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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes I saw the messages strewn around the forum concerning this issue, but in most cases it was people's opinions with some facts. However, I'd like to ask a couple questions about the facts that I read.


I understand that a 16:9 allows you to have a unmodified HDTV and DVD experience, and that it means you'll have to compromise on the 4:3 presentation of images. Either you stretch the 4:3 to cover the entire 16:9 screen, zoon in to fill the screen, or simply watch in 4:3 using only the center portion of the screen for viewing. Personally, I would like to get a 16:9 mostly for DVD playback and just hope that there will be more HDTV options in the future. I don't mind paying a premium for this. But I don't want to compromise my 4:3 viewing, of which I would guess 70% of my viewing will be.


My question is, how bad is it going to be to watch a 4:3 on a good 16:9 screen, say a Sony 65" High Definition PJTV (KDP-65XBR2)? My wife and kid will probably watch more 4:3 TV shows than anything else, and I'm afraid that they will complain that watching their shows is worse on this TV than it was on our old 35" CRT. Additionally, I would like to stretch the image to always cover the entire 16:9 screen so that I can worry less about burn-in. Is the distortion going to be troublesome? I can't see how scretching the image to fit the screen wouldn't make it look strange. I mean Ben Stiller with a giagantic fat head? Not sure how that's going to go over with the family. :D


OR, should I just give up the widescreen concept and live with a 4:3 TV that can also do HDTV? It would be really nice to have the best of all worlds, but if that comes with a price of watching 70% of the viewing with a worse end result than my 35" CRT, what a waste of money that would be!


Ron
 

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Greetings


4:3 material looks slightly worse on 16:9 sets because the TV's have to take the 4:3 signal and digitally process it one more time to fit the 16:9 screen.


On a 4:3 set, you skip this processing stage and the image is better. (What ever better is.)


But too much use of the 16:9 mode on 4:3 TV's will also give you burn in over time.


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It turns out that the best "viewing distance" (TV to couch, that is) is determined by the *height* of the picture, not its width. So if you get a 4x3 display (like I have, actually) you'll find yourself wanting to move the seats up and back for 16x9 (letterboxed) and 4x3 material, respectively (because the latter is 33% taller). I really wish I had bought 16x9 and I recommend that you do.


Of course, most of what you and your family want to view is 4x3, not 16x9. On a 16x9 screen, 4x3 material will be the same height as wide material, so you won't want to move your seat, but you will have to choose between sideboxing and stretching.


Like many people, I find I can watch horizontally-stretched (4x3 --> 16x9) video quite happily except for flying-ball-type sports material. The important thing to get (you'll have to check out different brands of TV) is a modern "non-linear" stretch, which stretches the portion of the (4x3) picture toward the sides much more than the part in the middle, like this:

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Since the "interesting" parts of 4x3 pictures (especially human faces) are generally in the middle of the picture, they don't get stretched very much, and human perception hardly notices the distortion of stuff at the edges of the picture (usually background, and often unfocussed or something like grass and shrubbery that looks the same before and after stretching!).


Honestly, though some people are very sensitive to the distortion, most people stop noticing it after they've watched for a minute, or two at the most. After that, they have to specifically look to see it (say, by watching a dramatic character enter the scene from the side, so they can see him "skinny down" as he approaches the center of the frame). While dramatic and newsy material respond well to stretching, sports are a mixed bag. Tennis, for one, doesn't look so great stretched, because having the ball change shape as it moves is annoying, and the players are often at the very edges of the picture.


You can always sidebox 4x3 tennis coverage if you have to. If you use grey bars to avoid differential blue fade (which is really the type of "burn in" you have to worry about the most) you can sidebox once in a while without ruining your TV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great post 98CRI, very helpfull. That was exactly what I wanted to understand better. It does sound like a 16:9 screen will suit me better as it has options for all types viewing. In fact, if it bothers the kids in stretch mode for instance, I'll switch it to 4:3. But for DVDs I can have the whole enchalada.


Ron
 

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Bolker,

I find that my 16x9 TV is in widescreen 100% of the time. Before I got an STB for HDTV viewing I used Toshiba's stretch named TheaterWide 1, which was the non-linear stretch outlined above. It really is good and hard to notice. Unfortunately, my STB, the Toshiba DST-3000, doesn't do that. Instead it locks into Full mode which is a linear stretch both vertically and horizontally. It still looks alright, but you lost part of the image. There are other settings, such as horizontal stetch (yuck!) and leaving it 4x3, but if the show is in 480p, it locks into Full mode. Nowadays, depending on where you live, there are plenty of HDTV shows. About 60% of the material I watch is naturally widescreen. The only shows that aren't are the Simpsons and the news. Obviously this wont be true for everyone, especially since you have children; nevertheless 16x9 presents more options for the future when HDTV will be more prevalent.
 

