Video quality output of an HTPC vs Cable box? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I've just built a new home theater PC utilizing an AMD A10-5800K CPU and ASRock FM2A85X Extreme4-M FM2 microATX motherboard. I'm using two HDHomeRun PRIME units to get 6 tuners.

So far, i'm very happy with it. However, I did some video comparisons last night and noticed something.

I have FiOS with a Motorola 7232-2 DVR and a Panasonic 65" Plasma (VT50 series).

I flipped back and forth between the PC and Motorola and it feels like the PC color depth is not as deep as the Motorola. Areas in the frame where there's a wall or near solid color show smoother transitions on the Motoroal box and the color seems to be just slightly richer? I'm not sure I've got the right vocabulary to describe this.

Granted, I'm standing pretty close to the TV when I'm doing this and when I sit at my chair I hardly notice it. Also, I'm wondering if a calibration on the PC would rectify the colors.

Is this a driver setting, or am I missing something?

Thanks,
Amro
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 08:13 AM
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I've never tried this, but it might be worth playing with

http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/06/fixing-media-centers-poor-black-levels.html

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amro View Post

I've just built a new home theater PC utilizing an AMD A10-5800K CPU and ASRock FM2A85X Extreme4-M FM2 microATX motherboard. I'm using two HDHomeRun PRIME units to get 6 tuners.

So far, i'm very happy with it. However, I did some video comparisons last night and noticed something.

I have FiOS with a Motorola 7232-2 DVR and a Panasonic 65" Plasma (VT50 series).

I flipped back and forth between the PC and Motorola and it feels like the PC color depth is not as deep as the Motorola. Areas in the frame where there's a wall or near solid color show smoother transitions on the Motoroal box and the color seems to be just slightly richer? I'm not sure I've got the right vocabulary to describe this.

Granted, I'm standing pretty close to the TV when I'm doing this and when I sit at my chair I hardly notice it. Also, I'm wondering if a calibration on the PC would rectify the colors.

Is this a driver setting, or am I missing something?

Thanks,
Amro

A year ago when I got my HTPC I was very unhappy with the PQ. Way worse than my SA 4250 STB. After some searching and tinkering (lack of good instruction manual hinders!!!!) I found that by calibrating my PC Monitot, using the WMC settings picture calibrations and then going into my Intel 2000 Graphics adjustments, I was able to get a comparable picture quality. I do not want to say better, might be a tad less good but decent certainly. I am also handicapped by the fact that my Sony XBR set shuts down many of its picture settings (can basically only adjust bright, picture (contrast) and backlight when a PC is hooked up to its HDMI input. No idea why, but makes adjustments way more complicated. Perhaps if you look into some of this you will start to see a nicer PQ. It ain't quick, so be patient. I wish there were a good calibration tool to use; the one's on the PC and in WMS allow for too much spread and when you go to a real program, you can still not like the results. Patience is required above all.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll take a look at both of those.

My other concern though, relates to maybe the number of bits/pixel? Do the Motorola boxes have greater range?
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 10:40 PM
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The picture quality from the tuner should be identical to the Motorola DVR. If there is a difference, it would be in the video output system of the PC, which in my case is clearly superior than the cable box. I run an AMD 5670 Video card via HDMI to a Pioneer KRP-500M Plasma. The picture is at the very least sharper, and seems to have better contrast than the cable box. Both outputs go through a Pioneer VSX-1018 receiver before going to the TV.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-13-2013, 02:01 PM
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I'd agree you should have far better control on your A10 and its HD 7660D video than any STB. Have you been into the CCC and adjusted your video/color settings? You can use 0-255 or 16-2xx to enhance your color depth as well... As atated, you should do a complete assessment of your PC's video, WMC and the Plasma to know where you should be making the adjustments. Have you used a Video Essentials or Avia setup disc?
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