Premium TV - Video Quality

Support for and discussion of the HDHomeRun Premium TV service
Cayars
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Cayars » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:12 am

For curiosity's sake it would be interesting to know what quality SiliconDust is getting as a source.
Yes it would. Quality,encoding, type and kind of feed/capture as well as audio & CC.

Zorg
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Zorg » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:31 am

There is an earlier thread where one of the HDP channels was displaying a bouncing DirecTV screensaver logo instead of the feed. ;)

Maybe we'll find out the first time SD's ops center gets a torrential downpour... :lol:

Sammy2
Posts: 490
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:49 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Sammy2 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:05 am

So how does this compare to Emby's on the fly transcoding for LiveTV Pause / FFWD / RWD methodology?
Transcoding is transcoding so if either has to do real transcoding (not remuxing or segmenting) it's going to use CPU/GPU processes.
The difference is that Emby records to one file from start to finish so you aren't killing your drives with tons of small file writes. SSD drives are limited in the number of write cycles they have so for some people this is important.

With Emby you could record a 3 hour football game and start watching 2.5 hours after the recording starts. To Emby you can start playing the file back at any time (like most DVRs). Plex only keeps 90 minutes of HLS files available so if you start playing a recording in progress you can't start back any further than 90 minutes. That's a no go for sports fans. In this example you would miss the first quarter or so trying to watch it this way. So with Plex you would need to wait until it's done recording (including padding) and finished processing before you can see the start of this recording. Just dumb, dumb, dumb.
Wow. Thanks for that explanation! Of course, I'm still a little confused. While watching a live PTV channel, Plex says it's transcoding video from H264 to H264 but the audio is a direct stream. If I check my servers process list, I can see that the Plex transcoder is working (which would still make sense if it's modifying the stream somehow), and while it's not extremely CPU intensive, it still seems like it's more way more resource hungry than it should be if it's not actually transcoding.

EDIT: Well, I happened to notice something on the Plex Live TV/DVR support pages that I've missed in the past...

Also, when watching on my Android phone, it shows in Plex as direct play. Time shifting still appears to work. The transcoder seems to be running, but almost no CPU hit.
Plex may still be transcoding on top of the HLS segmenting it will do otherwise. Since this is H264 to H264 there is something the client doesn't like about the feed. Without looking at your logs, if I were to guess I'd say the feed is using 4.2 and your client level is set to 4.0 or 4.1 so Plex has to transcode the video because of the level. Check and see if this client (which device?) has a level setting you can change. If so bump it up and try again.

@Nick overall this looks good but I'd suggest a bit different plan for Stage 2. Include a 2 channel AAC audio sound tracks for these channels in addition to the 5.1. I'd suggest this because a lot of people will be using the Premium feed through platforms such as Emby and Plex. When streaming through these servers (live or recorded) if the client DOES NOT support 5.1 the server will transcode both audio and video to HLS which degrades the video and of course puts a hurting on low end servers decoding HEVC and recoding in AVC (quality loss to boot). By having the 2 Channel Audio AAC channel the stream itself will be playable on many more device/tv combinations without the need for more advanced audio systems. This makes a huge difference in usability on these platforms.

Remember a lot of people using these systems (and your Premium TV service) will use cheap devices (ie Roku) boxes plugged into the TV without any sound equipment (bedrooms, etc) and will not direct play any video without 2 channel audio.

Carlo
I don't think the 2 channel AAC audio is a necessity simply because OTA channels don't have it. So if you are already setup to watch OTA channels with 5.1 then you'll be able to watch the Premium channels with 5.1 in a similar fashion.

If they have bandwidth to spare then there's nothing wrong with including it, but it sounds like they are trying to keep the bandwidth as low as possible or put any extra toward better quality of the necessities.
Overhead after compression using HEVC for 2 channel audio is measly and far less than 1% of the bit rate. However as I mentioned previously a lot of clients used on Plex and Emby system may not support AC3 or Dolby audio and may only support something more simple like AAC. This all depends on the client/tv combination and what codecs they have licensed for the app or HDMI input. I've never seen any client that couldn't play back AAC 2 channel so it's sort of the "holy grail" of fail-safe audio that can be used.

Remember the reason to include this is because a media server like Plex will force the video to transcode from HEVC to AVC when it has to use HLS and the client doesn't support the audio track (even though it could have played the HEVC video!). So the difference is a "direct play" vs a full transcode of both audio and video which obviously will degrade quality as well as use resources on the media server that would not have needed to be used otherwise.

This is a CURRENT problem with cable and OTA broadcasts in Plex/Emby so by including this simple additional audio track it makes the Premium TV package that much more attractive to users of these systems. They can play back live or record and playback with no transcoding needed since the file/stream has everything needed for just about any client that supports HEVC. Can be a major PLUS for little work or bitrate.

Also many people like to use 2 channel audio vs Dolby at night in the living room when others are trying to sleep as the audio system is far less "bass" or disruptive to those trying to sleep. WAF factor.

2 Channel audio surely isn't mandatory but with HEVC it would be a very nice addition and solve many problems that people will have otherwise. For H.264 isn't not really needed as Plex/Emby can just transcode the audio without touching the video (already in H.264).

