TV format vs Cable Box aspect ratio - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-04-2012, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Panasonic GT30 Plasma TV and a new HD Samsung cable box from Time Warner.

I experimented with different combinations of TV format (4:3, Justify, Full, H-fill, zoom) and cable box aspect ratio (16:9 and 4:3) on a variety of different channels (both HD and SD).

Through extensive trial-and-error, I've found that my TV displays best with the cable box set to an aspect ratio of 4:3. When the cable box is set to 16:9, the TV shows black bars on all sides (forming a frame) or on the L and R sides for some TV formats like zoom. When the cable box is set to 4:3, the TV displays the formats like it should.

Now my problem is that I cannot seem to keep my Samsung cable box aspect ratio set to 4:3. It regularly reverts to 16:9. It's noticeable when it does because the black bars or frame show up depending on which format the TV is in.

Does anyone know how I can get the box to keep the aspect ratio that I want it to have?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-04-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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Ideally, your cable box should be 16:9 and your TV would be Full. In a perfect world, your cable box would then only spit out widescreen material, and be smart enough to crop letterboxed 4:3 material to just really low resolution widescreen, and let you spit out 4:3 material either stretched or pillboxed depending on your preference.

I'm curious if some of what you are seeing is black bars embedded in the broadcast signal itself? A letterboxed show on a 4:3 SD channel would have the top and bottom black bars in the broadcast itself, with the cable box then adding the left and right bars to fit 4:3 material in to a 16:9 output.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-04-2012, 02:24 PM
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It might help if you can post the model number of the cable box.

Normally you tell the cable box what kind of TV is connected: 4:3 or 16:9. In your case, 16:9.

Then you tell it how you want the image presented, stretched or not. Maybe the Samsung STB is not too clever. I have DirecTV and their STB understands that by setting the image to 4:3 "pillarbox" it knows to present 4:3 programs with the OAR (original aspect ratio), yet it automatically knows that when real 16:9 content comes along it is also presented correctly. Fool proof and totally hands off (set it, forget it). Seems to me that's how all STBs should work, and I had assumed that was the case.

I do have a Samsung OTA tuner in another room and it cannot be trained to present everything properly, so I have to mess with the aspect ratio button regularly depending on the SD vs HD channel. So stupid. If this is how TWC designs their cable boxes, shame on them.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-04-2012, 02:56 PM
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I wander if then handshaking with hdmi is what is changing the cable box back to 16:9.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-05-2012, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyCantItBeEasy View Post

I experimented with different combinations of TV format (4:3, Justify, Full, H-fill, zoom) and cable box aspect ratio (16:9 and 4:3) on a variety of different channels (both HD and SD).

Through extensive trial-and-error, I've found that my TV displays best with the cable box set to an aspect ratio of 4:3. When the cable box is set to 16:9, the TV shows black bars on all sides (forming a frame) or on the L and R sides for some TV formats like zoom. When the cable box is set to 4:3, the TV displays the formats like it should.

Something is wrong.

On every Plasma and LCD TV i've set up, i always set the TV to FULL and the cable box or Tivo or satellite receiver's TV type to 16:9 and the image is always in the correct aspect ratio. That is the correct way to set it all up. If a 4:3 commercial or TV show comes on while watching a High Def channel then yes you'll see black sidebars on the left and right but those are added to the 4:3 image by the broadcaster.

I also always set the box to output everything at 1080i fixed and i disable all the other formats.

Your cable box's remote may have an Aspect button which will cycle through the box's various aspect ratios - on my TWC 8300HD it's the # button.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-05-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post

Something is wrong.

On every Plasma and LCD TV i've set up, i always set the TV to FULL and the cable box or Tivo or satellite receiver's TV type to 16:9 and the image is always in the correct aspect ratio. That is the correct way to set it all up.

Yes.

Quote:


If a 4:3 commercial or TV show comes on while watching a High Def channel then yes you'll see black sidebars on the left and right but those are added to the 4:3 image by the broadcaster.

That's not the OP's problem. In this case the black "pillarbox" bars are being transmitted as part of the 16:9 signal so the TV and the STB know nothing about it.

His issue is the STB taking 4:3 SD broadcasts and stretching them full. It is a problem Samsung cannot seem to grasp as I can attest.

I should have mentioned to the OP that if the SD broadcast is a letterboxed 16:9 image, then the appropriate image on his screen will have the "frame" he described, black bars all around. I hope he is not interpreting that as a problem case.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-05-2012, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's the box information: Samsung SMT-H3270

It made sense to me that the box should be set to 16:9 but it doesn't seem to work as well as 4:3. When the box is set 16:9, the TV formats don't seem right. I would play with the settings to post some specific examples except my kids are presently engrossed in a movie. I'll have to post some later.

I will say that when cable box is set to 4:3, the TV can generally be left on the "full" format. Some channels may show black bars top and bottom and which are probably part of the broadcast. Is it possible that the Samsung box simply "passes" video to the TV when set to 4:3?

Should I check the firmware? Can I hook the box directly to my network and "force" a firmware update?
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