Originally Posted by scarabaeus
OK, here is some info on this TV, and the "21:9" aspect ratio in general.
I got this TV over Christmas, and I'm overall happy with it. The wide aspect ratio is so much better, visually, as all content is displayed at the same height, with varying pillarbox bars on the side. It gives a more even visual impression of different content. This is similar to movie theaters, which only use caching curtains at the sides, but always use the full height of the screen.
For the size obsessed, it shows 16:9 content as on a 46" 16:9 screen, and 4:3 content as on a 37" 4:3 CRT, but it shows 21:9 content as big as on a 61" 16:9 screen, alas without the obnoxious height of such screens.
The passive 3D is also great, I find it superior in all points, and the only technical shortcoming (the half vertical resolution) really does not affect the image quality significantly.
The main drawbacks for me are the atrocious viewing angle issues (the black level goes up and the contrast goes down, and darker grays get a greenish hue at just a few degrees off angle) and the lack of a complete set of fixed aspect ratio control setting. But these are issues with just this set, and this is not discounting 21:9 as a concept in general.
As others have noticed, this TV does not accept the panel's native resolution of 2560x1080 at any of its inputs. This is due to the fact the input line buffer size of the scalers in this DTV chipset is only 2048 pixel wide, so there will be no firmware update possible to fix this.
This is regrettable, but not too big of a deal with regards to movie content. Hollywood, via the DCI, will not shoot themselves in the foot by releasing movies to consumers that have a higher resolution than most digital cinemas. They are absolutely unwilling to release anything into the home markes with more than 2048 pixels width. I don't know how this will change in the next few years with the rise of 4K sets, and the demand for native 4K content, but so far no dice for a Blu-ray extension for 2560x1080.
However, what is in realm of the possible is anamorphic 1080p, where a 2.39:1 movie would fill all 1080 lines without bars. This will look stretched on 16:9 screens, but a 21:9 would only have to upscale horizontally, and leave the vertial scaling native.
The HDMI standard is already in the process of being updated to support both, a native 2560x1080p resolution and anamorphic 21:9 in 1920x1080p frames. I don't know what is being done in this regard for Blu-ray, but this would allow a streaming player to send anamorphic or native 21:9 content to a TV. I believe that it should be possible to "teach" this TV the anamorphic modes, as it only involves different meta data signaling with standard 1080p timings. This extension of the HDMI standard will also allow to signal 21:9 letterboxed content in a 16:9 frame. (Where "21:9" is a marketing simplification, it's actually 64:27, or 4:3 cubed. (16:9 is 4:3 squared)).
For now, the "automatic" aspect ratio function of this TV is an acceptable compromise. It does not rely on any signaling by the source to tell it whether the image is full frame (1.78:1 and 1.85:1) or letterboxed (2.39:1). It mostly gets it right, taking a couple seconds to detect and crop bars, and switching almost immediately back to 16:9. It does not detect 1:85:1 content and displays it with the slight letterbox bars that are encoded on the blu-ray.
I would like to have a few more forced aspect ratio modes. There are none to force the upscaling of the 1920x810 letterboxed section of a 1080p signal to the full screen, or to force 480i content to be 4:3 full frame or letterboxed. I have the european 50" Philips 21:9 model at work (maximum size to fit my cubicle...), and that one features all of those settings, and a few more. Too bad that TPVision appears to have dropped this aspect ratio, after cranking out several models over the last three years on the other side of the pond.
As for Blu-rays that have the subtitles outside of the active picture, that is the fault of the Blu-ray producers. E.g. Sony is a regular violator. Solution: Get an Oppo or Dune Blu-ray player, they allow to offset the subtiles vertically, shifting them back into the picture.
Would be great if a 21:9 plasma becomes available some time in the near future, but seeing how much of a niche product this turns out to be, I don't have much hope.