TVs & Home Theaters

General discussion

Why do regular cable channels look really bad on my HDTV?!

by joba_bear / January 26, 2007 11:16 AM PST

Hi, I just bought my first HDTV (A Samsung HLS42266W) and I like it. The resolution is only 720p but my xbox 360 games and my ps3 games look great but when I'm watching regular cable channels they look really bad.
you see alot of grayniness and I just got HD Cable through Time Warner but the channels still look bad and only HD channels look good. Is there anything I can do? Do I need to buy some special cables or what.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Nothing You Can Do...
by hcjthree / January 26, 2007 8:30 PM PST

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but with cable compared to satellite your regular channels at least most of them are going to look like crap. If you have regular cable then basically all your channels are going to look bad but if you have digital cable a few channels will look alright. The reason being is that you only have to have a certain number of digital channels to call yourself digital cable. Like on Comcast cable you do not hit a digital channel until you get to Channel 100 or 101. So all that money people are paying for digital cable, at least half of the channels aren't digital = crappy picture! New cables may help a little but the only real help will be a switch to DirecTV or DISH Network because all satellite channels are digital.

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Digital chanels on dish are good on small screen tv's
by RJGute / February 1, 2007 10:12 PM PST
In reply to: Nothing You Can Do...

But not on large screens ,I have a Sony 50 in. SXRD i Bought in Jan. 06 The chanels on off air antenna's are as good as the digital ,HD programing on off air & on the dish are fantastic!So i guess we will all have to wait untill 2/9/09 to get the best out of our high perfomance tv,s when all chanels will be switched to HD As far as cable goes at this time you are wright too exspensive ,service is bad,half the stations are not digital,(TIME WARNER)I'm waiting for a little compatision in the cable ind. AT&T etc. in our area.I have an antenna & dish for HD on 1 tv.,cable for the rest of the house $8.00 a month for back up 22 stations,I have had a lot of problems with Dish re: up grade from digital
625 receiver to the 622 HD receiver 60 chanels & HBO for $56.00 To 60 chanels ,HBO ,& 26 chanels including HBO Gold package $85.00 per mo.So the Dish Co. Isn't so cheap ,To say nothing about all the time on the phone trying to get things straightened out,Very frustrating,They cant seem to get the statements wright,EVERY MO.IT's THE SAME BS Gute

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2/9/09 will not change all channels to HD
by josun54 / September 10, 2007 1:41 AM PDT

The only thing changing on this day will be analogue to digital. Not analogue to HD. Just want to clear this up. All normal tvs without digital tuners will need an external box to convert from digital to analogue. Standard definition tvs will still work fine as long as they have a digital tuner built in. In either case, as along as you have a cable box hooked up to the tv it will work.

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You need HD content
by Maestro_64 / February 5, 2007 2:39 AM PST
In reply to: Nothing You Can Do...

What you see is only as good as the worse link in the entire chain. In this case it is your cable connect. Most channels on the cable tv are the old time analog signal they grab off the air and then they digitize it and send it to your home. Even if you do not have Digital Cable they are doing this and to make things worse they convert it back to analog before sending it to your house.

I know for a fact that most of what Comcast offers as digital content is actually the digitized analog signal and they claim is digital because they send it to your cable box digitally. You can easily prove this to yourself by looking at the image of what they claim is digital and see static (or what was know as snow)in the image. Pure digital signals do not have static they have block errors.

Bringing me to my point which I agree with hcjthree here. DirecTV has the only pure digital system out their. The majority of their content is all digital from the source they do not digitize an analog signal. If you want a great images on your HDTV every link in getting that content to the HDTV has to be better than your HDTV.

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Hey, Maestro_64
by NM_Bill / February 5, 2007 4:55 AM PST
In reply to: You need HD content

You are obviously very knowledgable & intelligent. How about doing a little c/net bio to let us know your specific background.

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I will update my bio
by Maestro_64 / February 6, 2007 1:16 AM PST
In reply to: Hey, Maestro_64

NM_Bill,

You right I do have lots of knowledge in this area because I once worked for the company who designed DirecTV's Digital compress/decompress system and I now work for the company who does the system for Comcast and other cable providers.

