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Got my HD box last night...and a few problems came with it

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 06:42 AM
I'll make this short.

--Picked up my HD box last night at a Cablevision walk-in center.
--Set it up
--Noticed pillaring on the sides of the SD channels. Hit "Picture size" on my TV remote and got the message "Not Available." (This option had been fine with my old cable box, and is still available for other inputs, ie, DVD, xbox, etc).
--Flipped through the stations...SD channels looked HORRIBLE. Dark and the colors were way off.
--Flipped through the HD channels. Some were fine, some were not fine. HDNBC for example, was all shades of blue. Sometimes it would return to normal.
--The picture on the screen gets lighter toward the top of the unit. This is noticeable when "in between" channels; the bottom of the screen would be black, the top, sort of gray.

So, I called Cablevision. We tried a bunch of stuff. Set the cable box to pass through, but I still couldn't change the screen size, and he wasn't sure what to do about the picture quality. Eventually, we turned the cable box off pass through, and set it to fixed. Now I can use their screen size settings, but there are only 2 and they stink. They look totally disproportionate compared with the options the TV has.

They're sending someone to look at it on Thursday...but I feel like it's a setting or something. I'd like to try to figure it out before then.

Sorry...guess this wasn't so short.

ja2935
12-07-2005, 09:48 AM
I have heard of this problem before and it has been addressed before in this forum - if nobody answers by this evening I will tell you what mine is set to.
What brand is your STB?

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 10:41 AM
I have heard of this problem before and it has been addressed before in this forum - if nobody answers by this evening I will tell you what mine is set to.
What brand is your STB?

Er...STB?

TeeJay1952
12-07-2005, 11:47 AM
Er...STB?
Set Top Box :hithere:

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 12:22 PM
Set Top Box :hithere:
Ah. Thanks. It's a Scientific Atlanta.

puck71
12-07-2005, 12:48 PM
It sounds like your cable box is set to output ALL channels in HD 16:9 format, whether they're HD or not. Some people might want this, but I don't think it's a good setting to use. I'm not sure how to change this on your box since I have a different one, but there should be a menu somewhere where you can set "output format." On my box there are 3 settings: what type of TV you have (4:3 or 16:9), what resolution to output HD content in (720p or 1080i), and what resolution to output SD content in (480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i). In my case I set the TV to 16:0, HD resolution to 1080i, and SD resolution to 480i.

The problem with setting the output for SD content to be 720p or 1080i is two-fold: the conversion made by the cable box may not be the best quality, and many (most?) TV's don't allow you to zoom or stretch content coming in at 720p or 1080i, so you're stuck with the black bars.

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 01:39 PM
I called Toshiba, and they seem to think it's a bad box, too.

But get this...the guy said that I can hook up the box using the coaxial cables. He said that won't affect the HD quality.

Is that true? I don't think he knows what he's talking about.

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 01:49 PM
It sounds like your cable box is set to output ALL channels in HD 16:9 format, whether they're HD or not.
I think it is, too. The Cablevision guy had me go through and accept every option. Maybe I should go back in.

Which do you suggest I accept?

FFL Champs
12-07-2005, 02:42 PM
I called Toshiba, and they seem to think it's a bad box, too.

But get this...the guy said that I can hook up the box using the coaxial cables. He said that won't affect the HD quality.

Is that true? I don't think he knows what he's talking about.
As long as the coaxial cables don't run from the box to your TV.
YIKES!

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 02:50 PM
As long as the coaxial cables don't run from the box to your TV.
YIKES!

I think that's what he's telling me.

That's no good...right?

FFL Champs
12-07-2005, 02:59 PM
That is no good.
You need to use Component or HDMI cables for HD.

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 03:12 PM
That is no good.
You need to use Component or HDMI cables for HD.

Nice to know that their tech support is competent.

Thanks.

FFL Champs
12-07-2005, 03:17 PM
I can't believe they told you to use coax.

