Presently, Flow Trinidad has much better Standard Definition (SD) picture quality than Directv in Trinidad and Tobago because Directv uses more signal compression that Flow. Compression of TV signals is what it sounds like and can be compared to having a box that can hold 10 bags of flour and you want to put 13 bags in it. To get all 13 to fit, you will have to squeeze (compress) the bags of flour. After the bags are squeezed to fit some bags may burst and all will become distorted resulting in a disgruntled chef or housewife. The grocer will only care if customers refuse to buy the flour, otherwise he is peddling a defective product to unsuspecting customers. People assume the term digital quality means something better than average but in Directv Trinidad’s case it is even worse than watching local TV picked up with a properly installed rooftop antenna.
Over-compression is what Directv Caribbean and Latin America (Third World Edition) is suffering from and feel they can get away with this because of the typical thinking that Third World People are not only stupid, but cannot appreciate quality. They are so wrong. Directv has only a limited amount of satellite space to fit the the multitude of channels their Latin American and Caribbean customers want so they have decided to compress channels beyond the limit of looking good to make that extra dollar. On a 27-inch low-resolution CRT TV the Directv video looks average but on a 50-inch plasma, Directv’s SD picture is not acceptable. However, from a recent demo, Directv’s sprinkling of High Definition (HD) channels looks great but the SD channels may make you want to pick up a book and read instead.
Another serious Directv problem is that customers are not able to view local channels via their satellite dish and instead have to concoct a solution that is extremely frustrating to use compared to Flow’s just-click-and-it’s-there solution. In some cases, Directv’s local channel solution is costly to implement and kept a secret by the installers. From what I saw of the Directv Plus HD DVR receiver, their is no VHF tuner which is a big design bungle, as far as I am concerned, but the receiver (HR22 I think) has HDMI, optical audio and coax audio outputs – a high-tech device being fed with low quality inputs.
I couldn’t find out if Directv has any plans to address the poor quality video and local channel issues but with Blink Entertainment Cable TV from TSTT soon to be launched with a superior and more affordable channel lineup, it is something Directv must do immediately to survive. Until I am convinced Directv can provide a superior service and quality product as they claim, I will stick with Flow and consider Blink.
Sorry Directv Trinidad and Tobago, you can’t cut it just yet.