Long time visitors to this blog will know that I have a theory that Sky deliberately reduced the bit-rate on its SD movie channels (both on cable and satellite) to artificially exagerate the difference between standard definiton and the new high definition versions. I'm not saying HD isn't superior, but it struck me as probably more than coincidence that the premium movie channels on cable in SD seemed to suffer a significant quality drop around the time that the majority got HD equivalents on satellite. It wasn't just me that commented, and sites that measure the bit-rates for channels broadcast on satellite appeared to back up what I was seeing.
(Of course, it may not have been Sky being creative with bit-rates - it could just have easily been a technical fault at Virgin - but I do like a good conspiracy theory.)
Of late though, things appear to my eyes have improved on the SD movie channels. Watching Hellboy II and Indiana Jones IV recently I thought the picture was good again, probably the best it has been for some time. Has anyone else noticed this? Comparison with Film4 still suggest the Channel 4 service is superior, but it is less notable now.
It could be to do with the Luxemburg thing Virgin did a few months back (which I thought was just a tax wheeze), it could be improved bit-rates, it could be my eyes getting older, who knows? Of course it's no substitute for us getting the HD versions of the movie channels, but in the meantime any improvement to the (expensive) movie service is most welcome. Even if it is all in my imagination.