HD or SD?

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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TerryC

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HD or SD?

PostMon Jun 29, 2015 9:14 am

I am fortunate in that our cable company carries TCM in both the standard and HD versions. I also record many movies on 2 recordable DVD players. In the past I have always recorded from the standard channel because of course DVDs are not HD. When I have used the HD channel the picture looks good, but has a strange aspect ratio, which I can fix however with my TV remote. Are there any advantages from using the HD channel, or should I stick to the standard one?
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azjazzman

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Re: HD or SD?

PostTue Jun 30, 2015 1:22 am

TerryC wrote:I am fortunate in that our cable company carries TCM in both the standard and HD versions. I also record many movies on 2 recordable DVD players. In the past I have always recorded from the standard channel because of course DVDs are not HD. When I have used the HD channel the picture looks good, but has a strange aspect ratio, which I can fix however with my TV remote. Are there any advantages from using the HD channel, or should I stick to the standard one?


You will always get better quality if you record the HD feed, even though the recording is actually SD. The difference is not huge, but you can see it if you look carefully. On my set, there is less "mosquito" noise and the grey scale is better.

You don't say who your provided is, but if it is DirecTV, there is a setting in the video menu on the receiver that will correct the aspect ratio problem you are having.
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TerryC

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Re: HD or SD?

PostTue Jun 30, 2015 4:51 am

Thanks for the reply. It is only my local cable company. The image is perfect on TV. It is through my recordable devices that the aspect ratio is weird.
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JoevanZYL

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Re: HD or SD?

PostMon Jul 27, 2015 5:24 am

what you get from an SD which is upscaled to fill the available screen estate.

In other words, HD might look a better than SD,but only a tad.
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SilentsPlease

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Re: HD or SD?

PostWed Aug 05, 2015 1:41 pm

Nowadays, TCM airs films in true HD at a higher and higher frequency. It seems that if they have a HD master, they will air it. I recently watched "Baby Doll" and "The Miracle Worker" (1962) in HD and they looked really good. For films that still don't have Blu-rays (and there are a LOT), this would be the only way to watch them in HD. So my advice to you is migrate to a setup that enables you to record in HD.
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TerryC

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Re: HD or SD?

PostWed Aug 05, 2015 8:44 pm

I would love to have a recordable blu-ray player that would record from cable as my recordable DVD player does, but it is my understanding that these are not available in North America. Amazon seems to only sell ones that come directly from Japan.
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SilentsPlease

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Re: HD or SD?

PostThu Aug 06, 2015 9:30 am

If you're talking about a "recordable Blu-ray player" that plugs into your cable box, records HD shows, and voila, out pops a Blu-ray disc for you, then I'm not sure if such a thing even exists. That's because HD shows, unlike SD, are heavily encrypted by the cable company at the behest of Hollywood studios and they DO NOT want you to make bootlegged Blu-rays that easily.

Those who are able to record HD shows have to get around the encryption, such as by recording programs IN ANALOG. Some cable boxes have analog outputs, and you plug them into your analog HD recorder, and voila. The downside is that you lose closed captioning, second audio, etc., because those only reside in the original digital format. This is, of course, a pretty technically cumbersome way to do it. I've seen such recorders made for the PC, but not a stand-alone one for the living room.

Also, even if you manage to record HD programs, there is no easy way to burn Blu-ray discs from them, because Blu-ray authoring is a lot more complicated than DVD authoring. The DVD recorder you are using is able to record a show, author it into DVD format, and burn a physical disc for you. Doing the same for Blu-ray is not as simple nor as speedy.

Therefore, if you manage to record HD shows, my advice to you is leave the recordings as is and store them into your hard drive, instead of burning discs. If you want to play your recordings, set up some kind personal streaming between your TV and your hard drive. This kind of thing is actually becoming popular among PC users.

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