Thursday, February 21, 2013

The WOWVision! HDTV Picture Quality Help Guide
 If Your HDTV doesn't make you say "WOW"!!!
The WOWVision! HDTV Picture Quality Help Guide is unlike the cut-and-paste HDTV websites that populate the internet. WOWVision! is the the result of observations obtained from thousands of DTV and HDTV service calls. This is the one place that you will find the answers to poor picture quality and poor performance of HDTV and DTV systems.
What is most apparent in the field is that there is a great lack of knowledge and a large amount of confusion. regarding high definition sources,connectionspicture qualitydigital systems, the Digital Transition, and the digital conversion box.
The WOWVision! site addresses each factor of poor picture quality from viewing distance, cables, connections, settings, and calibration, to signal quality, antenna and dish alignment. The WOWVision! website contains information and tutorials on picture quality, aspect ratio, calibration,satellite dish alignment, signal meters, digital signal processing, and terrestrial or OTA HDTV  antenna alignment.
From the basics of the HDTV Do's & Don'ts to the details of signal science, including signal qualitysignal-to-noise ratioBER (Bit error rate),pixelation, mosquito noise, artifactsgrounding, and ground loops.
Resources including local HD digital broadcasts and broadcasters, technical and non-technical information regarding digital systems and their operation, and installation tips and tricks. The FAQ contains answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
The WOWVision! Interactive High Definition Glossary is the most complete glossary of DTV and HDTV definitions available on the internet. It contains hundreds of definitions and links regarding all aspects of HDTV. Links are included on the pages where they are contextually related. 
Everything contained within this site has been obtained and verified by research and proven repeatable RESULTS. This knowledge was acquired from correcting Dish Network and DirecTV satellite systems, and from installations of Off-air antennasdigital conversion boxes, and HDTVcalibrations.

I'm Jeffrey Johnston and this is my blog. Many people already know me as “Highdef Jeff”, a troubleshooter, a problem solver, and the author of:

The WOWVision! HDTV Picture Quality Help Guide
If Your HDTV doesn't make you say WOW!!!"

Over ¼ of a million times in the past, the WOWVision website was referenced in hopes of improving the quality of HDTV picture. Many people and installers have benefited from the information contained on the WOWVision website. Due to circumstances beyond my control, the WOWVision website disappeared from the web.

Thankfully, I have recovered most of the information contained in the website and will begin to reprint the information here on this blog. BECAUSE digital just isn't “all-or-nothing” and if your HDTV doesn't make you say “WOW!”, then something is wrong. If you are still wondering why your HDTV doesn't look as good as some you've seen, then you've come to the right place!!! Stick around for awhile and revisit often as I reprint the WOWVision! Website.

Here's a tip: Get a Vizio and save your money. Vizio has been my top choice for quality and savings. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to color calibrate a television

After having calibrated many TVs of many types (tubes and flat screens), I have come to an amazing conclusion. The manufacturing process is so similar that ALL televisions that I have calibrated have very nearly the SAME settings when finished. What this means is that you will NOT have to spend even more money for a great picture.

If you're not seeing the "WOW" that you have witnessed in other TVs then read on.

First mak sure your signal is STRONG. After making sure your signal is strong (the number one reason for poor quality) you should then calibrate for the final increase in detail.

I started calibrating using the Spyder Pro Colorimeter.  I read many reviews and they all said it was a really good machine, except for one ISF calibrationist who said it left too much red. As I started calibrating with the Spyder Pro, I noticed that the picture was dramatically improved. As my eyes got trained in what to look for, I began to get frustrated that it was so close but not quite right. As the calibrationist said, there WAS too much red.  I could still see the last bit of red in the ears and lips of people that wasn't correct.  After using the Spyder Pro, I would then go back and began tweeking the picture until it was correct. The problem with Spyder Pro is that it has been programmed to use "Warm" temperature setting. Now, everything I had read up to this point was to use the "Warm" temperature setting. This is NOT correct.You CAN NOT properly calibrate any television using the "Warm" setting. It is impossible to have the entire color spectrum available when using the "Warm" or redder hued colors.

So here is a good starting place for calibration. With this formula (and a little help from your own eyes to "tweek") you will be able to see the amazing detail that HD is all about.

