Audio problems with loud scenes on HBO/cable - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 83 Old 11-03-2012, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Setup: Time Warner Cable in New York City; Samsung SMT-H3090 HD-DVR; connected via HDMI through a Yamaha AVR.

When watching movies with loud scenes (e.g., explosions), I get some distortion / crackling / popping. It's not loud but I notice it. Seems to happen most often on HBO but that's probably because I watch the most action movies on HBO. The latest examples were during Cowboys & Aliens (no snickering please).

Rewind the DVR: same noise. Play a Blu-ray at a loud volume: no problems. I just switched from Normal to Wide audio range. We'll see if that does anything, but it seems like the signal at the input level. Thoughts?

Looks like folks have the same issue with DirecTV: www.avsforum.com/t/1421005/audio-distortion-with-directv-programming/

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post #2 of 83 Old 04-13-2013, 10:37 PM
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Interesting you are having this issue with cable. Do you have Comcast?

I was actually considering leaving Directv for Comcast because I'm having the exact same issue. I also notice it on Cinemax. Its my understanding HBO owns Cinemax???
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post #3 of 83 Old 04-14-2013, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel1400 View Post

Interesting you are having this issue with cable. Do you have Comcast?

I was actually considering leaving Directv for Comcast because I'm having the exact same issue. I also notice it on Cinemax. Its my understanding HBO owns Cinemax???

Yes, HBO owns Cinemax. It certainly looks like this is an HBO/Cinemax issue, maybe only with certain AVRs, and nothing to do with DirecTV or the cable company.
I saw your post at the directv forum and I posted this link for any others there who are suffering the same problem.
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post #4 of 83 Old 04-16-2013, 02:02 PM
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Its interesting that Directv isn't getting more complaints if it really is a wide spread issue with the channels.

I have several friends that have Comcast and they don't have this issue and my Directv tech said several times this is the first time he has ever heard this issue before and he has the exact same setup/channels as me.
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post #5 of 83 Old 04-21-2013, 02:13 PM
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Having the same issues with these channels; I'm on Verizon FiOS in Richmond, VA.

Can't figure out for the life of me what the heck is going on. I've adjusted my AVR (Yamaha RX-V471) several times, toyed with the settings in the STB (Dynamic Range Control, Audio Output [L-PCM, Auto, Pass Through]) no luck in getting anything to stick/work. Funny thing is, same movie/show via On-Demand on HBO/Cinemax and no audio issues... NOTHING. It works perfect.

Only thing I can think of is the signal strength coming from the Coax. I originally had my FiOS router split off from the same Coax, removed and relocated the box, and it seemed to clear it up a little bit.

Having a Tech out to track it down tomorrow, but it's really annoying having a decent sound system and crappy sound limiting your enjoyment.
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post #6 of 83 Old 04-21-2013, 10:25 PM
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Rican,

Interesting that you aren't experiencing the issue from OnDemand. I am still having the issue regardless of the movie/show being live, recorded or downloaded from OnDemand. I have Directv.

We've replaced receivers, swim 16, checked ground, tested Coax (not replaced any yet), replaced LNB on dish arm and double checked cables. We also replaced the power supply for the dish and placed it in a closer location to reduce on some power cable running across the back of the house (this was done just to check a box, not sure its related to my issue).

I've even gone as far as investing in a entry level Panamax Power Conditioner (4300 series) to see if cleaning up the power would help a little and that made no improvements.

I've noticed the issue on Sopranos, movies like Terminator, Roadhouse etc.
Only occurs during explosions, gun shots, roaring engines or any noisy scene. The weird thing is it doesn't do it on every movie and every noisy scene. Seems to be very selective, but once I know what movie and what scene I can recreate it over and over again. This leads me to believe its not my equipment/interference in the home and more related to a signal from the provider. That could be wishful thinking though.
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post #7 of 83 Old 04-22-2013, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel1400 View Post

Rican,

Interesting that you aren't experiencing the issue from OnDemand. I am still having the issue regardless of the movie/show being live, recorded or downloaded from OnDemand. I have Directv.

We've replaced receivers, swim 16, checked ground, tested Coax (not replaced any yet), replaced LNB on dish arm and double checked cables. We also replaced the power supply for the dish and placed it in a closer location to reduce on some power cable running across the back of the house (this was done just to check a box, not sure its related to my issue).

I've even gone as far as investing in a entry level Panamax Power Conditioner (4300 series) to see if cleaning up the power would help a little and that made no improvements.

I've noticed the issue on Sopranos, movies like Terminator, Roadhouse etc.
Only occurs during explosions, gun shots, roaring engines or any noisy scene. The weird thing is it doesn't do it on every movie and every noisy scene. Seems to be very selective, but once I know what movie and what scene I can recreate it over and over again. This leads me to believe its not my equipment/interference in the home and more related to a signal from the provider. That could be wishful thinking though.

I have to agree with you here, it's definitely a signal issue (even though they say it doesn't occur, idiots).

