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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased a new Toshiba 50H81 16:9 TheaterWide HDTV about 2 weeks ago as my first step (or should I say plunge off the deep end) into the home theater/HDTV abyss. I have been able to educate myself to the point where I know just enough to get into trouble. So here goes:


Since bringing this new member of my family home, I can't seem to get the picture quality/enjoyment that I feel is equivelant to it's hefty pricetag. I understand that I will need to upgrade the other components in my home theater, but this TV is the centerpiece that I want to build around. Right now I have standard cable service (not digital or satelite or HD set top receiver) and an average DVD player. What can I do to enhance my viewing pleasure NOW, without dumping in a lot more money???? The following are some of the more troubling issues:
  • Picture quality is poor/gritty---what TV settings/adjustments would be best for standard cable viewing??
  • When viewing a DVD I still have the bars at the top and bottom. The only way to eliminate the bars is to streatch/distort the picture. Wasn't the purpose of buying a 16:9 display, to benefit most from the DVD format by enabling full screen viewing without having to distort the picture to make it fit???????
  • Contrast settings---the brighter the setting (sports), the more magnified the impurities are in the picture.


These are just a few of the issues I am battling in this war against BUYERS REMORSE!!! If I do not find a way to eliminate some of these concerns in the next 2 weeks I am seriously considering returning the TV. I am all ears to suggestions, comments, tweaks, advice, etc. HEEEELLLLPPP!!!!!



PS--The retailer where I purchased the TV wanted to sell me a $150 power strip that would filter out the "dirty" electrical current. Anyone else heard of such a thing?? Does it work??
 

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Welcome to the forums. Can't suggest specific model tweaks, but buying an Avia test DVD from Amazon.com or elsewhere will provide the basic adjustments you need. Takes a while to learn how to make them.


The black bars with DVDs may be because you haven't set your DVD player menu to 'tell it' it's sending DVD signals to a 16X9 set. Or, some DVDs have a wider aspect ratio than 16X9, so they'll have black bars. With my 16X9 Philips, I find black bars disappear in a darkened room, giving me an aspect ratio closer to what the film director wanted (and providing up to 1/3 more movie you'd otherwise be missing with 4:3 DVDs.)


If you're getting clean DVD images but very poor cable images, that tells you a lot. First, using the Avia or just your eyes initially, set the basic picture controls similar for both inputs. Often, new sets have brightness and contrast way too high. Then make sure the built-in convergence adjustments are okay (no color fringing on +-type or similar test patterns). If you're getting bad cable pictures, compare them with an over-the-air image. Try a direct cable input with no converter. Also, if it applies, try a composite (or RF) instead of a S-video output from your cable converter. Don't use the component (3-wire) output of HDTV cable converters for anything but HDTV channels.


Newer sets from many firms now upscale most inputs, boosting horizontal resolution and scan lines. Without a clean good-resolution source (not a poor VHS tape, for example), these upscaled images may be unacceptable. Numerous posts here, while not referring specifically to newer-set upscaling, go into methods of side stepping this problem. It involves using external deinterlacers, scalers, or computers to process inputs differently, with more flexibility, and piping them into the VGA input, or the HD component inputs, providing the set design doesn't upscale HD inputs, too.


But if I concluded my new set required a great deal of tinkering because the manufacturer wanted to simplify manufacturing, adjustments, and cut costs, but resulted in unacceptable images with a hefty price tag, I'd also return the product and look for one that didn't have this problem.


I've plugged most of my electronic gear, including my 600-watt RPTV, into power strips. But they didn't cost $150, and IMO shouldn't. This is a broad topic in itself, with one forum here specializing in power conditioning. -- John
 

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Hello oz, i have been right where you are, i also own a 50h81. I can give you a starting point for pic adjustments, i dont have a test dvd, so i use these rough gide lines. Something to remember, you have to set these on each input you are using, atenna, video, and colorstream. Also when you begin, start from the MOVIE setting as this will disable SVM(a good thing).



Contrast....30;Brightness.....65;Color....47;Tint.....-13;Sharpness....35;Cinema Mode......Film;ALS.....Off;Color Temp.....Med. or Warm;DNR.....Auto;Flesh Tone.........Off. When i made these adjustments it went along way toward clearing up the grainyness.


I have found that with my cable the picture is just bad. So problably dont expect too much, even my digital cable, which is cleaner, is very soft.


As for the black bars, very few DVDs will actually fill your screen. Most are shot in 2.35:1 or 1.85:1 ratio which isnt exactly 16:9. Set your DVD player to 16:9 and use Full pic size to get the best screen fill and quality.


I really like my set, but it did take some work, and getting used to as it is my first RPTV.
 

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Ozhogs:


Your set is capable of a truley stunning picture. I will go along with everything that has been said. By far the best to things you can do on your own with little experience, is to buy the Avia DVD and adjust the brightness, contrast, tint, etc. using it and second to do the 56 point convergence. Convergence is covered well at The Home Theater Spot in the Toshiba Tweaks section and probably here, but that's where I read how to do it on my 65h81. It helps a lot to have a convergence grid (about $60 bought or very cheap if you make it yourself). These two things alone will probably make you much happier with the set. There are many other things you can do as well depending on how much time and energy you want to put into it, but the results are generally worthwhile. The quick way out is to hire an ISF technician to do everything for you, the price varies greatly depending on a lot of factors, but 4 or 500 spent here will really make a difference. You have to decide what is worth more, your time researching, learning, and doing it yourself, or just paying someone and being done with it. I split the difference. I did a lot of tweaks myself and then hired someone to do the parts I didn't feel comfortable doing (Grayscale, electro and mechanical focus).


Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for your feedback!! I have been tinkering with the set for the past few days (based on some of your suggestions) and have seen some improvements. Dirk---your comments were especially helpful coming from a fellow 50H81 owner. I'm currently shopping around for the AVIA test DVD to try and find the best price. Again, thanks for the input......any further suggestions are truly appreciated. OZ
 

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The only other advice i can give is for the first couple of months dont expect your settings to be permanet. They will vary as the set breaks-in.
 
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