In the midst of doing all those display reviews, I borrowed a DGTEC DG-5000i set top box. As I suspected, both ABC and SBS are now broadcasting their 20 hours per week of high definition digital. According to the Digital Broadcasting Association, ABC’s HD content is upconverted from standard definition to 1080i, and SBS’ from SD to 576p. I object to this. SD carried in HD format is still SD. It’s like saying that an MP3 file is PCM because your player converts it to PCM before sending it to a home theatre receiver. Upconverting cannot restore that which was not captured in the first place.
I rang up ABC about their offerings because I noticed on Sunday night its religious show Compass seemed to of noticably higher quality on the HD channel than on the SD channel. They couldn’t say about Compass, but they identified a number of shows that they say are full HD: MDA, 4 Corners, Fat Cow Hotel and Dimensions. I’ll try to compare these as they come up.