Composite video quality substandard?

I’m using the composite out to my trusty 27" Trinitron (no HDTV yet).

Playing uncompressed DVD ISOs and am seeing noticeable horizontal lines, especially in bright scenes.  The source DVD looks fine when played via regular (Panasonic) DVD player.

Is there something wrong with my WD TV SMP or is its composite output quality just substandard?

Can anyone confirm?

Composite video Quality is generally poor compared to any other Video output mode that this player supports, Having said, you can experiment with (480i/576i) modes of operation, One of them especially 576i is supposed to be better of the two if your TV supports it.

In my tests, I found that the video quality of WDTV Live SMP much better than any other devices released before (At least the HDMI output) Sorry, I cannot comment further on composite output  other than it is generally very poor anyways.

If you do not plan on upgrading your trusty old CRT, Your other alternative would be to use “Component output” options  if your TV supports it and get the “WDTV Live HUB”  product or the older version of  “WDTV Live” which supports Component output. - which will have better picture quality than your Panasonic DVD player.

Hope this helped.

Composite video Quality is generally poor

Compared to HDMI to an HDTV, sure.  But it’s fine for  standard def material on a standard def display. 

The point was: The WD composite output isn’t as good as my 10 year old Panasonic’s composite output, which should be a fair comparison.   It leaves me wondering if something’s wrong with the WD.

Is anyone besides me using the composite out?  How does it look?  Horizontal lines?  (very slightly diagonal)


I don’t think your particular device is malfunctioning. I already read people complaining about this elsewhere. Here is an example:

Thanks for the pointer.  Although that guy was pretty harsh in his review, he does state that when actually playing a video via the composite output it looks fine.  Mine doesn’t.  There are horizontal lines that appear to be interference.  I’m still thinking it could be a bum unit.

Has anyone here besides me actually hooked this box up to a SD CRT TV via the composite output and streamed a DVD ISO to it?   How’d it look?  It should look as good as a DVD player hooked up the same way, right?

Or, is there a different brand/model of set top box that is better suited for this application?  I tried a WD Hub for a few days that had good composite output, but it was too noisy.  I figured that the SMP would be an ideal solution (silent and included wireless), but not if its composite output is faulty.

Well, if you’re not being picky at all and it’s something blatantly noticeable, you should indeed consider getting a replacement.

So, nobody else has ever hooked this thing up via composite?  Or you have, but didn’t see any problems?

In another thread, somebody said: “The sigma chip which is used is a very good one, but it has some difficulties with showing SD-content because the Sigma chip does not postproces this SD-content.”

Can anyone elaborate on that?

Both analogue and digital TV equipment are designed using dedicated video chips designed compliant to the international professional analogue and digital TV standards. The system can operate from the recoding stage to the viewing stage without any computer processing.  

General purpose computers do not contain hardware video chips. They use software to program the CPU and GPU to mimic the various digital TV standards. If a person looks carefully at the screen they can observe the programming artefacts.  

According to the publicly available from Sigma, the Sigma chip contains hardware video chips designed compliant to the standards; there is no software or hardware post processing involved.

You are dealing with technologies designed 30 years apart. You don’t state whether you are using NTSC or PAL. NTSC has inherent design issues that PAL resolved.

All TV technologies are manufactured with component tolerances usually 10%. The Sony Trinitron picture tube is the best of all the analogue displays. If there is an issue with the Sony TV, the chances are it is a calibration issue.

The only way you can confirm the issue is using a virgin rip DVD and viewing the VOB file for artefacts. If you are still experiencing artefact issues there is nothing in the Sony TV that is user serviceable. I own two, have the service manuals for both and I am proficient in electronic servicing. I would say based on my experience that the Sony TV components have drifted past the 10% component tolerances.

If your DVD player has the same 10% component tolerance drift it is possible that the two are compatible with each other.

Thanks for all that, but since you have a couple Trinitrons and most likely a WDTVSMP since you’re posting in this forum, could I bother you to hook the two up and see what you can see?  Does it look like there’s accentuated horizontal scan lines in the picture?  (worse in bright scenes)

I’m aware that the good ol’ (NTSC) Trinitron is outdated tech, but has always looked fine playing SD material.  In fact, it might even look better than an HDTV when playing SD material like VHS.  (I’ve still got plenty of rare stuff on tape.)  All I’m trying to do is stream uncompressed DVD ISOs to it for convenience.  If the WD box is unable to hold up its end of the deal, then back it goes and I’ll just keep dealing with the discs. 

Composite video looks great here…no issues on two old TVs

Same here.

I cannot help you with the Sony TV. I live in Australia; using PAL B. NTSC operates differently to PAL. You will need to talk to someone who uses NTSC.

I have more complex analogue TV issues. I live near a 50KW analogue radio transmitter that causes diagonal line interference and artefacts on both PAL TVs. I gave up watching analogue TV because of the issue.

I have the WDTV Live. According to the available information on the Sigma chips they should be very similar. If your box is under warranty, I would return the box to the place of purchase and exchange it for another box.

Using an old Triniton TV set, connected this WD TV and played few SD movies, they are normal, just to test if the issue was with DVD rips, I ripped 3 old DVD’s to ISO, no compression.

1- Lord Of the ring, the two towers.

2- Matrix (the original theatrical release)

3- Akira.

Play then all, for 30 minutes each, they play without any line or graphic glitch.

You bring up an interesting point about the radio tower interference.  I live close to a trio of Radio/DTV towers that may be part of the problem.  I have never seen any interference when using my other video sources but I do when using the WD SMP with its cheapo composite cable, which can’t be swapped out for a better cable due to its proprietary pin connector on one end.  Maybe it’s a matter of a lack of shielding?