Originally posted by neitzb
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I'm out of luck though since it's a DirectTV Tivo, and without running it through the tivo/receiver I end up with nothing. I played with the settings last night and realized the factory contrast was maxed out, so after backing it way down a lot of the graininess went with it. I think I'll chalk most of this up to the fact that I am still looking at SD and until I get a progressive scan dvd player that I won't be able to start reaping the benefits. Thanks again!
I don't know the specifics of your new TV, but I do have suggestions for settings that will improve the viewable picture for digitally transmitted or recorded programs. These work for TiVo recordings (DirecTV or stand-alone), live satellite channels, and live digital cable channels. These suggestions have been shared widely on this forum in a variety of threads.
These settings appear on nearly every TV but sometimes with slightly different labels:
1. Sharpness - should typically be set somewhere between zero (no "enhancement") and 1/3. Sharpness artifically enhances the horizontal edges of picture detail and gives the illusion of a sharper picture. With digital pictures, sharpness "enhancement" overemphasizes unnatural small blocks that make up the picture and things look terrible. Also, sharpness increases the graininess of the picture. I usually set sharpness by eye, looking at edges and digital source pictures to minimize or eliminate the unnatural grain or edges. For HD pictures, sharpness is usually best set at zero. The DVD setup disks have tests for helping achieve a good sharpness setting also.
2. Scan Velocity Modulation (SVM) - should typically be set to off. This is another attempt to "enhance" picture detail that tends to give artificial-looking results.
3. Contrast - out-of-the-box settings are usually way too high, overemphasizing digital and analog picture artifacts. This control actually sets the limit for the "whitest" white in the picture. The DVD setup disks have aids for setting contrast also. Typical settings are 50% or less, but this varies widely by TV brand and model. (Older Sony TVs used to label this control as "picture." I have not looked at the newer Sony's.)
4. Brightness - out-of-the-box settings are extreme here also. This control actually sets the limit for "blackest" black in the picture. The DVD setup disks have aids for setting brightness. Typical settings are 50% or less, but this varies widely by TV brand and model. (Some TVs have labeled this control as "black level.")
5. Color - out-of-the-box settings are often too high here as well. The trick here is to achieve natural levels of color and avoid setting it too high. Too much here is another way to over-exagerate the small color differences that may exist between the small blocks that make up a digital picture.
The end result should be an overall softening of the picture which turns out to be more natural looking than the artifical sharpening enhancements that were originally designed to make an already soft analog picture appear to be sharper than it really is.
As always, YMMV. After you have some experience with these, you will be able to adjust them to your liking and minimize the inherent "roughness" of a digital picture on your TV.
I hope these suggestions will help you.