Is it my cable, the TV or me?
I’ve had the UN46ES7100 for about a week now, I did a calibration using AVCHD 709 as suggested in previous posts (followed along the video from HD Net) and still having the same results.
This is my first real LED TV, my previous was a Samsung CRT that could handle up to 1080i HD, but in a much smaller size – 32”. So now that I have 46” inches of awesome, I was expecting to see crystal clear resolution and detail. So far I’m underwhelmed.
I pretty much purchased this TV to watch Olympics coverage. I hemmed and hawed about it for weeks and ended up with UN46ES7100 because the near-zero bezel has such an amazing design. My rationale was 1080p, 240hz, CMR 720 spec on paper so the image quality should be amazing.
I visited it at Best Buy like a puppy at the pound, and PQ was great (in the artificially produced PQ environment of a retail store) but now that its home, instead of fist-pumps and celebrations of finally getting a beautiful 1080p LED, I’m doubting my purchase.
The trouble seems to be content that is not 1080p (which you know, is almost everything aside from BD) so far I see the quality of the full resolution of the screen on Blu-ray over HDMI. But once I switch to another source that should be at least 1080i, the difference is like HD to SD on my old TV.
I’m going to use Olympics coverage as my example since presumably everyone can watch that right now.
People and faces appear too smooth, almost lacking detail. Like everyone has had a facelift or a nose job, with little color detail variation to the face. In some instances, backgrounds almost have an “impressionist painting “effect. The NBC Olympic rings transition between shots is definitely pixilated and lacks clarity, and the pop and color of HD just doesn’t seem there. Again, it feels less like HD and more like SD. Commercials and news spots that have had more treatment appear better or wide shots of London look great, but close zoomed shots, medium shots are not what I was expecting.
Here’s what I’ve done to try to correct this:
Calibration. I used AVCHD 709 and followed along the HD Nation video that accompanies it. I have a professional Best Buy calibration set up in a month (got it free, but wanted great quality before that) I did the complete calibration including color (blue screen and all) contrast and brightness etc.
Upgraded set top box. Got a new set top box from my cable company (Mediacom), connected with a regular HDMI, and now one of the expensive Monster cables (HDMI is HDMI - but wanted to see if there was any difference with the Monster to correct this problem.)
Tried OTA. Ran out and bought a decent quality outdoor antenna, I live only like 15 miles from the transmitter so I could test if this was cable or TV. There was no discernible difference between OTA and cable.
Tried all the HDMI ports. If BD looks great, maybe the HDMI port the cable is connected to is bad. No dice.
Sitting farther away. So reading this forum, I thought perhaps I was sitting to close. So I’ve pulled back the couch to about 6-8 feet distance. It has slightly improved, but not enough! I can’t really put any more distance between my couch and the TV.
HD feed/source. I keep thinking… oh it’s just my crappy cable company, but I’m not sure! I would switch to DirecTV but not sure it’s worth it if it ends up being the TV itself. I know there are a ton of variables… NBC’s original broadcasts from London, the satellite feed connecting to my local NBC station, the quality the local station is passing along the feed, my cable company’s compression of that signal, etc.
I’ve also had clouding in the upper left and lower right corners, that can be mitigated by backlight settings, but it’s still there.
So my question to you Samsung/AV gurus – Is it the TV, my HD feed, or me? Am I just not used to the smoothing effect of 1080 on a larger screen? Should I expect even this TV to pixilate on certain transitions or tight shots? Is this a situation where the TV is too sensitive for less than perfect feeds?
I have played with most of the specs – Auto Motion, LED Motion etc. Nothing has made any real difference. Since there is no custom picture setting, I started with Movie mode. If I had started with Standard or Natural would that have made a difference?
Your help would be appreciated since this awesome TV was supposed to be a splurge that I’m super excited about. And instead, while watching, I’m disappointed with PQ and constantly want to tweak settings.
Here are my current specs:
Picture Mode: Movie
Sharpness: 20-46 (playing with this setting to counter smoothing)
Tint: 50 50
Pic size: Screen fit, no adjustment
Dynamic contrast: Off
Flesh tone: Off
Color space: Auto
White balance: default
Motion lighting off
Color tone: Warm 2
Digital noise filter: Off
Meg filter: Off
Hdmi black: Off
Film mode: Auto 2
Auto motion plus: Tried Clear and/or Custom with 10 Blur reduction and 5 Judder
Led motion plus off
Energy saver off
Eco sensor: on
Min backlight 6 Max 14