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Old 12-06-2004, 07:31 PM   #1 (Print)
ryan87500
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Humax DRT800 and grainy picture

WHen recording at high quality the image is still grainy, it is a little bit better than medium quality, but is this normal for tivos or is it possible I have a defective unit.

Thank you

Ryan
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Old 12-07-2004, 12:11 PM   #2 (Print)
nigelu
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TiVo Humax Series2 DVR 80 hour with DVD writer

I have a similar problem where I have a Dish Network sat box, connected to the Humax with s cable and then component to the TV (Sharp Aquos, 30 inch LCD) and the picture is a lot more grainy than before I had the Tivo box, is some degradation normal?
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Old 12-07-2004, 01:12 PM   #3 (Print)
oodie
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I have also noticed this with mine; I have been comparing it to a 60hr Series 2, and the difference is very noticable. It is not just the content that the Tivo records; you can see it on the Tivo background screens as well as DVDs. I know it isn't the output cables because the graininess freezes when you pause or when the screen freezes momentarily.

Also, has everyone else had to crank up the TV brightness and contrast in order to get the an appropriate picture?

Andrew
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Old 12-07-2004, 04:29 PM   #4 (Print)
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Re: Humax DRT800 and grainy picture

Quote:
Originally posted by ryan87500
WHen recording at high quality the image is still grainy, it is a little bit better than medium quality, but is this normal for tivos or is it possible I have a defective unit.
TiVo's lossy compression does not introduce graininess per se but does introduce compression artifacts. If you are seeing graininess rather than compression artifacts and are using a coaxial cable into the TiVo DVR, I would check the signal strength and the cable since a problem with either can cause graininess.
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:05 AM   #5 (Print)
JimL
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I have posted this same observation in a previous thread (202583) back in November.

And since that time I have become quite annoyed by the amount of grain exhibited by the Humax and only the Humax on our local channels. I have even written to the company and they have not responded. And no ccwf it has nothing whatsoever to do with the signal coming in. The cable signal is split between my 36" Sony XBR TV and a Panasonic HDD/DVD recorder and as I stated in the above referenced thread, the picture on both the Sony and Panasonic are perfectly clear and free of grain - the recordings on the Panasonic HDD are as clear as just viewing the channel and the same goes for recordings made directly to the DVD. To test, I switched the cables - TV to Humax - Panasonic to Humax - no splitter, direct cable line to Humax - no difference - the Humax has a grainy picture - period.

I would LOVE to return this unit for a non-Humax Tivo model (especially since it appears that Humax could care less about their customers) and since our 2 DirecTivos (Hughes) have gorgeous pictures & recordings, but we have paid already for a full lifetime Tivo subscription and my understanding is that fee is for the unit registered only. And I do not know anyone else that owns a Tivo (non-Humax) to check out their picture of local channels.
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:28 PM   #6 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimL
To test, I switched the cables - TV to Humax - Panasonic to Humax - no splitter, direct cable line to Humax - no difference - the Humax has a grainy picture - period.
OK. You've tested the cable itself. Good.

Have you tested the signal strength? This is best done with a meter, but some cable boxes and many cable modems have a diagnostic screen that will show some signal strength and quality information.
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:36 PM   #7 (Print)
abadan
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimL


I would LOVE to return this unit for a non-Humax Tivo model (especially since it appears that Humax could care less about their customers)


Tell this to the people in the TiVo Coffee House forum who are buying this unit for $299 and think they got a good deal!

If you can return/exchange the unit, first talk to Tivo people (ask for a supervisor) they might be willing to do a transfer of lifetime sub for you.
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:12 PM   #8 (Print)
mdvga
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I had a grainy picture too, until I checked my cables and found that I had the cables swapped: i.e. the incoming coax was plugged into the output jack, and the ouput coax plugged into the input jack. Duh!
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Old 12-18-2004, 09:46 AM   #9 (Print)
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I had a grainy picture at one point also, but after I switched to S-Video cables and then made the image on my tv a little darker, it wasn't grainy at all.

If you have a decent tv by using S-Video you should be able to get a pretty good picture. Also, you might want to make sure you tivo is recording on high quality.

Just some thoughts. I hope they help.

