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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(from table A3 of the ATSC Digital Television Standard, Revision B):


480 interlaced (i), 4:3 aspect ratio

480 progressive (p), 4:3 aspect ratio

480i, 16x9 aspect ratio

480p, 16x9 aspect ratio

720p, 16x9 aspect ratio

1080i, 16x9 aspect ratio

1080p, 16x9 aspect ratio


However obnoxious he may be at times, DonBerg is correct in insisting that people buy 16:9 widescreen sets if they want to watch HDTV. As you can see in the above excerpt, there is no standard for displaying 720p and 1080i video in 4:3. So you should not expect a HD video source to fill a 4:3 screen.


edit: corrected typos
 

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I think you are missing the point.


The whole point of 4x3 HDTV's is to get all the right programming now in full screen and still be able to view 1080i or 720p in full resolution with the squeeze just like a 16x9 set.


If all you want to watch is HDTV and widescreen DVD then a 16x9 would no doubt be the only logical choice.


4x3 TV's are still around for a reason and they are being taken advantage of by those that wish to view lot's of 4x3 without black bars, zooming or cropping.


I don't care how you slice it, for someone that watches 99.9% of 4x3 material, there shouldn't even be a second thought on what to buy at the current time.


We are still many many years away from 100% 16x9 broadcasts on all channels. Buy your 16x9 later when you can take more advantage of it.
 

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Thanks for the info buttonmasher but when a friend asks me for advice, I ask what they are watching now and what will they be watching in the future. If they watch 99% 4:3 (NTSC and old classic or made for TV movies or 4:3 TV shows on DVD), then get a 4:3. If they watch mostly DVD including modern movies and HDTV, then I recommend a widescreen. It is also a matter of economics and space. Many AVS forum members have a widescreen HDTV projector for HDTV and DVD while also utilizing a nice big 4:3 direct view to watch regular NTSC and 4:3 DVDs. More power to them!!! All I know is if you have one TV but watch more than one aspect ratio, you will have to make some compromise.


I was really happy with my 27" Wega but got the DVD bug almost 3 years ago and watch a lot of DVD that made me get a Sony 34xbr800 widescreen last August. In pre-DVD days, when all I was watching was football games, then the analog 4:3 was fine. Some like DonBerg started watching much more widescreen after buying the widescreen so future viewing is important if you plan to keep the set a while.


There has been excessive bashing on this forum about this but if you read DonBerg's posts, he says he is not pushing widescreen BUT if 99% of your viewing is 4:3, then why spend the extra bucks on a 4:3 HDTV instead of just getting a nice 4:3 analog and waiting for 5 years or so when nearly everything should be widescreen? This is a good point if you are trying to save a buck but if you have the money and desire, go ahead and get the HDTV 4:3. I am convinced that the way some of us are communicating is more at fault for the bad vibes than the actual AV suggestions in the post. The world will be a far better place if all of us are more sensitive about other peoples feelings.


Mostly people need to figure out what they want, what they can afford, and what the space limitations are. It is good we have 4:3 and 16:9 options but for me, because of my DVD watching habit, I never plan to buy a 4:3 again. And, because of my viewing distance of 7', then 34" to 50" is probably my size limit. Because I don't have a big room, when my HDTV wears out, I will probably go plasma (or maybe DLP or LCOS or some future technology?). Now if we could get HD land cable through Comcast in Portland and combine that with a HD DVR recorder, then I would be thrilled. :)


Just my $.02 worth and a plea for civility. Thanks for the thread.


Rick
 

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Rick, I agree 100%!!!


So what sweeping statement was that exactly??? So you get ESPN HD, TNN HD, TBS HD, Sci-fi HD, etc...??? I said 100%, this includes cable channels so IMO it will be years away.


If all TV was 16x9 now there wouldn't be any 4x3 TV's.


And for those that have enough programming but don't have the extra $500 for a STB? What good does that 16x9 HDTV set do for them right now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
if 99% of your viewing is 4:3, then why spend the extra bucks on a 4:3 HDTV instead of just getting a nice 4:3 analog and waiting for 5 years or so when nearly everything should be widescreen? This is a good point if you are trying to save a buck but if you have the money and desire, go ahead and get the HDTV 4:3.
This is my point EXACTLY. If most of your viewing is 4:3, save your money and buy an analog set for a few hundred dollars. Buy a 16:9 set later. It makes no sense to buy a 4:3 HDTV - UNLESS you have money to burn and are rich - in that case, spend away.
 

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Right now in NYC you cannot even get a HD box from the major cable

supplier Time Warner, if I could I would have a grand total of 9 HD

stations. 9 out of about 300 channels,thats about 3% I am not going to

base my purchase on this. will it change most likely but who knows?

The FCC has treated this system as far as I am concerned with total

disregard for the consumer (what else is new)

5 years in this business is a lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Progressive scan and line doubling doesn't just apply to 16x9 AR, FYI!
If one wants progressive scan and line doubling in 4:3, I would suggest a 4:3 EDTV set. But not HDTV. 4:3 SDTV and 4:3 EDTV sets make sense. 4:3 HDTV sets do not make sense - UNLESS you have money to burn and don't mind upgrading again soon.
 

