Does HD Box Affect PQ?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by James Edward, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Provided you are getting adequate signal strength, does the STB itself make a difference in picture quality? I'm talking strictly HD channels from satellite or even OTA. If signal strength is high(and I know their sensitivity can vary), will PQ be the same from box to box?

    Or is there a new killer STB that I should look into immediately?

    I don't care about the ability to zoom, stretch, or otherwise distort the picture(the hatred for black bars by people continues to amaze me).

    Thanks for any insight.
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    James,

    The stb receives a digital signal and changes it to analog for transmission to the tv via component cables, so there's a D/A conversion going on just as in an audio cd player or a dvd player. Logically there can and will be differences in pq from box to box.

    Even if using a DVI (digital video interface) connection it's not passing an unmodified digital bitstream directly from ota or satellite to the tv, the tv couldn't handle it for one thing and the box would still have to convert incoming 1080i to 720p or vice versa depending on the "native scanrate" of the display which tends to be 1080i for crt based devices and close to 720p for plasmas, lcds, and dlps. So again there is the potential and therefore the strong likelihood that there can be differences in pq from one box to another.

    That being said, the differences in pq from one model stb to another are most noticeable with regard to scanrate conversion and aspect ratio modification, not straight HD pq.

    Compression by the signal source, be it cable or satellite, is going to influence pq, but this is gonna look the same on all makes of box using that particular signal.

    Assuming you have a solid signal, unless you have one of the first generation stbs, like the old RCA DTC-100, you're not likely to get any significant increase in pq from the same sources you're using now for straight HD on one of the newer boxes.
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    The DirecTV HD boxes all seem to have the same basic design. The biggest differences are proably in ergonomics. I returned the Samsung 160 not because of pic quality but because of everything else and freez-ups too. The Sony 300 is better so far.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    There are only 2 mfgs of DirecTV HD boxes currently in production--LG which makes boxes under the Sony, LG, and Hughes HTL-HD names, and Samsung.

    The old Hughes E-86, Toshiba DST-3000, and Mitsubishi were all made by Hughes, had lousy ota reception due to overheating.

    As of later this spring DirecTV is eliminating different brand names, standardizing all boxes under the DirecTV name. Features and gui will be standardized, no more brand choices. Dish has always been this way, and the new Voom service is also a one-box only operation (Motorola in the case of Voom).
     

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