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picture not clear with FIOS on HDTV

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Old 04-29-2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default picture not clear with FIOS on HDTV

I had FIOS TV installed several weeks ago and am only half-pleased with the results. My non-HD channels are blurry and grainy on my HD plasma set (Hitachi Director's series) and many of the listed HD programs are not HD, even though the information given on the programming states that it is. If they actually ARE HD, then something is very wrong. The picture is 2-dimensional. This includes my premium channels. My old non- HDTV is getting a better picture, now, for some strange reason. After several unsuccessful attempts to get tech help, I finally succeeded and was told (by a Verizon tech) that plasmas and LCD's don't give as clear/sharp a picture (with FIOS vs cable) as compared to rear projection sets. I am planning on buying a plasma for my dad (who wants FIOS, too) but am afraid to make the purchase and switch from cable because of my own results. I also have the home media DVR which, if you record a program in high-def, you can only watch it on HDTV...not something I was told when I opted for it. On the positive side, my surround sound is better. Does anyone have any remedies???
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokmalta@msn.c View Post
I had FIOS TV installed several weeks ago and am only half-pleased with the results. My non-HD channels are blurry and grainy on my HD plasma set (Hitachi Director's series) and many of the listed HD programs are not HD, even though the information given on the programming states that it is. If they actually ARE HD, then something is very wrong. The picture is 2-dimensional. This includes my premium channels. My old non- HDTV is getting a better picture, now, for some strange reason. After several unsuccessful attempts to get tech help, I finally succeeded and was told (by a Verizon tech) that plasmas and LCD's don't give as clear/sharp a picture (with FIOS vs cable) as compared to rear projection sets. I am planning on buying a plasma for my dad (who wants FIOS, too) but am afraid to make the purchase and switch from cable because of my own results. I also have the home media DVR which, if you record a program in high-def, you can only watch it on HDTV...not something I was told when I opted for it. On the positive side, my surround sound is better. Does anyone have any remedies???
What was the specific model plasma you had?

Turn off the Motorola DVR and press menu. Be sure that 720p or 1080i output is selected -- depending on what is optimal for your plasma. Also make sure 4:3 override is enabled and set to 480i. Make sure you are using HDMI or component, since those are the only connections that can pass HD.

All of the HD channels are in the 800 range. If a program is widescreen, then 99% of the time, it is in HD. If the program is in 4:3 with bars, then 99% of the time, it is upconverted SD. On the local networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), most of the high-definition programming is shown during primetime, i.e. 8-11pm. Aside from some mornings news and mid-day soaps, and NBC's national news, the local networks don't show HDTV on weekdays until 8pm.

Verizon doesn't use rate shaping, so they provide the highest quality HDTV available in the United States. Of course, with local channels, you're still at the mercy of the broadcaster and how much compression they apply. The best Verizon can do is pass the local channels without any extra compression on what type of the broadcaster already uses.

Last edited by bfdtv; 04-29-2007 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by scarface8087
my question is , will I even notice the 1080p viewing it from about 10-15 ft away & will it be worth settleing for the smaller 1080p tv?
That's a wide range -- which is it, 10' or 15'? At 15', you won't resolve high-definition, or even close to it, on a 50" screen. Assuming average vision, your eyes will only resolve 480p from a 50" screen viewed from 15'.

If you can afford the Panasonic 58" PZ700 1080p plasma, you should absolutely go for it at a viewing distance of 7-10', particularly if you spend a lot of time watching high-definition channels, and expect to buy a HD-DVD or Blu-ray player. The experience with Blu-ray is far superior on a 60" at 8' compared to a 50" at 10'. Beyond 12', you should probably just save your money and opt for a 58-60" 768p model.

