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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 5 month old KV36HS510. I recently got a Zenith OTA HDTV STB from CC just to see what HD looks like before investing the bucks in a HD-TiVo. When I watch CBS (from NYC), and as an example David Letterman, it comes in as nice sharp but very SMALL (27" diag) square picture in the middle of my nice BIG 36" diag screen (I assume this is a 480i broadcast). VERY annoying for an expensive "HDTV" set. If that's the way it's going to be I'm not going to be a happy HDTV'er. I was looking for some sort of "zoom" feature in the menus but it obviously isn't there. I can understand the 16:9 1080i being letterboxed but why should 4:3 480 be "shrunk" to a small square in the center of the screen rather then expanded to full screen ?


The Zenith STB I have does NOT have DVI OUT but the TV is DVI capable so I'm using component input. I'm wondering (hoping) if using DVI would fix that problem.


I know I can also use composite, but my intent is to get a HD-TiVo and recording this "small" image just seems a waste. I also think FOX has this same issue.


Please, no "you shudda got a widescreen set" ..... I couldn't for MANY ($$$$) reasons ...


Is this "small square" normal for a 4:3 tube based HDTV set ?


Thanks.
 

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That was a non-HD program so they windowbox the 4:3 SD image in the 16:9 frame. HDTV channels broadcast always with the standard HD 16:9 aspect ratio and you are using a 4:3 set thats your problem. For HDTV you really should get a true 16:9 WIDESCREEN HDTV. You can watch non-HD programs on the regular channels for your old 4:3 full frame image. You should blame the incorrect choice of a 4:3 set when HDTV is 16:9 as the fault.
 

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MisterEd,


You need to run an S-video cable (in addition to the component or DVI cable you are already using) from your STB to another input of the TV. Then when you are viewing a 4:3 program on an HD channel, switch to the other input on your TV. That should solve the problem, assuming you don't get too annoyed switching inputs! Oh...and you shouldn't HAVE to buy a widescreen TV! :eek:)
 

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If you do that you will be be downconverting to 480i format, lower quality. The 16:9 aspect ratio of all HDTV channels is designed for widescreen sets, you should have spent the small extra money for a true WIDESCREEN HDTV! Now you will pay for it forever until you upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The problem with your statement is that ALL HD channels do not broadcast exclusively in 1080i HD (CBS, FOX). If the station is broadcasting in 1080i then my 4:3 set handles it just fine. While it is letterboxed that is not a big deal because the HEIGHT of the screen is larger then a 16:9 screen so I would expect that. The 1080i letterboxed shows are just fine, the problem is when a 4:3 show is broadcast (Letterman for example) on a HD signal. Even on a widescreen, unless you stretch or zoom it it will still be a square in the middle of the screen. At this time, I PREFER a 4:3 set because the vast majority of shows on TV are still broadcast that way. 2-4 years from now it may be different, so I'll buy a new set. Right now, I rarely watch DVDs and the 1080i shows are still in the minority.


My complaint, is that the Sony, when showing a show like Letterman, which is in 4:3 format anyway doesn't fill the screen. I have no issue with 1080i letterboxing.


Quote:
Originally posted by ThumperBoy
If you do that you will be be downconverting to 480i format, lower quality. The 16:9 aspect ratio of all HDTV channels is designed for widescreen sets, you should have spent the small extra money for a true WIDESCREEN HDTV! Now you will pay for it forever until you upgrade.
 

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The vast majority of primetime shows are in widescreen HDTV now. I'd say 90% of my viewing is HD. Once you get a true WIDESCREEN HDTV your viewing habits change. If you don't like the 4:3 upconverted programs on the HD channel, switch to the analog channel with the same channel for the 4:3 program and only watch the HD channel with true HD programming! Its not Sony's fault you expect HD channels to format for your 4:3 set, they are formatting it properly for the true WIDSCREEN HDTV sets. It was your choice to get a 4:3 set for HD, you have to live with the consequences of that decision.
 

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MisterEd:

Try to ignore the 'you should have bought widescreen!' responses ... I know they can be annoying ...


Yes, this is a 'typical' problem. It is usually caused by one of the following:


It's NOT a 480i broadcast. The TV station is taking a 4:3 SD source ... adding bars to the side ... upconverting to 1080i ... and broadcasting that. As far as your STB and TV are concerned ... it's a 1080i broadcast. Your STB / TV can't tell it's a 4:3 image with bars on the side. As far as your equipment is concerned ... it's a 16:9 HD image. Your STB sends the image on to your TV (4:3 with bars on the side to make 16:9) and your TV letterboxes that to give you bars on all four sides. If your TV/STB can't stretch / zoom HD in some way ... you're going to get that 'tiny' image with bars all around.


Note, most HD locals do the above, so this tends to be an issue for 4:3 TV owners


There are several workarounds for when your 'HD local' is doing this, including:

- Some digital locals atcually broadcast 480i on a second subchannel

- Most equipment allows for a downconversion of some type (480i component, SVideo, or Composite) ... resulting in a full 4:3 image on your set.

