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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Standard (non-HDTV) directv signal isnt that clear on my toshiba 46H83. I especially notice it watching hockey games when there is fast movement. I'm sure its not the TV, since DVD's look great. I have a hughes HIRD-B2 (older) receiver, does the receiver make a difference? Do the newer, better quality receivers improve image quality, pixelation and clarity for sports and other programs with lots of motion?
 

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The bigger your screen (especially if your TV is HDTV -Ready), the more it will show picture flaws on DBS. That's just the way it is.


That said - the best thing you can do to help your DBS picture would be to get a copy of Avia or Video Essentials DVD's and properly calibrate your TV (having an ISF Technician do his thing would be even better). Try turning down the sharpness control on your TV right now until you get those DVD's- too high a setting actually introduces NOISE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Where is a good place to buy the Avia DVD?


So you're saying the quality of the receiver makes no difference?

The reason i ask is I was at a friends house and the same hockey game looks much better on his old 46" sony projection than it looks on my new toshiba 46h83, and I was thinking its because i have an old POS receiver, the glitching I'm seeing looks more like mpeg compression than a poorly adjusted TV, and like I said, DVD"s look great. I was planning on waiting to calibrate my tv until my theater room is complete in a month or 2.
 

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same situation here ... DirecTV looks great (but SOFT) on 36"XBR (and still do) with S-Video connection.


New PDP 5040 looks great will DVD + ATSC HD + pretty bad with DirecTV SD. Proper adjustment does not make it look much better.


At first I thought it was that CRT's just do a better job of making crappy signals appear good ... because the jump from 36" to 50" could not make THAT much of a diff.


Then I thought it had to do with the S connection ... switched to HUGHES HD box and (after DVI to HDMI failed) went component. MAYBE it looks better .. but still not so good.


Good news is that HUGHES allow you to program ATSC into DirecTV and you can customize surfing to go for ATSC in stead of DirecTV on all local channels.
 

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The explanation for what you guys are seeing is quite simple, and there is a pretty good solution if not an especially cheap one. By the way, there's not a significant difference in S-Video quality between all the DirecTV receiver models.


Firstly, DirecTV receivers with S-video output are standard definition 480i signals in the analog domain. Your HDTVs must translate these to the digital domain and "line double" or "de-interlace" these before display. There may be an additional step called "scaling" for some TVs, because they scale everything to one video mode like 1080i or 1080p for display. Other TVs display 480p/720p/1080i in "native format" without scaling. If you elect to display the 4:3 DirecTV material with sidebars, the scaler is also used for this. All of these video manipulations cause a loss of video quality from the SD source, softening the picture.


Contrast this to the DVD you are viewing. I'll wager most of you have "progressive-scan" players, they are cheap enough today that there is no reason not to. These produce 480p output which has twice the picture information of the 480i DirecTV receiver. We refer to 480p-capable TVs and monitors as "enhanced definition" or ED, and it is absolutely much better than the 480i SD images. On a true HD-capable display the difference in quality between SD and ED is very apparent and you have all noticed it.


You can however get very decent conversion of 480i to 480p if you go to an external scaling solution and drive the resulting signal to a high-bandwidth input on your HDTV (VGA, DVI, or "high band" component video, aka YPbPr). The AV Science Forum sponsor AVS will gladly sell you a high quality scaler that can be connected between your DirecTV receiver and your HDTV, give Jason at AVS a call for assitance in selecting such equipment.


Your other option, and the one that offers even better results scaling 480i to higher resolutions is the one I use, the Home Theater PC and Dscaler software. This is the state-of-the-art for scaling/de-interlacing, unequalled in video quality by any other solution. There are two costs involved - the HTPC cost and the fact that PCs are less convenient than boxed scalers.


I have a HTPC/Dscaler between my DirecTiVo HDVR2 receiver and my XGA-resolution projector that scales S-video to XGA. This is but one small step in quality below DVDs, and these are in turn one lower than the true HD images I get from my MyHD tuner card. The relatively inexpensive scaler/de-interlacers built into your HDTVs do not compare very well to either HTPCs or external scalers.


Gary
 

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"The relatively inexpensive scaler/de-interlacers built into your HDTVs do not compare very well to either HTPCs or external scalers."


Would a more expensive external scaler/de-interlacer or HTPC do much for a HUGHES HD-DVR250 running HDMI-out to a Pioneer PDP 5040 HDMI-in?


