Dell Fixes HDTV Banding Problems

Reports have been showing up from users who say they have problems with their Dell 2007WFP LCD HDTVs. Apparently there are banding problems on smooth gradients when using the Desktop mode. According to a Dell source, the problem is with the Faroudja video processing, but there is no trouble with the Multimedia or Gaming modes. Dell has fixed the problem by simply turning off this video processing when in Desktop mode, and according to some sources, are offering replacements to any owners who want to exchange their set for one with this firmware change.

It sounds as though Dell has dealt with this pretty quickly, but I’m not surprised to hear of such problems and suspect that we’ll hear of more such complaints in the years to come. These HDTVs are complex devices, with computer processing power that far exceeds my first personal computer. These devices have to handle signals with different resolutions, and in both analog and digital formats. The images have to be mapped to specific locations on the display — no matter if it’s LCD, plasma, or rear-projection — in such a way that it minimizes scaling artifacts. Diagonal lines must be smoothed, even if they are moving, and all this requires complex processing.

So I’m not surprised to hear that there are some glitches in the video processing of an LCD HDTV. Fortunately, Dell fixed it quickly — if only by turning off the problematic feature — and users will still get good video processing in the other modes. Let’s hope that all manufacturers are able to be as responsive when it’s their turn in the box.