Picture Quality of HD DVR

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by pruittwh, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. pruittwh

    pruittwh New Member

    Jul 21, 2002


    I currenly have a Series 1 DirecTV DVR. Hughes GXCEB0T. Yeah, I know it's antiquated, but I don't need the series 2 extras and have upgraded the hard drive so I was in no hurry to replace it.

    Well, I now have a Samsung DLP HD TV and have been debating getting the HD DVR. I have read the forums and know of the format change to MPEG-4 and possibly having to upgrade again. Since getting the new TV, I have been really disappointed with the picture quality coming from the DVR. I'm using the S-Video output to connect to the TV (best output signal for this unit). If I upgrade to the HD DVR, am I going to notice a big difference in picture quality since I will be connecting using the HDMI cable? I know I will see a huge difference when I tune in to a HD broadcast, but what about non-HD signals? I'm hoping that I will see less pixelation and graininess than I do now.

    Can anyone chime in on whether or not I will see a difference in picture quality from my current model to the HD model since I will be upgrading the connection to the TV as well?

    Also, I'm north of Richmond but south of DC (Fredericksburg/Ladysmith). I have been to the websites to check availability of OTA HD signals and would have to put up the largest antennae available to even get a decent signal. A co-worker in Stafford (north of me) has commented that I can get waivers for local channels. He is getting the DC local feed though, versus my Richmond local feed. I know it's a different thread, but I record 90% of my programming from local channels and would be a little miffed if I couldn't get local HD programming from DirecTV.

    Thanks for any info.

  2. DavidS

    DavidS Member

    Sep 27, 2000
    Dayton Ohio
    I have both an SD (via SVideo) and an HD Tivo (via HDMI) running to my 42" ED plasma. On SD channels (e.g. SciFi) I see little effective difference between the two. If anything, the HD Tivo may produce a slightly blockier image because (perhaps) the signal ito the TV s digital rather than analog and (more importantly) the TV's settings are set sharper for the HD. This is a very subjective issue, however.

    It is unfortunate that you can't get OTA locals. In your situation, there may not be a lot of reason to go to the HD-Tivo; other than sports packages there is very little HD content available by satellite. You may be best to wait until DTV brings you HD locals.

    In the meantime, you might trying playing with the brightness and contrast of you TV; you may be happier with the SD image if the picture is softened a bit. Try checking the AVSForum Display Devices section for posts about your model.
  3. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

    Sep 6, 2004
    This is the classic remorse of SD actually looking worse on a HD display. SD will not look any better if recorded on the HD Tivo, since it works identically to the SD Tivo regarding SD channels, and the problem is the compression done before transmission, which is the same for all recorders. There will be little difference between connecting via HDMI, also. IOW, for SD, the HD Tivo does nothing to improve things significantly. I would wait for the MPEG-4 box if I were in your situation, depending on how much of the available HD you might miss by not waiting that might be important to you. Base your decision on HD content availability as it exists and how well that suits what you want to watch. Do not base it on potential improvement of SD, because there won't be any.
  4. smoking_rubber

    smoking_rubber New Member

    Dec 21, 2005
    I'm in the exact same situation Pruit. I have a SD sat/tivo box and the picture quality sucks! I'm about to get the HR10-250 because I want the super bowl in HD. My local ABC affiliate (Santa Barbera) is a putz. They won't be providing HD anytime soon.

    How long will I have to wait for the MPEG-4 boxes? I'd rather not fork out $600 for last year's technology. I need to do some MPEG-4 research. Thanks.
  5. DeDondeEs

    DeDondeEs Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV


    I think the SD channels look horrible when stretched, the compression is very evident. If I keep them at 4:3 it doesn't look so bad.
  6. Sskeeter

    Sskeeter New Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    The SD sat channels will look just as bad but the off-air and even SD on the HD channels looks much better because of lower compression.
  7. TyroneShoes

    TyroneShoes HD evangelist

    Sep 6, 2004
    That's true, but the OP can't get OTA DT.
  8. jasch

    jasch New Member

    Jun 8, 2001
    I am too interested in this, since I just got a 50" LCD TV, and SD broadcasts leave a lot to be desired, yet I do not want to invest on a HR10 since it will be obsolete in a couple of months when MPEG2 is phased out for HD (I suppose it would still work as a SD TiVo).

    My question about SD programming on the HR10 is this:

    What happens if the original programming is SD. For example SciFi channel's Galacticam which is broadcasted in letterbox format, yet in SD. Does the TiVo automatically streches the signal to fill the screen, like my DVD does for widescreen movies (if I am upconverting the signal to 720p o 1080i), or do I have to use my TV's zoom feature manually?

    Thanks for any info.
  9. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    In the case you mention, you'll have to manually fill your screen to fit. Unless, DirecTV starts delivering SciFiHD. ;) I have to do that now with SD content from my HTL-HD DirecTV non-TiVo receiver. Actually, I use the HTL's functions for that.

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