Good Luck!

puck71
12-07-2005, 04:05 PM
Nice to know that their tech support is competent. To be fair, you could use coax if all of the following conditions are met: (1) your cable box does a direct pass-through of the cable signal; (2) your TV has a built-in QAM tuner; (3) the HD channel you're trying to watch is unencrypted.

But the odds of all those conditions being met are next to nothing - plus you won't have any onscreen guide or DVR capabilities that way.

As for what settings to "accept" can you give me what your choices are? I'm not as familiar with that box.

T. Wrecks
12-07-2005, 04:32 PM
As for what settings to "accept" can you give me what your choices are? I'm not as familiar with that box.
Thanks, Puck. I'll have to chekc it out when I get home and post from there.

ja2935
12-07-2005, 10:01 PM
T. Wrecks - it always helps when asking for advice to quote your equipment type otherwise you may be mislead.... I know from earlier posts that you have a Toshiba 34HF85...

You should be using component cables and your STB should be set to TV shape = 16:9; DVI/YPbPr Output = 1080i; 4:3 Override = 480i.

These are the settings for my Moto box - yours should be the same.

Did you get a good picture from your old SD cable box and from DVDs?

ja2935
12-07-2005, 10:48 PM
Correction - my 4:3 Override is set to 480p

T. Wrecks
12-08-2005, 06:24 AM
T. Wrecks - it always helps when asking for advice to quote your equipment type otherwise you may be mislead.... I know from earlier posts that you have a Toshiba 34HF85...

You should be using component cables and your STB should be set to TV shape = 16:9; DVI/YPbPr Output = 1080i; 4:3 Override = 480i.

These are the settings for my Moto box - yours should be the same.

Did you get a good picture from your old SD cable box and from DVDs?
Good call about the specs, ja2935. I'll be sure to do that.

I definately have the box set to 16:9 and 1080i. I'm not sure how to set the 4:3 override though.

When installing it, the cablevision guy had me go through a set up wizard. There were a whole bunch of options that he had me select -- 720p, 720i, 480, etc. I guess that is the screen where I would take care of that...but I'm not sure if I did. He had me select every option though.

Yeah...the picture was great with the standard cable box. Now that I've been watching the HD box for a few days, here are the biggest quality issues -- some of the nonHD channels are very very dark. Sometimes they get lighter if you leave them on. Which leads me to my next point, the colors seem to change as you watch TV. Sometimes they get more redish. Sometimes they get lighter or darker. Sometimes they flicker. It's bad.

For the most part, the HD channels look pretty good. They're not too dark, and they look crisp.

On both the HD and SD channels, the screen gets lighter toward the top.

I also tried using different component cables last night, but still had the same effect. I watched a DVD and it looked great. I can't wait to get the cable up and running.

ja2935
12-08-2005, 06:49 AM
It sounds like a box fault to me.....My suggestion would be to call the cable company and ask them to upgrade you to a DVR and insist they bring a brand new one as they seem to re-cycle them sometimes. Believe me you will be delighted with the DVR it's worth every penny!

T. Wrecks
12-08-2005, 08:28 AM
It sounds like a box fault to me.....My suggestion would be to call the cable company and ask them to upgrade you to a DVR and insist they bring a brand new one as they seem to re-cycle them sometimes. Believe me you will be delighted with the DVR it's worth every penny!
Cablevision is coming today with a new box. My wife is home with a list of my complaints. I might call about the DVR though. For 10 bucks, it seems worth it.

I've attached the cablebox setup guide. I have mine configured to accept all formats and I have it on passthrough. Does that seem okay to you?

((edit--the file was too large; I'll try to pull out the relevant pages))

T. Wrecks
12-08-2005, 08:34 AM
Here's the link. I'm not sure if it will work; I had to register at their site. If not, let me know. If it does work, check out page 15.

http://www.scientificatlanta.com/ExplorerClubGuides/getting_started/4003114B.pdf

ja2935
12-08-2005, 12:28 PM
Looks as though you need Upconvert 1 on page 15

puck71
12-08-2005, 03:24 PM
Actually any of them other than "Fixed" should work fine. Which specific one works for you may come down to personal preference and which type of set you have. If it was me, I would also use Upconvert 1.

