probelm with new widescreen hdtv

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob Rodier, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    A friend of mine just got a new 65in Sony 16:9 HDTV. I am not sure of the model number but I could find out.

    She is using a standard cable feed and is dissapointed with the picture. The tickers at the bottom of the screen are blurry, and she is overall very dissapointed.

    Whats the deal?
    Do big hdtvs not do standard cable well?
    -rob
     
  2. David Glenn

    David Glenn Second Unit

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    How was her cable using a direct view TV? Does she have multiple splits before the cable source reaches her HDTV? How does the set look when playing a dvd?
     
  3. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    Here are some thoughts...

    The bigger the screen the more obvious a lousy feed will be. Cable TV tends to be lousy, compared with most signals today. It can also vary a lot from community to community. The only signal which tends to be worse is VHS videotape. And, in the ultimate irony, the fact your set is so GOOD may actually hurt a bit when the signal is so LOUSY. The "incredible ability to display every nuance of detail" also means that it will display every detail of "noise," and "ghosting" and "blooming" and "edge enhancements" and all of the ugliness that can show up in a terrible Cable TV signal.

    Now, that said, do not panic yet. It may be possible to improve that signal... Here are some options to consider:

    1.) Calibrate the set, using a DVD such as Avia or Home Theater Essentials. Then, transfer those settings over to the Cable Input. If the picture is still at its factory settings, or the settings have only been adjusted by "the eye," they may be way, way, way off from giving giving an optimal picture. These DVDs range from $12 to $45, and can sometimes be found in the rental stores. If you can rent it, it may be the best "deal" ever on a $3.00 rental.

    2.) Check the Cable connections inside the house. If it has been split a lot, from that primary line entering the house, it may be that a simple $30 in-line Cable TV amplifier will help. Not always, but in some cases. It did mine. Others find that it can actually make it worse, if their signal was already a strong signal, it will just add "noise" and "artifacts."

    3.) Is this digital Cable or analog cable? Is there a cable box? If there is a box, what kind of cable is being used between the box and the set? Are there options on the box for a "better quality" feed, such as S-Video? And, you should also check the actual connections at every end of every cable. If you don't, you may be overlooking a simple improvement, and the least expensive one of all.

    4.) Believe it or not, adding an old-fashioned inexpensive antenna can make those local stations look much, much better. It won't help on the History Channel, but it often can make the others appear quite good. A guy I know decided to hook up the antenna which was on his roof from the 1960s, sitting there dormant all these years. He swears by the picture he gets from those stations.

    5.) Consider satellite. The image quality on Dish Network or Direct TV _tends_ to be better. Again, this is not true in 100% of the cases. But, it is most often true. It will not look as good as DVDs, but most report that it is a step above their old Cable TV image quality.

    6.) Give it a bit of time. Sound silly? The settings on a new RPTV shift a lot during the first 100 hours or so, and most of the sets tend to actually get better during this initial "warm-up" period. Mine did. Actually, quite a bit during the first 3 weeks. This ALONE will probably not do the trick to your satisfaction, but when combined with some of the other "fixes" here, it can make a difference.

    7.) Hire a professional calibrator. Expensive, but those who do this usually report it was worth every penny, and it improved (in most cases) their standard definition stuff as well as the DVDs and any HDTV stuff.

    8.) Call the Cable TV company. I would wait with this, perhaps two weeks, until you try some of the other solutions above, to help narrow the problem. If the Cable company does a check, they sometimes find that your signal strength is inadequate coming into your house, and they can amplify it (at no cost).

    Now, if there is a DVD player connected to this set, as a reply above suggests, you should let us know how THAT image looks. And, I am curious... if there is a VCR connected, pop in a few tapes, and give a report on how (ugh!) that signal looks. If the Cable TV looks even worse than a VCR, that at least will give us some strong hints as to where to look for solutions.

    My set looked so bad on day one, I thought I had made a huge $3000 mistake. Four weeks later, after I turned down the contrast, carefully calibrated all settings using a DVD, turned off the "extra features" such as iris, black level enhancement, SVM, and stuff, and also after I bought an in-line amp for $30, and adjusted the red push on my set, the picture was actually "good." It went from "awful" to "barely watchable" to "quite watchable" to "quite good," with s bit of work and minimal expense. As of today, I still have Cable TV (analog), and now all but three stations look good. And, those three would look ugly on anyone's set, due to my own Cable company's incompetence in adjusting their signals.

    Cable will never look as good as DVDs. However, depending on the company you have and the signal strength coming into your house, it can be made to look good.

    I will check here for any response.

    -Bruce in Chi-Town
     
  4. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Thank you for the responses. I have not checked things out first hand but will do so tomorrow. I will post tomorrow night.
    Great ideas
    -rob
     
  5. elMalloc

    elMalloc Supporting Actor

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    Most HDTVs don't do standard cable "that" well. I think an analog TV will do it better.
    Mind you those tickers can cause burn in if the background color is opaque. She shouln't sit and watch those straight hours on end.
    Plug in a DVD player with component, and then tell her how a picture is supposed to look...
    -ELmO[​IMG]
     
  6. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Then again, I've heard that Sonys are not that great with poor signals. If she bought at a B&M, maybe she should audition another set and consider a return.

    But all of the above suggestions are excellent. I'm just tossing in another possibility.

    Jan
     
  7. dick_harris

    dick_harris Extra

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    My new Sony 65 inch (KP57WV600) did not look very good on standard cable until I figured out all the settings and calibrated it. Mine has a choice of Progressive, Interlaced and Cine-motion for standard TV and it does best on Interlaced. It also has 4 different pre-set (but adjustable) Video settings; Standard, Movie, Vivid and Pro. Use the Movie for DVD's and adjust the Standard for the cable. Don't use the Vivid at all. Save the Pro for HD when you get it.

    Also, you might get a cable "booster" at Radio Shack or some other electronics store. I have found that can help a weak cable a lot.
     

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