And Gary thanks for a thorough explanation (but not that simple).


My PRECISE question is WHY am I see such a dramatic difference in picture quality from DirecTV S-Video STB to SONY 36XBR to a HUGHES HD component out (DVI don't work) to 50" Plasma component in.


Is it the diff between CRT (forgiving) and Plasma (unforgiving) or the jump in size from 36" to 50"?


jh
 

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console, an HD-DVR250 is the Holy Grail, the HD equivalent of the HDVR2, with 4 tuners total and an extended 250-hour recording time, either from the premium DirecTV HD programming or from the OTA local HD channels via an antenna. (The HD recording time is lower, of course.)


I anticipate great quality if it does indeed ship with the HDMI interface - but I expect it will also be fully compliant with the digital copy protection that is mandated by Hollywood. You'll not be able to record HD without permission, or perhaps only view a HD program you have recorded once.


If you can satisfy the requirements for the input (basicly the oval/triple-LNB DirecTV dish and the OTA high gain UHF antenna) the HD-DVR250 would be great. All you have to do is wait for it to be available. I would not want to lose out on DirecTV programming by waiting an indefinate period for an HD-DVR250 - for example, the Dish folks have been waiting for the Dish 921 receiver showed at CEDIA last year for a total of 16 months, and the first early adopters of this unit are starting to debug it now. Who knows how long the HD-DVR250 will take to get to market? We are only seeing mock-ups of the unit at this year's CEDIA.


If you want HD programming on your terms, not Hollywood's, get a PC HD tuner card while you still can.


Meanwhile, the precise answer to your question is the 480i SD signal starts out as two "odd" and "even" frames of 240 lines by 720 pixels, each is repeated 30 times per second in a 60Hz TV - called an interlaced signal. It has half the resolution you get from the digital HD broadcast which is 480p minimum.


The HD signal can originate as either a true HD source or (more common) as an SD image that is deinterlaced by a really expensive piece of studio equipment to 480p - this is commonly done for commercials, for example. The studio de-interlacer is every bit as good as HTPC quality - in fact, some of these studio de-interlacers are PCs in disguise, running off of a program stored in a chip called a ROM, instead of using Windows.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary McCoy



Your other option, and the one that offers even better results scaling 480i to higher resolutions is the one I use, the Home Theater PC and Dscaler software. This is the state-of-the-art for scaling/de-interlacing, unequalled in video quality by any other solution. There are two costs involved - the HTPC cost and the fact that PCs are less convenient than boxed scalers.


I have a HTPC/Dscaler between my DirecTiVo HDVR2 receiver and my XGA-resolution projector that scales S-video to XGA. This is but one small step in quality below DVDs, and these are in turn one lower than the true HD images I get from my MyHD tuner card. The relatively inexpensive scaler/de-interlacers built into your HDTVs do not compare very well to either HTPCs or external scalers.


Gary
Hi Gary, I just setup SageTV on a WinPVR-250 fed by DirecTV. Where can I find out the best settings for DScaler out to my TV?


Thanks very much for any input you may have,

Regards,

Kirby
 

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Kirby,

As far as I know, the WinPVR-250 is not compatible with DScaler software. DScaler requires the use of a TV capture card that has an onboard Conexant chipset, aka a "Brooktree" or BT868/BT878/BT898 chipset.


Here is a list of DScaler-compatible cards: http://www.dscaler.org/card-support/index.htm


The Hauppauge product line has recently adopted some of the DScaler code for use in it's products, perhaps the WinPVR-250 is among them, I'm not sure. I think perhaps you should use the applications that came with the card and make your own judgements of video quality.


For live TV or any outboard S-Video source DScaler is preferred - I have used mine for S-VHS, DirecTiVo, and console games. I switch between these devices with my Onkyo digital reciever, and the single S-Video reciver output is fed to the WinTV model 401 card for DScaler.


Gary
 

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Gary, actually SageTV does implement and allow the dscaler filters and you can select them in SageTV prefs. I was just wondering which settings work best for you for simply watching TV out of the Radeon on SVHS.


I am currently using DScaler for deinterlacing and BOB and decoding with the Elecard codec but I'm new at this.


Thanks,

Kirby
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SledBC
... I have a hughes HIRD-B2 (older) receiver, does the receiver make a difference?
It can.


