TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

Will a HDTV look bad when hooked up to Analog cable?

by roundtowne / February 5, 2007 9:42 PM PST

Just bought a Sharp 26" Aquos HDTV(LC26D40U).
Didn't plan on getting a HD cablebox from my Optimum provider until the shock of buying the TV wore off. Plus only going in bedroom.
But I quickly realized that the picture stinks. Is this because it is only hooked up to the "Raw Analog" cable?
Will a HD cablebox fix these problems? Or do you think the TV had a rough ride during shipping?<a Lemon.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Will a HDTV look bad when hooked up to Analog cable?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Will a HDTV look bad when hooked up to Analog cable?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Just hooked up my Digital cablebox>Not much better.
by roundtowne / February 5, 2007 11:30 PM PST

Just took the Digital cablebox off the "Big TV" in the family-room.(Which is my 'old reliable' [non-HDTV] Sony Trinatron)
Quality still isn't any better.
If I turn in my Digital box for a HDTV cablebox <which I can do for free, will the "standard" channels get any better?
My K-mart special 19" Magnavox from 1999 <which I just traded-up for, has better picture quality with just an Analog signal. Sad
When I first saw this TV at Best Buy they must have been running a high quality DVD demo to get that crisp picture.

Collapse -
Please don't suggest a Dish
by roundtowne / February 5, 2007 11:45 PM PST

By the way, please don't suggest a Dish.
Won't work up here on my Mountain. <I see 50mph+ with much stronger gusts...far too often this time of year. My neighbor tried it, only to have the dish nearly "shimmy" off the side of the house. Thus, you can only imagine what happened to the picture quality inside. He's back to cable.

Collapse -
You probably should give the HD cablebox a try, after all
by NM_Bill / February 6, 2007 12:18 AM PST

Yes, many here on this forum advocate dish.

Forget windy city comments as apparently you are on a mountainside that spends a lot of time getting virtually whipped by wind. I presume you appreciate that in mid summer; maybe not all of the year.

Here in Albuquerque we have windy spells that some say is the thing the tourism bureau won't mention. Wed always expect the spring windy period as warming air pours off the mountain. Oh well, we're the ones who elect to live her where the high plains & desert meet the southern end of the Rockies. We even accept some manana attitude for the pleasantly slower pace of life.

Isn't it feasible for someone to beat the house vibrating shimmy by really secure attachment to possibly a separate pole. Or does the signal just not make it in those conditions?

All the providers play the marketplace for what it's worth, and the customer is not foremost in mind. They seem to all act as despots when they can, with what they charge & what they package together as required.

I'd naively love to pay for just what channels I prefer to view. On the other hand, I see a couple neighbors so enchanted with the high def thing that they almost exclusively watch high def just because it's high def, rather than choosing for program content.

Now, to me the ultimate in customer management of content would be the ability to program out any & all reference to Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, George Dubya, & **** Cheney as well as all petty sniping of political cheap shots. That would be better than Zen for establishing inner peace.

Best of luck for your viewing pleasure time.

Collapse -
by stewart norrie / February 6, 2007 1:41 AM PST

A hi-def t.v. is worthless unless you feed it a hi-def signal, Digital means nothing it has to be a hi-def systemUnless you want to set up a hi-def box in your bedroom your better off just using a s.d t.v. stewee

Collapse -
The Simple answer is "YES"
by Maestro_64 / February 6, 2007 3:07 AM PST

The problem you have is that the TV you bought is so much better than any old analog TV you had in the past. Because of this you would see every bit of noise and garbage in the video that you probably didn't notice in the past because of the TV.

With that said, your TV should not make the video worse, if you are use to watching TV with snow and noise in the image the TV can not make it any worse. However, if you go form a smaller TV like a 20in up to 27in you may think it is worse.

I went from a 27in analog TV to a 52in HDTV and I still get my local channels from analog cable and they do not appear any worse on the 52in than the 27in, other than the fact the static is more obvious.

Collapse -
It seems to depend
by boothssi / February 8, 2007 11:22 PM PST

When I bought a digital hi-def TV a number of owner reviews said it produced poor results with an analog signal. However I found the opposite so it appears there isn't a simple answer. I've wondered if the Hi-def tv interpolates to create the higher resolution and if this cleans up some of the quality problems.

I have a VHS to DVD recorder. I also find that pre-recorded tape copied to disc produces an improved picture over the original tape directly. This seems to make no sense from a strict data point of view but I remember the digital processing of early space shot video that was able to convert what looked like pure noise into a real picture.