- Vapor
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Old 12-18-2004, 06:10 PM   #10 (Print)
steveme140
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I am talking about LIVE tv being bad. I use S video as well.

Like I said before, I had the exact same setup with a series one and it was great, now it looks like basic on my series two with live tv.
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Old 12-18-2004, 08:36 PM   #11 (Print)
Vapor
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I'd call Humax and ask them to do an exchange with you. I'm using the Humax DRT800 with my TV through S-Video and it doesn't look grainy at all. Except when watching football and basketball games, sometimes things get a little grainy.

- Vapor
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:19 PM   #12 (Print)
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DRT800 PQ

I also have an issue with the DRT800 picture quality. The picture (live TV) is grainy, regardless of the method used to connect to the TV. I would compare it to about the same quality you would get from a VHS tape. It's not horrible, but noticeably snowy. I've tried composite, S-video, and now have it hooked up using component with progressive scan enabled. No difference! The cable coax is not a problem as it is daisy chained to the TV, which when using that tuner has a really sharp picture (it is a Toshiba 43" projection). On the other hand a commercial DVD played on the Humax produces an astounding pictire!
I'm not using this to record anything important. If I were, though, I would be quite disappointed. I have a Pioneer 520H DVR I use for important things. The PQ on that unit is quite a lot better than the DRT800, plus it has terrific editing capability.
With so many people raving about the unit, I had begun to think I got a defective unit, but I'm now thinking they're probably all about the same. Picture quality is a subjective matter though, and is in the eye of the beholder. I have enough different tuners here to make a pretty good comparison.
My 2 cents!
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:06 PM   #13 (Print)
ccwf
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Re: DRT800 PQ

Quote:
Originally posted by jhm783
With so many people raving about the unit, I had begun to think I got a defective unit, but I'm now thinking they're probably all about the same. Picture quality is a subjective matter though, and is in the eye of the beholder. I have enough different tuners here to make a pretty good comparison.
Graininess really is not normal and can indicate a low signal issue. Low signal can affect TiVo DVRs more than other devices. To see if you might have a low signal problem, try removing some splits or capping unused splits to see if that improves your TiVo DVR picture quality. Or, if you have a cable box or cable modem with a diagnostics screen, see what it reports about your signal strength. Substandard signal strength can affect a TiVo DVR or cable modem without being too noticeable on other devices.

For comparison, here are three pictures from my TiVo DVR. (Note: I do not have a Humax DRT800. These pictures are meant to serve as examples of what to expect from TiVo standalone DVR video quality in general and not for this particular model.) Click on the pictures to see them in full size.

The first shot (cherry blossoms) is from a Southern California UHF channel, which I get on basic, analog cable. It has some grain, but it's pretty much all present in the original signal (I wish Charter would do a better job with this station's signal) and not introduced by the TiVo DVR.


This second picture (an altimeter) is from a non-over-the-air station I get on basic, analog cable. If you look carefully, you will see some grain. Again, the grain is present in the original signal—it's the usual noise that analog cable allows.


This last picture (grandfather with cabbit) is from a digital, extended basic channel. With the clean, digital signal, it's apparent TiVo introduces no graininess at all.

Last edited by ccwf : 06-10-2005 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:14 AM   #14 (Print)
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I agree that the problem for cable users can be deceptive, just because the signal APPEARS fine when hooked up to your tv or vcr doesn't mean the signal is good enough when connected to the TiVO. If you have any channels on your cable that don't appear as good as you think they should get the cableco to come out and troubleshoot. With Cox I've found that the analog channels on my digital cable box aren't as crisp as the digital channels but are quite acceptable live or recorded at high pq and the digital channels look pristine (except for some compression artifacts which are a combination of the TiVO and the digital compression of the cableco). I have been extremely pleased with the PQ on my Humax, although I did pull all the cable wiring from the house I just moved into and had Cox install all new cable! When I originally hooked th Humax up I used the composite out and didn't seem to notice the blacks, but when I switched to S-Vid I had to adjust not just for the blacks but also had to adjust the detail on the TV to get the quide to look nice and clean and legible. I think there are inherent differences between the inputs that do require some setting tweaking, but I can't watch any tv with factory settings, I have to set it up for my preferences and viewing conditions. I have an old 26" JVC tube and I've found that JVC usually sets their blacks darker than most other manufacturers.

