How can I improve my picture quality?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Zen, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Greg Zen

    Greg Zen Auditioning

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    I recently purchased a Toshiba HDTV looking to vastly upgrade my home theater. The TV is great for playing DVD's, but broadcast TV is not what I was expecting. Some shows and channels are better than others via my local cable company, but I see a vast difference in picture quality between this new set and my 8 yr old 32" TV. Regular TV looks so much better on my old set. I have seen a "digital television tuner" at my local Best Buy, but had little or no luck looking online for more info. Even when I have the picture in 4:3 mode the picture is not sharp. Are there any products out there that will clean up the picture? Any other input would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Welcome to the wild world of HTF, Greg.

    First off, be aware that signal quality varies greatly from channel to channel on any cable service's offerings. Some channels get more bandwidth than others. And that same channel may look better at different times of the day.

    Add to that the merciless clarity of HD-capable televisions, and you see these flaws all the more clearly. The signals probably look better on your NTSC-only 32-incher simply because the older set has less resolution, making it less likely for you to see the flaws and artifacts that are there to begin with.

    Your set's internal line doubler probably contributes to the artifacting, as well--some internal line doublers can make the picture overly soft.

    The still-marketed iScan Plus external line doubler might be worth a looksee.

    But once you look at a program in high-def, you're not going to care one way or the other about how "regular" TV looks. So, start budgeting for a high-def tuner.
     
  3. Dave Whipps

    Dave Whipps Stunt Coordinator
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    Greg

    I know how you feel. When I first hooked up my Toshiba Widescreen, my cable looked pretty bad on some channels.

    I contacted my cable company and they came out (for free) to check signal etc.. After they replaced a splitter and some cable runs with upgraded video cable, things were much improved. You may want to give your provider a call and see if they provide the same free service. (I have COMCAST.)

    I can say that satelite (DISH), DVD are all excellent and HD is awesome on the set.

    One thing that made feel a little better, if you look closely at your old 32 inch set, you'll see all the noise and fuzz. Its been there all the time, just never got the "big screen" treatment before.

    Dave

    PS VHS can be pretty bad as well.
     
  4. JimmyD

    JimmyD Auditioning

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    Greg,

    Chances are great that it is your signal strength as what you described (noticable differences between the good channels and bad channels) is what I had when my SharpVision was delivered. I had the cable company send a tech and it turns out the line running from the outside junction box to the back of my house needs to be replaced so the tech dropped a new line (they'll bury it sometime in the spring).

    I did some more playing around and found that any amount of loss is noticable. My SharpVision has 2 tuners so it has an A-tuner input where the line is split and sent to an A-tuner output which is normally then just routed right into the B-tuner input. I'm taking advantage of this by rerouting the cable going throughout my house such that the cable line goes directly to my RP-HDTV A-input and then I'm splitting the line coming out of my A-output and then routing the cable from there throughout my house.

    All channels are now looking better then they did on my old analog RPTV.

    James
     
  5. Greg Zen

    Greg Zen Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input guys. I have contacted my local cable company (TimeWarner) to see what they can do. They have been pretty responsive so far.

    The next thing I am thinking of is springing for a line doubler/ set-top box/ high def tuner. My local BestBuy has a couple that are around $500 and seem to really improve the image from cable broadcast. A local bar also has a tuner on their HDTV that seems to make a world of difference. Anyone have a good story to tell on a line doubler they purchased? Any suggested sites on reviews of such products? I looked for the iScan Plus external line doubler mentioned above, but want more info if possible.

    Thanks again for the valuable insights.
     
  6. Don Beverly

    Don Beverly Extra

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    Gregg: welcome fellow wolverine! I will attempt to give you

    some workable tweaks, just remember, it takes time for most

    if us true ht addicts to find satisfaction!

    First: the rule of garbage in, garbage applies, especially with cable in most of Mich. areas, they just don't want to spend the money in less populated areas to deliver fiber optic based true high bandwidth picture quality.

    Next step up is satellite with the smaller 18inch pizza dish, at least with these you can get some high def tv with proper support equipment(researching this forum, AVS, DBS, and SPOT home theater forums will provide you a wealth of information for you growing wants and needs.

    For some of us older addicts, especially in rural country areas, we also still have C Band, not advertised but still the pristine picture quality that only raw feed can give before all the down and up loading the other folks do with the signals before sending them into your home. Exception to this are the higherbandwidth signals the pizza dish will give you on high def programming and ppv. Channels like National Geographic also are very good. Just not as good across the board as c band.

    Line conditioners, better cable quality, component first and s video hookup second wherever possible for improved color fidelity, which brings up one of the secrets of exterior line doubling like the I Scan units, mine is first generation and when input to tv with component lead in gives you all the original color presented by the source so this fact alone perceives better pictures, the unit removes artifacting better than most built ins and for the earlier HDtv models like mine, a necessity. Newer models have 3:2 pulldown for better film handling but the color factor still holds true with the component in.

    Anyway, these are just a few observations from my own personal experiences, I continue to tweak and try to improve, just keep in mind that buying a nice HD set only starts a whole new ballgame and is a major change from small screen analog viewing. If you're not committed to taking the time and spending when necessary, stay with analog direct view. You won't experience the highs you can get from a high tuned projection, but you won't experience the lows either.
     

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