1. Temperature Setting
First, you must use the "Cool" or 6500K setting if you are to obtain perfect color and clarity.

2. Contrast and Brightness
These two go hand in hand because when you adjust contrast you will also adjust brightness. Contrast will "wash out" the details when too high and lose them when too low. The proper setting is near the center of the scale. (If the adjustment bar went from 0 to 100, you want to be between 50 - 60) This will make the picture not as bright, but will increase detail. To compensate for the darker picture, increase brightness some. Not too much or you will again "wash out" the details.

3. Color and Tint
These two also go hand in hand to obtain the perfect skin tones. The color in all TVs is way too "hot" or way to red. This is the largest adjustment. On a 0 to 100 scale, move color down to "around" 33. Use your eyes...just a few clicks to far and you will lose all of your color. This brings the color much closer to realistic but leaves a pinkish hue in flesh tones. The remedy for this is Tint. With Tint it only takes 2 or 3 clicks toward GREEN to finish color adjustment. Be carefull to move toward GREEN just 2 or 3 clicks. Which way green is will be determined by your TV. Try both directions if unsure. One way gives the tans and flesh tones, the other way goes toward purples.

Take sharpness down to between 10 and 30. Too high of sharpness adds artificial edges and ruins detail. Off completly is fine, but I seem to like most TVs, overall, in the 10 to 30 range.

5. Noise reduction and Skin tone adjustment
Turn these off.

These adjustments are close enough that anyone who knows what they are looking for will be able to obtain the proper color calibration.

Enjoy the "WOW" that IS HDTV!
God bless,


Sunday, February 14, 2010

How do I repair a broken HDMI cable end?

Many people have found that their pre-wired house contained no redundancy in wiring-especially in HD cables.

The problem comes when the HDMI end breaks on an in-wall cable run. It isn't as simple as tying a new cable to one end and pulling it through. Most of the time replacing such a cable isn't a real possibility, and routing a new cable (hidden from sight) through the home is a major challenge at best.

A reader emailed me and asked about this very problem concerning his 35 foot HDMI cable whose end had broken off. I researched the net and found that there are replacement ends available. These require soldering on a very small scale. To do this you better have "mad" soldering skills to begin with because there are 15 or more cables in an HDMI cable.

After I had sent my response with the link to cable ends, I began to think more about this digital dilemma. Even if you had the soldering skills for this intricate work, you would do it on a table with clamps and magnification, etc. Trying to perform this maneuver while kneeling at the wall seemed all but impossible. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had not given this man an answer that he could use.

So, after some thought and investigation, I have successfully replaced an HDMI cable end in a manner that is simple enough for the average individual to accomplish.

First I took an HDMI cable and cut it open to see what was really inside this cable. The construction of the HDMI cable is much like coaxial cable in that there is a rubber outer sheath followed by steel braided shielding and then foil wrap. Here, the two differ. Coaxial cable then has a layer of white dielectric that surrounds the center conductor. HDMI has a bundle of small gauge wires.

These wires come in "sets". There are five twisted pairs and five single lines (grounds) associated with them. The five twisted pairs are specifically arranged in the bundle. The center twisted pair is not wrapped in foil, while the surrounding four pair are wrapped in foil.

To replace an HDMI cable end, first purchase another HDMI cable from the same manufacturer if possible. (You will find it easiest if you get the same manufacturer because their color coding will make for easy re-attachment.) Test this line first to make sure it works. You will also need 15 UR splice connectors, the type used for telephone line splicing.

Next, cut the cable about 18 inches from the end.
Strip off approximately 10 inches of outside rubber sheath.
Next, slide back the braided shielding revealing the foil covering.
Carefully open the foil covering and lay it back out of the way.
At this point you should see an uncovered twisted pair (center) and the four other twisted pairs.
Next, cut off four inches of the center wires. (This leaves excess foil and braid that you will use to finish the repair.)

Next, get as much slack as you have to work with from your broken cable.
Cut the broken end off and strip at least two inches of the outer sheath (more is easier if you have it to work with). Ideally, strip 8 inches of the outer sheath.
Slide back the braided shielding and carefully peel back the foil.
IF you have the 8 inches to work with, cut 4 inches off the end of the wires. This will again leave excess foil and shielding that you will need to finish the repair. (If you don't have but a little to work with, expose the wires to have at least two inches to work with.)