Movies that I have problems with: Die Hard, Die Hard 2, The Thing, End of Days, The Terminator.. its all from Cinemax, HBO channels though. I haven't noticed this anywhere. Wonder if this is an HBO specific issue?
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post #8 of 83 Old 04-22-2013, 10:40 PM
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Solid,

I don't know. I know HBO owns Cinemax so who knows if their encoding is similar. I'm still waiting to hear back from Directv. I touched base today and they haven't heard back from the departments involved.

I've only noticed it on HBO/Cinemax but I won't rule out other channels being affected.
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post #9 of 83 Old 04-23-2013, 01:02 AM
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Same problem with DISH, so it's got to be at the HBO/Max head end.
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post #10 of 83 Old 04-23-2013, 12:16 PM
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Kucharsk,

You are having the same issues with distortion during loud scenes with Dish?

Do you notice it on any other channels besides HBO/Cinemax?
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post #11 of 83 Old 04-23-2013, 03:53 PM
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Well did some more testing.. this also does not occur on the NON-HD channels (watched same movie in SD and it was fine). Guess this isn't a test you could do on DTV or is it?
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post #12 of 83 Old 04-23-2013, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
and my Directv tech said several times this is the first time he has ever heard this issue before

Really! Considering that there have been several threads on this very topic posted here over the past year. I suspect that they are using some sort of "loudness" control algorithm to meet the FCC requirements, and the response time of whatever they are using is slow enough that when real high peak content material occurs suddenly, it takes a few cycles for the loudness controller to catch up and reduce the gain. If you were to look at the audio stream on a 'scope, I suspect you would see clipping. I was hoping that someone could record a little of this in either a WAV or AIFF file and post it, so the rest of us can both hear and see what is going on.
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post #13 of 83 Old 04-23-2013, 11:18 PM
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fastl,

I've told them and even sent the links for the threads with the multiple complaints.

Can Audio clipping occur from their broadcasting signal? That would mean its not related to equipment on our side correct?
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post #14 of 83 Old 04-24-2013, 12:39 PM
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Heard back from Directv today. The engineering department said they are monitoring HBO and Cinemax and the issue I'm having is not a broadcasting issue but they had nothing to contribute......WHAT!?

Not a broadcasting issue? How do they figure that>?
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post #15 of 83 Old 04-24-2013, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel1400 View Post

Heard back from Directv today. The engineering department said they are monitoring HBO and Cinemax and the issue I'm having is not a broadcasting issue but they had nothing to contribute......WHAT!?

Not a broadcasting issue? How do they figure that>?

too bad, i was experiencing this starting a few weeks ago also. I thought it was just one channel, now seeing it on other HBO channels and also on AMC. hopefully we get a result soon.
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post #16 of 83 Old 04-24-2013, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel1400 View Post

Heard back from Directv today. The engineering department said they are monitoring HBO and Cinemax and the issue I'm having is not a broadcasting issue but they had nothing to contribute......WHAT!?

Not a broadcasting issue? How do they figure that>?

Obviously incompetent.
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post #17 of 83 Old 04-24-2013, 08:04 PM
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Can Audio clipping occur from their broadcasting signal? That would mean its not related to equipment on our side correct?

It could be unique to certain audio stream decoder chip-sets. If they are allowing their audio modulation levels to reach near full scale, it's possible that you could get clipping in one device or chip-set, but not with another. It appears that they aren't hearing the problem at their end, but the audience is obviously hearing it at their end. If they went out and spent a lot of money on a loudness control "solution" to conform with the CALM act, and the solution is the root cause of the problem, maybe they don't want to believe that a problem really exists, particularly if they aren't hearing it at their end.
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post #18 of 83 Old 04-25-2013, 11:38 AM
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OR they just don't care; which is what I am saying in FiOS case. Sent out a few techs who did diddily.
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post #19 of 83 Old 04-27-2013, 09:24 AM
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Work for TWC in Network Operations (tier 3), this issue is driving me nuts, have a Onkyo TX-NR 809 setup, getting the same as you all, so far just HBO and Max, going to test others now that I'm sure it's not my equipment and someone mentioned AMC. I will also be inquiring into this with some guys (above me) at work to see if they noticed it and if not, have them check for it. I don't believe this was happening a few weeks ago, I would have noticed it, very picky about my audio.

I've tried all the troubleshooting you all tried with no success and came to the conclusion before finding this thread that it was either the Cisco 8742 DVR or an issue somewhere out there in the (someones) plant. Now I see it's defiantly not the boxes or a specific TWC problem seeing as others with different boxes/providers are experiencing the same issue as well.

I'll report back when I have more.
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post #20 of 83 Old 04-27-2013, 01:07 PM
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Hey Sabre,

Thanks for chiming in. I was able to mimic the issue at a different house with a Sopranos episode on HBO but haven't been able to re-create the issue on any of the other movies. Where at my home I can recreate the audio issue on all the same movies. Not sure where the differences lie. They have 2 DVR's and an HD box where I have 3 DVR's. Not sure if that matters at all.

