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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Hitachi 51SWX20B that looks absolutely amazing with a HD feed, but absolutely horrible whenever I watch DVD's (or anything else really). The DVD picture is almost as bad as watching a standard-def DTV movie or something, not even close to the HD picture.


Anyone have any ideas why the picture's so bad while watching DVD's?? It's a brand new DVD player (and TV for that matter), not an audiophile one, actually it's not even progressive, but I've read that the 20B Hitachi's have excellent 3:2 pulldown, so I don't think that's the issue. I've tried using multiple inputs on the TV for the DVD player and they all look equally bad.


Other pertinent information: I'm using a RCA DTC-100 for my HD receiver in conjunction with the VGA converter. I've had a tech out to the house to look at the TV several times now, and the picture he received with his DVD player was also equally bad (although his DVD player was a 1 or 2 year old Sony that wasn't progressive either I don't think). I've tried several DVD's (American Pie 2, Predator, X-Men, etc.) and they all look pretty bad.


I'm beginning to run out of explanations. If anyone has any idea of what it could possibly be or what direction to point the tech in the next time he comes out to the house that would be great. Thanks!!


-Matt
 

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Matt,


It is hard to say anything without knowing more about your setup. Which DVD player? What type of input (e.g. component or S-Video?)?


I was using a non-progressive 5-year-old Sony player with my Tosh LCoS and getting very good pictures. The move up to a good progressive player (Panny XP50) and component inputs makes a world of difference though.


One thing I've seen that is similar to what you describe was the quality I was getting out of my DirecTV with TiVo, via S-Video. The picture lacked depth and clarity, and skin tones and yellows/greens had a distinct and irritating screendoor/checkerboard look to them. The solution to this problem was quite simply a better (or perhaps just a non-defective) S-Video cable. I got a high-end Monster cable and now my picture is crisp, clear, deep, and there are no more screendoors. :)


I am very happy about this of course. It is like having a new TV all over again.


So, one question for you is whether you are using the best inputs possible? Are your cables in good shape?


Another possibility is that your Hits may have a bad input.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mattwiks
The DVD picture is almost as bad as watching a standard-def DTV movie or something
Erm, you are aware that a DVD is a standard-def digital video format?


DVD is a 480i format. The only improvement over SDTV is that it's 720 pixels wide rather than 640.


Also, if you're watching letterboxed (non-anamorphic) material, the resolution is further degraded. If the movie has been letterboxed down from 1.85:1, the resolution of the viewable area will be about 720x360. If the movie has been letterboxed down from 2.35:1 "scope", the resolution will be about 720x270. Interlaced.


With an anamorphic DVD, the 1.85:1 movie will use the whole 720x480 resolution. 2.35:1 "scope" movies will still be letterboxed, with a viewable resolution of about 720x360. Interlaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback so far. I’m currently using a DVD / VHS combo deck from Zenith, model# XBV243, with brand new gold plated component cables (the Zenith DVD player has gold plated outputs so I figured I’d at least get some nice gold plated cables, even tho the TV just has regular, non-gold plated inputs).



I definitely have a “screen door†look to just about everything that comes over the satellite or DVD, except for the HDTV feeds, those look absolutely great like I said. I’ve tried using multiple inputs for the DVD player and they all look just as bad. I’ve also tried going from the component cables to S-Video, even plain RCA hookups, but the picture remains pretty bad. I’m wondering if maybe my TV has a problem with it’s 3:2 pulldown?? If I get an interlaced DVD player and it looks that much better do you think that could be it??


Also, regarding the anamorphic DVD’s, is there a place to tell what scope the DVD is?? That might have something to do with it, although I haven’t watched a single good looking DVD on this TV yet, and that includes 2 different DVD players and at least a dozen or more DVD’s.


In general I’m just baffled with why my DVD picture quality looks SO much worse than my HD, it’s very depressing since I bought the damn TV mainly to watch DVD’s and HDTV. Right now the only thing I can enjoy watching on it is HD, and with DirecTV that gives me my choice of 3 whole channels nightly.


Thx.
 

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I would suggest that an upgrade in the DVD player would make a significant difference. A good progressive scan player with component out will run you easily under $200 and look considerably better than an interlaced unit (even gold plated ones :) ).


