Originally Posted by Gord Lacey
I've been bothered by banding on my KDS-R60XBR2 TV for some time, and after doing some searches on Google I seem to be the only one experiencing this. I've noticed it on both HDMI inputs (one from a PS3, visible on games and BR movies, the other from a Mac Mini hooked up via DVI->HDMI), and a component cable (Sony DVD player).
Has anyone else experienced banding problems with this TV? It's still under warranty so I can get it fixed (or a new one if it can't be fixed).
Thanks for the help,
If by "banding" you mean color contouring wherein you see distinct steps in "fades" instead of a smooth transition from one color to another... EVERYBODY is seeing that on their sets from time to time. Whether they have noticed it or not, is another question. Some people just don't see it, at least until it is pointed out. I see it on the XBR2 with some regularity. On the MARVEL logo for example... bright red around the letters fades to a black background. You can see steps in the red instead of a smooth transition. The Roving Mars Blu-ray disc is LOADED with color contouring, worst example I've ever seen. Ice Age: The Meltdown has contouring in the ice in 1 place and in the night sky in another place... neither one lasts more than a few seconds, but there are there. Yet other movies have NO color contouring anywhere through the whole movie in spite of having plenty of opportunities for color contouring. Fog, steam and smoke are other places color contouring can be visible.
The issue is that we are still getting 8-bit color in these displays and disc players, even high-def disc players. HDMI 1.1 and 1.2 support a MAXIMUM of 8-bits per color. That's just not enough steps to avoid visible contouring problems in fades (color to color, color to black, color to white, white to black, etc)... UNLESS you use appropriate mastering tricks. It is POSSIBLE to avoid color contouring in 8-bit color, but only if the person//people doing the mastering are paying attention. The less contouring you see from any given source, the better the mastering job.
There's another issue too... video compression, rampant on SD cable and satellite programming promotes color contouring even if it wasn't present in the original program. Even HD satellite and cable apply so much compression that contouring can be ADDED to the program at almost any point from the network to the cable provider.
HDMI 1.3 and higher support 8-bit, 10-bit, 12-bit, and 16-bit color. 12-bit color does away with color contouring COMPLETELY without anybody having to pay attention to anything during mastering. 10-bit color is an improvement, but it's not perfect unless you have the mastering person fixing the problems that 10-bits alone can't fix. To make color banding go away completely, we will need a player with HDMI 1.3 (or higher) AND 12-bit or more color datapath (HDMI 1.3 itself does NOTHING but allow more bits per color, the player and everyting in the chain has to have more bits in their color path also), a video display with HDMI 1.3(or higher) and 12-bit or higher color datapath, and software (movie discs) with 12-bit or more color encoded on the disc (which takes more space).
So for the present, the only thing that will stop color contouring is for the movie mastering to be done carefully and for no extra compression to be added to the original contouring-free program material. This is difficult to achieve in the bandwidth-starved cable and satellite arenas.
If you are seeing more than occasional color banding, give some examples so we can check HD-DVDs or Blu-ray discs for banding in the same places you see it (need a time index or some other way to find the same spot in the movie).