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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Are SD channels supposed to be THIS bad?


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65 replies to this topic

#51 OFFLINE   ejbvt

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

Another pleasant surprise I notice about this "new" method too is that since my HDTV apparently bases its default format setting on an input signal's resolution and not its actual format (or aspect ratio). Under the "old" method whenever I watch a local news/PI channel here called "California NonStop" (OTA KNBC 4-2) which is a 480i 16:9 SD signal, my TV ignores the format and defaults to "4:3" regardless for all 480i/p resolution programs which annoyingly squeezes the image back to 4:3.

I had to manually place my TV on "Wide" setting to correct the distortion, then remember to return the set back to its 4:3 default setting when finished viewing otherwise all other 4:3 SD programs tuned to would be stretched to 16:9.

The DVR however seems to be based solely on the received program's format, not its resolution. So with the DVR placed on 16:9 in the settings, even an SD signal gets treated like an HD one if its native format is 16:9. So the format setting of the remote has no effect on the display and my TV automatically defaults to "Wide" for proper display of the 16:9 SD picture without me having to switch the set manually.

Great side benefit .... :)




This 16:9 local channel you speak of - I have a similar situation. Our local Antenna TV is shown 16:9 widescreen SD (WGHP 8.2 Greensboro NC). They pillar box the shows but show local commercials in 16:9 (if they ever did a newscast on there, I assume it wouls be 16:9, too). It used to come in on the AM21 but something happened to it on the Directv end and it no longer does. The engineer is working with Directv to get it fixed. That's not my point...

My point is another question... Do you have the directv box set to Pillar Box or something else? Without the functioning 8.2 to play with, I can't test it for myself.

Edited by ejbvt, 13 February 2012 - 02:06 PM.


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#52 OFFLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:39 PM

...
My point is another question... Do you have the directv box set to Pillar Box or something else? Without the functioning 8.2 to play with, I can't test it for myself.


I normally keep the DVR on Pillar Box for this new configuration so 4:3 SD channels (which constitute all but CA. NonStop in this market) aren't stretched to 16:9 when tuned to them.

But as I stated the interesting point is when its a 16:9 SD program, the DVR (when on 16:9 in its settings) treats it just like an HD signal and the DVR's format setting has no effect on it.

The output always remains in a 16:9 aspect ratio irrespective of the DVR's format setting, even when viewing it at 480i resolution.

#53 OFFLINE   ejbvt

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

Gotcha. That's what I thought you meant - and what I was hoping to see.

#54 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:50 PM

There is a BIG difference in SD quality depending on what kind of TV you have!!

When my old tube-type TV broke down, I went to a TV dealer looking for a new flat screen HDTV. I like watching classic TV shows and channels that aren't in HD and I had no intention of subscribing to HD from DirecTV (and still don't).

Much to my shock, the local TV dealer had their "wall of TV's" tuned to HBO instead of a hidden Blu-Ray DVD player running a film that looks impressive in HD. It was early on a weekday and there were no other customers so I asked if the cable box could be tuned to HBO SD so I could compare the sets in SD. "We don't have cable-we have DirecTV" the salesman said!! "But we can only get HD channels" he continued. He also advised me that others have requested a comparison. After advising the salesman that you could indeed get SD versions of the channels from DirecTV he told me none of the other salespeople could figure out how. "Oh, I know how" I told the bemused salesman and quickly proceeded to "unhide" the SD channels on the HR21-300 they had!

What a shock!!! It was UNBELIEVABLE the difference in quality when looking at the "wall of TV's" in SD while they all looked pretty much the same in HD. Some were so blurry they were indeed unwatchable.

But a Toshiba REGZA looked sharp and clear in SD obviously because the designers knew people were going to be watching SD for a long time. In addition, it had a wonderful feature called "Theater Wide". This eliminates the black bars at the top and bottom BUT it also only stretches the picture at the very left and right sides to fill the screen so the content in the middle is undistorted. I bought one on the spot and love it to this day-three years later.

That's why I still have SD and find the quality from DirecTV to be excellent. I use an R22 and feed the Toshiba TV with an HDMI cable in 480p.

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#55 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:56 PM

Interesting. What size flat screen did you get for SD? Did the good SD look good on larger Toshiba's as well as the smaller ones?

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#56 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:09 PM

Interesting. What size flat screen did you get for SD? Did the good SD look good on larger Toshiba's as well as the smaller ones?


