my current HDTV (with built-in ATSC tuner) obsolete when trying to watch over-the-air broadcasts? If so, isn't this going to mess a lot of people up that are flocking to get HDTVs and HDTV tuners now given the switch to digital in the U.S. in 2009?

    Thanks for any constructive input.
    Nope, HDTV these days via satellite uses mpeg4/H.264 mainly, mpeg2 HD is rarely used and will slowly disappear.
    But there aren't any HDTV sets in the USA that directly tune a satellite. All satellite services use external tuners with HDMI or analog component connection to the TV so it is hard to say this has anything to do with obsoleting the TV. My preference would be a TV with a modular tuner that could be switched out for ATSC, QAM or direct satellite tuning modules but that is probably years away.

    The government is largely at fault by forcing all new TV sets to have ATSC tuners when >80% of households get TV from cable or satellite. A total waste of money if you ask me.
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    The government is largely at fault by forcing all new TV sets to have ATSC tuners when >80% of households get TV from cable or satellite. A total waste of money if you ask me.
    The advantage of an integrated NTSC / ATSC tuner is one remote for the TV rather than two..
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  10. I have 2 satellites. I still use my ATSC tuner for HD. I wouldn't call it a total waste.
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    Here in Europe HDTV transmissions started quite late compared to USA so most HDTV channels are using h.264 from the beginning. Some countries that were late with terrestial digital TV (like Norway) have choosen to use h.264 also for SDTV transmissions. I think in future they will switch to h.264 for all TV transmissions and the old digital boxes must then be replaced. I think the main reason is to get more TV channels within the same bandwidth, not to increase the quality...
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  12. Member [_chef_]'s Avatar
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    Well, thats far future in europe as long as we still have that much analogue transmissions, eg via sat!!!!!!!!!!
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