Once exposed, start with the center twisted pair and using the UR connector telephone splice to connect one of these wires to the corresponding mate. Only untwist the wire enough to be able to use the connector (about 1/2 inch beyond your fingers). Then connect the mate of this pair, likewise.

Next, grasp one of the wrapped, twisted pairs and twist it counterclockwise about five turns. The lines begin to separate and the foil begins to come loose. Gently peel back the foil to expose the wires. Re-twist the wires until you have just enough left to add the splice (1/2 inch).

Find the corresponding twisted pair and repeat the above procedure. Connect both wires of the pair using two UR splices and then wrap the foil back around the twisted pair up to the connector.

Follow this procedure for all of the twisted pairs.

Next, use splicers to connect each of the single lines to their corresponding mate.

After all lines have been spliced, using the foil covering that you peeled back, re-wrap the foil around the cables up to the splice.

After the foil is in place, slide the braided shielding back over the wires until it reaches the splice.

Finally, I wrapped this splice with some tin foil.

Plug it in and test.

I hope this helps solve one of the "unsolvable" digital issues.

For some pictures you can go to DTV USA Forum here:

God bless,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sashi-eda Bonsai

Here is a great site for Bonsai enthusiasts.

Sashi-eda Bonsai

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why did Dish Network change the signal meter? Part 2

This that a forum poster wrote recently fit right in to the second part of Why the signal meter changed so here it is.

[QUOTE=DefDude;1847431]I get a local channel 55 out of mobile/pensacola. last night I noticed that the size of the pic has shrunk down and will no longer fill the screen on any tv, HD or SD.... with any of my receivers 722,522,322. Even when I stretch or any of the zoom's, It looks like a box in a box in any format. this is one the channels I don't get OTA so my question is, does this have to do with the switch to digital, or Dish. the pic quality does look somewhat darker and clearer but I'm sure if it is because of the smaller pic or because it is now a digital signal.[/QUOTE]

It has to do with low signal strength or poor signal quality.

The shrunken picture is a type of scalability that is built into the MPEG forward error correction. Your television receivers AND your Dish receivers (Directv, digital cable) everything using MPEG has scalability, built right in.

When you have less than the minimum of 70 on a standard digital signal quality meter (everyone's meter except the new improved dish signal meter), there is built-in or rather "written" in, coding that allows for the decoding of a weaker, or compromised signal. It is called Scalable Video Coding extension, and has been a part of HDTV since at least 2005.

One of the types of scalability that is available to use, is spatial scalability. This scalability says, "Since the signal is poor and there is not enough data to produce the full size picture at the proper resolution, then I'll display the proper quality, or resolution, at a reduced size."

These are three types of scalability. They are temporal, spatial, and fidelity scaling options. Broadcasters and TV manufacturers use all three of these handy, low-signal digital tricks.

Spatial scalability is what you are witnessing on your TV. Here the quality remains but the size of the picture decreases. Dish does NOT use this type of scaling because it too easily leads to the truth of the picture/signal relationship.

Fidelity scalability is scaling that reduces the quality of the picture (grainy, blurry) but maintains size. Since most people don't see this difference, and the perpetuation of the "all-or-nothing LIE" says that signal is NEVER the problem, this type of scaling is acceptable to Dish.

Temporal scalability refers to time scalability and accounts for a good portion of the audio sync problems that are being reported. Since these also have a reputation of being blamed on software issues and such, this scaling is also acceptable.

Dish receivers use the fidelity scalability and temporal scalability, but they ditched the spatial scalability as rapidly as they could, after the release of the 811's. When the 811's came into widespread distribution, Dish decided quickly to develop the new receivers that would NOT use spatial scalability. And, they haven't used spatial scalability since.

Did you ever wonder why the 811's were so rapidly converted to 381's? With spacial scaling it is far too obvious that digital picture isn't all-or-nothing. All receivers after the 811's use coding that takes advantage of the quality (fidelity) scalability, and temporal scaling, but NOT to use the spatial scalability. Since compression and bandwidth have been getting the heat from all the "experts" concerning picture quality, Dish thought it good that people continue to blame the "technology" instead of the provider.

If this news got out, they would have to spend more money on training to increase the dish alignment skills of their technicians. Dish would also incur a greater amount of responsibility for the quality of their product because - as I've said over and over the last three years - only a dish that is at absolute peak provides acceptable quality HDTV. It appears that over many years Dish (Directv and Cable) have all been charging for avoidable service calls generated at install by their technicians.