The SD picture quality is significantly better on my 52" RCA HDTV with a Samsung TS-160 STB - vs - Hughes GAEB0 (SD-only) OR Hughes HIRD-E86 (HD/SD) receivers.


On the TS-160 & E86 I compared using component output.

On the GAEB0 I used S-video out (it has no component out).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SledBC



...the glitching I'm seeing looks more like mpeg compression than a poorly adjusted TV, and like I said, DVD"s look great...
I just got DirecTV and am very disappointed in the picture quality. I have a Sony WEGA 36" XBR and the picture quality is exactly as described above - it looks like an overly compressed mpeg. In my bedroom I have an old 32" Hitachi and the picture quality is better on that than on the Sony, but still not that great. And the local channels are HORRIBLE!


Funny enough though, the commercials advertising DirecTV are crystal-clear and beautiful, then they return to the programming and the picture quality degrades immensely. As much as I hate to say it, my analog cable looked better than this crap.


....and then the sales person mislead me into thinking I could get the Hornets games (I'm in New Orleans) with NBA League Pass (which I CAN'T) - so I am extremely PO'd with DirecTV right now. :mad: I have had it for less than two weeks and right now I would definitely NOT recommend it to anyone and I absolutely deplore Cox Cable.


If anyone has any words of advice/encouragement I would appreciate it. Thanks for letting me vent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by GPC2
If anyone has any words of advice/encouragement I would appreciate it. Thanks for letting me vent.
Cancel your cable/sat and take up a sport! :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by GPC2
I just got DirecTV and am very disappointed in the picture quality. I have a Sony WEGA 36" XBR and the picture quality is exactly as described above - it looks like an overly compressed mpeg. In my bedroom I have an old 32" Hitachi and the picture quality is better on that than on the Sony...
Part of your problem is DirecTV's fault, and the rest is the sony wega. Some wegas do not deal well with overly-compressed signals (or noisy analog cable, either).


A friend of mine sold his wega because it was unwatchable on DirecTV. His new Hitachi looks 100% better, even though the screen is much larger.
 

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1st: SledBC... Thank you for starting this thread. I just joined AVSForum after a buddy told me to look it up when I complained to him about my inability to watch a hockey game. I have done sooo much to try and improve my lot with so many "professionals" and all to no avail. Now I know why there is comfort in numbers and that misery loves company!


2nd: Gary McCoy... You are the REAL McCoy. Of course the others alluded to it, your solution is not "simple," but I have been validated; I can now die with dignity, even if I never fix it! But I do want to fix it!!! In your post #6, you give 2 solutions. CAN YOU GIVE THE APPROXIMATE PARTS COSTS AND LABOR TIME FOR A TOTAL NEWBIE FOR BOTH AND IF THE LABOR IS TOO DIFFICULT, AN APPROXIMATE LABOR COST FOR EACH AS WELL? Where do I go to get all this?


Then in post #9 you mention the HD-DVR250. Are you saying that if I purchased it that it would solve all these problems and I would not need either of the above 2 solutions? Or would I still need those solutions?


Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
 

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DrTaras,


The external scaler solutions I am familiar with are the "Iscan" line by DVDO. These exist in 3 different models at $500/$1000/$1500. You might use any of the three depending upon the features and the number of sources you need to connect to it.


The HTPC solution costs about $1000 if you build it yourself, and slightly more if you buy one readymade. The skills needed are basicly the same as assembling any custom PC.


The Forum sponsor A/V Science is a good source for both types of scaler.


The HD-DVR250 would indeed solve the same problems but it has previewed at an electronics show and hasn't yet become widely available, just a few early adopters have it - it also is around $1000, and would require both an external TV antenna and a satellite dish to be connected to it, it's a cable alternative.


Gary
 

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So I get the HD-DVR250 and I am done! EVEN WITH THE NON-HD PROGRAMMING? Awesome! Now it sounds like you do not beleive that it will be here by April, 2004 as you pointed out in post #9 that the Dish people waited 16 months. Thanx AGAIN!
 

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If you have an HD set the line doubler or scaler doubles all the crap along with the stuff you want to see. What you aree seeing is the crap you would not notice so much on a standard tv. That being said improving the quality of your receiver can help a little bit and if your using and ancient model why not upgrade? Newer models are better and less expensive.
 
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