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PAL and RGB: What's the difference?

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Schumi, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Schumi

    Schumi
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    Our original Sky+ box was installed back in 2001, and had run perfectly well until January of this year. A couple of recordings failed, and didn't give the disk space back. The problem seemed to be sorted when we did a full system reset. But it came back again 2 times, and subsequently an engineer was called. He came on saturday, and simply replaced the box with a brand new one. It's a Pace box, like the old one.

    When the engineer left, I had a look round the services menu to add my favourite channels etc. I noticed when looking at picture settings that the video output was in RGB mode. Our first box had always been in PAL mode. What's the difference between the two?

    I ask because when playing back recordings, the picture tends to jump slightly on quite a number of occations. It does the same when you watch a programme again from the sky+ planner. All my recordings so far have been done with the video output in RGB. I have now put it back to PAL, to see if it makes any difference.

    Any help would be great, thanks.
     
  2. Andy.T

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    Pal really means Composite I think, i.e. the worse possible way of transmitting picture information. RGB is a better way of transmitting a video signal and should look a lot better. PAL/RGB should have no effect on "jumpiness"
     
  3. Starburst

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    PAL is just SKY's name for composite.
    RGB should on most TV when connected via scart to a RGB input on the TV produce a clearer and sharper image, composite (PAL) is carried by scart but isn't as high quality and is used mostly for feeding a VHS nowadays.

    Wouldn't have thought RGB/PAL would make a difference to the image "jumping" but anything is possible.
    Try the RF and s-video output if you can to see if this is system wide, it may mean there is a hardware problem with the digibox and confirm that the TV has no other issues with other source via RGB or Composite scart.
     
  4. Schumi

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    Not being technically minded, I don't understand what you just said. I understand that the box may have a problem, but trying the RF and S-video output?

    All I can tell you is that playing back videos and DVD's (I have a combo) works fine, and viewing sky is also fine. It's just the picture jumping when watching sky+ recordings that is confusing me. Could a lose scart lead cause this type of problem? I've checked the connections from the sky+ box, and they are all in correctly. I haven't as yet checked the other end of the connections, but I will do.
     
  5. Starburst

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    If the picture jumps on ALL the video outputs that SKY+ can use then there is a hardware issue, it may be the hard drive (since live viewing is fine as you have just confirmed). Since now you have also stated that the TV has no issues with other sources then that points to an internal problem with the SKY+.

    A loose scart would effect live viewing as well (assuming you are using the same scart and not using both scarts) so it does sound like a hard drive issue but then you would think there would be a side effect with the audio as well.
    Is the problem evident on Live Pause or just Planner recordings and is it ALL recordings (just wondering if it could be tuner specific).

    Either way, the new box comes with a warranty so don't be afraid to use it:)
     
  6. Nick_UK

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    With PAL (also called composite) the red, green, and blue colour information is encoded down a single wire, and this can give the picture a "herringbone" effect (cross-hatching), especially on vivid colours. With RGB, the red, green and blue information is sent down separate wires, and the herringbone effect is not seen.
     
  7. Schumi

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    I recorded nip/tuck yesterday and the jumping happened quite a lot. It has happened on all recordings so far, and it happens when you play them back again. The jumping doesn't occur in the same places though, and when you wind the recording back to the point just before any jumping, it doesn't do it again, which is strange. It will do it in a place that didn't do it the first time.

    The scart is connected properly at both ends, so I will do a few more recordings later on in PAL mode. If it continues, then I'll ring Sky.
     
  8. richjthorpe

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    Sounds like a Sky box problem. Scarts can degrade a picture quality as they are analogue but what you are describing sounds like a digital glitch which would be before the Scart output.

    Richie.
     
  9. Schumi

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    If it's the box that is causing the problem, I suppose the only solution is to have another one fitted?
     
  10. ancientgeek

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    idea:

    something is producing a nasty magnetic field affecting your sky box's ability to read from the disk. This is causing multiple attempts to read correctly, and sometimes it doesn't manage to read correctly in time, resulting in skipping.

    Likely cause:

    transformer, PSU, loudspeaker coil or motor too close to sky box.

