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>>> Picture and sound quality issues <<<

 
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tifosi is offline Old Post 06-26-2004 11:53 PM
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tifosi
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Picture and sound quality issues

I've had Tivo for about a year now and really like it's funtions, but have always thought that it has poor picture and sound quality. I recently upgraded to a 50" Sony LCD projection TV and now it is quite obvious how bad the quality is. I can understand that if I'm watching a recorded progam the quality is lessened, but it is always poor. I have digital cable, with a dig. STB, the box has a S-video output to Tivo, then Tivo's S-video ouput to the TV, and still poor picture and sound quality. I've split the incoming coax and run that to another input on the TV, gaining me the abiltiy to watch one show (of course I do not get the digital channels, but do get the first 63 or so), and record another. So I have the abilty to compare the quality of the same show on regular old coax input vs. the Tivo input and the difference is very obvious, the coax is better. Is this true with all Tivo/DVR units, and second why is this? Is there anything I can do to improve the picture and sound quality, other than the Tivo settings? (I have everything set to "Best Quality") Any input would be appreciated - Thanks...

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ccwf is offline Old Post 06-27-2004 03:22 AM
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TiVo performs lossy compression on the incoming signal. That means part of the signal is lost, resulting in lowered quality and the introduction of digital artifacts. These are similar to the digital artifacts you can observ on your digital cable channels (digital cable also performs lossy compression). Properly calibrating your TV will make the artifacts less obvious, but they will still be visible on a high quality TV.

You can also turn off the save disk space option on some models, which will force TiVo to use a constant bitrate instead of using a lower bitrate when possible.

(Finally, if willing to hack, you can tell TiVo to record at bitrates and resolution beyond Best quality.)

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newswatcher is offline Old Post 06-27-2004 08:30 AM
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I went through this picture quality problem for over 3-weeks after getting TiVo but have since gotten used to it. The worst compression appears to be for my locals as many have also mentioned. One of my "tricks" was to lower the "Picture" feature on my TV and up the color and brightness a tad. Helps a bit with the compression. I've spoken with D* several times on this but I don't see a remedy. When I went from record albums (I had about 4,000 of them) to CD, I had the same aural problem: too bright, not enough lows (nothing beats the lows from a good turntable).

Ironically, if I record a program and then watch it later, I find the recorded picture quality almost DVD in quality (i.e. very good). I recorded a Nat. Geo. special the other night and the "live TV" picture was not so good, but I played back the recording a few days later and it looked great ! Pristine in fact; in fact I hated to delete it. Same thing for other things I've recorded. I can't explain it but that's what I see.

However, the locals don't look good live or recorded. My dream machine would allow an analog viewing choice or digital (nice for the HBO, Showtime shows). But it's digital all the way now. No real choice in that area.

But I might add that due to my constant bitching about the compression and picture quality of some channels, D* offered and installed a new TiVo for free, giving me the old one (which was perfectly good) and the free new one, so I now have TiVo in two rooms for a cost of about $49 total. So I can't complain anymore. Oh well, I can but it wouldn't be prudent.

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NCBob is offline Old Post 06-27-2004 09:27 AM
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NCBob
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Series 2 Picture Quality

I've had this complaint since I bought my Series 2 nearly two years ago to connect to a large-screen HDTV monitor. Picture quality is a whole lot more noticable on a large high-def monitor. And you will see a noticable difference in TiVo quality between analog and digital channels from your cable TV provider.

Your "local" channels and "basic cable" channels are analog signals, while the high-end cable channels are digital. The analog channels are not great to begin with and the TiVo compression/decompression makes them that much worse. They also can vary significantly in quality from one channel to another. The digital channels tend to have much crisper pictures to start with and they look far better on TiVo playback.

If you buy digital cable, you may find that the local stations are repeated on a digital tier. You can bypass the TiVo for programs that you really want to watch in good definition by using the component video connection from the digital cable box (if it has one, otherwise S-video). Use a different connection for the TiVo.

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