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Vertical bar on Sonys when viewing 1080i

post #1 of 918
Thread Starter 
Several folks have noticed a faint vertical bar, maybe 2 inches wide moving across the screen (usually right to left) when viewing 1080i sources. It has been seen using different models of HD OTA or Satellite tuners.

The question is whether or not its common with all the new Sonys, just certain models, or is just a problem with a few individual sets (although I've had two myself).

Once you notice it, its one of those things that can haunt you - so you may not want to check for it if you haven't seen it. If so, don't read any further.

Its been my experience that its most visible during dark scenes - when the credits are rolling after a show for example - and sometimes can be seen in the dark areas of "normal" pictures. As far as I know its only visible when viewing 1080i signals using either the component or DVI inputs.

It can be made more apparent by setting the TV brightness and contrast (picture) controls higher than normal -- although it can also be seen after calibrating the set using the SMPTE color bars' pluge signal -- available from the Video Essentials or AVIA setup disks -- then tuning to a HD channel.

I'd like to know which models have it and with what receiver or other video sources.

It's been in both of my 40XBR800's when driving the component input with a Dish 6000 receiver (both on HD OTA signals and HBO/SHOWTIME HD satellite signals).

Its source is the very slight (1 Hz) frequency difference between the set's horizontal scan rate and the 1080i video's horizontal sync rate.
post #2 of 918
Yep, I've got it in my set, a 34XBR800. I notice if I change the output from my HD200 to 720P, it goes away. I'm reluctant to do this as a matter of course because I'm afraid the picture quality will suffer.

This sounds like a bug in the design to me...
post #3 of 918

Originally posted by Andy64
Several folks have noticed a faint vertical bar, maybe 2 inches wide moving across the screen (usually right to left) when viewing 1080i sources. It has been seen using different models of HD OTA or Satellite tuners.

The question is whether or not its common with all the new Sonys, just certain models, or is just a problem with a few individual sets (although I've had two myself).

After reading some earlier msgs describing this, I've looked for this on my KV-34XBR800 and not found it. My HD source is Time-Warner cable and a Scientific-Atlanta 3100HD box.

post #4 of 918
No problem..whatsoever, with my 34RBR800..purchased in August. I have Directv, cable (free), and OTA. ..with a Mit STB.
post #5 of 918
Enough of this talk!..I am looking far too hard on my set to find it...........
post #6 of 918

Originally posted by magic123
Enough of this talk!..I am looking far too hard on my set to find it...........

Yeah .. it is pretty easy to drive yourself crazy looking for little defects

post #7 of 918
Thread Starter 
Euratus, yes, I definately think its a design problem - but maybe not visible to most set owners depending on their source of 1080i signals.

magic123, if you need to look that hard - I suggest you stop looking and enjoy your set. BTW, what box do you use to tune to 1080i HD channels?

Its interesting that, so far, I've only heard of it being visible when using Dish 6000 or Sony HD200 boxes. I'm not familiar with the design of HD boxes but it makes me wonder if the Horizontal sync rate coming from the box varies from box to box. I know my Dish 6000 box temporarily changes rate when channels are changed - then goes back to 33.716 kHz (the H deflection in my 40XBR800 is 33.717 kHz, hence the 1 Hz difference). If the h sync rate from other boxes is substantially different than this (or if other individual sets run at a different horizontal rate) the "problem" wouldn't be nearly as noticeable.

I can also see it when I attach a modified NTSC video signal generator (set to run at 16.858 kHz) to the Y component input. As I change the freq of the generator, the bars move more and more rapidly until they are not noticeable.

Finally, I've also been able to see it with my DVD player connected to the component input -- but it looks like noise under those conditions and isn't at all obvious.
post #8 of 918
Well, it's a problem...but what can we do about it? I suspect nothing...Thoughts?
post #9 of 918
Thread Starter 
I would think that, if given enough feedback, Sony will respond - especially since it appears that their HD tuner and TV set combination has the problem. I'm hoping to gather enough data to be able to get their attention - although I haven't quite figured out how yet.

