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You guys are funny, thanks for the laughs!



I notice that WalMart is out of these things.


Are these likely to be phased out, and if I want one should I try to get one ASAP?


Just noticed some discussion about the paucity of this type of device and conjecture as to the reasons. (or maybe more than conjecture?)


Please advise!
 

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Ordered mine yesterday from Amazon (JR Music World) Thanks Wabjxo for all the research and help you supply.
 

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Discussion Starter #43



AUDIO LEVEL PROBLEMS

Jump To:
Excellent Notes on Digital Audio and DD5.1
DD5.1 and Our DVDRs
Low Audio on Analog/Digital Channels

Excellent Notes on Digital Audio and DD5.1

Click here for an excellent series of short notes on all things related to digital audio and DD5.1 (updated 5/10/10).

Go back to List. ...... Go to main list of help files.

DD5.1 on Our DVDRs

 
  1. DD5.1 will be compressed by this DVDR thru the tuner or line inputs to DD2.0, its default audio compression scheme. You will see all your recordings indicate Stereo in your HDTV display. (One of many articles for ref.)

     
  2. People with cable or sat STBs may be able to increase the audio output from their STBs to this DVDR by changing Audio Compression to Heavy. Play w/those settings to find the bext combo for recording.

     
  3. DD5.1 can be played from a commercial DVD thru the optical or digital coax output to a DD5.1-capable AV receiver if you select that input on your receiver.

     
  4. DD5.1 may be sent by OTA broadcast stations and received as DD5.1 thru an OTA antenna and passed thru the coax circuit to DD5.1-capable downstream components. Only SOME OTA programs actually carry DD5.1, so check the program bugs/info since this is something they might advertise in advance or as it's shown. Here's a thread on OTA stations that carry DD5.1.

     
  5. DD5.1 is carried by some cable companies in those programs that have it, as confirmed by Bodhi78 here.

     
  6. The HDTV is the final control over the HDMI circuit and the best place to start in troubleshooting DD5.1 problems. *Most* HDTVs won't process DD5.1 over HDMI but will over optical or coax digital. So, look to your TV first if you get no DD5.1 over HDMI on an OTA program that you KNOW carries DD5.1 audio.


    Here's an AVS Forum thread on a Monoprice HDMI switch that wasn't processing DD5.1. In that thread, "Weirdo" posted (03-08-10) that he knew of only one HDTV at that time that can process DD5.1 over HDMI:

    "The only time this switch will ever work as advertised is either:


    "(1) Your TV can accept DD or DTS 5.1 via HDMI and can send EDID info [see our EDID help file] to your HDMI source device like that. Your chance to get such TV is about 0% because I only heard about one such TV that is promised to come in the future.

    "Or

    "(2) Your HDMI source device can overwrite TV's EDID handshake info and send out DD or DTS 5.1 regardless. I know PS3 allows you to do that and some cable HD box (SA8300HD running SARA software) can do that as well.


    "Otherwise, you will only gettting PCM 2.0 from the switch's digital out.


    "For what it's worth, my relatively old LG 37LC2D will pass through 5.1 audio untouched from the HDMI input to the SPDIF output. It worked great, even with my older Monoprice 4x1 switch. I used it that way with both TiVo S3 and PS3. (which properly detected support for DD 5.1)."


    This was followed in the next post by RoboRay with this:

    "Exactly. There are TVs that will do this, although it's certainly not a common feature.


    "The last device in the HDMI audio chain (the TV, in this case) is in charge. It's a little silly to blame the switch for not passing audio formats that your TV specifically told the source device not to send out."

 

Go back to List. ...... Go to main list of help files.

Low Audio on Analog/Digital Channels

 
  • Update 9/9/10 - I noticed my 3575 has had louder audio on digital channels than my Vizio LCD. Before, digital audio was ALWAYs lower in volume. Inexplicable, but nice!


     
  • Update 11/13/11 - For viewing live TV thru this DVDR's tuner, you may get higher audio volume thru HDMI connection compared to the analog connections (W/R RCA). Recorded audio is a diff. story, as explained below.

     
  • Update 1/20/12 - I noticed the audio level thru my 3575 and 2160 attached to the same 47" LCD on the same network's analog and digital duplicates in my analog cable feed is lower on the digital channels and EVEN LOWER on the analog channels.

 

Lots of people in various threads and other forums have commented on "low sound" from digital channels compared to analog (except see Update 1/20/12 above).


With these DVDRs, you might experience lower audio from your TV's normal volume setting when VIEWING digital channels thru this DVDR's tuner. There should be NO difference when VIEWING analog channels.


You might also notice the same difference in your RECORDINGS... noticeably lower volume in RECORDINGS from digital channels, but no difference in RECORDINGS from analog channels.


