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Explorer 2000HD centering/overscan issues

385 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  gmclaughlin
I recently stepped into the HD world with TWC here in Orlando.

I'm very pleased with the image, but I've noted a few things when viewing material via the HD component outputs of the box:

1. The geometry is off. Everyone is ever so slightly tall and skinny. It's not like watching anamorphic on a 4x3, but when making direct comparisons of material on HD and DVD (road trip, for instance), HD is stretched vertically a bit.

2. The vertical centering is BAD. The image is WAY up onscreen. This is true whether I'm watching true HD or upconverts (or upconverted analog channels, for that matter). When I pull up the convergence grid on my set, if anything, the grid looks below center.

3. Overscan in HD is huge. If I had to guess, it looks like 7% or more. In all other modes, overscan is set at 3% (I did this via the service menu on the TV), as measured with AVIA.

Is this a box issue, or is it my set? For reference, I have the Pioneer Elite 510HD, and my DVD player (if that matters) is a Denon DVD-2500 interlaced player, fed via component.

Thanks in Advance,

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I would suspect your set's HD mode might be a large part of the problem. You said you had to adjust the other modes with Avia so I would also suspect the HD mode's geometry and overscan might also be off. I have not heard that the SA2000HD box has major geometry issues. I have some HD geometry issues on my set but I am 99% sure it is the set and not the box. I have a new box coming today and if it is significantly different than #1 was I will holler (first box died; corrupt firmware; local problem).

To further narrow down the problem; you need to have the HD mode checked. Can you call your seller and have it checked? Can you try another box or stb to see if that fixes the problem?

As a last resort, if you can borrow a STB like the RCA DTC-100 there is a way (reportedly) to feed the Avia disk output into the STB (some have used a vcr in-between). The RCA has an output option of 540p that works like upverting to 1080i. This apparently is not bad for checking basic geometry of your set's HD mode. (ps; using the SA2000HD for this did not work for me).

Good luck

Bruce in SC

Mits WS55807

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I was thinking it is the set, as well, but one thing has me troubled- When I bring up the HD convergence grid, it seems to be too LOW on the screen, whereas the HD image from the 2000HD is too HIGH. This is where I'm confused.

Additionally, the size parameters I adjusted are supposed to affect Horizontal and Vertical in all modes, not just one. However, the Pioneer service menu is a bit confusing to me, so that might be part of my problem.

Note that the interlaced image from the 2000HD is fine (from its S-Video output), so perhaps it is the TV. But could it be a timing issue with the HD daughterboard of the 2000HD?

Anyone have any tips on adjusting geometry in the HD mode on the 510? I thought I had figured it out, but I was mistaken;) .

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I am not sure I know the answer. Generally reports on the Elite series indicate they are pretty good. But then again I have heard of users getting theirs calibrated so who knows.

Regarding the S-Video output being good, that is going to a standard input not HD so your set's 480i/p mode would be in use. Which tells us zip since we still don't know if the HD part of the box is the problem or the set's HD geometry is off.

I am going to point you to another site where you might be to find some additional information. The Spot has forums by manufacturer including Pioneer (including one on tweaking Pioneer sets) and a couple on ISF (chat and questions). Checking past posts from other Elite owners (or calibrators) and then posting your problem there if needed might get you a better answer than I can give.

Good luck,

Bruce in SC
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It's definately NOT your set. I have a post ISF calibrated Toshiba that exhibits the same issues you are having using the same HD2000 box.

There are certainly problems with the HD2000, not the least of which is the vertical positioning. I had to adjust my Toshiba to compensate using the service menu.

Unfortunately, even with Vertical positioning set all the way to zero on my Toshiba, part of the top of th screen is still cut off.

I also think it's pretty stupid to have to mess with geometry and positioning post calibration. Convergence also gets messed up when you change it...requiring a lot of time to reset convergence of the guns.

Time Warner hasn't been a lot of help. They are very unfamiliar with the service menu in the HD2000 box so it's unclear whether VPOS or HPOS can be adjusted inside the unit.

Here are a few of the other 'gotchas' in the Explorer.

No local broadcast tuner. Even though NBC is broadcasting here in Austin, Time Warner won't pick up the digital feed and since there is no 8VSB external tuner in the box, you're at the mercy of Warner cable in your state to provide locals. Service is space as it is, with areas like Houston and Dallas getting multiple HBO and Showtime feeds...not sure what it's like in Tampa, but Austin sits with only 2 HD channels...most of which from Showtime are upconverts.

S-Video is deactivated in all modes...so there's no way to use TIVO or other video recorder with this device.

Digital Audio is only supported on some of the digital channels. Many of the channels are still audio analog and can't be heard without going into my preamp adjustments to select a different input. I can't confirm that other areas of the country are like this, but this is how it is in Austin.

No iControl capabilities...without a major software update. All pay-per-view on demand capability is disabled in this version of the 2000HD Explorer. I have no idea why Time Warner keeps sending me coupons for free movies I'll never see.

Program guide is also 'glitchy' for HD channels, in that the program guide is SD so if you want to use the guide, you're constantly moving between SD and HD modes. Luckily, the Toshiba has built in 480i 480p 1080i readjustment. I would consider anyone with a 1080i fixed input basically screwed.

