Observer

Please bring clarity to my expectations

Can some of you here please once and for all give me some clarity (no pun intended) on Spectrum picture quality?

 

I will try to keep this short, but I tried Spectrum last year and wasn't super happy so I dumped it within a month or so. I just got it again recently and I just don't think the picture quality is as good as it can be. At the same time, I've also been told by some friends that my expectations are too high and cable is very compressed and just doesn't look very good. I finally want to find out what is the truth lol.

 

I just feel that most channels aren't super sharp, have pixelization/macro blocking (especially during motion/action scenes), etc. Some channels seems much worse than others, but I haven't found a single channel where I said "wow, that looks pretty **bleep** good". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting Blu Ray quality, but **bleep**, some of this stuff just looks bad. On channels like ESPN for example, text on the screen has like groups of blurry pixels around it or something. 

 

Last year, they dropped a new cable which was RG6, so I don't think it's my drop line. I had a tech come out a couple days ago and he replaced the splitter and the cable running into the living room. I'm not an expert, but I think all of my cables and equipment should be fine. The tech also said that all signals seemed strong. I also have one of the newer DVR's. It's the Humax 4 tuner model. We have an HD box in the bedroom and then a cable modem. So 2 TV's and a modem.

 

Can some of you post pics of your picture quality from various major channels? I really want to finally see what other people are getting in comparison to what I'm seeing. For all I know, mine might be totally normal. 

 

Thank you!

14 REPLIES
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Helper

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Barring any physical coax or equipment issues, cable signals are heavily compressed and sometimes pixelization, color saturation, and motion blur (among other things) will be noticable when compared to blu-ray or many streaming options.  As an example, this past weekend I watched Westworld as it was airing on HBO. I noticed some places where there were the above mentioned issues but nothing unexpected. Same thing on the recording on my TiVo. I rewatched the same episode from the HBO Go app on my TiVo on the same tv and had none of the picture issues.

Observer

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Yes, that is what I figured and I know that cable signals are heavily compressed. I just wasn't sure if the quality I'm seeing is completely normal or not. I'm guessing it is, but I'm a big tech guy and always love to tinker and think about "can it be better?" with anything that I tinker with lol.

Would you be able to post some pics? I know there are diagnostics on my DVR through settings, are there some specific numbers to look at there to be sure my signal is all good?

I guess what I'm trying to do once and for all is to understand if this is just the way it is or if there is something wrong at a deeper level. I don't know anyone else with Spectrum that I can compare with.

Thank you!
Helper

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

The acceptable power and S/N ranges are similar to what would be acceptable for a modem, but with greater tolerances for the outer edges. Power levels generally in the -12 to +12 range and S/N above 35dB...ish.

 

Also, do you have Spectrum internet? Post the signal levels from that as well to give us a starting point.

Observer

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Ok, I will check those out. Is there a specific page on the diagnostics that I need to look for? I know there are several pages there when I looked last time. It was becoming like a foreign language to me as I went through the pages lol.

 

I do have Spectrum internet. Do you mean signal levels from speedtest.net or some other sort of levels?

 

Sorry for these questions ... while I love tech, it's based more in smartphone tech and building computers. When it comes to networking and stuff like that, I'm not as knowledgeable.

 

Thank you for all your help!

Helper

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

No worries... I don't have a set top box from Spectrum so I'm not entirely sure how to get to those screens...perhaps @Satch can help with that.

 

As for the modem, depending on your brand it should be accessible through your browser at 192.168.100.1 or 192.168.0.1 and look for a tab or option for "signal levels."

Observer

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Great, thank you! I will check the signal levels for my modem and go from there with the diagnostic screens on my DVR box. If @Satch chimes in before then that will even be better!

Thanks again!
Trusted Helper

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Hi,

 

I am not too familar with the data diagnostic screens on the set top box menus, but there are a ton of things that can affect picture quality.  Let me run down some things off the top of my head and list them: I assume that all of the sets are HD:

 

1.) How old is each set?  A set's half-life is determined when the brightness level goes down to about 50% of when it was new.  This does not mean that a set will stop working.  Half life range begins about 9 to 11 years in or somewhere between 60000, to 1000,000 hours.

 

2.) Are you using an HDMI cable?  How old is that cable?  Have you tried a brand new fresh HDMI cable?  This can make a difference?

 

3.) What stations are the worst picture-wise?  Make a list.  You mentioned pixilation or break up.  That is almost always a signal problem and not a TV or a box problem.  Are the stations bad all the time?  Or does the station get worse during the day, or during the night?

 

4.) Where are you located?  City? State? and Zip?  Do you know neighbors with Spectrum TV services?  If their reception is also bad, it has nothing to do with your set or hook up.  It's a problem in your node.  Get them to call in to report the issue!  If six or more people call in to report the same issue, in the same area.  Spectrum sends out an auto dispatcher team.

 

5.) Does a different model cable box produce the same results?

 

Provide answers to these questions and we can give further recommendations.  We need your city, state, and zip, and makes and models of the cable boxes.

 

Satch

Observer

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations

Thank you for the response @Satch!!

 

I'm at work right now, so I will answer as much as I can until I get home. Below are my responses to your questions:

 

1.) How old is each set?  A set's half-life is determined when the brightness level goes down to about 50% of when it was new.  This does not mean that a set will stop working.  Half life range begins about 9 to 11 years in or somewhere between 60000, to 1000,000 hours.

