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Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

My last few rage recordings seemed not quite as clear as they used to be - mainly the rage and artist titles were not as crisp.

Looking at the recorded MPEG streams from late 2016 to early 2017 there has been a noticeable reduction in bitrate, possibly as a tradeoff to increase the bitrate in the HD version of the main channel now that ABC are pushing that.

In 2016, the average bitrate for the main SD channel was around 5.5 Mbps, based on a few recordings late last year. Sometimes as high as 6 Mbps and as low as 5 Mbps.

But in 2017, the average bitrate has been about 4.5 Mbps. Highest was 5.1 Mbps and lowest was 4.4 Mbps. That inevitably leads to some loss of fidelity.

I'm starting to think I might need to record the HD channel instead, and downscale it to SD to retain maximum resolution.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Funny you mention that ... I made the same decision this morning when I was setting my recording timer. I'm going HD.
(Silly me - it didn't even occur to me last weekend that Rage would be in HD or I would have done it then as well)

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Recording on ABC HD which is Channel 20 makes no difference when it comes to Countdown and Rock Arena as they were both not recorded in HD to begin with so they won't be in HD, only new programs shown on ABC HD will be in actual HD.

I was told by my tech friend that ABC HD was coming in, in December 2016 but my tech friend told me my 2010 DVD Recorder doesn't get ABC HD being Channel 20, so last week I recorded on Standard Channel 2 and will be again as I don't have a modern DVD Recorder which gets ABC(HD) being Channel 20. It seems only Blue Rays record in HD and my friend told me any Countdown's I have recorded on my DVD Recorder do not play on Blue Ray. And don't Blue Ray recorders only record in 16.9 anyway? So this means recording in HD means ABC logo and bars, noooo no no.

Clip Magnet, you say mainly the rage and artist titles were not as crisp. But the actual show itself wouldn't be much crisper as again, the masters were not originally recorded in HD in the 80s. At the end of the day, recording from Chanel 2 on a DVD Recorder or even from Foxtel is a greaaaaat improvement from when we used to record them in the 80s, 90s and even early 00's!

And most Countdown's were recorded in Mono up until 1986/1987 and Rock Arena's were also recorded in Mono up until 1986/1987/1988 ... so again, HD doesn't really apply for classic 70s, 80s and 90s programs ...

***** And again, even with ABC HD, pixelation or glitches are still likely to happen, there are very few people I know who don't get some glitches or pixelation so really ... one doesn't win either way. Those who live in very high rised apartments generally don't get gitches or pixelation but that is about it so even if you record in HD, there is no way to avoid any glitches as they can occur at any moment as digital television really hasn't been mastered properly, as if it was no glitches would occur.

The only way one doesn't get any glitches or pixelation is with Foxtel as it is Satellite.

Even with rage, their copies of videos like Visage's 'Fade To Grey'... Kate Bush with The Man With The Child In His Eyes and Bowie's 'Be My Wife' are original videos from the time and look very vintage, even when rage re play these videos again, recording on ABC HD will also make no difference to the the picture from ABC 1 on Channel 2 and ABC HD on Channel 20.


I record all my Coutndowns, Rock Arenas and video clips on rage through the whole year in XP and only use 1 hr discs as XP is best quality and only fit 1 hr. With new videos rage play, recording on ABC HD on Channel 20 will actually be in HD as they are recorded newly in the now in HD but anything shown on TV from 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and even early 00's were not recorded in HD, therefore they won't be in HD. I use a lot of HD space again because I record in XP, there is a difference in picture quality when recording in XP as opposed to SD, LP or EP but with HD channel 21 there is no difference as the shows are old.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I record rage in XP/FINE on my HDD/DVD Recorder, so it's always at about 9.5Mbps. Yes, I know that technically isn't capturing the raw signal as it's transmitted... but going by what you said, if I recorded it in SP, I gather the bitrate would be lower than what it has been in the past.

The 'new' videos rage have encoded since approx. February 2012 (I think the Whitney Houston tribute was the earliest I've spotted it) look duller and fuzzier to me, with slightly larger and less-sharp font and rage logo. The videos they play that were encoded before then look the same to me, though.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Jason 'The Moderator"

I was told by my tech friend that ABC HD was coming in, in December 2016 but my tech friend told me my 2010 DVD Recorder doesn't get ABC HD being Channel 20, so last week I recorded on Standard Channel 2 and will be again as I don't have a modern DVD Recorder which gets ABC(HD) being Channel 20.


Jason, you can get the HD channels on an 'old' DVD recorder if you run a set top box into your recorder. That's what I do (though I also have a more-modern DVD/blu-ray recorder that can record HD).

I record rage now with my set-top box set to channel 1057, as it seems to be far less prone to pixellation than recording channel 2. You can get this channel with a HD set top box.

