Originally Posted by E-A-G-L-E-S
I wonder if that right there is the reason there aren't many that do it?
Because people don't like cropped, stretched images?
Not really sure E-A-G-L-E-S. But maybe it's because most 16:9 displays already include stretch/zoom options for 4:3 content. My Sony HD tube for example includes 3 different display modes for 4:3 content: a "zoom" mode which works like the vert. stretch people are discussing here and basically justifies the 4:3 image on right and left and crops the top and bottom, a pillarbox mode, and a "warp" mode that stetches the image to fill the screen nonlinearly.
Problem is those modes only tend to work with SD signals. So you have to drop the resolution down from 1080i/p to 480i/p to use them, which often doesn't produce as good results (and defeats the purpose that most people use HDMI players, which is to feed their displays an HD signal).
Since my Sony 77H HDMI player doesn't have a vertical stretch/crop feature (that does not leave an icon on the screen), I usually just watch 4:3 DVDs stretched to 16:9, because I don't like the dinky picture in the pillarbox mode, and don't want to drop the resolution below 1080i, which is the optimum scanrate of my TV. If the stretched picture really gets annoying, then either I'll switch to an old 4:3 TV, or tweak the geometry on the 16:9 tube to compensate. (I've even tried a bit of "2.35 CIH-ing" on my 16:9 tube, just for kix and giggles.) I won't use the pillarbox mode on the player though. I didn't buy a widescreen HDTV to watch a postage stamp in the middle of the screen.
I wish there were more options in general for displaying 4:3 DVDs at 1080i/p. In addition to a vertical stretch/crop, a 14:9
partial stretch or crop might also be nice, and fill more of the screen than the typical pillarbox mode without compromising the picture as much as a full 16:9 stretch/crop.
I hate those "warp" modes that some players and HDTVs use to nonlinearly stretch 4:3 content to fill the screen though. Makes me dizzy.