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post #1 of 24 Old 12-04-2013, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks in advance for any assistance.

I've recently returned to DirectV after 12 odd years and have been a bit disappointed with the picture. The screen is just muddied with blocky artifacts across a variety of HD channels most noticeably when there is a dark/night time scene playing (it's less obvious if it's a bright scene). I have an older panny plasma and a brand new Samsung F8000 and both have the problem (though the plasma masks it better). Neither set has a problem when playing Blu-rays so it certainly doesn't feel TV related (and I've exhausted every combination of settings possible on the DTV box to try and resolve as well). I'm just not sure if what I'm seeing is "normal" (compression is a given) or if something is otherwise wrong with my service.

Tempted to call them out to look at it, but want to make sure my expectations of a relatively artifact free picture aren't out of line.
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post #2 of 24 Old 12-04-2013, 11:19 PM
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Zero, sounds like you may be experiencing some errored bits in the signal feeding your cable box. If I were you I would get a service tech to come out and give everything a checkup also get them to make sure your set top output resolution matches your tv resolution. (1080i would be the correct output resolution for a cable box )
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post #3 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 03:05 AM
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What are you using for a signal? "DTV" might mean several things....
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post #4 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

What are you using for a signal? "DTV" might mean several things....

DirecTV ... sorry smile.gif
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post #5 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 08:51 AM
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DTV = Digital Television

D* = DirecTV

We're gonna need a screen cap to see what you're talking about and the specific channels you're seeing it on. If it's network, then there's nothing DirecTV can do. They use what they get from your affiliate. We'll need your location.

If you're getting a lot of macroblocking such as this, you need to repoint your antenna.

On the other hand, if this is what you're seeing, then you'll looking at a standard MPEG artifact.

A fairly good barometer is ESPN. IMHO, DirecTV does a better job with this channel than most cable operators. Grab a cap off of ESPN and point to what you're seeing.

But, as mentioned above, a truckroll might be in your future.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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post #6 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll get a screen cap or two later this evening. I've not had time to watch too much TV but I've certainly seen it strongly on Showtime, HBO and FX. For example, the Homeland episode last week had a lot of night time scenes and the artifacts were very visible.
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post #7 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is an example I just took:





This is from MSNBC, but those blocky artifacts are exactly what I see across a lot of different channels (and programs). It's easy to spot in dark areas like the picture above.
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post #8 of 24 Old 12-06-2013, 11:05 AM
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That's a pretty typical MPEG gradient artifact. However, there's no way to know if that was already present on the video MSNBC appears to be playing. Your screen grab looks like some B-roll. In which case we probably ALL would have seen that. It seems half of the video the news nets air comes from cell phone cams, Skype or something compressed for easy uplinking. Garbage in, garbage out.

The reason I suggested ESPN-HD is because it's generally live sports and studio shows (or a replay of same) and that would remove third-party video, film and other causes from the mix (highlights notwithstanding).

I see that garbage all the time on CNN courtesy their source video. The live studio shots of the anchors are fine.

Which model of D* receiver are you using?

Try again with something that's live sports or a live studio shot.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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post #9 of 24 Old 12-06-2013, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd easily write it off if it was just on news nets b rolls. Alas that is the same artifacting I've seen on Showtime, HBO and other networks. I'll grab another few grabs and check espn.

Thank you
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post #10 of 24 Old 12-06-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Snagged these off of HBO - lots of artifacts in the dark areas (eg Bane's coat in these pics):





Couldn't get as obvious an infraction on ESPN, but will keep checking that. It's an HR-44 box.
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post #11 of 24 Old 12-07-2013, 10:00 AM
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Calibrating your F8000 might help reduce the noticeability of the artifacts. Also try turning on the MPEG noise filter.
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post #12 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 10:27 AM
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Glad i stumbled onto this post as we get the same thing here.... Its terrible. HR34 here. MPEG NR turned on my Vizio M3D651SV, yet still not perfect looking. Bluray content, looks great.... The worst, i mean the absolute worst show i have seen do this is the show revolution. During commercials, not nearly as bad. i don't know what they are doing with that show, its horrendous to watch, We also get this on other channels also, even in the premium channels quite a bit, yet not nearly as bad. This also http://www.iceflowstudios.com/v3/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GradientBanding1.jpg we see ALLOT.

