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Cable guyS say it's my TV! I don't think so. Your 2 cents?

I'm experiencing a lot of pixelation. It's been happening for a long time, but the Olympics are really bringing it out.

To clarify, the actual presentation of the problem is tiny little boxes in fields of fast motion and sometimes slow pans. I only notice it on HD channels.

My setup: Time Warner Cable (Los Angeles) fed into my Tivo HD which travels via HDMI to my Samsung HP-T5064. I have a Philips DVP5982 Up-Converting dvd player hooked up to the tv with hdmi as well.

The cable technicians (three came by this morning) tell me that, because my tv is only a 720p set (though it can accept 1080i), it can not keep up with the HD cable signal they send out. They say that the problem is normal and there's nothing that can be done aside from me buying a 1080p set.

Here's why this doesn't make sense to me: When I play a dvd, up-converted to 720p, the picture is crystal clear. Not a hint of pixelation even during the fastest motion. And furthermore, I have the Tivo HD set to send all HD signals to the TV as 720p. As far as I can tell that means that the cable and the dvd player should be sending the same amount of information. What am I missing?

Could the Tivo be the issue? The dvr diagnostics say that, on NBCHD, I've got a signal strength of 68 and a SNR of 32.

Thanks in advance!

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working on this...

In reply to: Cable guyS say it's my TV! I don't think so. Your 2 cents?

I need to check on something and I will get back to you asap...


Mr. Samsung

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a few ideas...

In reply to: Cable guyS say it's my TV! I don't think so. Your 2 cents?

buckodgr8 -

After talking with a few people, our guess would be that your local cable company is sending you a very compressed signal and when it's uncompressed it causes pixilation. (This is just a guess - not a diagnosis) If the up-converting DVD player produces a clear picture then it's not a problem with the TV and we doubt it is your Tivo.

From your cable guy?s perspective, your cable system is working and it probably is transmitting the signal at whatever Mbps/Kbps you?re receiving it but if the signal is heavily compressed on the way to the cable box then it's not going to look as good when it's uncompressed by the cable box and sent to the TV. Both your Upconverter and your cable box are sending the same type of signal but the upconverer is passing more information that wasn't compressed like the information sent over the cable wires. (If our guess is right)

Our suggestion would be to get an HD Over-The-Air antenna and see if you get a better picture that way. It could help you figure out what your problem may be.

Regarding the 1080p comment, that's not true. Getting a 1080p television will not solve this problem. There is no native 1080p signal being broadcast so a 1080p TV will have to upconvert the signal anyway, and quite possibly with the same symptoms you?re experiencing now. In fact, your 720p downconversion from an actual 1080i signal (if that?s what they say they?re sending) would actually have all of the relevant information and should provide less artifacting, although it?s not a perfect science.

Interestingly, we found a lot of interesting comments on blogs running around and I thought I would share a few. These are completely UNCONFIRMED but there does appear to be some feeling that the HD signal from these Olympics aren't as crisp as other programming (although I personally have not experienced this problem)

Here are a few theories running around....

#1. The signal is being converted from 50Hz to 60Hz (frames per second) in real time.

#2. An undetermined number of venues broadcasting the Olympics aren?t showing true HDTV. Many of them are using SD-feeds shot in 16x9 (widescreen format) and the signal is being upconverted from NBC before they send it out.

#3. NBC is doing it right at 1.5 Gbps broadcasting. But in the delivery, the picture also gets compressed. Depending on what your local affiliate does with the signal, you could end up getting a low Mbps of compressed HD picture sent to the box, which is a fraction of what NBC is actually sending as their source. That would also cause pixilation.

Again, these are just some thoughts about what MIGHT be happening. Nothing mentioned above was confirmed by anyone.

Have a good day,

Mr. Samsung

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Thank you!

In reply to: a few ideas...

Mr. Samsung,

Thanks so much for looking into this for me. It's really been driving me nuts! I certainly agree that the most likely suspect here is the cable company. Time Warner Cable, at least here in LA, is a huge mess to put it nicely. Perhaps you read that the city is suing them...

The antenna idea had occurred to me. I'm happy to hear that you think that's a good way to check things out. I'll get one right away, while the Olympics are still going on so I have a chance to truly compare. Once I do I will post back here and let you know how it looks. (Will you see that I've posted on this thread if it's a few days from now?)

As an aside, I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you and Samsung for your presence on this board. I very much appreciate the assistance you are able to offer us all. Furthermore, I'd also like to mention that I'm a big fan of Samsung. All of the Samsung products I have owned have been solid, and on the rare occasion that something wasn't just right the customer service I have received has always been downright outstanding. This is something that is quite rare these days and the fact that you guys get that is what really keeps me coming back.


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Thank you.

In reply to: Thank you!

Thank you for the kind words. Happy to help.

The purpose of partnering with a great site like CNET is to reach out to our customers, help solve issues and hear your feedback directly. We like this program so much that we have increased our resources for it and we are now dedicating time to answering questions 5 days a week (Monday - Friday).

By all means, post your feedback regarding the antenna comparison. I would love to hear what happens.

Good Luck,

Mr. Samsung

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In reply to: Thank you.

Picked up an antenna today - it's a Philips phdtv3.

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's a wide-spread issue. Dunno.

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. (Though I'm going to update the firmware because I'm also experiencing the hdmi sound drop issue.)

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 when I use the dvd player. I would certainly love to hear any other ideas you or anyone else may have. And I'll appreciate them as I will continue to toil over this until I get it, or get Fios, or lose all my hair.

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Thanks for following up.

In reply to: Update


Here are two more thoughts...

One possible answer is called the ?cliff effect?. It?s a digital televisions version of ?static?. So instead of the occasional fuzzy picture or sound on your SDTV, the picture will freeze and the sound can drop out on an HDTV. If you are receiving interference, you will see large blocks of pixilation. That can happen over the air, or through the box. Depending on where you live in reference to the broadcast tower for each network, it can vary.

(If you?re experiencing the sound drop on DVD, by all means, update the firmware, because that?s not something you should expect.)

The other reason would be the balance between signal strength and compression, which we talked about before.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.


Mr. Samsung

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