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ACORN TV: Compression Issues Abound

COW Blogs : Ron Lindeboom's Blog : ACORN TV: Compression Issues Abound

My wife and I signed up for the free 30 day trial subscription to Acorn TV but couldn't make it a few days before turning off our account and being done with it. We even uninstalled the app from our system.


While we like to explore television from other countries of the world, we like to see a great picture when we do. We understand that some old shows are in SD and have yet to be up-resolutioned into HD. But when a show is only a year or two old and originated in HD, yet is so full of compression artifacts, pixelisation and stuttering, we quickly look elsewhere for our entertainment.

I tested our Internet connection when it was happening and it fluctuated between 25mbps on the worst days, to over 65mbps on the best days. Either speed is more than enough to handle HD.

We watched Acorn TV's HD-originated series "New Worlds" and found that it was highly compressed, so much so that the artifacting and pixelisation of the picture was egregious during simple dissolve edits, and truly terrible when scenes involved rain, light effects, gradients, or other scenes that are tough on poorly encoded feeds. Banding in the gradients and having whole areas of the image "freeze" across frames due to image dithering, are all hallmarks of poor encoding.

You may have better luck. We'll wait until they hire a real compressionist, it's clear that they have someone who does not really understand the process. There is a real craft to great compression and it takes time to learn. Clearly Acorn TV has yet to understand that lesson.

Posted by: Ronald Lindeboom on Apr 4, 2016 at 3:47:00 pm cablecutting


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