Mediocre SD on HD TVs

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Hi all,

I've seen several posts from newbies complaining bitterly that SD channels
look awful on their new HDTVs for which they paid 2-3 thousand dollars.
Well, the stores don't display anything but HDTV so customers really don't
know until they get it home and then they are bitterly upset.

When I had Dish, (the 811 HD receiver) I had to to use the component video
out to watch HDTV and the S-Video out to watch SD (standard definition). (it
has only one RCA audio out so I had to use the digital audio out to the
stereo system to listen to the show while using the S-VIdeo!) Using the DTV
input, the SD channels looked absolutely awful. Luckily Time-Warner's new
8300 HD receiver is far better in this regard.....SD channels look pretty
good seen through the DTV input. (of course channels up to 77 are analog
and not quite as sharp as the digital channels above that number).

So...be prepared for this problem of poor quality SD pictures on your
spanking new HDTV. Try the S-Video for SD like I did with the Dish 811. Or,
your receiver whether its Cable or Satellite or OTA might allow you to
choose 1080i *and* 480i *and* 480p settings, and the receiver tries to find
the best way to display SD on your TV.

Roger
By the way the 8300 HD from Time-Warner also has a 160 GB hard drive to
record up to 20 hours of HDTV or 90 hours of regular TV. Wow, the images are
absolutely as good as live when played back from the hard drive. Only thing
is, you can only archive to VCR, (or maybe through its S-Video out to a DVD
recorder, but hey once you change an HD program to 480, it is just not the
same. It has an HDMI output and maybe in the next year we'll have HD DVD
recorders that use HDMI. But I doubt it...HDMI has a copy protection scheme.
13 answers Last reply
More about mediocre
  1. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Roger" <nospam@world.com> wrote

    > I've seen several posts from newbies complaining bitterly that SD channels
    > look awful on their new HDTVs for which they paid 2-3 thousand dollars.
    > Well, the stores don't display anything but HDTV so customers really don't
    > know until they get it home and then they are bitterly upset.

    I'm very aware of this so I routinely ask the stores to switch to regular
    broadcasting. I find that as long as the store has a good quality signal
    (i.e. boosted enough for all the sets) that SD is still pretty good. And I
    have a high standard of comparison, since my present set is a 36 inch
    Trinitron Wega direct view CRT, which was top of the line 5 years ago.

    I was particularly impressed with how well the Sony LCD projectors handled
    SD, but Samsung DLPs did pretty well too. The JVC DLA did a little less
    well.

    I remember one store where I asked them to display SD, and all their sets
    immediately changed (about 30 or so). Included was one of those new 70 inch
    Sony giants, and I was amazed at how well it handled SD. But it's way
    outside my price and size limit.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    Roger:

    A lot depends on the quality of the electronics of your cable box and the
    internal electronics of your HDTV. With a Motorola STB on Cox cable and Sony
    34HS510 electronics, the SD picture quality is quite good.

    David
  3. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    David&Joan wrote:
    > Roger:
    >
    > A lot depends on the quality of the electronics of your cable box and the
    > internal electronics of your HDTV. With a Motorola STB on Cox cable and Sony
    > 34HS510 electronics, the SD picture quality is quite good.
    >
    > David

    I agree. It's a combo of TV, STB/Tuner, CABLES, connection, *and*
    TV/STB adjustments.

    My STB is a Scientific Atlanta 3250HD from Comcast and the SD broadcasts
    are not that bad. You can change the formats anyway you want - from
    480i/p, 720P or 1080i. Of course, not all channels will receive some of
    the different formats, though, but most do.

    I also found out that lowering the "sharpness adjustment" of the TV
    de-emphasizes the grainyness and jaggies of SD broadcasts.

    Also, I have my STB to LCD TV (26" Sharp Aquos) connected from DVI to
    HDMI, so this connection alone may have a lot to do with the excellent
    picture of the broadcasts. Even some SD content will fool you into
    believing that it's not in SD, especially cartoons! :-)

    -Naz
  4. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    My Mitsubishi is 3 years old, but the picture is pretty decent. I think T-W
    has improved its digital signal as well.
    Roger
  5. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    <<A lot depends on the quality of the electronics of your cable box and the
    internal electronics of your HDTV. >>

    Very true. My Mitsubishi has been a good TV, though it is 3 years old and
    only a rear-projection set and not a fancy new DLP!!
    Roger
  6. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    I believe that a lot of the talk about bad quality of SD programs on new
    HDTV's comes from the fact that the purchase of an HDTV usually means
    getting a bigger size also. When someone goes from a 36" SDTV to a 50+"
    HDTV, he'll be disappointed in SD. First, you get used to the HD quality
    really easy and now have a comparison between HD and SD right in front of
    you. Second, the resolution and size of the HDTV's will allow you to see how
    lousy SD really is.