The link given in the 1st section above has this note:


"3. DD5.1 channels are often 10-20 dB lower in sound level than DD2.0 channels. In general, all DD broadcasts vary a lot more than analogue broadcasts regarding sound levels."


And it's not just the "channels" that cause this but the program's audio production std... if DD5.1 is embedded in the program, that's prob. what gets broadcast, so audio volume will be lower no matter what channel the program appears on.


This is apparently a known condition since the ATSC has recently issued guidelines for maximizing the audio experience with digital broadcast and reception:

 
ATSC Sets DTV Audio Loudness Guidelines


By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 11/6/2009


Washington - The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) said Thursday it has approved a recommended practice for establishing and maintaining audio loudness for digital television.

I've tried all sorts of settings that I thought might be "wrong" but there is NO setting in this DVDR to help the audio on HDD titles that were produced with sucky sound and broadcast on digital channels.

Tips:

1. Check Channel > TV Audio Select and make sure it's set for STEREO and NOT for SAP.

2. Change Playback > Disc Audio > Dynamic Range Control from its default ON to OFF but don't count on it being the answer.


People with cable or sat STBs may be able to increase the audio output from their STBs by changing Audio Compression to Heavy. Diff. boxes have other options so try all their audio output/compression options.

From a recent RECORDING of mine, I found that, sometimes, the audio difference can be embedded in the program PRODUCTION or BROADCAST itself!


Our TV's "normal" audio setting is ~1/4 way up, but for many recordings from digital channels, we have to increase this to ~1/2 way or higher.


We just watched back-to-back shows on our digital CBS-HD channel, recorded with our 3575: first was "CSI" folllowed by "Eleventh Hour," same night.


We had our TV audio at its usual "beefed-up" 1/2-way point for playback of the 1st show, CSI, then when Eleventh Hour started with a car-truck chase, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE... woke me from my CSI slumber! Had to turn TV audio DOWN to slightly less-than-normal TV-watching level (below 1/4-point) for the entire 2nd show... it wasn't just the opening car-truck chase!


Another example in a RECORDING on 5/6/09: American Idol on Fox-HD followed by Fringe, both in one timer recording. Idol played back on TV's normal audio setting, but Fringe audio immediately after Idol was low, as described above.


This may have something to do with the DD5.1 programs being 10-20dB lower in volume than stereo, as mentioned above. Another possibility is from "Pixelated" on an Australian forum who said, "... it's an ac3 [HD] versus mpeg [SD] audio problem.... This has long been an issue with ac3 being soft, gateway even released an 'ac3volup' patch for the solo laptop I had, to boost the audio level when playing a dvd movie on the laptop."

AVS Member TomCat gives an opposing or "clarifying" view here.

Here's an excellent post by TVOD on TV audio from analog to digital that explains some of the background and technical details of what's going on in the area of broadcast TV audio... sort of long, but very interesting.

Go back to List. ...... Go to main list of help files.

 

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Since you're going to all this effort wabjxo, how are you coming on stepping through all 999 possible Skip-1-2-3 codes to see what they do?
 

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Discussion Starter #45

Quote:
Originally Posted by amesdp /forum/post/12360140


Since you're going to all this effort wabjxo, how are you coming on stepping through all 999 possible Skip-1-2-3 codes to see what they do?

Trouble? What trouble! It's been a pure pleasure up to this point.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo /forum/post/12358075


You know in Electronic gadgetry that, soon after the Consumer Electronics Show in Jan, there'll be some new and exciting stuff become available.


If there are any new HDD recorders, they'll have 2nd gen. tuners and who knows what other goodies. I don't think the MPAA and Hollywood will allow removeable/swappable HDDs in consumer recorders in the U.S., but Panasonic will be introducing a 32 GB Memory Card (flash drive), currently marketed for camcorders but this would be ideal for recorders some day... maybe!?


Anyway, you can wait for the announcements soon and then decide. I don't think the HDD market will go completely dead and you may find something you like better. If you need/want something now, Circuit City online seems to always have a supply, and Parisis just ordered from Amazon/J&R Music World, a good online dealer.

I am not too tech savvy and I basically just want an optimal combination of ease of use and reasonable quality. In reading the various threads I am amazed at how complicated it can be and the scary part is the problems people post about -- stuff going haywire when they plug two devices together! !



So far my new Panny Plasma is working fine (knock on wood) and I will order Hi Def DVR from Cox Cable, sure it would be nice if I could drop a few hundred more bucks and easily plug in a machine that could save the stuff I really like. That's about the extent of my aspirations!


Thanks again for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter #49

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzdocxx /forum/post/12364798


I am not too tech savvy and I basically just want an optimal combination of ease of use and reasonable quality. In reading the various threads I am amazed at how complicated it can be and the scary part is the problems people post about -- stuff going haywire when they plug two devices together! !



