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Mediocre SD on HD TVs

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March 3, 2005 6:02:40 AM

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.

More about : mediocre tvs

Anonymous
March 3, 2005 6:02:41 AM

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.
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 6:02:41 AM

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
Related resources
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 8:31:06 AM

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
March 3, 2005 3:50:45 PM

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
March 3, 2005 3:50:46 PM

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
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 5:02:33 PM

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
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 5:02:34 PM

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.
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 7:07:10 PM

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
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 7:39:49 PM

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.
>
Anonymous
March 3, 2005 7:39:50 PM

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.
Anonymous
March 6, 2005 10:53:16 PM

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.
>
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 4:37:48 AM

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]
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 7:42:51 PM

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]
>
!