Collapse -
Cool Aid Effect and Carburetors
by jcrobso / February 9, 2007 12:17 AM PST

What does this have to do with HDTV you ask, well just read on.

We all know how to make Cool Aid:
One pack of Cool Aid, two cups of sugar, two quarts of water!
Drink and enjoy the sugar rush, rotting teeth, etc. But I digress.
Now add two more quarts of water. It will still have some color and some taste.
But won?t be the same as it was before.
This is sort of what happens when you watch SD video on a HDTV.
Some HDTVs are better than others at displaying SD video.
Some work better component cables, some work better with HDMI.
Sadly, this craps shoot!

Many times I have talked about bandwidth, so here is another analogy.
We have a BIG 400 cubic inch V8 engine: this is your HDTV.
Now we put a single barrel carburetor on it: this you HDTV on SD video.
Now we put a two-barrel carburetor on it: this is your HDTV on ED video.
Now we put a four-barrel carburetor on it: this is your HDTV on 720p/1080i
Now we put three two-barrel carburetors on it: this is you HDTV on 1080p.

I hope this will help people understand some of the concepts.
HDTV is a very complicated animal. John

Collapse -
cool aid
by valoidr / February 9, 2007 9:16 AM PST

SD TV programs/movies via cable(non HD); latest Plasmas or latest LCDs look better?

Any advice on this subject?

Collapse -
Cool Aid
by Georgie / February 12, 2007 6:07 AM PST


Collapse -
Simple answer - YES!
by blangton / February 9, 2007 9:08 AM PST

You just bought a HDTV - go get the HD Cable box. You still get all the same stuff you already have and what is not available in HD will still "stink" - BUT - the HD channels will blow you away.

So - do not walk - RUN down to your local cable company and get the box. You won't regret it...

Good luck,


Collapse -
analog through hi def tv
by peter reddington / February 9, 2007 6:25 PM PST

I have a Hitachi 42"hd tv, the picture through analog cable is absolutely disgusting, but put it through an upscaler and it's brill, pin sharp clear as christal Iv'e waited for NTL to start distributing the hd boxes, it seems they're never going to get here, but i know the pictue will be as good then as it is bad now.

Collapse -
analog on hd, yes bad pic, must have hd signal
by kahalstead / February 10, 2007 6:11 AM PST

just out of curiosity, what upscaler are you using?

Collapse -
dvd upscaler
by peter reddington / February 11, 2007 7:09 PM PST

the upscaler i am using is a philips DVP5960, this is a replacement for a samsungthat went wrong, something to do with the HDMI input, anyway the picture it produces is just stunning, it even has a USB port at the front, you can even switch manually to 720p or 1080i, and it was only sixty quid, I bought it because I was sick of looking at a lousy picture when watching through a cable box, its digital switching.

Collapse -
Philips DVP5960
by ryanthomas702 / February 20, 2007 4:33 AM PST
In reply to: dvd upscaler

By any chance did you run your cable box through the Philips DVP5960?
I would like to know if it is possible. I only have the red, white, and yellow connectors and coaxle on my cable box as the out put source. If you gould give me a soulution it would hel alot.

Thanks, Ryan

Collapse -
dvd upscaler - upscaling cable?
by bgoods / November 2, 2008 3:09 PM PST
In reply to: dvd upscaler

I am guessing that your Phillips DVP5960 is only upscaling video, but not cable. Is that true? If it is upscaling cable, can you please explain how? thanks

Collapse -
take it back
by smallcreep / February 10, 2007 9:32 AM PST

if you buy an HDTV and don't hook it up to an HD signal, take it back, buy a 19". Stupid is as stupid does

Collapse -
The solution depends on how you connect your cable...
by grtgrfx / February 11, 2007 6:01 AM PST

First, if you have cable, they probably offer up to a dozen channels in high-definition. You'll need to upgrade to the HD receiver box to get these channels, which will incur an additional cost per month (but it's worth an extra $15-20/month for the huge difference in video quality). Second, you need to use as good a cable type as your existing (or HD) receiver can accommodate. This means, don't connect the TV with the composite (yellow RCA) cable if the box has an S-Video port. If you have an HD box now, don't connect the TV with an S-Video cable if you have component (3 RCA plugs) ports. If you can use an HDMI cable, don't use the component ports. The reason is each of these cable technologies allow more detail to get to your TV from the cable box then the preceding one.

Here's the breakdown on output quality:

? composite (yellow RCA plug): lowest quality, sends color and brightness info on one cable. Usually displays muddy, dark and dull colors with a lot of blocky artifacts.