So far my new Panny Plasma is working fine (knock on wood) and I will order Hi Def DVR from Cox Cable, sure it would be nice if I could drop a few hundred more bucks and easily plug in a machine that could save the stuff I really like. That's about the extent of my aspirations!


Thanks again for your input!

With your needs and desires, the 3575 would be ideal. The only problem might come from getting stuff off a cableco DVR. Some copy-protect everything, others not so much, maybe only HBO and PPV stuff? Only way to know for you is to ask someone else with same service, or buy 3575 and see what you can tune with it... anything in the clear that the 3575 can tune it can record. And anything they don't copy-protect you can record from the DVR. As a very minimum, that should be your local channels (SD and HD) and other std, non-premium stuff.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo /forum/post/12355769


Whoa, nelly! I don't think you're a good candidate for joining the ranks of the SDTV 3575 peons, after all! The 3575 is far away from your current equipment. I hope you aren't "disappointed" like the HD seekers! Do you even remember what a recorded show title looked like on your old VCR? If you do, welcome back!

Ha ha. Sure I do. It looked great! Until I saw a DVD recording.



Now I wonder how I tolerated all the smearing and bad color. Actually, I still have a couple of VCR's, but not much used these days. My HDTV is only a 32" model - and I watch mostly SD stuff (ReplayTV is all SD) and DVD's and such, almost no real HD (well, I got one of those $99 Toshiba A2 HD-DVD players on sale, so maybe that will change soon.). Luckily, my TV upscales things pretty well so I get a pretty good picture even with SD stuff.


But I am not one of those who inspects the screen with a magnifying glass looking for macro blocks. I'm OK with SD. I sit 10-12 feet away so it wouldn't matter much anyway. (OK, I do watch some HD content and it is a step up, it's just that SD DVD quality is more than good enough for me.)


So, please, let me back in. It's cold out here.
 

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Well the recorder does a good job capturing whatever HD detail it is fed and preserving it to disc. Right now, I've got this unit connected to a sony xbr970 which IMO is what every plasma and lcd is attempting to reach someday in terms of PQ (I also have a Sammie 50" plasma). Playback from HDD is nearly indistinguishable from live HD feed.


Fortunately, I hit the pause button just after halftime of the Bears/Broncos game on Sunday, since I had to make dinner for the kids. Wow, what a treat! Playback from HDD is just a bit "softer" than live NBC HD feed of the game. I chase played the remainder of the game and flipped back and forth just a couple of times (without spoiling the outcome) to compare. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the quality of the scaler in the Sony (using component so letting the TV uprez). But at least the recorder is giving the TV something to work with.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo /forum/post/12364923


With your needs and desires, the 3575 would be ideal. The only problem might come from getting stuff off a cableco DVR. Some copy-protect everything, others not so much, maybe only HBO and PPV stuff? Only way to know for you is to ask someone else with same service, or buy 3575 and see what you can tune with it... anything in the clear that the 3575 can tune it can record. And anything they don't copy-protect you can record from the DVR. As a very minimum, that should be your local channels (SD and HD) and other std, non-premium stuff.

Once again Waxjob, thanks for your advice.


Yes that copy protection thing is an example of the type of unexpected complications I am reading about. Somebody mentioned a $100 thingy you can put on there to overcome that, maybe that doesn't work all the time either. I bought one of those MacroVision filters on ebay a couple of years ago with the idea of burning DVDs of some old VHS tapes. Then I never did get around to it, but I still have that thing.


There is one great video store in San Diego, that has thousands and thousands of old classic and foreign movies, many of which are on VHS. I hear the Netflix selection is pretty good but I am going to keep my VHS player just in case! ! !

 

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Discussion Starter #53

Quote:
Originally Posted by bron /forum/post/12366276


Ha ha. Sure I do. It looked great! Until I saw a DVD recording.



Now I wonder how I tolerated all the smearing and bad color. Actually, I still have a couple of VCR's, but not much used these days. My HDTV is only a 32" model - and I watch mostly SD stuff (ReplayTV is all SD) and DVD's and such, almost no real HD (well, I got one of those $99 Toshiba A2 HD-DVD players on sale, so maybe that will change soon.). Luckily, my TV upscales things pretty well so I get a pretty good picture even with SD stuff.


But I am not one of those who inspects the screen with a magnifying glass looking for macro blocks. I'm OK with SD. I sit 10-12 feet away so it wouldn't matter much anyway. (OK, I do watch some HD content and it is a step up, it's just that SD DVD quality is more than good enough for me.)


So, please, let me back in. It's cold out here.

Well, OK! Sounds like you're peon material after all!



With goldenear's report on the live HD comparison, which is as expected, you'll probably be as happy as us SDTV peons can be even IF you do decide to become a HD snob with a pixel microscope!?
 

