Display is in black & white

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Display is in black & white

Postby jlschle » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:19 pm

I'm on my second trial box. My first Roku box displayed everything in
black and white for the first day. Tried different cables, resetting the
box, different inputs on the TV. Called Roku. They sent out another
box. The second day with the first box, I powered it up and the displays
and movies were now in color...but I don't trust that box.

Now the 2nd box is here, and, at least it displayed in color until the
software update was complete. Now it's black and white all the
time. Based on the previous boxes' performance, I tried resetting and
unplugging/replugging power. That's not helping so far.

I can use any other source on this TV, and I get a good color picture.

Any ideas out there?

Since shipping took 3 weeks of the 30 day trial, I either have to find
a fix fast, or get a refund.

At this point, I'm not at all convinced that these boxes work reliably
enough to justify the price.
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Postby xargs » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:44 pm

What method are you using to connect to the TV? What kind of TV is it? Have you tried connecting to a different TV?
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Postby S80_UK » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:55 pm

@jlschle - this sounds like you are feeding composite when the TV expects s-video, or feeding s-video when the TV expects composite. Not being in the US, I don't have one of these boxes, but this is quite a common problem when using either of these two methods of connection.
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Postby jlschle » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:02 pm

I am using my own Rt/Left/Composite cable. I have previously
used the one that came with the box.

Not sure what you mean by what kind of TV. Sears??

I cannot connect it to another TV without either getting a long ethernet
cable, or finding a way to get it to work with my wireless router. That
wasn't working either, but I have no way of logging into the router
at the moment to add this MAC address. I'm pretty sure I did limit
by MAC address when I set the router up.

Since the last post, I unplugged the other end of the power cable,
the line end, reconnected, and it came up in B&W, but then went to
color. Until now, I had been cycling power by disconnecting at the
Roku box. Now I'm wondering if the power supply/wall wart somehow
gets into some bad state? But, that seems weird.
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Postby jlschle » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:09 pm

This TV does not have an S-video input.

On other TVs that do have both inputs, I've never seen that problem
using either one.
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Postby midiwall » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:34 am

jlschle wrote:This TV does not have an S-video input.

On other TVs that do have both inputs, I've never seen that problem using either one.

Do you mean that you've tried the Roku box on other TVs with a composite input and haven't seen the problem?

Actually, lemme ask this... Do you have another TV in the house with a composite input? If so, does the Roku box work there?

Do you have anything else in the house with a composite output that you can try with this TV?

Do you have a neighbor/friend with either side of the equation that you can use for a test?


I think the odds of you being 2/2 for getting a box that has a wonky composite output are slim, I'd start looking at other things. The way the video chip is in this box, I don't think the composite signal has the possibility of losing JUST the color burst info.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composite_video
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Postby Mark12547 » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:15 pm

Are you sure you are going from composite output of the Roku box to the composite input of the TV? On the Roku box, the Left Right and Composite connections are on the same row.

If I were going to try to get a B&W display on purpose, I think I would do it by running a composite video from the box to component video on the TV, or visa versa, or using just connecting the base signal of the composite without using the other two components cables.

Another possibility, if the TV is an older one, is that the color intensity or tint knobs have been turned way down
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Postby jlschle » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:34 pm

Mark12547 and midiwall,

Yes, I'm quite familiar with composite video.
Not that it matters, but I've been an electronics hobbyist since the
1970's and we studied the NTSC signal in a class in Electrical
Engineering undergrad.

It's quite possible that both boxes had the same problem, if that's
the way they're made. And, since that did already happen, the
probability of it is 1.

The TV is older. At least 4 other products have been used in the last
year with it, and since it only has a composite input for video, that's
what they all used. They all provide color video, all the time. One
of those sources is still used daily. All of the TV's A/V inputs worked
perfectly fine with any other source I've ever used. And, the
Roku box provides a color display some of the time, but I can't
make it happen.

This TV's composite inputs work fine with the outputs from:
A DVD player
A VCR
A camcorder
A quad processor
Cheapie video cameras
and sometimes with the Roku box.

I have been able to get the signal to another TV, but to test with
it, I needed a 60' cable that I didn't have on hand when I posted
before. I've only tried the composite input on that one once, and
it was OK. I then went to S-video. I'll try to find time to test it
more this week. I would really like it to (and think it should!)
work with either TV.
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Composite vs. Component

Postby aardwolf » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:02 am

Please make sure that you are not mixing composite/component. Composite is the yellow plug, and component is the R/G/B plugs.

If you plug a composite source into a component TV in the right RGB port, you'll end up with grayscale. Match up the colors.

P.S. = The only way I knew this was that my Dad did it when he first got his Wii.
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Postby jlschle » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:34 pm

For what it's worth, I just tried connecting the component video
outputs into the composite input just for fun to see what it
looked like. It's not a viewable picture.

Composite output to component input is really not a possibility, given
that there is no component input.

I've been suspecting that the Roku just doesn't always put out a
video signal that's strong enough (again, not a problem with other
sources), and the TV's "color killer" circuit is suppressing the color.
That's assuming that color killer circuits were still used when this
TV was made, but I'd think they would have to be.
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