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Poor Graphics with HR34/C31

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by SMinHD, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    I apologize if this is being discussed, but I haven't found it on the web or in the forum here. Got upgraded to the Genie recently at home and my mother had one installed as well. For both, I have noticed what I can best explain as poor graphics, mainly the background behind each row in the guide grid, playlist, or any other area like the left nav bar in the first screen after going to Menu. Instead of a deep black that I see on my Hx24's, it's a medium gray, with alot of pixelation through out the background image/bitmap. Nothing with the TV it would seem with it happening on 34, C31 and multiple TVs where a Hx24 looks great.

    Anyone else seeing this? Known issue?

    Running 0x5d4

    Attached Files:

  2. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

    Jul 25, 2002
    W.Mdtrn Sea
    and output resolution of the DTV boxes ? and what info on your TV telling about res/fr ?
  3. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    1080i all the way
  4. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    Wow, am I the only one experiencing this?
  5. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Which Video OUT connection are you using? HDMI? What happens if you use Component Video instead as a test?

    Have you tried resetting the DVR?
  6. FastNOC

    FastNOC Godfather

    Sep 11, 2007
    Pretty sure this is just a low res background image. I see the same exact thing on my 24. if you were to lower the brightness of your tv just slightly, it would go away.

    it only shows before a page is loaded or if there's no data to display. when the page comes in the blockiness disappears which leads me to believe they just used a low res generic background. once the grid fills in it's fine.
  7. FastNOC

    FastNOC Godfather

    Sep 11, 2007
    Here this will help.

    I did some continuous shots on my tv to show what I mean.

    This is when i first hit the guide, before it loads the grid but after it's started the page.

    in the 'blank' pic it's after the grid comes up, but before it loads the data. The pixelated background gradient is there.


    in the 'full' pic, the blockiness is gone because it loaded a higher res gradient with the grid.

    Sorry for the reflection of the light. I was at a strange angle
  8. bsather

    bsather Cool Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    I have the exact same issue with my C31, the HR34 is slightly better but both are no where near the black or res of my HR24s.
  9. TMan

    TMan Legend

    Oct 30, 2007
    I have definitely noticed this effect on my equipment. It's as if the plain background was rendered at such low resolution that JPG artifacts are visible in it.
  10. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    I haven't tried component yet and don't have them at my mom's house handy. Will look at that later.

    I have noticed everything you guys have mentioned here...lowering brightness hides it a bit and it is worse before grid loads after hitting guide. However, i can still see the artifacts on in the grid, just not as badly as before the grid is displayed. It's worse in the List than Guide grid actually. I have unplugged the HR34 and plugged in my HR24 on the same exact TV with the same exact brightness and settings, and it's much worse on the HR34. i can lower the brightness more but it really starts to have negative affect on some darker scenes.

    Not sure if graphics are actually different or there is something up with the black levels with the HDMI output, but it's good to see that some with the HR34 are also seeing that it is worse with the HR34. Not sure if this warrants something in the issues thread or not.
  11. premio

    premio Godfather

    Sep 26, 2006
    Do you notice these shadow artifacts in shows? Ive been going crazy trying to clean up my picture on the hr34, as I see this on the guide and on some shows.

    my old Hr did not have issues, and my other inputs (including the onboard tv apps) do not either.. ruling out tuning. All my HDMI goes into the onkyo and only 1 input hits the tv.

    Its between the box being the culprit or over compression of signals..
  12. Jacob Braun

    Jacob Braun King of Awesome

    Oct 5, 2011
    Tulsa, OK
    I've noticed this in some places especially on the C31. Try going to the remote programming screen for instance...totally different font and everything!
  13. CoachGibbs

    CoachGibbs Godfather

    May 23, 2007
    I have the font issue with the HR34 every time I watch 3D, then go back to a regular channel. The only thing that fixes it is a reboot. All my font changes including guide, menu's etc.
  14. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    If I may weigh in --

    The only thing that will solve this is calibration. The background images themselves have a lot of pixelation in the darker areas. I personally found it abhorrent until I pulled out a calibration disc and recalibrated my TV. I still see it if I look but it's not as obvious most of the time.