    Michael
  7. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Hasenpfeffer" <hasenpfeffer@triad.rr.com> wrote

    >...When someone goes from a 36" SDTV to a 50+" HDTV, he'll be disappointed
    >in SD.

    I'd love to see this demonstrated, but since I don't have a HDTV yet, I
    can't arrange to view it beside my 36 inch Wega. But as I said earlier,
    based on my experience in stores watching SD on a variety of HDTVs, some
    much bigger than 50 inches, I doubt that this is universally true (although
    it might be for some HDTV sets).

    I have seen comments from reviewers on CNET and others that say that SD is
    better on the best HDTVs than direct-view CRTs, even allowing for screen
    size. After all, the makers of expensive sets have invested a lot of money
    in hardware and software to convert from a 480 signal to 720p image.

    Furthermore, HDTVs need a lot more set up than old TVs, so individual
    comparisons need to be taken with reservation.

    That said, there is only so much that even the best HDTVs can do with a SD
    signal, and there is a huge jump in quality when some switches to HD input.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Hasenpfeffer" <hasenpfeffer@triad.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:ZNEVd.30982$Yf5.3093008@twister.southeast.rr.com...
    >I believe that a lot of the talk about bad quality of SD programs on new
    >HDTV's comes from the fact that the purchase of an HDTV usually means
    >getting a bigger size also. When someone goes from a 36" SDTV to a 50+"
    >HDTV, he'll be disappointed in SD. First, you get used to the HD quality
    >really easy and now have a comparison between HD and SD right in front of
    >you. Second, the resolution and size of the HDTV's will allow you to see
    >how lousy SD really is.

    I think you are absolutely right about this. That having been said, we went
    from an SD 48" CRT RPTV to an HDTV 60" LCD RPTV (Sony KDF-60XS955), which
    displays the 4:3 picture at about the same size the old 48" SD TV did. I
    did notice, at first, what I described as a serious degredation of SD
    picture quality over what I had been seeing before.

    But, later, I adjusted the menu settings on my Sony that are in there to
    improve 480i SD pictures, and I reset my Panasonic E80 DVR to feed 480i /
    16:9 rather than 480p to the set (so the set could do the de-interlacing
    instead of the DVR) and changed the black level settings on the DVR to
    "darker" -- all of which helped my SD reception from cable and from the DVR
    tremendously. Also, when we went from a Time Warner cable box to a
    CableCard, that helped the SD pictures a lot. (I think the cable box is a
    big part of the SD problem with HDTV sets.)

    Now, my SD pictures are much better, although extremely variable. With a
    good signal, they can almost be confused with HD. A bad signal produces a
    hideous picture.

    I noticed something interesting on the local news broadcasts of the ABC
    affilliate here in Austin. Their signal for their 10P news is quite good --
    SD but very sharp, no problem. But a few seconds into the broadcast, they
    insert a crawl along the bottom of the screen. The instant they do this,
    the picture quality overall degenerates about 50%. I talked to an engineer
    at the station about this and he said he had heard about this problem
    before, from other HDTV owners. Apparently, the addition of the crawl
    screws up the number of lines being sent out which makes it harder for HDTV
    sets to convert the picture to their native formats (in my case, 788p). So,
    that may be a problem with many of the bad SD signals, especially from the
    cable stations that have all kinds of crawls and scrolls going on.

    mack
    austin
  9. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    I think the problem is that HDTV sets are built primarily for HDTV
    broadcasts. They take a signal and do a lot with it. So "garbage in,
    garbage out". When they get a really crummy SD signal instead of a crisp,
    perfect, digital signal, they amplify every lousy pixel, rather than
    blurring out all the bad stuff the way your old SDTV did.

