Is Cable/Sat Really 'Unwatchable' on a Toshiba 50h81

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Neely, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. Tom Neely

    Tom Neely Auditioning

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    Ok, gang. Here goes.
    I'm real close to buying my first HDTV. I mean real close.
    After seven months of construction, I'm just about finished my basement party room and I've got the OK to spend a couple G's and get a nice big TV. I've definately decided on HDTV-ready.
    And, I know I'll never forgive myself if my first HDTV (the first of my friends to get one, by the way!) isn't a 16:9 widescreen set. So I think I'm going with the Toshiba 50h81. It seems perfect for my room and I've seen a dvd on it from a progressive scan player and it looked fantastic! I hear HDTV is even better.
    Here's the thing: My family and I watch alot of regular old cable and I have DirecTV for HBO, Showtime, etc. and Sunday Ticket Football. We are a definately 4:3 family. I am very happy with the quality of the picture of my cable and satellite.
    I'm ready to go 16:9, my wife is ready to go 16:9. Hell, even my 2 year old is pysched to watch Elmo in widescreen! I can't wait any longer!
    I check this sight about every day and all I hear are guys moaning about cable and sat TV looking like 'crap'. Some describe it as 'unwatchable'.
    I understand that as the picture gets larger, a poor signal will get worse (GIGO) but I'm still not clear on whether the fact that the set is Hi-Def makes a larger picture even worse.
    Right now, I watch cable on a Video-Essentials-"calibrated" 6-year old 35 inch Proscan and I think the picture is pretty crisp. Dvd's are really nice.
    Finally, the question: Am I going to notice a huge difference in the quality of the picture of a good cable signal if I buy the Toshiba?
    Remember I'm somewhere in between a full-fledged video-file and a Bud-drinkin' "joe six-pack".
    Thanks for your help!
    Tom "new guy" Neely
     
  2. DaveD

    DaveD Auditioning

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    Tom I love this set! Everytime I get angry with the dish quality I pop a dvd in and all is well again. HD feed is phenomenal too although I am not set up for it yet I am planning to be before september 9th. I have not given up on improving the dish picture quality yet though. Some set owners dont seem to have a problem with dish feed but some channels are un watchable IMO. I am learning the SVM seems to be the main culprit to the quality accompanied with the line doubler. I do not plan on using a service menu or pulling a cover off to try to resolve this either. I am planning to more steps to try to fix the problem.
    1. Call toshiba and have a service rep check out my set as my problem may be isolated.
    2. Try a dish 6000 box via component feed to see if quality improves.
    Oh I almost forgot theater mode 1 is best for normal tv viewing. We dont even notice the stretch.
     
  3. Jay Villero

    Jay Villero Agent

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    Dave -
    By September 9th, huh. Wouldn't have anything to do with the start of football season and the premiere of "Band of Brothers" now would it? [​IMG]
    - Jay
     
  4. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    It is true that CATV will get worse as the screen gets larger, but you can cheat a little. If you haven't already done so, rewire the CATV run with RG-6. It can't hurt.
    Glenn
     
  5. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    Remember that cable looks like crap because the screen is large, not because it is 16x9. Don't let this affect your decision to buy a widescreen.
    Here's a few reasons why people say cable looks like crap or is barely watchable. I do admit I mostly agree.
    It looks like crap *relative* to DVD on a component input. Especially if it is a progressive scan DVD player with 3:2 pulldown.
    Cable (especially digital cable) will still look pretty good compared to VHS tapes that have been played about 50 times and are on a RCA composite input. VHS truly becomes unwatchable.
    Most analog cable signals have noise or hum bars which are not really visible on a smaller direct view TV. This noise will drive you crazy on a large RPTV however.
    Digital cable is better, but in Austin, the black levels are totally screwy compared to the analog channels and the DVD player.
    For some reason which I do not know, the Sundance channel puts out a great digital signal. I can zoom a LBX movie and it will almost look like a non-anamorphic DVD. Sundance broadcasts most widescreen movies as LBX.
    When you get a large 16x9 RPTV, your viewing habits will change and you will start to prefer watching DVD's over the rubish on the telly anyway.
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    Andrew in Austin
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    Sony DVP-S530D DVD Player
    Sony STR-DA333ES A/V Receiver
    Sony KP-57XBR10W Rear Projection TV (16:9)
    Infintiy SM 120 (L & R)
    Infinity SM Video (center)
    Infinity SM 165 (surround)
    Infinity BU-120 (subwoofer)
     
