Picture quality with tivo series 2 & digital cable?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by apietivo, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    Oct 8, 2005

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    I have a single tuner series 2 tivo and analog cable. I just bought a big lcd tv that is hd ready – right now the picture isn’t very good on the basic channels (abc,nbc,cbs) and just passable on the cable channels. I want to go to digital cable for a better picture, maybe even then move up to hd. My question is: how will the digital picture look thru my old tivo? Will it be the same as analog basic channels? I watch tv thru my tivo 90% of the time so I would like to know if moving up to digital cable will be a waste of time. Until, of course, I can convince myself to pay for a series 3 tivo. Since I only have a single tuner, I have to split the signal to watch one channel while recording another so that probably makes the picture a little less than ideal and I wonder if a digital signal will be less forgiving to the split. Any recommendations for the best picture quality while keeping my old tivo are much appreciated. I just can't face using comcast's dvr.
    Thanks.
     
  2. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    "digital cable", on its own, tells you NOTHING about the picture quality. It could be very good or it could be crap. This depends entirely on the cable company and how much compression they apply to the channel. The better quality the signal is, the better it will look through TiVo. If the cable company applies lots of compression to the signal, it will look awful through TiVo.

    Also, be aware that nearly all cable systems with "digital" channels use standard analog for local broadcast stations. The "digital" channels are the higher-numbered channels, typically those you have to pay extra for.

    I'll also comment that most HDTV sets do a poor job on standard-def TV.

    Splitting the analog signal won't make much difference unless 1) You use a poor-quality splitter or 2) the incoming signal is too weak. There's no real difference here regarding "digital" channels.

    How does the picture look if you feed the cable input directly to the TV, assuming it has a cable-ready tuner?
     
  3. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    Oct 8, 2005
    i hooked the wall cable directly to the new tv and the picture looks great, even when the 4:3 is stretched to full screen. so there is no fault with comcast's analog signal. good to know i don't need to pay more for digital. so now i am assuming that the splitting of the signal is the culprit. if so, i can try to live without the "watch one channel while recording another" setup and change over to the 25-10-15 setup: wall cable goes to tivo, an rf coax goes from tivo to dvr, and another coax goes from dvd to tv. should the picture's quality decrease if the signal goes thru the tivo and dvd before it gets to the tv? my media center is pretty hard to manuever in, that is why i ask before re-arranging the connections.
    thanks!
     
  4. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    I would think that all of these coax connections are leading to the poor PQ that you are getting. Not sure exactly what all you want to do with the components. In one sentence you referred to a DVR, and in the next you called it a DVD. Is it a DVD, DVD Recorder, or another DVR?

    Regardless of the answer you should be connecting the Tivo to your TV with s-video and stereo audio, not coax.
     
  5. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

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    If the splitting of the signal is a problem, try an amplifying splitter.
     
  6. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    Oct 8, 2005
    Thanks for the comments. I have much to upgrade now that I have a new tv with better input/output options (my dvd player and receiver only have old hookups). I am coming from a 20 year old tv with only one rf coax input so I have definitely moved up in the world. Thanks for pointing out that I have an s-video connection on the tivo – I will change to that type of cable. Sorry for the typo – I meant dvd player intead of dvr (my only dvr is the tivo). I will see if I can live without watching another channel while tivo is recording. If it is too tough, I will check out an amplifying splitter – I did not even know they existed so thanks for the heads up.
     
  7. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    There should be no problem with a single splitter as long as it is of decent quality. Split the cable from the wall, running one to the Tivo and the other to your RF input on the TV. Connect the Tivo to the TV using s-video and stereo audio.

    If the other device is a simple DVD player, connect it with Component Video (Red-Green-Blue) if it has those outputs. If it doesn't, use another s-video if your TV has two s-video inputs (many do not), or composite video (yellow) otherwise. You will also need another set of stereo audio (red-white). This would provide all the options that you are looking for.
     
  8. usnret

    usnret New Member

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    Is there a simple way to find out how much a signal is being compressed (i.e. some sort of place in the digital cable box menu that one could go to and check the compression on a channel)???
     
  9. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    No, there is not.

    The only RF cable you should be using is from the wall to the cable box or from the wall to the TV. (A splitter can be used.) All other connections should be S-Video (or composite as a second choice) and left/right audio. Using RF for any of these connections seriously degrades picture quality (and gives you mono sound.)
     
