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Try this. . .
Connect the TV directly to the cable box and see what happens. The TV will downconvert the 1080 signal to 720. (-P or -I will not be a factor.) Just like the HD TiVO will do.
Problem still there?
Upconverting 420 DVDs to 720 (adding content) is not the same as downconverting 1080 to 720. You will be reducing content. Does the Time Warner box have an output option of 720 or 1080?
First of all, thanks for thinking about this!
Secondly, there is no cable box. The Tivo HD uses a multi-stream cablecard to decode the signal. The tivo gives me several different output options. Native, or fixed at 1080 or at 720, or hybrids of those. I just went in and set it to "Hybrid" which it says will pass the 1080 and the 720 right through and only bother to convert the 480i signals up to 480p. After a few minutes of watching I dare say it looks a little worse... Maybe that's not true, but I definitely still noticed the same problem.
I'm at a loss. Thanks again for any other ideas.
You know the tv is good at 720p;
So set the tivo at 720p and see what happen. My guess is that the tivo is not doing its thing.
I had the Tivo set to send out in 720 originally. I won't say that the tivo is perfect but I don't think it's the problem. Any other ideas how I can test it out?
How to fix your picture
I bought a brand new Panasonic 1080p 50 plasma and had the same issue with the Time Warner picture being pixelated. They tried to tell me it was my brand new TV. We went through it over the phone=nothing, new box=nothing. I was so bummed thinking it was my new tv. I checked out Directtv and am now extatic. They have a great deal right now with their premiere package + NFL ticket. So happy about it. The picture is perfect!!! and they have 3x the HD channels. Time Warner can't compete. Honestly, no more cable ever for me. The idea that your 720p signal can't take in theirs is rediculous since all broadcast content is 720p, or less. Nobody broadcasts in 1080p and won't for years to come. I only got the 1080p because I got a great deal at the same price as the 720p and use it for Blu Rays. the instant my TV was plugged in I was extatic.
BOOOO time warner
At least here in LA Time Warner cable is terrible. And I mean cable service and customer service and any other way they could be letting us down. The track record is the main reason I automatically suspect them over other possibilities such as the Tivo. I've resisted moving to satellite because of having to buy new equipment and having to sign a contract. AT&T Uverse just became available - maybe I need to look into that.
It is always the Cable companies fault.
This is a known issue with HD compression. Basically, the cable companies do not have enough bandwidth for HD so they compress it. The pixelization is notice during high speed or high detail scenes.
If you look a Blu-ray, a normal movie is putting out close to 30Mbps constantly. There is no way cable companies can broadcast all the HD channels at that bit rate.
That was a fantastic link. And it makes a ton of sense. Time Warner here was Comcast two years ago. I think it's safe to say that it's the compression and there's nothing I can do but switch.
Still a little unclear though - does the compression also affect non-HD channels? I was watching some non-HD Discovery last night and noticed some of the same pixelation problem there.
I tend to agree with what ScooterH says.
The problem is the signal strength is not up to par. I don't care what the tech. say; there's nothing wrong with your TV.
Do you know if they've check the signal all the way to the tv?
The problem is the signal strength is not up to par.
> The problem is the signal strength is not up to par.
I had this low-signal problem with stnadard cable, and fixed it with a cable amplifier from Radio Shack.
My problem was too many splitters.
Which Raido Shack amp did you get.
I have a similar problem from time to time (working right now) with the high number premium chanels either pixlating or not coming through at all. I am pretty sure it is due to the number of splitter I am using.
Assuming if the TV is ok, then ...
the faults belong to the cable company period. This is not like the telephone company where everything inside the house is the home owner's responsibility.
not here (nashville tn)
(NOTE: I am a call center rep @ the nashville comcast office on this forum for my own entertainment and not representing comcast)
Here in nashville we follow the telco's rule for whats inside and outside.
The inside wireing starts about one foot (of the cable) outside of the box thats on the side of your home (or apt) and that means all wireing or splitters or ampliphyers(bad spelling) are "yours".
Boxes/Cards are rented.
We charge to go out to replace wireing/splitters/ampliphyers(bad spelling). And we charge to SEND the tech to replace a box.
But as a person on the phones WE do not charge, its left up to the tech if there is a charge.
If there is a charge there is a traditional "insurance" (we call it service protection plan) thats available for the customer. (the cost over a full year is less then the cost of one trip)
Anything Before "inside" starts does not have a charge for replacing/working on. (unless its willfull damage, but thats up to someone else (not the tech i belive) to state)
We get alot of issues where construction teams did not do a full call before you dig and hit a line. Or someone across the street is digging a flowerbed and digs the cable up.