I've spoken with the local dealer where I bought my set(s) and have also spoken to their service tech. Very sympathetic (replaced my 40XBR800 for me) but, without actually seeing the problem its hard for them to get enthused about a fix.

I'll keep looking for a way to get Sony's attention.
post #10 of 918
I'm not a Sony owner, but I have experienced a similar problem with the new Toshiba 34" widescreens. I bought a 34HD82 and noticed a vertical bar like you describe, but it is stationary in the very center of the screen. Only visible on lighter backgrounds, such as watching a hockey match or football game, golf, etc. I returned the 34HD82 last weekend and tried the 34HDX82- when I hooked it up last night- exact same problem. I wonder if there is some inherent design flaw with direct-view widescreens?
post #11 of 918
I have a 40xbr800 and an Hd200 and am experiencing exactly what you describe in hd. I too am interested in what can be done to alleviate the problem. Thanks.
post #12 of 918
I have the 40xbr800 and the hd200 and have the same problem, also.
post #13 of 918
Perhaps its the HD source (STB) not the TV since several different TV models have been listed. List your HD 1080i source for each case, to look for similarities.
post #14 of 918
Thread Starter 
The display on auburn97's Toshiba sounds similar but different (not moving).

I think its in the tv and that it may be more apparent with some STBs than others due to differences in the horizontal syncs rate amongst the various STBs.

My bet is that the flyback pulse is getting into the component and DVI input circuits. With the new digital sets, the horizontal deflection of the TV does not necessarily run at the same frequency as the incoming signal. In the case of 1080i inputs and video from at least some sources (Sony HD200 and Dish 6000) the difference is only about 1 Hz - causing the bar to be easily seen as it moves across the screen in one second. For normal NTSC signals the difference in the TV's horizontal scan rate and twice the NTSC sync rate (its line doubled in the set) is more like 2.5 kHz which looks more like noise than a bar. Its there when playing DVDs through the component input - but difficult to see.

I have driven the TV with a test signal generator and been able to see the same thing. Even used quad shielded coax to connect the generator to the tv and ran the generator off of a power inverter to make certain there was no coupling through the AC line.
post #15 of 918

The bar movement disappears when I switch to 720 p.
post #16 of 918

The bar movement disappears when I switch to 720 p.
post #17 of 918
Thread Starter 
The H sync rate at 720p (at least coming out of my Dish 6000) is 48.4131 kHz. This means that the bar is crossing the screen roughly 15,000 times a second (the H scan rate of my 40XBR800 is 33.7 kHz). I suspect the bar is still there but not visible due to the wide frequency difference between the TV's deflection and incoming video.

It would be interesting to use two receivers, one set for 1080i, the other to 720, each connected to one of the component inputs on the 40XBR800, then switch between the two inputs while watching for differences in the image.
post #18 of 918
I have the same problem with the 34XBR800 using the GI (Motorola) DCT-5100 STB.
post #19 of 918
With the DCT5100 and the KD-34XBR2 there is a travelling line with the Showtime channel during some dark scenes. It might be there during brighter scenes and on other channels but it is not immediately visible. Setting the output to 720p creates a faint ringing pattern due to the Sony resampling and interpolating to 1080i.
post #20 of 918
I was having a shading problem on my initial XBR and had it replaced even though the HDTV was "window"-like. The new set wasn't quite as vibrant but there was little or no shading in the corners, so I was very happy...until ER and I noticed what at first looked like the reflection from a white police light; the white verticle line that crossess the screen every second or two! Rats! Has anyone called Sony about this yet? I hesitate to replace this set with another and have the same problem. I'll call Sony this morning and report back. Hopefully it's something that can be tweaked...as well as the picture. I'm surprised that there would be such a difference between two different sets of the same make and model.
post #21 of 918
Let us know what Sony says!!
post #22 of 918
It's getting to the point that all I seem to see, in every show, is this moving vertical line. It's like I'm fixated on the problem. Every time a scene changes, I look for it, almost unconsciously. Too often, I see it. During Jay Leno's monologue last night, I could see it it his desk, behind and to his right...it seemed like the desk was pulsating....like to drive me crazy. Enterprise the other night was particularly bad (UPN is still analog for me, but outputting at 1080i brings out that nasty line). There were a couple of dark scenes in CSI last night that were so annoying...