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So where can one find an EDTV now days?


4X3 HDTV's do not require any upgrading that a 16x9 HDTV set doesn't unlass black bars bother you. Most have the Anamorphic squeeze, some even have DVI. With the same HD tuner a 16x9 set uses a 4x3 set can take full advantage of HDTV programming. There will just be black bars to create a 16x9 frame. I know this bothers some people but black bars are a part of life, even with a 16x9 set. As long as there are different aspect ratio's there will be black bars. I just don't let them bother me at all.
 

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I actually think that the 4:3 HDTV sets are a perfect compromise for some people during these transition years. Like many others, my largely 4:3 viewing habits will migrate to HD as more material becomes available. When will I cross that 50% mark? Will it be 3 years, 5 years, 7 years? I don't think any of us can be sure. If I buy a 16:9 set now, I compromise a large part of my viewing for at least a few years, maybe more. I could buy an analog only set, but then I would be condemning it to a few years or so of service where I'll be just about forced to pitch it and buy another. In addition, I would have to give up great image enancing features and miss out on some of the great HD content that is in existence today. I opted for a digital 4:3 set and here's why. I get a decent size 4:3 image in my larger room for the bulk of my viewing now. My 40XBR gives me a larger 16:9 image size for the HD content than on a 34" widescreen and the 36" owners give up about 5% 16:9 image size to the 34". I don't have to look at scan lines like I would on an analog set. I get 7 inputs (most analog sets have considerably less). Most importantly of all, I have a TV that I consider "future-proof" for the forseeable future! I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love HDTV and if tomorrow, every broadcast source would switch to HD, I still would have made the right choice for me.


I still consider my 40XBR as two TV's in one. I get a bigger 4:3 set than the 36XBR and a bigger 16:9 set than the 34XBR. In a room that I commonly view from 12 feet, it's a great solution (plasma and RPTV were out of the question for various reasons). Right now I spend most of my time in "36XBR mode" and later I'll spend most of my time in "34XBR mode". It's a win/win situation.


I fully understand that there are many different needs out there. I only ask that you don't rule out the 4:3 HDTV sets as "no man's land". There are plenty of us that find it to be the perfect transition TV for the next 10 years.


Get what works best for you!
 

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There's an artifact of the 4:3-16:9 debate in CRT sets that tends to favor 4:3 more than the aspect ratios alone would suggest. CRTs get more challenging to make the wider you make them. So, at similar levels of engineering difficulty, and thus of cost, CRTs of either aspect ratio end up about the same width, which means the 4:3 version is taller and therefor bigger. If the engineering made height the limiting factor for this technology instead of width, then widescreen sets would have an unfair advantage in this arena, because a 4:3 set of the same height wouldn't be as wide, and thus not as big overall.


For example, the common top size 4:3 CRT for a given manufacturer is 36", and the common top size 16:9 CRT is usually 34". So they get compared to each other all the time. And their widths are very close, with the 34" being slightly wider. But is 36" really the equivalent size for comparing with a 34"? The latter's height is slightly less than that of a 28" 4:3 screen. Would that make a better comparison? I contend that the most sensible size comparison to make for the 34" widescreen would be with the screen size with (almost precisely) the same surface area: a 32" 4:3 screen. (And 32 is also the average 36-plus and 28-minus.)


And there are 32" CRT 4:3 screens, but they're never compared against the 34"; instead they're put up against the 30" widescreens. The equivalencies when you look at aspect ratio just aren't the same as when you look at price, or fit in a 4:3 entertainment center, or technical issues related to CRT scaling, so these other factors make odd pairings when comparisons are made, and the results can be confused with the results of a pure aspect-ratio comparison.


Look at front projection, for example; you could throw light on a wall in almost any shape with only insignificant adjustments to the machinery. This arena might be the purest for evaluating aspect ratios without undue interference from outside factors, if you're dealing with people who will use the projector for TV. But many front projectors are not going to be used for 4:3 material at all, being dedicated movie (or HDTV) machines with another screen used for 4:3 TV. Lo and behold, you get a different result; widescreen dominates here, while 4:3 is still the majority buying decision in CRTs... not because of inherent superiority or inferiority of the machines or the ratios, but because of what fits best for the circumstances of the buyer.
 

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Delvo,


Interesting post and some good points. I think what really plays a factor into these comparisons is price. I think the reason that people commonly compare a 34" widescreens to 36" HD capable 4:3 displays is that they are relatively close in price. A 32" 4:3 set is considerably less expensive. Also, I think it's more common for width to be a limiting factor in a home setting than it is for height. As you look at how much floor space a stand or an entertainment center will take up, a 34" widescreen will typically be a fair amount wider than a 32" 4:3. Sure, there are plenty of instances where height comes into play, but I don't think as often. You are right that these issues don't come up in some other technologies and I also think it's the space or dimensions issue. If you have a front projector, changing the shape of the image is just wallspace and what parts of the lens the light is passing through. No big deal to switch around there.


Nice post! "That ones a thinker!"
 