Anyway, I'm quite pleased with the Humax and have no complaints about PQ except with cox sending analog channels on digital service (I should also mention that the analog channels look their best when NOT used with a cable box). The DVD burning has been excellent and I have had no problems playing back DVD's made with all kinds of name and no-name brands except for the known Apple DVD app lockup.

I hope this is helpful.

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Old 12-23-2004, 10:36 AM   #15 (Print)
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Re: Re: DRT800 PQ

Quote:
Originally posted by ccwf
Or, if you have a cable box or cable modem with a diagnostics screen, see what it reports about your signal strength. Substandard signal strength can affect a TiVo DVR or cable modem without being too noticeable on other devices.
I should add that most cable modems nowadays, including the popular Surfboard line, have a web-accessible diagnostics screen that shows some signal quality information. The default way to get to the diagnostics page on many cable modems is http://192.168.100.1.

Most of the Scientific Atlanta Explorer series cable boxes also have diagnostic screens. These show signal quality info on every analog and digital channel! Information on how to get to the diagnostic screens is included in the Cable/Satellite Box Compatibility & Codes List.

I do not know if the other widespread line of cable boxes, the Motorola DCTxxxx boxes, show signal quality info on their diagnostics screens (press off and then select).
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:47 AM   #16 (Print)
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You should try using an AMP, or getting a better signal. Just because the TV's tuner get a better pciture does not mean that the signal is strong enough. Some tuners are far more sensitive to signal strength than others, and I don't know whether this means they are a bad tuner or a good tuner. Also, try using an old coax cable, as sometimes the signals are overdriven by the cableco, and a little bit of attenuation can HELP the picture. This is sometimes the case with low numbered channels, like my channel 2, which looks better with an extrta splitter. However, if 2 looks better, then 30 or 60 or 99 looks a lot worse, as they are underdriven. The only way to fix that would be to separate out the UHF and the VHF and then amp/attenuate as needed, and then re-combine the signal.

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Old 12-23-2004, 06:07 PM   #17 (Print)
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To add to the pictures for judging video quality above (from over-the-air, basic cable, and extended basic digital cable), I now have a bunch of pictures from The Last Samurai, which was recorded from a premium movie channel. Click a couple of times on the thumbnails to get the full-sized images.

MPEG compression artifacts are evident in some of the fast-moving battle scenes, but MPEG compression artifacts and graininess are not the same thing. The causes and looks of the two issues are quite different. MPEG compression artifacts are normal and unavoidable with TiVo DVRs (even HDTV and DirecTV have MPEG compression artifacts, albeit on a smaller scale). Excessive graininess, on the other hand, is not normal.


Edit to add: I initially tried to capture the same shots that are featured at official The Last Samurai web sites so that a direct comparison could be made between TiVo video quality and original movie quality. However, this proved impossible since none of them matched up: camera angles were different and/or expressions on people's faces were slightly different! I guess all the pictures at the site were shot from still or alternate cameras and, in some cases, re-staged or from alternate takes.

Last edited by ccwf : 10-30-2005 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 12-26-2004, 07:58 PM   #18 (Print)
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Re: Re: DRT800 PQ

Quote:
Originally posted by ccwf
The first shot (cherry blossoms) is from a Southern California UHF channel, which I get on basic, analog cable. It has some grain, but it's pretty much all present in the original signal (I wish Charter would do a better job with this station's signal) and not introduced by the TiVo DVR.


This second picture (an altimeter) is from a non-over-the-air station I get on basic, analog cable. If you look carefully, you will see some grain. Again, the grain is present in the original signal—it's the usual noise that analog cable allows.
For DISH customers trying to compare their TiVo DVR video quality with my samples above, the channel where I got that second picture (the altimeter) is much, much cleaner/clearer on DISH than on my analog cable channel. On the other hand, the UHF channel (cherry blossom picture) is cleaner on my cable system than it is on DISH.

Last edited by ccwf : 01-29-2005 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 12-26-2004, 08:51 PM   #19 (Print)
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Grainy AND darker

I jumped on the forum tonight to see if anyone else was having the problem I am, and I see you are...