I tried switching the HD200 to 720p output for several hours. At first, it didn't seem bad, but over time I found CBS and NBC too "soft" using this method. I mean, watching CSI (CBS), the signal went from 1080i to 720p back to 1080i in the TV. This has to introduce artifacts. I switched back to 1080i on the HD200 and immediately CSI looked better, crisper somehow. On the other hand, ABC wasn't to bad. The signal is originally 730p and only gets converted once, to 1080i in the TV.

I feel rather cheated. Here I go, spend $3000 on Sony's latest and greatest 34XBR800 and HD200, only to have this line draw my eyes to it constantly.
post #23 of 918
Okay; I spoke with a wonderful Sony rep, Raquel, who had a really, really sexy voice and who did her job extremely well. She consulted her service manual and asked me to do a few things to the set, some of which I had already tried but one I had not. I am a newbie so I might not be accurate on this and please don't flame Sony if what she said is wrong, but she instructed me to change my advanced video setting to interlaced on 1080i sources. I tried this and it did help. If I look hard enough on the gray display box I can still see traces of the issue, but once the display goes away, so far, I cannot see the white line anymore. As soon as I say this, of course, it will come back, but for now I am at least a little happy.

I am comforted by her renewed commitment on behalf of Sony to help with with this and any other problem I might encounter. From what she said, interlaced keeps the 1080i source in it's native mode; progressive and cinemotion up-convert it when none is necessary; obviously 720p doesn't need any help since the issue is not there (ABC, by the way, currently uses 720p which is why the PQ looks fine on ABC while not great on 1080i sources). Makes sense and it works, at least initially. I'll watch a bit tonight and if it's still there I'll call the Sony authorized warranty dealer that Raquel told me about in my area.

I have been able to tweak the HD image and it now is close to being as good as it was on my previous set, although I may just be getting used to great images...perhaps that "wow" factor subsides after a while. So relax, enjoy and report any problems to Sony. The number is in your manual at the beginning of the troubleshooting section.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect and it's only because we spent so much money that we are being a bit obsessive about it all...speaking for myself anyway. Think of your car or house on which so much more was spent and remember the little problems there. We didn't pay the mega thousands required for truly great home theater systems but even there I bet there are problems; heck, in the movie theater last week I was disappointed in the PQ and thought to myself that direct-view was even better than that (real grainy). Do this, go watch TV for a while on your old set. My Samsung which I thought was great at the time I bought it has several glaring problems, not the least of which is very noticable markings on a dark screen and wavy lines which were very noticable on DVDs. I love my XBR and despite the white line and a few other "minor" issues, it's so much better that what I had. Of course it will be better if the white line is truly gone, but if not, I'll pester Sony until they make it right! Hoowah!
post #24 of 918
Oh, one other thing; I neglected to add that I use Auto-DVI mode on my HD200 which automatically sets the tune to the source material's signal (1080i for HDNET and CBS/NBC/FOX/UPN/WB and 720 for ABC; 420p for everything on DirecTV other than HDNET). So if you are keeping 1080i for all your viewing you might think about changing it. I use VIVID for my HD content stuff and changed the video mode to interlaced. I switch over to PRO for my non-HD stuff, which is in Cinemotion and Movie for, well, duh, movies, also on Cinemotion. I also found that by turing off the edge enhancer that PQ is better on HD channels; I loved the crisp edges, but it tends to fuzz words and create noise on some edges.
post #25 of 918

Good words from you. Unfortunately, I have the HD200 connected through the DVI pore (Video 7), which has the Advanced Video option disabled; you can't adjust Interlaced, Progressive, or CineMotion with DVI.

