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Should an A/V receiver pass all video levels (0-255) unmodified from an HDMI input?

  • Yes, I use below black and/or above white to calibrate my display.

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Yes, some of my input devices use full range RGB signals.

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Don't care, as long as I can see standard video levels (16-235).

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • No, it's better if full range inputs are clipped to 16-235 in the receiver.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
It turns out that not all HDMI switching receivers pass video unmodified from an HDMI input to their HDMI output. For example, some are clipping levels below black (16) or above white (235), whether the input is limited range YCbCr or full range RGB. This means:-

o You can't use a blacker-than-black test pattern to calibrate your display.

o You can't use full range RGB signals (e.g. from a game console or PC) without crushing blacks and whites.

o If you come across a movie that was authored with black at level 0 instead of 16, you won't be able to recover the missing shadow detail by raising the brightness on your display (for a real example see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...5&postcount=70 ).


The poll is designed to find out if people think this is an important issue. There are two "Yes" answers to establish which is the more common use for levels outside the range of standard video. If both "Yes" answers apply, then choose the one that's more important to you.


The other goal of this thread is to compile a list of which receivers can pass all video levels, and which can't, specifically over their HDMI inputs. This should allow prospective buyers to find out in advance which models pass HDMI signals unmodified.

Update: Although more results are definitely welcome, we now have enough reports to see that only Yamaha intentionally limited HDMI inputs to levels 16-235, and only on their initial HDMI 1.3 models. Other major brands have been verified as passing BTB (or if not a fix is promised). Furthermore, a large majority (over two thirds) of people who voted in the poll expressed a preference for passing HDMI signals unmodified. Several popular equipment review sites have also indicated that they will now make this a standard test for receivers.

News Flash: (17-Oct-09) Yamaha finally released new firmware for the RX-Z11 that fixes the clipping problem.
News Flash: (12-Mar-09) Yamaha released new firmware for the RX-V1800 and 3800 that allows them to pass BTB/WTW and full range RGB.
News Flash: (30-Oct-08) Harman Kardon have just released a firmware update that claims to allow the AVR-254 and 354 to pass BTB/WTW.
News Flash (16-Oct-08): Yamaha have just released new models that do not clip (starting with the RX-V1900). They obviously realized their mistake, but are still (so far) refusing to fix the models that do clip.
News Flash (31-Jul-08): Yamaha USA have posted a firmware update for the Z11 on their web site, but it doesn't seem to have fixed the clipping. One report states that BTB is still not visible.


Below I've listed receivers that have been reported as passing, or not passing, signals outside of the range 16-235. Keep in mind that passing BTB with a YCbCr signal likely means it also passes WTW, but it doesn't necessarily mean the same device will pass full range RGB. And some reports might not be as reliable as others (I've tried to filter out ones that don't sound convincing). Also, firmware updates can change things. This list is far from complete, but I have tried to make sure what's reported is accurate.


Receivers known to clip HDMI inputs (only levels 16-235 are passed)

Yamaha RX-V1800/V3800 (several reports in this thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=888942 ) now FIXED!

Yamaha HTR-6190 (this is the same as the 1800. I own the 6190 and it definitely does not pass BTB) now FIXED!

Yamaha RX-Z11 (reported in this thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=885045 ) now FIXED!


Yamaha RX-V663 (confirmed not to pass BTB or full range RGB. see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post13770862 and following posts)

...the 863 is confirmed to clip also (reported in this thread).


Harman Kardon AVR 254 (clipping reported here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post14067755 ).

...a firmware update has just been released that should fix the clipping (still needs to be confirmed that it works).


Onkyo TX-SR806 (clipping reported here: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/proce...eceiver_3.html ). However, there are also reports that clipping is avoided if the "Immediate Display" feature is turned off.


Receivers known to pass HDMI unmodified (all levels are passed)

Yamaha RX-V1900 (BTB and full range RGB confirmed, see this thread and links from there).

... The RX-V3900 and RX-Z7 also pass HDMI unmodified.

... The new RX-Vx65 series is OK from first reports.


Sony STR-DG820 (BTB/WTW tested here http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post14225910 )


Onkyo TX-SR805 (passes BTB, see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post13442545 )

...also confirmed for the 605/705, in this thread. So it's likely the 875/905 do too (not confirmed).

