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Discussion Starter #1
So I've had my 1080i Panasonic 53x54 for almost a year now and I've gotten fed up waiting for my cable provider to offer HD in my area.


Is there some kind of scalar I can buy that will make SD look better? I've noticed (at other peoples houses) that when watching an HD channel, not all of the content is true HD (i.e. the commercials, certain programs, etc.) but that content looks MUCH better than SD content on a non-HD channel. I assume the network is using some kind of scalar to make SD content look decent. Is such a device available for consumer use?



I've also thought about getting and an EDTV Plasma instead. I assume it will display SD just as good as a traditional SD CRT? However I kind of want to keep the HDTV for DVDs and the XBox 360.
 

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"I assume the network is using some kind of scalar to make SD content look decent. Is such a device available for consumer use?"


Yes, they are. Yes, you can buy something. But unless you are getting a real good, clean signal -- like OTA digital -- I doubt you'll find it's worth it.
 

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Well I have digital cable. But the digital channels look just as bad as the network cable channels.


On my 20" SDTV CRT I can definitely see the clarity improvement in digital channels like HBO; they look like I'm watching a DVD. However on my HDTV it's another issue, the digital channels show noise and grain just like the network stations.
 

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An ext scaler also costs a small fortune...

Converged or not SD & ED can not stack. Eventually, the broadcasters will abandon them. But, that aint happening for a while :(
 

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Are you sure the channels your getting are digital? I have "digital" cable also but I'm pretty sure most of the channels are analog. There's a commercial that airs in my area for satellite, and they say "digital" cable isn't really digital only certain stations are pure digital. I guess the rest are like analog converted to digital then sent to us. I don't think digital channels should look like your watching tv with bunny ears which most of my cable. I'm pretty sure someone here will know for sure.


Are there no OTA signals for you to pick up? I wish my set was HD-Integrated cuz my cable doesn't even offer some local OTA HD channels.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheX-Man
Are you sure the channels your getting are digital? I have "digital" cable also but I'm pretty sure most of the channels are analog. There's a commercial that airs in my area for satellite, and they say "digital" cable isn't really digital only certain stations are pure digital. I guess the rest are like analog converted to digital then sent to us. I don't think digital channels should look like your watching tv with bunny ears which most of my cable. I'm pretty sure someone here will know for sure.


X-Man hit the nail on the head. What you fine advertised as digital cable, in actuality the channels below 100 are analog.


But that's not where the story ends. Analog cable signal quality can vary from very good to terrible. I've also seen where a digital standard def channel looked much worst than a good analog SD channel.


If your cable provider is stuck in the dark ages, you're best bet might be to go with a combination of over the air antenna and Dish satellite.
 

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One of my cable companies, NYC's Time Warner Cable (TWC), delivers nearly all its channels as digital MPEG-2. About 90 of them are also delivered in analog form. Those with digital cable converters use (mostly) the MPEG-2 sources, which generally provide crisper images with less noise. (Just a few mostly local channels are still analog only.)


Another cable firm, RCN, doesn't duplicate all its analog channels for digital delivery. The analog channels do appear noisier on my 64" CRT-based RPTV screen.


One of TWC's current HD digital converters, the hard-drive (recorder) SA8300HD does enhance SD images by upconverting them to 1080i. Earlier Scientific Atlanta converters I used didn't improve images by scaling them. The upconverted 1080i (component or YPbPr) has better color and appears smoother and more film-like on my CRT RPTV. But images remain 4:3 on my 16:9 screen, with gray side pillars, unless I use the 8300HD's unsatisfactory zoom or stretch modes, making characters too large or too horizontally stretched--unless zooming a film with top/bottom black bars.


So while a video-processor scalar (see V.P.forum) or video card in a computer (see HTPC forum) might enhance the appearance of clean 480i/p video signals, you also have to factor in what your display does with video signals. Most fixed-pixel displays would further process images, and excessive image processing can spoil picture quality, too. -- John
 
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