Originally posted by swest
I've been wondering about this very question. I don't yet have my plasma (I soon hope to own a 42PWD6UY), and so I don't have any experience with its modes of operation. But I've seen posters talking about the grey sidebars for 4:3 material, and have wondered about grey top/bottom bars for greater-than-16:9 material...
I'm now guessing that it may not be possible to get the grey top/bottom bars, because, and correct me if I am wrong, that is actually program material that is encoded on the source, as opposed to absence of signal (for 4:3 material.) As such, the plasma wouldn't be able to tell that it was supposed to make it grey.
Is that right?
Yeah, I have not figured out how to convert the top and bottom black bars to white or gray. I am not sure this is because it is part of the signal though.
Actually, in Panasonic auto mode, the Plasma seems to have an uncanny ability to sense the black bars for both 4:3 to the right and left or black bars at the bottom and the top for DVD >16:9 widescreen movies and then perform a combination of either zoom or stretching the image to fill in the void with the active picture area.
The distortion at the very left and right edges in JUST mode for 4:3 signals is very acceptable to me and I have no problem watching TV in this mode. All I have to do is watch out for Channel bugs or nasty black bars that are part of the signal (such as stock market tickers).
The AUTO mode works really well for DVD movies and eliminates the black bars I think through a combination of slightly stretching the image vertically and a mild zoom. On most movies, it is not bothersome though I will continue to seek new solutions to this issue.
One caveat, even in AUTO mode I have observed a very small black bar at the bottom of some DVD pictures. This is only 3-4 pixels wide and can be programmed out using the picture vertical postion adjustment.
Screensavers: I am also using scrolling horizontal white bars every 15 minutes for 1 minute, peak contrast limits and the wobble screensavers. If I am watching a DVD and have eliminated the top and bottom black bars, I suspend the scrolling white bars for the duration of the movie.