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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple of months ago, I got a Fujitsu p42 EDTV. I also have digital cable which in my area has better quality than the local satelites. As a matter of fact, the SD was surprisingly good, not DVD quality, but close. The cable box used a composite output.


Then Comcast came out with their High Definition package. For $2 a month (not a one month introductory price--the real thing) you got PBS, NBC, HBO HD and ESPN HD. No way I could pass that up! The picture quality is incredible on the HD channels, especially the live HD events. BUT. . . . I could swear the SD channels got worse. Not worse with compressions artifacts but worse in terms of softness and false contouring.


What could have happened? The cable company had come out and replaced the SD box with a HD one which does not output composite, only S video and component. Could S video and component deliver an appreciably worse picture than the composite did? Or is Comcast compressing the signal more to get the HD channels in? Or have my eyes been forever spoiled by actually viewing top notch HD?


Help! I want my good quality SD back without sacrificing the HD!
 

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Linda,

Make sure you don't upconvert SD (480i) to 480P, 720P, or 1080i.

The 5100 does a bad job of it - from what I hear, I never set it up

to do i on my 5100. Other than that, the 5100 does a very good of SD

job on some of the digital channels. Alot still depends on the feed -

just like on satellite.


Also, HBO-HD does not come with the extra few dollars a month rental

of the HD box. You need to subscribe to HBO. Still as of tomorrow,

PBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, INHD1 INHD2, and ESPN-HD, is not bad for the extra

few dollars per month.


larry
 

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First, try using the S-video input for the regular channels if you aren't already. That will address Larry's correct concern about upconverting.


Second, I have no clue what Comcast is doing overall, but unless they moved those SD channels to the digital tier -- unlikely in most cases -- then they can't be compressed.


Finally, there exists some possibility that the composite input is offering you some other combination of settings that are making the picture better. There are cheap adapter that wil take the S-video out of the cable box and allow you to pump it into composiste. Alternatively, there is a good chance you don't even need a cable box for the regular channels (unknown for sure, but most system)... You could split the cable and feed the straight feed through a VCR or Tivo to see what it looks like.


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone. I think you've solved the problem--it's the box. After rumaging around and finding the DCT 5100 instruction manual, I found out to access the output menu (turn the box off, the plasma on, component input selected and hit MENU on the remote). The options are for YPbPr output and I set it to 480i. (It defaults ot 1080i). Big improvement. It does have an option for 480i overide on 4:3 material but the best quality is obtained when everything is set to 480i. On most channels the image quality of the component output set like this is superior to the S video. The only nuisance is that I have to switch it back to 720p to get the best HD picture.


Mark, I am going to try splitting the cable feed when I have some time, just to see how it looks. Thanks for everything.


Linda
 

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We have the Mot 5100 and Comcast also. When the SD channels are fed to our Panny ED plasma via the component outputs, they look much worse than using our VCR as the tuner via the composite output/input. No setting adjustments on the 5100 could improve this. For one thing, the black level from the 5100 appears to be different for HD and SD. If you calibrate for 0IRE for HD and DVD evrything looks great, but the SD via component looks washed out as if the black level for it is actually 7.5IRE. There's no way to set these black levels in the 5100.


I found that using the composite output of the 5100 for SD works fairly well. The picture is a bit softer than our VCR's output, but it is relatively noise and artifact free even with the high numbered channels.


-Steve
 

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slb,

You must be talking about the analog channels through the VCR.

However, you are spot on wrt black level differences between HD

and the others. I have to dial back brightness quite a bit when watching

a SD digital channel compared to an HD (and DVD) setting.


larry
 

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PooperScooper,

You're right, I am referring to analog SD. I misread Linda's post and didn't realize she was referring to SD on digital cable channels.


-Steve
 

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ok. But I wouldn't doubt for a second that splitting out the "digital

cable" line to a VCR for analog stations below 100 would/could

look better. It can't get worse. :) Above 100 the stb is necessary.


larry
 
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