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Unable to scan basic cable channels on Comcast
by bobg3723 / February 24, 2007 1:37 PM PST
In reply to: I will update my bio

I have the Comcast On-Demand digital cable service here in Brooklyn Park, MN. Why am I unable to scan the basic cable channels anymore with my Hauppauge HVR1600 tuner card?

I understand that the encrypted channels are purposfully unavailable, but after I installed my PC tuner card the other day and scanned using the CABLE setting (CABLE HRC was filled with audio noise),I recieved over 60 channels from 2 to 99. All the cable news, TLC, History channel, over the air digital broadcasts (ATSC), etc. But just today, I turned on the computer and I could only view the ATSC channels. No cable news channels, no history channel, etc. Re-scanning did not change the outcome.

Is Comcast's policy to actively block my access to the analog channels or is the problem on my end?

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What about Cablevision?
by sai7 / April 9, 2007 11:45 AM PDT
In reply to: You need HD content

If you or anybody else can give me feedback, I would appreciate it.

I bought an "LG, 32" LCD HDTV" today. The resolution and overall picture is not what I thought it would be. Sure, if I watch DVD's and play video games, it'll look great. I like the fact that everything looks bigger, but (on basic Cable TV reception) not so much better. I feel like "I am at MSG, watching Wrestlemania IV on Closed-Circuit TV".

Question: If I trade in my regular cable box for an HDTV cable box, how much of a difference will it make? I am subscriber to Cablevision (NYC). So, if you or any Cablevision (NYC) subscibers (that is in my exact situation) could help my out, much thanks!

....

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Not on Cablevision myself, but the HD box will set you at
by NM_Bill / April 9, 2007 11:52 AM PDT

ease by making a helluva difference. Though we all hate the cable cost, the additional increment is very worth it.

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rabbit ears
by gilescoleallen / February 14, 2007 2:47 AM PST
In reply to: Nothing You Can Do...

I'm just now reading an article about this very subject ! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17080800/site/newsweek/ It seems that the good ol' rabbit ears of yesteryear are back ! They don't work for cable channels but for the networks they out-perform cable HD ! Give it a read

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JOBA ARE YOU IN STAR WARS?
by stewart norrie / January 27, 2007 8:04 AM PST

OK cable sucks especially comcast horrible picture and way to expensive.I have the Dish Network hi-def system and love it,All the standard digital channels look great and there hi-def channels will blow your mind. Also you can throw up a cheap outside antenna do a digital scan and all your local digital and hi-def over the stations will go into the main menue for easy access, also make sure you install with a h.d.m.i. cable and snack bar and a 2 billion dollor 5.1 speaker system and die in your couch will happiness and joy steweee

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Thanks for the horrible news....
by joba_bear / January 27, 2007 8:44 AM PST

Stewart, thanks for the advice. I'm really looking seriously into getting rid of my cable provider and getting either dish network or direct tv.

So, which one has more HD channels of the two? And would you happen to know if one beats the other in picture quality and content?

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MR STAR WARS MOVIE STAR
by stewart norrie / January 27, 2007 10:14 AM PST

direct t.v. and dish network are both great choices pricing about the same. but Direct t.v. has more sports channels so they say. Iam only int drag racing and n.a.s.c.a.r but I see a billion sport channels available. also with both systems you can pay a small fee for your network channels in hi-def Or install an outside antenna with a cheap antenna I receive 18 local channels 8 are in hi-def. Also Dish has very good customer service. haver a nice weekend steweeee

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In the market for HiDef TV...WHAT DO YOU MEAN AN EXTERNAL AN
by jacques26 / January 27, 2007 6:10 PM PST

What kind of external antenna are you speaking of for local broadcasts?

