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I noticed recently that some web images look pixelated and gradients look dithered. PNG images seem to have "JPEG artifacts." I never had this problem before and I don't remember making any big changes on my laptop. These are what I've done so far:

  • Disabled and then uninstalled browser extensions
  • Updated Flash
  • System Restore (up to 2 months back)
  • Reinstalled all browsers
  • Turned off my antivirus/antispyware

To isolate the problem, I asked a friend to visit a website that I was having this problem with on his desktop. Here's my screenshot vs. his (both in the latest version of Chrome):

enter image description here

enter image description here

When I view local images on either Chrome, FF or Safari though, they appear fine. When I save the problem images locally, they retain their distorted quality.

At first, I thought it might be a graphics card issue but graphics in games seem to be fine (I checked WoW, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Bad Company2, MW2). I first noticed this when I posted some screenshots to an SU question last Aug 12.

What could be wrong? What else can I do to fix this?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're using a 3G modem it could be your service provider is reducing the quality of the images to conserve bandwidth, I had this issue with t-mobile in the UK.

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For my laptop, I am using a 3G modem. – Kaze Aug 21 '11 at 8:41
Then I guess that could be your issue, I think it's common practice on the mobile operators. They route all your traffic through a proxy server that reduces the quality of images, if your running windows with the ISP's software there might be a setting to tell them to stop it. – Col Aug 21 '11 at 8:51
I forgot, under IE in windows shift+R will usually load the full quality image although I did have some issues with certain websites. Also it's a good way to get through your bandwidth cap. – Col Aug 21 '11 at 9:32
Unfortunately, they haven't responded to my ticket yet. I tried downloading the background image of the website in the screenie above using a download manager (DAP) and I got the non-distorted version. – Kaze Aug 21 '11 at 23:40
Who is your provider? – Col Aug 22 '11 at 5:44

As a temporary workaround, I "changed" Google's user agent string. I got the idea from this Knol and this other article.

  1. Create a shortcut to the Chrome application.

  2. Right-click > Properties

  3. Change Target to:

    C:\Users\Em-em\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe --user-agent="SomethingElse"

I'll just use this shortcut to launch Chrome (at least until my ISP fixes things).

There's an extension for Firefox called "User Agent Switcher" though I don't think it's been updated to work with the latest FF release.

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