I finally caught BSG live via the HD feed to check it out. I think the complaints about Comcast highly compressing the HD feed for the SCI Fi channel are probably correct. I watched the show live because watching it via DVR just compresses it more.
I talked to Bill earlier in the week. He DVR'd it off the HD channel last week and he said "it's just fine." With one exception I'd agree it's just fine. But I'm much more of a video quality snob than Bill likely is. The one exception is that in tonight's episode there was often a lot of pixilation and when it happened, it didn't just impact video, but audio cut out as well. Not optimal at all, but the channel hasn't been on our lineup in San Francisco very long. When I first got HD service via Comcast 4.5 years ago, I experienced the issue with pixilation a lot on all channels. This is the first time I can remember dealing with it in some time.
There are always a few factors at play with HD, but the main reason I'm sure Comcast compresses the signal more than some of the other HD channels is that a few of the commercials were in HD during tonight's broadcast, specifically the Verizon/Ironman commercial. I'd seen that ad looking better elsewhere on Comcast HD.
Still, BSG is deliberately shot very dark and grainy. It's not ever going to look as crystal clear as a baseball game or even Star Wars. I suspect Bill mirrors the masses in this case more than I do though and that most people wouldn't notice the quality of the video. To be fair, short of the pixilation I'm not sure I would have noticed much either.
On the plus side, the SCI Fi HD channel is the east coast feed so I got to watch it 3 hours earlier than I did before the HD version was in our lineup. I've been making a point of trying to watch at least two non sports programs a week live so I can see the commercials, though I confess during commercials I mostly switched over to Celtics/Hawks on ESPN. What's up with the Celtics not being able to win one road game in this series against a team that couldn't even go .500 during the regular season? It's not really as big of a deal to me as pixilated HD, but I'm as sure Comcast will get around to fixing that as I'm sure the Celtics will take game 7 at home in Boston.