Make sense?

Carlo
Just realized this was here.. Only two weeks later! LOL

Thanks, Carlo!

Cayars
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Cayars » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:37 pm

Better late then never. :)

bruceski45
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:43 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby bruceski45 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:19 pm

New to the forum (and cablecutting) but though it useful to chime in regarding sports (live action) and ‘acceptable’ video quality. We currently have both Directv NOW and HDHomeRun Premium apps running thru Apple TV (4K Dolby Vision 60Hz) into LG 4K TV. So we are watching Monday night football on ESPN and switching back and forth between both apps. In my opinion the DtvNOW is quite good in terms of motion, color, detail and clarity. The HDHR premium struggles with the motion and the color, detail and clarity are lacking. Honestly, the real issue for me is the motion ratcheting. It just makes it difficult to follow the football and is distracting. iMHO fixing the motion would make viewing sports acceptable. Color, detail, and clarity improvements can follow as bandwidth allows. How does Directv NOW do it so well?

tpm
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:09 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby tpm » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:25 pm

New to the forum (and cablecutting) but though it useful to chime in regarding sports (live action) and ‘acceptable’ video quality. We currently have both Directv NOW and HDHomeRun Premium apps running thru Apple TV (4K Dolby Vision 60Hz) into LG 4K TV. So we are watching Monday night football on ESPN and switching back and forth between both apps. In my opinion the DtvNOW is quite good in terms of motion, color, detail and clarity. The HDHR premium struggles with the motion and the color, detail and clarity are lacking. Honestly, the real issue for me is the motion ratcheting. It just makes it difficult to follow the football and is distracting. iMHO fixing the motion would make viewing sports acceptable. Color, detail, and clarity improvements can follow as bandwidth allows. How does Directv NOW do it so well?
DirecTV Now is probably using 60 frames per second, since ESPN (who airs Monday Night Football) broadcasts it at 720p with 60 fps. SiliconDust is currently transcoding their channels to 30 frames per second, which is likely why the action looks less smooth.

SD earlier said they're working on improvements in stages. Stage 1 is improving the quality of the 30 fps feed. Stage 2 is expected to use a more efficient video codec (HEVC) to broadcast a higher-quality 720p feed at 60 frames per second. When that's done, it should resolve these motion issues.

(SD is always welcome to correct me, of course!)

Cayars
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Cayars » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:45 am

I did the same thing.
Only I used Comcast/Xfinity Cable as well as the EPSN app itself since I have a login for it.

Quality Order:
ESPN App
Comcast/Xfinity
PTV

The App and Cable were very close to each other and of course both were 60 fps.
I recorded both the PTV and Comcast for using in comparing but just watched the app version for most of the game.

[removed by moderator]

z06gal
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby z06gal » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:50 pm

Has it been stated when stage 2 is supposed to be ready?

EricGRIT09
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:42 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby EricGRIT09 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:01 pm

Has it been stated when stage 2 is supposed to be ready?
I believe they were talking about *possibly* being close to end of month or early Oct. I recall a post stating that they would be close to rolling it out as people's initial 30 day subs were about to end.

All dependent upon moving hardware into a data center, I believe.

z06gal
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby z06gal » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:39 pm

Has it been stated when stage 2 is supposed to be ready?
I believe they were talking about *possibly* being close to end of month or early Oct. I recall a post stating that they would be close to rolling it out as people's initial 30 day subs were about to end.

All dependent upon moving hardware into a data center, I believe.
Excellent! Thank you ;)

kwhaley29
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:39 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby kwhaley29 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:35 pm

Have there been some recent improvements? I was flipping through some channels tonight and it seemed like the quality had gotten a little better but it could just be my imagination. Some of the channels that normally appear soft seemed crisper.

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 13036
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby jasonl » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:33 pm

What we're at right now is the best we're going to be able to do in phase 1 because we're hitting the limits of the quality of source we receive. Phase 2 gives us a much higher quality source, and that alone will make a huge difference even if nothing else is changed.

tpm
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:09 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby tpm » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:52 pm

What we're at right now is the best we're going to be able to do in phase 1 because we're hitting the limits of the quality of source we receive. Phase 2 gives us a much higher quality source, and that alone will make a huge difference even if nothing else is changed.
I kind of want to do a little dance in reply to this. I can't wait to see this.

Zorg
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:56 am

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Zorg » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:51 am

No kidding, me too on the happy dance. :) Can't wait to see the improvements! If SD needs any beta testers, let me know! :lol:

Ken_P
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: Premium TV - Video Quality

Postby Ken_P » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:30 am

What we're at right now is the best we're going to be able to do in phase 1 because we're hitting the limits of the quality of source we receive. Phase 2 gives us a much higher quality source, and that alone will make a huge difference even if nothing else is changed.
Good news is no one in the family complains about PTV, at all! Working perfect with SageTV. 2 x duals and a new Quattro for 8 tuners. Maybe a couple hours to setup including figuring out OpenDCT.


Re Phase 2, HEVC/h.265 will break all my clients so I'm not excited for that 'improvement'. Much prefer staying with h.264


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