DVD can look quite good (remarkable in fact) but it will never rival HD.


HDTV is a more of a step up from DVD than DVD was from VHS. So your expectations may have to be tempered by reality.
 

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I have a sneaky suspicion that he's got his DVD player set to 4:3 and he's zooming in on the picture.


With a reference quality DVD on my Sony progrssive scan DVD player, the PQ is very clear and clean on my SWX20B.


Matt, check the settings on your DVD player. See if it has an aspect ratio setting for your TV and make sure it's set to 16:9. There is absolutely no reason DVD should look that bad on your TV, even if the DVD player is sending an interlaced signal.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mattwiks
In general I’m just baffled with why my DVD picture quality looks SO much worse than my HD
Hmm... The thing is the DVD (not the non-existent HD-DVD) is 480i, which means it has 480 lines of interlaced video.


On the other hand, HD you are seeing is either 1080i or 720p, which means you have 1080 lines (2 1/4 times more) or 720 lines (1 1/2 times more) of video signals. (I am just trying to be simple and not introduce the progressive/interlaced issues.)


Not only the vertical resolution, there are respective horizontal resolution increases. So, it's not surprising that DVD will look worse than HD. I am sure a better progressive DVD player would help, but you just cannot expect DVD to equal HD (not upconverted).


Hong.
 

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Matt,


My understanding is that the Hitachi sets tend to fare pretty well with regard to how they show SD material, so your report is a poser. A new and better progressive DVD player may give you some relief. A combo VCR/DVD player makes me nervous concerning what kind of quality you may be getting. You may also have a bad cable, even though they're new.


If you have a friend with a higher-end setup maybe you can coerce him to let you test out some stuff on your set. If a high-end DVD player with proven connection still doesn't look good than you may have a problem with your set.


Yes, DVD is SD, but it is really good SD. Pristine 480i or 480p video looks very nice. It's not HD, but much nicer than what you typically get off of a satellite, cable, or OTA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, looks like the general consensus is to try a better DVD player. Even though this one is brand new I'll try to pick up another better one this weekend just to hook it up and see what kind of picture I get. If it's that much better then maybe I'll just keep it, we'll see.


I checked the settings on my DVD player and it was set to 16:9, so that's not the problem. I've also used at least 3 different sets of component cables since I've got so many laying around, and they all perform the same. My current set is the new ones that I bought, but they didn't do any better.


I realize that there's less resolution on DVD's, but I'm just getting so many artifacts on the screen and every shot looks like it's semi out of focus, it's very distracting when you're trying to watch a movie and everything in the background is just blurry.


Anyway, I'll try a better DVD player and see what happens. Hopefully that'll fix my problem. We'll see!


Oh yeah, I hosted some pictures for Hitachi since they wanted to see pictures of the problem. The tech said he thinks it has something to do with the sharpness so he was experimenting with that. Just scroll all the way down on the link below until you see the blue lines and then hold the mouse over them to click on the pictures. The first ones were taken when I had the color up around 45-50% which is WAY too high for these sets, so that's why they're so over saturated. The next three were taken to document the small artifacts that are always on the screen, even with standard sharpness. Of course they're greatly magnified once you turn up the sharpness. It's kind of hard to tell in the pictures but even when you bring the sharpness all the way down to zero there are still tiny little specs, and of course by then everything's just totally blurry. Anyway, check em out if you're bored........

http://www.csulb.edu/~meachon/pics.htm



Thanks again for the feedback!!


-Matt
 

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Matt, the last three pics look an awful lot like a non anamorphic disc being stretched to 16:9. If I'm correct, of course it's going to look crappy, as it's lower resolution being stretched across your screen


Also realize that many films have film grain. They have this in the print itself, and it shows up even in the HD broadcast on HBO or Sho. Also understand that not all DVD transfers are equal. Some DVDs look even worse than the highly compressed channels on DirecTV. (The "Grease" DVD comes to mind)


Try a reference disc like the Superbit verson of Fifth Element or a Pixar film like Ice Age or Monster's, Inc and take screen shots. I think you'll see those "artifacts" disappear.