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I just bought a 4:3 Sony 53HS30. Great deal: Brand new $1500. HD Ready. It came down to whether I wanted to letterbox or stretch. I hate stretching. I looked at numerous models and just don't like it. I watch 80% 4:3: between cable, tivo, and videogames. The rest is DVDs. Usually one to two DVDs a week. I was currently using a 32 inch. So having a 53 inch letterboxed is fine for me. And there is no distortion with 4:3 material. The channels I watch are not anywhere near HD broadcasting. So the only thing I'll be watching in HD, when available, is probably the superbowl. I don't have the need for a 16:9 set. Years down the road, when HD is mainstream and commonplace, I'll upgrade. But for now I believe I have the best of both worlds.
 

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bolker,


If your kids notice that the screen is in stretch mode then you have some pretty perceptive kids! Most higher-end sets, and even the lower-end ones, have decent compromise-stretch modes. On the Pioneers this is "Natural Wide". I have been watching nearly all of my 4:3 content in natural wide for the last 4 years. My wife and kids don't notice the difference at all. I can tell at a moments glance whether I am watching stretched material or not, but set my brain to "ignore" mode and get along just fine. The pay-off is in watching DVDs and HDTV content in widescreen. Very nice.
 

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More and more DVD's are in 2.35:1 which will also look better on a 16:9 screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by BTDT
If your kids notice that the screen is in stretch mode then you have some pretty perceptive kids!
Awesome. I'll go 16:9. It sounds like they've worked it out so it's very subtle.


Ron
 

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You should bring some discs with you to test on various TVs to see if you like the stretch mode. Bring some 16:9 DVDs and some that are not. Try to bring them in each of the AR: 1.33, 1.85, 2.35.
 

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As far as DVDs are concerned MGM issues all of theirs in wide and pan! Disney just announced all of their family movies will be available ONLY in pan from now on PLUS a lot of DVDs are in 1:85:1. And lets not foget that every movie released on DVD is also available on VHS tape. The good old 4:3 set is still the leader and will continue to be for quite some time and a top of the line 4"3 analog set is 1/2 the price or less of a wide HD. So if you watch mostly OTA, standard cable or satellite get yourself a 4:3 analog and get the best picture you can! Otherwise be prepared to be dissatisfied, unhappy,frustrated and just plan old p i s s e d at the lousy picrure your gonna get on that fancy wide HD set AND just wait until your kids burn it n for you!
 

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Just for the record, Vidikron has been verrrrry proud of their permission to use a picture of Martin Scorsese in their advertisements. According to the Vidikron trainer (in 1999) "Marty" watches 4:3 programming in a slightly stretched, slightly zoomed mode.


The classic definition of a picture shown with the proper aspect ratio is, "a circle is a circle." In Marty's mode, a circle is slightly wide, as is Ben Stiller (this mode makes Ben's head look just like his dad's and makes his dad look like Jack [of Box fame]). Except a little less white.


In this mode, Bloomberg will lose the bottom ticker. But, overall, this mode is more pleasant than an accurate 4:3 with black edges and the unconscious knowledge that you are burning in your set a little bit every time you play it this way.


As for the company you are in, we have four clients who use this mode:

one a recording artist who has almost run out of room for his Grammys,

one a music video and feature movie director,

one a TV director,

one the owner of a movie production company.

This mode was a good enough idea that William Phelps, guru of all video setups, was calling it the "Magic" mode three years ago.


Ernie
 

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Just because "so-called" celebrities like it, I'm suppossed to buy into it? In that case: buy some Nike Air Jordan's, have Carrot Top dial 800-Collect for you, and shop at Radio Shack cause Howie and Loise Lane shop there. If 99 out of a 100 liked stretched, "magic" mode, I would still buy a 4:3 TV. I'm the single one that prefers unstretched images. I will buy 16:9 when the majority of my viewing has content in 16:9. I have no problem with people buying these TVs, but I will not make a decision because a celebrity endorces anything. Buy what you like, not what someone else does. It's your money and you are the one using the product. But if you're into what celebs like, then call up Marty and the Grammy winner and invite them over for popcorn and movies. Bet they won't show, even if you tell them you have "magic" mode too.
 