We generally get a tech out first available appt and run a temp line till we can scedual a new buried one.
The overheads don't have as much a problem, but they do get hit and pulled down occasionaly.
Hope this helped clear things up man. Check with your local cable company though to find out what the rules are for your area.
it's the data stream's fault
The data stream is supplied to you by the cable company. Thus it's a cable problem, getting them to do anything about is not easy. John
Time Warner's Info is Hogwash!
Hello Buckodgr8. I work in tech support for a major cable/internet/telephone provider here in California and the info you were given by Time Warner is BS! I also have TW @ my home, but I don't work for them. The pixelation you are getting on your HD channels is called "digital tiling" and it is caused by interference getting into your cable RF signal. 90% of the time, there is a bad splitter, coaxial cable, fitting on the end of the coax cable, somewhere inside or outside your home. Usually one or all of those things need to be replaced. It could also be originating from the "drop", which is the line from the telephone pole/pedestal outside that runs to your house (the main line of signal). More often than not, your HD channels experience this "tiling" because they require more bandwidth space and reside on higher cable frequencies. Your 720p tv should work just fine as all (as far as I know) cable/dish companies send signal to customers in a 720p (progressive) format. The converter box in your home then converts that signal to a 1080i (interlaced) signal. The only signals that send a pure 1080p are BluRay and HDDVD players. The field technicians from Time Warner should already know about digital tiling. Call them to schedule a trouble call to replace/fix those bad lines and splitters! I hope this is helpful and some food for thought.
This and that
When they were here they did check the signal strength at the tivo and said it was good. The tivo also has a diagnostic feature that confirms that, at least in terms of strength, the signal seems to be good. Of course, I guess that doesn't necessarily mean CLEAR.
I'm a bit confused today though because of something else I tried. I went out and bought an indoor hd antenna - it's a Philips phdtv3. I figured that if the local HD over the air signals were clear then I could truly safely say it was definitely Time Warner. Trouble is, they aren't completely clear either.
I decided first to hook it up to the Tivo. Went straight to NBChd over the air and lo and behold plenty of pixelation. Even noticed some on other channels as well. I'm guessing that there must still be compression issues at play even over the air. ??????
So, thinking that the problem COULD be the Tivo, I hooked the antenna right up to the tv. Same result. Did some looking and have begun to find some reports that the Tivo HD can be prone to some pixelation, but like I said, straight to the tv gives me the same deal so I still don't think it's that.
I feel pretty strongly at this point that, no matter whether there is anything else involved here or not, my local NBC affiliate isn't doing me any favors. And maybe that applies to other channels too.
Wanting to be really sure I double checked the picture while watching a dvd. Tried two of them and for only a half second did I even think I saw anything wrong. I'm still pretty confident that it's not the tv.
So in summary, I still haven't figured this out. Still get pixelation on most every channel, cable or antenna, HD or SD. But not at all when I use the dvd player!
I think it's quite likely that I have bad cable wiring but also safe to say that wouldn't affect the signals I'm getting off the antenna. Not to say that the antenna is all that great either I'm sure but I feel as though I'm fundamentally not understanding something about television broadcasting.
I'm going to call TW again tomorrow to get someone else out here. I don't think it'll hurt. But I would also love to hear any other ideas you or anyone else may have. The presence of pixelation over the air really baffles me.
Too bad you don't have another HDTV to test out...
if you are getting enough signal from the antenna. If we assume the signal are ok coming out of the antenna then you have a tuner problem on the tv.
Try reducing the sharpness
I bought a new Sony Bravia, 40" 1080P HDTV, and I saw a lot of macro blocks on the Olympics HD feed. Any fast motion seemed to have this problem. I have a 62" Hitachi, rear projection HDTV that didn't seem to have this problem(at least, not so severely). After some close scrutiny I did realize it was there, but just had not noticed it before.
I tried all kinds of things, like changing the output from the Motorola cable box, which was originally set at 720P. Changed it to 1080I, and even tried the 480I and 480P settings. Nothing really seemed to help. I finally reduced the sharpness almost to the minimum, and the pixelation is hardly noticeable.
What I was getting was not really pixelation, but compression artifacts, or macro blocks. This can be the result of some up or down conversion, but generally is not caused by the cable feed. Real pixelation, little white or colored squares, in random areas of the screen, are usually a problem with the cable feed, or bandwidth issues. I have suffered some of this from Time Warner too, but that was not the issue with the recent Olympics broadcast.
