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I'm an idiot and I hate the bars on the side of the picture - not a great combination

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Last year I bought a 42" 1080i plasma and got ready to make the jump into the exciting world of HD.... Yeah, right. Truth be told, I've never even watched a single HD show.

Here's my problem:

I really prefer watching standard definition broadcasts in wide screen format (panoramic, if you will). I know this distorts the picture a bit but it's my personal preference and with the panoramic setting, I really don't notice the distortion on the sides very much.

When I hooked up my HD set to my HD cable box, I used an HDMI cable at first. I tuned the set to an HD channel and... WOW! I loved it. High fives all around.

Problem is, I then turned the set to a standard channel and saw that I was now viewing the channel in standard format (4:3) with black bars on the right and left sides. And there was nothing I could do about it. My only option was going to be running 2 cables from my cable box: an HDMI for the HD channels and an S-video for the standard channels. I would then have to switch inputs on the plasma depending on what channel I was watching. This seemed to confuse the crappy Cablevision box. Plus, I wanted to get Tivo into the mix so... long story longer... I've never used my HD plasma to view an HD broadcast.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else hate the black bars?

I'm getting ready to purchase a 60" or larger plasma and also a series 3 HD Tivo. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can watch HD programs in HD while still viewing standard broadcasts in a widescreen format? Especially with the Tivo?
post #2 of 7
Quote:


Problem is, I then turned the set to a standard channel and saw that I was now viewing the channel in standard format (4:3) with black bars on the right and left sides. And there was nothing I could do about it. My only option was going to be running 2 cables from my cable box: an HDMI for the HD channels and an S-video for the standard channels. I would then have to switch inputs on the plasma depending on what channel I was watching. This seemed to confuse the crappy Cablevision box. Plus, I wanted to get Tivo into the mix so... long story longer... I've never used my HD plasma to view an HD broadcast.

What set-top box do you have? Many will let you set the output of SD channels to 480i (so you can use your plasma's stretching), while HD channels are still output at 720p or 1080i.

What you want is "passthrough" or "SD passthrough." They can help you over in the HDTV Hardware forum. Just indicate the specific make and model of your set-top box or DVR and ask how to enable "480i passthrough for SD channels."

If you have a Series3 Tivo, it certainly provides this functionality. Just go into Video Settings and change into "native" mode.
post #3 of 7
What TV do you have? Most every model now allows you to stretch the output from your cable box. Sometimes the cable boxes have their own stretch modes too.
post #4 of 7
You're my exact opposite.

I very much dislike stretched content. I'd prefer to watch black bars than distorted pictures any day of the week.

Also, since I bought my 50" HD plasma I've watched as little SD content as possible.

I'm interested to know which 42" '1080i' plasma you bought last year.

And bfdtv is right, there is almost definitely a way your cable box can output 480i for SD channels, while still outputting higher resolutions for HD channels, this would allow your tv to stretch 4:3 content.
post #5 of 7
The Tivo S3 outputs S-video at the same time as HDMI.

Just connect both.

As with many displays, S-video on my plasma (pioneer 6070) is a shade better than HDMI. The custom picture mode should be used and adjust the picture accordingly.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post

The Tivo S3 outputs S-video at the same time as HDMI.

Just connect both.

As with many displays, S-video on my plasma (pioneer 6070) is a shade better than HDMI. The custom picture mode should be used and adjust the picture accordingly.


I hope you mean for SD material. S-video cannot pass a HD signal.
post #7 of 7
Right, SD via S-video looks slightly better than SD on HDMI. (this is what happens when I write these post at 2 in the morning)

HDMI for HD.
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