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Discussion Starter #54

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenear /forum/post/12366558


Well the recorder does a good job capturing whatever HD detail it is fed and preserving it to disc. Right now, I've got this unit connected to a sony xbr970 which IMO is what every plasma and lcd is attempting to reach someday in terms of PQ (I also have a Sammie 50" plasma). Playback from HDD is nearly indistinguishable from live HD feed.


Fortunately, I hit the pause button just after halftime of the Bears/Broncos game on Sunday, since I had to make dinner for the kids. Wow, what a treat! Playback from HDD is just a bit "softer" than live NBC HD feed of the game. I chase played the remainder of the game and flipped back and forth just a couple of times (without spoiling the outcome) to compare. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with the quality of the scaler in the Sony (using component so letting the TV uprez). But at least the recorder is giving the TV something to work with.

Thanks much for your report and comparison to live HD. I'm glad you're not "disappointed" in the difference like some poeple in this forum and some national reviewers. What you report sounds dead on for a HDTV/SDTV comparison.


Two questions:


1. Does the ANT/RF passthru pass your HDTV signal thru without downrezzing?


2. Do you have PPV or other service that requires 2-way communication to your service provider? I'm looking for a report on whether the RF passthru is bi-directional or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #55

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzdocxx /forum/post/12366733


Once again Waxjob, thanks for your advice.


Yes that copy protection thing is an example of the type of unexpected complications I am reading about. Somebody mentioned a $100 thingy you can put on there to overcome that, maybe that doesn't work all the time either. I bought one of those MacroVision filters on ebay a couple of years ago with the idea of burning DVDs of some old VHS tapes. Then I never did get around to it, but I still have that thing.


There is one great video store in San Diego, that has thousands and thousands of old classic and foreign movies, many of which are on VHS. I hear the Netflix selection is pretty good but I am going to keep my VHS player just in case! ! !


If you've got a "thingy" that might be what you need for assurance. Even if your old thingy doesn't work, there are others, as you noted. With the recent spate of filings with the International Trade Commission (ITC), NOW might be the time to get a 3575?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzdocxx /forum/post/12366733


Once again Waxjob, thanks for your advice.


...


There is one great video store in San Diego, that has thousands and thousands of old classic and foreign movies, many of which are on VHS. I hear the Netflix selection is pretty good but I am going to keep my VHS player just in case! ! !


Yes, Netflix has a great selection and great (very fast) service. My DVD's are usually here in 2 days after I return one (i.e. 3-4 days total turnaround, pretty amazing). When I was "pressing" to see how many I could get in a month I was able to get 2/week (i.e. 8 per month). But after that, I relaxed and settled down to 2 per month (and cut my plan back). I use it mostly for hard to find stuff you don't see OTA or on cable. Their web site is superb and it's very hard to browse and not find your queue a mile long afterwards.



P.S. (Thanks, Wabjxo! Nice and warm now.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo /forum/post/12367658


Two questions:


1. Does the ANT/RF passthru pass your HDTV signal thru without downrezzing?


2. Do you have PPV or other service that requires 2-way communication to your service provider? I'm looking for a report on whether the RF passthru is bi-directional or not.

1. yes, just as you said it would, lol.

2. sorry, no I don't use PPV or VOD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wabjxo /forum/post/12352281

DVDR3575 BASIC FEATURES

The manual is here. The Philips Support site is here. [Comments in brackets added by wabjxo.]




Even if you choose DVD-RW/-R, these discs will automatically be recorded in the DVD+VR mode. [Compatible with std DVD-Video for universal playback.]




What does this mean? I have lots of blank DVD-R's.Is it exactly like using a DVD-R recorder? Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #59

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavy Mettle /forum/post/12371847


What does this mean? I have lots of blank DVD-R's.Is it exactly like using a DVD-R recorder? Thanks in advance.

Yes, you can record on any DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW blank disc w/o any special intitializing or formatting, and the recording will be univerally playable like any other DVD. The Philips recording mode is based on +VR standard, which Wiki describes as "...a logical format for DVD-Video compliant recording on optical discs."


Any discs you currently have will be recordable in the 3575 except -RAM and dual layer (DL).
 

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Discussion Starter #60



HDTV Passthru and Aspect Ratio... Converters/CP Strippers

Jump To:
HDTV Passthru
Widescreen Rant and Answer to "4:3" Recording Half-Truth in Manual
16:9 Widescreen - A New World of "Aspect Ratios"
How To Set Your DVDR for 16:9 Widescreen Recording
For Users of Cable/Sat Set-Top Box (STB)
Converters to Preserve 16:9 WS from STB/DVR Component/HDMI Out & Strip CP

HDTV Passthru


This DVDR has an active (amplified) RF/coax passthru that is, internally, separate from the tuner. The coax in/out loop delivers and slightly amplifies whatever signal is fed in, including hi-def TV (HDTV) in its native,full-screen form, directly to your TV and other downstream components, even when this DVDR is off.


