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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Why did last night’s ‘Game of Thrones’ look so bad?

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” may be the most expensive TV show ever produced, and last night’s episode, “The Long Night”, was a 90-minute-long special-effects extravaganza where two armies clash in a series climax 70 episodes in the making. The money was up there on the screen, tens of millions of dollars of it… if your eyes could make anything out, that is.

Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch did a good job of breaking down a lot of the details about why, even if you had a 4K HDR television set, you might have struggled to understand what you were seeing on your TV last night:

Last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” was a wild ride and inarguably one of an epic show’s more epic moments — if you could see it through the dark and the blotchy video. It turns out even one of the most expensive and meticulously produced shows in history can fall prey to the scourge of low quality streaming and bad TV settings.

This is a story about choices made by the show’s production team—which decided to set the battle at night in the snow—and about how television shows get from their editing bays to our eyes, via lossy compression techniques that crunch an entire TV show into relatively low bit rates on cable or streaming.