T. Wrecks
12-08-2005, 03:59 PM
Actually, guys...I'm going to return the TV tonight.

The cable company came today and switched the box and it didn't imrpove the picture or the 'white glow.' And, he actually said that he went to a house last week where the guy had the same TV and the same problems.

I've since googled the model and the phrase "white glow" and found a lot of people having the same problem. So, I'd like to exchange it since I've only had it a few days.

I'm thinking of swapping it for this:
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=ELEC&pid=05746674000&subcat=HDTVs

Or, if it's too big for my stand, I'll go for its little brother:
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&pid=05742654000&subcat=HDTVs&vertical=ELEC&ihtoken=1

But now I'm getting paranoid. I'm usually not a fan of extended service plans...but now I'm reconsidering. What do you think?

THAT SAID...thanks for all of your help over the past few days everyone.

ja2935
12-08-2005, 06:05 PM
If DVDs work fine and your old SD cable box I don't see why it should be the TV? Did you try swapping inputs?

If you do change it why not for another Toshiba? You are just as likely to have a bad Sony as a bad Toshiba! and the picture on that model will be no better!

puck71
12-09-2005, 08:06 AM
Go for the Sony. :) I have the "little brother" one you linked and haven't had a single problem or complaint with it.

As for the problems you're having with the TV, it might be something you could calibrate either through menu settings or a professional technician. HDTVs "out of the box" are notoriously not well configured for home use.

T. Wrecks
12-09-2005, 02:39 PM
I ended up getting the 30" Sony (Sears was very nice about the exchange). I couldn't get the 34". The giant side speakers made it too wide for my stand.

Anyway, I'm sure it still needs some tweaking, but the picture is stunning right out of the box. I'm very impressed.

I liked the look of the Toshiba more (a bit more streamlined), but I just didn't want to take the chance getting another one (the Sears guy said a few people have returned them).

Thanks, everybody!

ja2935
12-09-2005, 03:13 PM
I think you will regret giving up the extra four inches! And, correct me if I am wrong Sony owners, the ability to stretch in HD mode for getting rid of the sidebars for 4:3 progs.

puck71
12-12-2005, 09:25 AM
I think you will regret giving up the extra four inches! And, correct me if I am wrong Sony owners, the ability to stretch in HD mode for getting rid of the sidebars for 4:3 progs. Correct. You can't stretch HD content with the Sony...but I haven't found that to really be a problem since the majority of HD content is 16x9 (by definition) and if they're playing something in 4x3 and I really need to stretch it I can usually do so by going to the SD-equivalent channel.

ja2935
12-12-2005, 10:32 AM
Correct. You can't stretch HD content with the Sony...but I haven't found that to really be a problem since the majority of HD content is 16x9 (by definition) and if they're playing something in 4x3 and I really need to stretch it I can usually do so by going to the SD-equivalent channel.
...with the subsequent lowering of quality....still, if it reduces burn-in risk then you do what you have to do! Stretched 4:3 HD (Theater Wide 1) actually look pretty good on my TV but I only discovered the feature after I had bought it!

puck71
12-12-2005, 12:45 PM
...with the subsequent lowering of quality....still, if it reduces burn-in risk then you do what you have to do! Stretched 4:3 HD (Theater Wide 1) actually look pretty good on my TV but I only discovered the feature after I had bought it! If an HD channel is broadcasting something in 4:3 then generally it's not HD anyway, so you're not losing much by watching on an SD channel. The exception would be things like the Rudolph special recently that was in HD resolution but was in 4:3 since that's how it was originally filmed.

ja2935
12-12-2005, 01:20 PM
Yes, you are right, if its 4:3 it probably was not shot in HD but if I do an A/B test comparing regular cable with the same staion in HD then there is a big difference - mainly because of the purity of the digital signal. TBSHD for example shows most reruns and movies in 4:3 but the definition is extremely good and as good at TNTHD.