The net-net is that the HD2000 has issues. I'll be returning mine when the HD3000's ship.

Best of luck to you in Tampa.
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Given your set is ISF'd; it would appear you did/do have box issues. So may Todd but I am not yet convinced all boxes do. I have not seen that reported as a frequent problem. From my perspective here, to my knowledge my box did not have those issues (my known geometry issue is an identified Mits problem). I am getting a new box soon hopefully so I will report then what I find. Note my set is not ISF'd yet.

I will agree working with TW that they have not been much help; since typically you cannot talk to an actual TW engineer. That is a deficiency.

Now a couple of comments about your gotchas:

- no turner in the box. Yes; that's normal. Never seen a cable box with one. TW rents boxes and sells cable programming; not OTA capabilities. I plan on buying a tuner someday if it becomes necessary to get programming OTA.

- The fact that your NBC is not being carried by Time Warner is probably because TW and your NBC have not yet (won't?) agree to a carriage agreement. Hopefully that will happen shortly. Here we are waiting for our ABC to get over "testing" (sd only; no hd yet) so that they and TW will do an agreement so TW can carry it.

The FCC did not mandate dual carriage nor provide for any type of feed until one's local are on the air. By law TW cannot provide local NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS etc until the locals are on the air and then have a dual carriage agreement. Houston, Tampa, Charlotte all have a bunch of locals plus HBO and SHO. You have two (presumably SHO and HBO), we have three (HBO, SHO, and PBS).

I agree, its not right.

-S-Video is not active (with downrezed pic) with HD programming. Agree, it would be nice. Some (not all) of the STBs have that ability. Hopefully that ability will be in later versions of the cable box.

- Digital audio: not sure what the problem is? Receiver issue? Programming issue? Some programming is in analog, some is in DD (2, 5, or 5.1). I suspect that is a source problem not the box or TW. Perhaps someone else knows for sure. Note that some 2000HD boxes have had DD5.1 issues.

- iControl. If I understand you; you are talking about video on demand (or HBO on Demand) not being available with your HD box. Will take more time I guess. In the meantime your a member of such a small pool of users I am sure they cannot differentiate you from the regular ones for normal marketing measures. Its the same here too.

Here they are just rolling out HOD for regular users. VOD is expected "someday". There are indeed software issues (server and the 2000HD box's Power TV OS) that prevent it from being used. That's what killed my box: TW marketing (mistakenly) offered; we accepted; they initialized; our box rebooted and poof...it was dead. Later, the local folks (marketing and CSRs) found out that the 2000HD firmware and server's software were incompatible. oops.

-Glitzy program guide? I don't think we have your problem. It works fine. Here we can scroll throughout the entire lineup either on a SD mode or HD mode w/o a problem. There is no HD preview in the upper right hand corner on our menu. If your using the HD output, then you can pick and choose as you please. If your using the SD output, then you would have to switch your display over to HD for a HD channel. Does yours work differently?

- Next generation box may indeed solve many of the problems. Given the lengthy roll out issues by SA and TW, that might take a while. So time will tell.

Bruce in SC
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I don't have a beef with the lack of features on the box. I don't need S-Video out from the HD channels. All the HD channels are also carried as analog channels (which, surprisingly, are cleaner than ANY channels I've seen from Dish or DirecTV- who knew??), so I can record (via S-Video) from those.

Let's face it- these boxes are limited-quantity, first-run, hand-modified units using an add-on daughterboard for HD functionality. The fact that I paid essentially $0 (big fat nothing) for this box means that TWC bears the full brunt of the cost. They'll likely never recoup their investment on these first-gen deals. So, given my alternative (a $700 Dish setup), I can't complain.

HOWEVER, I would like the picture coming out of the box to be correct. Reese seems to confirm what I suspected, as my vertical positioning is set very low as well.

Is anyone using RGBHV out of the box? Does that change the horizontal and vertical positioning/timing at all?

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Have you asked TW for another box to do a comparison on? ReeseG thinks they all have problems; as I said, I don't think so. If your current box is bad maybe another will not. I have no idea if the RGBHV would be different.

It sure would be nice if some of the broadcast entities would send out a test pattern periodically so that users could at least eyeball their stb/box. Might be worth it to ask one of your local channels to see if that is possible.

I should clarify...the two samples I have tried both have the vertical positioning issue. Since Todd has it as well, I confirmed that it is a box issue, not a set issue. Thinking that it is a problem with the tv is incorrect.

Ah ha! Maybe you have something there then. Hopefully Todd too can try another box and verify his display is most likely not the culprit. FYI, I have just emailed some engineers on a list here in the Carolinas asking about a test pattern.

If one could get a test pattern broadcast, then one might be able to check for overscan/centering issues and be able to point to the box conclusively and hopefully get some corrective action. But then again; maybe not.

Todd H.,

Give me an email or a call (if you still have my number). I'll put you in touch with one of our engineers and you guys can chat to your heart's content.

FYI - I've never heard of this (believe me, I've heard the others) problem before.

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