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    Picture quality problems trying to save programs before switching Sky box

    This is a discussion on Picture quality problems trying to save programs before switching Sky box within the Sky & Sky+ TV forums, part of the Other Sky help and support category; Hello everyone, I hope someone out there can help me. I have: Sky+HD box (downstairs) Sky+ box (upstairs) Pioneer 5100H ...

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      AJStevens's Avatar
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      Picture quality problems trying to save programs before switching Sky box

      Hello everyone, I hope someone out there can help me.

      I have:
      Sky+HD box (downstairs)
      Sky+ box (upstairs)
      Pioneer 5100H HDD DVD Recorder

      I'm trying to save some NHK programs for the Mrs off the Sky+HD box downstairs (where the HDD DVD Recorder is located) before we swap the Sky+HD downstairs with the Sky+ box upstairs.
      Why? Because then I need to save anything I want to keep off the Sky+ box as I've upgraded it to a Sky+HD 1TB box, which has just arrived and will become the new "main" box downstairs.

      Simple idea, more or less.

      Now, inputs/ouputs (not counting RF/Aerial):

      Sky+HD box: HDMI | Scart = TV (RGB) and DVD/Decoder | S-Video
      Sky+ box: Scart = TV (RGB) and DVD/Decoder | S-Video
      Sky+HD 1TB box: HDMI | Scart = TV (RGB) and DVD/Decoder | Composite (Yellow/White/Red)
      Pioneer 5100H: Scart = TV (RGB Ouput) and AV1/Decoder(Not RGB and Input/Output!) | AV2 S-Video or Composite | AV3 S-Video or Composite

      Stage 1: Saving programs from the Sky+HD box
      My first instinct is to connect the TV out of the Sky+HD box to the AV1 Scart of the Pioneer using the best grade of Scart cable I can find, 30, gold connectors, oxygenless, individual isolated, etc.
      The problem? The picture is... "fuzzy", the white writing of the EPG is difficult to read, it's fuzzy/unclear, appearing to be moving slightly.
      So... I tried different options for Scart Control On/Off and Scart RGB/PAL, however this makes no difference.
      Just to be safe, I connect the same scart cable to a Scart input on a TV, perfect picture.
      Grrr... ok, so I grab the next nearest scart device, an (old!) Xbox 360 with AV to Composite with a Scart adaptor on the end, and plug that into the Pioneer... I hear sound but see no picture. ??? I take off the scart adaptor and plug into AV3 composite on the Pioneer... same, I can hear the Xbox "chime" as it starts up, but no picture.
      I unplug it, put the scart adaptor back on it, and plug it into the scart input on the TV, I get picture and sound.
      *%^*%$!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Second option... try using Scart to Composite cable and connect to AV2/AV3 via Composite, same picture problems, argh!

      Third idea, after MUCH searching, managed to locate a S-Video cable at home (not gold connections and all that unfortunately), connected from the S-Video output of the Sky+HD box to AV3 S-Video input on the Pioneer. Result? Much improved picture quality, no more fuzzy... however when on the main screen of the EPG, the Red, Green, Yellow, Blue option buttons at the bottom of the screen (Anytime, Planner, Search etc.) appear ghosted left and right, slightly out of phase.

      Should I try to get a Gold/super quality S-Video cable, will that elimate the ghosting when using S-Video? Still, what concerns me is while that will work now for the Sky+HD and Sky+ box, it won't help me when I need to save something off the Sky+HD 1TB box as it has no S-Video, though it does have composite, which is less video channels than S-Video, but more common.

      What is going on with the Scart connection? I think I should try to fix this.... I've looked at it some more, particularly that online people say the Pioneer 5100H is definately not RGB compatible for input... I'm wondering if that's because of this ports bi-directional symbol.

      So I tested it, and indeed connecting it to a Scart switch box using the "VCR" input on the switch box, it's able to receive an input from the Switch box, while simultanously down the same scart cable send it's output which the scart switchbox then sends to either TV1 or TV2. Also, when the Pioneer is switched off, it passes this signal straight through, as if it was powered on.

      Surely, this can't be possible with RGB, so it must be the PAL/composite signal, which on a Scart connector has seperate pins for Video In/Out, Audio Right In/Out and Audio (mono) In/Out, surely that must be how it's doing this simultanous bi-directional usage.

      So... I'm wondering... is the Sky+HD sending out it's PAL/composite signal to the Pioneer, which is then being resent back down the same cable as an output from the Pioneer, the Sky+HD box is then receiving this and upsetting it, causing a feedback loop and giving a picture with interferrence?

      Does this make sense to anyone, am I correct? Have you seen this before? What's the solution? Do I need to wire up my own scart cable which only has the PAL/Composite signal enabled in one direction?

      My Pioneer is from 2003, so I've also looked around for newer models.... seem to be dying off... curse this paranoid industry... I've seen a Panasonic (since Pioneer no longer seem to be making any) DMR-83 looks to be the same kind of kit, but it supposedly supports RGB scart inputs to record from. Reason for this kind of model, is I have a huge stash of DVD-RW discs that I temporarily store stuff on until either a) They release a proper DVD/Blu-Ray or boxset of it or b) I've watched it and don't want to keep it, I then record over them.

