Originally Posted by archiguy
You could try taking your Oppo out of the equation by feeding your DVR directly into your display to see if the artifacts are still there. I'd be curious to hear your results because I'm getting ready to buy two of the 103's, one for a dedicated theater, one for the living room system.
Well, I've had my 103 for about a year (since I purchased my Panny 65VT50), and have fed my DVR through it for all that time. The processing of the 103 in improving HDTV programs has always been outstanding, and still is for virtually anything else that is not quite so dark as MOS, or has scenes where it is so easy to see the compression artifacts as many on this show.
But I happened to notice this same anomaly the other night while watching "Chelsea Lately", where she was wearing kind of olive colored pants. This is a 1080i show, "live", and is quite well lit. And yet during the opening monolog where her legs were in the camera shot I couldn't help but notice the same "swimming pixels" blocky mpeg-compression (but only on her pants!) anomaly that I'm describing here for MOS. Completely different "live" image than a filmed MOS scene, but the same artifact in darker areas of the screen.
To be fair, I noticed the same thing earlier this year during "The Americans"\ on FX, which is 720p rather than 1080i as my other examples are. And that was way back when using a much earlier version of the 103 firmware. But FX is notorious for bad compression and low bitrate program distribution, so the darker scenes in this particular show may just have brought out the evidence just that much more obviously.
So, again, this might be low bitrate poor compression from the content provider. Or, it might be TWC interfering and re-compressing what they deliver (as is known that they do, even for local OTA broadcast major networks). I honestly do NOT want to accuse the 103, except for the recent firmware upgrade data point which clouds the issue a bit.
You're right, I could just re-route the DVR output and send it directly to the HDTV. But that's again difficult to A/B compare since the Oppo also "cleans up the signal" as well as upconverting to 1080p for delivery. So it's not fair to deliver "raw native" 720p or 1080i images on my 65VT50 screen and try to mentally compare it to the "cleaned" and upconverted-to-1080p images from the Oppo. Now we have the VT50's effects to consider, accepting 720p/1080i input and doing its own processing for display at its own 1080p native resolution.
That's why I was trying to gather comments from others, on other cable systems or with other equipment, just to see if they'd noticed anything like the compression artifacts that I'm describing... either on MOS, or "Chelsea Lately" (again, for darker but non-black set features), or "The Americans", etc. Honestly, these are recently very noticeable for me, which is what prompted me to question either the source or my own hardware equipment.
You don't see it on white or black or bright colors or daylight scenes, but rather only on darkish scene parts or darker clothing. It's like the compression algorithm is having trouble delivering COLOR to these low-illumination areas of the image. Black or white wouldn't be a problem, but color is.