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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe a stupid question...but I seem to get more confused the more I get into this HT thing.

I have a 42" panny 4 plasma - is there any reason why I would need a scaler?

What is a scaler for?

Does it allow "letter box" pictures to take up the whole screen - or will a plasma already do this as it is wide screen?

Is it similar to a zoom or similar to changing the aspect ratio? I still can't work out why anyone wants a zoom - unless of course you can use it lose the letter box?


So how do you get rid of the letterbox and allow the image to fill the screen.
 

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DVD players with scalers usually employ the feature to zoom a letterboxed (non-anamorphic) DVD to better fill a widescreen TV monitor. The advantage is that the scaling is done in the DVD player in the digital domain, which is then converted to analog and sent to your widescreen monitor - usually via component cables.


If you allow your TV/monitor to do the scaling (which many can do), then it must do one of two things. First, if it is a CRT monitor (RPTV's), it may simply change the scan lines. This would produce a picture with more visible lines - like a non-digital monitor. Secondly, you particular TV may first convert the analog signal to digital, scale up, and then convert back to analog to send to the display. These two extra conversions will add some noise to the picture, and possibly distort color rendition, etc.


When the scaling is done in the DVD player, then your monitor is able to get the best quality scaled picture, and display with the most scan lines and least scaling/noise artifacts. This is provided, of course, that the DVD player you select has a high quality scaler.


If you have a letterboxed DVD title that was originally shot in about 1.85:1 aspect ratio (with appropriate black bars encoded into the picture), then if scaling is chosen correctly, you end up with a picture that almost perfectly fills your widescreen monitor. If your DVD title was originally shot in 2.35:1 (with very big black bars encoded into the image), then scaling will maintain the correct aspect ratio, fill the full width of your widescreen monitor, and reduce the heigth of the top and bottom black bars.


Lastly, some people DO use variable scaling (like that available on the Mediamatics chip set - eg. JVC723) to scale up even more to get rid of the black bars on a 2.35:1 movie all together! This results is a good chunk of the left/right sides being chopped off, but again, no black bars. If your player has independent x/y scaling, you could also choose to scale only y. This would allow you to completely fill your 16:9 widescreen with a 2.35:1 movie, but people would look a little skinny...


Hope that helps. The "Secrets of Home Theater Hi-Fi" website, as well as many others, have VERY good articles on the pros and cons of anamorphic DVD titles, and these usually contain discussions about scaling - both in the player and in the monitor.


Brian
 
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