February 23, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
I recently changed the orientation of my family room to add more viewing distance to our 50-inch Hitachi plasma, to go with giving more depth to the room itself—the change makes the room appear about twice the size.
In doing so, I also moved the electronics farther away from the TV, though. I knew it would be a potential problem with cable runs, and indeed I had to switch my connection to our cable box from component video to HDMI (I have an HD DVD player hooked up with HDMI, and that didn’t change).
After a little over a week of viewing now (the plasma has resolution of 1280 x 1080), for the most part the images are about on par judging the high-definition cable content via component versus HDMI. However, on the network broadcasts I’ve noticed that facial features can be a little smeary at times, with not as much fine detail using the HDMI as there was with component cable.
I made sure that all of my settings—sharpness, brightness, contrast, noise reduction and so forth—are the same now as they were when the TV was hooked up via component (FYI the cable is provided through Charter Communications). Also, for disclosure the HDMI is a RadioShack version, and the component is Monster, not that I believe it matters much (actually, I just bought a 10-foot no-name HDMI run from Monoprice and it works just as well).
Thanks to the greater viewing distance, overall I’d say other noise artifacts have been diminished and my HD images are improved, but this inconsistent smeariness or shininess has been irking. Seems to occur more with recorded broadcasts on TNT, NBC and Fox than live sports broadcasts.
Take the poll below and let me know if there’s any reason for your preference. I also have a few other questions:
- Do you have any calibration suggestions for decreasing the smear?
- Anyone else run into this issue or am I just seeing things and need my eyesight checked?
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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