    You are right that the HD sets generally have built-in tweakers to help you
    with this problem and you may find, as I did, that experimentation with
    different settings pays off. But, still, the set is built primarily for
    HDTV. So much depends on the signal. I gave an example here of a local
    news signal that looks GREAT in SD -- until the station introduces a crawl
    along the bottom of the screen, screwing up the number of resolution lines
    they send. The whole picture degrades immediately. You are at the mercy of
    your network, transmission facilities, cable company, cable box, TV set --
    all of it. Any degredation of the SD signal at any point wil hurt your
    picture.

    That's the great thing about digital HDTV. You either got it or you ain't.

    I do not think you should expect to get better SD from an HDTV set than you
    got from a good quality set built specifically for SD signals. It is
    unlikely that you are going to get this. But with some of the better sets
    and a little messing around with the controls, you may be able to come
    close.

    mack
    austin


    "Dave Gower" <davegow.removethis@magma.ca> wrote in message
    news:5-Odna5aeefQpLrfRVn-pw@magma.ca...
    >
    > "Hasenpfeffer" <hasenpfeffer@triad.rr.com> wrote
    >
    >>...When someone goes from a 36" SDTV to a 50+" HDTV, he'll be disappointed
    >>in SD.
    >
    > I'd love to see this demonstrated, but since I don't have a HDTV yet, I
    > can't arrange to view it beside my 36 inch Wega. But as I said earlier,
    > based on my experience in stores watching SD on a variety of HDTVs, some
    > much bigger than 50 inches, I doubt that this is universally true
    > (although it might be for some HDTV sets).
    >
    > I have seen comments from reviewers on CNET and others that say that SD is
    > better on the best HDTVs than direct-view CRTs, even allowing for screen
    > size. After all, the makers of expensive sets have invested a lot of money
    > in hardware and software to convert from a 480 signal to 720p image.
    >
    > Furthermore, HDTVs need a lot more set up than old TVs, so individual
    > comparisons need to be taken with reservation.
    >
    > That said, there is only so much that even the best HDTVs can do with a SD
    > signal, and there is a huge jump in quality when some switches to HD
    > input.
    >
  10. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    "Mack McKinnon" <MckinnonRemoveThis@tvadmanDeleteThisAsWell.com> wrote

    >... So much depends on the signal. I gave an example here of a local news
    >signal that looks GREAT in SD -- until the station introduces a crawl along
    >the bottom of the screen, screwing up the number of resolution lines they
    >send. The whole picture degrades immediately. You are at the mercy of
    >your network, transmission facilities, cable company, cable box, TV set --
    >all of it.

    I rely on satellite (Canadian Bell Expressvu) for almost all my TV signal.
    It's fully digital, and comes in quite well on my WEGA non-HD. Once I get an
    HDTV I will undoubtedly add the HD channels available from Bell to my
    subscription, but a lot of what I will want to watch will still be on SD for
    some time. I wonder what kind of an image I can expect? Presumably it will
    be more predictable than your OTA.

    Incidentally, some of the SD signal I saw in stores had a crawl and the sets
    seemed to handle it OK. But I accept your basic idea that there's a lot of
    variables. Cheers.
  11. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    That was one of my primary requirements before buying...making the store
    switch to SD and letting me flip through the channels. It's the main reason
    I decided to buy what I bought. It had the best SD picture of all the sets
    I viewed.

    Using cablecard my sd channels look great. I have about half-a-dozen that
    do not, but that's comcast's fault.

    I also recall more than once while making the stores change, many people
    remarked about how bad the picture looked..LOL. I might have cost them a
    sale that day:-)