I have had a Series 1 Tivo for 4 years now, and know how it looks on my Samsung DLP HDTV. I pulled the connections from my old Tivo, and pluged them right into the new Humax unit. Using S-video in and out, the picture is very soft and grainy. As someone said, it looks like a show recorded on Basic quality on my original Tivo, but this is while watching live TV on the new Humax unit.

Also, the picture is MUCH darker. I have turned the contrast and brightness controlls to the extreme to brighten the image, and is still a little too dark. Everything is like this, not just the cable image (I have Comcast digital), but even the Tivo Central screen. I can toggle between the old Tivo and the new one on the same input on my TV, and it is a big difference.

I tried changing to the component outputs, and going progressive, but the problems were still there.

I just wonder if they tried too hard to hit a price point, and quality suffered. I am going to watch this forum and see if anyone has any ideas. I am going to try upping the signal strength to see if it's tuner is just more sensitive to low signal then my original Tivo.

If we can't find a solution, it is going back.

Thank you all for your input!

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Old 12-26-2004, 08:56 PM   #20 (Print)
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Humax Picture Quality

I just installed a Humax and the picture quality is poor. It is not grainy but the compression that looks bad, even when viewing live (which I guess is actually recorded). I have a Panisonic 50" Plasma, so it is very noticible. I have s-video throughout and only swapped my series 2 for the Humax, so I noticed right away (same cables).. I have used up all my compontent ports with HD 1080i signals.

I am about to move my series 2 back to the HD TV and put the Humax in the bedroom.. I only got it to spit out a few shows to DVDs to show my girlfriend (in Brasil)..

Also not happy about 1 hour recording lenght, will look for post about that now.. since it looks like it burns only about 1/2 of the DVD..

Would be nice if they had a fix.. but probably a hardware problem..
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:45 AM   #21 (Print)
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As I mentioned in another thread (I somehow missed this one originally, I have just purchased a DRT800 and am very displeased with the picture quality. It is not really grainy, it is just very very dark. Last night i happened to tune into Daredevil - I think on HBO. Much of the movie takes place at night. And for minutes at a time I could see literally nothing but the actor's faces - and this was with the brightness turned up all the way on my 32" Sony Triniton. I then tried watching a comercial DVD - The West Wing, and again found that any dark areas went to almost pitch black.

I am using regular a/v cables from my digital cable box (that's the only option) and s video from the Humax to the TV.

Could the signal problem that some of you are talking about cause the darkness, or just grainyness?

At this point I am thinking that I will go to Best Buy tonight and try to exchange this machine for another one and hope that it is just a problem with the machine.

SM
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Old 12-27-2004, 04:15 PM   #22 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by sm21717
Could the signal problem that some of you are talking about cause the darkness, or just grainyness?
Neither signal problems nor TiVo MPEG compression artifacts would account for problems while watching DVDs. If the DVD plays fine in other players, then try exchanging the TiVo DVR.

However, be aware that losing detail in dark areas is a general problem for MPEG compression. This is true both for the on-the-fly MPEG compression TiVo DVRs perform when recording and, to a lesser extent, true for commercial DVDs, too (commercial DVDs also use MPEG compression but with higher quality than what real-time devices like TiVo DVRs can achieve). I know I have some commercial DVDs with dark scenes that cause problems in any player.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:07 AM   #23 (Print)
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Thanks for your comment. I exchanged the machine last night and also picked up some AR component cables for the Humax to TV connection and some higher quality composite a/v cables for the connection between the cable box and the Humax (that's the only option I have for my Adelphia digital cable GI box).

The DVD playback is much better - probably the component video cable. The cable is maybe a tiny bit better, but not very noticably. I have a Sony monitor with a TV tuner that I use with my powerbook and am going to try hooking it up to the Humax tonight just to see if it is my TV - even though my TV is reasonably high quality and less than a year old.

