Zenith DTT900 black BOX around letterbox - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 05-24-2008, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm in NYC with a CRT TV. I first tried the Digital Stream DTX9900, then Zenith DTT900. Zenith picked up 2 ION channels that DS couldn't display to be watchable, but it has a hugely annoying problem with some channels, eg. CBS and NBC, where it displays black bars not just on top and bottom, but also on both left and right sides of the letterbox screen. Has anyone else experienced this? I know it's a Zenith issue because DS showed the channels fine. I can use Zoom to fix it but that cuts out a little bit of the screen and kind of defeats the purpose.
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post #2 of 20 Old 05-24-2008, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDental View Post

I'm in NYC with a CRT TV. I first tried the Digital Stream DTX9900, then Zenith DTT900. Zenith picked up 2 ION channels that DS couldn't display to be watchable, but it has a hugely annoying problem with some channels, eg. CBS and NBC, where it displays black bars not just on top and bottom, but also on both left and right sides of the letterbox screen. Has anyone else experienced this? I know it's a Zenith issue because DS showed the channels fine. I can use Zoom to fix it but that cuts out a little bit of the screen and kind of defeats the purpose.

You mean the picture called a Postage stamp?
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post #3 of 20 Old 05-24-2008, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDental View Post

I'm in NYC with a CRT TV. I first tried the Digital Stream DTX9900, then Zenith DTT900. Zenith picked up 2 ION channels that DS couldn't display to be watchable, but it has a hugely annoying problem with some channels, eg. CBS and NBC, where it displays black bars not just on top and bottom, but also on both left and right sides of the letterbox screen. Has anyone else experienced this? I know it's a Zenith issue because DS showed the channels fine. I can use Zoom to fix it but that cuts out a little bit of the screen and kind of defeats the purpose.

In this particular instance, the zoom function is simply filling the screen in the same way that a standard analog 4:3 signal would fill the screen. The bit of image that's lost is CRT overscan, nothing more.

Over here, when comparing the zoomed image that you're describing to the analog signal broadcast by the same station, there's no difference in the amount of image that's lost. It all dependent on the amount of overscan that's in your television set.
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post #4 of 20 Old 05-24-2008, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDental View Post

I'm in NYC with a CRT TV. I first tried the Digital Stream DTX9900, then Zenith DTT900. Zenith picked up 2 ION channels that DS couldn't display to be watchable, but it has a hugely annoying problem with some channels, eg. CBS and NBC, where it displays black bars not just on top and bottom, but also on both left and right sides of the letterbox screen. Has anyone else experienced this? I know it's a Zenith issue because DS showed the channels fine. I can use Zoom to fix it but that cuts out a little bit of the screen and kind of defeats the purpose.

I noticed this too with my Zenith. I only see it on 15.1 which is an NBC station. Zooming to the "cropped" setting fills the screen, but a little is cut off. This is evident from the station logo in the bottom right corner. This station also broadcasts Fox on 15.2 and the picture completely fills the screen. None of the other stations experience this issue. I just assumed that it was a problem with the broadcast station. I do not have another CECB to compare to.
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post #5 of 20 Old 05-27-2008, 02:14 PM
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All converter boxes will do that, and no it is not a Zenith issue.

No it isn't.

No no no no no. Don't argue with me.

What you're seeing is a 4x3 original picture being converted to 16x9 by the station (thus the black bars on the sides) and then converted back to 4x3 by your box (hence the black bars top and bottom). Your only solution is that zoom button. Or buy a widescreen TV.

(FWIW, the same thing happens on a widescreen set when a 4x3 station shows a 16x9 program.)

It's possible that the Digital Stream can sense that this is happening and correct it automatically, but EXTREMELY unlikely. You can ask around in the topics devoted to said box.
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post #6 of 20 Old 05-28-2008, 06:41 PM
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All converter boxes will do that, and no it is not a Zenith issue.

No it isn't.

No no no no no. Don't argue with me
.


No need to argue, he is curious why the zenith does it and the digital stream doesn't. He's talking about the picture not using all of the horizontal width in "set by program" or "letterbox" aspect modes, depending on program/station. And that causes more vertical size loss, so you end up with quite a loss in display size. I find it quite annoying on my zenith, and will try a DS if it uses more of the crt for display.

Edit: After looking around, I'd call it the 16x10 display that doesn't use the full width of the crt. 16x9 does.
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post #7 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 09:38 AM
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No no no no no.

I probably should have put a smiley face there. Believe me, I have had this conversation (and ensuing argument) many a time already.

And while it's true that the Zenith does leave a slight border on the sides of the letterbox, on most 4x3 CRT TVs it should not be visible, so I took it that he was talking about pillarboxed video from the stations.

It is true that I ignored that it was only happening on the one box, under the assumption that he might have been viewing different programs. Since he reports it only on NBC, that indicates either he just happened to catch NBC during a 4x3 show, or he's in a market where the only widescreen station is the NBC one (is there such a place?).

Perhaps it was a conclusion I should not have jumped to, and if so, I apologize.
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post #8 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

And while it's true that the Zenith does leave a slight border on the sides of the letterbox, on most 4x3 CRT TVs it should not be visible, so I took it that he was talking about pillarboxed video from the stations.

I took it that he was talking about the postage stamp issue. That is a picture that is significantly smaller than the TV with available space on all 4 sides (i.e. not pillar box).

I've noticed this too and was wondering if it was an Insigna/Zenith issue or one that was station/program related and would happen on all CECBs.

Post #72 of this thread also comments on this issue.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=990489&page=3
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post #9 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 11:54 AM
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What really annoys me is on some HD stations, they show wide screen commercials with black bars all around on my wide screen TV! Now if it's SD stations I am fine, but this is HD stations.