    Don

    "Roger" <nospam@world.com> wrote in message
    news:k7vVd.13265$ha.835065@twister.southeast.rr.com...
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I've seen several posts from newbies complaining bitterly that SD channels
    > look awful on their new HDTVs for which they paid 2-3 thousand dollars.
    > Well, the stores don't display anything but HDTV so customers really don't
    > know until they get it home and then they are bitterly upset.
    >
    > When I had Dish, (the 811 HD receiver) I had to to use the component video
    > out to watch HDTV and the S-Video out to watch SD (standard definition).
    > (it has only one RCA audio out so I had to use the digital audio out to
    > the stereo system to listen to the show while using the S-VIdeo!) Using
    > the DTV input, the SD channels looked absolutely awful. Luckily
    > Time-Warner's new 8300 HD receiver is far better in this regard.....SD
    > channels look pretty good seen through the DTV input. (of course channels
    > up to 77 are analog and not quite as sharp as the digital channels above
    > that number).
    >
    > So...be prepared for this problem of poor quality SD pictures on your
    > spanking new HDTV. Try the S-Video for SD like I did with the Dish 811.
    > Or, your receiver whether its Cable or Satellite or OTA might allow you to
    > choose 1080i *and* 480i *and* 480p settings, and the receiver tries to
    > find the best way to display SD on your TV.
    >
    > Roger
    > By the way the 8300 HD from Time-Warner also has a 160 GB hard drive to
    > record up to 20 hours of HDTV or 90 hours of regular TV. Wow, the images
    > are absolutely as good as live when played back from the hard drive. Only
    > thing is, you can only archive to VCR, (or maybe through its S-Video out
    > to a DVD recorder, but hey once you change an HD program to 480, it is
    > just not the same. It has an HDMI output and maybe in the next year we'll
    > have HD DVD recorders that use HDMI. But I doubt it...HDMI has a copy
    > protection scheme.
    >
  12. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    In article <nvKdnTptr9dgOLbfRVn-gw@comcast.com>,
    "Ex-CB'er" <daycareguru2@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > That was one of my primary requirements before buying...making the store
    > switch to SD and letting me flip through the channels. It's the main reason
    > I decided to buy what I bought. It had the best SD picture of all the sets
    > I viewed.
    >
    > Using cablecard my sd channels look great. I have about half-a-dozen that
    > do not, but that's comcast's fault.
    >
    > I also recall more than once while making the stores change, many people
    > remarked about how bad the picture looked..LOL. I might have cost them a
    > sale that day:-)
    >
    > Don
    >
    > "Roger" <nospam@world.com> wrote in message
    > news:k7vVd.13265$ha.835065@twister.southeast.rr.com...
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > I've seen several posts from newbies complaining bitterly that SD channels
    > > look awful on their new HDTVs for which they paid 2-3 thousand dollars.
    > > Well, the stores don't display anything but HDTV so customers really don't
    > > know until they get it home and then they are bitterly upset.
    > >
    > > When I had Dish, (the 811 HD receiver) I had to to use the component video
    > > out to watch HDTV and the S-Video out to watch SD (standard definition).
    > > (it has only one RCA audio out so I had to use the digital audio out to
    > > the stereo system to listen to the show while using the S-VIdeo!) Using
    > > the DTV input, the SD channels looked absolutely awful. Luckily
    > > Time-Warner's new 8300 HD receiver is far better in this regard.....SD
    > > channels look pretty good seen through the DTV input. (of course channels
    > > up to 77 are analog and not quite as sharp as the digital channels above
    > > that number).
    > >
    > > So...be prepared for this problem of poor quality SD pictures on your
    > > spanking new HDTV. Try the S-Video for SD like I did with the Dish 811.
    > > Or, your receiver whether its Cable or Satellite or OTA might allow you to
    > > choose 1080i *and* 480i *and* 480p settings, and the receiver tries to
    > > find the best way to display SD on your TV.
    > >
    > > Roger
    > > By the way the 8300 HD from Time-Warner also has a 160 GB hard drive to
    > > record up to 20 hours of HDTV or 90 hours of regular TV. Wow, the images
    > > are absolutely as good as live when played back from the hard drive. Only
    > > thing is, you can only archive to VCR, (or maybe through its S-Video out
    > > to a DVD recorder, but hey once you change an HD program to 480, it is
    > > just not the same. It has an HDMI output and maybe in the next year we'll
    > > have HD DVD recorders that use HDMI. But I doubt it...HDMI has a copy
    > > protection scheme.
    > >

    I was worried about this as well. However, I bought an LCD TV that
    internally scales all inputs to 720p. SD looks better than it did on my
    previous CRT TV. However, it isn't going to be HD.

    --
    Robert B. Peirce, Venetia, PA 724-941-6883
    bob AT peirce-family.com [Mac]
    rbp AT cooksonpeirce.com [Office]
  13. Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

    I have really gotten MUCH better SD on my Sony KDF-60XS955 by making the
    following changes, to a point where the SD picture is now as good as or
    better than it used to be on my old 48" SD CRT RP Sony, unless the SD signal
    is REALLY bad -- then the HD set makes it worse, probably. Anyway, the
    changes I made:

    1. Moved from cable box to CableCard. If you have an internal tuner and
    CableCard capability, using the CC will improve your SD tremendously.