You would think if it was a broadcasting issue then it would be the same everywhere but it doesn't appear to be. Its interesting people with Comcast, TWC, Vios, Directv are all experiencing the issue but not everyone with their service has the issue. UGh. Where do the differences lye???
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post #21 of 83 Old 04-27-2013, 04:15 PM
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If you are downmixing and broadcast levels are peaking close to full scale, you could be experiencing clipping internal to your playback equipment. Dolby's AC-3 system has a peak limiting function designed into decoding to prevent this from happening. That's why I suspect that it has something to do with the broadcaster trying to maintain levels consistent with CALM.
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post #22 of 83 Old 04-28-2013, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I am the OP and I have't checked on this thread for a while. As I wrote, my problem is with Time Warner Cable. But the fact that FiOs and Comcast have it too (also the fact that it's only HBO) leads me to concur that the problem is at the HBO "broadcasting" end. Makes sense that the problem doesn't exist with on-demand, since that's served up by the cable company. I don't have Cinemax so can't comment there.

The good news is that I haven't noticed it in a while. Maybe they've fixed it; maybe I just haven't watched any action movies on HBO lately.

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post #23 of 83 Old 04-28-2013, 06:17 PM
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Watching game of thrones with the audio issue is horrible. . On fios and whwhenever a loud scene occurs crackling occurs. Thankfully on demand has no issue. Last year hbo had no crackling issue.
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post #24 of 83 Old 04-28-2013, 06:38 PM
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Same deal here. Watching Game of Thrones right now on an Onkyo 876... Audio sounds like its clipping and it's not originating from the receiver. Very annoying. It's been doing this since the season started. Last season was fine. Movies do this now too on HBO. I'm on Fios.
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post #25 of 83 Old 04-28-2013, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kascnef82 View Post

Watching game of thrones with the audio issue is horrible. . On fios and whwhenever a loud scene occurs crackling occurs. Thankfully on demand has no issue. Last year hbo had no crackling issue.

That is where I hear it the most also. Are you saying if you watch the same episode with on demand the sound issue is not there?
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post #26 of 83 Old 04-29-2013, 12:17 PM
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I'm on Wide Open West cable's Ultra TV service (Arris equipment). Got the same thing while watching HBO-- it was particularly bad during Game of Thrones' opening scene last night. I've noticed it on a Marantz SR-6003 and a H/K AVR-240 setup in another room. I've only ever noticed it on HBO but I often don't bother firing up the AVR for general TV viewing.
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post #27 of 83 Old 04-29-2013, 04:18 PM
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One thing you might want to try is to send an email to Dave Moulton at MoultonLabs and outline the nature of the (unresolved) problem. He writes an audio column for trade rag TV Technology, and might have an industry contact that can help expedite a fix for the problem.

contactus@moultonlabs.com
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post #28 of 83 Old 05-01-2013, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel1400 View Post

Kucharsk,

You are having the same issues with distortion during loud scenes with Dish?

Do you notice it on any other channels besides HBO/Cinemax?

I've only noticed it on HBO/Max HD.
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post #29 of 83 Old 05-02-2013, 10:25 AM
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So I have a pretty good update on this.

I've been consistently harassing Directv's case management department regarding this issue. Initially engineering/broadcasting department on their end said they couldn't replicate the issue.

I followed up with them and gave them some specifics for movies and time frames where the distortion occurs.

I got a call from Directv yesterday telling me they were closing my case so I called back to raise hell and they informed me that they did hear back from 3 engineers actually that were able to replicate the issue based on the information I provided them and didn't believe it was on their end. They are in contact with HBO/Cinemax and working on the issue. From my understanding its a dBS problem as some have suggested and they need to turn it down from either their end of the signal that they receive from HBO and Cinemax. They are going to monitor some of the other movies I provided to them and hopefully begin to work on a fix between the two companies.

I made them promise to follow up with me on the 15th of this month to give me a progress update especially since I've spent countless hours on the internet, phone and working with technicians more or less doing their jobs for them. I also mentioned I expected a credit for the 8-9 months that I've been having an issue and a compensation credit for the inconvenience and the time I've had to commit to solving this problem. That will have to come after the fix though.

The good news is they are now aware that there is an issue and have been able to replicate it. They have also gotten the ball rolling in regards to building a line of communication with HBO/Cinemax on this issue.

I would suggest everyone that hasn't called in on this issue to do so. That way they can establish a trend and it would put more pressure on them to solve the issue at a quicker pace and not put it on the back burner. The case managers even told me that the more people that call in on the issue the higher the likely hood they will take it seriously and get it resolved.
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post #30 of 83 Old 05-02-2013, 01:36 PM
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It would be better if DirecTv did NOT manage to create a fix at their end. Since from this and other threads it's obvious the problem is an HBo/Cinemax source issue, and is happening on many providers, HBO needs to fix this at the source otherwise cable/Dish/fios subscribers will still have the problem.
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