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Old 11-20-07, 06:19 PM   #1
Lyme
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Default Which is better: Cable or Over The Air?

This may seem like a silly question, but in the USA which gives you a better quality signal? Cable or OTA? Is there a difference between SD and HDTV signal?

Up here (in Canada, where I live) the SD signal OTA is horrid, the OTA HDTV is virtually non-existant, and the cable reception is rock solid. I'm also curious due to my trips through the USA, the hotels/motels that I stay in generally have horrible tv reception but they say they have cable.

Someone please enlighten me.
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Old 11-20-07, 06:56 PM   #2
Zelda_fan
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Default Re: Which is better: Cable or Over The Air?

I've actually heard that OTA HD signals are better than cable if you can get the signal in your area.
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Old 11-20-07, 07:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Which is better: Cable or Over The Air?

HD OTA signals are 100% bandwidth HD. Cable/Sat are compressed, gimped HD-Lite.
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Old 11-20-07, 08:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Which is better: Cable or Over The Air?

OTA HD channels do not always use 100% of the bandwidth, sometimes stations broadcast side channels on part of the bandwidth which can make the picture quality pretty bad if not done properly. The local PBS station here is channel 15 and they broadcast HD on 15-1 with 3 other channels (15-2,15-3 and 15-4) and sometimes it looks terrible with bad pixellation. The other channels in the area used to at least have 1 other channel sharing the bandwidth with the main HD channel but they haven't been doing that for a while. I think I heard somewhere that they are now required to have a certain amount of hours of educational material on any subchannels so I know that killed one right off the bat around here.
Usually though HD on OTA channels look very good. Directv used to have great MPEG2 HD but went downhill and now the MPEG 2 is merely ok. The new MPEG 4 HD channels on Directv are very nice though and to me are on the same quality level as OTA.
I have no experience with HD on cable as I can't stand Cox cable which is the major cable company here and I left them for Directv over 6 or 7 years ago and haven't looked back.
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Old 11-20-07, 09:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Which is better: Cable or Over The Air?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelda_fan
I've actually heard that OTA HD signals are better than cable if you can get the signal in your area.
a LOT better.
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