I have seen this kind of thing on HBO HD boxing, and on some other sports with fast motion.
I think some TVs are better than others at dealing with the macro blocks, with special filters. My solution was to reduce the sharpness, and it seems fine now.
I'm no expert in all of this, so I may get some argument as to the difference between pixelation and compression artifacts.
From what I have observed, the 1080P TVs have great pictures when fed really good HD material, but they don't look as good as lower definition TVs when viewing SDTV, or lower resolution source material. The picture is so sharp that it magnifies any flaws.
I had the same experience
I had lots of pixellation on my sets also. Two things solved it. The first was that Time-Warner allowed me to put in a much stronger cable (about 3/4" diameter) into my house. I had to crawl through the attic to put it in. They put the ends on the cable for me. We also discovered that the HDMI input on my TV set was defective and I got a better picture with the component inputs. Be sure to try those also.
Static causes pixelation
As far as "over the air" digital TV is concerned, the same interference that causes "snow" on old analog TV also causes data dropouts and pixelation for digital TV. Too much static, and the channel drops completely.
Quite frankly, the old analog "snow" was less annoying.
Pixelation & Splitters
If you are running any splitters you really should invest in line amplifier. Comcast in IL routinely uses the Motorola Signal Booster. It is available at CC on sale for $79. I have 5 TVs and when I added them one by one to the old splitter, the signal started degrading with the 3rd TV.
This unit cleared up my problem and the Olympics came in at 1080i on my 720 HD sets and my 1080p Sharp Aquos with no issues.
I have TWC, I have had them out 12 times to this problem
First off, Time Warner does not broadcast in 1080P except some of their new on demand movies...but nonetheless...that was a load of stupidity from their tech. I am not sure how they are going live up to their claim of 1080P on-demand movies because my Cable box doesn't even support 1080P, even though my TV does. Now Back to you....
It is the signal strength as you have heard many times, just keep calling them back until they fix it. Also, keep in mind that 720P is actually better than 1080i. It is 1080P that is the best, but I do not believe anyone today has broadcast television in 1080P, and like you said, your TV is 720P which is perfectly fine.
Time Warner Cable has replaced all of the cable on the poles all the way up my street, up to the house and throughout my house. Finally the signal strenght was corrected and my pixelation went away... until the next time squirrels or some bird or wasps create moisture at the line tap..., but to get this fixed I had to be persistent, I even had to send TWC a couple of letters asking them how they could possibly be making any money on my service when they are constantly sending techs out to my house and also about how lousy their service really is.
Just a note...In my area 99% of the time... Time Warner will send out sub-contractors that are less skilled then their own techs (not saying that sub-contractors are bad, or that is always the case, but it has been for me where TWC is concerned and our local TWC sub-contracting co.)
Insist on an employee that can diagnose and fix the problem.
TWC techs have signal strength meters that can tell them immediately how strong the signal is at the pole. at the splitter, and at your set. They can figure this out. If the signal is weak and they can't improve it, they also have signal boosters that can improve the signal.
All I can say is...you are paying for this service. Don't threaten to turn them off, threaten that you will call them every single day until the problem is fixed (and request a credit on your bill for everyday their service is unsatisfactory).
I'm sure they're no better than brighthouse down here
The problem is undoubtedly trying to move way too much data over cable lines that were installed ten-twenty years ago and really can't handle the load. Verizon is installing FIOS in my area which is all fibre optic. IF it works for you it's supposedly fantastic but it's new tech and like everything else down in this state they hire the cheapest workers they can find and won't pay properly for experience so the folks having problems with FIOS are describing customer service and technical nightmares. So it sounds like for HD that something like the FIOS product may be the way to go, if anyone figures out what's wrong with IPL/BPL (internet over power lines) that will also be an innovation that can compete with fibre optic in terms of moving data but maybe not in terms of quality....all remains to be seen on that one (but first they need to make the HAM's happy and stop creating noise on the HAM and emergency radio bands).
The tech has just moved faster than the infrastructure to support it. If your state is anything like Florida, you get nearly no help from consumer protections that may be in place over the utility monopolies you just have to keep documenting and screaming a lot and keep documentation because if you do finally get the ear of your local or state officials you'll need every bloody scrap. The guys comment about replacing his cables is also good because you know the cable company is not installing "monster cable" they're installing the cheapest lowest bidder stuff that they feel they can get away with and when you're talking about the gobs of data being moved in HD any little questionable connector etc. is going to be a source of an issue.
