Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Southern Ontario
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I thought I'd ask people how they are hooking up and displaying their non-HD and native 4:3 devices on their TV's? Specifically letterbox/widescreen 4:3 content.
Here's the equipment I have and what I'm doing/trying to do:
Pioneer digital receiver (only composite and S-video switching)
Pioneer LD player (composite and S-video out)
JVC S-VHS player (comp & S out)
On my old setup several years ago I had both LD and S-VHS switched through the receiver via S-video. Since the GT50 doesn't have an S-video I could easily switch both legacy players via composite and run direct, however I wanted to clean up these analog images before connecting to TV anyway.
I went out and purchased a Sabrent composite & S-video to HDMI converter which claims to upscale to 720 and 1080p. I hooked this all up via S-video switching through my receiver to the Sabrent, then HDMI out to TV> I have to say my LD's have never looked better.
HERE'S THE PROBLEM: the analog image coming out of the LD player is native 4:3. That's the image being sent to the GT50. But b/c its being scaled through the Sabrent box my TV is recognizing the 1080p input resolution and thus thinking its a native 16:9 aspect ratio. So for example when watching a 1.78:1 aspect LD the TV in "FULL" view mode still shows the black bars top & bottom just like a 4:3 TV would. Using the "ZOOM" view mode not only gets rid of the bars but it crops off a ton of image on either side, practically displaying a zoomed in 4:3 image.
If I run my LD/S-VHS signals directly to the GT50 via composite the image displayed in "FULL" view mode is exactly the same as the above example; its a stretched letterbox image with black bars. But, because the TV recognizes the signal as analog 480i, when I use the "ZOOM" view mode this eliminates the black bars top and bottom perfectly and does NOT crop the image on either side (L & R). Its like the TV knows there's a 16:9 picture within that native 4:3 signal and thus it zooms in perfectly to display the 16:9 image correctly - its a top and bottom crop only; the sides are left alone. But when using the "ZOOM" mode above (with scaled image) the TV is just zooming into the middle of what it thinks is a native 16:9 image, cropping top, bottom, left, and right.
I was actually quite impressed how good the LD picture quality was running it directly to the TV via composite cable. The various noise reducing and 3D filter tools the GT50 has makes the image look WAY better compared to my SONY XB4. But the picture quality when scaled through the Sabrent box is that much better - the image is sharper/clearer and the blacks are much deeper. I compared images by toggling from HDMI to Video input with the TV set to THX cinema and "FULL" view mode for both inputs so that it was literally the same picture and aspect setting I was comparing.
***So the million dollar question is HOW do I utilize this Sabrent scaler box and get the TV to ZOOM correctly? What do you guys do? (please don't say replace or toss any equipment etc as that's not in the cards).
The only solution I'm thinking off is buying an HDMI to composite or S-vid cable, or possibly the other Sabrent box which is HDMI in and comp/S-vid out and run the signal to the GT50 via a composite cable. Would the LD picture quality still not benefit having been scaled through the first Sabrent box and then converted back to analog?