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I'm hoping some folks can give me some guidance. I've had 3 techs come by since the installation, and I'm still frustrated. One tech even sugguested that I should get in the early morning lines during the Thanksgiving sales at Walmart to buy an HD set!

We had Directv installed on Sept 29. The picture is not as sharp as it should be. I have three TV's connected to Directv. Primary in my living room. The other two are pretty old, I can't use them for reference. I am not concerned about their picture here, only my living room set. All 3 are standard def.

Before Directv we had Bright House digital cable, Tampa FL area. If I were to rate the picture displayed by Bright House, Directv, and my DVD player:
DVD ............ 10
Bright House ... 8
Directv ........ 6

* Sept 29 - Had Directv installed on a Friday. I thought right away that the picture wasn't that great but I figured that maybe I was just scanning channels that weren't very good.

* Sunday Oct 1 - I didn't really watch TV through the weekend until Sunday. I tuned in for the NFL package. That's when it hit me - the picture was definitely not as good as when I had Brighthouse Digital Cable. I asked my son and he agreed.

I called Directv. The rep said that my picture should be great, that she has it herself and that is as good as watching a DVD. I told her the picture wasn't anywhere near what I get with a DVD. She scheduled a tech to come out.

* Wednesday Oct 4 - First Tech
When the tech arrived, first I plugged in my DVD player to the TV using a S-Video cable. I played a DVD, and he agreed that it was a great picture. Then I plugged in the Directv DVR using the same S-Video cable. He saw that the picture was not as good. He checked the transmission levels, the transponders that matter were all in the mid 90's. He checked some of the cables connected to the reciever.

He said that:
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* Yes, the picture was much better with the DVD player then Direcv.
* We eliminated that the problem could be with the S-Video cable.
* We eliminated that the problem could be with the TV.
* He has never had a problem with a picture with the transmission levels are up in the 90's.

He said that he believed problem was mostly likely with the DVR. He told me to call Directv and request a free replacement.

A few days later I received the replacement DVR. After installing it I found no improvement. I called for another tech to come by.

* October 14, 2006 - the "I should buy a new TV" tech
When the next tech came by, I followed the same process that I did with the first tech - I played a DVD, then connected the DVR. He saw a great picture with the DVD, and not one with the DVR. I told him that it was a replacement DVR.

He regretfully told me that he thought the problem was the TV. It's a rear projector TV, and he said that their pictures just aren't usually very good. He told me that I should look into buying a new TV.

I said the TV is not that old, and that when you play a DVD, it looks awesome. I said that the picture with Brighthouse digital cable was great. And now the picture with Directv is not good. Moreover the previous Directv tech said it was not the TV.

Still, he suggested that I should wait until Thanksgiving, and get in line in the early morning at Walmart, because I could get a really good deal on a new HD TV. He was trying to be nice, and I didn't debate his recommendations with him too long, because I realized he didn't know what the problem was and he couldn't help me.

After he left I sent an email to Directv requesting that they have an engineer call to explain to me what he or she believes the problem could be. Later a senior tech was scheduled to come by.

* Saturday, Oct 21 the senior tech came by. I gave the usual story. I offered to hook up the DVD player. He declined, he said he could already see that the picture was not sharp. He said it looked like some ghosting. I asked him if it could be caused by old or bad cable in the house. He said no, if that was the problem I wouldn't be getting transponder levels in the mid-90's. He said that the receiver had to be getting a good signal. He said to replace the s-video cable I had with a Monster cable. Then if that didn't fix it, call Directv and get another DVR. He sounded pretty confident. He gave his name and his cell number.

* The next day I bought an expensive Monster cable. There was no difference in the picture. I called Directv, gave them my story and asked for another DVR. The phone tech was suprised that the tech who was at my house told me to try a Monster cable. She said she never tells a customer to do that - she feels they are extremely overpriced. She asked if anyone had switched the DVR with another reciever, I answered no. She asked me to do that and then call them back. So I tried that. There was no improvement.
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I haven't called back yet. Now I'm thinking that Directv just doesn't have as good of a picture as I had with Brighthouse. And I have to choose between them, that is if I can still get out of my Directv contract.

Anyone with similar experiences?
 

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Welcome to the D* world of "overcompression"! The way I see it you have 2 choices:

1) Go back to BrightHouse

2) Take the tech's suggestion and get a new TV

D* compresses it's SD so much, it looks like crap on a larger TV! Especialy the Sunday Tkt games in SD! A new HDTV will not completly solve this problem, but you'll be happy with the HD pic and a HDMI or Component connection to the TV should slightly improve your SD picture!
 