My Panasonic blu-ray recorder can record in 4:3, but because I don't run my set top box through it, '4:3' means the 16:9 picture is just squished inwards, so it still picks up the black bars, and the 4:3 picture area is stretched vertically. I haven't tried connecting my set top box to it to record, but I think I could record actual 4:3 on it (not picking up the black pillarbox bars either side) with both the recording setting set to 4:3 and my set top box set to 4:3.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I am not too fussed Nathan, I am happy with recording on my DVD Recorder though sometimes I have to scrap some episodes of Countdown and keep Foxtel ones as pixelation and glitches is a problem for me though last weekend it rather behaved itself.

I have a set top box from 2005, I am assuming plugging that into my DVD Recorder will not pick up ABC (HD) Channel 20 though, or yes? ... Or does one have to buy a new Set Top Box. It's never ending!

What HD Set Top Box do you recommend? ... As I have no interest in having a Blu Ray Recorder as I prefer more vintage. I want no black bars on my Countdown's as I'd rather not have them at all if I had to have squashed picture or bars.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I got my current set-top box in 2013, and it has HD channels on it. The one I had before then, from 2008, was only SD. Both were Topfield.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Jason 'The Moderator"
Recording on ABC HD which is Channel 20 makes no difference when it comes to Countdown and Rock Arena as they were both not recorded in HD to begin with so they won't be in HD, only new programs shown on ABC HD will be in actual HD.

You are absolutely right about that, but the HD channel uses a much higher bitrate than the SD channel, and so upscaling SD to HD (which is done within the ABC transmission chain, so at that point the SD will be between 8 and 10 Mbps), then broadcasting it at an HD bitrate, then downscaling it after I have recorded it, should produce a slightly better result than recording SD where the bitrate has been lowered to 4.5 Mbps for broadcasting.

I record the DVB-T MPEG stream direct to computer hard disk and with no transcoding, which also makes a difference. If you are recording to optical disc then the MPEG stream is being transcoded before writing to disc, and DVDs cannot record HD, so I agree it would make no difference in that case.

Anyway, I'm doing a test right now, recording SD to my PC hard disk and HD on my Topfield hard disk. I'll compare them and see if there's any discernible difference.

Jason 'The Moderator"
At the end of the day, recording from Chanel 2 on a DVD Recorder or even from Foxtel is a greaaaaat improvement from when we used to record them in the 80s, 90s and even early 00's!

No argument there!

Jason 'The Moderator"
And again, even with ABC HD, pixelation or glitches are still likely to happen, there are very few people I know who don't get some glitches or pixelation so really ... one doesn't win either way. Those who live in very high rised apartments generally don't get gitches or pixelation but that is about it so even if you record in HD, there is no way to avoid any glitches as they can occur at any moment as digital television really hasn't been mastered properly, as if it was no glitches would occur.

Hmm... can't say that's happened to me. One episode a few weeks ago had some glitch issues, but that was the first time I can recall.

Jason 'The Moderator"
Even with rage, their copies of videos like Visage's 'Fade To Grey'... Kate Bush with The Man With The Child In His Eyes and Bowie's 'Be My Wife' are original videos from the time and look very vintage, even when rage re play these videos again, recording on ABC HD will also make no difference to the the picture from ABC 1 on Channel 2 and ABC HD on Channel 20.

Interesting you mention that, because quite a few rage clips of that vintage (around 1976-1979) are rotoscoped copies of clips made on videotape, because videotape back then was too expensive to use to make copies to ship around the world, so 16mm film was used instead.

Some examples include Godley & Creme "An Englishman In New York", The Jam "That's Entertainment", Boomtown Rats "I Don't Like Mondays", Blondie "Union City Blue" and Bryan Ferry "Let's Stick Together". All those clips were made on videotape, but the rage rotoscoped copies are quite crappy, low resolution and film defects/hairs throughout.

I have copies of all those clips from the videotape masters, and the quality is incredible in comparison. So much so I'll probably send them to rage and tell them to upgrade their library copies.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I generally have to keep foxtel copies as well as dvd recordings every January as l get at least one glitch per episode, of Countdown which s h i t s me. Digital tv certainly is not what it is cracked up to be.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

ohnoitisnathan
I got my current set-top box in 2013, and it has HD channels on it. The one I had before then, from 2008, was only SD. Both were Topfield.


Like you Nathan, I had a Topfield set top box purchased 2009 and then had to replace it in 2015 with my current Topfield. It's significantly more compact than than the previous and only cost $40.
I feel the audio is weaker on the current one. I do base this on a clip programed in 2015 and then repeated in 2016 (The Cars - Just What I Needed). However the ABC could have change their settings for the broadcast. I always had the volume set to max on the both boxes. Is there a superior set top box available without going in PVR's?

