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I had a chance to see the next Dish 6000 software update which is now in early beta. I believe this is going to be a great update from what I saw. There are three main features to this update that I'm aware of.


1. The scan feature has been implemented.


2. 4:3 support has been implemented. In the HDTV setup menu, you'll be able to select 16:9, 4:3 with vertical compression and 4:3 without vertical compression. I saw the update on a 16:9 set so I can't comment on how the 4:3 options work, but presumably this should solve the distortions that 4:3 set owners have had to deal with.


3. Aspect mode control has been implemented for 720p/1080i signals. I find this feature to be very exciting. Up to now, HDTVs and STBs dealing with a 720p or 1080i signals had no control over the display of the material whether it was widescreen or 4:3. With this update, the aspect modes we've had with 480 signals (stretch, normal, zoom, etc) will be available for 720p and 1080i signals with a 16:9 set or a 4:3 set with vertical compression. I believe that there will be different options that are appropriate for 4:3 sets without vertical compression.


So what's the real significance of this? Well, with OTA stations or HBO's or Showtime's HD channel broadcasting 4:3 material at 720p or 1080i, we'll be able to stretch the image if we don't want to see the side bars. For those who object to seeing top and bottom black bars with 2.35 movies from Showtime or earlier HBO transfers, you can effectively do what HBO is now doing to 2.35 movies by zooming them to eliminate the top and bottom bars. You will of course lose some side information as a consequence of zooming, but that's what is happening when HBO converts a Panavision 2.35 movie to 1.85 by zooming or pan and scanning or if they pan and scan a Super 35 2.35 movie instead of opening up the mattes.


I see this as a wonderful move on Dish's part to put complete aspect control for 720p and 1080i signals (regardless of the content) into the hands of the users. This is what should have been implemented in HDTVs from the first day an HDTV hit the market. If all the STBs had this feature, there would be NO need for HBO or anyone else to convert 2.35 movies to 1.85 to fill the screen. This would satisfy everyone--those who want OAR and those who don't mind zooming 2.35 movies to eliminate top and bottom bars. BTW, the quality of the zoomed 2.35 HD movie I saw looked very good. Having this capability should also mean that our local stations broadcasting DTV OTA should no longer be zooming their content or creating bizarre 14:9 images with thin side bars for their 4:3 content. Let them broadcast 4:3 content as 4:3 and we can do what we want with the aspect ratio with our STB.


Before you ask, I have NO idea when this update will be released to us. The full aspect control over 720p/1080i signals is what I have been waiting to see implemented in a STB or HDTV for a very long time, and as far as I know, Echostar is the first to do this.


Jerry



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(The original Jerry G, not the new member named Jerry_G)
 

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Jerry,


Great news. Although HD is pixel based, there is no reason a transform should be able to be applied to HD frames, though I assume the transform will not be as clear in "blow up" mode. I don't know if this will be enough to get OTA broadcasters out of crazy stretch/squish or 14x9 modes.


I think if the 6000 had ability to do OTA w/o sat & OpenTV is would be THE STB solution.


Tim
 

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rudolpht, you stated:

"I think if the 6000 had ability to do OTA w/o sat & OpenTV is would be THE STB solution."


Please elaborate. Will this unit's OTA functions (with module, of course) operate in the absence of a successful satellite hookup? If I later choose to switch to DTV or digital cable, can I still use the unit for OTA HD reception without an active subscription?


And, to really confirm my rookie status, what is OpenTV?

 

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Joey,

At the VERY top of every page at this forum is a "Search Forums" button ... search "OpenTV" in forum HDTV Hardware and you will get lots of info on the subject!


Bernie
 

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Exciting news Jerry! Other than upgrading the EPG, the aspect ratio control for 1080i is my single most wanted feature.

Quote:
... our local stations broadcasting DTV OTA should no longer be zooming their content or creating bizarre 14:9 images with thin side bars for their 4:3 content. Let them broadcast 4:3 content as 4:3 and we can do what we want with the aspect ratio with our STB.
Well, if they did broadcast 4:3 in 480i mode (SD), we wouldn't even need this new feature. There are modes in the DTV standards to handle all types of broadcast material - why don't the broadcasters use them properly? A few do (KCAL and KTTV in the LA area). Is it just so they can claim they're broadcasting 'HD', even if it's only upcast?


Dave
 

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At the top of my list would be fixing operational problems with the existing hardware (real bugs), not just adding features (even if they should have been there all along.)


I'm talking about a 6000 receiver that locks up when trying to tune a DTV station before the rotor has been moved to a new heading, or one that locks up if left on a DTV station overnight. Am I the only one having these problems? I seem to recall others having this "feature" but maybe they just got used to it.
 

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HD Ken,

I've had my 6000 for 2 months now and have not experienced a single lockup. When the locals decide to change their PSIP info, the 6000 appears to lockup for about 30 seconds because it is confused and can't lock on the channel, but then it reassigns itself to the appropriate channel and is ok. This really bugs me because it screws up my timers if the channel changes assignments during the week.


When I leave mine on a DTV OTA overnight(sometimes only 5 minutes), as soon as I try to change channels I get the dreaded "Acquiring Sat Signal" screen that can take up to a minute to go away.


