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Change it: Your Comcast/Motorola HD Cable Box may be outputting 720p, not 1080i

Just found out that when Comcast installed my Motorola HD Cable box, they set it to output a 720p signal via the HDMI out to my 1080p-capable HDTV — technically this is HD, but at the lower end. Picture seemed blurry compared to other HD sources (BluRay, Netflix, etc).

In some cases your box may be outputting 480p, 480i or 480 Stretch (perhaps others), and the tech-help scripts do not point them to setting the device in the following way.

Fix: I found a solution online. (You must have an HD box and HD service, and your TV must be capable of displaying 1080i or 1080p).

  1. With TV on, turn the cable box power off
  2. Push the Menu button on Remote or Box
  3. Wait several moments for a User Settings menu to appear on screen. (It comes up, even with power off)
  4. Using cursor keys, navigate to the HDMI setting. It probably says 720p next to it. (if it says 1080i, that’s the max. Not many, if any, stations are broadcasting at 1080p)
  5. If it’s 720 or lower, press the OK/Select button. Screen will blank out and reappear with new setting. Every time you press the button, it jumps to a new setting. Do it until you get the highest your box offers.
  6. Once you have 1080i or 1080p showing, turn the power back on with the power button. You should now have a better picture.

For detailed information on the difference between 720p and 1080i click here.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. Just set up my first LED HDTV set and want to change the box. Other sites provide instructions for older boxes. You hit the bullseye for me.

    Gar

  2. Precise solution. Saved me time and aggravation. I can’t understand why xfinity would distribute with the dumbed down 720 setting. Better that visitors are impressed with a vivid HD picture from a provider.

  3. I think that they conclude that most people will not notice and so the demand for equipment to send 1080i HD to x-many homes is greatly reduced.

    I agree it’s sneaky. They SAY they broadcast 1080 ā€” and they do. They SAY you will get HDTV, and you do. They just don’t say you’ll actually get 1080i when you receive it.

    Did the steps work for you, and do you notice a difference?

  4. Just spent an hour on the phone with Comcast without solution. All the non-HD channels on my HD TV were being stretched left and right. I was receiving the signal through the HDMI connector. The previous night the Comcast box mysteriously went on and off several times but the technician said that wasn’t the problem. knew it wasn’t my TV and suspected the box. I was about to take the box back and trade it for another when I noticed that no matter what channel I had on the box said I was getting 1080i.

    I went on the web and found this site. When I followed your instructions I found a setting that said my box was set to “480 Stretch.” I turned it off and the set now works like before the mysterious, non-affecting update they did to my box.

    Thanks a lot for the solution!

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