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Tips for checking out picture quality?????

07-29-2005, 09:29 PM
I know this to be a DirecTV forum, however, as my earlier thread detailed, I'm moving from DirecTV to cable IF THE PQ IS GOOD.

The cable is being installed next tuesday. The technician will hook me up and I'll have my first chance to see what the picture will look like.
I know enough NOT to just compare the HD picture to DirecTV because, for me, HD will be a first.

The service I'll be getting is their traditional analog SD programming, their digital lineup AND the HD.

Given that the technician is unlikely to let me spend a great deal of time checking out things while he/she sits there, can anyone suggest some tips to quickly check out how good the picture and signal is? It sounds like a foolish question since eyeballing the pic tells a big story BUT, are the other things I should do that will give me a fairly good indicator of what the picture and signal will be like?

Some tips? Some things to try out - to look for????

Any and all replies will be truly appreciated. To take advantage of a $300 "dish buyback" promo from the cable company I will need to give them my DirecTV receivers. I think I would have to go through hell to get them back (after the technician leaves) if days later I decide the picture quality with the cable is not what I hoped it would be.


07-29-2005, 09:33 PM
Follow up: my TV is a Sony 50" HDTV rear-projection LCD grand Wega.

How significant, in YOUR opinion, is the fact that DirecTV is digital for all channels?? Cable, of course, has many of their channels still analog. Will, in YOUR opinion, my Sony be able to display the analog channels with as much clarity as the all-digital DirecTV channels???

07-30-2005, 12:06 AM
On a 50" set their won't be as much of a difference that you will see from D* and their digital signal to the cable signal you just had hooked up. I couldn't really tell the difference. With my 27" I could tell the difference, D* looked much better over cable. I have D* and regular cable at the same time so it is easy to tell the difference. Go with whatever makes you happy. For me their is only one reason that I have D*.....and if it weren't for that one reason I would throw my dish away.

07-30-2005, 11:44 AM
Most people with HDTVs report the analog signals actually looks better than the digital signals. The reason for this has to do with the compression the digital channels have. Decompression artifacts will be really noticable on 50" and larger HDTVs. Here is an example of what to look for:
http://www.highdefforum.com/gallery/data/511/medium/40Jpeg_distortion.jpg (http://www.highdefforum.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/94/size/big/cat/511/page/1)
Notice the noise around the letters on the left. That is a decompression artifact. These will be present in both Directv and digital cable.

As far as which will look the best it will depend on the cable company and the STBs they use. Here in Houston the Directv and cable are comparable.

07-31-2005, 08:13 AM
well said...........

08-04-2005, 09:22 PM
Well, I made the switch - I'm now a cable subscriber. The installation went smooth. The pic quality on the digital channels is excellent (as it ususally was with DirecTV), the analog channels are a bit grainy BUT............... the HD makes it all worthwhile!

The picture quality is far, far better than I had even hoped for: clear and sharp - amazingly lifelike. This was my very first viewing of any HD picture - believe it or not.

The receiver that the cable company gave me is a Scientific Atlanta
Explorer 3250HD - is this a decent receiver? The original one installed was a refurbed one - it had a "heat problem" and would shut itself off. I called the cable company, within 1 hour they brought me a brand new one.

The cable company told me that the Fed gov't. is mandating that ALL cable companies have to be 100% digital in 2006. This should clean up the "not so perfect" analog channels I now have.

To DirecTV's absolute creditI did not get a hard time when cancelling. They ARE a class act. They did not even want my access cards back - they told me I can hang on to them in case I want to get DirecTV back some time in the future.

The HD lineup is great - 8 HD channels PLUS all the "locals" in HD (CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, UPN, and more).

I could not be happier with the HD picture!

08-05-2005, 11:07 AM
Your STB can be setup to output everything as 720p, the native res of your TV... this is probably your best bet...

You haven't said anything about the type of video connection used, or how you are handling your surround sound...

The graininess can be reduced by turning your 'sharpness' or 'picture' control down... this is only needed with analog signals, it should be off for digital inputs.

Mike Wolf
08-05-2005, 03:24 PM
I have the Scientific Atlanta 3250HD and i tell you its one of the best models they ever made.
The DVI port isnt active here ( dont mean i wont try it anyway ), so mine is hooked up via component.

Its a really great reciever which is half the footprint size of its older brother, the 3100HD, its twice as fast, larger RAM , faster processor, and a whole lot more.