High-definition was designed for larger screens; the high-definition picture looks better and better as you go larger (to a point). Local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, as well as cable channels like Comcast Sportsnet and Fox Sportsnet, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, FOOD, MTV, Discovery, Wealth, NGC, HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, and TMC are already offered in HDTV, with others like Cartoon Network, CNN, FX, History, SciFi, and the Weather Channel expected to follow later this year. High-definition channel lineups for different providers can be found here.

Quote:

Table assumes average corrected vision, i.e. 20/20 or one arc minute.

Find your viewing distance on the left.

With 1080p displays, the best picture with Blu-ray and HD-DVD is obtained at the red line. For the best experience with a mix of SD and HD content, I recommend a screen size and viewing distance that falls somewhere between the green and red lines, i.e the red shaded area. However, if your viewing is primarily Blu-ray, HD-DVD, and other high-definition, you want to be as close to the red line as possible.

Without a sufficiently large screen, or a sufficiently short viewing distance, you get no benefit from 1080p. At the blue line, there is no benefit to high-definition over a quality SD source. At the green line, there is no benefit to a 1080p panel over a 720p panel. As soon as you pass the green line, you start to see some benefit from 1080p, but the full benefit of Blu-ray and HD-DVD is not realized until you hit the red line. Note for broadcast and cable channels, the benefit you can see with 1080p will depend on the quality of the video processing in the display.
Check the pricing on the Panasonic 58" 1080p (Z700u) and 768p (60u/600u) plasmas at Cleveland Plasma, Plasma Concepts, etc.
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
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Hitachi model #42HDX62A. I checked the menu settings as you advised and everything matches, plus: closed caption is disabled, analog is CC1 & digital is primary language. I am using the same HDMI cable installed by Comcast. I did lose (cable) connectivity multiple times and was advised to disconnect the HDMI, wait and reconnect. Any chance there is a problem with the cable? My picture has also been breaking up, lately. Thank you!
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jokmalta@msn.c View Post
Hitachi model #42HDX62A. I checked the menu settings as you advised and everything matches, plus: closed caption is disabled, analog is CC1 & digital is primary language. I am using the same HDMI cable installed by Comcast. I did lose (cable) connectivity multiple times and was advised to disconnect the HDMI, wait and reconnect. Any chance there is a problem with the cable? My picture has also been breaking up, lately. Thank you!
If you are having trouble with losing the signal when switching between SD and HD channels, then you may want to set 4:3 override to off, but you sacrifice some quality on SD channels by doing so. If you are losing picture and sound randomly on both SD and HD channels -- separate from the Hitachi's sync delay when switching between SD and HD channels -- then you need to schedule a service call and have Verizon check your signal levels.

Keep in mind your Hitachi is not a "true" high-definition plasma. It is a HDTV by the CEA's marketing definition, but it can't display the full resolution of either HD format. The 720p format is 1280x720p and the 1080i format is 1920x1080i. But your 42" Hitachi plasma has just 1024 pixels, so you get just 1/2 the original resolution and detail of most HDTV channels on your screen. Your Hitachi's also does not correctly deinterlace 1080i signals, so actual resolution will be closer to 540p when there is a lot of movement on the screen.

When viewed from say, six feet, your Hitachi is not going to produce a comparable picture to most of the 42+" LCDs and 50+" plasmas you now find in stores. On a 42" screen, the lack of resolution isn't noticeable for a person with average vision viewing from 10', but if you sit much closer than 10', or have above-average vision, then the Hitachi's lack of resolution will be more obvious.

Follow up

Have you calibrated your Hitachi's HDMI input with a DVD such as AVIA? AVIA is a tutorial disk that presents test patterns and tells you how to use those patterns to achieve the best possible picture with your TV. If you only setup your TV by eye, without using the appropriate test patterns and filter, then your TV will not produce the best possible picture. Once you've run through AVIA and have the appropriate filter, I would "fine tune" those settings with the test patterns broadcast by Hdnet every Sunday at 6:50am EST (record those patterns with your DVR).