...also confirmed for the 606 (see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post15981502 ).


Pioneer VSX-92THX/94THX (passes BTB, see this thread and links from there)

...seems likely the the 90 and 91 do too (not confirmed).


Denon AVR-3808CI (passes BTB, reported in this thread and also in a separate private communication)

...the 2308/2808/4308/5308 probably behave the same (not confirmed).

...the older 887 (HDMI 1.1) passes BTB (confirmed in this thread).


Marantz SR8002 (passes BTB and WTW as reported here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post13495201 )

...seems very likely the SR7002 will be the same as the 8002.

...7001 also confirmed passing BTB (in this thread).


Panasonic SA-XR57 (passes BTB as reported in this thread).


Yamaha RX-V661 (passes BTB as reported in this thread).

...the 461 (European version with HDMI inputs) was also reported as passing BTB.

...(it seems the older Yamahas don't have the issue that the HDMI 1.3 models do)


How to test

If anyone can contribute new results, please post them in this thread. Note that we are specifically testing HDMI inputs. A simple test with a DVD player is to bring up a calibration pattern that's know to contain blacker-than-black (BTB), and see if it's visible (with your display brightness temporarily turned up above normal). If it is visible with your player connected to the receiver then BTB is being passed. But if it's not visible, don't blame the receiver until you know for sure that BTB is visible with the player connected directly to the display. PC users who rely on full range RGB signals (0-255) will have to try a different test to see if some levels are clipped (since there's no room for BTB when black is at level 0).


Note that some receivers might have a menu option to select full range or limited range, so double check your manual in case you missed this option.


Also note that if your source device has a brightness control (especially likely with HTPCs), you need to be sure you don't use that to raise black above level 16 (otherwise it may appear you can see blacker-than-black when in fact you are still only seeing levels from 16 and up).
 

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This whole issue is moot! You are beating a dead horse.


The HDMI Licensing LLC. specification (see below) to which all adopters must adhere prevents them from allowing a full-range (0-255) YCbCr output.


Some older equipment may not be in compliance but those are anomalies! Any manufacturer who wishes to continue using the HDMI logo will correct that error in future product.




A so-called "problem" only exists for people using PCs to interconnect to video equipment. The solution is patently simple: adjust your PC output (0-255) to studio standard (16-235) levels. The "problem" then disappears altogether.


Some claim that resetting to studio levels reduces available dynamic range. However, if the program source is DVD/HDM in the first place, that native source image uses studio levels in the first place. Reproducing that media on a PC with 0-255 levels actually introduces banding and distortion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by grayalex /forum/post/13438530


This whole issue is moot! You are beating a dead horse.


The HDMI Licensing LLC. specification (see below) to which all adopters must adhere prevents them from allowing a full-range (0-255) YCbCr output.


Some older equipment may not be in compliance but those are anomalies! Any manufacturer who wishes to continue using the HDMI logo will correct that error in future product.

...

This is simply not true. Limited range YCbCr means black is at level 16, but the spec does not disallow passing levels below 16 (in fact the part that you posted says values 1-254 are valid).


Passing BTB and WTW in YCbCr format over HDMI is supported by many CE devices. Equipment review sites test for it because it's an important feature, and most video sources and HDMI receivers support it. The problem is just that a few don't, and it would be nice to know about this before buying.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Judging by the size of the Onkyo threads, there must be a lot of people who own the 705/805/875/905 etc. Can anyone confirm or deny that they pass all video levels over HDMI?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by grayalex /forum/post/13438530


This whole issue is moot! You are beating a dead horse.


The HDMI Licensing LLC. specification (see below) to which all adopters must adhere prevents them from allowing a full-range (0-255) YCbCr output.


Some older equipment may not be in compliance but those are anomalies! Any manufacturer who wishes to continue using the HDMI logo will correct that error in future product.


Like kriktsemaj99 already mentioned, the specification pic you attached in your message clearly shows that valid range for limited range is 1-254, so there is really no need to clip the BTB/WTW signal levels.



Too bad that some manufacturers totally misunderstood meaning of this specification.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by baxyp /forum/post/13443085


What about RGB signals ? IMHO the AV receiver should pass these signals through without clipping.

Yes, a well built AVR definitely should be able to do this too but there are exceptions like Yamaha.

For example the Yamaha RX-Vx800 series also clip RGB signals.
 