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HomeThtrLA!


Welcome to our Forum and thank you for supporting my position that a 4:3 image is still best viewed on a 4:3 set. Too bad the people to whom you alluded didn't simply buy the "Big Dog", a 70" Mitsu 4:3 analog set and enjoy all of the pan and scan they wished along with the best picture available for that type of viewing; far and away superior to any HD 4:3 or HD wide set made!


By doing so, they wouldn't have to distort and/or eliminate some of the picture by stretching it in order to protect the set from "burn" AND they would be able to enjoy(?) the true aspect of Ben Stiller's head, if they really wanted to do so


Last time I looked a circle is a circle...perfectly round just as God intended. I know some artists think anything is a circle if it "FEELS" like a circle but in the real world they are just plain wrong!


Again friend....WELCOME!

Hoog
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
...but wait a minute. Wouldn't a 4:3 set cause you to have to have black bars on the top and bottom of the picture to watch a 16:9 picture? I suppose that you could try to fit the 16:9 image into the 4:3 screen with stretching and zooming, but isn't that the same thing as doing it the other way around? Isn't there still a danger of getting burn in if you want to watch a lot of 16:9 video? I can still see the logic in this if the majority of what you watch is 4:3, but I guess my point is that it seems that you can't get away from this issue no matter which type of television you select.


Ron
 

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bolker


Right you are! And I agree totally. The reason I bought the Mitsu "Big Dog" IS EXACTLY because my bride and I spend over 95% of our time watching no box cable and the over 900 pan VHS tapes we have collected. In addition we watch some DVDs and Laser Discs that we own....all of which are pan and scan 4:3. Plus, when we do rent a movie it is always pan and scan DVD or VHS or an 1:85:1 wide which is almost like pan.


My long range plan is to eventually buy an affordable good quality front projector for wide HDTV sources and continue to use the Mitsu for my pan stuff. But I plan to wait until the battle between formats is over AND the majority if not all of OTA and cable are HD.


So, guys I do believe we all agree.....we simply have different needs due to our viewing preferences and habits!


hoog
 

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Many if not most of us at this forum are trying to replicate as best we can the theater experience at home and/or watch HDTV at its best. If Hoog watches primarily legacy TV then that is his/their choice... it it may well suit him/them best. It is a personal preference. Our preference is widescreen. We are more than satisfied with our 55" widescreen HDTV on which we still watch a lot of 4:3 programming (over 50%). But I do expect that to change in the near future and we still have three legacy NTSC TVs in our house. -- Bruce
 

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bdenman


Amen bro!


hoog
 

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Dedicated movie room with front projection and 7.1 surround.
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Hoog,


I also agree that to each his own, but your statement, "Otherwise be prepared to be dissatisfied, unhappy,frustrated and just plan old p i s s e d at the lousy picture your gonna get on that fancy wide HD set AND just wait until your kids burn it n for you" was a little short sighted. I am neither dissatisfied, unhappy, frustrated or pissed off at the quality of the picture I get from my 16:9 TV when I watch 4:3 TV. I just too much of a generalization to assume that all off us with 16:9 TV are in some way dissatisfied. By the way, did you ever see how much gets cut off when you watch a 2.35:1 movie in pan&scan? I guess I find that just as annoying as you find the stretching.


Rob
 

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Hey Rob!


My previous posts stated that I based my decision to get a 70" Mitsu analog set on the hundreds of posts placed by owners of HD and HD Wide AND many professionals who agree that MOST of the time a 4:3 analog does a noticeably better job on plain old vanilla pan and scan 4:3 tv (cable, sat, OTA, VHS, etc.) than the more advanced, sophistcated sets. And since that's the kind of tv I watch that's the kind of set I decided to get for now!


In no way am I attempting to criticize your set. In fact, I am very impressed with the performance of sets like yours and would buy one if I watched the type of tv that demands HD and HD Wide.


Further, I am glad and happy for you that you are having an acceptable 4:3 experience with your set because apparently the great majority of HD and HD Wide owners aren't and they are quite upset about it! I for one didn't want to chance that disappointment and frustration.


As to 2:35:1, I just don't watch it. My previous posts clearly stated that fact.....but I will when I purchase that front projector about which I also "talked" early on. Until then it's 4:3 for me!

hoog
 
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