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-   -   16:9 - 4:3 - Arghhhh! (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-screens/19002-16-9-4-3-arghhhh.html)

Leer 05-12-2000 06:22 AM

Hi everyone, I need the best of both worlds. I watch 50% DirecTV and 50% Widescreen DVD. Oh, what do I do with the purchase of a screen?? I'm going to be getting an electric drape system to hide the screen I install. Is it possible to just get the largest 16:9 screen that I can find so it can also fit 4:3 without distorting the picture? I have a NEC 6PG with the CI 5.1 that I just recieved. Any recommendations on how I can get both formats without masking (Doesnt bother me seeing borders/bars - very dark room) would be appreciated.



kjohn 05-12-2000 10:43 AM


I also have a NEC 6pg and just changed my screen to 16:9 from 4:3 92" dia for 16:9 and 84" dia for 4:3. I think now the only way to go would be 16:9 if you don't mind the bars on either side of the picture the impact that a 16:9 screen gives on anamorphic material is great and I now get that cinematic feeling.

Just my Humble Opinion !

[This message has been edited by kjohn (edited May 12, 2000).]

jmiyake 05-12-2000 10:49 AM

I am not the most qualified to be answering this question but...

One logical way to approach the decision is to look at what your highest quality sources will be. DVD, probably letterboxed or anamorphic widescreen, and later HDTV. These sources are the ones you will want to be viewing at the largest size since they are the best quality signals. They look best in 16x9. Also 16x9 HDTV is the future direction of video, so you will be ready for that.

Your DirectTV 4x3 signals are much lesser quality and you will probably want to view them without distortion centered in the middle of the 16x9 screen with blank areas to the left and right. The other option is to crop the top and bottom of the 4x3 source and view just the 16x9 portion of the picture. I have found that Direct TV signals blown up to this extent can be just unwatchably blurry, and filled with distracting decompression artifacts. Since you have a CI you will have great flexiblity with how the signal is displayed. As a minor nit, a wide aspect screen has a very movie theater appearance to it that is most impressive.

I would advocate getting a 16x9 aspect ratio screen.

Guy Kuo 05-12-2000 06:36 PM

I too wanted the best of both worlds and the solution was a 4:3 screen which is the same width as the 16:9 screen which I would otherwise have chosen. The screen is vertically masked so it can visually become the exact same as a 16:9 screen, but also leaves the flexibility to use either constant width or constant height for 4:3 material. It works great and I'm immune to burn-in of the middle of widescreen material. The ability to mask the screen vertically means there is NO difference between my 4:3 and a fixed ratio 16:9 when I view widescreen material. If I ever decided that I only wante 16:9, I can just leave it masked down to 16:9. Why decide when you can have both?

Guy Kuo
Ovation Software, the Home of AVIA DVD

Don Landis 05-12-2000 09:27 PM


Seems you and I preach the same school on this screen size issue. What I especially like about my variable system is that I can have a screen size optimized for 2.35, 1.85, 1.78, 4:3 in two diagonals, or virtually any size letterboxed movie I watch.
Before I got into DVD I never gave it a thought but after realizing how many different screen sizes, OAR's there were it became obvious that a good masking system was needed. Mine is not totally electric; only the screen is electric. The masks are all in place and decoratively enhancing the look of the room as a theater stage with real curtains. I once thought of making the masks electric but reconsidered after testing a drapery motor control. It was just too slow. I can get up and manually move all 4 masks individually to the picture edge in seconds. Therefore I kept it manual. Besides, to remote control all the masks was over $1000 so I gave up the idea from that stand point too.

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 5/11/00

LeeAntin 05-13-2000 01:31 PM

There are two basic benefits to having a 16x9 screen:

1. Watch HDTV in native AR
2. Watch Enhanced DVD's in native AR (1.85) and smaller bars for 2.35.

When you go to a 4x3 screen, you give up these benefits.

The only real doenside to a 16x9 is watching 4x3 material and having to destort the image somehow; either by scan off, or stretch or window box bars.

As has been suggested, look at the total amount of viewing that you do and what you watch. Then decide what the tradeoff will be.

Personally, I have gone with the 16x9. I get so used to the "stretched" image that after a while, i no linger notice it. The only time I really see a diffeence is when I go to someones house and they have a 4x3 and I see the picture in "normal" mode.


Jim Ferguson 05-13-2000 03:34 PM

I have a 16:9 screen, and watch 4:3 material window-boxed in the center of it.

Most 4:3 material I watch is NTSC material such as TV and VHS. Occasionally I watch an older 4:3 movie on DVD, or a DVD documentary in 4:3.

There are very, very few 4:3 presentations I would actually want to see any larger than what I see now. If the movie were stretched out to the width of the screen, it would need to be 8 or 9 feet wide. I don't have much 4:3 material that would stand up to being blown up that much.

