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Viewing SD on HD sets

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Old 01-25-2006, 06:42 AM   #1
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Default Viewing SD on HD sets

Hello.

I'm just beginning to research HD sets. I've seen a few posts on viewing SD on HD equipment, but I don't quite understand the recommended solution(s). Do most HD sets have upconverters (not sure if that's the right term) such that SD can be viewed on HD's? If so, then why all the problems viewing SD on HD? I don't have HD programming right now, but I understand that cable suppliers are still being required to broadcast HD starting in late '06 or early '07.

Any further discussion on viewing SD on HD sets would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2006, 07:50 AM   #2
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Sd on Hd sets: There are two levels of Sd. One is analog and the other is digital. Analog channels on HD are generally bad. Digital channels on Hd are fair to good, depending on the quality of the broadcast. None are HD. You can stretch them to fill the screen, but they will be distorted. You are limited to square pics with black bars on the sides and sometimes, all around, again depending on the original format. I believe that Feb 2009 is the date for everything to go HD.

You are correct that all signals are upconverted to the Tv's native resolution but you are converting an old, poor sd signal and the result is an old poor picture.

If you want HD now, you have to have either an antenna for limited local reception, or cable/satellite for HD. The number of HD channels you receive will vary on your area, your provider and your level of service.

Last edited by clearday; 01-25-2006 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:45 AM   #3
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The ability of an HD set to show SD decent programing will vary from one mfgr to another and even possibly in what input (composite, component, hdmi) you are using. Also for signals from sources other than ant. the input source can affect the appearance on the screen.

With that said, you can't expect to take a SD prgm, blow it up and stretch it out wide and have it look as good as it would on a decent smaller screen crt tv. On my set when viewing a dvd using the component inputs, the picture looks pretty nice if I don't try and stretch it out of proportion to the original format. Viewing my sat receiver using the s-video input (best sig my sat receiver has) prgms look nice but not a good as the best I can see via a dvd.
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Old 01-25-2006, 09:22 AM   #4
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Thanks for the reply. More questions....

You referred to analog SD and digital SD. Is that distinguished by the broadcast source or the physical link to the set (i.e. component video input vs HDMI, etc.)? Both would have an impact, right?

Also, my understanding is that component video inputs are analog, but yet they are still HD inputs. Do you still get full HD resolution through these inputs?

Finally, is it worth the time to ask the BB or CC people to hook up SD signals for viewing on their HD sets (i.e. can or will they do this?)?

Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2006, 09:24 AM   #5
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Thanks Mickey. I sent my last reply (2nd post) before reading your response.
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Old 01-25-2006, 10:02 AM   #6
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Cubs, Whether or not you get analog or digital sd programming is determined by your provider. Digital level usually costs a little more. Currently most provide both, with the analog channels repeated digitally with the digital level of service.

Component inputs are digital (I think). You get a full HD digital picture if you use component cables from you stb and have HD service.

If you are going to use the TV for SD only, you should wait till your area gets HD service. Prices are coming down on HD TV's so there is really no reason to hurry. I still use my old 36" Sony SD tv for most SD TV viewing. I live in Dallas and we have a good selection of HD available thru Comcast, if I didn't have that available, I would have waited.

Last edited by clearday; 01-25-2006 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:11 PM   #7
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On Comcast mixed mode systems (analog & digital) channels below 100 are analog and ones above 100 are digital... but Comcast is in the process of going ALL digital, converting all the analog channels to digital ones.
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:49 PM   #8
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Clearday wrote:
"Component inputs are digital (I think)"

Component inputs are analog but still can handle HD. DVI and HDMI inputs are digital.
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:04 AM   #9
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Cubs23,

I'm a newbie, so take this for what it is worth. However, what I have to share is my observation.

I just bought a new Samsung HL-R4266W, and it replaced an OLD 25" Sanyo TV -- with only a coaxial video input.

Now, I have no HD feeds yet. I have DirecTV satellite (which is a digital signal). I have my satellite receiver hooked up to my TV using component video cables. I have a cheap DVD player, hooked up to the TV with an S-video cable (only have one set of component video cables right now).

Now, having said this, my picture looks really good, to me. I had heard about some folks complaining about SD TV viewing on HDTVs, but I just don't see the problem. Again, I had an old, small TV, and was only using coax feeds, but still -- my standard definition, digital feeds look very good on this new TV. It is an improvement -- in no way do I see it being inferior to my previous TV -- if for no other reason than the larger size of this TV (25" to 42"). But not to diminish the picture itself -- it looks very good, beyond just the fact that it is bigger.

The guys at CC tried to get me to buy a power strip/filter -- they say it would filter the noise inherent within the AC electric current -- further reducing any interference apparent in the picture. I didn't get one (I will), but I really don't notice too much interference at all. If you stand about a foot from the TV and focus your eyes, you might see occasional, very subtle "distortions" or "artifacts" or "waves" or whatever at times, but if I sit 6 feet away, I see nothing but a very nice, clear, sharp picture. I don't know your situation, your cabling, your type of feed (analog vs. digital), but I know if you replicate my situation, I think you would be very pleased. No way would I advise someone to put off buying -- at least this Samsung DLP -- simply due to fears about the display of non-HD signal.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Also, about a couple of your other questions...

