Comcast and TiVo HD problems

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jms703, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. jms703

    jms703 New Member

    Jan 29, 2008


    I'm new to HD. I've moved from an old panasonic with a TiVo Series 2 DT to a new TV and TiVo HD.

    Summary: HD channels look fuzzy on my new TV. I'm not impressed at all.

    Problems I notice:

    • Local SD (ch 2, 3, 5, 7) channels now look significantly worse on my new TV than my old CRT TV.
    • Local HD (ch 702, 703, 705, 707) channels are not sharp, but are fuzzy instead, even KNTV, the local NBC channel at 1080i does not look as good as I had hoped it would.
    • My Toshiba SD-3750 DVD player (480p mode via component) looks nice, but the lines are not clean.
    • Also, I noticed on the Today show on channel 703 on weekday mornings, that when the camera's pan the outdoor audience, there are lots of rectangular blocks on the screen.
    • When watching some 1080i channels, I see what looks like noise (tiny white/gray dots) on the screen flickr on and off. This happens on channel 703, (local nbc hd) all day.
    • Switching channels and going from live TV to the TiVo menu takes forever and a day for the TV to switch resolution. This is probably a TV problem I will have to deal with. I've read that I can try 1080i fixed on the TiVo to speed things up.

    What I have:

    • Mitsubishi LT-52244 (52" 1080P LCD)
    • TiVo HD (Motorola M-CARD in slot 1)
    • 2 meter HDMI cable from Fry's (not a monster cable) connecting TV and TiVo
    • Comcast "Digital Starter" service in San Jose, CA

    Any suggestions or tests I should try?
  2. TimAtkins1

    TimAtkins1 New Member

    Nov 7, 2007
    In my opinion, none of these issues sound like TiVo issues. They sound like issues caused by the combo of Comcast and your TV.

    First, many HDTVs handle SD resolution very poorly - said another way, legacy TVs often handle SD better than current HDTVs. It is very dependent on the manufacturer and model of TV.

    Second, as to HD picture quality, the TiVo is receiving a digital signal from Comcast. If you are seeing the issues with TiVo's video mode set to Native (and it sounds like it is set as Native), then the TiVo is not scaling the received signal at all and the odds are that the fuzziness and other artifacts are caused by Comcast compressing the HD signal even more than source broadcaster. All cable companies currently have to do this or use SDV in order to cram everything into their coax networks.

    As you noted, you can set your TiVo to scale all sources (480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i) to 1080i. That will definitely take care of slow video sync by your TV in connection with channel changes and going into the TiVo interface. It could perhaps improve the video on SD. It isn't going to help with Comcast caused signal issues. One of those resolutions could be best for your TV.
  3. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    The SD quality sounds like you do not have the ADS channel mapping set on your cable cards. When you record programs on the SD channels, do you get a recording quality option? If so, you're not getting the digital version of that channel.

    To the best of my knowledge, Comcast does not transcode or recompress content.
  4. BobB

    BobB Devout Tivonian

    Aug 26, 2002
    Brookline, MA
    I agree with Bizzy, Comcast doesn't mess with the content as far as I know. At least not here in Boston, where I get anywhere from very good to absolutely stunning HD. Where are you located?

    The pixelization you're seeing (the picture breaking up as the camera pans) is typically caused by the video being recorded and/or broadcast at too low a data rate for the content (fast action requires a much higher data rate than talking heads). That's more likely to be the channel provider's fault than Comcast's. My impression (and the experts out here will correct me if I'm wrong) is that LCD TVs are more susceptible to this than plasma sets.

    One thing you can check is your signal strength. Dig into the setup menus and check the strength on an HD program. It doesn't need to be super high, I get a great picture at around 70%, but it shouldn't be down below 50%.

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