Are Your LCD TV's Letterbox Bars Dark Enough? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
View Poll Results: Do the letterbox bars on your LCD TV stay dark?
Yes, they stay dark all the time 70 53.03%
Sometimes, I see light bleed or floating black levels 36 27.27%
No, they are gray or they fluctuate all the time 26 19.70%
Voters: 132. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Are Your LCD TV's Letterbox Bars Dark Enough?

LCD TVs are big, bright and last a long time. But depending on the panel and backlight technology used, they can struggle with letterboxed content such as movies. This is especially true for edgelit LCD TVs as well as IPS models that have low native contrast.

For sports in the daytime, this particular weakness of "transmissive" TV technologies does not matter. But turn out the lights and put on the latest blockbuster and depending on the TV you'll see anything from deep black bars, to bars where light "spills" in from the scene, to TVs that can only muster some shade of gray.

For movie lovers, letterbox performance is a big deal, so I'm curious if the letterbox bars on your LCD are dark enough for you.
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Last edited by imagic; 08-16-2019 at 05:12 AM.
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post #2 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 04:50 PM
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My x940e does a much better job than I honestly thought it would. Coming from an OLED I was scared blooming would be obvious or the black bars would be grey. Blooming rarely shows up in HDR and never in SDR. The black bars can light up a hair at times during HDR but if Im watching the movie instead of focusing on the bars I never notice. Only time I see anything is when I am watching for it instead of the content on the screen. Well worth the trade off of zero burn in and brighter screen for me.

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post #3 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 05:17 PM
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I have an edgelit LCD and in a dark room my black bars are a really dark blue/grey. My next TV will be FALD or whatever beats OLED.
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post #4 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 05:27 PM
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Totally black bars on my Sony Z9D. The only set that can bet it is an OLED.
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post #5 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 06:50 PM
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On my Z9D, the black bars are inky black and in general the picture exhibits the most negligible amount of blooming on torture scenes. It's amazing to see near OLED black levels mixed with 1,800 nits.
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post #6 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boosted330 View Post
My x940e does a much better job than I honestly thought it would. Coming from an OLED I was scared blooming would be obvious or the black bars would be grey. Blooming rarely shows up in HDR and never in SDR. The black bars can light up a hair at times during HDR but if Im watching the movie instead of focusing on the bars I never notice. Only time I see anything is when I am watching for it instead of the content on the screen. Well worth the trade off of zero burn in and brighter screen for me.

Yes our 75 inch 9400E (US X940E). I watch only 4k Movies in a totally 100% dark room sometime upscaled 2k movies and I have to imagine my letterbox to have BLOOMING because I rarely ever see this and Never on a 1080P movie even if its upscaled to 2160p. The other thing is different with our set up I have a 360 deg LED backlight that is dimmer-able. I wont buy anything in LCD until its proven to be the same or better than the 9400E. Now that's what I would like to see is a 75 inch TV that has the same blacks as the 9400E and has a peak brightness of over 2000 nits, Yeah!!!
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what do YOU think Mark?

Do you think THIS is acceptable for a $6000 flagship TV? 82Q90R. this tv was returned so hopefully the replacement is alot better than this garbage.

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That Bad and your room is not totally dark. My 75 inch 9400E the room is so dark you cannot see the wall behind the wall mounted Sony for the full length of the room (8m) and yet the letterbox bars are black and never see movement in them. What wrong with TV Manufactures today. No doubt they don't care about us on this forum and what we all say about the black level and letterbox bars.

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post #9 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
what do YOU think Mark?

Do you think THIS is acceptable for a $6000 flagship TV? 82Q90R. this tv was returned so hopefully the replacement is alot better than this garbage.

75Q9FN*55C8oled* Oppo 203/UB820*S10+*DenonX4200
I think I don't comment on blown-out cell pics! Lol.
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post #10 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackman View Post
That Bad and your room is not totally dark. My 75 inch 9400E the room is so dark you cannot see the wall behind the wall mounted Sony for the full length of the room (8m) and yet the letterbox bars are black and never see movement in them. What wrong with TV Manufactures today. No doubt they don't care about us on this forum and what we all say about the black level and letterbox bars.
LCD tvs have no known defects
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post #11 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I think I don't comment on blown-out cell pics! Lol.
had to raise the exposure to capture it other wise my camera crushed the bars. Absolutely rediculous widescreen bar performance, especially coming from a 75Q9FN with top level widescreen BARS. You know this type of performance is not acceptable on a 2019 flagship lol I'd hate to see the 82Q80 with 400 less zones.
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^isnt your set defective??? Didnt you already exchange it multiple times due to shipping damage???
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post #13 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:34 PM
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^isnt your set defective??? Didnt you already exchange it multiple times due to shipping damage???
waiting on a 4th Unit this week. Im "hoping" the widescreen bar performance was due to a defective dimming panel. Will hopefully find out later this week.
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LCD tvs have no known defects