    It would not affect writing, so the recordings would be OK, just the playback faulty. It may result in large numbers of disk blocks being marked as unreadable, degrading the performance of the drive, even after you've removed the cause. So remove it soon.

    But it might not be that.
     
  11. Schumi

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    Interesting. I don't know anything about transformers, PSU'S or any of the other things you listed as possibilities. All I can tell you is that the sky+ box sits on top of my VHS/DVD combo (so both sit on top of the TV). You might think that is unethical, but our original sky+ box was in the same position as the new one, and not once did I have a problem with it until this year. I can't reposition the boxes because I haven't anyway else to put them. If you saw our living room, you would say the same. There isn't anything obstructing the sky box. All the air vents are clear etc, and everything is plugged in where it should be.

    If you could tell me a bit more about transformers, PSU's etc, then I might be able to tell you a bit more.
     
  12. ancientgeek

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    It probably isn't nasty magnetic fields, if you've not changed anything in the vicinity since the previous box.

    You say "replaced with a brand new one". How sure are you that it really was brand new? Box, packaging, instruction leaflets, remote, twisty things round the cables? Service organisations fequently declare swapouts "no fault found" after a cursory check. Repacking more-or-less like new helps stop the punter from complaining. But he soon finds out when the "new" one doesn't work right.

    So it looks like faulty disk drive, or possibly faulty power supply causing disk drive problem. Either way, get it swapped again.

    Personally, I am so negative about repaired digital electronics, that I prefer to sell broken on ebay, and buy again new, rather than getting it fixed. So often things just come back with different faults created by swapping parts with supposedly good ones.

    BTW, the PAL/RGB setting has no effect on recording, only on playback. Recording basically copies the (encrypted) digital stream to disk as received from the satellite.
     
  13. Schumi

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    The "new" box was in a plain, cardboard box, which had the digibox and a instructions guide. There were no cables or a new remote with it, the engineer simply used the existing cables from our old box to plug it in. Is that standard practise, or should it have come with new cables and a remote?
     
  14. Starburst

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    A new SKY+ will come in the retail package, you got a refurb which is standard practice for out of warranty call outs.
    Come to think of it if the subscriber doesn't challange the practice it's SKY belief that they don't have to replace new for old even when the SKY+ develops a fault within weeks!
     
  15. ancientgeek

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    When I was involved with these things a few years ago, only IBM, so far as I know, had a policy of never repairing. Faulty warranty items were indelibly marked, and sold broken to repairers to fix-up and sell as repaired. The IBM customer always got new replacement.

    It's a very good policy, both for the manufacturer and the customer. Some manufacturers (Apple comes to mind) mistakenly want to eliminate third party repairs and keep this "profitable business" for themselves. IMO they have no business rewarding themselves in this way for faulty product.

    In my experience, two thirds of manufacturer repaired product actually works properly. The faults in repaired product are often subtle and intermittent. The manufacturers kid themselves that the stuff is tested and good as new and that customers are mistaken. Sometimes it's true, but not always.

    You'll have signed something to let Sky do swapouts in this way. Just keep on at them until you get one that works properly.
     
  16. Schumi

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    An engineer will be here on Saturday. As soon as sky was told about the problems over the phone, and that the box was only installed 5 days ago, they immediately said you'll need an engineer. Not sure whether to laugh or cry, because last night, the box from hell suddenly decided to make two recordings I made un-watchable. They now show as taking 0% of disk space, but low and behold, it hasn't given the space back. Absolutely identical to what happened with our original box.

    I think the man said on the phone that we might have just been unlucky with this box. No kidding. So on Saturday, box number 3 should be installed. 3rd time lucky?
     
  17. Schumi

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    Do all sky+ boxes usually have the make (Pace, Amstrad etc) written on the front of them? It's just the box I have now doesn't have a make written anywhere. It says it's a Pace box in the system details page, but not anywhere else.
     
  18. Starburst

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    They used to but I don't think they do anymore except perhaps on the sticker with the serial number etc, that complies with SKY's opinion that people buy a SKY+ not a particular model:)

    If it says PACE in the OS then it's a PACE model.
    Externally the PACE v2 has the card slot on the left and the Amstrad has it on the right, the PACE v1 and the Thomson 160 are unmistakable for anything else:)
     

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