We already know how fond CableLabs is of HD VOD content, so it makes perfect sense that the gurus behind the scenes are aiming to provide media that satisfies the discerning eye of the HD viewer. Considering that nearly every HDTV owner has a sneaking suspicion that they're not getting the bandwidth they're paying for at times, CableLabs new specifications hope to ensure that HD VOD viewers don't get the "HD Lite" experience. While the recommended SD VOD rate remained steady at just 3.75Mbps, CableLabs has named 15Mbps the "safe harbor bitrate" to allow all forms of HD VOD content (including talking heads and fast-moving action films) to be seen at a quality that represents what HDTV should be about, including 5.1 audio and an absence of pixelation. Of course, these latest suggestions are entirely based on MPEG2 transfers, and could very well change if MPEG4 starts running the show, but at the very least it's good to see someone making sure we get our due bandwidth.

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CableLabs names 15Mbps as "safe harbor bitrate" for MPEG2 HD VOD