I made another comparison with my Sony DVD recorder that has an inbuilt SD tuner versus the Topfield linked up to the older Sony DVD recorder. The Sony with tuner is significantly louder than the Topfield. I'm thinking you may lose some quality in the composite leads.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

ABCHD is a joke. It's just an upscale for the most part bar a few HD shows. Rage is just the upscaled SD channel. So you might just as well record rage in SD.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

When i got my first DVD recorder in 2004, the sound coming through the analogue channels were nice and loud and almost in stereo, but through Foxtel and HD the audio was quieter. A bit like VHS tapes and DVDs. You have to turn the volume up to about 70 to listen to a DVD. Sound on VHS tapes was so much better, but **** picture.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I only keep Foxtel for rage in January (and for the NRL and Prisoner repeats!) . Can't take the risk of pixelation having the channel through the recorder or set top box.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Rage have played an upgraded version of That's Entertainment in the past few years. Picture is crystal clear and is in stereo

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Frank FM

Like you Nathan, I had a Topfield set top box purchased 2009 and then had to replace it in 2015 with my current Topfield. It's significantly more compact than than the previous and only cost $40.
I feel the audio is weaker on the current one. I do base this on a clip programed in 2015 and then repeated in 2016 (The Cars - Just What I Needed). However the ABC could have change their settings for the broadcast. I always had the volume set to max on the both boxes. Is there a superior set top box available without going in PVR's?

I made another comparison with my Sony DVD recorder that has an inbuilt SD tuner versus the Topfield linked up to the older Sony DVD recorder. The Sony with tuner is significantly louder than the Topfield. I'm thinking you may lose some quality in the composite leads.


My newer Panasonic DVD/blu-ray recorder is definitely louder/has better sound than I get from the Topfield. I too have the volume up to max. on it. My old Pioneer DVD recorder, which I use for recording rage, has a setting where you can increase (or decrease) the input audio by 3 or 6dB (6dB doubles the sound), so I always have it set to +6dB when recording rage.

I haven't tried any other make of set-top box. I haven't noticed that rage has quieter sound than a year ago, so it must just be your new set-top box is quieter.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Michael
When i got my first DVD recorder in 2004, the sound coming through the analogue channels were nice and loud and almost in stereo, but through Foxtel and HD the audio was quieter. A bit like VHS tapes and DVDs. You have to turn the volume up to about 70 to listen to a DVD. Sound on VHS tapes was so much better, but **** picture.


Yes, I was recording the analogue signal on my DVD Recorder for the first few years, which had louder/better sound than the digital signal... and it always had the right aspect ratio for 4:3 and letterboxed 4:3 videos (esp. those that are not quite letterboxed 16:9). The only trouble was the picture wasn't as clear/was subject to interference.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

ohnoitisnathan
Frank FM

Like you Nathan, I had a Topfield set top box purchased 2009 and then had to replace it in 2015 with my current Topfield. It's significantly more compact than than the previous and only cost $40.
I feel the audio is weaker on the current one. I do base this on a clip programed in 2015 and then repeated in 2016 (The Cars - Just What I Needed). However the ABC could have change their settings for the broadcast. I always had the volume set to max on the both boxes. Is there a superior set top box available without going in PVR's?

I made another comparison with my Sony DVD recorder that has an inbuilt SD tuner versus the Topfield linked up to the older Sony DVD recorder. The Sony with tuner is significantly louder than the Topfield. I'm thinking you may lose some quality in the composite leads.


My newer Panasonic DVD/blu-ray recorder is definitely louder/has better sound than I get from the Topfield. I too have the volume up to max. on it. My old Pioneer DVD recorder, which I use for recording rage, has a setting where you can increase (or decrease) the input audio by 3 or 6dB (6dB doubles the sound), so I always have it set to +6dB when recording rage.

I haven't tried any other make of set-top box. I haven't noticed that rage has quieter sound than a year ago, so it must just be your new set-top box is quieter.


Yeah, I still have the digital broadcasts of some previous years' Retro Rages and checking them now out of curiosity the audio levels are all the same, so I'm guessing any variation is just due to different equipment amplifying the audio by different amounts once it's converted into the analogue domain.
I'd speculate that different DVD recorders might also automatically adjust the audio levels upward to make more use of the full dynamic range, or downward to avoid saturation ... it really could come down to a number of things, all of which could be considered good features if they're implemented well, but could affect the final volume in different ways.

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

Going back to the original point made in this thread, the bit rate of the HD channel last night/this morning was pretty pathetic. It was actually barely above the SD broadcast of last weekend's Rage.

As a general rule it's true that even for SD content, it's better to record it from an HD channel if you can get it, not because of resolution but purely because the tv stations will allocated more bandwidth to their HD channel.
But in this case, I can confirm that users of SD-only gear haven't really missed out at all.

(Which is the inherent problem with free-to-air telecasts that go over the air. There is limited bandwidth for their content, and the more channels they have the more they have to split it up. I recorded Rage on Foxtel as well, and if it was high quality content then that's where I would do my video capturing from, but in the case of the old content of Rage Retro month I doubt there's much to be gained by doing that. For something like live HD sport ... completely different kettle of fish.)

Having old episodes in crisp full HD would not be a true replica of the Countdown viewing experience and therefore would only detract from their charm ;)

(seriously though ... I don't think I'm even going to bother with HD next weekend)

Re: Bitrate reduction for main ABC channel (SD)

I recall when I had Foxtel 11 years ago, the audio was stronger compared to my first Sony set top box which is still going strong today and all the others that followed.