It is Cable/Satalitte Compression
I have Mediacom Cable HD, and ALL of the Olympics displayed pixelisation. When I had Direct tv I also had real bad pix on a lot of HD except HD NET, and HDTH and DiscHD. But most network feeds on both formats are rebroadcasts and are highly compressed.
I live with it.
Could Be Cables, Connectors or Splitter
Although my TVs are HD-Ready, my Tivo Series 2 is still standard def. We did have some pixillation on SHO. I, too, have L.A. (Orange County) Time Warner but this was not a COMCAST conversion. The guys they usually send out here on service calla are TW employees and not contractors.
One of the best things I did was to pay the 50 cents per month fee for inside wiring.
Some of my problems turned out to be a bad "T" connector in the attic and was fixed with no charge (Time Warner wired the house when it was built). The Showtime issue was a splitter that I had put and along with some weak cables. The tech from TW went over everything with his metet. In the end, he made custom cables for me AND gave me a special 3-way splitter with one of the outputs being a special low-resistance one (I think) for use on the Tivo. No charge to me. No problems since.
I've actually been pretty happy with TW service calls and and I never pay anything other than the 50 cent monthly fee. Much better than trying to do this stuff myself and they have the meters to test everything.
Small blocks versus big blocks
What size blocks are you getting?
If they are largish blocks, bigger than your thumb nail, then it's a signal strength issue.
If they are small blocks (smaller than your pinky nail), then it's a perfectly normal compression artifact and shouldn't affect your viewing enjoyment. DVDs and Blu-rays have a high enough bitrate for their resolution so that the compressor can capture motion without resorting to spacial compression. Free-to-air, cable and satellite transmissions might not be at a high enough bitrate, so the compressor has to pixelate parts of the image in order to have enough bandwidth remaining to get the motion.
MPEG compression works by only capturing the differences between frames, with an occasional "keyframe" (whole frame). If there is such a large amount of the screen changing that it's virtually sending a keyframe every frame, and there isn't enough bitrate to do this, then it will remove data from each frame, just like you would do a JPEG image.
I repeat: Small blocks is NORMAL when a large part of the image is changing, and if you're getting the technicians out for this then you're wasting their time. Small blocks during no image changes is probably a faulty set top box. Big blocks indicates low signal strength or quality.
The blocks are very small, pinky nail size if you like, but they do affect my viewing pleasure. Surely I have the right to expect a better picture when I've spent as much money and time on this system as I have. Especially when this doesn't happen at friends' houses. Friends who are local, are served by Time Warner, and whose HDTVs aren't even supposed to be as good as mine (just going off specs and reviews).
I have come to understand [a little] more about the compression and bitrate issues and I currently believe that said issues are the cause. But for what's it's worth, both the 2nd level tech support person I spoke with on the phone as well as the technician that came out to the house yesterday told me that the problem that I'm having should not be happening to the extent that it is.
The technician yesterday said he's going to look further, talk to his supervisor and some people at the wherever and get back to me by Wednesday. I'll update again after that.
Most likely it's NOT your TV but the right set could help
Your description of the problem doesn't give enough information to be 100% sure but it does sound like you're seeing MPEG artifacts. MPEG is the compression standard used and the most likely artifacts you'll see are blocks (not pixels) and mosquito. The blocks are groups of pixels and most noticeable on either fast motion where there are large changes in the image data or on continuous tones that fade gently from one shade to another. It's is a known fact that in order to fit the MPEG signal into a standard cable channel the compression ratio will cause blocks to appear.
The other type of MPEG artifact is mosquito noise. This looks like tiny ripples on fine detail that expand out from the fine detail. General this is impossible to see on fast motion but you can see it on slow or still images. Depending on the screen size and image settings most viewers will have a hard time seeing this artifact from their normal viewing position.
Now comes the controversial part. This may not be your cable companies fault. The cable company gets its feeds from the content providers and in most cases that feed is the problem. The cable company simply resends the signal down their network. The only way you can get a better picture is to focus on channels where there is only on signal. For example you may have a a channel that has 5 (the analog signal), 5-1 (digital feed 1) and 5-2 (digital feed 2). While the mixture of analog and digital is not an issue since they're sent on physically different channels the two digital are. In order to fit those signals into the cable channel they have to be compressed more than if just one was sent.
