Got the notice last month that Cox San Diego would be upgrading to the year 2003, and changing from mpeg2 to h264 AVC encoding. I was very excited, as the mpeg2 quality at 7Mbps or so I get on most ...
@Paul Anderegg, We can look into this concern for you. Are you getting this issue with only recordings or with live programming as well? Also, where are you seeing it listed as being only in 720? -Allan, Cox Support Forums Moderator.
I use a Windows Media Center PC, equipped with a Cox Cablecard and tuner. The tuner records the raw transport stream. Using VLC, I can play back the recorded files, and display the video codec type, bitrate, audio format type, and even closed captioning. The old 1080 show as mpeg2 A52, around 9Mbps, that would be with Dolby Digital audio. The newer converted channels show as h264 AVC A52B 720p59.94, around 5Mbps, that would be with Dolby Digital Plus, but my AVR only shows that old Dolby Digital legacy is being encampsulated. The quality of the new "downrezzed" channels is made worse by what appears to be an attempt to add sharpenning to compensate for the resolution decrease. Because the pixels are now magnified, and sharpenning is being applied to an already low bitrate and macroblock source, it results in very noisy images, as the little macroblock compression squares, now bigger in 720p, are getting sharpenned as well. The resulting quality is so bad I've taken to downloading all the network apps onto my Android TV and simply using my PC DVR as a form of reminder of episodes I need to watch online. If Cox is going to stick with 720p (ugh), at a minimum, please have the technicians in charge of the encoders reevaluate the detail enhancement being applied...I think your typical Cox consumer at home is at minimum smart enough to turn up the sharpness on their TV if the need to...and most TV's on stock settings are already oversharpenned as it is. My local channels, all still in 720/1080 mpeg2, look much much better than the new h264 channels...even KPBS, which itself converts 1080 network content to local 720p60, looks soo much better.
@PAul Anderegg, Thanks for providing the requested information. We ask this because we are not receiving reports of poor picture quality with the cablecards. I recommend checking the VLC settings just to make sure that there is nothing unusual going on. -Allan, Cox Support Forums Moderator.
Poor picture quality with Cablecards? Your Contour 1 boxes (I have one) also use Cablecards. Also, people watch blockbuster movies at 1080p on their cell hpnes, and consider that a cinematic experience. The problem is your company is downresing 1080 to 720. 720 is less than 1080, so unless you are telling me I am reading the codec data incorrectly, your charging me the same for lower quality. Cox is 1080 when 4K comes out, then drops to 720 when 8K comes out...um... Has Cox not converted ALL channels to 720p?