HDTV in Flux
December 20, 2004 2:50 PM   Subscribe

HDTV filter: (Seems like I ask quite a few electronics questions...) We bought a new television about 3 months ago, direct from Samsung (refurbished), and it seems to work fine, with the exception of a waviness around stark vertical lines and text. For example, when the TiVo menu is up, I can see the text sort of fluxing a bit. It's not horrible, but I find it distracting.

I've been doing some reading about similar problems and have been told to try unplugging the cable, which I've done, to no avail. That solves nothing. I've also read about how it might be a problem with grounding, so I've opened the outlet and connected the green screw to the metal outlet box... also, no luck. [And yes, I shut of the power first.]

Any other ideas here? I'm getting this problem from all the inputs on the TV (including the DVD player) and can't figure out anything else to try, short of dragging this heavy thing across the room and plugging it in elsewhere to see if that helps. Any good advice from those in the know?

I also can't return the television-- it's too late.
posted by yellowcandy to Technology (14 answers total)
Those seem like normal chroma artifacts on a large screen TV, caused by the low bandwidth of video signals. If the TV does any kind of digital processing or scaling, that can make them more visible. The solution is to use a less filtered connection method. If you were in Europe I'd suggest using an RGB scart cable. Have you tried an S-video or component connection?
posted by cillit bang at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2004

yellowcandy, I hate to burst your bubble even further, but those Samsung HDTVs are being sold refurbished because, in general, Samsung made a *LOT* of lemon HDTVs.

Just search for samsung HDTV lip sync and you'll discover the processing done in that TV is not visually friendly...
posted by shepd at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2004

Have you tried one of those little $25 boxes at Radio Shack that purport to kill noise on the power line? You plug it into an outlet on the same circuit as the TV. My dad got one and swears it made a difference.
posted by yerfatma at 3:35 PM on December 20, 2004

I'm no expert but I thought the banding you get from power line problems would appear as slow-moving vertical or horizontal bands, NOT the kind of edge artifacts you're describing.

Is this a CRT or a DLP? Have you tried calibrating the TV using the Digital Video Essentials DVD? It could be something as simple as the contrast/sharpness being turned up too high. As always, the best place to ask these questions is at avsforum.com.
posted by coelecanth at 3:41 PM on December 20, 2004

i might try real power conditioning, ala monster power or rotel... of course, these "solutions" are expensive. but i found, in my own case, that i did see appreciable improvement when i began running my mistubishi hdtv through a power conditioner. however, ymmv.

i would also suggest upgrading your cables and connectors, perhaps as a less expensive first resort.
posted by RockyChrysler at 3:57 PM on December 20, 2004

Definitely make sure you're using the best possible connection to the box--S-video, component or DVI, as available.

The power conditioner is also a good idea, especially if you've also got home theater components--I bit when they sold me a $125 unit as part of my overall setup, but thankfully, when I got home and tested it, it definitely reduced the "power hum" audibly. (That varies from house to house, or even circuit to circuit, from what I understand.)
posted by LairBob at 4:08 PM on December 20, 2004

It sounds like its pretty normal. I had a TV that I could turn on a feature called notch filter With this on I was able to antialias the vertical lines produced from text and anything that came off the xBox or from a DVD.

See if you have that, or something like it.
posted by joelf at 4:33 PM on December 20, 2004

yellowcandy, I am very, very interested in the outcome of this because I too have a Samsung HDTV with that weird line stuff happening as well.

I think I will get in touch with the store I got it at and see what kind of return policy they've got for me.
posted by fenriq at 5:04 PM on December 20, 2004

I highly suggest writing a letter to to Samsung as well. A well worded, polite complain often encourages a company to go beyond the bare minimal of service and offer at least some sort of solution to keep a customer happy.

It's not certain to do anything, and they're not obligated to, but it's in their best interests to make customers happy. Just remember, be polite. Not many people like dealing with angry customers, but a disappointed one who wants to like your product, that's easy.
posted by Saydur at 6:25 PM on December 20, 2004

Wow, television sounds like it's more work than a pet.
posted by interrobang at 8:35 PM on December 20, 2004

Just as an aside, unless there is a real ground wire, or if you have metal conduit which is wired as a ground, wiring the green screw on the receptacle to the metal box is not a true ground at all.
posted by Eekacat at 8:46 PM on December 20, 2004

...short of dragging this heavy thing across the room and plugging it in elsewhere to see if that helps.

Umm...extension cord? Not to be snarky or anything, but if you're going to try different power sources, you don't necessarily have to move the thing around.
posted by spaghetti at 10:18 PM on December 20, 2004

Response by poster: OK, for more info here:

I'm inputting the HD signal in through the DVI input and the TiVo through the S-Video input, along with the DVD player in through one of the component inputs, so I've really maximized the quality of all the signals coming into the television.

There's no notch filter (or equivalent) on this television.

Also, the problem doesn't resolve when I fiddle with the contrast and sharpness.

I was hoping that the television had some kind of diagnostic mode that I could activate, but I don't seem to be able to find anything about that.

I will also check out the Radio Shack box and see if that helps.

Any other ideas?
posted by yellowcandy at 10:20 PM on December 20, 2004

Response by poster: spaghetti: No offence at all. I've been trying to limit the length of the cords, so that's why I'd drag it... I'd try the extension cord first, of course... :)
posted by yellowcandy at 12:01 AM on December 21, 2004

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