Should I return my new Sony XBR4?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Terri M, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    I just purchased my second HD LCD. I know this will sound nuts, but I liked the first model I purchaed so much I bought the same one again only a newer model. My kids play video on the weekend for hours at a time so I decided LCD was the way to go.

    I own a 46" KDL-XBR3 for over a year. We loved this monitor from day one. We made the connections and couldn't be happier with the picture. It is hooked up to cable company box and we never got around to using the HDMi cable.

    I just purchased for the den the KDL-46XBR4 yesterday. Drove to the cable company shop, picked up the HD box and a cheap HDMi cable. I plan to order my cables online at Monoprice. I made my connections using the HDMi cable and the picture was terrible. I was so upset I changed it out to the cables that came with the box and still no change in PQ. Basically the screen is pixelating or I see dots shifting and fluttering. Lettering is blurry and SD is non viewable. No one wants to watch tv on this screen.

    The PQ is so bad I can't stand to watch it. HD channels are horrible and forget about SD.
    Sony suggested watching a dvd which I did. The picture was o.k. but not great. Probably because the dvd player isn't HD.

    My question is do I really need the 120hz HDMi cables as suggested by CC, or is the tv a lemon, or is there a problem with the cable companies equipment or signals?

    Should I return it or can I fix this with the better quality cables? Has anyone every heard of the cable signal not being sufficient for 120hz?
    I sound clueless because I am and thought I might get some direction here.

    TM
     
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    This is not a HDMI cable issue. Buying more expensive will not fix this.

    Shut that 120 hz thing off

    Get the TV calibrated ... at least with a DVD test disc of some kind ...

    Regards
     
  3. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    Thank you for the reply. I did calibrate. I followed a suggestion made by a technician on another forum. Also, Cnet had a recommended calibration for the Sony XBR4 and I tried that one also. I see no change no matter what I do.

    (Shut that 120 hz thing off) what do you mean by that?

    Terri
     
  4. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    I messed up trying to edit my post. I can't seem to fix it.
    Sorry.
     
  5. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    there is no reason why your display does not look spectacular.

    I scratch my head all the time when people consider buying a $100 plus cable that will not make any difference but would not consider a video calibration which would most definitely make a difference.

    Gregg
     
  6. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    One thing I have read over and over is that you don't need to buy expensive cables. When CC tried that with me and I expressed that view he didn't argue with me.

    Where do you purchase a video calibration dvd?

    Terri
     
  7. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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  8. Petro55

    Petro55 Auditioning

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    What cable company do you use and what kind of cable box is it? There are setting in the cable box to change the output to 480p 1080I, 1080p and also to stretch the picture which might cause the distortion. Do you have a dvd player or another HD source hooked up to it?
     
  9. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    GL:Thanks for the welcome. The "LionA/V" logo is brilliant. Excellent design and color.

    To answer Gregg: I use Scientific Explorer HD cable box. My cable company is Cable Vision. Model 4250HD. I have a Sony DVP-NS77H 1080p upscaling dvd player on my other tv that I can use to do a dvd test.

    I originally tested a dvd on a cheap dvd player that I let my kids use on the various analog sets around the house.

    Cable Vision is coming tomorrow and if it's a cable issue I won't pay for the service call. I keep shelling out money and it's getting me mad. I was already over budget with the tv purchase.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    You can't really trust canned calibration settings. Even TVs that came off the same assembly line within hours of one another can vary in any number of ways. In fact, you really need to connect a DVD player to each different input on your TV and calibrate them all separately to get the best (consumer-level) calibration possible.

    What you're describing is typical of the out-of-the-box experience of most HD buyers. I'm surprised you didn't have the same issues with your other TVs. Of course, the larger and brighter the screen, the easier it is to see the flaws, and some LCD flat-panels seem less prone to have outrageoiusly bad out-of-box settings for brightness and contrast.

    It is also conceivable that you're getting a weak signal out of the wall, either from the street or to that particular drop. (My aunt had trouble with some of her HD and digital channels when she upgraded to HD cable and it was a bad drop in her case - although the symptoms were limited to individual channels, with most of the SD channels being watchable and some of the HD channels looking great.)

    I have Comcast cable and the same Scientific Atlanta DVR, and my 56" JVC LCoS set looked like crap when I plugged it in, and I too wondered if I was going to have to return it. Then I grabbed my old copy of Digital Essentials and reset all the consumer-accessible settings and I realized what a mistake that would have been. Three years later I am stil sometimes startled by how good this set can look. (And I don't even have a hi-def DVD player yet.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Mike_J_D

    Mike_J_D Stunt Coordinator

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    I also have an Sony 46" XBR4 - with a PS3 hooked up via HDMI and optical out for audio (this will change on Tuesday when I get my 3808ci). My picture is fine and I haven't even calibrated it - but I'm having other issues; I've messed around with the settings on my PS3 and my TV and I'm still getting motion blur. Now I don't get it on football games broadcast in HD, or on Discovery HD....but I do get it on some - not all - of my Blu-ray movies. For example I am watching 300 and I'm not getting any motion blur, but I was on Reign of Fire before it.

    I just replaced my HDMI cable with a higher quality one ($100 HDMI, LOL...I know, I know), even though I don't think it makes a huge difference. So I'm hoping I could get a little help here...I've searched on here to see if I could find something, but I've not had any luck. Anybody else have this TV and willing to offer their setting to help me out - mine are currently: Motion Enhancer set to Standard; CineMotion set to Auto2; Video Color Space (x.v.Color) set to x.v.Color. I haven't run my DVE yet, been a little busy; I plan on doing that tomorrow. But I don't think that will fix my motion blur issue. Also, do I need the new HD version of DVE?

