811, composite, S-vhs, componet or DVI? Caution--Lots to Read (1 Viewer)

JoeSp

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I have seen posted on several differant threads about differant outputs from the 811. I would like to prose a few observations.

While the 811 has all four outputs I question the validity of anyone using composite or S-Vhs. You can only output 480i max using these outputs. No HD at all. You might get your set to use its line doubler for an up-converted resolution but you can not pass the true HD signal thru (I am not even sure you can pass a true 480P using these outputs).

Composite is the worst possible output for any HDTV no matter what signal you watch. The video signal is passed on amn anlog cable with no seperation of the signal properties at all. Run this into your HDTV and you will get the worst possible picture. You are giving your set the worst signal to try and improve--falls way too short of providing enough information for todays HD sets. I have found that on most HD sets this input will usually give you a picuture that lacks greatly in colour definition and in black definition--result-a darker picture.

S-vhs at least seperates luminace and chromance but is not much better than composite. On an analog set these last two signals look good but on an HD set once again there is not enough info to allow your line doubler to do much. There will be a ton of artifacts that will make your viewing pleasure take a dive.

Componet is where you can start sending a HD signal. Not only that but with the seperation of the differant drives (red, blue and green) along with seperate passage of chrom and lum (with each colour) you get alot more info even on SD product that will allow your HD set to do a better job of improving the picture with far less error and artifact.

DVI is the dog. Digital passage with complete seperation of the entire video signal to the HD set. Here is where you will get your best possible signal-- especially with HD. If you skip the analog conversion that takes place with componet than the picture that you are going to get with your HD set is the best that can be delivered. With SD you will also get the best possible picture. However, the differance between componet and DVI with SD on some sets is so minimal that most will not see a differance--but there is a differance.

Now onto the DVI darkness issue. I have a Pioneer Elite 630HD. This set has two DVI inputs and I have put both to use. Just recently I had the set calibrated and the calibration went well but afterwards the picture was darker than I was used to. I contacted a well know ISF calibrator on the west coast and he explained the with the new DVI sets that there is an internal (not for the common user) menu for DVI settings in the Pioneers (and with other manufacturers). Even though you calibrate through the normal routines you also have to enter into the DVI service menu in order to calibrate those inputs. He stated that most new sets do have that internal DVI settings and that when set properly the outcome would almost always be darker then the viewer was used to. The new Mits has the best system for adjusting this for the average Joe (it is in the user menu).

In addition to this, many of the new up-conversion DVD players (I have the Samsung 931HD) have a dark picture thru the DVI port. In fact with the new DVI-HDMI inputs there seems to be a bug in the blacker than black video as the new input does not seem to be passing this. Also, the new players seem to be having a problem passing this. The result is a loss of definition and many users complaining that the picture is too dark. Most of the complaints are directed at the DVI (HDMI) inputs. The componet is usually okay but you can only upconvert on most units thru the DVI.

My short conclusion is that the 811 does have a dark video problem with the DVI and the latest p266 has made an improvement (small but noticable) in the SD and HD outputs thru the DVI. (I was able to watch CSI last night without having to jack up the black settings).

I believe that there is still a problem in the way differant manufacturers are setting up and handling DVI for their differant product lines. There seems to not be any uniformity in how DVI is being implemented. This might explain why some here see an improvement in their picture from E* thru the 811 and others do not. I think that with the last download those who do not see any improvement should try and adjust their black and white settings and see if they can affect more change than before the latest download.

I fear that this is a problem that E* may not be able to resolve for everyone. I think they are trying but since DVI implementation by the manufacturers is not uniform I personally do not see how E* is going to win. Jack up the dark settings too much and some of us will start seeing washed out pictures while others see a positive improvement. Don't jack it up enough and most will complain of too dark an output. How do you win in this situation? :)
 

SimpleSimon

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JoeSp said:
... I fear that this is a problem that E* may not be able to resolve for everyone. I think they are trying but since DVI implementation by the manufacturers is not uniform I personally do not see how E* is going to win. Jack up the dark settings too much and some of us will start seeing washed out pictures while others see a positive improvement. Don't jack it up enough and most will complain of too dark an output. How do you win in this situation? :)
I think you've nailed it. the various zoom/stretch modes have the same issue.