Perhaps I'll hook the HD200 directly to the TV through component (Video 6) and try that. I also thought I'd try going component to my receiver (Sony DA5ES) and then component to the TV. The only problem with that is the 200 pound TV takes two to move out of it's cabinet to monkey with the connections; I'll see if my brother can lend me a hand over the weekend.

Every time I ask him for help, it costs me pizza, root beer, and a movie (on the new HDTV, of course). Maybe not such a bad deal for me...
post #26 of 918
I have my STB connected to the Video-5 input and the advanced video settings are disabled there as well. Am I missing something?
post #27 of 918
I have the same line on my 34xbr800. I am using a Samsung SIR-T151 decoder hooked up to component inputs. Sony MUST know about this!How could this of gotten past the testing stage when they designed this set!?!?

I'm calling Sony and my dealer who I have a service contract with to see if there is an update part or fix to deal with this.---- GS kid
post #28 of 918
Oops, I meant to post my reply here instead of on the main direct-view page, but... Anyway, as I feared, last night while watching the Paul McCartney concert on HDNET the line was back. I immediately phoned the Sony Authorized Service center and put in a request for a service call. I think they were out of the office because I did not get a call back, so likely it will be Monday before I know just when they are coming by -- probably not until after the Thanksgiving holiday But the guy on the service line did mention that it was probably the tuner. So I guess that's good news since if they know where the problem is, they can fix it, theoretically anyway. At any rate, Sony is on the line for the next two years and I plan to put them to their word -- they will fix it, I am sure of it or they will replace it. What's the use of a warranty if you don't use it. So I highly recommend to everyone with this problem to call Sony and report it and then contact a service rep. Let's get to the bottom of this thing!
post #29 of 918
Any updates on this issue? This thread's been dead for several days now but the problem is still driving me crazy. Any "official" word from Sony?

When I set the HD200 to Auto DVI, ABC is sent to the TV as 1080i; I've since switched my HD200 to Variable1 which leaves all the HD signals in their native format. Now ABC is sent to the set in 720p and has no line problem. In moderate to dark scenes from any 1080i channel on the HD200 (NBC, CBS, PBS), however, this line is as bad as ever. I've been unable to get the Advanced Video option to show up either. It is available from the DVD player's input (component Video 6), but this isn't 1080i and does not need any correction. I've Avid-calibrated the Pro mode, which I use on all video sources (HD200, DVD and VHS VCR). Perhaps I should see if one of the other modes, likely Movie, would have the Advanced Video option when fed a 1080i signal from the DH200. I'd sure like to give Sony Raquel's Interlaced "fix" a try.

post #30 of 918
Unfortunately this is the same guy who I had to literally beg to try something when he came to look at my first set because of the shaded areas; his first words to me when he saw the shaded areas was, "Good luck getting rid of those." So after a set exchange and this new problem I am hoping he'll be a little more aggressive in treating the white line.

It is actually very easty to access the advanced video settings; just turn off the receiver, puch the "TV" button on your remote (gray, not green) and press menu and it should be lighted again. Sadly it doesn't affect anything. I have since found out that the receiver disables this feature and takes over for it so changing the settings doesn't help. I remain convinced that this problem is fixable. If not, Sony will be soon sending me a new set (Circuit City is off the hook; the onus is now on Sony and it will be they, not Circuit City, who is going to jump through hoops to make me happy.)

In the meantime, call Sony, (number on the troubleshooting page of your manual) and get the number, from them, for a local authorized technician. Once they become more aware of the problem, perhaps they will have a quick fix available for all who follow.
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