? S-Video (5-pin plug): medium quality level, separates color and brightness information through one cable and 5 wires. Brighter and truer color output, but blurry picture detail on a HD set.

? component (red, green, blue RCA plugs): very high quality. Separates individual colors and brightness through three cables. Most detail and sharpness from an analog source, very saturated and contrasty colors with all the crisp detail of HD.

? HDMI (or DVI) (computer-type connectors): best possible quality. Keeps all signals in the digital realm so no degradation from analog/digital conversion, full signal throughput, and highest possible resolution of images. Most detailed image possible from any source. Very lifelike color and brightness, limited only by quality of your HD TV.

So the first recommendation is to use as good a cable as your receiver has ports for, and the second is to upgrade to HD service by your provider. Also, see if anyone in your area will guarantee a satellite install, as they tend to have better quality SD signals coming in.

Collapse -
Another thought on a 26" TV...
by grtgrfx / February 11, 2007 6:17 AM PST

Fact is, you won't see any detail of HD programming on a 26" set unless you watch from like 3 feet away. To that extent, it's almost a waste of your money to buy an HD set this small, because the further you are from the set, the less you can see sharp details.

If you're sitting more than 6' from your new set, you shouldn't bother with the added expense of an HD subscription, because you'd be better off watching HD on the (presumably) larger TV in your family room. Just get an S-Video cable and use that for the Aquos. If you still don't like the picture, it may be because Aquos TVs, like most LCDs, have trouble with insufficient black levels and banding (blotchy dark colors instead of smooth blended shades). If it were me, I'd switch to a 27" or 32" tube TV like Sony's XBR series, which have much better viewing quality than any LCD.

I can say this because I owned a 37" Aquos LCD display last year and was never completely happy with the TV's contrast, even in HD. I replaced it with a 42" Panasonic plasma. I'm much happier with the Panasonic.

Collapse -
Good info - well said; Plasma vs LCD
by valoidr / February 11, 2007 9:16 AM PST

With the new gen. plasma out and the current'crop' of LCD. Anyone shed some light as to the better SD quality with HD input all eles being equal(i.e lighting,burn-in,ect)?

Collapse -
Yeah, it will
by rlegro / February 11, 2007 10:29 AM PST

We have the same HDTV set that you have. Picture quality varies enormously, but it's for the most part NOT the set's fault. Here are some of my observations. Note that I've had a satellite dish and currently have digital cable.

1. Digital cable signals vary in quality not just from one cable provider to another, but from one channel to another. I've seen very good cable (standard def, i.e., digitized NTSC) signals and very poor ones. Cable has had a problem in this regard and so does the industry.

2. NTSC is "low resolution" in the hard specs but a lot of electronic circuitry in modern analog sets (e.g., comb filters and the stuff concocted by Farouda Labs) has done wonders to clean up the image and make it look better than it ought to. Modern NTSC analog sets take advantage of this. But also: Their interlace scanning mode (which is a sort of engineer's trick to double apparent resolution by using an afterlgow effect) can really produce a nice picture -- apparently better than it is.

3. Your eyes are tuned to NTSC and analog, after years of watching same. LCDs and digital images in general will look harsh or strange even if they're superior to the same image in analog and NTSC. This effect will lessen over time.

4. As someone else noted, just because it's digital doesn't mean it's high resolution. Your set CAN display 720p digital resolution, which is low-end high def. It's in between what a good DVD image can offer and what high-end (1080p or 1080i) HDTV provides. Perfectly good for many video sources. It outruns a standard DVD image. [By the way, a couple of the broadcast networks now send their primetime schedules in 1080p, while ABC offers 720p. I can't tell the difference because the Sharp only interpolates to a max of 736p, but all those signals look good to me, here. See more, below.

5. In just a couple of years, sets that offer less than 1080i resolution will be mundane, but for smaller sized sets, that is effective overkill, because unless you sit up real close, you can't discern the additional detail in most cases on a smaller set. If you have a 40 incher, well, ya, 1080 of any kind usually looks better.

6. Eventually, all TV signals in the US will go digital. That doesn't mean they'll go high def. A regular analog TV channel can hold one high def signal or half a dozen standard res digital signals. Some stations are mixing and matching. In bigger cities, like Milwaukee, where I live, we have about 20 over the air digital TV channels right now. The number of HDTV channels among them is never more than half that, sometimes less. Many communities don't yet have stations broadcasting in high def, but that will change. An ordinary TV antenna (on the roof if you're a fringe viewer or rabbit ears if you're close to the transmitters) will pull in those HDTV signals and on my set, which is your model, the picture looks fantastic.