NOTHING internal from this DVDR (menus, channels, HDD titles, DVDs) is sent thru the coax.


On a separate internal path, the incoming RF/coax signal is slightly amplified and fed to this DVDR's std def. (SDTV) tuner. This allows you to watch your normal HD on your TV AND record on this DVDR at the same time.


However, this DVDR... and ALL SDTV DVD recorders in North America... downrezzes the HDTV signal path that goes thru its tuner or line inputs so it can record in 480i as required by the SDTV DVD-Video standard. For watching DVDR channels or recordings on your TV, the downrezzed signal can be converted to 480p thru Component and HDMI, or converted and uprezzed to 720p, 1080i or 1080p thru HDMI, if desired.

Go back to List. ...... Go to main list of help files.

Widescreen Rant and Answer to "4:3" Recording Half-Truth in Manual


[Begin Rant ... Skip Rant ] You'll hear all sorts of opinions on WS but, just remember, EVERYBODY HAS ONE!



I've read LOTS of stuff on widescreen and aspects and I've yet to read anything that's SIMPLE. I've also read LOTS of posts in AVS trying to explain this crap. Some of them argue that our std def resolutions of 352x480 and 720x480 define the dimensions of our recorded pics. Others try to correlate the pixel ratio to 4:3 or 16:9 Display Aspect. It's neither and it's not that simple!


For our DVDR purposes, this Wiki article on Aspect Ratio explains the distinctions and even formulas (
) between Display Aspect Ratio (DAR, 4:3 or 16:9), Stored Aspect Ratio (SAR, 720x480 & others), and Pixel Aspect Ratio (PAR, square/non-square), which have to fit within the 4:3 frame required by the DVD Standard. Repeat: the 4:3 frame REQUIRED by the DVD Std.

This Wiki article on "anamorphic" WS helps explain: (1) why our DVDRs must record all content "as 4:3" (DVD std is based on VHS std which is 4:3), and (2) how a combination of square/non-square pixels, variable horiz. rez, compression and decompression allowed by the DVD std are the "keys to enlightenment" since they explain how our DVDRs can fill a 4:3 frame with non-square (rectangular) pixels, allowing our HDTV's aspect control to stretch the 4:3 frame to glorious 16:9 WS.


And what is "anamorphic" you say? More technical crap but, in the simplest of terms, it means "squeezing and stretching." This is how our std def recorders fit a WS show into their 4:3 aspect frame. Based on anamorphic data in the video stream, our HDTV's have the OPTION to stretch that recording into a natural 16:9 image with true 16:9 pixel aspect. Another OPTION is to letterbox the recording when played back for proper aspect on a 4:3 TV. However, these DVDRs, and many others in N.A., DO NOT GIVE US THE ANAMORPHIC DISPLAY OPTION!


So, once you record digital 16:9 WS shows with these DVDRs, at any rec mode, they will always be sent to your TV in 16:9 full-screen Display Aspect, and you can only MIS-shape them by playing them to a 4:3 TV (squeezing the pic horizontally) or changing the TV's aspect from its required "Wide" 16:9 format to any of its other formats or "viewing modes" like "Normal" or 4:3... which, by the way, should NOT be anything with the word "native" in it since "native" for DVD is a 4:3 frame as explained above!


If you've stuck with me thus far, you need to know that the discussion below is just about RESULTS that I personally see in my daily recordings and specific WS tests. I don't care if this DVDR sets an American, Chinese or Kyrgyzstanian flag in WS recordings! I'll leave the technical details to others cuz IDGAS!


As long as this DVDR records both digital WS and analog 4:3 shows in a way that preserves their natural shapes on the HDD and in DVDs and displays them NICELY on 16:9 and 4:3 TVs FROM DIFFERENT PLAYERS, IRDGAS!!


Also, there are MANY set-top boxes (STB) that will NOT send a WS signal thru their Composite or S-Video outputs, so there's no way to get that signal to this DVDR in WS format w/o an intermediary filter/converter... and it's NOT cuz this DVDR can't record WS!


And, did I mention, IRRDGAS!!! [End Rant]

Go back to List. ...... Go to main list of help files.

16:9 Widescreen - A New World of "Aspect Ratios"

 
Bottom Line: Set this DVDR's "TV Aspect" for 16:9 Wide for ALL your recordings, no matter which type of TV you have now. Prevents that "pissed-off" feeling if you don't have a 16:9 HDTV now but get one later!!!
To all old VCR users and analog cable TV subscribers like me: Welcome to the brave, but wild, new world of WS TV! You're in for a treat... a trick, cuz your TV-watching-recording life just got more complicated!