Anyway, thanks for the response.
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:27 PM   #24 (Print)
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So is this a general problem with the Humax recorder, or an occasional problem in their production line? I was about to get one at J&R after work and saw this thread. I definitely don't want anything that will be worse in PQ than my other Series 2 recorder. Any clues?
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:38 PM   #25 (Print)
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Before I bought mine I got the impression that about 3 out of 5 Humax owners on this board were pleased with the quality. I also figured that those who weren't satisfied probably had higher standards than me, since I am not that much of a television-phile. Now, it seems clear to me that people are having a fairly wide range of results with this machine. I really doubt that anybody on this board would settle for the quality that I am seeing right now: its basically not possible to watch any show with alot of night scenes (Sopranos, The Wire, etc.) The only thing I have left to do is figure out if somehow my TV and the machine are just not working well together. Still, alot of posters are very happy with theirs.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:29 AM   #26 (Print)
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Re: Re: Re: DRT800 PQ

Quote:
Originally posted by ccwf
For DISH customers trying to compare their TiVo DVR video quality with my samples above, the channel where I got that second picture (the altimeter) is much, much cleaner/clearer on DISH than on my analog cable channel. On the other hand, the UHF channel (cherry blossom picture) is cleaner on my cable system than it is on DISH.
Another Southern California TiVo owner posted a picture from that channel where I got the cherry blossom image. Comparing my images with his, DirecTV's video for this Southern California UHF channel appears slightly lower res than cable but much, much cleaner (less noisy). Again, DISH did not seem better than cable for this channel.

See here if you want to compare his picture (DirecTiVo recorded using S-Video to a video capture card) with mine.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:09 PM   #27 (Print)
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I had the same problem. It's the Humax and the Toshiba. I was running sat out with svhs and tivo out through component on a 64" pioneer elite. They looked like crap. So if you guys are having a crushed blacks problem, go buy a Pioneer 810H or 57H. I've had this 810 for 2 weeks now and I'm pretty happy, no more crushed blacks. On the other hand, the component out on the toshiba was better than the 810, but I like seeing detail in the blacks so it's a no brainer for me. Also, just installed a 300g HD yesterday, Sweet............
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:01 PM   #28 (Print)
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I took the plunge and got the Humax. I couldn't resist the $100 rebate, and figured I could take it back if there were problems. It wasn't as bad as I worried it might be, but there are definitely problems with the black level. A bit lower than it should be. The picture isn't grainy, just dark. I'm going in through S-Video, and out to the monitor the same way. It seems there should be an easy fix to that...but if there were, it would have been done by now. Anyone getting any clues from Humax? Will I return it? Hmmm. I hate having sub perfect equipment (both my other TiVo's have been perfect) but I do need the burner and it's nice to be able to do the high speed dubbing. DVD copies don't seem to have the black level problem, so it seems it's the output processing that needs adjusting. I'm going to think about it for a few days and see how I feel...and wait to hear if anyone else has had any luck with a solution.

I must say, the unit doesn't have the "quality" that all the other TiVo's have. The black plastic bar on the front wasn't polished, the plastic door on front has a cheap feel, the toggle button is a little crooked and the overall look just seems "old." But it's cheap, so what the heck.
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:06 PM   #29 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Swisher
DVD copies don't seem to have the black level problem, so it seems it's the output processing that needs adjusting.
You mean that if you burn a recorded program to DVD and watch that on the Humax box, it's brighter than if you just watch it from the hard drive? That's very interesting and would indeed indicate a difference in output processing between watching from the hard drive and watching DVDs.
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:15 PM   #30 (Print)
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Thumbs down Send her back.....

After having a few more days to play, here is what I've found.

It does not matter if I am watching Tivo programming, looking at the Tivo Central screen, or watching a DVD movie I purchased, they all look like garbage through both the S-video input and also thru component. This is on a 50" DLP (high def) set. I have tried both interlaced and progressive.

The pictures are both grainy AND soft (almost like they are out of focus). They are also so dark that I have the brightness turned wide open on the set, and there is still no detail in dark areas.

Glad I saved the box because it is going back as soon as I have time to box this thing up. Good features, good price, love Tivo, but this particular unit I have (and it seems like a lot more by reading this forum) just isn't going to cut it....Like someone else here said, I can't imagine someone watching this. My 6 year old interlaced DVD player blows this thing away for DVD playback, and my original Series 1 Tivo blows it away for Tivo video quality.

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