  6. Tom Neely

    Tom Neely Auditioning

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    Thanks, guys.
    That's what I thought; it's all relative. Big screens make the picture worse, not HDTV. Right?
    Anyway, I have a 35 inch 4:3 so if it really is 'unwatchable' (which I doubt since my picture is pretty good) on my new widescreen, I'll just have to watch different stuff in different rooms. Although I had my heart set on football down in the new room.
    I appreciate the comments.
    Tom
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Tom,
    You're pretty much correct in that it's the bigger screen that magnifies whatever defects exist in a cable or satellite picture. A set with a really good comb filter can work wonders with cable, but won't help satellite connected via S-video.
    It's my understanding that the 50H81 has a 3D digital comb filter, which is about the best you can get.
    The line doublers in hd-ready sets can, to a degree, make a mediocre cable or sat. picture look worse than they would on an analog rptv of the same size. So some of your more compressed satellite channels may look pretty crappy, but ppv and HBO should be ok.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  8. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  9. Craig

    Craig Second Unit

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    You can indeed get a good picture on cable.
    I have regular (non-digital) cable and had pretty much given up watching the cable channels on my TW56X81. I thought I had a pretty good picture on my 32" Toshiba in the living room, but on my Tosh 56" widescreen it looked pretty poor.
    After going at least 6 months without even bothering to look at cable on my 56" I was really surprised when I switched to the cable input. I had a really decent picture!! Apparently the cable company had been at work upgrading the system, and picture quality became much better.
    Watching on a smaller set you really can't judge the quality of the signal. I was convinced I had a good signal and the 56" was at fault, turns out there was much room for improvement in the cable signal.
    If my 20 month old, lightly calibrated TW56X81 can produce a good picture I'm sure a new 50H81 can also. You just have to have a good quality signal to work with. I don't have a perfect picture by any means, but it's definitely watchable, something I wouldn't have said a year ago.
     
  10. Tom Neely

    Tom Neely Auditioning

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    Ok! I think I'm get now.
    Bad cable=worse HDTV 50 inch widescreen cable.
    Good satellite may equal Bad bigger satellite.
    Next question. How does 'good' cable look on the 50h81?
    How does good satellite look on it?
    Tom
     
  11. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I have had my 47" Panasonic 16x9 HDTV for about a day and a half now and I must say, VHS, SVHS, LD and Cable all look like CRAP. [​IMG] Yeah, I have Progressive Scan DVD looking pretty darn nice and normal 480i DVD looks pretty good, but the rest is a travesty. Very disappointing.
    The Line Doubler is a real problem when zooming in widescreen tapes and laserdiscs, or widescreen material on AMC and TCM. The noise becomes so exaggerated, you'd think you were watching EP (slp) mode VHS. I imagine the damn SVM is a problem. I hate that I cannot turn it off without yanking wires and voiding my 2 year warranty.
    I have yet to do the 9 point convergence and the set does suffer from Red Push and way too high gray scale. But I wonder if any of that is the culprit here.
    I am going to go DISH 6000 for the HDTV content and hopefully improved reception of cable material (for $9 a month for 1 year, it's hard to pass up). This is if I can work out the installation problems.
    I am actually considering moving my laserdisc player to the bedroom and hooking it up to my 27" Sony Trinitron. At least then I'd have a very nice picture for my laserdiscs.
    Hey Experts! What's the solution?!
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    www.deceptions.net/superman
     
  12. Scott Barnhart

    Scott Barnhart Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt,
    While I am no expert, and have not done this myself, have you considered a DVDO IScan Pro for doubling your non-DVD sources? People on the AVS "Video Processors" forum always seem to swear by them for improving the kinds of sources you are having troubles with.
    Of course, it is not a scaler, so zooming a widescreen LD will probably still be problematic even with a Iscan.
    Hope you get your problems figured out! [​IMG]
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    Scott Barnhart
    [email protected]
     
  13. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Matt,
    I think I remember reading somewhere that your Panny has a "game" mode that turns off the line doubler. Perhaps you could try this mode for your non-dvd sources that need to be zoomed or stretched? Of course, if the noise and color bleeding is caused by the digital zoom/stretch, and not by the line doubler, this won't help.
    Might be worth a try.
    This whole issue of line doublers degrading satellite and cable ntsc signals that are less than pristine is one of the reasons I'm sticking with my analog Hitachi Ultravision for the time being. I had hoped that the Panny's option to turn off the doubler might be the answer.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  14. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    You cannot turn the doubler off in ZOOM mode. That is a real bitch, because it would solve much of my LD problems.
    ------------------
    www.deceptions.net/superman
     

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