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Yes it be really interesting to know if the onkyo 705 passes signals OK.

Or the marantz 7002..


Its sad cuz i really set my mind on yamaha after all the reviews/opinions..


Onkyo kinda slipped out of my interest after reading about all the problems/build quality. But i guess it should be worth a shot if it at least passes video OK.


Then again maybe connecting all the hdmi cables to my tv, and then using the optical out to the amp might work too. But as i read amps delay sound nowadays, so without sound sync ur ****ed too :S


Mhhh im outta ideas :p
 

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For pure HDMI, non-PC use, is there anything outside of 16-235 save for calibration? Could you calibrate by momentarily bypassing the "clipping" device?
 

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Discussion Starter #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Gilvey /forum/post/13443248


For pure HDMI, non-PC use, is there anything outside of 16-235 save for calibration? Could you calibrate by momentarily bypassing the "clipping" device?

You can calibrate without seeing BTB, although for people new to this I think BTB makes it easier.


But not all DVDs or BDs are mastered with the correct black level. It's not common, but I remember seeing a list somewhere of DVDs with pixel values below 16. And a recent example is Dirty Dancing on Blu-ray (no comments on the movie please
). The black level is completely off, and blacks are crushed badly in dark scenes. If your setup passes BTB, you just raise your display brightness and all the missing shadow detail appears, but if something is clipping BTB you won't see any more detail.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On Onkyo owner reported that the 805 passes BTB. It's likely that the related models (705/875/905) behave the same, but we still need confirmation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I also asked the question in the Marantz 7002/8002 thread to see if we can get some real info on the new Marantz models.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The new Denons look to be another popular brand. Does anyone have any info on the 2808/3808/4308 etc? I see from the manual there's a menu setting for "RGB Range", but it looks like that might expand standard video levels to RGB full range on output. What I want is evidence that all HDMI input levels can be sent unmodified to the HDMI output.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If we can just get Marantz and Denon owners to do the test, then we'll have answers for all the popular brands. Come on, it's pretty simple
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriktsemaj99 /forum/post/13443422


You can calibrate without seeing BTB, although for people new to this I think BTB makes it easier.

But if you take the "clipping" device out of the chain as in my post, you would see BTB to calibrate, yeah? So, with the device back in the path, you're clipping blacks on certain discs that weren't authored properly?

Trying to get a perspective on this, how much of an issue it is for non-PC users.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Gilvey /forum/post/13450077


But if you take the "clipping" device out of the chain as in my post, you would see BTB to calibrate, yeah? So, with the device back in the path, you're clipping blacks on certain discs that weren't authored properly?

Trying to get a perspective on this, how much of an issue it is for non-PC users.

For normal movie watching with a source that sends standard video levels, it's a fairly minor issue (the vast majority of movies don't have anything below level 16).


However, I still think it's something you should know about before buying a receiver. From the poll in this thread a lot of people want to pass full range RGB signals (the poll didn't ask why, but there are a lot of gamers out there who might have already calibrated their TVs for full range). Before this issue came up most of these people wouldn't have thought twice about buying a Yamaha receiver, but now they might.


I also know that the A/V review sites are becoming aware of the issue, and I heard that http://www.ultimateavmag.com/ will now routinely test for this in their receiver reviews. I'd be surprised if others didn't do the same, because passing blacker-than-black is something they always test for in DVD players.


I hope Yamaha will respond to the large number of users who want their receiver to pass all levels, especially if it turns out they are the only manufacturer who decided to clip to 16-235. And if this can be fixed in firmware I hope they will do it. The new Yahama's are great sounding receivers, but for sure some people will be put off by this video problem.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriktsemaj99 /forum/post/13450550


For normal movie watching with a source that sends standard video levels, it's a fairly minor issue (the vast majority of movies don't have anything below level 16).

Understood...thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [unique] /forum/post/13443199


Yes it be really interesting to know if the onkyo 705 passes signals OK.

Or the marantz 7002..

Or the Panasonic SA XR57
 

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Discussion Starter #20

Quote:
Originally Posted by talbain /forum/post/13451332


add the pioneer vsx-94txh and the pioneer vsx-94txh to the list of receivers that pass hdmi unmodified. confirmed and extensively tested

...

Thanks for that. But did you mean both the 94thx and some other model (e.g. the 92?).
 
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