Everyone is saying stuff about TV stations being "forced" to broadcast HD. Unless I am mistaken, this is FALSE. The stations are indeed being forced to broadcast DIGITALLY, instead of analog. But, I don't think they are compelled in any way to offer HD digital. Now, I think most will broadcast in High-Def, and in my area all do, but I just wanted to clarify that. All HD is digital, but not all digital is HD. You can have a 480p resolution digital feed, and this is NOT HD (think DVDs, or digital cable/digital satellite). HD means 720p, 1080i, and now the new 1080p resolutions. My only point is, the FCC is forcing stations to broadcast digital, versus their current analog broadcasts. However, unless I'm wrong, they are not REQUIRED to broadcast digital AND High-Def (though again, I assume most, if not all, will).

You also asked about analog SD versus digital SD, and what determines it -- the physical link/connection, or the broadcast source. The answer is the broadcast source. For example, if your TV station broadcasts digital SD, and you have a digital tuner/decoder, then you are seeing digital SD -- no matter what your connection from the decoder to the TV. The point is, digital feeds have no "flaws," other than what they acquire due to the cabling or things like that. The point is, you don't have "snow," for example, in a digital picture. With digital pictures, you either have a picture, or when the signal is to weak, you get no picture at all. There is no such thing as seeing the picture, but having "snow" or whatever. That's not to say that all connections are equal (though I don't know the details, interference and things like that -- acquired through the cabling -- can apparently cause some "artifacts," or minor "ghosting," or whatever). But the point is, again, the signal arriving at your house is "perfect," and will either be strong enough to recieve, or it won't. There is no in between (the snowy pictures we all used to have when watching analog TV received on our roof-top antennas). I try to think of it as the LP record versus CD analogy. A record player was analog, CDs are obviously digital. Even running a L and R (white and red) RCA cable from your CD player to your stereo receiver, you still could listen to the digital music on the CD -- i.e. a "perfect" reproduction of the music. The key is that the CD is PRODUCED digitally, 1s and 0s, which are then either decoded or they are not.

From this perspective, it would seem to me that even the worst connection type (coaxial) could still transmit HDTV content from your HD tuner to your TV. I'm not sure, but I would think so. I KNOW that at least the "raw" or "undecoded" HD signal can be transmitted on coax. Think of it this way -- you will be watching your HDTV broadcasts in the future -- either from your antenna, your cable provider, or your satellite provider, and all of these signals will arrive to your living room on a coaxial cable, right? I'm just not positive if you can then send the DECODED HDTV signal (after it goes through your tuner) to your TV via coax, or composite (RCA) cables, or whatever. But I think AT LEAST for digital standard definition, you can. Can anyone else help us out here?

Hope some of this helps.

Steve
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:42 AM   #10
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There are 3 signal sources which handle SD programming:

1. Analog

2. Digital using 480i resolution (SD channels)

3. Digital SD programs transmitted and upconverted to HD channels in either 720p or 1080i resolution.

My rating is as follows:

3. This viewing method, SD on HD channel, is not very enjoyable because of the need to stretch or zoom the 4:3 image into full screen. And the stretch method required is not as effective as it is on a SD channel.

2. Many cable companies, such as mine, over-compress digital SD channels in each QAM and the Video bitrate comes under 4 Mbps which renders the image less desirable than a good analog signal

1. Some cable companies have a good analog service. And this is my case so I have a cable splitter to direct one out to the TV and another out to the STB/DVR. Very nice SD image. Of course, recording via DVR must be done with the digital signal.
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:58 AM   #11
How can anyone watch standard def?
 

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Thanks guys for your dialogue. It seems there is no prescribed way to get the best SD performance on your HD set. Sounds like one needs to minimally split the signal (in my case Dish Network) and try different inputs as well as watch SD on the showroom floor (on targetted set) if possible prior to purchase. It also sounds like it might be worth it to purchase the HD set even without HD programming (yet), wherein you can still enjoy 480p (DVD) and SD through the proper input (after trial and error).

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:38 PM   #12
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SD may look better out of S-Video instead of components or HDMI/DVI outputs of your STB.
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Old 01-27-2006, 04:35 PM   #13
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Default Analog input on HDTV

I am using a splitter to have both an analog signal directly into my high def set and the other cable line into my TW8300 stb.
In order to watch the standard def channels I believe I have to go into my tv menu and indicate where the analog signal is inputting in order to select the correct input and receive those SD channels. I've tried all the unused inputs and am unable to receive any analog signal. Am I omitting other necessary steps? My set is a Panasonic PT-50dl54.
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Old 01-28-2006, 05:02 AM   #14
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Spartan98,

My cable provider enables the basic analog signal as well as the digital to the STB as long as the customer takes one of the big packages. My provider filters out analog to those who take less than one of the full packages.

Suggest you call your cable provider and find out under what conditions the analog signal remains unfiltered.
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