- There's always the analog locals ...


Which Zenith stb do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks ... the "you shuuda" folks always annoy me. :). If I always did "what I shudda" I'd be a millionaire right now. :D In any case, it a Zenith HDV420. This is only on loan :) to me from Circuit City. It's purpose was to see if my existing rooftop 25 year old "UHF-VHF" antenna with elements blowing in the wind would receive HD. The good news was that since I am ~15mi SE of NYC it works flawlessly with a full signal on ALL the OTA networks. My intent is to get a HD-TiVo. Since reading up on the TiVo I see it will solve all my problems because it will combine OTA HD with DirecTV and allow me to chose which channel (HD or not) to watch/record without having to switch inputs.


Aside from that how would the same David Letterman show look on a widescreen? Wouldn't a 4:3 show upconverted to 1080i still do the same thing on a widescreen set (of course the bars would only be on the side)? If so, it just becomes a cosmetic issue. Is that correct ?


Ed


Quote:
Originally posted by dt_dc
MisterEd:

Try to ignore the 'you should have bought widescreen!' responses ... I know they can be annoying ...


Yes, this is a 'typical' problem. It is usually caused by one of the following:


It's NOT a 480i broadcast. The TV station is taking a 4:3 SD source ... adding bars to the side ... upconverting to 1080i ... and broadcasting that. As far as your STB and TV are concerned ... it's a 1080i broadcast. Your STB / TV can't tell it's a 4:3 image with bars on the side. As far as your equipment is concerned ... it's a 16:9 HD image. Your STB sends the image on to your TV (4:3 with bars on the side to make 16:9) and your TV letterboxes that to give you bars on all four sides. If your TV/STB can't stretch / zoom HD in some way ... you're going to get that 'tiny' image with bars all around.


Note, most HD locals do the above, so this tends to be an issue for 4:3 TV owners


There are several workarounds for when your 'HD local' is doing this, including:

- Some digital locals atcually broadcast 480i on a second subchannel

- Most equipment allows for a downconversion of some type (480i component, SVideo, or Composite) ... resulting in a full 4:3 image on your set.

- There's always the analog locals ...


Which Zenith stb do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Full Widescreen or upconverted 4:3 @ 1080i with bars on the side? I've been doing a lot of channel surfing and find that not to be true. At least in the NY area. Seems NBC is mostly true widescreen while CBS, ABC and FOX are not. Could that be related to the NYC area or just the shows I have been watching?


The Golden Globes (as well as the flesh colored globes) were awesome last night in HD.

Quote:
Originally posted by ThumperBoy The vast majority of primetime shows are in widescreen HDTV now.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MisterEd
Aside from that how would the same David Letterman show look on a widescreen? Wouldn't a 4:3 show upconverted to 1080i still do the same thing on a widescreen set (of course the bars would only be on the side)? If so, it just becomes a cosmetic issue. Is that correct ?
Correct ... but widescreen buyers typically buy the set thinking that for 4:3 content, they're going to have bars on the sides ... you don't get that 'what is happening here' reaction. 4:3 buyers see a 4:3 picture with bars on all four sides and think ... 'what is happening here' ... they have a 4:3 picture with bars on all four sides and get a little frustrated.
Quote:
Originally posted by MisterEd
Since reading up on the TiVo I see it will solve all my problems because it will combine OTA HD with DirecTV and allow me to chose which channel (HD or not) to watch/record without having to switch inputs.
It will be interesting to see how the HD Tivo works here ... I mean, I really wouldn't want to have to know in advance whether or not a show was being broadcast in HD and pick the appropriate channel. Hopefully the HD Tivo will have a way to take the 4:3 image in the above situation and send it as 480i to your TV with the bars cropped off. Some STBs have this ability ... the Zenith is supposed to. When watching Letterman, hit the 'HD/SD' button (to get SD) on the remote and then hit the 'Ratio' button to get 'Cropped'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by dt_dc
Correct ... but widescreen buyers typically buy the set thinking that for 4:3 content, they're going to have bars on the sides ... you don't get that 'what is happening here' reaction. 4:3 buyers see a 4:3 picture with bars on all four sides and think ... 'what is happening here' ... they have a 4:3 picture with bars on all four sides and get a little frustrated.
Exactly. My sister has a 43" DLP and a good % of what she watches is SD (not by choice). Her "square" is about the same size as my 36" in SD. That was one of the reasons why I didn't get a WS set. Most of the stuff I watch is still in 4:3 and I couldn't rationalize (last August) the additional $2G for even an "inexpensive' DLP and I have no room for a "big" standard RP.