Yes they have but the defects on our 9400E dont effect us like I dont play games on the Tv and the interpolation is averages but its a 2017 Tv and considering I watch movies and High bit rate Satellite Feeds only it the best for us other I would have purchased another tv by now. I got rid of a 86 inch LG (IPS) because it was impossible to watch a HDR movies and it was worst by a mile than the photo above.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
waiting on a 4th Unit this week. Im "hoping" the widescreen bar performance was due to a defective dimming panel. Will hopefully find out later this week.
If it were that bad I think you would know by now from other 82inch owners...doubt those bars are that bad on a functional set.
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Yes they have but the defects on our 9400E dont effect us like I dont play games on the Tv and the interpolation is averages but its a 2017 Tv and considering I watch movies and High bit rate Satellite Feeds only it the best for us other I would have purchased another tv by now. I got rid of a 86 inch LG (IPS) because it was impossible to watch a HDR movies and it was worst by a mile than the photo above.
Lol i was being a bit sarcastic
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post #17 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:40 PM
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If it were that bad I think you would know by now from other 82inch owners...doubt those bars are that bad on a functional set.

The other owners are split. some say really bad and others say they are much better than the pictures I've posted. I got the TV for cheap enough that I'm at least willing to give a functional unit a chance. Though it seems 2020 will likely be a bigger year for advancements.
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Here is a photo of my 75Q8FN, black bars are good...not completely black, but close.
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post #19 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:44 PM
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Lol i was being a bit sarcastic
I have been Damage mentally buy this as we paid $13,850 for this rubbish and I had it replaced as LG said it was not acceptable and the second unit was WORSE!!! Would you pay close to $14,000 for this washed out picture rubbish. The same movie, the same scene the letterbox bars are black as a ace of spades with the Sony 9400E




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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
The other owners are split. some say really bad and others say they are much better than the pictures I've posted. I got the TV for cheap enough that I'm at least willing to give a functional unit a chance. Though it seems 2020 will likely be a bigger year for advancements.
Well you can always fall back on the q9 if you wanna wait till next year. Could be the 82's were not ready for the wide viewing angle tech...of course just my speculation.

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I have been Damage mentally buy this as we paid $13,850 for this rubbish and I had it replaced as LG said it was not acceptable and the second unit was WORSE!!! Would you pay close to $14,000 for this rubbish. The same movie, the same scene the letterbox bars are black as a ace of spades with the Sony 9400E



My bad, it was an ips panel, I would be upset as well.
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post #22 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 07:51 PM
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Well you can always fall back on the q9 if you wanna wait till next year. Could be the 82's were not ready for the wide viewing angle tech
My Q9 had to be sent back to Samsung as part of my refund.

I actually didn't have a problem with the Wide angle Tech. the contrast of the Q90 can actually be very good and the picture has better depth and detail than my Q9FN. the lack of zones and dimming algorithm seemed to be the main culprit(if not a defective dimming system altogether). And the SDR performance was also much better than my Q9FN.
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post #23 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 09:05 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, OLED is the only set to really accomplish black bars. Everything else seems so artificial. Even Plasma can have it's somewhat milky black bars in dark scenes.



My question is... why hasn't anyone invented a measured screen cover for (most) movies? I've thought about placing thin, precision cut black vinyl strips on the bottom and top of my screen whenever I go to watch movies. I know it's an added step for movie night, but it would eliminate light leakage into the black bars.
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post #24 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 10:51 PM
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When I first got my 940E I couldn’t tell where the screen ended and the black bars began. I always watch it in a 100% dark room. Even in mid day, no light comes through the window. Blackout shade and frame. The set does a phenomenal job with black bars. All I watch are films. 4k discs and 1080p discs. I’m very impressed.
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post #25 of 134 Old 08-12-2019, 11:24 PM
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Z9D - Perfect letterbox bars in SDR, only slightly do they sometimes light up in HDR or with subtitles. Truly a remarkable TV.

X930E - because of the way the zones are arranged (horizontally), the X930E can't dim letterbox bars. Sometimes it's distracting but usually it's not too offensive. For pretty much everything else, you'd have me fooled that this thing was FALD. Would really be curious to see what a set with a third-gen Slim Backlight Drive tech would look like. I know FALD is more "in" right now, but with the low zone counts on replacements like the X900F and X950G, I really think the dimming approach of the X930E is superior most of the time.

