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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a 160 last week and hooked it up to my Toshiba 57HX81.

HD-Net, HBO-HD (DirecTV) and HD-CBS (OTA) look great.


I have not needed to reboot the box as mentioned in other threads, nor have I been given the invalid access card message.


However, I do see the red push as well as the picture offest problem (vertically). The red push isn't that bad but the offset crops the top of the info screen so you can't see the program name (this is annoying). The unit is connected using the component output jacks.


In general I am happy with the HD pic quality.


Now, on to my real reason for posting to this forum....


Item 1 : Non-HD Pic Quality


Before I bought the 160, I was using an RCA DRD430RG. I got 2 of those receivers along with the Terk dual LNB dish as part of my initial package.

From the beginning, I felt that the DirecTV picture was not as clear as my analog cable signal and was able to verify this using the split screen on the Toshiba. Since MPEG is a lossy compression algothim, I chalked this up to the analog->digital conversion and dealt with it. Since then I have gotten used to the somewhat softer image from DirecTV and hoped that it may have been made worst by the MPEG implementation in the "cheap" RCA box (I assumed is was not top of the line since it came as part of the package)


But, now with the 160, the picture is even worse :(

Has anyone else noticed this?


I am going to hook up both the 160 and the RCA box (Video 1 / Video 2) so I can compare them with the split screen to make sure.


In addition, the normal features in the RCA box are much better than those in the 160. (MusicChoice channels, Interactive channels, Program searching)

I do admit however that the 160 guide is a lot faster to scroll than the RCA.



Item 2 : Dolby Digital


The second thing I am trying to work out is in regards to the audio output. I have the 160 connected to an Onkyo TX-DS494 receiver using the coax digital connector (my DVD player is connected with the fiber jack).


I was under the assumption that HD programs were broadcast with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (at least the newer movies on HBO-HD and The Sopranos). The problem is this... the Onkyo shows the signal as Dolby Digital but goes into the ProLogic II mode. I have never seen this when watching DVDs.


I tried switching the audio out settings ont he 160 between Dolby Digital and PCM. When set to PCM the receive no longer displays DD, but obviously can still do the Pro Logic II pseudo-surround modes.


Any ideas on this one? Maybe this is just my ignorance?


Thanks in advance


John G
 

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Have you tried the optical digital? I have mine hooked to a Yamaha RX-V630 through the optical and it shows 5.1 speakers for HBO-HD (almost all movies) and OTA ABC (at least for NYPD Blue, which is one of the best sound shows I have heard)...
 

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The first two boxes I had hooked up to my Mits RPTV were the "free" Philips multi-sat box, and then an E86 for a little bit. The Samsung SD upconversion blows both of those boxes away in terms of SD pic quality.


Because it has an always-on SD output, you might try feeding it to a standard-def input on your TV, and let your TV do the upconversion. Depending on what TV you have, it will create better results. Give that a try and see if you like it better (I think you will). (This may also be why your previous standard-def box looked better: your TV was doing the upconversion the whole time, not the Sat box itself).


Overall, when I switched from CATV to D*, I noticed the image was a little softer, but the clarity and lack of interference compared to CATV is outstanding. I look at my in-laws who have the same CATV I did, and on their 13" TV I can see ghosting, interference lines, etc.........I can only imagine hooking a 65" TV to that feed.........blech.


And I too have the problem with my locals over D*...........they are horrid no matter which way I look. But, there is only one major network that I need to go OTA-HD, and then I should be able to cancel the D* locals and save myself 5 bux a month.


As far as the Dolby Digital, I was under the exact same impression and was worried that there was something wrong with my Samsung audio output, but after a couple posts in the Local programming forum, I found out that Dolby Digital isnt necessarily 5.1...........you can have a 2.1 DD signal, which is what you are seeing. One of my locals airs in DD 5.1, another in DD 2.1, so the Samsung is actually working correctly.


Good luck!!!

-Chris
 

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Quote:
I was under the assumption that HD programs were broadcast with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (at least the newer movies on HBO-HD and The Sopranos). The problem is this... the Onkyo shows the signal as Dolby Digital but goes into the ProLogic II mode. I have never seen this when watching DVDs.
Dolby Digital can be anything from 1.0 to 5.1, with 2.0, 5.0, and 5.1 being the most common usages. So it may be that the programs in question are being transmitted in Dolby Digital 2.0 with Dolby Surround encoding (which would trigger Pro Logic II decoding if the flags are set properly in the signal).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to everyone for the input.



Re: SD Picture Quality


I have the 160 hooked up to both the HD component input and the SD video input on the TV. The SD picture looks bad on both inputs. So, on the SD video input the signal is always 480i. On the HD input the SD signal is upconverted to 1080i.


Chris, as you mention I prefer to view SD channels through the video (not HD) input on the TV. This is mainly do to the 4:3 to 16:9 conversion.


The Toshiba has a nice stretch algorithm that leaves the middle of the screen the same and stretches the edges to fill the 16:9. Using the 160 to stretch will make people's faces look "egg-ed" or crops the picture.