I think you mentioned that you don't have a set top box. If this is the case you could be seeing worse problems due to that. The quality of the MPEG decoder is critical to making the image look its best. Since the MPEG decoder has the most information about the signal it is the best place to improve the signal. I have no idea how good a TIVO box is but I suspect they would focus on lower cost than the cable companies since the cable companies are always using higher end decoder to pack in more features. However I seriously doubt that this is your problem.
Lastly the TV set can improve this signal. It's nothing to do with resolution. The statement about your TV not being able to keep up is a very silly and downright dumb statement. If the TV can't keep up it simple doesn't display the image. HDMI is an uncompressed standard and so every pixel is sent. All the TV does it put these on it's screen. But not all TVs or inputs are equal. First of all if the TV has to convert an interlaced signal to progressive scan it can introduce errors into the signal. For example a 1080i input to a TV set requires the set to convert it to its screen resolution which is typically progressive scan for flat panel TVs. These errors though will not look like small blocks they will look like twinkling pixels or feathering (horizontal lines along the edges of objects). These are normal de-interlacing artifacts and some manufacturers are worse than others. This personal choice as it's all a trade off but in my mind Samsung, Vizio, Panasonic, Sharp and many of the unknown brands produce some of the worse sets for de-interlacing.
Some of the newer TV set now also try to improve the MPEG artifacts. Again this varies tremendously between set manufacturers. Most have mosquito noise removal but do it at the expense detail and soften the image. Only a few have block noise removal and again it can cause some softening. On fast moving scenes your eye will have hard time seeing this kind softening. But on slow or still images it will be very apparent.
Lastly one other element to be careful of on the TV set is 120Hz. New TVs promote this as a better image and in some simple pictures with slow motion and few objects it does look better. But once you start to get faster motion or many objects moving in different directions you'll see blocking and halos (soft smudges around objects) appearing. The technology is still maturing and for now is best left turned off.
Going back to the cable issue, satellite may offer a better signal in some cases. The satellite operators have less bandwidth than the cable companies but have two advantages. Their networks are completely digital, no analog soaking up bandwidth, and they also use MPEG 4 / H.264, a more advanced compression. In theory an MPEG 4 / H.264 stream uses half the bandwidth of an MPEG 2 stream used by the cable companies. Again the results will vary based on the operator and the original signal from the content provider. The best and only way to know is to go to a store and watch carefully the channels you're interested in. The satellite companies focus on trying to sell their picture quality and number of HD channels but it?s not always the case. If we project out over ten years or so the numbers are in the cable operators advantage in terms of bandwidth but it requires them to change their infra-structure. This comment doesn?t help the now. For now I would focus solely on getting the channels you want at a quality you think is OK and at a monthly price that suits you. All systems have their issues and there is no perfect solution and no matter what you choose today it?ll probably change tomorrow.
ive spent two months this summer researching this problem. first of all,i got pixillation on the olympics on my 1080p set and i get hd over the air. this had to do with the broadcast itself, since its not present on any other sports broadcasts on any channel in the year ive had the set. your cable guy doesnt know what he's talking about. but that's nothing new. i spent two months investigating the pixillation problem via over the air. has nothing to do with the set. its related to the digital/hdtv signals related to strength of each channel's signal depending on your location & the proximity of the broadcast antenna's if you get it over the air. i solved my problem (it turned out i was too close) by going back to rabbit ears from an outside antenna. guys in the business admit this is a new problem, that in some instances has left people 60 mi or so from towers not being able to get anything when they switch to the new digital format. no one solution. could be height of antenna, ribbon wire vs. coaxial, direction of antenna.
but the olypic pixillation was not your set.
On Friday I called Time Warner and spoke with a Customer Service Rep. We spent 45 minutes discussing the problem and during that time we also got input from the supervisor a couple of times. They agreed that the problem, which I described in great detail, shouldn't be happening all the time like it is. (It's not just the Olympics but most HD channels and several SD channels as well.) So, I requested a new visit and I got one on Saturday afternoon.
The new technician came by, took a short look at my picture quality and said that what I've got shouldn't be happening. He then proceeded to test levels at the tv and around the house. He replaced a splitter at the drop and amplified the signal going to the main tv in question.
Alas, in the end the problem still persists. He told me that the signal still wasn't as good as it should be (for the entire house) and that he'll be passing this along to his supervisor, as well as having the "IT guys" look into it because there's a chance that something may not be configured correctly somewhere further up the line.
He says I can expect a call by Wednesday. Thanks again for all of the ideas and inputs posted here. I really appreciate it. I'll keep you posted once something else happens.