Poor color quality in WD TV Live

I have just brought WDTV Live, and I hooked it up with my 42in Full HD Phillips LCD TV. I can see there are two problems with the picture quality

  1. The color depth is VERY shallow. It seems that its using 16 bit colors or some thing like that.

  2. The gamma correction (or what ever it may be) is wrong. I say this because the lighter colors are blown out and the darker ones appear too dark.

I have tried every possible setting with HDTV. I am running this in FullHD 50 Hz mode. 

This might not be the problem with HD setting or the cable or the TV, as when I connect to the TV using composite cable, the above two issues are still there.

Please help.

It sounds like you set RGB low color space. Try with YCbCr or RGB high.

Thanks for the reply, but as I said - I’ve already tried all possible settings.

I also noticed that the WD TV Live outputs a lower-contrast, lower-saturation image as compared to what my laptop puts out over DVI-HDMI – regardless of the color settings in the WD TV.  So far, I can get the WD’s TV image to look fairly close to what I get from the computer by tweaking the TV contrast (up), brightness (down), and saturation (up) a bit, so I suspect it’s not that the information is missing from the WD TV signal, but that it  just puts out a poorly optimized color/gamma setting.  I’m no expert though, and it’s bothersome to be nagged by the feeling that I’ve traded worse color and contrast for a (very arguably) easier movie-playing device.

Has anyone else here done comparisons?  Does anyone know if corrections made on the TV end can really make up for a lower-contrast image coming in over HDMI?

I’m inclined to think you have a monitor problem, or maybe an HDCP incompatibility.

I have two WDTV Lives.   One’s on a 32-inch LCD via Component, the other’s on a Panasonic Viera 50" Plasma via HDMI thru a Pioneer Theater tuner.

Neither one has any issues remotely close to what you describe.

On my 50", I compared my Blu-ray version of UP (played via the Blu-Ray player) to my MKV Rip of the DVD-Version played via WDTV.   Aside from the resolution difference of the DVD vs. BR, there’s no difference in video quality.  I also played the DVD in the BR Player.   I couldn’t tell which was which unless I looked at the tuner to see which input was selected…

On my 32", I compared an episode of Star Trek shown via NetFlix streamed to my HDMI-attached TiVo, to an MKV Ripped of the same episode via the WDTV on component.   Absolutely no noticeable difference in qualtiy.

Yes, I agree with Tony.  As I wrote elsewhere, I’ve done A/B tests with the Live playing a Handbraked blu-ray against the actual blu-ray playing and I actually can’t tell the difference (at RF 22 – at RF20 there is a *slight* resolution difference).

Also, make sure you are using HDMI 1.3 compliant cables – even if you are connecting with the same cable for your laptop.  1.3 really does make a difference with the Live.

Well, I have the same issue.

Colors aren’t vivid, the pictures are lacking dynamics. I tried tweaking the settings on my display, but the results are at best close to what my Laptop puts on the panel with default settings.

edit: As I now read some more threads, video quality seems to be a general problem. Is there a way to customise some color settings, given a chipset that should support a feature like that?

Let me repeat and I’ll be specific – my two Live units have ZERO issues with video.  It’s reference quality, *exactly* the same as two different blu-ray units hooked up to two different HDTVs.  If folks are having issues it’s either the cable, or their TVs, or they have a defective unit (I suppose it *might* also be the file they are trying to play, but I’m trying to imagine how this could be and my mind is drawing a blank.  I use only the MKV container of DVDs and blu-rays encoded with Handbrake using H.264).

The Live only has the color space setting (which I have left at the default).

Perhaps you shouldn’t reference a (perhaps low-end) Blu-Ray Player… I’m playing exactly the same file via exactly the same cable on exactly the same screen… It’s a huge difference! I’m not saying that it’s a really BAD picture and that it couldn’t be handled through (intense) tweaking on the monitor – it’s just not as good as what my Laptop produces. Period.

