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Greetings,


Happy longtime E55 owner here, ready to break the shackles of a single DVD-RAM disk and get a Panny with a hard drive.


I've downloaded the manual PDF, but still can't figure out the answer to my question; hopefully someone who owns this recorder can help.


The manual says that shows 16:9 shows recorded to the HDD for high speed dubbing will be recorded in 4:3 instead.


The section is a little vague and is near the high speed dubbing part, so I'm not sure if it means:


1) All recording to the HDD, no matter what, will be in 4:3 just because they are going to the hard drive.


2) Recording to the HDD marked for High Speed Dubbing ONLY will be forced to 4:3.



If it is number 2, then I'm cool because if there is something special I want to keep 16:9 for, then I can simply do normal speed dubbing to DVD-RAM later.


I'd hate to have everything that goes to the HDD get chopped down to 4:3 no matter what.


Thanks for any insight anyone can provide.


Neil
 

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This is more complicated than it sounds, and I hope I explain it right. If I make a mistake, someone correct me.


The manual is a little vague on a lot of things. What it is trying to say is, 16:9 content will not be flagged AS 16:9. It doesn't distinguish between 16:9 and 4:3 content.


Taking a step back, all DVD recorders only record 480i, 4:3. Some recorders recognize 16:9 content and flag it as such. On 16:9 televisions that recognize the flag, it will display the full screen image. A 4:3 television that recognizes the flag will automatically display the image letterboxed. This is complicated by some DVD players that output 4:3 content with pillar bars on the right and left edges of the picture if it thinks it's connected to a 16:9 television, or output a letterboxed signal if it sees the 16:9 flag when it thinks it's connected to a 3:4 television.


Since the Panasonic recorders do not set the 16:9 flag, the DVD player and television you use have nothing to key themselves to when deciding what type of content they are currently dealing with. In a practical sense, this means that anything you play back will not automatically adjust the aspect ratio, and you might be left looking at a squished or elongated picture. You will have to manually adjust the television to get the aspect ratio right. In many cases, this might not be possible. If the content is 16:9 and you have a 4:3 television that can't be forced to letterbox the incoming signal, then you will see the picture as anamorphically bad. Of course, if you don't mind Orson Wells looking like Paris Hilton, you won't have a problem.
 

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There is freeware available (ReStream is one program) that will allow you to flag any MPEG2 file with either the 4:3 or 16:9 flag. For example, you can record widescreen digital camcorder footage (which is "squished" when played back in 4:3) with a standard DVD recorder that doesn't do 16:9 flagging. Then, rip the disc to your computer, demux the video file, run it through ReStream (changing the flag from 4:3 to 16:9), remux the new video file, re-author the DVD, and presto! You have a 16:9 "enhanced for widescreen TV's" DVD.


It's a little cumbersome, but a very effective workaround.
 
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