Solution? User control of the settings via the box's menus. If they can change this stuff in software, they can let the user do it - might take them all of a day or two to implement the feature. This applies to 811's, 921's, and probably all the others.
 

keith

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JoeSp said:
I have seen posted on several differant threads about differant outputs from the 811. I would like to prose a few observations.

While the 811 has all four outputs I question the validity of anyone using composite or S-Vhs.


That could well be the kind of erroneous assumption made by Dish. My S-VHS VCR (JVC) can record from composite or s-video ONLY. Sure, watching LIVE on component or DVI-D is super, when it isn't too dark :( Watching a recorded dark image is even less worthwhile.

Keith.
 

JoeSp

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Your solution is the best possible solution. In fact, future up-converting DVD players will start to have the ability for the user to adust the player's output instead of the user having to adjust their HD set. Why not allow E* 811 users the same adjustments. They only need four--White balance, Black adjustment, colour and tint. If your HD set is calibrated allowing the user this latitude would enable all of us to calibrate our 811 for our particular viewing pleasure and accuracy.
 

GaryPen

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That's a pretty good idea! Of course, they would need a "reset" or "default" button to revert to factory state as a fail-safe for those who make it worse by playing with it, kind of like the "idiot" button on the new remotes to return your TV to the right input. (Maybe it isn't called "idiot", but that's its function.)
 

JoeSp

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Keith, while I can see where you are stuck using a S-VHS recorder I suggest you start looking into the new DVD recorders. They can use the componet for input. I believe that S-VHS recorders are old tech and you will see them fazed out in the next 2 to 3 years. HD-VHS and DVD recorders might be this XMAS's big toy for us boys this year? :)
 

ride525

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Keith, while I can see where you are stuck using a S-VHS recorder I suggest you start looking into the new DVD recorders. They can use the componet for input.
Which DVD recorders have component inputs? Do they allow higher than 480i or 480p inputs? If not, then what's the point of component inputs on them? (Wouldn't Svideo input be a good?)

Thanks,

Jeff
 

Pb ft.

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I think the 811 should work as advertised and we shouldn't be expected to go out and buy new equipment. If Dish didn't want users to use the SD outputs they shouldn't have put them in the design. Of course those of us using the SD outputs for VCR, TiVo etc would probably not have purchased an 811 if it didn't support S-Video or composite output. At least I wouldn't have bought in to the 811 without SD out.
 

keith

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JoeSp said:
Keith, while I can see where you are stuck using a S-VHS recorder I suggest you start looking into the new DVD recorders. They can use the componet for input. I believe that S-VHS recorders are old tech and you will see them fazed out in the next 2 to 3 years. HD-VHS and DVD recorders might be this XMAS's big toy for us boys this year? :)


The 811 has composite and s-video outputs. They need to work correctly - end of story. If they don't work, then Dish can start shipping 811's with those two outputs taped over like they did with Firewire on the 921, and I will dump the 811 and move on.

Why anyone would want to use composite or s-video isn't the issue. I have two uses for those outputs (VCR and via RF modulator to a second TV), many others use those outputs also. My 811 s-video is now brighter than the composite, but the image is mediocre on both. It took me all of a few seconds playing with the display contrast and brightness to see the crushed blacks are still there. Surely Dish see it too? Who is fooling who here.

Keith.
 

SimpleSimon

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keith said:
... My 811 s-video is now brighter than the composite, but the image is mediocre on both. It took me all of a few seconds playing with the display contrast and brightness to see the crushed blacks are still there. Surely Dish see it too? Who is fooling who here.

