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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had 3 HR21's installed yesterday after being with another sat. provider for nearly 10 years. I have to admit to being underwhelmed with the picture quality on all 3 sets (1 61" JVC lcos, 1 15" non HD lcd and a 32" tube). The picture seems slightly out of focus on all three. The color looks great, everything else is fine.

The fact that all 3 look soft leaves me to believe that I either have a DVR and/or installation problem. The picture quality from my previous provider was much, much better on all 3.

I have done multiple searches and the lack of threads about this problem seems to indicate it is not widespread. I would be most grateful if anyone has any thoughts on what the problem might be.
 

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1. What is the connection method?
2. What has the output resolution(s) been set to?
3. What channel?
 

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OK, here's the standard list of things to check:

- Are you connected via either HDMI or compent video connections, the only two that pass HD signals
- If the HR21's outputting a 720p or 1080i signal, you can check by looking at the LED on the right side of the front panel?
- Are you tuned to the HD version of a channel, unless you tell the box to hide the SD versions of channels both will be available?
- SD channels via satellite are not of the best quality so depending on what service you came from there might not be anything you can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, thanks for the fast responses...

61" JVC connected by HDMI, set output to 1080i
15" non HD lcd by component, set output to 480p (I think)
32" tube by s-video (its old), same as above

I'll have to check the output on the 2 non HD sets...I'm thinking 480p, not sure I remember 480i being an option..

on the non HD sets, I always watch the non HD channel.

Is Dish known to have better picture quality than Direct? I just assumed Direct would be at least as good if not better.

thanks again for the help.
 

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McSwine said:
Wow, thanks for the fast responses...

61" JVC connected by HDMI, set output to 1080i
15" non HD lcd by component, set output to 480p (I think)
32" tube by s-video (its old), same as above

I'll have to check the output on the 2 non HD sets...I'm thinking 480p, not sure I remember 480i being an option..

on the non HD sets, I always watch the non HD channel.

Is Dish known to have better picture quality than Direct? I just assumed Direct would be at least as good if not better.

thanks again for the help.
On the 61" do all channels look bad or just the SD ones? Also the following channels are still using the old MPEG2 system, HBO-East, Showtime-East, ESPN, ESPN2, HDNet, HDNet Movies, Discovery HD Theater, Universal HD, TNT and any special event/PPV in the 90-99 range. All the other HD channels are in MPEG4 and most folks that have both Dish and DirecTV so they can do a side by side say that most of the time DirecTV has the better picture quality. So I'm interested in what channels on that set look bad.

On the two non-HD set why not tune to the HD version of the channel? I have a 15" SD LCD that I do that on and the channels look fine even at 480p output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RAD said:
On the 61" do all channels look bad or just the SD ones? Also the following channels are still using the old MPEG2 system, HBO-East, Showtime-East, ESPN, ESPN2, HDNet, HDNet Movies, Discovery HD Theater, Universal HD, TNT and any special event/PPV in the 90-99 range. All the other HD channels are in MPEG4 and most folks that have both Dish and DirecTV so they can do a side by side say that most of the time DirecTV has the better picture quality. So I'm interested in what channels on that set look bad.

On the two non-HD set why not tune to the HD version of the channel? I have a 15" SD LCD that I do that on and the channels look fine even at 480p output.
The picture on the 61" is like the other 2 (looks slightly out of focus). It makes no difference whether I'm watching SD or HD. I guess that's why I'm thinking that's just how it is or I've got a installation problem of some kind. The installer used the existing Dish coax, if that matters. I've only had it for a day, so I'm not sure if any one channel looks worse than another; I'll check it when I get home tonite.

I've read thru some threads that I might need to turn the native off and output 480i only, also something about pillar box (keep in mind I really don't know what the hell I'm talking about). Any thoughts?
 

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tcusta00 said:
Report back with your findings of quality on each of the channel types. Try to look at an MPEG2 (ex: 206), an MPEG4 (ex: 359) and an SD (ex: 230) channel. That will give you a good idea.
The HR21-200 has had a minor problem (since it was being tested) with component at 1080i, and even at 720p to a lessor extent.

First of all, don't make any judgments about clarity on an SD channel.
On an HD channel using HDMI try 720p and 1080i while looking at a channel that has fine text (small). If there is any "fuzziness", it will be painfully obvious. (That's what we used when we were testing the HR21-200)

See if you can isolate it to either 720p or 1080i, as well as component vs. HDMI.

Try all these combos and see which pairing produces the "cleanest" looking fine text.

