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Question on STB signal up-conversion (1 Viewer)

brandon kylee

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I have a Toshiba DST-3000 STB hooked up to a Toshiba 50H81 HDTV. Would the STB convert all signals from DirecTV to 1080i, regardless of the actual broadcast resolution (i.e. 480i, 480p, 720p etc.)? If so, why do regular programming from DirecTV look so bad compare to their high definition programming? Does anyone know?

Thanks
 

Dave Miller

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May 9, 1999
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Brandon, I don't believe the 3000 has a native pass through mode, so yes it would up convert everything. Upconversion doesn't always improve the picture quality.

The press release for the DST-3100 is no longer on Toshiba's website, but I believe that new model will have a native pass through mode. You might try a search on the 3100 to see the specs for that unit. Unfortunately, there is no telling when you will see that on store shelves. Several other brands of STBs have this feature though.

Peace,

DM
 

brandon kylee

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Thanks Dave.

What I don’t understand is why the picture on an up-converted signal (regular programming) from DirecTV looks so much inferior to a 480i signal from a DVD player? You would think that regular programming from DirecTV is at least broadcast in 480i, and that the picture quality would be about the same as what you would get from a DVD. I just don’t get it.
 

Steve Schaffer

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Brandon,

The conversion of 480i to 1080i is the culprit here. Many of the regular DirecTV channels are pretty overcompressed anyway, and when you add in the upconversion you get a pretty soft nasty looking picture if you're zooming the picture to fill your widescreen set's screen.

If you go press "action" on the remote followed by the #8 button, it will cylce thru Zoom (pic zoomed to fill side to side with the top and bottom chopped off), Normal (gray bars on the sides with a normal 4/3 pic in the middle) and a plain horizontal stretch.

Normal looks pretty decent, the horizontal stretch makes everything short and fat, and zoom contributes a lot of extra softness.

A better picture will result if you run an S-video cable from the DST-3000 in addition to the component cable, and switch inputs on the tv and output scanrate on the box.

The DST-3000 will output 480i from S-video or upconverted 1080i from component, but not 480i from component.

See your owner's manual for how to switch over from 1080i to 480p.
 

brandon kylee

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Jan 22, 2003
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Steve,

Thanks so much for the explanation and the advice on running a S-video to the TV. But did you say to switch input on the TV as well as output on the box? The reason I asked is that I believe there is only one option for output on the box, and it is 1080i.
 

brandon kylee

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Sorry Steve, I was wrong about the box only outputting 1080i. Now, all I need is to get a S-video cable. Thanks again.
 

Steve Schaffer

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Brandon,
I do get the best non-hd picture by setting the box to 480i output, and changing inputs on the TV to the S-video connected to the box.

This alone helps, but if you go into the AV setup menu on the box and tell it you have a 4/3 tv instead of 16/9, you can use the tv's stretch and zoom modes instead of the stb's. I think you'll find that your Toshiba tv does this better than the box does. I know the set has some nice variable stretch modes which the box does not have.

Your Toshiba DST-3000 (I have one too) is actually made by Hughes, not Toshiba, so it's stretch/zoom isn't the same as what your set can do.

Experiment with it and I'm sure you'll be able to get a significant improvement with 4/3 480i over your present setup, though having to change all those settings is a nuisance.
 

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