May 04, 2011

More on the TiVo Standard Definition debate

For those unhappy with the TiVo's upscaling of SD, here's an interesting table posted by Kettle on a thread over on Virgin's own support forum: Picture Upscaling. According to his tests the best option is to select 1080i and 720p in the Video Output settings - the former will be used for HD, the latter for SD channels. It should switch intelligently, but unfortunately that's where any "intelligence" ends. Ideally the TiVo would use 576i for SD and the TiVo would leave your TV or AV equipment to do its own upscaling (Virgin Media currently broadcasts SD in 576i and HD in 1080) but the TiVo doesn't actually do it.
(If you want to see how your TV or AV equipment would handle the 576i output just select that option and try a few SD channels. Not recommended for HD of course but it will give you some idea of whether it being "forced" to 720p is desirable for your set up.)
According to Virgin Media (NickO) this isn't considered a "bug", but Nick does say that they continue to look in to this issue and he will report back to the thread with a statement when it's available.


Moroboshi said...
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Moroboshi said...

Leaving your TV to do the scaling is really not a good idea. For a start, if the TIVO is running in SD, then it's UI (such as the info bar) will be in SD too. Very ugly.

Secondly most HDTVs have poor scalers which will would do a worse job than the TIVO can do.

And finally some HDTVs do not switch resolutions gracefully. The screen will blank, flicker, and take a second or two to come back on. It's extremely ugly.

I have about as high end a TV as it's possible to buy (a 50" 1080p Pioneer KURO) and the TIVO scaling looks fine to me. Better than the V+ which looked blocky and rather ugly. SD TV broadcasts are brutally low resolution and massively over compressed, so they need any help they can get to hide their countless blemishes.

mercelous said...

Has anyone got the same problem as me, that if you are running your TiVo through an av unit to your t.v. that whatever you set the HD picture settings to what you prefer in the TiVo options it never sticks. Whenever you turn your t.v. off the TiVo always reverts back to the best settings it chooses for your t.v. I have done some searching on the net and found that when TiVo Premiere launched in the states last year, it too had the same issue and has only just been resolved with a recent firmware update. Apparently it is because the TiVo isn't hand shaking correctly with av units. I haven't come across anyone on the net in the UK yet who has mentioned this and who do I contact to complain? It does seem we have the same issue as in the states.

Anonymous said...

I'm very confused with this debate.

Just had my Tivo installed today connected to a professionally calibrated 46" 1080p set.

No question IMO the Tivo does a far superior job at low bitrate SD channels than my old Samsung V+. Not that I was unhappy with the V+ - I just accepted the low bitrate ( channels were rubbish. But now they are much better and BBC One looks as good as it ever has.

Using 1080i with TiVo and V+. No "stretch-o-vision" on either!

openviews said...

ESPN's 3D coverage of 2011 FA Cup final to be shown live on Skys 3D channel

Any chance ESPN will offer this to Virgin Media subscribers, maybe on demand?

alan said...

i dont see much chance of that,this is virgin media not sky,still waiting for all the hd match sky

Lewpy said...

@mercelous: yes, I can confirm the issue with going through an AV amp. I set my TiVo box up for 1080i/720p/576p/576i, and had it auto-switching between 1080i for HD & 720p for SD. I then switched to my HTPC (uses a different amp input). When I switched back to TiVo, it had set itself back to 1080i.
I am also having a slight issue with the TiVo and the AV amp: when I switch back from HTPC to TiVo (I use Logitech Harmony to control everything), the TiVo refuses to send picture over HDMI. I have to switch the amp to another channel again (my PS3 usually), and then switch back to TiVo. Every time, the HDMI then works.
Since the TiVo is on another TV input, I am guessing it is a HDCP pass-through issue, and some timing problem when switching all the equipment back.
In the meantime, I have manually added a few commands to the harmony to switch it to the other input and back again: this has been 100% successful so far, although takes another second or so for the TV image to be displayed.
I never had this problem with my V+ box .. although the V+ box developed its own issues: turning off for about 10 minutes was occasionally required to let the HDMI output "cool off" (or something!) before it would start working again :-)

upinthesky said...

in reply to mercelous, I am having the same problem with my Sony Amp. TiVo insists that my best resolution is 720p whereas it should be 1080i. I did have TiVo set to autoswitch as described in blog post, but after the box constantly resetting I have abandoned that setting. I now just keep an eye on my TV when I switch on and if I see 720p showing I go into TiVo settings and swap it back. Not ideal, but liveable with.

Eddie Waring said...

Where is the option to specifically set SD to 720i and HD to 1080i? I can set the variable upscaling formats from 576 up to 1080p but I cannot see how you can allocate one to SD or HD in particular?

Eddie Waring said...

I am upsdcaling to an Onkyo amp to a (very average) LG HD ready tv FYI