42"

On the small (32" and smaller) TV's there was much less of a difference between SD and HD. On the 42" it wasn't bad. But if you went up to one of those monsters you would constantly be grumbling about the "out of focus" perception when watching SD-even on the Toshiba. Remember, it's just like a photograph. If you get wallet size prints they are sharp and clear. But if you blow them up they lose resolution quickly and get fuzzy.

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#57 OFFLINE   ejbvt

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 11:00 PM

... but but but... WHY not have HD? It's free with auto pay!?!?!

#58 OFFLINE   Glen_D

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:04 AM

... but but but... WHY not have HD? It's free with auto pay!?!?!

Depends on what programming package you have. The lesser programming packages aren't eligible for free HD for existing customers.

#59 OFFLINE   Red Orc

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:53 AM

My SD channels don't look that bad. They don't look anywhere nearly as good as the HD channels but I would definitely not describe them as unwatchable. And until DTV gets DIY BBC America National Geographic Wild & the Cooking Channel in HD I don't have any choice but to watch them in SD.
I have an LG 42". I don't remember the model # but it's about three years old.

#60 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:12 AM

My SD channels don't look that bad. They don't look anywhere nearly as good as the HD channels but I would definitely not describe them as unwatchable. And until DTV gets DIY BBC America National Geographic Wild & the Cooking Channel in HD I don't have any choice but to watch them in SD.
I have an LG 42". I don't remember the model # but it's about three years old.


It definitely helps that its only a 42" tv...try a 55" or bigger....:nono2:

#61 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:28 AM

Let's keep in mind there are a combination of factors that come into play when viewing SD on a HDTV. Compression, signal strength, TV size, viewing distance, one's vision, calibration, TV settings, receiver settings, video processing, cabling, source materials used by the broadcaster, ect. These are what determine the quality of SD.

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#62 OFFLINE   Red Orc

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:20 AM

It definitely helps that its only a 42" tv...try a 55" or bigger....:nono2:


I don't think I'll ever want A TV that large :) 46" will definitely be my upper limit when I replace my TV in about 6-8 months.

#63 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:12 AM

That's why I still have SD and find the quality from DirecTV to be excellent.

Excellence is a matter of perspective. If you had HD service, you probably wouldn't be saying this.

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. -- JFK


#64 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

It definitely helps that its only a 42" tv...try a 55" or bigger....:nono2:


Just like DirecTV HD (at $10 a month + commitment to get it) I can't afford anything bigger than a 42" set so I'm good to go in SD. ;)

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#65 OFFLINE   ThomasM

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:42 PM

Excellence is a matter of perspective. If you had HD service, you probably wouldn't be saying this.


Uh, guess what? I have a cute little antenna that picks up 1080i HD over the air from my local channels just fine. So I know all about how HD looks-in fact probably better HD than after it goes through DirecTV. And I'm STILL not giving them $10 a month and a 2 year commitment to get it!!

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#66 OFFLINE   Red Orc

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:50 AM

This thread has changed the way I have my DVR set up on my Panasonic plasma, and I think it makes the SD channels look better.

As I said upthread, I've used "Native On" and "Original Format" with on my DVR in the past. I also select all the resolutions on the DVR: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. Except for obviously a 1080p movie, all of the upconverting was done by the Panasonic.

I haven't liked "Native Off" and "Pillar Box" because 720p broadcasts lost something after being upgraded by the DVR to 1080i (sorry, Maruuk).

Yesterday, I switched to the DVR to "Native On" and "Pillar Box", and I have only the 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions selected. That way, 1080i and 720p HD broadcasts are delivered in their native resolutions to the Panasonic, but SD broadcasts are now upconverted to 1080i by the DVR. I'd swear they look better.

A side benefit is the HD Guide now fills the entire screen even when watching SD broadcasts since only HD is sent from the DVR to the television. Plus since I have my television's aspect control on my Harmony remote, I can use "Zoom" to have the SD picture fill the screen if I have a windowboxed broadcast, with black bars on all four sides. I still like watching TCM, even in SD. I'd rather watch "Some Like It Hot" in widescreen SD than not watch it at all.

Here's an old dog who learned a new trick.


I trued pillar box & native on and my LG TV didn't like that setting at all! I had the TV set to display in whatever format the program was in. I tried watching Star Trek III (in SD) like that & I got a square picture. I set screen format back to "original format" and it looks the way it's supposed to again.
I did leave native set to on (My TV doesn't do any kind of upsacaling) but I haven't watched enough to be able to say if it made any difference or not.

This is definitely one of those things that every body is gonna have to play with for him/herself to find the best settings.




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