There is something just "right" about the higher-quality sources taking up more screen real estate than the lower-quality sources.

Gunnar 05-13-2000 04:00 PM

I prefer a 4:3 screen with my Barco Graphics 800, because it lacks current limiting. This means that if I use the center portion of a 16:9 screen for watching 4:3 material, I would get this center portion of the CRT burned in rather quickly.


Gary S 05-14-2000 03:22 PM

Lee and Jim, what would be the advantages and disadvantages of using a 1:85 screen over 16:9?

Jim Ferguson 05-14-2000 04:29 PM


I guess a 1.85:1 screen would be OK. More movies are exactly 1.85:1, so you wouldn't have any (extremely thin) black bars at the top and bottom like you do with a 1.78:1 screen.

Of course local HDTV is 16:9 so presumably you'd end up with slight black bars on the sides for these broadcasts with a 1.85:1 screen. I don't see the point myself, but I think it's a better choice than a 4:3 screen (for me, I'm not judging http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif )

Leer 05-15-2000 10:59 AM

Hi everyone, I would like to say thank-you to everyone for your advice on this topic. After reviewing everything that was said I'm going to go with 16x9. My reason for this was the very good point about "Why would you go with a full 4:3 image when the quality is questionable". I would be happier with a smaller 4:3 image placed in the middle of the 16:9 screen to enhance the weaker image source, of which it will. Masking is a very good option with a large 4:3 screen but I feel reading these replies that the 16:9 is the least hassle best quality/look/feel choice.

Thanks again everyone!


Don Landis 05-16-2000 09:20 PM

There are always trade offs with this screen size debate:

Lee Antin chooses to have a geometrically distorted image when watching 4:3 full width on his 16:9. He admits having this but has gotten used to it and is happy with his choice.

Others choose to have the silent CRT killer-- burn-in of a 16:9 or even 4:3 small image on the CRT larger targets. It is a silent "killer" because you don't notice the harm until you attempt to use the CRT's with a different screen size. Many times this does not become apparent until a new owner gets the projector.

With Masks and a full 4:3 screen I have decided in favor of the inconvenience of having to place the masks with each program but get perfect geometry and a balance of burn on my CRT's.

I do think that burn-in is not an issue if one truely restricts his viewing habits to the screen size forever. Burn-in is a problem if you watch one size for a long time and then decide to use another that the image now traces the old region plus a region of the CRT that was not used for a period of time.

This brings up a set of rules I was told early last year when I started searching for a used projector: Look for one that was used in a corporate board room. It will have typically less hours per year and be used in a non-smoking environment. Second, it will most likely have been used in a full 4:3 aspect ratio service burning the entire CRT target evenly. Buying a projector from another HT owner that was using a 16:9 screen will in all probabability have severe burn-in of a wide screen image onto the normal square CRT targets.

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 5/11/00

Brett 05-16-2000 09:30 PM


While this may hold true for purchasing a used CRT projector, isn't it possible to altogether avoid any CRT burn-in with widescreen projection if you use a 4:3 Powerstrip setting in conjunction with a 2.35:1 or 1.85:1 or other similarly wide stretched YxY setting? Please correct me if I've got this wrong.

Don Landis 05-16-2000 09:56 PM


Please excuse my ignorance but what is: "use a 4:3 Powerstrip setting in conjunction with a 2.35:1 or 1.85:1 or other similarly wide stretched YxY setting"

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 5/11/00

Brett 05-17-2000 08:03 AM


Well, if you don't know, I must have been reading those posts too late at night...



Dean McManis 05-17-2000 01:57 PM


Maybe what Brett was driving at was using the orbit function in YXY.
There is a fair amount of setup variation with the orbit function to help with both 4:3 material and widescreen material for CRT displays.

I've been using the orbit feature for a while and you can set it to move in 1-2 pixel increments, slowly, and there is no apparent loss of resolution or other drawbacks, but it can definitely help curb future burn-in problems.


Don Landis 05-17-2000 02:35 PM

Sorry Dean, Brett. I really don't know what you're talking about. I'm sure it's my ignorance of "powerstriping" and "Orbiting" as terminology but somehow you must have misunderstood my post too. I was just trying to answer the original question by Leer. His question was the same as mine when I needed to decide on a screen size. I resolved the issue and I am extremely pleased with the results. To me, with an FPTV it has become a non-issue. Thanks to some interesting discussions on this forum section, especially with Lee Antin, I have found the perfect solution for my variable screen dimensions viewing.

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 5/11/00

Leer 05-17-2000 09:35 PM

Hi everyone me again!

