We’ve all, I’m sure, experienced those days where it feels like the entire universe is actively conspiring against us. Last week, my home theater system did its best to drive me insane, all over what would turn out to be, essentially, nothing. I need an aspirin.
In order to write up Friday’s Roundtable entry, I wanted to reference a scene from the movie ‘GoldenEye’, which I hadn’t watched in years. I needed a quick memory refresher to make sure I got the details of the scene right. Unfortunately, that particular James Bond film isn’t available on Blu-ray yet, and I don’t happen to have it on DVD either – but I do still own a copy on Laserdisc.
I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I turned on my Laserdisc player. Actually, that’s not true. I can tell you exactly the last time I turned on my Laserdisc player. In June of 2010, I wrote a blog post here about my first Laserdisc purchase in years. At that time, I fired up the LD player for a little while to check the condition of the disc. Since then, the machine has lain dormant once again. In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of other equipment changes in my home theater rack, including the installation of a new video processor that acts as the central hub through which all of my video sources are routed.
Because I remembered approximately where in the movie that the scene I wanted to watch was, I came home from work on Wednesday evening with plans to pop in the disc, queue up the scene, and bang out my Roundtable post quickly so that I could watch some TV afterwards. That was my plan, anyway. My home theater had other plans.
When I hit the “Watch LD” activity macro on my Harmony remote, all of the proper equipment seemed to turn on as it was supposed to. So far, so good. However, when I put in the disc, I got no picture on my screen, just audio. Argh.
Now, I probably could have decided at that point to search online for a video clip of the scene in question, or just to wing my Roundtable post based on memory. But no, I can’t have part of my home theater system not working. I had to fix it right then, no matter what or how long it took. This led me to spend the next couple of hours crouched down behind my equipment rack, checking my cable connections, rewiring things, and playing with the setup menus in my current video processor – all to no avail.
Fearing that my Laserdisc player’s video section had died, I plugged that machine directly into my TV, bypassing the Lumagen Radiance processor. I successfully got a picture that way, which proved to me that it wasn’t the LD player at fault, but rather the Radiance.
When all else failed, I sat down at my computer and spent a while composing the following email to Lumagen support, detailing my problem:
For the first time in I don’t know how long, I attempted to watch an analog video source in my home theater. Specifically, I have a Laserdisc player connected by S-video into Input 5 on the Radiance XS, which is then connected by HDMI to a 1080p TV. When I tried this, I could get audio, but no picture. I double-checked my cable connections and the input settings in the Radiance, and everything was where I thought it should be.
I tried a Composite video connection to input 10 as well and had the same result. Fearing that my LD player was at fault, I connected that machine directly to my TV by Composite (the set doesn’t have S-video). That worked fine. I got a picture that way, but I can’t seem to get the Radiance to process or pass the either S-video or Composite. I also tested my VCR in Input 9 and got the same result.
My output settings for 480 resolution on these inputs are:
Mode 480 -> Mode Auto 1,2
CMS = 0
Style = 1
Vid Out 1 & 2 are both flagged Y
I next checked an X-box connected to the Radiance’s Component video inputs. That worked fine, even at 480i resolution. The output settings are the exact same as those above.
Any idea what I’m doing wrong, or is it possible that there’s a fault in the Radiance’s firmware? I’m currently on firmware 011612.
Before hitting Send on that email, I decided to check the Lumagen web site to see if the Radiance had any new firmware revisions that I hadn’t yet installed. Sure enough, the release notes on the latest say:
“Bugfix for input 5,6,9 & 10 not working for XS firmware revisions 011612-011812.”
Well, that would do it. I loaded the new firmware, and everything immediately started working normally. The processor once again passed the video signal from my Laserdisc player to my TV.
Yes, I wasted hours of my life messing around behind my equipment rack and writing that email, all so that I could watch a 30-second scene in a movie, when all I really needed to do was check the manufacturer’s web site first to find a quick and painless fix.