There are many signal and aspect-ratio combinations this DVDR can display and record with its NTSC and ATSC/QAM tuners: the old std 4:3 we're all familiar with, but now, with your new HDTV, you'll also see 4:3 pillarboxed (PB, black bar on each side), 4:3 letterboxed (LB, black bar top and bottom), 4:3 PB+LB ("postage-stamp"), and natural full-screen 16:9 WS. However, it all depends on the original production aspect used, your signal source (analog or digital), channel, station, service provider, type of TV you have for display, your Video > TV Aspect setting in this DVDR, AND finally the aspect (TV format) you've selected in your HDTV viewing settings... just a few things like that!


All ANALOG channels show only 4:3 formatted programs (with rare exceptions of simulcast analog/digital HD-produced news programs). ANALOG channels will be full-screen (FS) 4:3 on a 4:3 TV. A 16:9 TV will add PB bars if the TV is set for "Normal" but Wide, Pan or Zoom TV settings will spread the 4:3 pic to fill the screen (with some loss of PQ because the pixels are square!).

This DVDR's aspect setting has NO EFFECT whatsoever on ANALOG channels or your VHS tapes. They will ALWAYS record in 4:3 aspect... only a 16:9 TV can change the appearance/aspect of ANALOG channels and recordings from them.


On the other hand, DIGITAL channels can show programs produced in 4:3 AR AND 16:9 AR, but luckily, when a 4:3 program is broadcast on a DIGITAL channel, it comes prepackaged with PB sidebars necessary to display in its natural 4:3 aspect. Some combinations of DVDR and TV setting can produce a "postage stamp" in the center of the screen, with bars all around.

 
See this interesting and understandable post by a Fox TV engineer who describes how today's broadcast servers handle the aspect we see on our 4:3 and 16:9 TVs.This means, you can set your 16:9 TV for WIDE or STRETCHED, and the actual pic for both 4:3 and 16:9 WS programs ON DIGITAL CHANNELS will show in their natural AR, either full-screen 16:9 or as a 4:3 pic, nicely packaged with bars. (With this TV setting, shows on ANALOG channels will be stretched slightly.
With DIGITAL channels, this DVDR's TV Aspect setting DOES affect the AR of the pic. To avoid any AR problems with recordings from my DIGITAL channels, I record everything on 16:9 Wide and set my LCD HDTV for Wide, which stretches the pic on ANALOG recordings but displays WS DIGITAL recordings in their normal AR as they're broadcast. I almost NEVER record 4:3 programs, so occasional stretching is easily tolerated to assure seeing digital 16:9 WS in all its glory!

 

One extreme example of today's changing AR on a modern 16:9 HDTV set is "Idol" on Fox digital channel. On my 16:9 LCD TV set for Wide and DVDR set for 16:9 Wide, I just watched and recorded a local news break and lead-ins to the show in 4:3 PB, which led to several commercials alternating between PB and PB+LB, which led to the Idol show broadcast in 16:9 WS "Digital High Definition"... and back and forth for the next hour! It was a fascinating display of aspect ratio variations and, to a vidiot like me, almost a show in itself!

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How To Set Your DVDR for 16:9 Widescreen Recording

 
Bottom Line: Set this DVDR's "TV Aspect" for 16:9 Wide for ALL your recordings, no matter which type of TV you have now, to prevent that "pissed-off" feeling when you are forced to get a 16:9 WS TV.


Note: Because WS TVs also have an Aspect setting, I'll use "DVDR Aspect" when ref. to the 3575/3576/2160's "TV Aspect" setting, and "TV Aspect" when ref. to the TV's setting.
This DVDR WILL record WS programs on digital channels thru the tuner, line inputs (E1/L1, E2/L2), and DV input (E3/L3) if you set the DVDR Aspect to 16:9 Wide AND the source sends a WS signal. (See this report on recording WS from the E3 (DV) input on a 3575.)

The DEFAULT setting is 4:3 Letter Box. if you leave it there and later get a 16:9 TV, your current WS recordings will all be squished by LB bars so people will look wider than normal and circles will be flattened ovals... and you'll be royally pissed-off!?

Significantly, this DVDR's Aspect setting is in the Video menu, NOT the Playback menu like it is in some other DVDRs, incl. the Pio 53x/63x/640. This setting determines the pic format you VIEW AND RECORD from a digital channel or other WS source... i.e., YOU can control the recorded aspect! It also allows you to change a commercial WS movie's aspect to 4:3 Letter Box on playback if it has "Enhanced for Widescreen," "Anamorphic Widescreen" or similar notation on the case.

This DVDR's Aspect setting is extremely valuable for recording cuz it makes this DVDR a WYSIWYG machine: What You See Is What You Get. That is, you can SEE what pic format this DVDR will record FROM ANY SOURCE (TV, camera, STB, etc.) in advance by setting or changing its DVDR Aspect and viewing the pic being fed thru the DVDR to your WS TV.


