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81 posts

Master Geek

# 37835 19-Jul-2009 21:24
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Hi guys

Well it's almost a year i've been building my HTPC. Currently running Vista SP2 and Mediaportal.
Asus P5Q-EM motherboard, Hauppage 2200, ATI HD4650 video card to Samsung Series 5 1080p LCD TV via HDMI plugs at both ends.

What a year of pain it's been. Probably only two or three times all year it's been bliss, i.e. everything's working OK. Then sooner or later something mysteriously stops working. Lately the issue is I can't watch Prime while any other channel is recording "Unable to start timeshifting unknown error". Well I'll leave that battle for another day.

Today's battle is with the washed out colours that have been present since Day 1. It's OK to look at and you get used to it but as soon as I either switch over to analog on the TV or watch digital through my FreeviewHD set top box the difference in brightness in colours is very noticeable.

I started reading into this last night and to be honest I've gotten confused. I understand the problem is caused by 16-235 black-white levels or whatever but I am unclear what the best way to fix this is.

Any advice?


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Uber Geek
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  # 237005 19-Jul-2009 23:01
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Have you tried playing around with the colour settings etc in the video card drivers/software?
I found with my MediaPortal the contrast and brightness had to be adjusted as you couldn't see anything in dark scenes.

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Master Geek

  # 237013 19-Jul-2009 23:23
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Yeah I have played with those a bit but I'm a bit reluctant to since I use this PC for other things (email, web etc) and the colours are fine for everything else.

The issue is that there is something is wrong with the way PCs output their HDMI signal (0-255), vs. DVD players, set top boxes etc (16-235).


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Master Geek

  # 237023 19-Jul-2009 23:53
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I've found a solution quicker than I expected to.

I've been running at 1920x1080 @ 60Hz.

I noticed that when I change it to @ 50Hz (in Catalyst control centre) the colours look extremely saturated (in Windows). But when I open Mediaportal and watch TV the colours look very close to my Freeview HD box. I reduced the gamma to 0.75 and the output is pretty much identical to my set top box. Sweet!

So then in Catalyst I setup a Profile called "TV" with the above settings, assigned a shortcut key to it. Then I setup another Profile called "Computer" so that when I want to use Windows normally I can quickly switch to it.

So far so good. Now I've just got to get Prime working again... perhaps a reboot, that normally fixes it.


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Master Geek
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  # 237078 20-Jul-2009 09:24
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Hi Mattyboy2

Glad you found a solution, I found the colour space setting for HDMI was set to RGB in the nvidia control panel, changing it to (it was called somthing like YCbCr) improved the vibrence greatly for me. Not sure if theres an option for it in the ATI drivers but its worth a look :)

How often to you reboot? I do it daily to keep things fresh (automatically using MCE standby tool)

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  # 237128 20-Jul-2009 11:20
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How often to you reboot? I do it daily to keep things fresh (automatically using MCE standby tool)

Why reboot so often? I'd typically reboot my PVR once every few weeks, typically because I'm installing things or removing things that require a reboot. Running Vista it enters S3 sleep when not in use and comes out to watch TV or record shows.

I've been out of NZ now for 5 weeks now and connecting to the PC before to schedule some recordings it's still running like clockwork..

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Uber Geek
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  # 237150 20-Jul-2009 12:44
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Yeah, me too, HTPC will easily go 4-6 weeks without a reboot.

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Master Geek
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  # 237260 20-Jul-2009 20:03
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i've found its been more reliable since I started doing it, I run mdapifilter which has been known to have memory leaks in the past, As software has become more reliable lately though its probably not as necessary but its automated so I don't really notice its going on :)

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 237878 22-Jul-2009 14:22
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This is a tough one. BT601 to 709 colour space conversion is a mind boggling problem to get right. For example the solution will differ if you are running native hdmi on the card, a generic dvi to hdmi adaptor, or an ATI brand dvi to hdmi dongle.
If you were running vista media center with native HDMI or ATI HDMI dongle, with ATI drivers 9.3 or higher you can set the ehpresenter nominal range registry hack to not expand, set the ATI drivers to RGB limited, and disable application colour control in the avivo advanced settings.

I don't use media portal so I can't really help with specifics, but you might get some luck with a generic DVI to HDMI adaptor cable, version 9.2 of the ATI drivers with the ATI UseBT601CSC registry hack.

It's a royal PITA to crack with all the cable combinations, video driver versions, video driver settings, codecs, and have SD content, HD content, digital photos and possibly windows desktop looking correct at the same time.

It's not possible to nail the whole lot using Nvidia so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

It's worth the suffering, on my system for a long time everything was a bit foggy, and any action in the shadows was hidden in a pool of solid black.

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  # 238251 23-Jul-2009 14:03
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there are lots of test videos to see if you have 16-235 vs 0-255
also some tvs may suppotr 0-255 signal
there are registry settings to force consistent 16-235 for ATI "google ati registry hack"

HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter

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