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TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

Any way to make normal cable TV look better?

by ilikenascar / September 17, 2005 12:09 PM PDT

I just purchased a new LCD TV 32", and the normal Charter digital cable doesn't look all that hot. Is the TV just pointing out the flaws now that I'm not watching it on my old fish bowl TV anymore? Is there anything I can do to improve the picture? Thanks.

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Make SD look better
by Dan Filice / September 18, 2005 1:30 AM PDT

I'm not sure, but I think this comes down to how the TV itself scales the signal. Is there a menu option on your set to choose whether the TV is using 'Progressive" display? Or, is there a setting to choose whether your set of DVD player does the scaling? Or, a setting for "Video" or "Film" mode? Try changing all to see if anything changes. A friend of a friend just bought a 60" DLP set and he has the same problem. Regular standard-def signals are unwatchable, but HD signals look brilliant. I have an older rear projection Toshiba TV, and it's rated as 540p, not the typical 720p or 1080i. Someone told me that Toshiba did that specifically to make it an even multiple of HD resolution upscaling while making it an even multiple of SD downscaling. I don't know all the details, but my old set (50") makes regular cable look great, and HD looks terriffic too. I've seen some new TV resolutions stated at being something like 1024X768. To me, that's a resolution for a VGA computer monitor, but I've seen this resolution listed on 40", 50" and 60" TV's. On some rare sets listed as being 1920X1080 (true HD resolution), they cost $10 grand and up.

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by stewart norrie / September 18, 2005 2:18 PM PDT

I have never heard of your cable co. but most cable and satellite systems will give you an hi-def upgrade box for free or small fee Then you can order your hi-def package, I haveThe dish network and with the hi-def packeage and Voom I pay $45.00 per month well worth it also make sure you use compopnit vidio, h.d.m.i or d.v.i. cables from your box to your t.v. also the cable box will have optical audio output for your 5.1. sound then you will be in hi-def heaven good luck stewart norrie

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How are you hooking up ?
by grimgraphix / September 19, 2005 12:31 AM PDT

If it's just a straight coax cable connection you then have the poorest hook up. Do you have more than one connection in the house ? How does the TV look on a different line?
What's the quality of the NTSC tuner in the set ? I have one TV whose native (built in) tuner sucks but hook it up to a VCR and the picture visibly improves in clarity.
Are you using a cable box ? Are you connecting from the box to the TV using at least composite video cables... s-video ?

How is the picture with DVD ?

I sold a TV years back to a fellow who came back complaining about the picture... I went over to his house and took a look... tried all the variables. It turned out to be a problem on the pole connection. The guy just never had a TV that made the problem obvious before.

You need to try all the avenues and/or give more detail before we can be more help than this.


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Good point, I should have explained more
by ilikenascar / September 19, 2005 3:05 AM PDT

Good point, I should have provided more detail.

Currently, I have a Philips 32" LCD that has a normal coax cable running from the wall - to the motorola cable box (provided by Charter Cable) - then to the TV. There is also a split somewhere in there for the cable modem, but I can't remember offhand and what point the split is. I would assume before it gets from the wall to the cable box. So that could be contributing.

It looks decent on a DVD player, but I'm just using my PS2 for the DVD, and it's only going through normal cables, not HDMI and whatnot.

Are there additional cables I can use for the Cable Box to TV hookup to make it look better? Not sure if the cable box has any options other than coax. Thanks.

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if you stay with standard def...
by grimgraphix / September 19, 2005 1:30 PM PDT

cable, then you can still improve your picture with better modes of connection. If you really are connecting from the cable box to the TV using coax cable then you need to switch to composite (the yellow-red-white RCA plugs) cables OR BETTER YET an S-video cable (which has a red-white RCA plug and a round multi-pin plug).

By the way... if you intend on playing DVDs with your PS2, you can upgrade the connection cables for that as well.

I did a quick google and came up with this link explaining various TV connection methods.

what your looking for is about a third of the way down the page. After you read this then compare your TV's connections to what they show on this site.

good luck


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Noob question....sorry
by ilikenascar / September 19, 2005 11:12 PM PDT

So, you can connect the cable box to the TV using a connection on than the standard cable with the "pin" sticking out the middle of it? Maybe I was using coax in the wrong sense then.

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With the new broadcast technology...
by grimgraphix / September 20, 2005 1:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Noob question....sorry

there are a variety of signals and different ways of making connections. Some connections have better picture quality some have worse... If I understand you correctly (you are using a single coax cable with threaded ending to go from your cable box to your TV) then you are using the lowest quality connection other than a set of rabbit ears on top of the TV to get the signal into the TV.

Lets get basic... pull your cable box out and look at the connections on the back. Pull your TV out and compare those connections with the cable box. Some of those connections carry picture and some carry sound... some may even carry both. Look at the names labeled on each connection. Now go back to

or try

these sites will explain the connections you are looking at and give you a better understanding of what your equipment can do.

Painless and expensive way of doing this is hire someone to connect it for you. When I did installation on the side a few years back I charged $ 35.00 per hour plus cost of cables. I was really cheap but I didn't do in wall wiring.

good luck !


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