Keith.
As per my other posts, I think we've identified the real problem, and that is that different receiving devices (TVs, VCRs, etc) want different signal levels.

I really don't think Dish is going to be able to make everybody happy without adding user controls for signal levels.
 

SimpleSimon

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ride525 said:
Which DVD recorders have component inputs? Do they allow higher than 480i or 480p inputs? If not, then what's the point of component inputs on them? (Wouldn't Svideo input be a good?)

Thanks,
Jeff
No S-Video is NOT as good even for SD. This assumes of course that the output hardware is comparable. The advantage of component is that you have much better separation of the signals, so there's less "mud".

If I remember correctly, S-Video is just one level removed from composite, but still uses the chroma/luma signal model, whereas component is fully decoded.
 

keith

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SimpleSimon said:
As per my other posts, I think we've identified the real problem, and that is that different receiving devices (TVs, VCRs, etc) want different signal levels.

I really don't think Dish is going to be able to make everybody happy without adding user controls for signal levels.


I can't speak for other users and their 811's. What I can say is this - why is the s-video out of the 811 darker than s-video out of my, and any, DVD player? Why does the 811 s-video output have crushed blacks? This is a fact, and the display is not relevant. Composite is not exactly new and unproven technology either!

As you can guess, I have given up on my particular 811. It is going back. If Dish want to send me a newer 811 to try, fine. If not, I have to consider using other Dish receivers or switch away from Dish completely and probably get into a battle to cancel my contract. This SUCKS.

Keith.
 

GaryPen

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SimpleSimon said:
As per my other posts, I think we've identified the real problem, and that is that different receiving devices (TVs, VCRs, etc) want different signal levels.

.

I thought the other posts were in regard to DVI only, and manufacturers variations in implimentation. Plus, it's really only speculation, nothing has really been "identified."
 

SimpleSimon

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GaryPen said:
I thought the other posts were in regard to DVI only, and manufacturers variations in implimentation. Plus, it's really only speculation, nothing has really been "identified."

OK, no argument - "identified" may be too strong a word, but I think I'm on the right track. Maybe not.

I may have posted in a discussion regarding DVI only (don't remember, but don't think so), but the concept still applies. For example, my 921's composite output is too bright - somewhat washed out.

I'm no expert in this, but black levels have to do with 'zero' voltage of the signal - even a negative voltage called "blacker than black". Full brightness has to do with how high a voltage is output - maybe it's 1.5V max (or something - it's in some spec if someone cares). So, brightness is a 'delta' value over zero, where zero is 'ground'.

Now, voltage is always measured in reference to 'ground' - but ground ISN'T - and even when it IS, it ISN'T. :D I've posted elsewhere before on ground loops - having to do with grounding a dish.

If the signal ground level of the 2 boxes is different, Bingo! The shield of the cable should take care of this, but nothing's perfect, and the longer the cable, the more likely the problem (aside, why can't I get any component cable sets shorter than 6 feet! I really don't need that much cable to go between two adjacent boxes).

This concept applies to any analog signal going from any box to any box - DVI-A (DVI-D shouldn't be affected), S-Video, composite, even RF (although less important there). My experience is more in the digital realm than analog, but it crops up occassionally.

So, what is E* changing when they mess with this in software? Dunno, but I'll bet it has something to do with the voltage references.

It'd be good if someone that's having the problem could test for a ground potential difference between the boxes. Sorry, I'm not going to say how to do this - you either already know how to do it safely, or you shouldn't try.

It would be REALLY interesting if someone built a tester - nothing more than a couple of 0-1Kohm pots and a couple of connectors. Play with the ground and signal levels.
 

keith

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SimpleSimon said:
I'm no expert in this, but black levels have to do with 'zero' voltage of the signal - even a negative voltage called "blacker than black". Full brightness has to do with how high a voltage is output - maybe it's 1.5V max (or something - it's in some spec if someone cares). So, brightness is a 'delta' value over zero, where zero is 'ground'.