Quote:
Originally posted by dt_dc

It will be interesting to see how the HD Tivo works here ... I mean, I really wouldn't want to have to know in advance whether or not a show was being broadcast in HD and pick the appropriate channel. Hopefully the HD Tivo will have a way to take the 4:3 image in the above situation and send it as 480i to your TV with the bars cropped off. Some STBs have this ability ... the Zenith is supposed to. When watching Letterman, hit the 'HD/SD' button (to get SD) on the remote and then hit the 'Ratio' button to get 'Cropped'. [/b]
Unfortunately the TiVo does NOT do that in it's initial software. Neither does my Zenith STB. I just tried what you suggested. When I hit SD button it tells me to switch to another input which is what I do NOT want to do. With the TiVo, at least when I set a season pass I can select the proper mode. I'll have the "learn" when a show switches over to HD. I much prefer that inconvenience then having to switch inputs. It's easy enough to "check out" a show first then select the SD or HD channel. TiVo does include the OTA as well as the sat channels in 1 guide.


Thanks again,

Ed
 

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Mr.ED,


It's been reported & posted here, by Levesque & Dwe, that there is a "Jump Fix" for HD auto anamorphic squeeze on your Sony. This Jump Fix is performed in the Service Menu, and allows for you to watch HD in Fullscreen w/no black bars on your Sony 4:3 TV. I have not tried it yet, but Leverque says it only takes 5 minutes to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Interesting, thanks. I'll have to look for it.
Quote:
Originally posted by cajieboy
Mr.ED,


It's been reported & posted here, by Levesque & Dwe, that there is a "Jump Fix" for HD auto anamorphic squeeze on your Sony. This Jump Fix is performed in the Service Menu, and allows for you to watch HD in Fullscreen w/no black bars on your Sony 4:3 TV. I have not tried it yet, but Leverque says it only takes 5 minutes to do.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MisterEd
I much prefer that inconvenience then having to switch inputs.
FYI, just in case you haven't discovered it ... if you set the 'Video Label' to 'Skip' for any unused inputs on your TV ... switching inputs becomes much less of a pain ... it will skip those unused inputs when you hit the TV/Video button.


Also, if you don't have an NTSC antenna hooked up to coax, you can prevent that static burst by using the 'Channel Fix' feature.


After doing the above ... I prefer to 'switch inputs' to deal with a 4:3 show upconverted to HD with sidebars added (if I want to use the TVs stretch modes). I have a widescreen set ... but the same principle applies (I can't stretch HD at all ... if I want to stretch I need to get it out of HD some way).
 

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As for the 'Jump Fix' ... I believe if you use that in the above situation ... you'll still get the black bars on the sides (that are with the original content) and the picture is going to be at the wrong aspect ratio (people will look tall and skinny).


The 'Jump Fix' is great for certain situations (like some XBOX games) where you get a 1080i or 720p 4:3 image. It allows the TV to display the 4:3 HD image. However, in the above situation ... we've got a 16:9 HD image (4:3 + bars on the sides). Those bars are still going to be there ... still show up in the image ... and everything will be distorted.


Too bad the Zenith doesn't have the ability to send cropped HD->480i via component ... seems like that would be the best solution (or perhaps 480p ... not sure if your set will display 480p full screen).
 

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If this 4:3 1080i signal that is broadcast causes some sort of letter or pillar boxing on both 4:3 and 16:9 sets, why do they chose that format? It's not ideal for anyone.


I had originally assumed that if my Sony 36 HS510 were not automatically jumping to letterbox format when receiving a 1080i signal, than the jump fix would allow it to display in full 4:3 in HD on such a signal. However, if the neworks are really inserting black bars on the side, I believe dt_dc is correct - the image will be improperly stretched horizontally.


So, why do they broadcast a format that is less than ideal for everybody? There must be some rationale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
When you watch a "true 1080i" widescreen broadcast on your Sony do you still have (very small) black bars on the sides? I just noticed that even when watching "real" HD it still doesn't fill the entire screen width. I have an approx 1" vertical black space either side of the HD picture. I'm getting about a 32" diag picture from the HD 16:9 image. I have the 36HS510 as well. I would think it would fill the screen at least on it's width in 1080i WS.


Quote:
Originally posted by joemama
If this 4:3 1080i signal that is broadcast causes some sort of letter or pillar boxing on both 4:3 and 16:9 sets, why do they chose that format? It's not ideal for anyone.


I had originally assumed that if my Sony 36 HS510 were not automatically jumping to letterbox format when receiving a 1080i signal, than the jump fix would allow it to display in full 4:3 in HD on such a signal. However, if the neworks are really inserting black bars on the side, I believe dt_dc is correct - the image will be improperly stretched horizontally.


So, why do they broadcast a format that is less than ideal for everybody? There must be some rationale.
 

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On my 40XBR when viewing HD, the image is all the way across the screen, and there are small black bars on the top & bottom. Sometimes, my local CBS affiliate adds gray bars to the side.
 

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Doesn't sound like you were watching a true HD broadcast but another upconvert - some stations upconvert SD on an HD channel with some zoom/crop for about a 14:9 aspect ratio - resulting in small black side bars as you describe. Try a real HDTV program tonight like on CBS from 8-11PM, assuming they don't interrupt with election coverage.
 
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