Using Pioneer 640 HS HDD DVD Recorder with MeTV Aspect Ratio Problems
I am a big fan of METV and record many shows using my Pioneer 640 HS. My 640 is connected via composite cables to a Cisco box from Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum).
MeTV went widescreen last year, but I didn't know it because our local station, like many others, continued to downconvert the signal to 4:3. I did notice during the past year that the tops of characters' heads were cut off and the left and right sides of some credits were being chopped off, so I presume they were cropping the image as part of the downconversion.
In May our local station stopped downconverting. Now all these shows that originally aired in 4:3 (although a few were originally filmed in 16:9) appear letterboxed on my Pioneer 640 HS.
I still have an old 27" CRT TV, so the squashing due to letterboxing makes it hard to see anything. Although I would ideally like the original aspect ratio, I enjoy TV more when I can see the characters' faces, so I would take cropped over letterboxed if necessary.
The aspect ratio and picture size controls (zoom, normal, etc.) on the Cisco cable box have NO effect on the picture on the composite outputs. Maybe they work over the HDMI output, but the HDMI output would introduce even more image problems like window-boxing if an HDMI to composite converter were used between the cable box and the Pioneer 640 HS. (By contrast, I know someone with a new Dish satellite box connected to an old TV using composite cables, and the Dish picture size controls DO work over composite outputs, but the satellite companies don't carry MeTV except in a few areas where the satellite company airs the local subchannel carrying MeTV in addition to the primary local channels.)
Time Warner Cable got rid of all unencrypted and clear QAM channels here several years ago. So a cable box MUST be used now. I talked to a customer rep with Spectrum about a non-HD box but he said forget it, they don't stock them here anymore. They also discontinued digital adapters here.
I tried a huge outdoor OTA antenna but there are just too many trees, hills, and planes to get a good signal where I live, so I am stuck with the cable box to get MeTV.
Are there any devices that I could place between the cable box and the Pioneer 640 HS that would "un-letterbox" the image?
Also--I purchased The Video Filter from Max but it didn't work. I set all the pins correctly and reset them multiple times to verify. Does that say anything about the inflexibility of the image size coming out of the Cisco cable box over the composite cables?
Last edited by voranis; 06-05-2017 at 05:09 AM.