I will do the split screen test tomorrow to see if the RCA is really better than the 160.



Re: Dolby Audio


Meet the parents is on HBO-HD right now and I am getting a DD 5.1 signal. So it looks like the audio output is OK. The other programming was simply sending a DD 2.1 audio stream. (thanks Chris for pointing this out)




At this point, I am thinking about returning the 160.


1. Since most programming is still not in HD, the SD picture quality is important to me.


2. Of the HD channels available on DirecTV...


- HBO-HD : Watching upconverted versions of old movies (like Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver) is not what I had in mind for HD.


- SHO-HD : Don't subscribe and need to add a third LNB to my dish.


- HD-NET : Probably the best HD on DirecTV, but I can only watch the making of the Dallas Maverick's Cheerleader's Calendar so many times.


- HD Pay-Per-View : Uses channel 199 when HD-NET is off the air. Since I have a day job, the 2am, 4am and 6am showings are not really on my time schedule (and I can't record them).


3. So far most of the HD programming I have been watching is from the OTA antenna. I can get a non-DirecTV HD STB for around half the price of the Samsung.


4. DirecTV support could not give me any roadmap regarding additional HD programming (like Discovery and MSG). By the time they have more channels, there will be newer/better/cheaper hardware.


5. If my cable company comes through one their HD plans I will get the HD-CATV box for free when signing up for their service.



In any case, thanks again to everyone for their input.


John G
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
lcd,


After posting on this thread the other day I went back and caught up on the other 160 thread in this forum.


Got some good info and will be sending my unit to Samsung for the chroma fix (already got the go ahead from their support guys).


I will post my updates on that thread as it appears to be where everyone else is talking about the 160 issues.


thanks again for the feedback.


John G
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JG-AVS
Item 2 : Dolby Digital


The second thing I am trying to work out is in regards to the audio output. I have the 160 connected to an Onkyo TX-DS494 receiver using the coax digital connector (my DVD player is connected with the fiber jack).


I was under the assumption that HD programs were broadcast with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (at least the newer movies on HBO-HD and The Sopranos). The problem is this... the Onkyo shows the signal as Dolby Digital but goes into the ProLogic II mode. I have never seen this when watching DVDs.


I tried switching the audio out settings ont he 160 between Dolby Digital and PCM. When set to PCM the receive no longer displays DD, but obviously can still do the Pro Logic II pseudo-surround modes.


Any ideas on this one? Maybe this is just my ignorance?


Thanks in advance


John G
I've had the same issue with my 160 hooked to a B&K Ref10. With just the optical output connected (no analog RCA), and the 160's setup menu selected to Dolby Digital output, I've never seen anything other than ProLogic show up. Yes, that is what you would expect for a DD2.0 feed. But *nothing* has been in DD5.1 all week?


So just now I hooked up the COAX digital jack (I didn't realize it had one - is that a first for a DirecTV reciever? And after I bought a long optical cable

:( ). I had the 160 tuned to Starz, and connected the COAX, and bam! Dolby Digital 5.1 shows up!


I'm going to play with this some more, but as far as I can tell, the optical output is only sending PCM down-mixes, and never sends DD5.1. But the Coax digital *is*... Grrrr... Well, at least I've got it working, and either cable is fine with me, but jeez guys, how'd that one get out?


Another 160 nitpick - the OTA digital antenna meter would be sooooo much more useful if I could use channel up/down while the meter was displayed. Royal pain trying to aim an antenna to get multiple channels aimed...


Jeff
 

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I am having issues with the 160 and Dolby 5.1, as well. I figured out by accident how to reproduce the problem.


When I select an HD broadcast with Dolby 5.1, I get PCM output on my receiver. I found that if I switch it to a SD channel with 5.1 like HBO or something a couple of times, and then go back to the HD broadcast, then the 5.1 will kick in. It is consistently reproducible, (and annoying). I have to switch back and forth twice.


Example: I turned on Showtime which is playing Spy Kids, which is 5.1. The receiver says PCM. I switched to HBO which was also playing a 5.1 broadcast, then went back to Showtime, the receiver displays Dolby 2.0. Tried it again, and finally it jumped to 5.1. Really strange.


What should I do? Contact Samsung? Return the unit? I’ve only had it about a week. I paid $600 for this thing. One would hope it would work right. My impulse is to take it back. But then what? Get a different brand? I have a Samsung 507 on order, and I would like to use the DVI output.


Is Samsung aware of the problem? I have seen the discussions, but it doesn’t sound like anyone has determined that there is definitely a problem in this area. I am now certain that there is. I would appreciate any advice.


In case anyone should want to know, I am using the optical output connected to a Sony receiver. I have connected my DVD player, and TiVo to the same input, and the 5.1 works every time, so I am pretty sure it isn’t the receiver. I have seen that some folks using the coax output aren’t having the problem, and that’s great. But I don’t have that option, nor do I think I should have to use it. If it has optical output, then I think it should work with optical. (knowwhatImean?)


Thanks in advance for ANY assistance in determining my next course of action.


Cheers,


Tory
 
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