To this day, I still get a much cleaner picture on my HR21-200 using HDMI than I do using Component. There has been substantial improvement (it was borderline awful), but Component is still inferior to HDMI. Once the initial problems were resolved, the differences become more "random"...i.e., on any given set, Component may look better or worse than HDMI, no matter what sat receiver one is using.
 

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Even though my TV will take a 1080i signal, its native resolution is 720p...
So unless 720p is not an option, I don't use 1080i because the TV is going to down-scale it anyways... In fact, with my old satellite box, I got better results with 720p. So in my case, just because I can do 1080i, doesn't mean I do. Of course YMMV, and I'm still playing with my new HR21, but IMHO outputting at 1080i does not really buy me anything (and makes me think my TV now has to go through another step, and is another place to introduce artifacts).
 

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Since many channels are broadcast in 1080i vs. 720p either the HR21 or your TV is going to have to do the up/down conversion on some of them, just experiment and see which one is going to do it better.
 

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RAD said:
Since many channels are broadcast in 1080i vs. 720p either the HR21 or your TV is going to have to do the up/down conversion on some of them, just experiment and see which one is going to do it better.
Good point... I have endless hours of experimentation ahead of me... Much to my wife's perpetual amusement (and feigned intolerance).

Question: Is it possible to see, via the HR21, what the format is of the show I am watching? I would assume, to conserve bandwidth/power, it would be broadcast in the lower (native) resolution (i.e. not upscale everything to 1080i prior to broadcast).
 

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EricJRW said:
Good point... I have endless hours of experimentation ahead of me... Much to my wife's perpetual amusement (and feigned intolerance).

Question: Is it possible to see, via the HR21, what the format is of the show I am watching? I would assume, to conserve bandwidth/power, it would be broadcast in the lower (native) resolution (i.e. not upscale everything to 1080i prior to broadcast).
If you set the box to use 480p/720/1080i and then turn NATIVE ON you can see on the front panel what resolution is (480i would be 480p). Just so you know, having native on will slow down channel changes when the resolution eeds to change.

Also, I've think I've seen some other posts where people have said they've played with the settings on their TV's and the picture has improved. Could be a difference on how the E* and D* boxes output signals.
 

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EricJRW said:
Good point... I have endless hours of experimentation ahead of me... Much to my wife's perpetual amusement (and feigned intolerance).

Question: Is it possible to see, via the HR21, what the format is of the show I am watching? I would assume, to conserve bandwidth/power, it would be broadcast in the lower (native) resolution (i.e. not upscale everything to 1080i prior to broadcast).
If you are asking about individual shows on an HD channel the answer is they are all upconverted by the station prior to being delivered to DIRECTV for retransmition. If the channel is broadcasting 1080i it is always 1080i even if the source material is SD. The same is true for 720p channels.
 

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Thanks for replies...

Did not see native as an option (or I missed it), but a quick check of the tips reveals it's a long press of the format button... I was wondering why I never saw the res led change... For now the HR21 is set for 480p, 720p and 1080i (as I experiment), but I never saw a change... I suspect without native mode on, the HR21 is just outputting at the highest res (though in the setup menu I think it showed the lowest, and it it wasn't the lowest, well it wasn't a list either).

Way too many options... It's been 5 days and my wife still has not touched the new remote...
 

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EricJRW said:
Thanks for replies...

Did not see native as an option (or I missed it), but a quick check of the tips reveals it's a long press of the format button... I was wondering why I never saw the res led change... For now the HR21 is set for 480p, 720p and 1080i (as I experiment), but I never saw a change... I suspect without native mode on, the HR21 is just outputting at the highest res (though in the setup menu I think it showed the lowest, and it it wasn't the lowest, well it wasn't a list either).

Way too many options... It's been 5 days and my wife still has not touched the new remote...
When you have Native OFF it will output whatever you manually set it to when cycling throught the formats with the format button.
 

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IIRC, composite and s-video will only output 480i so that's what's going to the 32" no matter what the receiver is set for.

Mike
 

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McSwine said:
The picture on the 61" is like the other 2 (looks slightly out of focus). It makes no difference whether I'm watching SD or HD. I guess that's why I'm thinking that's just how it is or I've got a installation problem of some kind. The installer used the existing Dish coax, if that matters. I've only had it for a day, so I'm not sure if any one channel looks worse than another; I'll check it when I get home tonite.

I've read thru some threads that I might need to turn the native off and output 480i only, also something about pillar box (keep in mind I really don't know what the hell I'm talking about). Any thoughts?
I would call the install company(If you have the number) or DirecTV and have them put in new coax and connectors like they should have in the first place.:rolleyes:
 
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