Desiring to avoid a fire-storm of public outrage at Dish (because the picture CAN get better if only their techs were trained properly to maximize signal) they killed spacial scaling and dismantled the 811's. And that brings us back to the burning question, "Why did Dish Network change the signal meter?"

Did I answer that one yet?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Color Calibration Confusion - Temperature Rising

Some of the readers from Highdefjunkies Forum had questions about my recommendation for temperature settings for calibration. 

I state in the WOWVision! text:

"Temperature - Use the "Low" or "Cool" or 6500K setting - or whichever setting is opposite of warm." Yes, opposite.

I will attempt to explain the relationship between 65K/6500 Kelvin and the "Cool" temperature setting on the television. Perhaps I could bring some "light" to the subject  in what I will call:

Why is the temperature of a WARM white light 2000 degrees COOLER than a COOL white light?

I am attaching a couple of light temperature charts that should shed some lig...that should be very helpful in this exploration. 

Here is a part of the problem. We have two conflicting arenas for description, and even two seemingly "contradictory" sets of terms to describe light. We describe light by its color, by it's temperature, and by its "feel". 

To illustrate this, let's consider fluorescent light bulbs. We have fluorescents that are termed "Warm White" and "Cool white" and also, "Daylight". 

"Warm white" fluorescents are found in rooms and places where you desire a "warm emotional atmosphere". They are generally dimmer than the others and they emit a more red spectrum of light. This light is considered to "feel" warm. Red as a color is described intuitively, as warm. The red coals of your fire are around 2100K. They glow with a red light, and the coals are cozy and warm. We attribute the "feeling" of warmth, to the color red. When the quality of this light is quantified on the Kelvin scale, it has a Kelvin temperature of around 2100k. (Kelvin temperature scale refers to the light emission of a black body heated to a specific degree, like a charcoal briquette that glows red.)

The cool white lamps are what is most commonly found in fluorescent fixtures today. Without a trained eye or a side-by-side comparison, these lamps are perceived as white, thus the white of "Cool white". Cool white's color emissions, however, are in the yellow visible spectrum and the lights are indeed yellow. COOL white registers on the Kelvin scale around 4100k; that's 2000 degrees HOTTER, than WARM white. Cool white emotionally "feels" cooler than the red light. Want a hot room? Paint it red. Cool room? Paint it blue. 

In the last few years it has come to has been found that the yellow "Cool white" fluorescents cause eyestrain, computer screen glare, and mood swings, ushering in the days of the Daylight fluorescents.

What is so special about the Daylight bulbs? "Special" is called "Full Spectrum" in lighting or light. These lights emit THE spectrum where WHITE light resides. These lamps give you vibrant colors in a store, and make everything look cleaner. They are also good for your health (complete like sunlight), used to treat bilirubin deficiencies and depression. These are one type of lamp used in color matching and they are also great for use as grow lamps! (Settle down out there!) And guess what? They come in at 6500 on the Kelvin scale. These are truly the white lights because for something to emit the "color" white in light, all of the colors of the spectrum have to be there, because white light is comprised of all of the colors. (Don't confuse this color mixing in light with painting or pigment! In pigments, the opposite is true. Gee that helps, too.) 

The reason why Daylight bulbs produce the most vivid color, is that all of the colors of the palette are available in white light. The reason why 6500k is desirable in a television is exactly the same. 

Now reference the color charts and take a look at how the mix of terms and temperatures clash. 

Now add the television manufacturer's who can't or won't standardize a remote control, user menu, or even the same term for the 

"aspect ratio/format/ZOOM/Picture" button. Did I miss any? 

Anyway, some manufacturers use LOW/MEDIUM/WARM, some use COOL/NORMAL/WARM, and there are still others. (We'll find out soon enough.) 

To refer once again to the lighting situation, why does the warm white fluorescent lamp produce a redder room, and why does a cool white lamp produce a yellower room? Because they lack the parts of the spectrum to produce white, in other words, they don't have all of the colors available to produce white. 

What if you use the "warm" temperature setting like everyone else recommends? 

I believe that within the calibration world there is a bit of unintentional confusion on this one. That would explain why EVERY television is "hot" on the red. 

One thing I am certain of is this: It doesn't take a week to see a great picture, or WOWVision! would have been named, "Call-you-in-a-week-Vision!"