Originally posted by locomo
I know you like to see the "whole picture" but does the Zenith 318's zoom help get rid of the edge compression?
I haven't tried this, but zooming in a bit at the horizontal edges should move the compressed area offscreen in the same way that increasing overscan via the (05) Width parameter in the service menu does. FWIW, it's possible that the function of parameter (05) is defective (non-linear), and that it is responsible for the edge compression (rather than the horizontal stretch of the "full" and "fill" modes).
Someone posted an RCA service bulletin at Home Theater Spot a while back that instructed techs to set overscan at 5% at each edge on the component input. This amount, or even more, is probably pretty typical of most displays as delivered to the consumer. At such settings, the stretch modes on the F38310 probably deliver a total image, including the part that is offscreen, with prettty decent geometry. The edge compression seems to be introduced when the width parameter is decreased to reduce overscan. Instead of a linear compression of width, the center of the image is left alone, and the new material coming in from overscan is squeezed into the outer 4-6 inches on each side (sort of an inverse of a "panorama" stretch mode. Since most F38310s were apparently delivered with less than average overscan, the edge compression became a major complaint issue.
When my F38310 was delivered 3 years ago, edge compression was very noticeable in "full" and "fill" modes, but I could not detect any at all in 16:9 mode. With my overscan now reduced to the minimum, I noticed this morning on the HDNet test pattern that I have some measurable edge compression. Then I ran the Avia disc at 1080i on the DVB318, and the edge compression at the right was about the same as HDNet (minimal but measurable), but at the left there was somewhat more (borderline annoying).
I'm not discerning enough visually to offer an opinion on the merits of the DVB318, but some respected professionals on this and other forums are pretty impressed with it. "Michael TLV" on Home Theater Spot, however, recommended that the component output be used, since he found "white crush" and some other problems on the DVI output. I would add a recommendation not to engage "autostart" in the setup menu (it skips past FBI warnings, mandatory previews, and the opening menu) because it repeatedly locked up my player with the Avia disc, and when this happens you have to unplug the unit for a short period to get it operating again.
The most dramatic improvement I've made recently with the F38310 was decreasing my viewing distance from the SMPTE-recommended 60" (1.57 X diagonal - 30 degree width of view) to the THX-recommended 50" (1.33 X diagonal - 36 degree width).