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There is nothing wrong with your TV. DirecTV's PQ has definitely deteriorated over the past few years. They keep trying to cram more and more useless channels into a fixed amount of bandwidth. In order to do this they have to compress the signal more and more to get them all to fit.

I've been into extracting videos from DTivos and burning them to DVD for over six years now and the results are as good as the original signal quality since the process takes place entirely in the digital domain. I've gone back and looked at DVDs I created years ago and the difference in picture quality is quite noticeable.

DTV has gotten into the mindset of providing quantity over quality in order to increase the bottom line. This should change once they get the mpeg4 sats online and can start providing better PQ all around for both SD and HD channels. In the meantime, you're stuck with what they send you.
 

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jnolan said:
I said the TV is not that old, and that when you play a DVD, it looks awesome. I said that the picture with Brighthouse digital cable was great. And now the picture with Directv is not good. Moreover the previous Directv tech said it was not the TV.
I'll pitch in my .02. When I got my DirecTV set up this past weekend, I have to say I wasn't all that amazed by the picture quality, UNTIL... I found the setting on my PDP (Samsung's euphemism for Plasma Display Panel) for changing the picture from Interlaced (480i) to Progressive Scan (720p). And keep in mind, this is on an EDTV plasma, not an HD unit.

Once I changed that setting, using a component (three-wire) connection, all I could say was, OH MY.

It's as if someone removed a screen door from in front of the plasma display, and details I NEVER saw on standard channels even were evident. Incredible.

Since I didn't see in your setup whether you have this option or not, I'd say if you can connect via component and change your TV's settings to recognize the new input as a progressive display (720p), it may be worth trying. FWIW, I stood like a fool in front of the screen until my wife walked in and said, "what are you doing?". And then she looked up at the display, and said, "Oh my...". Baseball never looked so good.

Course, it doesn't hurt being married to a baseball nut.

Wootapotamus
 

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Yes D* SD is way over compressed.
No it will not look "sharp" on a big TV.

However, it is still digital, and things like "ghosting" should never happen. That comment there screams to me, svideo issue....

Now I know the DVD looks great through SVIDEO, but maybe the D* Svideo jack is faulty. Do you any picture difference when using the yellow video jack instead, or even the coax cable to your TV? I'd be curious to hear that answer.

Reap projection TVs are not especially sharp to begin with. D* looks a lot worse on a TV where you can see the individual pixels like on a plasma. I am surprised that you are noticing such a big difference between D* and cable using a rear projection TV.

I think that you might be disappointed in the effective resolution you are getting from D*, but I don't think that is the whole story.

Try different output jacks, try messing with TV settings, noise filters, turn down contrast, turn up brightness, try to increase color becasue overcompression often leads to pale looking non-vivid colors.

Good luck. Let us know.

PS - One final suggestion.. Borrow a friends non-DVR D* box and hook it up. If that's not better... back to cable... If it is better, it's your box.
 

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clarkjrmac said:
What size, age, and brand is the TV? I have a 32" 10 year old Toshiba TV connected to a standard definition DirecTivo via a s-video cable and it looks great.
I agree. One of my TV's is a 12 year old Sony 32" and the picture is crystal clear.

Old CRT rear projections have a crappy picture no matter what you do.
 

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I must admit that while I used to be pretty finicky about picture quality, watching TV mostly on modulated UHF channels on has dullled me a bit. So when I go up to our living room, and look at my direct-connected DVRs on a 32 CRT TV, the picture is SOO much better, that I can't tell a DVD from my twice-compressed D11-Tivo setup.

I'd bet the industry thinking is, if people are really picky about picture quality, they will go HD, and those staying on SD will be happy with anything that's noticeably better than analog or most cable systems. And they are probably right in the majority of cases.
 

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ApK said:
I must admit that while I used to be pretty finicky about picture quality, watching TV mostly on modulated UHF channels on has dullled me a bit. So when I go up to our living room, and look at my direct-connected DVRs on a 32 CRT TV, the picture is SOO much better, that I can't tell a DVD from my twice-compressed D11-Tivo setup.

I'd bet the industry thinking is, if people are really picky about picture quality, they will go HD, and those staying on SD will be happy with anything that's noticeably better than analog or most cable systems. And they are probably right in the majority of cases.
I'm starting to find the opposite.....

With a newly run cable feed into my house and a good drop/amp splitter, my analog cable channels are now a crisper picture than my DirecTV picture..

Although you are right....

I notice this from my cable company...
The premium channels like HBO are amazing quality, even in SD.
The ESPN are also great quality.
All the networks are given in HD for free.