    Thanks for any help

    Mike
     
  12. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    Joe: You give me hope. I read this morning that I should check the signal that comes in from my cable. It should be 480i for the SD channels. The picture on my analog tv is far superior to this new LCD.

    Mike: If you find out anything new can you please post it here or PM me.

    I thought I noticed a lot of motion blur also but the grainy picture was more distracting. Where did you purchase your tv?

    I just can't believe there can be this kind of problem with this tv. If out of the box was such an issue wouldn't Sony have a solution? Even the salesman at CC said he has never had a problem with this tv.
    I'll post the results of the cable service call.
    Terri
     
  13. Mike_J_D

    Mike_J_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Terri, so I messed around with some settings and it seems like I've worked out my motion blur issue...I'm watching Enemy of the State and not getting the motion blur that I use to get.

    Here are my current settings:

    Under video options - Motion Enhancer = off (HDMI 1)
    CineMotion = Auto2 (HDMI 1)
    Video Color Space (x.v.Color) = x.v.Color (HDMI 1)

    I don't know how or why this worked....but it seems to have. My SD channels don't look good either; however my HD channels look right. I have Time Warner cable. Good luck Terri, hope these settings help your motion blur issue.

    Mike
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Mike you should turn off every pre-set or factory designed batch of settings and calibrate your set yourself with a test-pattern disc. The pre-sets are designed to make things look "pretty", not "accurate". Preferably connect your DVD player to each input on your set and calibrate them all separately. (This won't make for perfect calibration when you connect you cable box instead of your DVD player to a given input, but it will give you a better approximation than anything else. Once you've done that you can tweak it a little "by eye" if you really think it needs it.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  15. Mike_J_D

    Mike_J_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe, I think the only source I'm really worried about looking great is my PS3. But, when I get the 3808 on Tuesday all I'll have to worry about it setting one input correctly; since all my video sources will be switched through the receiver and out via HDMI to my TV. I am correct in this assumption?

    Thanks for you help!

    Mike
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I'm not familiar with all the equipment you've listed Assuming that you're going to connect everything to the receiver via HDMI and the receiver to the TV via HDMI as well, you should be fine. Some receivers will take output component video in and digital audio and output it via HDMI, but others will not, so if you're mixing inputs you'll need to read the manuals to figure out if that's going to work.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  17. Mike_J_D

    Mike_J_D Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe,

    If I have read everything about the 3808ci correctly it up-converts any video source and sends it out via HDMI in 1080p. So I'm assuming all I have to do is calibrate one input for all my sources....

    Thanks again for your help Joe!

    Mike
     
  18. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    Update on picture quality.

    The cable technician didn't find anything wrong with my cable, connections, or box unit. CC made a follow up call. The gentleman was very nice but really felt I should have a high speed HDMi cable. I was tempted but resisted the urge to purchase this expensive cable connection device.

    From various adjustments I made to the picture, I do see improvement in the picture but it's just not as nice as it seemed in the B&B store. I just have this feeling that I spent too much money for a mediocre picture.

    I just ordered HDMI 1.3a cables and I'll try those and perhaps a consumer calibration dvd. I somehow think I'm not going to do well with following that dvd. Don't I need an HD dvd player to run the calibration dvd? (I'm thinking of purchasing an Oppo hd dvd player)
    And, am I correct in saying that it's only going to calibrate to the dvd player?

    Does anyone know the most critical adjustment to correct motion blur and grainy picture? Am I proceeding in a logical manner to resolve my disappointment?
     
  19. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Turn the "sharpness" or "picture" control (the same feature has different names on different TVs) down to no more than 10%. That made the single biggest improvement to my picture, since all it does is add video noise to the picture to make edges stand out more and thus look artificially sharper.

    And no, you don't need an HD-DVD player to play a calibration disc. While Digital Video Essentials is available in an HD-DVD edition, the original NTSC version is still available, as is the NTSC Avia Guide to Home Theater. (I'm not sure if Avia had an HD or Blu Ray version out.) Obviously the HD-DVD DVE has test-patterns specifically designed for HD (both 1080p and 720p), but the standard def discs will do a perfectly good job of getting your basic calibration done.

    I would not spend a lot of money on cables, as they are very unlikely to have any serious effect on image quality. Adjusting the image will. And you really can't do that "by eye" - you need a disc.

    Technically you're calibrating the input, not the DVD player, but yes - part of how the input is calibrated depends on the signal it is receiving. Still, the picture quality will be much better even with an HD-cable or satellite feed once the calibration is done than with the factory settings or Mark One Eyeball calibration, because it is going to be that much closer to an accurate reproduction of the source material.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  20. Terri M

    Terri M Agent

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    I received my high speed HDMI cables from monoprice and hooked up the components: Cable box and HD DVD player.
    I used some calibrations from another XBR4 owner.

    I watched Lord of the Rings and the picture was great. I do need to turn down the sharpness. I ignored the calibration suggestion on this setting because I thought that would help with grainy picture.

    So, I would conclude that there is nothing wrong with the tv. But I am feeling remorse over spending so much money for a set that does a terrible job with regular channels.
    I am wondering if there is another alternative display on the market that will provide a better Standard Definition picture. It's probably the source from the cable company and I would have the same problem no matter what I purchase
    .
    The motion blur is not an issue anymore, but the "Noise" is annoying. If it is noise that I'm seeing. It looks like someone took a window screen and put it on the surface of the set. But only in spots - large spots and only during certain scenes. Lettering is blurry.

    Is there anything else I can do to improve my regular viewing?
    I know it's not going to be great, but I think this is pretty awful.

    One more thing, this is a 46" set and we sit 6 -8 ft away. Is that too big a screen and that's why I see the blurry lettering and grainy spots?

    Thanks for the help so far,
    Terri
     

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