    2. Changing the settings through the TV set's advanced video menu that are
    there to tweak 480i (SD) input. I just experimented around with various
    changes until I found one that seemed to work better.

    3. Changed the setting on my DVR (Panasonic E80 with hard drive) to feed the
    TV @ 16:9 480i instead of 16:9 480p. When the TV set makes the interlaced
    to progressive change instead of the DVR, I get a better picture. Also, I
    darkened the black levels coming out of the DVR.

    4. Found that the best setting for my other DVD player, an upconverter, for
    DVD's was 720p 16:9. (Even though the TV itself converts everything to
    788p.)

    mack
    austin


    "Robert Peirce" <bob@peirce-family.com.invalid> wrote in message
    news:bob-9C4577.20374807032005@news.verizon.net...
    > In article <nvKdnTptr9dgOLbfRVn-gw@comcast.com>,
    > "Ex-CB'er" <daycareguru2@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >> That was one of my primary requirements before buying...making the store
    >> switch to SD and letting me flip through the channels. It's the main
    >> reason
    >> I decided to buy what I bought. It had the best SD picture of all the
    >> sets
    >> I viewed.
    >>
    >> Using cablecard my sd channels look great. I have about half-a-dozen
    >> that
    >> do not, but that's comcast's fault.
    >>
    >> I also recall more than once while making the stores change, many people
    >> remarked about how bad the picture looked..LOL. I might have cost them a
    >> sale that day:-)
    >>
    >> Don
    >>
    >> "Roger" <nospam@world.com> wrote in message
    >> news:k7vVd.13265$ha.835065@twister.southeast.rr.com...
    >> > Hi all,
    >> >
    >> > I've seen several posts from newbies complaining bitterly that SD
    >> > channels
    >> > look awful on their new HDTVs for which they paid 2-3 thousand dollars.
    >> > Well, the stores don't display anything but HDTV so customers really
    >> > don't
    >> > know until they get it home and then they are bitterly upset.
    >> >
    >> > When I had Dish, (the 811 HD receiver) I had to to use the component
    >> > video
    >> > out to watch HDTV and the S-Video out to watch SD (standard
    >> > definition).
    >> > (it has only one RCA audio out so I had to use the digital audio out to
    >> > the stereo system to listen to the show while using the S-VIdeo!) Using
    >> > the DTV input, the SD channels looked absolutely awful. Luckily
    >> > Time-Warner's new 8300 HD receiver is far better in this regard.....SD
    >> > channels look pretty good seen through the DTV input. (of course
    >> > channels
    >> > up to 77 are analog and not quite as sharp as the digital channels
    >> > above
    >> > that number).
    >> >
    >> > So...be prepared for this problem of poor quality SD pictures on your
    >> > spanking new HDTV. Try the S-Video for SD like I did with the Dish 811.
    >> > Or, your receiver whether its Cable or Satellite or OTA might allow you
    >> > to
    >> > choose 1080i *and* 480i *and* 480p settings, and the receiver tries to
    >> > find the best way to display SD on your TV.
    >> >
    >> > Roger
    >> > By the way the 8300 HD from Time-Warner also has a 160 GB hard drive to
    >> > record up to 20 hours of HDTV or 90 hours of regular TV. Wow, the
    >> > images
    >> > are absolutely as good as live when played back from the hard drive.
    >> > Only
    >> > thing is, you can only archive to VCR, (or maybe through its S-Video
    >> > out
    >> > to a DVD recorder, but hey once you change an HD program to 480, it is
    >> > just not the same. It has an HDMI output and maybe in the next year
    >> > we'll
    >> > have HD DVD recorders that use HDMI. But I doubt it...HDMI has a copy
    >> > protection scheme.
    >> >
    >
    > I was worried about this as well. However, I bought an LCD TV that
    > internally scales all inputs to 720p. SD looks better than it did on my
    > previous CRT TV. However, it isn't going to be HD.
    >
    > --
    > Robert B. Peirce, Venetia, PA 724-941-6883
    > bob AT peirce-family.com [Mac]
    > rbp AT cooksonpeirce.com [Office]
    >
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