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No one has covered optimum viewing distance issues in this thread.


I recently graduated from a 4:3 HD-ready direct-view 36" TV to a 48" 16:9 HD-ready RPTV. The main reasons I changed were viewing distance and the ability to see more of the higher resolution available in HDTV (and DVD, although somewhat less).


On my 36" 4:3 TV, watching from 8-10 feet, the 4:3 SD pictures were good PQ. The letterboxed 16:9 HD and DVD pictures (vertically compressed for maximum vertical resolution) were great quality but too small to appreciate the available detail (approx. 32" diagonal). We ended up moving chairs to about 6 feet to watch the 16:9 programs.


Conversely, the 48" 16:9 screen provides about a 42" diagonal 4:3 window (with sidebars) but a full 48" diagonal 16:9 window. Now the 8-10 foot viewing distance is tolerable for low resolution 4:3 viewing and even better for high resolution 16:9 viewing.


I expect my HD-ready 16:9 TV to last far more than 5 years. As time goes on, the ratio of 16:9 to 4:3 programs gets better, and my viewing gets better with it.


We do watch a fair amount of analog/SD programs on our smaller TVs in the den, sewing room and bedroom. But we watch all movies and live HD programs on the 16:9 TV.


These are just my experiences and opinions, based on my desires for getting more out of the HD/DVD viewing experience and still being able to tolerate analog 4:3 programs.


This works for me but may not be right for you. I encourage folks to try viewing both types of programs on candidate TVs in a showroom, with the viewing distance they will use in their homes. You might be surprised at the results.
 

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This thread is mis-titled and its central premise is just not right.


I do appreciate that soft posters have added value to this discussion anyway.
 

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My purchase of the 40XBR was a transition TV for me from a very much older analog 27"XBR. After determining my needs and criteria, the decision narrowed down to the 34XBR & 40XBR. PQ was similar on both models, as well as all the bells & whistles TV tech had to offer.


My decision to go w/the 4:3 40XBR TV has been already described in this thread by others who bought the same tube. I love HDTV, but my area has ony 8 HDTV channels, in which 6 only broadcast HDTV a few hours in the evening, and certainly not all at the same time. So my transition TV was purchased at a Transition Period in broadcasting here in the US. When well over 90% of viewing material is SD, it was extremely difficult to justify the purchase of a 16:9 widescreen as my Main Viewer for the obvious reasons. The reality of the situation as it is Now and in the very near future pretty much made the decision for me. Also, I feel I'm "near future" proofed w/the inclusion of DVI, and can watch DVD & HDTV (what little there is) on a 37" screen as I greatly enjoyed the last Super Bowl.
 

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my 2 cents,


buttonmasher is correct:


You cannot watch any of the HDTV standard signals at 'full resolution' on a 4:3 screen (even with the vertical squeeze function) because horizontal resolution is still lost.


But, you can watch full resolution anamorphic DVDs with 4:3 tv's as long as you have the squeeze function. If not, you lose vertical resolution.


As for EDTV standards:

EDTV 4:3(480p) square pixel can be watched full screen on 4:3 tv's

EDTV 4:3(480p) rectagular pixel (tall thin) can also be watched on 4:3 tv

EDTV 16:9(480p) rectangular pixel (short wide) requires squeeze function
 

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jeff and buttonmasher,


A lot of the current 4:3 HDTV sets are dual-scan. Meaning that they can scan at 31.5kHz (EDTV) and 33.75kHz (HDTV)


31.5kHz = 480p


33.75kHz = 540p/1080i
 

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This is an interesting, and unusually civil discussion for this topic.


I just wanted to add one thing that so far no one has pointed out. At least in my experience, a considerable amount of SD broadcast is now coming through letterboxed. Lots of NBC's programming (Ed, West Wing, Crossing Jordan, Third Watch, ER) and HBO (Soprano's, Six Feet Under) are examples. While this is still standard definition, and is technically 4:3, the letterboxing effectively makes it 16:9 material. My guess is that the shows for which this is common on those which are, or will soon be, broadcasting HD. At any rate, I've been able to enjoy these shows in widescreen on my 34XBR800 without any artifacting due to stretch/zoom modes as the only thing cut off from zoom is the black bars.


So anyhow, I just wanted to point out that the increasing frequency with which I'm encountering shows formatted this way seems to further steer me toward 16:9. It's true that unless you find the zoom modes acceptable (I use Sony's Wide Zoom for most 4:3 material) you'll end up with windowboxing on some material, but in some cases the 4:3 material is already letterboxed and thus lends itself well to stretching.


Also, to the poster who mentioned that only a small number of available channels broadcast HD at all -- This is certainly true. But each person needs to individually look at what percentage of their viewing would be available in HD. I find myself mostly watching NBC, CBS, and HBO, with the occasional TLC or Techtv show thrown in. While only 3% of my available channels may broadcast in HD or 16:9 letterboxed SD, I find that a far high percentage of my actual viewed material is in these formats. Obviously, this equation will be different for everyone. The point is, it doesn't matter if Al Jazeera only broadcasts in 4:3 if I never watch it.
 
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