Other than that I don't watch much else. And if I do, do I really care if some 20 year old music video on VH1C is over compressed? or there are compression artifacts on CourtTV??? Heck no.

If you pay extra for a channel, it better be good.
If it's a sports channel, it better be good.

Other than that, not too many people are going to complain about an over compressed rerun of Seinfeld.

I think the biggest problem for DirecTV is, in order to serve as many customers as possible with locals, they way overcompressed them. So those that do not have HD, are watching Lost and NFL and College sports etc... with a really terrible picture.
 

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Looks like avoiding that headhache is one of the many bonuses I get by not watching sports. ;-)

As far as the quality of a given cable sysetm vs. DTV, we can only hope that people list picture quality among their reason for choosing one over the other on the surveys, so that, like price and number of channels, it will become one of the things DTV cares about improving to win customers.

And your analog cable looks better than DTV?? Around here, analog cable looks like you're watching on rabbit ears. In a cave. During an electrical storm.
 

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ClubSteeler said:
I'm starting to find the opposite.....
With a newly run cable feed into my house and a good drop/amp splitter, my analog cable channels are now a crisper picture than my DirecTV picture..
That is certainly not impossible w/ a good cable (or antenna) system. Best SD pictures I've ever seen were analog from my dearly departed BUD. DirecTV's over-compressed picture quality these days is awful, and especially apparent on sports. The bigger and better your display, the worse your picture will be.

Ironically, I remain with D* precisely because of their sports programming. I put up with the flaws because of the content.

If somebody tells you that their D* looks just like a DVD, they are either half blind, watching on a small display, or have serious problems with their DVD player.
 

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ApK said:
Looks like avoiding that headhache is one of the many bonuses I get by not watching sports. ;-)

As far as the quality of a given cable sysetm vs. DTV, we can only hope that people list picture quality among their reason for choosing one over the other on the surveys, so that, like price and number of channels, it will become one of the things DTV cares about improving to win customers.

And your analog cable looks better than DTV?? Around here, analog cable looks like you're watching on rabbit ears. In a cave. During an electrical storm.
Back in the good old days (before local channels were available), picture quality actually was a competitive edge for D* compared to most cable systems. It's not today. I am also in Tampa, and Bright House does in fact provide generally higher picture quality than D*.

I am hoping that, as someone mentioned above, that when the mpeg2 HD content is moved off the current birds, we will see the freed up transponders used to provide some increase in SD quality.
 

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It has gotten so you must watch HD to get a good picture, especially with a bigger screen.

It's almost as if the satellite companies are trying to drive everyone to HD.
 

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bwaldron said:
I am hoping that, as someone mentioned above, that when the mpeg2 HD content is moved off the current birds, we will see the freed up transponders used to provide some increase in SD quality.
We might want to consider some sort of letter-writing campaign to that effect, since it's a far greater probability that if most customers are used to the current quality and not complaining, then DTV will just use the freed space for more channels.
 

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Just wanted to throw my hat in the ring here... Our cable PQ here is crap. I had dish when I first graduated High School, YEARS ago, and then moved to Digital Cable when it first came to our area. Even digital cable here was garbage - Hence the move to D*.

I have a Sony Rear Projection that is about 6 months old. I walked into circuit city one afternoon, and this set gave every other set in the building a run for its money, and was on sale for less than a grand.

I had a Hughes DTivo, and noticed alot of the compression issues you've all mentioned. Upgraded to the HR20 about a month ago, and it seems to me that my PQ is a little better than it was before. There are still some of those compression artifacts, especially on sports, but if my PQ was a 7 with the Hughes, I'd say it's a 7.5 with the HR20. All Sd channels of course. HD is head and shoulders above the SD.

And my rear projection has a way nicer picture than the 27" Sharp CRT in the bedroom. HDMI in the front room, Component in the bedroom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The thread I started here was my first post, and I was afraid that no one would reply - thank you all so much. You have given me seriously valuable information. It sounds like if I decide to stick with it, I'll have to go HD or to a smaller SD set.

* iceman2a - as you said and what seems to be supported by other comments, it sounds like my problem is that I've got a combination of D* SD overcompression and a larger screen TV that exposes it to a greater degree.

* clarkjrmac - its a 46" Sony rear projection about 7 years old. From the sound of the postings here, a 32" CRT is probably the perfect TV for SD D*.

* captain_video - Thanks for the confirmation that its not the TV. It's very cool that you have rock-solid proof if D*'s SD PQ deterioration!