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Ken,


Your not the only one. I have experienced those exact same problems too. I really wish they would fix them.


Cris
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Joey_R:
Will this unit's OTA functions (with module, of course) operate in the absence of a successful satellite hookup? If I later choose to switch to DTV or digital cable, can I still use the unit for OTA HD reception without an active subscription?
Currently you cannot use the 6000 as just an OTA STB without an active subscription.


OpenTV is an aesthetically better, more "modern" EPG on newer Dish receivers. It provides some new features and the ability to support interactive applications, but is mostly just a better looking guide at this stage.


Tim


BTW I get the OTA acquiring signal message still too, very exasperating.

 

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Quote:
OpenTV is an aesthetically better, more "modern" EPG on newer Dish receivers. It provides some new features and the ability to support interactive applications, but is mostly just a better looking guide at this stage.
You forgot one major detail! OpenTV is MUCH, MUCH FASTER then the crappy guide currently available!


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Quote:
Originally posted by HD Ken:
At the top of my list would be fixing operational problems with the existing hardware (real bugs), not just adding features (even if they should have been there all along.)


I'm talking about a 6000 receiver that locks up when trying to tune a DTV station before the rotor has been moved to a new heading, or one that locks up if left on a DTV station overnight. Am I the only one having these problems? I seem to recall others having this "feature" but maybe they just got used to it.
HD Ken

I experienced these also. But have not had aproblem since the last software upgrade. Check your version. If it is 690 instead of 691(I think?) you need to unplug your receiver and aceept the new software. That took care of my problem.


Jerry G

Great news. Unforunately the broadcasters will not react to a software revision incorporated by only one HDTV receiver. Maybe if more units offered this choice, they would stop sending us P&S.


baimo
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by baimo:


Jerry G

Great news. Unforunately the broadcasters will not react to a software revision incorporated by only one HDTV receiver. Maybe if more units offered this choice, they would stop sending us P&S.


baimo
Unfortunately, you're probably correct, baimo. I did however get one of our local OTA stations, KNBC, to go back to 4:3 for 4:3 source material.




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Am I nuts or aren't these features already implemented? I was having problems with my box on Sunday on my 16:9 TV and when I went into setup I noticed it was set to 4:3 and there was a 16:9 option and another 4:3 option. I can also toggle through about 5 modes with the star button when in 1080i mode. I just hooked it up the night before so I assume it got the download overnight.
 

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Jerry,

As always, thanks for the update. Glad to see that my considerable investment in Dish is paying off.

Quote:
or if they pan and scan a Super 35 2.35 movie instead of opening up the mattes.
This leads me to wonder: if HBO-HD were to show the full non-anamorphic 4:3 frame of Super 35mm productions, by allowing us with 16X9 displays to zoom in to fill the sides, would we not end up with the same aspect as shown in theaters? This might be a case where we have WIN-WIN for folks with 4:3 sets as well as 16:9 sets.



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I knew I wasn't nuts. I just got home and checked my 6000 setup screen and there are options for 16:9, 4:3 w/vertical compression and 4:3 w/out vertical compression. The viewing modes in 1081i (blue light on, HD movie shown through component inputs) are:

16:9 & 4:3 w/compression

Normal

Stretch

Partial Zoom

Full Zoom

Gray Bar


4:3 w/out vert compression

Stretch

Letterbox

Gray Bar


Being an OAR kind of guy I probably won't use anything but normal but it's still nice to have them.

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Moore:
there are options for 16:9, 4:3 w/vertical compression and 4:3 w/out vertical compression.
What version are you having? I do not know I have those options.
Quote:


The viewing modes in 1081i are:

16:9 & 4:3 w/compression

Normal

Stretch

Partial Zoom

Full Zoom

Gray Bar
I believe Dave means you do have those options when you are watching original 480i material, maybe all 4:3 programs I am not sure, but not for original 720p or 1080i.



[This message has been edited by jim209 (edited 03-27-2001).]


[This message has been edited by jim209 (edited 03-27-2001).]
 

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Scott,

Sorry to doubt you previously dude. So what HD program/channel were you watching? I'm sure you know this, but just in case, 'blue light' doesn't necessarily mean the program you're watching is HD. Please share your software version with us ('System Info' under 'Install' menu).


Thanks,

Dave



[This message has been edited by davestill (edited 03-27-2001).]
 

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I'm watching "Crazy in Alabama" right now. I thought that the blue light meant the receiver was in 1081i output mode no matter what was playing. I don't have any outputs except component cables hooked up right now so I can't watch anything in 480i mode. What is the most current software version right now? I'm not sure which number I'm looking for.
 

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Scott,

What channel are you watching 'Crazy..' on? (Apropos title maybe... http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/icons/icon12.gif ?)


The latest software version, which was released last month is 691PCNAD-N. Click Menu-Install-System Info and look for 'software revision'. The blue light just means the box is outputing 1080i mode - it tells you nothing about the program. If you're watching 480i material, the blue light will still be on, and the 6000 is upcasting the program to 1080i, and the aspect ratio control will work. The issue we're talking about is that, up to now, aspect ratio control was disabled for true HD material.


Dave


[This message has been edited by davestill (edited 03-27-2001).]
 
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