These days, the video processing is usually inside an ASIC and it's hard design a product with poor images. What you refer to is commonly known as "DC restoration" or "keyed clamp".

Video signals

I think the 811 problem is a combination of factors (clamping, bias, DAC voltage reference, DAC digital scaling, scaler configuration, ...). For sure, someone at Dish knows the skinny and we are getting fed a bunch of BS.

Keith.
 

SimpleSimon

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keith said:
These days, the video processing is usually inside an ASIC and it's hard design a product with poor images. What you refer to is commonly known as "DC restoration" or "keyed clamp".

Video signals

I think the 811 problem is a combination of factors (clamping, bias, DAC voltage reference, DAC digital scaling, scaler configuration, ...). For sure, someone at Dish knows the skinny and we are getting fed a bunch of BS.

Keith.
Wow! Good article. Looks like I've over-simplified the issue big-time, although conceptually I think I was on the right track - except for the testing part - that's probably not going to do anything. I found this quote from the article interesting:
Luma (Y), composite, and RGB only vary in a positive direction from 0 V (called the "black" or "blank" level) to +700 mV. This is due to a tacit agreement within the industry and not to any standard.
I think it's pretty amazing that any of it works at all! ASIC or not, it sure looks like the quality (accuracy) of the external components like capacitors can sure make a big difference.
 

JoeSp

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Manufacturer decisions is what my original post deals with directly. There is no and I repeat no set consensus among manufacturers and content providers as to exactly how to do anything specific with the inputs and outputs of various video and audio devices. That is why there are so many choices and why some people prefer Sony to Hitachi to Pioneer to -- well I think you can see my point.

I also believe that if you purchase a HD product you should be prepared that the manufacturer is only going to be concerned primarily with the output of the HD or upconverting output (once again DVI and Componet)

There is no future for composite or S-VHS basically begining as soon as everyone agreed on (FCC mandated by 2006) digitally OTA (480p, 720p, 1080i) transmissions. The SD (480i) outputs (composite and S-VHS) are only on the 811 so that those of you who have SD analog sets can receive the digital signal. They are required for OTA HD boxes. With a SD tv your picture will be brighter than with an HD set and since the SD is not streched the picture will look okay.

Whether you want to or not--SD is on the way out and it might be time everyone just excepts that. That includes the support for the non-HD products. If you do not have the equipment for HD or even Extended Definition (480P) than it is time to start shopping. The 811 was intended for HD and for that it does a very good job -- OTA included. :)
 

SimpleSimon

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Well stated Joe.

However, until such a time as there's a way to long-term archive content digitally, we still need to be able to use VCRs, which means we need reasonable analog outputs.

And considering that E* says they have "content protection" issues with the 921 firewire (funny - other providers don't have that problem), who knows what will happen there.
 

keith

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JoeSp said:
There is no future for composite or S-VHS basically begining as soon as everyone agreed on (FCC mandated by 2006) digitally OTA (480p, 720p, 1080i) transmissions. ...... Whether you want to or not--SD is on the way out and it might be time everyone just excepts that.


Composite and s-video are mature, proven and standard technology. Dish got it wrong with the early 811 hardware, which I say is not going to ever be fixed in software, and maybe the later 811's will eventually be fixed, or maybe not. Composite and s-video aren't going away in the year 2006 or 2008 unless the FCC is giving us all free replacement equipment. Even then, how am I going to send component or DVI-D over my single coax to the bedroom TV? Shucks, that composite signal (RF modulated) is going to come in handy.

Still, I enjoy reading your logic. Dish are helping us to make the transition by fitting the 811 with useless composite and s-video outputs, and by the year 2006 we will fulfill our destiny. Thanks a lot, Dish, we are so grateful for your foresight. The next 3 years will be great character building time, watching the cr*ppy 811 output and paying Dish for the privilege.

Keith.
 

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