      Until I'm confident with Stage 1, I won't get to Stage 2, which is swapping the Sky boxes and saving the other programs off the Sky+ box, and Stage 3 testing saving from the new Sky+HD 1TB box.

      I've not got into the whole "storing stuff on the computer and streaming it to all the devices round the house via DNLA" yet, that's a project for another time, when I can load my 600+ dvd titles and then store them out of the way and recoup some living room space.

      Help/Advice/Comments? Thank you.


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      Re: Picture quality problems trying to save programs before switching Sky box

      1. You are recording composite video not RGB.

      2. You may well have "video breakthrough", either from "bounce back" from the recorder or through poor screening of the Scart lead.
      Read Scart lead peritel connection plug FAQ

      3. Why the emphasis on gold? Your Sky Digibox connectors aren't gold so you are putting dissimilar metals together. Not helpful.
      Read Locking Scart Lead best low cost

      4. It's possible to record HDMI provided that it's not HDCP protected:
      Elgato Game Capture HD delivers easy HDMI recording to OS X | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

      (If you had a Thomson Sky+HD Digibox you'd be able to record from its three phono "component" sockets.)

      5. Try an RGB recorder:
      Can DVD recorders record via scart? [Archive] - Forums @ The Digital Fix

      6. Sky Digiboxes incorporate Macrovision copy protection so you might need a fix for that. Take a look at Sonel dot com.

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      Re: Picture quality problems trying to save programs before switching Sky box

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      1. You are recording composite video not RGB.
      Yes, I gathered that, but RGB if I'm not mistaken is the best quality you can get to record from, and ideally what to work towards, though it appears my Pioneer will not accept it... I was just wondering if the composite signal quality has those defects or if something is wrong.

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      2. You may well have "video breakthrough", either from "bounce back" from the recorder or through poor screening of the Scart lead.
      Read Scart lead peritel connection plug FAQ
      Yep, that sounds like it, just what I needed, thank you, I shall attack a spare scart cable tonight. I'm still perplexed how that happened when using a scart to composite cable as well... perhaps it connects both sets of composite pins...

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      3. Why the emphasis on gold? Your Sky Digibox connectors aren't gold so you are putting dissimilar metals together. Not helpful.
      Read Locking Scart Lead best low cost
      It's just what is drilled into us by sales people, I wasn't 100% convinced by it, pretty sure oxygen-less is rubbish, but I could accept Gold being a better connection material and the individual insulated cables, granted... the material on the units isn't gold, didn't think about that.
      Thanks for the link, looks a good cable, I'll maybe get one of those and make the modification.

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      4. It's possible to record HDMI provided that it's not HDCP protected:
      Elgato Game Capture HD delivers easy HDMI recording to OS X | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog
      Wow... my mind is blown, I didn't think these existed or ever would exist, I was looking at a similiar Game Capture device which worked on Component and upto 1080i (or was it 720?). Hmm.. with an HDMI splitter, I could output to my TV and simultanously output to this device connected to a computer and record to files on there? Excellent, though I then need a dedicated PC for it, with space, and software, and a DVD/Blu-Ray Burner, and even then I'm always worried the disc when played will look back or audio out of sync, or some other problem like that.
      It's not that I want HD quality copies, just for it to be easy, use the main connection (HDMI), be of acceptable viewing quality, and as quick/easy as possible to do.
      Still, at only 150, it's well worth spending on I think, thanks very much for that.
      PS.... regarding the HDCP... *cough*... *looks around*... ah there are such things as strippers I'm told (no, not the red light district), are such things permitted to be discussed on these forums? (I'm not about to start recording all the movies off Sky and mass producing them for a profit, I'm not mad/stupid, just wish for the old days of simply being able to record what we see on a VCR, of course back then we didn't realise the picture we were watching was horrific quality).

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      (If you had a Thomson Sky+HD Digibox you'd be able to record from its three phono "component" sockets.)
      Must be a rarity, I don't think I've seen any Sky boxes with three phono "component" output, sadly, my Pioneer does not have "component" input, and I've not seen any HDD DVD Recorders on the market that have "component" either, unless it's the output to the TV.

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      Pretty sure the Panasonic DMR-83 is one, though that's the best part of 300 right there, still if I knew it worked and worked well, worth the investment. I'm quite used to my Pioneer menu, and know how to best trim adverts and begining/end of recordings, the limit of 99 items is a pain when I'm trying to organise a series together (currently Sonic X for the kids, believe me I'd MUCH rather buy a boxset, but the swines haven't made one, though the rights were recently bought by Saban, so here's hoping they do it).

      Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
      6. Sky Digiboxes incorporate Macrovision copy protection so you might need a fix for that. Take a look at Sonel dot com.
      Interesting.. would Macrovision just mess up the slight detail of words? I would have thought it would distort or blank out the picture entirely? Cool link, am I right it's the MacroMaster cable I might need? Although, the Vice looks enticing (I love gadgets, cables, adaptors, weird I know).

      MartinP, many, many thanks for your post, given me a lot to think about and try.

     

     

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