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JACQ ANTENNA ANSWER
by stewart norrie / January 28, 2007 1:42 AM PST

Any standard outside antenna will work fine Dont get sucked into buying a hi-def antenna no such animal. just more money rip off. Ok receiving over the air hi-def channels are tricky you either get a stunning hi-def picture or nothing If you get a fair picture with anolog then it should be fine for digital. Here is what you do p[oint antenna in the general direction of the t.v. transmitter and do a digital scan then find a station thats locked in but with no picture you will see a siginal strength meter on the screen then turn antenna until picture pops on. You will find over the air broadcasts to have a stunning picture and 5.1. sound on many broadcasts good luck steweee

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HiDef Antenna
by kountrykool / January 31, 2007 4:26 AM PST
In reply to: JACQ ANTENNA ANSWER

I don't believe that's entirely true. A regular antenna will pull in some hidef stations but not all of them. CBS is broadcasted in VHF. You will not pick it up without a hidef antenna.

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Easy enough to get reasonably priced antenna with both
by NM_Bill / January 31, 2007 5:36 AM PST
In reply to: HiDef Antenna

UHF & VHF elements. But for a seller to call any antenna a "high def" antenna is phoney baloney advertising.

Young people regard antennas as strange things. Most everyone used them in the 50s. OK, rabbit ears for really urban, maybe. And antenna rotors, too. (electric powered rotators to reposition for each channel.)

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I Switched To Cable
by EXCON / February 26, 2007 12:54 AM PST

because I wanted HDTIVO. The good news is that here in Florida the cable company is going digital all the way in 6 months. I had Directtv for 8 years and it blows away cable,but HDTIVO BLOWS AWAY everything else so in the end I am now quite happy with cable TV AND its costing me 75 bucks a month less than DIRECTTV.

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Most HiDef broadcast in UHF
by mwarmuth / January 31, 2007 6:41 AM PST
In reply to: HiDef Antenna

Although some High Def off-air broadcasts are done in VHF, it is VERY rare. Visit www.antennaweb.org to see which stations are available in your area. Another good place to read up on antennas in general is www.hdtvprimer.com.

Usually when someone is selling an 'HD antenna' they're selling a UHF only antenna. Although CBS may be broadcasting on channel 3 (for example) in your area, their high-definition signal will be broadcast on another analog 'channel', usually high up in the UHF range (say 42). But you'd never know from the station number; it would just read 3-1. Again, the www.antennaweb.org website will tell you what UHF channel the HD signal is using.

My brother-in-law built his own antenna from postings at another forum (http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9613), and he got all his digital signals in great. Take a look at it.

As it turns out, a big driver of signal strength is just geography and dumb luck (localized stuff, like house geometry with respect to the antenna).

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Yeah, antennaweb.org has good info
by NM_Bill / January 31, 2007 7:05 AM PST

& elsewhere in the c/net posts is info that stations can dhoose to broadcast their HD via any unused channels in the area, be they UHF or VHF.

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A good antenna is all that's needed
by partymonsterri / February 2, 2007 10:53 PM PST
In reply to: HiDef Antenna

I just upgraded from Dish to Dish HD. Mistake. True the HD channels are stunning, but not worth the extra cost. My wife watches Food network. Almost none of the programming is the same, and they have about 6 shows. The saving grace is the DVR. Most of the TV I watch is network programming. I attached my coax feed from my antenna to the Dish receiver, did a channel scan and bingo, they are all there and recordable!
HD off air signals are much stronger than analog signals. I live in Southwestern RI, about 25 miles from local transmitters. I get all the locals, and also Boston, about 70 miles away just by rotating the antenna a bit. I haven't tried Hartford yet (80-90 miles) as I get all the network content I need, but I will check it out and let you know.
I used to use a Radio Shack "fringe area" antenna, but my current one is a step below that. No prob!

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Check with Others In your Area
by rufffrider / February 2, 2007 3:14 AM PST

When I was shopping around for satellite TV, I found that it depended on the area you are in. Check with others around you to see how good the service is. I went with DirecTV because others around here said if there's a rain drop or slight breeze, Dish goes out. When I spoke to people who lived in other counties, they said that DirecTV does that. So, check around. I think Dish is cheaper.

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In one word....
by Bat Guano / February 1, 2007 9:55 PM PST

SPELL CHECK.

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O.K. It's two words.
by Bat Guano / February 1, 2007 10:02 PM PST
In reply to: In one word....

... That's according to Firefox. I get a lot of good advice from these forums. I do have to think twice about that advice when it is filled with mis-spellings. I try to filter that out, and concentrate on what the poster meant and not how they said it. And hey, it won't keep you from being president some day.