I've noticed that sometimes a change in my 3575's Aspect setting doesn't "take"... the pic hangs on its last aspect and takes a 2nd or even 3rd try at toggling the checkmark to a new aspect setting. If working correctly, once you press the SETUP button to exit the aspect setting menu, the pic should "pop" into its new shape, i.e., you should see a change in aspect almost immediately, but again, only on a digital channel.

You can set your DVDR Aspect for 16:9 Wide for ALL your recordings, as I do, no matter which type of TV you have now.

Note: Some HDTV's won't properly upscale a 16:9 WS pic sent by this DVDR using HDMI set for 480p. If you can't seem to see or record WS pics thru this DVDR using HDMI, change the format with the HDMI button to all those available and see if your HDTV needs one or mote specific HDMI settings to show a true WS pic.


This DVDR doesn't set the "WS flag," which means its DVDs won't be "anamorphic WS" like commercial DVDs, which play perfectly on 16:9 TVs and can be changed to 4:3 LB when played to a 4:3 TV. HOWEVER, I've done many tests and regular daily recordings with my 3575 Aspect set for 16:9 Wide and played them to 16:9 and 4:3 TVs on DIFFERENT brands of players/recorders and, so far, ALL my recordings play back nicely and full-screen from my 3575, Pio 640 and Panny combo... WITHOUT THE "WS FLAG"!


More importantly, this DVDR's WS recordings dubbed to DVD discs will show true WS on virtually any other brand of player/recorder, unlike some -RAM machines that produce DVD±R discs that only play as WS in the same brand of machine.

Also, I simply cannot get the "tall & skinny" people that others report with their DVDRs when recording a natural 16:9 WS program on a digital channel. With the natural 16:9 WS programs I've recorded with DVDR Aspect set for 16:9 Wide, I can only detect a VERY SLIGHT squeeze when played back on a 3575, Pio 640 and Panny combo to a 4:3 TV... and that's only noticeable cuz I'm recording a WS channel with a circle logo (TNT)... people look OK.


I did see one odd-aspect program that produced a taller/skinnier image than I was used to, but it was NOT a natural 16:9 WS program... this might be what others are recording when they say they get grossly tall and skinny people on 4:3 TVs? A program on a WS digital channel with side bars (pillar bars), a "postage-stamp" pic with bars all around, or 2:35 movie could produce an odd-aspect WS recording that shows "funny" on any TV type.

 
One GOOD thing in the 4:3 vs 16:9 aspect area is that, since this DVDR can be set to RECORD a WS program with 4:3 LB bars, you can purposely record a WS program for someone else who really needs a 4:3 LB DVD, like Granny or Gramps! This is a unique capability cuz you can PRODUCE a recording with LB bars in place so it shows as LB on any TV. The only drawback is that the pic will be VERTICALLY squished on a 16:9 TV so everything will be wider/fatter... so, when you give the LB disc to a friend or relative, tell them you DON'T want it back!
 

The 16:9 Wide aspect setting doesn't affect analog 4:3 channels, so those record normally. However, if you have a 16:9 TV, you might be like me and run your TV always on its Wide setting. This gives me a slightly stretched pic from analog channels, WHICH LOWERS THE PQ SLIGHTLY (remember that when you or someone else is making PQ comparisons), but I fix that by putting my magnifying glass back in the drawer!


Obviously, you should do similar tests and determine for yourself what's right for your current system, future plans and "pixel sensitivity."


Just remember, to make natural 16:9 WS recordings from a digital channel thru the tuner or an external input, you have to set the DVDR Aspect for 16:9 Wide, and those programs will ONLY be on digital channels, never on analog channels. Also, some STBs won't send a WS signal thru Composite or S-Video outputs (which are the only input types North American DVDRs have today) without an external aspect-controlling device. (More on STBs in the next subject.)

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For Users of Cable/Sat Set-Top Box (STB)

 

Be aware of typical difference between "TV1" and "TV2" outputs on STBs: TV1 is for the unmodulated (raw) signal that a TV or DVDR can tune with its own tuner, and TV2 is a modulated signal that a TV/DVDR can receive and diplay/record only when set on ch. 3 or 4.

Many cable/sat STB/DVRs have HDMI, Component RGB, and Composite Yellow or S-Vid video outputs, with L/R audio out. All these boxes will output a true WS pic thru their HDMI and RGB connections, but many will letterbox the WS output from their Composite/S-Vid connections (i.e., add bars to reshape the pic for a 4:3 TV).. A "true WS" pic is one that's produced in WS and transmitted that way, not a 4:3 image stretched by your TV, some of which can look "pretty good"... except for the long noses!



In addition, your DVDR can only record signals it receives thru a line input (L1/E1, L2/E2) if those signals are in 480i (interlaced) format. Some devices auto-convert a signal to 480i if sent thru a Composite/S-Vid output, and some have to be SET to do that.