 

The living room TV where I have the DVR is only 2 months old. So it's as new as it can get and shouldn't be the issue. It's the 65" Sony X930E. The bedroom TV where I have the HD box is about 5 or 6 years old I believe. An LG LCD.

 

2.) Are you using an HDMI cable?  How old is that cable?  Have you tried a brand new fresh HDMI cable?  This can make a difference?

 

Funny you ask ... I just replaced all of my HDMI cables with HDMI certified ones from Monoprice.

 

3.) What stations are the worst picture-wise?  Make a list.  You mentioned pixilation or break up.  That is almost always a signal problem and not a TV or a box problem.  Are the stations bad all the time?  Or does the station get worse during the day, or during the night?

 

I will gather a list of stations that look the worst to me this weekend. Off the top of my head SYFY doesn't look very good to me. It looks pretty bad all of the time for me. As for time of day, it seems like any time of day. I also want to be clear that I'm not getting freezing or total break up of pixels where there are gaps in the picture. For me it's just mostly overall picture quality isn't very clean.

 

4.) Where are you located?  City? State? and Zip?  Do you know neighbors with Spectrum TV services?  If their reception is also bad, it has nothing to do with your set or hook up.  It's a problem in your node.  Get them to call in to report the issue!  If six or more people call in to report the same issue, in the same area.  Spectrum sends out an auto dispatcher team.

 

I am in San Diego, CA zip code 92110. Our condo building is very small, only 23 units. Believe it or not, I don't really know many of my neighbors. I'm sure at least some of them have Spectrum, but I don't know for sure. Not sure I want to start stopping people to ask or not haha.

 

5.) Does a different model cable box produce the same results?

 

My DVR is made by Humax model number 201-H. The HD cable box in the bedroom is a Cisco box, but I don't know the model number off the top of my head.

 

I hope this helps a bit and I will definitely do more digging around and tinkering this weekend.

 

Thanks!

Trusted Helper

Re: Please bring clarity to my expectations


@WizeGuyDezignzwrote:

Thank you for the response @Satch!!

 

I'm at work right now, so I will answer as much as I can until I get home. Below are my responses to your questions:

 

1.) How old is each set?  A set's half-life is determined when the brightness level goes down to about 50% of when it was new.  This does not mean that a set will stop working.  Half life range begins about 9 to 11 years in or somewhere between 60000, to 1000,000 hours.

 

The living room TV where I have the DVR is only 2 months old. So it's as new as it can get and shouldn't be the issue. It's the 65" Sony X930E. The bedroom TV where I have the HD box is about 5 or 6 years old I believe. An LG LCD.

 

2.) Are you using an HDMI cable?  How old is that cable?  Have you tried a brand new fresh HDMI cable?  This can make a difference?

 

Funny you ask ... I just replaced all of my HDMI cables with HDMI certified ones from Monoprice.

 

3.) What stations are the worst picture-wise?  Make a list.  You mentioned pixilation or break up.  That is almost always a signal problem and not a TV or a box problem.  Are the stations bad all the time?  Or does the station get worse during the day, or during the night?

 

I will gather a list of stations that look the worst to me this weekend. Off the top of my head SYFY doesn't look very good to me. It looks pretty bad all of the time for me. As for time of day, it seems like any time of day. I also want to be clear that I'm not getting freezing or total break up of pixels where there are gaps in the picture. For me it's just mostly overall picture quality isn't very clean.

 

4.) Where are you located?  City? State? and Zip?  Do you know neighbors with Spectrum TV services?  If their reception is also bad, it has nothing to do with your set or hook up.  It's a problem in your node.  Get them to call in to report the issue!  If six or more people call in to report the same issue, in the same area.  Spectrum sends out an auto dispatcher team.

 

I am in San Diego, CA zip code 92110. Our condo building is very small, only 23 units. Believe it or not, I don't really know many of my neighbors. I'm sure at least some of them have Spectrum, but I don't know for sure. Not sure I want to start stopping people to ask or not haha.

 

5.) Does a different model cable box produce the same results?

 

My DVR is made by Humax model number 201-H. The HD cable box in the bedroom is a Cisco box, but I don't know the model number off the top of my head.

 

I hope this helps a bit and I will definitely do more digging around and tinkering this weekend.

 

Thanks!


Nice follow up!

 

Our community will keep researching!  I wonder if there is some wiring in your Condo that is not quite right?  I mean good enough where an average person or one who doesn't care  won't see a picture quality difference, but those who do care see a difference?  Another question that I have is, are your Spectrum services included in your Condo Fees, or do you have to pay extra for Spectrum services on your own?

 

The reason I ask this is, let's suppose that Spectrum finds out this is some outside wiring.  I wonder if Condo Management would allow them to discontinue everyone's service to replace the wiring?  I would guess that it is Spectrum's equipment and service so they can do what they want.  But if you, and everyone else in the complex subscribes to Spectrum on their own, than maybe you would have more control over what they could do.  Just throwing out ideas here.  Apartments and Condos vs. single family residence can make a difference in how services are maintained and quality of service.

 

Forum mods, what do you think about the users situation, here?

 

Satch