7. I have standard def cable because I don't feel like paying a premium for high def service, which only offers a few channels anyway. So I attached an antenna (in my case, amplified rabbit ears) to the TV input of my set. The cable goes into one of the component inputs alongside the DVD/VHS deck. I switch to broadcast when I want HDTV. At some point, there simply won't be premium charges for high def service, because that will become commonplace.

7. If you want your set to show you the widest array of great high def images, that would mean getting a HDTV satellite dish. At least in the near future, satellite services will offer more HDTV channels than all or most cable providers. But satellite is out for you. One alternative is to buy a Blue Ray or HD-DVD player (pricey at the moment).

8. LCD sets don't particularly handle high-speed motion or very dark images very well, and this is just the way things are. You can tune your set's brightness and contrast to minimize this, but until LCD gets faster and better the artifacts will be visible in some programming (usually appearing as pixelation in darker spots or fast-moving portions of the image).

Collapse -
Thanks for all the advice.
by roundtowne / February 15, 2007 12:30 AM PST
In reply to: Yeah, it will

Well-- like the thread below mentions, my free "HD" Optimum box is coming tomorrow.>> So I'll let you know how things turn out.
I got a great deal on a HDMI cable, so I'll see how that looks on the Aquos coupled with the HD-box. Had time to waist on a business trip and walked into a Best Buy.<The salesman wanted to sell me some composite cables due to the fact that many channels will still be analog. <I'll see how the HDMI performs before I start snaking more FREAKING wires! I think we electronic Junkies have more Copper in our home-theater systems than we do in our plumbing! The above mentioned TV is just going in our bedroom, I don't want to go crazy. Just want a quality picture after spending the $$$. I'll go $$$$$$$ crazy when my old reliable Sony Trinatron craps-out in the family room!<By then, 1080p will be the 720's of today I imagine.
All your info. is great! Nice to hear from someone with the same model as well.
However, all the imput has been helpful!
Thanks Again!

Collapse -
Go to a store and compare
by Georgie / February 12, 2007 6:45 AM PST

I went to Circuit City to check out HD. I was checking the difference between Cable and Sat. on Plasma, rear screen etc. when two other customers who were watching me for awhile came over and asked join the test. All TVs and systems (HD/SD/Cable/Sat) were running the same canned program. After 45 minutes of comparing all scenarios all three of us came to the same conclusion. There is not enough difference to justify the costs between rear screen Sat. Digital, Plasma, Flat screen etc. running HD and standard Sat.. Get Sat its digital, wait for the lemmes to run off the cliff and the industry to come up with a real change and lower over inflated prices to come down to earth.

Collapse -
Run, don't walk, and PLEASE, DON'T WAIT
by popsnie / February 14, 2007 3:01 AM PST

I am an Optimum customer (Cablevision) and I discovered that since I already had a digital-cable-box, I could get a free upgrade to their HD cable-box, at which point I ran (drove, more precisely) to their store and exchanged cable-boxes. The FREE HD channels, when broadcasting HD shows (that is the critical part) look very good on my HDTV (and my HDPC). Having said that, the media may vary in resolution (480, 720p or 720i, or 1080i) which will be noticable, but the most popular shows during primetime seem to be recorded and broadcast (even over cable) in HD on the "FREE" HD channels. If you can hook up a set-top or roof-top antennae, you may be able to pic up a few local HD channels.

Collapse -
what's your system?
by roundtowne / February 15, 2007 12:35 AM PST

Optimum HD-box is coming tomorrow.
What are you using to connect the HD-box to the TV? An HDMI or composite stuff?
How's the quality?
What kind/size TV are you using?

Collapse -
It's the TV not the signal
by qaz111111 / February 23, 2007 6:33 AM PST
In reply to: what's your system?

I have three sony (50,50 & 60) HDTV's. I have had mitsubishi and Samsung HDTV's (last year) also. The TV is most of the probelm. regular analog looks great on the sonys. IT looked bad on the Samsung. IT was okay on the Mitsubishi. The picture on the new Sony 50's is much better than on my old Sony 32 XBR. The picture is smooth; no scan lines at all. Try another TV. The only other variable is the quality of the cable signal , and that may be from poor quality or long cables.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


The most beautiful phone ever has one wildly annoying issue

The Samsung Galaxy S8's fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.