You can check your STB/DVR by connecting it directly to your TV with Composite Yellow or S-Video video cable and seeing what it delivers to the TV when the TV is set to its "Wide" setting (name depends on TV). If your STB/DVR has settings for output format, try it with and without changing that setting to 480i.


IF your STB/DVR outputs true WS thru Composite Yellow or S-Video, with or without a 480i setting, you're good to go! You can set it to deliver that pic to your DVDR and the recorded image will be in true 16:9 WS aspect ratio, assuming you also set your DVDR for "16:9 Wide" in the Video > TV Aspect menu and your TV on its "Wide" setting.


IF your STB/DVR does NOT output true WS thru Composite Yellow or S-Vid, you'll need either a diff. STB/DVR or a HDMI-to-Composite/S-Video or Component-to-Composite/S-Video Converter... some are listed here.


Here's a table of some STB/DVRs that either WILL or WON'T send a recordable WS signal thru their Composite or S-Video outputs:

(although I've asked for help many times and places in populating this chart, I can count the help I got on two fingers)

 
WILLWON'T
SA8300HD SARA ( see instructions here )SA3250HD/HDC Nav, SA8300HDC Nav/PP
DirecTV H/HR¹ 20/21/22/23/24 various mfgrs   DirecTV HR10²
ATT U-verse VIP-1220/1225 (Motorola)All other Motorolas
Dish VIP622/722/922³ mfg by EchostarDish VIP211
FIOS 7232* 
¹H is STB-only, HR is STB/DVR, all with settable aspects.

²Discontinued, but one user noted WS anamorphic output over comp./S-vid.

³All outputs active and usable on 722 (others?). See this post.

* One FIOS user reports intermittent op.

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Converters to Preserve 16:9 WS from STB/DVR Component/HDMI Out & Strip CP


IF YOUR STB/DVR WON'T send 16:9 WS thru its Composite or S-Video output to your DVDR, and you can't get a diff. STB/DVR that does, you may be able to use one of the converters listed below. These will also remove copy protection. They're not for VHS-to-DVD copying since they don't have Composite YWR or S-Video inputs; See this help file for two units made for VCR/VHS copying (DP-X7000 and MCM).

 
  1. $46 HDMI-to-Composite/S-Video Converter ... More info here.

    I have one of these and it does an even nicer job copying comm. DVDs compared to the Monoprice Component converter, #2 below. I see only a very slight fuzzy edge on the opening credit text, as reported here. It also has an NTSC/PAL switch, preserves WS, and strips CP and CC. This converter can also future-proof you for the "analog sunset" when new devices will be all-digital with only HDMI outputs, no analog (Composite YWR, S-Video, Component RGB). In the future, your old recorders with analog-only inputs won't work anymore for copying/recording from an all-digital DVD/BRD player or cable/sat box. This has always been the end-game: to allow you to VIEW but prevent you from RECORDING... "fair use" was an old, 20th Century idea!


    Beware of COUNTERFEIT converters for the HDMI and Component converters (#1 & 2), which are NOT the original Lenkeng product. Here's a news release by Lenkeng discussing such counterfeiting. Since there are SO MANY sellers of these converters, I linked only to Monoprice, which is one of AVS's most respected sponsors of our AV cables and accessories.

     
  2. $43 Component-to-Composite/S-Video Converter ... More info here.

    I also have one of these and it does a nice job copying comm. DVDs, with only a slight PQ degradation in the copy, as reported here. Garyjo used it in copying Bluray discs, as reported here. It has an NTSC/PAL switch, preserves WS, and strips CP and CC.

     
  3. $119 Apple TV Converter.

    Nextoo tested this device that can take your STB's WS Component (RGB) output and convert it to a WS S-Video output for recording in this DVDR. As a bonus, it also strips CP (see posts 3,4,5 here) and it costs much less than single-purpose "video filters." HOWEVER, read Nextoo's comment here about having to switch your STB to 480i output for the Apple TV Converter but NOT for the Ambery, mentioned next.

     
  4. $198 Ambery Converter.

    Sorry, don't know anything useful about this converter, except the sale page mentions that it allows HD bypass as well as simultaneous downconversion of the HD signal to SD 480i for the recorder. One AVS member may have provided a theoretical argument for this more expensive Ambery (he didn't have the unit yet): not having to set his STB for 480i output just to send it to his DVDR! This is important for timer recording while away from home. Just be sure you test for this before purchasing a converter by connecting directly to your TV and sending a WS program to it thru Composite or S-Video with the STB set for 480i output.

     
  5. ~$80 Polaroid DRM-2001G HDD-DVDR.

    This 2003 model DVDR has Component input, a rarity, and it outputs WS via Comp./S-Vid, plus it strips copy-protection. Some people use this as a passthru converter to their more capable recorders. See Nextoo's latest update post with some key info on specific Polaroid models and how some pass thru WS even when off and don't require a 480i source.

 

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