I also would like to share with you a conversation I had with a Draper employee about this issue. I talked with him about the masking system they had and if it would be the logical choice for getting both ratios. He said, "Personally, I wouldn't go with the masking option". What he meant was, their fixed Cineperm screens are so inexpensive compared to the masking systems they offer. If you had a problem with having one ratio and not the other just buy both - your done. For these fixed screens, this guy kinda makes sense. You want to display 16x9 when company comes over to watch a new DVD, pronto! If you want to watch the heavyweight fight from Vegas in 4x3 - pronto! For $1000 you can get both worlds if you want to never having to worry anymore on what screen you want. Yes, I think the best idea is to shrink the 4x3 image onto a 16x9 "but" I also wouldn't dismiss anyone having a backup screen in the basement either. What are your opinions to this statement from Draper?


Guy Kuo 05-18-2000 12:27 AM

Vertical masking doesn't have to be expensive. I built mine with simple tools and it looks great in either masked or unmasked position. The screen is a fixed frame 4:3. The masks are pieces of 1/4 plywood which have been covered in black felt and hinged to flap down and up over the screen. Each mask has a cambered edge which intercalates into the frame. This was accomplished by building each from two long strips of wood and some aluminum flashing. Contact cement attached the flashing to the wood. A small gap was left between each wooden piece to allow bending along the seam to form the camber. Since it's a screen with the fabric at the rear of the frame, the inward bend serves two purposes. It brings the shadowing edge closer to the fabric. It also shifts the center of gravity enough to make both the open and closed positions of the masks stable. It's not remote controlled, but it takes about five seconds to flip open or closed. I can't quite reach the top mask so a black rod attached to one edge of the top masks makes that one easy to move. Anyone who sees my screen initially in the 16:9 (actually it's a tad wider) position simply thinks it is a normal 16:9 screen. One flip and wow it's a different screen. The masks look like part of the frame. Total cost was under $100 and one afternoon of work. Why choose one ratio when you can have BOTH?

Guy Kuo
Ovation Software, the Home of AVIA DVD

Dean McManis 05-19-2000 03:15 PM


You were discussing CRT burn-in problems associated with 4:3 and widescreen movie watching.

YXY has an orbiting feature which allows the visible picture to move VERY slowly across the active area of the screen to reduce CRT burn-in problems.
For a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen, the 4:3 image can move from side to side, and for widescreen movies on a 4:3 screen the active image can move up and down.

This happens so slowly that in a dark room you don't really notice that the image has shifted. Some high-end projectors handle orbiting electronically. It's a great feature for CRT FPTVs, and the software is free.


gordf 05-19-2000 03:35 PM

I may be a little bit daft on this point, but if the orbiting moves a 16x9 up and down, can you see the full picture if you mask. Or does this effectively preclude masking?

Don Landis 05-21-2000 08:13 PM

Thanks, Dean for the explanation. I started to laugh when I read your description. No thanks. I like my image to stay put but I can see that this would work if you didn't care about the image shifting back and forth.

The other issue is that with 16:9 you still are not using the top and bottom of the target, ever. Does the orbit feature move the image into those regions too? ie, a vertical movement?

Don Landis
NEW! Home Theater Pics at:www.scubatech.com updated 5/11/00

The Bard 05-29-2000 11:15 AM

The "type" of projector doesn't really matter ... if it's a LCD, CRT, DLP, or D-ILA. They all just shine light on the screen, and the screen doesn't "know" what the light source is. The only thing that DOES matter, is how BRIGHT the light is. Different projectors put out different amounts of light, rated as "lumens". And screens are rated for "gain" ... you've probably seen "1.3 , !.5, 2.0 ...", numbers like that. That indicates how much light the screen reflects BACK to your eyes. If you have a very bright projector, you dont want too high of a gain, because then the picture is too bright, and will look "washed out", or pale. But on the other hand, with a less-bright projector (say a 7" CRT that you want to blow up to a very large picture) then a screen with increased gain will help, by reflecting more light back to you. In other words, its a "balance" between the projectors light output, and the gain of the screen. Personally, I use a 10 foot wide screen, 1.3 gain, with a Dukane D-ILA projector (very bright, 1500 lumens). Tom

drmyeyes 06-02-2000 07:26 AM

I like the idea of using the largest screen size for the highest resolution format, however, there is one point no one has mentioned above. While high def is higher rez than NTSC, so would dictate projecting 4x3 within a larger 16x9 frame with black sidebars, HD is in turn lower resolution than computer images.
If you are shooting digital photo images, and have any thought of projecting them like a slide projector, your highest resolution images are in this format, dictating the selection of a 4x3 screen.
i.e.- a large 4x3 for photos and graphics, 16x9 masked off within it for HD, and a smaller 4x3 within that for NTSC.
Sounds complicated, but allows you to project higher rez images in larger format, a reasonable goal.
Also, not all high quality movies are in 16x9 format or wider- for example, IMAX. It would be nice to be able to see them large format 4x3.
A large 4x3 screen gives you the most flexibility.

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