    As regards the font issues and graphic issues of the C31, when you see a different font, you are seeing screens that are actually generated by the C31 as opposed to being sent by the HR34. The C31 uses the font used by the previous generation "blue" interface and I don't know why they haven't changed that. I'm sure many would agree that there are more pressing issues with the C31's operation than menu fonts.
  15. acostapimps

    acostapimps Hall Of Famer

    Nov 5, 2011
    I notice the same thing happens on the HR24 when a page is loading on a empty page I see a lot of movement in the background from the channel then the menu graphics or anything appears, but it could also be tv needs the brightness and contrast adjusted.
  16. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    First, thanks for everyone's input. Some additional thoughts/observations:

    1. The graphics and/or gray/black level are the same on the HR34 through HDMI or Component (Same settings on the TV input).

    2. As I've stated, I can plug an HR24 into the same input on my TV and the clarity and richness of blacks in the background graphics is night and day.

    I also noticed that turning down brightness improves the imperfections in the graphics and/or output to an extent. Unfortunately, it's to an extent that dark scenes in TV get way too dark with no definition that I'm used to seeing with my HR24.

    I wonder if everyone who has responded with "turn down the brightness" suggestions has an HR34, because for me, this isn't the fix and there is a substantial difference in either the graphics themselves, or with the black levels on the HDMI output. I lean towards graphics because I can't see a difference in the actual content.

    I realize this is a bit down the list in priorities with the HR34/C31 issues, but just wanted to find out if others are seeing the same thing. Apparently they are.
  17. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    The background graphics are the same. It is the video processing that is different. I'm not dismissing your critiques -- as a matter of fact I personally contacted a ranking DIRECTV official before the HDUI even went public and complained about the same thing. Believe it or not it used to be worse, they actually fixed some of the backgrounds. Scant consolation but it proves that they do listen to some extent.

    I wonder if your HR24 is an HR24-500, the only one of the three to have RGB output over HDMI. It may account for the differences in your perceptions.
  18. SMinHD

    SMinHD Mentor

    Jun 9, 2006
    It is an hr24-500. Got it just after they came out. Thanks for your insight. It's just too bad that a beautiful HD GUI has this blemish now. I'll find a happy medium between brightness levels for the graphics and negative effect on darker content.
  19. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Calibration isn't likely to smooth graphics than are coarsely dithered other than setting the pedestal so high that the dark spots disappear into the lighter ones (or adjusting the gamma to make the light spots blend into the dark).

    While this is the first time I recall hearing about this since the HD GUI, this phenomenon has been documented (with pictures) on DBSTalk before.
  20. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    Harsh, I think you are correct.

    I also think we all have to agree that there are artifacts in the graphic layovers downloaded for the HD GUI. There may have been a need to compromise here due to a paucity of room to house it in DVRs not originally built for this, which they addressed by sending compressed (and therefore artifact-laden) layovers to save space, probably tiny GIFs. But even on my HR20s I can see these artifacts, so I think it is evident all DVRs got the same graphics downloaded to them and that something about the 24-500's RGB output makes them irksome. They don't irk me enough on the HR20 to moan about them, however.

    I can understand that if a company can get a component that works in RGB requiring a conversion to YPrPb for less than a YPrPb component that they might save a buck and use that to build their DVR. No problem. What is disturbing is that the RGB output of the 24-500 might look different, because by rights it should not look any different than YPrPb. Conversion from YPrPb of 8-bit 4:2:0 content is a lossless matrix conversion, meaning there is not much room to F that up. I can see how that final conversion might add a tiny amount of quantization noise error, but one would not expect that to be even visibly different than straight YPrPb. At its worst, it should not manifest as incorrect gray-scale levels or gamma issues.

    But from reports here, that seems to be exactly what is happening. I don't know who makes the '500, but at first blush it seems they screwed the pooch pretty hard, or at the very least it turned out to be a bad idea to go that route. That said, there is a possibility it is the HDMI standard, or even the parameters in the HDMI RX chips in various TVs, and not the fault of the DVR manufacturer at all. Since HDMI supports both standards, possibly the DVR manufacturer is sending RGB to the HDTV without a YPrPb conversion at all, and the problem is in the HDMI RX.

    But somewhere something is incompatible that should not be, and someone dropped the ball causing this issue for a certain number of '500 users. We just have no smoking gun as to who.

    But it is what it is. Any workarounds? Calibration is good, generally speaking, but not really if the signal coming in is off in the first place. What you really need here is "mis-calibration"; IOW, calibrate it off in the other direction (equalize the improper differences back to what would be normal) so that the output looks like every other DVR does.

    This would mean a complex process of first calibrating the TV input, then sending the test signal into the DVR somehow (download it as a DOD choice from a site that you have uploaded it to?) and touch up the calibration from playback of that. Either that or make an educated guess as to what is different and in what manner it is different, and compensate the settings in the other direction. Not really simple either way.

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