As I read elsewhere the chipset used is capable of much more than the GUI offers… so perhaps just three basic sliders for video options may close this case.

You are not telling with which filetypes and media details its happening if not with all.

There have been already reported issues within HD media and somebody from WD said it would be fixed “soon” but havent read about it on any of the last firmwares released…

you can get the full history here


and probably giving some kudos would help to increase WD interest in solving it cause obviusly its a Major issue for a HD player that It can’t  send the real media colors to TV.

Oh, thanks for that great answer.

Well, I actually only checked .mkv (1080p, 720p, AC3 or DTS).

Hm, the color issues I’m experiencing might well be based on the things you posted… But as it seems, a fix hasn’t been implemetned in the newest firmware update… :cry:

romanj wrote:

Perhaps you shouldn’t reference a (perhaps low-end) Blu-Ray Player…


You’re joking, right?  Look at the review of blu-ray players and you’ll see there is almost zero difference between players when it comes to image quality (the differences are how they handle audio, features, etc.)

In any case, I am using a $1K blu-ray player so it’s a straw man argument anyway.  Playing a file type on your computer is NOT a good test – your computer could be doing all kinds of processing on that image (that’s what computers do).    Have you actually calibrated your computer monitor?  (I do, because I do video work for a living).  My monitor matches exactly the output of the Live, and vice versa.

In any case, I’ll stay out of this since it’s clear that all you are interested in is some ability to adjust the video output of the Live (which I can promise you is not going to happen – bet you a dollar).

Relax a bit. As a matter of fact I also earn my money with AV stuff and my Eizos are quite well calibrated. So, keep the 1k Bluray whereever you want, my old Macbook at home with it’s poor onboard chip delivers better video quality as the WD live on the same setup. If you don’t experience an issue, yes, perhaps stay out of it.

I would say the quality is far better than on my computer and better than my xbox360.

You have to make sure that you have enabled both

  • 12 bit color processing (HDMI deep color mode = 12bit)

  • RGB High color space. 

Really, you want to enable the features that your HDMI display SUPPORTS.   Doing so on displays that do NOT support that will yield HORRIBLE results.  :)

Well, after playing all sorts of videos on the player for the last two weeks here is what i conclude:

WDTV Live does (almost?)no post-processing on the video content.

So, a poor quality video WILL LOOK BAD on WDTV. On the other hand, when I play the same poor quality video from my laptop plugged via VGA to my TV, I get far better results.

Also, good quality rips do look much better and crisp. They look the same whether I play them via laptop or WDTV live.

So, blame it on the absence of post-processing by WDTV. 

Who agrees with me now?

One more thing I’ve noticed: while browsing through photos, the thumbnail images have very poor gamma, as I said before, the lighter tones are burnt out. But when the same image is viewed full screen, every color is perfect!

I suppose this has something to do with how they are rendering their UI screens (wrong color space maybe?). And thats why the UI background image is so noisy. :smiley:

I agree with you totally on the lack of processing, but disagree strongly on the thumbnails.  My thumbnails look terrific on my both my 9’ projection and 55" LED HDTVs.  And I don’t see any “noise” at all on the UI screens (which makes me think perhaps your unit is bad – maybe you should try and get a replacement).

I don’t want my sources to do any processing – that’s what adjustments in your output devices are for.  And I have a wide variety of videos I send through the Live and they all look superb (again, possibly because yours is faulty).

I agree with you. The movie output from my PS3 is far superior to the WD media player. I also think the contrast is poor and the picture too dark for most movies. No matter what I do on my Sony Bravia 32" LCD it doesn’t improve much. I am running the latest firmware btw.

You might try changing the output (assuming you are playing through HDMI).

Go to the HDMI settings and choose the output (don’t select “Auto”).  It will then ask you to choose the color space.  Here you can select one of three settings and one of them may conform more to your device (don’t choose “Auto”).