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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How well do HD sets tend to handle SD programming? I almost bought a Toshiba HD set (36HF73) today due to a great price.. but hesistated because I have no plans to actually use it for HD programs. It will be used for standard def. directv and some (10%) DVDs.


HD would be a bonus, but SD programming is going to be the primary use for this set. If the HD set has a hard time with SD inputs, then I would rather stick to an analog set for now + look at HD later. I have seen a few posts mentioning directv motion/compression artifacts on HD sets, but haven't had an opportunity to see this first hand. I also understand that the Tosh. upconverts the SD signal to 1080i and I'm not sure if this will adversely impact the SD picture quality.


Anyone have any thoughts on this? How does (SD) directv look on your HD set? I am looking for a 36" flat screen CRT around $1,000. So contenders so far include the HD Tosh 36HF73/36HFX72 & analog sets such as the Pana CT36SL13 or Tosh 35AFX54/36AF53.
 

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HD sets will look worse than analog CRT TVs with poor quality analog interlaced video, but how bad varies with different models. I've found Toshiba sets are better in this regard. For DVD HD sets are better if you use a good progressive player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I understand that DVDs have the potential to look better on HD. I just don't have a good idea of how directv channels (SD) will look on the HDTV. Since that will be the main use for the set, I may have to carry a tivo down to a local showroom. And find out first hand whether the channels look better on analog or HD sets.
 

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Last year i bought an HD-ready/digital 32" Panasonic for the sole purpose of watching analog & digital SD/NTSC cable, with maybe a DVD every month or two. Picture quality on this TV through my digital cable converter is way better than it was on my old analog 27" Sony Trinitron. I had them side by side for a few days when i first got the new TV and did a lot of comparing. The biggest improvement was the lack of irritating scan lines on the digital TV (the deinterlacer gets rid of em completely). Most of the analog channels look pretty good, and the digital channels look almost DVD quality. I don't get any compression artifacting - just a smooth clean picture.


I've seen DirecTV on a friend's 32HF73 and it looked great. On the other hand i've read a lot of posts about DirecTV's compression causing artifacts and so on but i didn't see any of that on the Toshiba. The 36HF73 is a good set.


And yes, taking your Tivo to the stores is the best way to tell if a particular TV looks good with DirecTV or not. A friend of mine did this when looking for a RPTV. Make sure you adjust the user menus (sharpness below 50%, play with edge enhancement settings, etc).
 

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The quality from digital sources will also vary with viewing distance. If you are too close you may notice a screen-door-effect and some macroblocking from digital satellite channels. Move farther back until that disappears and then you will learn the proper viewing distance for your size screen for such material. For DVD and HD sources you can view closer up.
 

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I don't understand this. I hear time and time again that HDTV's do a terrible job of standard definition material, yet I often hear that a TV's internal line doubler is supposed to make SD material look better, NOT worse. Why does this happen? Are the line doublers in some tv's so bad that it's better not to have one at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
From my recent reading around here, I would think that some line doubling implementations would be better than others. Cheap chipset = cheap quality. A lot of sets don't just line double along the lines of 480i to 480p, rather they upconvert everything to 1080i. With each A/D conversion or processing step, there is an opportunity to screw the signal again. And if your source material is compressed to start with (digital satellite, digital cable), well..


It's like making a copy of a copy of a copy. There is loss on each step and it can add up. Still the biggest factor is probably that SD quality is an after thought to many manufacturers who concentrate on the HD implemenation and then have to control their costs somewhere to be competitive. So the SD chipset or engineering can be rather weak.


The effect on SD was obvious to me. So rather than look at a dual use set, I am now lookng at a pure analog set for my SD viewing.
 

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Most of the SD shows that I watch, I watch on the digital channel, with black bars. It looks better than the analog tuner. Gotta be careful with the black bars though - keep the contrast down, and stretch at commercial times.


But SD usually does look worse on an HDTV, but ONLY because the HDTVs tend to be LARGE. There are only so many pixels - that is fixed. When you now have a larger screen, it's akin to looking at a newspaper picture through a magnifying glass.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Sonikku
I don't understand this. I hear time and time again that HDTV's do a terrible job of standard definition material, yet I often hear that a TV's internal line doubler is supposed to make SD material look better, NOT worse. Why does this happen? Are the line doublers in some tv's so bad that it's better not to have one at all?
Manufacturers will tell you that the line doubler (or whatever they use to convert 480i) is there to make SD look better ... or (my favorite) "almost HD quality". :rolleyes:


In actuality, it's there to reduce their (and your) costs. Less scan rates supported by TV = less $$$ to manufacture ... or in the case of fixed panel displays impossible to manufacture.


Yes ... of course ... there worse / better chip sets.


But the key is the quality of the SD signal to start with. Even poor line doublers can usually do a fairly good job with a clean SD signal (like straight from a non-progressive DVD player).


But even the best line doublers can have problems with the typical over-compressed / filled with static and interference SD signals alot of us get. What may just appear as a little bit of barely-noticable snow on an analog set can cause a digital line doubler severe problems ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have been looking at a lot of 36" HDTV and analog sets lately. And so far, SD looks a lot better on analog sets of the same size. I don't doubt that the SD flaws are less obvious on smaller sets. And I'm not arguing that a NTSC picture is better than a HD one. But I have yet to find a HD set that can display SD material as good as a top notch analog set does.


And as dt_dc notes, if the SD source is flawed, then those flaws get magnified. My real world, primary source is flawed i.e. compressed satellite signal. It looks good on an analog set. And does not appear to play nicely with HD sets.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ired
But I have yet to find a HD set that can display SD material as good as a top notch analog set does.
Find an HD set with a native 480p display and 3:2 pulldown (for example, Sony sets with DRC set to 'CineMotion) ... feed it from a DVD player (non-progressive or with progressive scan turned off) with a film based DVD ... should put any analog set to shame.
 
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