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A long answer to short question

July 19 2010 at 4:33 PM
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Nat  (Login Nafana)
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Response to Another Question

In order to feed the signal by coax it must be RF-modulated. This can be either NTSC (analog) or QAM- which is the cable's industry version of digital. All TVs will get NTSC and most digital TVs will get QAM. Which your cable system is using I don't know because it varies from system to system- but you can hook it up and push the "info" button on the TV remote and it should tell you. If it is NTSC it is definitely not HD! And I would use the HDMI connection. If it is QAM- it can be HD- but is not necessarily so.

As I mentioned before there are various grades of HD- depending on the quality of the original source material and how much digital compression has been used on it. And some people- especially cable people- tend to call all digital video "Hi-Def" which it is not! A highly compressed digital channel can look worse than analog. Imagine watching Youtube videos blown up to 40 inches- it would look like crap!

Just how much compression can be done before it is no longer "HD" is a matter of debate. A lot depends on the picture content and amount of motion. I can switch our subchannel on and off and sometimes I see a noticeably difference in the main video and sometimes none at all. A fast moving hockey game would require much more bits than a picture of people siting at a table talking.

Now cable companies have a great incentive to compress video because it allows them to get more channels on the same cable. Most now run on-demand channels which are highly-profitable but they have to make room for them. So they compress everything as much as they can without customers bitching. And compared to the quality of picture that cable customers were use to in the analog days even fairly compressed digital looks comparatively good.

But the short answer is- I would use HDMI over coax just because it is already in a digital form and doesn't have to go through a RF-to-digital conversion in the TV.

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