BTW, your color is still too high. Without calibration, my SWX color needs to be set at 23% max and my tint needed to be set to the right and completely outside the center box.
 

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Matt, you desperately need to calibrate your set with a disc like Avia or the Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up. That should be your first step. After that, if you are still having problems then replace the DVD player.
 

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I don't know if it is that your dvd picture is bad it's just that hd material is sooooo good. When you get used to something so good nothing can compare to that standard.
 

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Everyone seems to be blaming the DVD player but it doesnt sound like that's the problem at all. If you read his posts he says that the picture is bad not only with a DVD but also with the SD SAT channels. It sure sounds like its a problem within the TV and not the DVD player.
 

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Well, especially on the "red shirt blur" picture, you can see really awful chroma bug, for starters. So getting a player with no chroma bug would help.


It appears to me that there are multiple calibration issues as well. There is what looks like blooming and severe red push. Getting the color, hue, brightness, contrast, and sharpness calibrated would help a lot. An investment in Avia or Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-up is absolutely going to be useful here. And getting it calibrated for DVD should also help the other SD channels.


In addition, I'd get a better DVD player. One of last year's Panasonics would be a good choice, like the RV32 or RV22 (if you don't want to go progressive) or the RP62 or XP30 (if you want progressive). Denon's DVD1600 is also excellent, but a bit pricy compared to the player you're using.


Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by dmunsil
One of last year's Panasonics would be a good choice, like the RV32 or RV22 (if you don't want to go progressive) or the RP62 or XP30 (if you want progressive). Denon's DVD1600 is also excellent, but a bit pricy compared to the player you're using.


Don
Don, I was doing some research on DVD players and found that the Panasonic DVD RP82 is supposed to be one of the best available. But I can't find any anywhere. You mentioned the XP30, and I guess that's the exact same player only it doesn't support DVD-A. Have you heard about or know about the DVD CP67?? I can get that one for $130 at a local Panasonic store, but I don't want to get it if it's not as good as the XP30 or RP82. If you've heard or know about this player please let me know your thoughts on it.


Also, I just ordered that AVIA DVD so that should help as well. Hopefully I'll get my DVD picture straightened out within a week or so, thanks!


-Matt
 

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The CP67 is approximately equivalent to an RP62, but in a carousel changer. It's a perfectly good unit, not quite up to the XP30/RP82, but better than what you have now. No chroma bug, Fli2200 deinterlacing, and good video quality. If you can get an XP30 (or XP50 if you want DVD-A) reasonably cheaply, you might want to go that way, but the extra benefits are not unbelievably huge. It's really all about how much you want to spend. Me, I'd go for the XP30 if I could get it. I don't really care about DVD-A at this point.


Don
 

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Is it too late to return the Hitachi for a Toshiba or Mitsubishi? Consumer Reports rated the Hitachi as the top HDTV so that's telling you something. Anyways even using a decent progressive DVD player, such as a Toshiba or JVC, should result in an excellent picture on a good HD set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, thanks for the feedback guys. I took some new pics tonight of some HD programming just so that you can see how GOOD the HD content looks. Since I don't have tivo or anything I can't pause the screen so a couple aren't totally clear, but most are so you can see the clarity, esp. on the first one. Also, don't pay any attention to the yellow/tan vertical lines on a couple of the pics, that just appears in the picture but it's not actually on the TV. Something to do with the camera taking a pic of the TV. Anyway, as you can see the HD pics look pretty good, 100x better than anything on DVD. I did go out and buy the Panny XP30 (dang that thing is SLIM!!) and it totally eliminated the jagged edges seen on my "Red shirt blurr" picture, so that was awesome. And the pictures do seem to be a bit more in focus or clear, so maybe it was just a bad DVD player. I'll try to take some pics of the new dvd player in action if I get a chance tomorrow. I was watching my Michael Jordan dvd tonight and it actually looked pretty good. Here's the link if you wanna check out the new pics.......

http://www.csulb.edu/~meachon/pics.htm


Just scroll to the bottom again and look for the blue lines. Wait until the address pops up on the bottom before clicking. I tried to make the content a little more appealing this time heh. Thanks again!


-Matt
 
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