Trying to figure this out, purchased new HDMi cables 9http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-ULTRA-Series-HDMI-Cable/dp/B0031TRZX2/ref=zg_bs_202505011_9/178-8247772-7710305) with no difference... . Bypassed my AVR RX A-1000 to try see if that was it... Tried just about everything I can think of here on my end. And as mentioned, BluRay looks fantastic, so that takes the TV out of the equation. I wish i could figure this out, I have allot invested in my entertainment system and seeing this is just a shame.
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post #13 of 24 Old 02-02-2014, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datagg View Post

Glad i stumbled onto this post as we get the same thing here.... Its terrible. HR34 here. MPEG NR turned on my Vizio M3D651SV, yet still not perfect looking. Bluray content, looks great.... The worst, i mean the absolute worst show i have seen do this is the show revolution. During commercials, not nearly as bad. i don't know what they are doing with that show, its horrendous to watch, We also get this on other channels also, even in the premium channels quite a bit, yet not nearly as bad. This also http://www.iceflowstudios.com/v3/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GradientBanding1.jpg we see ALLOT.

Trying to figure this out, purchased new HDMi cables 9http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-ULTRA-Series-HDMI-Cable/dp/B0031TRZX2/ref=zg_bs_202505011_9/178-8247772-7710305) with no difference... . Bypassed my AVR RX A-1000 to try see if that was it... Tried just about everything I can think of here on my end. And as mentioned, BluRay looks fantastic, so that takes the TV out of the equation. I wish i could figure this out, I have allot invested in my entertainment system and seeing this is just a shame.

Still going on for me, I've pretty much given up on it. Dark scenes are truly horrendous across most channels (See my HBO grabs earlier in the tread). It happens on major network and cable shows (and premium channels) across the board. I just don't recall this when I had my old Panny plasma hooked up to Time Warner. I'm loathe to go back to cable and now am in contract obviously.

Once I get a free day I'll see if I can get a truck roll to assess it as I've done about everything I can on my side tinkering with video settings (e.g. MPEG noise filters and calibrating).
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post #14 of 24 Old 02-02-2014, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Zerophin View Post

Still going on for me, I've pretty much given up on it. Dark scenes are truly horrendous across most channels (See my HBO grabs earlier in the tread). It happens on major network and cable shows (and premium channels) across the board. I just don't recall this when I had my old Panny plasma hooked up to Time Warner. I'm loathe to go back to cable and now am in contract obviously.

Once I get a free day I'll see if I can get a truck roll to assess it as I've done about everything I can on my side tinkering with video settings (e.g. MPEG noise filters and calibrating).

I understand completely.... I know its not the TV though as Bluray wont do that..So what is it, DTV, There HR34?... I have done just about all i can do on my end that I can think of. If you have DTV check, please let me know if that solved your issue. i will post here also when i give them a call. I am soon going to be getting an HR44, i have read others with issue with the HR34, so that the route im going to take first I think.... But I understand completely, an awesome Tv that under Bluray looks fantastic, even PPV shows,, yet all else suck hard core.... disgusts me to no end.
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post #15 of 24 Old 02-03-2014, 04:42 AM
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Why don't you guys call Directv for a service call. The driver will only have HR44s on his truck. If you have them send you a replacement it could well be another 34.
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post #16 of 24 Old 02-03-2014, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by joed32 View Post

Why don't you guys call Directv for a service call. The driver will only have HR44s on his truck. If you have them send you a replacement it could well be another 34.

I actually have the HR-44, but I agree a service call is in the future.
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post #17 of 24 Old 05-24-2014, 04:10 PM
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Been awhile and this issue has gotten so bad now i just want to smash things. My free Direct TV equipment upgrade has finally arrived, so within the next week or so I am going to upgrade to the HR44 and have a truck roll out to see if they can figure this out. Has anyone else with these "mpeg" artifact issues figured anything out on there end?.
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post #18 of 24 Old 11-01-2014, 05:09 PM
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This thread has been quiet for a long time, I'm just wondering if anyone found a solution. I have Directv with a HR24-200 DVR, and I'm having similar problems. More on some channels than others - HBO and Showtime are generally fine, but many darkly filmed shows show artifacts in flat, out of focus areas of the screen. Blu-Rays or DVD do not show such artifacts.
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post #19 of 24 Old 04-04-2016, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bobinnv View Post
This thread has been quiet for a long time, I'm just wondering if anyone found a solution. I have Directv with a HR24-200 DVR, and I'm having similar problems. More on some channels than others - HBO and Showtime are generally fine, but many darkly filmed shows show artifacts in flat, out of focus areas of the screen. Blu-Rays or DVD do not show such artifacts.
My apologies for resurrecting this thread but I am going through the same exact experience. A lot of darker/night scenes have a ton of the blockiness and artifacts but the bright/days scenes are really good. Have DirecTV DVR set to 1080i. Hoping to get some info.

