Brian Kendig (foxmagic) wrote in hometheater,
Brian Kendig

I could use help figuring out a weird problem with my home theater setup that's been bothering me for a long time.

Any hardcore A/V geeks out there wanna try their hand at this?

First, go watch this. (Give it a minute or two to load.) I couldn't figure out how to describe the problem well, so I pointed my camcorder at my screen and recorded it happening. That video contains two short clips from the beginning of Star Wars - note the weird downwards frame offset and bands at the top of the frame whenever there's a bright flash onscreen - followed by some footage of my Mac displaying alternating black/white frames full-screen and watching the projector freak out.

The projector is a Seleco SIM2 HT200DM that was installed three and a half years ago. The problem's been happening ever since day one. There are two inputs to the projector, both long cables running through the wall (custom-made by the installer) to connect to the A/V equipment on the other side of the room: an S-Video connection to my receiver through which my TiVo and VCR are connected, and component connections to my PlayStation 2 which I use as my DVD player. No matter which input I use, I get this unstableness whenever there's a sudden very bright frame in the video.

I tried connecting my Mac directly to the projector via a short (6-foot) S-Video cable, and that did away with the unstableness; the same test video was rock-solid, which would seem to indicate there's something wrong with the cable in the wall. But what could be wrong? Is there a limit to how long an S-Video cable can be? Would a signal amplifier help? If I run a new cable, will I have the same problem?

Then I tried connecting my PS2 directly to the projector via the Sony component video cable, and I played the Star Wars DVD. The picture was still unstable whenever there was a bright flash! Why would this be happening? Maybe a dedicated DVD player wouldn't exhibit the problem, or maybe it still would?

I sent this projector in for repairs earlier this year (when the power supply died) and I mentioned this specific problem. The company told me there's nothing wrong with the unit that could cause this problem.

I guess what I need to know most is, what are those white bands at the top of the unstable image, which appear only for a frame or two? Is that part of the NTSC header? What could confuse a projector into showing part of the NTSC header? I'm at a loss to figure out what exactly is wrong and how to avoid it.
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Thanks very much for your reply. That was what I needed to set me on the path to figuring out this problem.

Turns out there's not one bad component in my setup, but TWO: the receiver through which all of my S-Video runs, and my PlayStation 2 which I connect over component video. Both of these sources make the projector flicker. But when I connect a source (either my TiVo or my Mac) directly to the S-Video cable coming out of the wall, I get a stable picture - which means the wires in my wall are good.

So now I need to get a dedicated DVD player (with progressive, woot!), and a new receiver (my Denon AVR-2700 is almost seven years old!), and that should set me all straight.

Thank you again!