* wootapotamus - that's what I was hoping for - a picture that you get lost in. My TV does not have those settings, I'm going to have to upgrade. It's interesting that it looks so good on a plasma - someone else in this thread mentions problems with seeing the individual pixels on a plasma set.

* ClubSteeler - I tried 2 different DRV receivers, and both s-video jacks on the set. I've played with settings, but you've given me some more ideas to squeeze out a better pic - like turning up the color. On your second post - I mostly watch TV for science and history, and NFL and NHL. If I'm going to keep it, I need HD.

* Blitz68 - Like clarkjrmac you have the 32" crt that's perfect for D* SD too... I always thought rear projection TVs were awful too, and every one I ever saw did, except for this one. You'll probably think I'm crazy, but with a DVD it has an amazing picture. With the digital cable I did have, football and hockey were mesmerizing. With SD D* it's crappy.

* ApK - In your first posting, I think your "bet" is totally accurate. Your observation makes perfect sense. On your later post - I guess cable is just a crapshoot. I live in Palm Harbor FL, and here Brighthouse digital is great. However, just a few miles away, in Oldsmar and Eastlake, I have friends who report that it's bad.

* bwaldron - I'm on the fence, and leaning towards D*, because of the sports content. And the more and more I learn, I think you are correct in asserting that if someone says that D* SD looks just like a DVD, they are watching it on a smaller set.

* paulman182 - yes, another push for me to get HD soon.

* Sharkie_Fan - what model Sony HD set did you get?

I think I'll call and write D* to complain about the SD service, tell them that Brighthouse digital cable is much better where I live, bla, bla, bla, and probably end up getting a HD set in the next month or so and stick with D* because of the NFL and NHL packages... and they do have the history and science channels I want - so what the heck. Thanks again!!!
 

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jnolan -

I have a Sony KP-46WT520, which at the time I bought it 6 months, or 8 months ago, or something like that, was not their newest TV, but one of their "newer" models. I actually went in looking at another set that Circuit City had on sale - it was an Akai, which had received good reveiws when I did my homework before heading in. However, we got there, and first, my wife thought the Akai was "ugly". (Don't get me started there - it's a freaking gigantic silver rectangle. I don't really see rear projection TVs as "stylish", but ... whatever".

After the Akai was shot down, by the Mrs., she thought the sony looked "pretty", and comparing to some of the other TVs there, this particular Sony was NEARLY as good as any others in the building. Obviously some of the Plasma sets give you a nicer picture, but at that point, the plasma and LCD sets were still drastically more expensive than the rear projection. I paid about $900 for this, and the comparably sized plasmas were in the 2000-2500 range. I haven't followed prices real close, but I think that those same plasmas are now in the 1500-2000 range.

I'm obviously not out there on the cutting edge as far as my TV goes, but I'm really happy with this set. It really has a nice picture, and D* looks great with the HDMI connection. Especially the HD channels! I've gotten to see 1 sharks game in HD so far this season, and it's mind blowing! The comparison between the HD and SD for that broadcast was awesome!! Too bad it ruined me for life. The SD broadcast just isn't good enough for me now! I don't follow the NFL all that much, but the NHL is HD is the best!! I don't get enough of it right now, but I imagine that after the new birds are in the air and more HD channels go online, there will be more HD hockey games. Then I"ll be in heaven!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sharkie_Fan said:
jnolan -
I have a Sony KP-46WT520, ... and D* looks great with the HDMI connection. Especially the HD channels! ... but the NHL is HD is the best!! I don't get enough of it right now, but I imagine that after the new birds are in the air and more HD channels go online, there will be more HD hockey games. Then I"ll be in heaven!
I'm ready to watch some HD hockey. That set sounds like the HD widescreen version of what I have now. I just looked at several owner reviews of your set at various web sites, everyone rates it extremely high. Unfortunately, I just checked the Circuit City and Best Buy site, neither carries it. I'll be looking.
 

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Yeah thats like me.. I have a 62 inch high def 1080i projection tv. My D dvr is connected to it by the 3 colored (red, white and yellow) cables aswell as i have an s-video cable connected from my tv to my dvr.. Are there other cables or anything else i can do to better my picture to make it a little more clearer? If there is... where can i get them at and are they expensive? Thanks guys again for your rapid responses.. Your ALL AWESOME!!!!!! keep up the good work..
 

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jnolan -

If there's a sears nearby you, check them out. When looking through my paperwork, I remembered that I actually ended up buying the set at sears. I went to Circuit City, but they were out of stock. They had one at another CC about 45 minutes away. There was a sears about 3 minutes away, and our sears here has a generally good electronics department, so we went over there. They were actually the ones who had it on sale....
 
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