Last edited by darkon1; 04-04-2016 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #20 of 24 Old 04-05-2016, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by darkon1 View Post
My apologies for resurrecting this thread but I am going through the same exact experience. A lot of darker/night scenes have a ton of the blockiness and artifacts but the bright/days scenes are really good. Have DirecTV DVR set to 1080i. Hoping to get some info.
I'm afraid the answer is that there is no solution. I tuned my set as best I could, which works for most TV shows, but some shows still display artifacts in dark areas of the screen. Blu-Rays and DVDs never display artifacts, so I'm confident it is due to the poor signal provided by DirecTV.

The good news is that after a year, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to - I've grown accustomed to it. Also, sitting dead center minimizes the artifacts, which tend to be on the sides of the screen.
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post #21 of 24 Old 04-08-2016, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bobinnv View Post
I'm afraid the answer is that there is no solution. I tuned my set as best I could, which works for most TV shows, but some shows still display artifacts in dark areas of the screen. Blu-Rays and DVDs never display artifacts, so I'm confident it is due to the poor signal provided by DirecTV.

The good news is that after a year, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to - I've grown accustomed to it. Also, sitting dead center minimizes the artifacts, which tend to be on the sides of the screen.
I would ask/demand DTV to come out and fix it. I'm in Ohio and have had an HR 34 and recently upgraded to HR44. I have to get within a foot of the screen to see some very minor artifacts, nothing close to the above screen samples. Good luck.

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post #22 of 24 Old 04-09-2016, 01:15 AM
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I would ask/demand DTV to come out and fix it. I'm in Ohio and have had an HR 34 and recently upgraded to HR44. I have to get within a foot of the screen to see some very minor artifacts, nothing close to the above screen samples. Good luck.
The artefacts in the screen grabs look, to me, like encoding artefacts that are baked in to the video that DTV are sending to everyone receiving that broadcast. They look like the classic indicators of low bitrate, poor encoding or concatenation (multiple encode/decodes in the chain). I very much doubt that changing receivers will make the artefacts go away. This is because digital TV - which is what is broadcast these days - delivers the same 1s and 0s to everyone, and thus the exact same encoded video. When this is decoded it will deliver the same picture quality to everyone receiving it. (*)

Different TVs may show the artefacts to a lesser or greater degree - some TVs are 'cleaner' than others (and will show up artefacts more painfully) - but the artefacts will be there on the signal output from the receiver in every case...

There are artefacts that are usually an indicator of equipment failure or poor dish alignment, but these are different to those in the screen grabs, and are block break-up (rather than macro blocking due to low bitrate), where you see the picture break up with blocks from previous frames remaining on-screen, or corruption (rainbow coloured random content) of blocks. That shows data that can't be correctly decoded (through error correction) and when error concealment begins to fail.

(*) The reason for blocks as seen in the OPs screen grabs is basically as follows. Digital TV compression like MPEG2 and MPEG4 remove as much redundant data as possible (it doesn't send information that is common between frames for every frame, and instead just sends 'difference signals' to allow the receiver to reconstruct frames, and only sends a full frame every so often. It also uses block-based compression (a bit like that used in JPEG) to yet further reduce the data required to send the picture information it does send. Because the images are broken down into blocks for this process, then there is too little data available, often the only value that can be sent for some blocks is a single one (the DC component for those who care) which effectively means the picture block has just an overall colour with no higher frequency information (horizontal and vertical detail) sent. This is often called 'Macroblocking' because the blocks are known as 'Macroblocks' and the artefacts mean the block-structure becomes very visible.
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post #23 of 24 Old 04-09-2016, 04:29 AM
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To Sneals, I didn't understand much of what you said, however, I stand by my comment. I have a plasma, LCD and an old CRT. I have two daughters who also have Directv and none of us/them have what is described.

If Directv's picture looked like that on all tv's they'd be out of business.

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post #24 of 24 Old 04-09-2016, 01:56 PM
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To Sneals, I didn't understand much of what you said, however, I stand by my comment.
Just stating the science of compression as used by satellite providers in the US and around the world. (This is the AV Science Forum after all)

The artefacts pictured are really not going to be introduced by the receiver or dish - those are encoding artefacts, not reception artefacts.

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I have a plasma, LCD and an old CRT. I have two daughters who also have Directv and none of us/them have what is described.
Suspect you have your black level (correctly) set lower, so the blocking in the blacks is less visible.

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If Directv's picture looked like that on all tv's they'd be out of business.
The OP's screen grab has brightness set too high by the look of it, so blocking in the blacks is more visible.

The artefacts pictured are the standard artefacts caused by lower bitrates or concatenation (too many code/decodes with compromised encoding or bitrates). They will not be the same across every channel (or every regional station) - it won't be that every channel will be the same on the platform, and different source material (i.e. different shows) will stress the encoding chain differently (so some content will look worse than others)
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