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AS WALTER CRONKITE USED TO SAY "THAT'S THE WAY IT IS."
by Riverledge / January 31, 2007 5:48 AM PST

river.

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this seems to depend on a mix of things
by ellis feigenbaum / February 1, 2007 8:44 PM PST

i recently bought a vizio 32 inch hdtv, and also upgraded my time warner box to a hdtv one with pvr capabilities, the pictures are stunning, the regular channels are pretty good and the hdtv channels are amazing.
the one gripe i have is the side letter box bars on reg channels that i dont seem to be able to get rid off on all of the channels( the tv re rnders them on most but on one or two channels it just wont seem to to do this job).
so it seems that it depends on your hardware, your cable provider and your dwelling area.

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Adjusting your t.v.'s sharpness
by forkboy1965 / February 1, 2007 11:38 PM PST

Being a cable user I understand your frustration with the less-than-stellar quality of non-digital cable channels. However, you may wish to consider adjusting downwards your t.v.'s sharpness setting. I have found that this tends to help make non-digital channels look better, especially when viewed on a larger television.

I know it's not the best answer, but short of moving to satellite service (which does have it's own host of issues) it's at least a starting point!

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I'll try your sugguestion...
by joba_bear / February 5, 2007 7:52 AM PST

I'll try turning down the sharpness on my tv and hopefully this will help the channels look better. How much should I turn it down?

thanks to everyone and their suggestions. And I will even venture to try this thing called reality....one of these days....

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All 360 Channels Are Hi Definition on the Outdoor Network
by tnhiker865 / February 1, 2007 11:49 PM PST

You should have saved your money and bought a good pair of hiking boots--that way you could have enjoyed 360 high definition channels for the price of a walk outdoors. That would be 0 - 359 degrees of viewing. Turn off the boob tube and get outside. See what you're missing without all those commercials and monthly cable bills.

Al

"Things are looking up--today is the first day of the rest of your life."

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HDTV CABLE COMPANY LIES
by pc4me / February 2, 2007 2:07 AM PST

I PURCHASED MY TOSHIBA 40" THEATRE WIDE HDTV READY SET IN EARLY 2001 TO PREPARE FOR ALL OF THE HYPE ABOUT HD. IT TOOK 3 YEARS FOR HD TO CATCH UP IN PROGRAMMING AVAILABILITY AND CONTENT.
SO I STARTED WITH COMCAST IN NJ. LONG STORY SHORT I WAS TOLD BY A JOB FOREMAN IN PERSON AFTER COMING OVER WITH A HIGH GRADE TECHNICHIAN (TOO MANY COMPLAINT CALLS TO LIST HERE!) TO SEE WHY MY PICTURE WAS CRAPPY. I WAS TOLD THAT MY 2001 TOSHIBA WAS MORE ADVANCED IN TECHNOLOGY THAN THE SIGNAL COMCAST COULD PUT OUT IN 2004! I SEVERED THE CABLE CONNECTION THE NEXT DAY AND BEGAN MY VOOM SATELLITE TV EXPERIENCE SOON AFTER. (MANY VOOM COMPLAINTS TOO BUT READ ON.)
IN 2005/6 VOOM WAS BOUGHT OUT BY DISH NETWORK AND I AM EXTREMELY HAPPY! MY HD PICTURE IS WHAT IT SHOULD BE AT 1080 VIA COMPONENT CABLE AND OPTICAL AUDIO. (EVENTUALLY I'LL UPGRADE TO THE NEW HD-DVR PER CNET REVIEW:
(http://reviews.cnet.com/Dish_Network_ViP622/4505-6474_7-31778299.html)
YET THE BALANCE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL EXISTS AS I HAVE COMCAST BASIC CABLE WITH HI-SPEED INTERNET AND I CAN LIVE WITH THAT BUNDLE AS THEY'LL CHARGE ME MORE MONEY IF I ONLY OPT FOR THE HI-SPEED INTERNET. THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE WITH COMCAST. GREED, GREED, GREED.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE SATELLITE WHICHEVER COMPANY YOU CHOOSE.

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