Digital Cable Quality -- Newbie Quesrtion

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_Fr, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. Jeff_Fr

    Jeff_Fr Auditioning

    Dec 12, 2002
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    I recently installed my new HT and am experiencing poor quality from most digital cable channels. DVDs look great but most of the cable is very poor quality.

    For example, on the Super Bowl yesterday, the graphics looked good, but images during the game showed lots of pixelation (sp?) on straight lines (like field markings).

    I'm using an NEC 9PG Xtra front CRT projector, ceiling mounted with a 10' Da-Lite Cinema Vision screen. Images are from the digital cable through a Motorola box with coax output to an All In Wonder Radeon 8500DV video card. The AIW card connects to the projector via the Radeon digital connector-to-VGA adaptor, then via a 20' VGA-to-RGBHV cable.

    So, here are my questions:

    Do I need to get a different cable box with s-video output (would this help)?

    Or, do I need a line doubler (I thought the AIW would do this for me -- no?)

    Or, is it a metter of chaning resolution settings somewhere in the system?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    -- Jeff
  2. TimTurtino

    TimTurtino Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 17, 2002
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    I'm not sure I'm understanding, but I'll take a stab anyway.

    Not knowing where you're located or who your cable provider means nobody that's local can tell you whether your cable provider is problematic. So, where are you located, and who's your cable provider? [​IMG]

    Cable providers' "digital quality" is often fairly low. Do you see similar problems on other TVs?

    It sounds like you're routing the output of your motorola digital cable box through the A-I-W with an RF (coaxial) cable. If that's correct, you should not. Instead, you should use the highest quality video connection that is common to both your cable box and your video card. You _should_ be able to get a cable box w/ s-vid output from your cable company. Unfortunately, I don't know what kind of inputs the A-I-W has... RF is the lowest possible picture quality, followed by RCA (composite, the yellow in red, white, and yellow), followed by S-video, followed by component video.

    However, this shouldn't cause pixelation-- that's usually a symptom of a problem somewhere in the MPEG decoding pipeline. For instance, your cable box may be getting weak signal, or as mentioned above, the digital encoding used by your cable company may be subpar.

    I'm not sure, but I would think that some sort of video to progressive conversion could be done in software on your computer. However, it's not clear to me that this would be better, especially for video oriented things like football.

    Tweaking resolution settings for FPTV can often be a win-- there's a section in the primer about this.

  3. Jeramy_K

    Jeramy_K Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 14, 2003
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    Another thing to add is that with many cable providers channels below a certain number (often 100) are still regular analog cable and not digital. If that is the case with your cable company as well then that is likely the source of your problem. The digital channels are much better in quality but even they have artifacts and pixelation when blown up on a projector or big screen TV.

  4. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

    Oct 25, 2001
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    Do you have any splitters in the line leading to your setup? Each split weakens the signal which can cause pixelation.
  5. Roger Young

    Roger Young Extra

    Aug 15, 1999
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    I must agree with the other replies, you are using the lowest quality video signal, upgrading to SVid will lead to a tep up in video quality.

    If you want better quality, have you thought about satellite? DirecTV has significantly better signal quality than digital cable. Also you get the added advantage of not getting your cable bill raised 3-4 times every year. DirecTV has raised the price ONCE in eight and a half years.

    Even with the above suggestions you may want to get a line doubler, you can pick up a DVDO IScan for $350-500. And it will increase the quality for all your signals. You may want to run your DVD directly to the Projector if it is a good quality Progressive Scan model.

    Good Luck!

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