A1E (obviously, not an LCD) - perfect.

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Consider you 940E owners who claim your black bars stay black on HDR content lucky. I'm not going to sit here and say my bars stay black all the time. Especially with HDR content. My black bars stay anything but black. Some HDR movies are worse than others but there's not one HDR movie that keeps the black bars black on the 940E.

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Are Your LCD TV's Letterbox Bars Dark Enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
had to raise the exposure to capture it other wise my camera crushed the bars. Absolutely rediculous widescreen bar performance, especially coming from a 75Q9FN with top level widescreen BARS. You know this type of performance is not acceptable on a 2019 flagship lol I'd hate to see the 82Q80 with 400 less zones.


The thing is...even the mightiest of the mighty Z9D with BMD would show similar blooming with pics blown out to that degree. If you have to blow out the pics like that to show the defect, best to not do it without adding a disclaimer in big bold capital letters at the very least. This definitely gives people a false impression of the Q90 and DOES NOT COME CLOSE to reality.



Brings back memories of the type of nonsense that that Quantum, whatever his name is, guy on YouTube does in his videos. That said, I didn’t believe that this was your intention when you posted the same pics over in the Q90 thread some time ago.

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post #28 of 134 Old 08-13-2019, 06:00 AM
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The black bar area on mine looks like the tv is turned off. The 1st comment my friend had after he helped me mount it was about how black it was.
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Letterboxes on my 4 year old LCD are as black as when panel is turned off on all content. Inky blacks in video show detail in dark scenes too and not crushed black like OLED's. Sometimes on par with the depth of black in the letterboxes but not always. Only when true black is wanted according to the cinema processing.

Anyone who doesn't achieve inky black and gets grey while posting pics is intentionally using wrong settings to prove fake news imo. That or they have no clue how to use settings and/or calibrate or have a vast knowledge and know exactly how to ruin a picture to make a point. I find it hard to believe 4 replacement sets have an inherent black problem that severe not to mention the excessive flash light effect. I have never witnessed an abomination to that degree or anything close to it. It looks like you intentionally maxed out the brightness for a photo op to me but maybe you honestly have a problem with that high end panel for whatever cherry picked reasoning. That is definitely not normal for any source good or bad.

For starters, if you do have grey blacks, including letterboxes, find the appropriate setting for your display to match your source. Samsung calls this HDMI Black Level - Auto/Normal/Low. Mismatching with your source can and will render very poor blacks. Samsung also provides various levels of Black Tones enhancing depths of blacks. With a good source, this is not needed and will lead to crushed blacks. With poor sources it indeed enhances the junky signal sent to the panel mostly to erase artifacts sent by the poor source/signal.

Streaming has become very popular vs native disc/file playback. It comes with a price like artifacts in the signal received for most. OLED processes this crap very well. Unfortunately, the very nature of OLED panel processing consider all sources are junk with artifacts and crush the blacks to counter artifacts producing the deep inky look fanboys embrace but also apply it to perfect sources when it's not needed. In turn, detail in dark scenes is lost. You simply can't see the detail you can in LCD panels and a certain amount of artifacts remain. This is why dark caves must be used viewing OLED. So your eyes are forced to try and recover some of the black contrasts that are hidden normally. Even then, you will miss much of the information.

Not knowing the severity of video information lost because if you don't know what you're missing than you won't miss it, OLED users have no idea and instead compliment the picture because it so... black. Couple that with burn-in counter measures that require the brightness be severely toned down and blacks have no choice but to dominate unlike any LCD. Personally I desire to watch a nice bright picture with deep blacks included in the spectrum and don't mind loosing a notch or two of black contrast vs watching a totally dark picture my eyes need 20 minutes of adjusting to make anything out in a cave. This is why subtitles will blind you and burn out your retinas in this wrong environment to accommodate a poor technology full of band-aids like dark rooms. Lastly, Samsung has a letterbox setting to ensure the top and bottom or side bars remain as black as black gets - Cinema Black.

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post #30 of 134 Old 08-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray0414 View Post
what do YOU think Mark?

Do you think THIS is acceptable for a $6000 flagship TV? 82Q90R. this tv was returned so hopefully the replacement is alot better than this garbage.

75Q9FN*55C8oled* Oppo 203/UB820*S10+*DenonX4200

that looks like total ****
ray0414 likes this.

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