Now advertisers, if you are going to make a wide-screen commercial, shoot it in damned wide screen format, and give the damn thing to the station in wide screen format, don't put it on a 4:3 tape. The station will resize that stupid 4:3 to wide screen, adding black borders to the side.

I am talking about car commercials that clearly the car maker has paid top dollar for, yet somehow it ends up being the wrong format.
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post #10 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 12:39 PM
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I just got a DTT900 yesterday and had the black border problem. It only took a few seconds to fix though. Just set the screen mode to 'cropped'. You can do it via the menu or zoom button. Unfortunately, you need to set it for each channel.
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post #11 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golinux View Post

I just got a DTT900 yesterday and had the black border problem. It only took a few seconds to fix though. Just set the screen mode to 'cropped'. You can do it via the menu or zoom button. Unfortunately, you need to set it for each channel.

It solves the "postage stamp" problem but at the same time introduces another issues that some don't like. Some of the image will be lost when it filles the screen (i.e. some of the image is CROPPED).

It doesn't bother me much but the problem has led to the question:
"Is the Zenith creating this postage stamp for 4:3 images or is it the station/program?"

I thought it was a station/program issue but the OP claimed that Digital Stream DTX9900 "showed the channels fine" indicating that there was a problem with the Zenith.
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post #12 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wish View Post

Post #72 of this thread also comments on this issue.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=990489&page=3

Thanks for that link, Wish. That's the best description and explanation I've heard. You would think if it was zenith/insignia only, there would be a lot said about it.

Sorry if I was rude, narkspud.
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post #13 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 03:11 PM
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OK ... I shall trys to explains agains.

TV stations are either 4x3 or 16x9. Only a very VERY few of them actually switch back and forth.

Obviously you've seen, on your analog stations, what happens when a 4x3 station shows a 16x9 source. Letterbox, right?

Well, the stations that are being transmitted with a 16x9 picture do the same thing with 4x3 material, only now the black bars are on the sides instead of top and bottom. We call that "pillarboxed."

OK ... now let's say your station is doing this. The converter box has no way of knowing this is happening. As far as it's concerned, the black bars on the sides are part of the widescreen picture. So what does it do to widescreen pictures? It letterboxes!

Thus you have bars on the sides, which were put there by the station, and bars top and bottom, which were put there by the converter box. Voila - a fully framed picture, a/k/a postage stamp.

Yes, it is a station/program issue, and yes, the Digital Stream shows the exact same thing. The OP is mistaken.

The solution is to tell the box that it's OK to chop off the sides, which you do by pushing the "zoom" button.

None of the image is getting "cropped". All CRT TVs have a bit of overscan, meaning that about 5% of the picture is SUPPOSED to be off the sides of the screen. That's part of the NTSC standard, and it's been happening ever since you got the TV.

Now, there is a slight possibility that you have some dang fool local station with a CEO who hates black bars in all forms and has demanded that the engineering department reduce them as much as possible and he doesn't care how they do it. Such stations usually end up broadcasting their 4x3 programming stretched a bit to approx. 14x9. There is also a slight possibility that the station has inadvertently set their upscaler to square pixels instead of broadcast standard, which will produce a 3x2 picture (also stretched a bit). In either of these cases, hitting your zoom button WILL shave off a bit on the side edges. This is not the box's fault, though. It's your nincompoop local station. Start making some irate phone calls.

There IS one issue with the Zenith/Insignia boxes, and that is that they DO cover up just a little bitty teeny weeny bit of the edges when they letterbox a 16x9 picture, which is something that most other boxes don't do, including, I assume, the Digital Stream. This is a separate issue, and probably a deliberate attempt by LG to preserve the overscanning that would be happening if you had a real 16x9 TV. Some folks consider this an unpardonable sin. You will have to make that judgement yourself.

As for the commercials ... The thing about commercials is that most of the paperwork and distribution are done by people who don't know the first dang thing about video. So yeah, a lot of them end up messed up. Who cares? They're friggin' commercials.
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post #14 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 03:12 PM
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No worries, Truro.
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post #15 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 03:31 PM
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Thanks narkspud. That's what I figured was happening. Since I only have the Insignia (same as the Zenith) I have no way to test. The OP said the DS worked different so I just took him on word even though it didn't sound right. I suspect it DID appear to work on the DS and not the Insignia if they were different programs but same station.
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post #16 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 05:13 PM
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So I guess the cropped view shows the center of a stretched 4-3

I'll quit bitching and focus on all the good things the converter gives me, since it's the only HD I've paid for. Havn't bought an HDtv yet, and am on OTA only by choice. I have a 4-3 projector and the converter makes tv on it enjoyable, via a dvd unit that outputs s video. The sound quality is a huge improvement over analog and played over the home stereo. A lot of bang for $25.
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post #17 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golinux View Post

I just got a DTT900 yesterday and had the black border problem. It only took a few seconds to fix though. Just set the screen mode to 'cropped'. You can do it via the menu or zoom button. Unfortunately, you need to set it for each channel.

It's very fortunate that the Zenith allows you to set this for each channel independently. You don't want this to be a global setting...
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post #18 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildgoose View Post

It's very fortunate that the Zenith allows you to set this for each channel independently. You don't want this to be a global setting...

Why not? I set every one of them to cropped and all is as it should be.
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post #19 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 07:09 PM
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You don't have, or want, to watch anything in 16x9?
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post #20 of 20 Old 05-30-2008, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truro View Post

You don't have, or want, to watch anything in 16x9?

Nope. I really don't like letterbox format or even wide screen TVs. Too much for my eyes to take in.
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