  10. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    Oct 8, 2005
    i tried your configuration, steve, and tivo does not get a cable signal. i have it like this: only one rf cable comes from the wall and goes to the tv. (i can watch tv ok.) the tivo and tv are connected via l/r audio and s cable from output #1 of tivo to input #1 of the tv. when i change it over to tivo, it says the cable signal cannot be found and i have no picture.

    alternatively, if i put my one rf cable from the wall to the tivo, then i can watch thru tivo (the picture is worse) but i cannot watch non-tivo tv (the picture is all fuzz). this is keeping the l/r audio and s-cable in the same position.

    so how can i configure it to use only on rf cable?
    thanks
     
  11. TiVo Steve

    TiVo Steve New Member

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    Seattle WA.
    Getting ready for the 2009 analog cutoff, I switched from a straight analog to a cablebox/digital feed on my Sony SVR-3000 and am very happy with the results.
    Comcast in Seattle didn't always have that great of an analog signal... so I hooked up a DCT700 box via the composite video and L/R audio inputs on my Series 2.
    The analog stations above 20-30 were always pretty grainy. Now I get a much better picture (and free MoviePlex) with the standard cable package.
    I have yet to miss a channel change using the IR blaster.
    My TiVo will not become obsolete Feb of 2009! :)
     
  12. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    appietivo:
    See my Post #7 above. You need RF input to both the TV and the Tivo in order to watch one channel and record another. The results that you got are exactly what you should expect with the way you were connecting it.
     
  13. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Why not use the s-video?
     
  14. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    after trying what seems a million different hookups, i have decided on the wall coax cable going straight to the tivo and a red/white/s-video connecting the tivo to the tv. i should do ok not watching another channel while tivo records. i did try the coax splitter again and the picture just looks worse. the splitter is only 3 months old so i know there is no problems with it. i guess this is the price i pay for going from a 20 inch to 42 inch tv -- i can finally see the bad reception i've always had. the ideal picture is if the wall coax goes straight to the tv but i need my tivo. when the coax goes to the tivo, the picture looks fine for the cable channels but abc/cbs/nbc are a bit fuzzy on wide screen -- i can just watch these in 4:3 and the other channels in wide screen.

    i couldnt really tell a difference in picture quality when changing from the red/white/yellow av cable to the s-video. but then my eyes are numb from messing around with it all day, as is my thumb from connecting and unconnecting all those coax cables.

    i might try comcast's digital signal later. who knows -- maybe it is better than the analog.

    thanks for all your help.
     
  15. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Sorry to hear you are giving up the battle.

    If you get a good quality signal going directly to the TV, you should be able to get the same after splitting the cable one time. The fact that your splitter is only 3 months old doesn't guarantee that it is a good splitter. It's possible that a better quality splitter (maybe amplified) could solve your problem.

    I don't know all the ratings of the splitters, but maybe someone else here could help you.
     
  16. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    If you change the connection type from the cable box you must rerun Guided Setup.
     
  17. apietivo

    apietivo New Member

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    Oct 8, 2005
    i found a solution that i'm happy with and now i can watch one channel while tivo records another. i added a cable tv amplifier before the split between tivo & tv and now the picture is as good as without the split. i looked more closely at my setup and started wondering about my surge protector-- the wall cable goes thru that. i've read that some think this weakens the signal but i dont want to chance a surge, especially since houston gets alot of lightning. so i put the amplifier (it goes up to 10db, says the package) between the surge protector and the splitter. i did look into an amplifying splitter but they cost a whole lot more money.
    thanks for all the possibilites of hookups.
     
  18. Alarmcluck

    Alarmcluck New Member

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    Cablevision gives away digital splitters, as many as you want. All I have to do is go to my local service center and pick them up. The Cablevision techs seem to think there's a real difference between these and the standard Radio Shack jobbies. Don't know if Comcast offers the same thing, but it never hurts to ask, and it might help
     
  19. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Ahah! You were holding back a secret from us. Running the coax thru a surge protector is a very good idea, but some of them do cause a drop in signal strength. I use the Monster Power Center HTS950 without problem, but I have seen others who had problems. The in-line amplifier is a good solution for this.
     
  20. tfellad

    tfellad Who is tfellad!?

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    Jul 7, 2006
    Tha Ville,...
    My signal looks like crap also. I have a coax going into the splitter/ one to the tivo the other to the TV(record one while watching the other). I have a s-video going from tv to tivo. It looks awful. Any suggestions for better pic quaility. Just watching the tv from direct cable to tv(pictures is great).
     

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