Last edited by bfdtv; 04-29-2007 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:23 AM   #6
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You have answered my question, and though I am not too tech savvy, I do understand the explanation regarding the true nature of HD in relationship to my plasma. As I am HDTV shopping for my dad, do you have any suggestions for what I should look for (in addition to the info you've provided)? I don't want him to also be looking through a "screen door" when viewing the TV. Thank you!!!
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokmalta@msn.c View Post
You have answered my question, and though I am not too tech savvy, I do understand the explanation regarding the true nature of HD in relationship to my plasma. As I am HDTV shopping for my dad, do you have any suggestions for what I should look for (in addition to the info you've provided)? I don't want him to also be looking through a "screen door" when viewing the TV. Thank you!!!
The "screen door" effect results when you sit close enough that you resolve more resolution than the display has.

Observe the table below and you'll never see the "screen door effect" and you'll get a great picture with FiOS.

Quote:
Viewing a mix of SD and HD

Viewing distance

7-9' = 42" 768p display
9'-11' = 50" 768p display
11-14' = 58-60" 768p display

6-8' = 50" 1080p display
8-10' = 58-60" 1080p display
10-12' = 60-70" 1080p display
>12' = >70" 1080p display

You can substitute 1080p displays in place of the 768p models (not vice versa), but if you have average vision, you won't get the benefit of the extra resolution. The farther you sit away, the less resolution your eyes can resolve from a given size screen, and the less picture detail you will see. The closer you sit, the more resolution your eyes will resolve, and the more detail you will see; however, if you sit close enough that your eyes resolve significantly more resolution than on the panel, you will see SDE.
If your father's budget is $2000-$2500, I would take him to Best Buy and Circuit City to see the new Panasonic 50Z700U (for viewing from <10'), the Pioneer 50" 5070HD (for viewing from 10'), and Panasonic 58" 58PX600 (for viewing from 11+').

Ignore the prices in the store. Once you've found the model you like, check the price at reputable dealers such as ClevelandPlasma.com, Plasmaconcepts.com, and InvisionDisplays.com.
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:43 PM   #8
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Many thanks on the useful info re: Panasonic HDTVs. I will definitely take your advise. Jo (with different username)
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:22 AM   #9
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That graph is interesting. I noticed it implied that with a 50" screen, you wouldn't see the benefit to HD-DVD/BD until the red line (7 ft or closer to the screen.) Doesn't that sound strange? 7 feet from the screen seems pretty darn close to the television for a 50" screen.
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by RedSIinPA View Post
That graph is interesting. I noticed it implied that with a 50" screen, you wouldn't see the benefit to HD-DVD/BD until the red line (7 ft or closer to the screen.) Doesn't that sound strange? 7 feet from the screen seems pretty darn close to the television for a 50" screen.
Not exactly.

The "full benefit" of 1080p is visible at the red line to someone with average vision. However, as soon as you pass the green line -- which is about 10' from a 50" screen -- you get some benefit. The closer to the red line you sit, the more benefit of 1080p you are able to perceive.

When you see a movie in a decent theater, the picture typically covers much of your field of view. Contrast to the typical living room, where the field of view may cover the entire room with a TV sitting in the middle. The viewing angle from the last row in the typical theater is around 26-30 degrees, which translates into 65-75" viewed from 10'. If you want to duplicate the experience you get sitting towards the middle of a typical theater, you'll need to go even larger. When you consider that, 7' from a 50" isn't close at all.

It all comes down to whether you want a "home theater experience" or the more traditional "TV experience," but with a somewhat better picture.

Last edited by bfdtv; 05-02-2007 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:04 AM   #11
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I am not up on all the technical stuff like some here seem to be but due to the odd size of my living room I sit about 6-7' from my 56" and its amazing. I would prefer it a little further away but its either 6-7' or about 15' which is to far if you ask me.

Like someone above mentioned its a real home theater like experience compared to when I only had a 42" there which was more like just watching TV.
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