Blame Canada's Carrier
Comcast isn't the only service provider trying to make room for more high definition channels by compressing other channels into a smaller bandwidth footprint. It looks like they all do it, to some degree, though some carriers are better at masking the differences in quality from consumers.
According to Digital Home, Canadian carrier Rogers will begin compressing high definition signals on April 9. About 15 high-def channels currently on Rogers will be compressed to make room for others, though no Rogers customers have yet spoken out about a degradation of HD signal quality.
The channels about to get squished include Discovery, NBC, A&E, CNN, and HDNet.
While all high-def signal is compressed to some degree, consumers only start name-calling when the difference in signal quality changes dramatically enough that it is noticeable. "HD-Lite" is the term that consumers have assigned to HD channels that go from crisp to ugly.
Sometimes, HD-Lite is the fault of carriers, but in other situations a bad picture can be caused by the network itself or a failing HDTV. There's no ignoring the obvious fact, however, that the more data and bandwidth a carrier allows a channel to include, the better the picture will look. -Rachel Rosmarin
Digital Home Canada