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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have shortlisted two TVs, one of which will replace my Panasonic CT-36HX41.


The TVs in question are:


1) RCA MM36110 (800x600 @60hz progressive)

2) Hitachi 36SDX10S (800x600 @60hz progressive)


I know that the Hitachi has the same tube as the RCA but has more features like velocity scan modulator and 16:9 anamorphic compression, I think.


Anyway, the TV will be hooked up to a HTPC running ATI Radeon 8500 All-in-Wonder (using DVI-to-VGA adapter). I plan on using the HTPC for watching TV, DVD, and playing video games (all at 800x600 @ 60 hz progressive).


How will DVD playback look on the RCA or Hitachi, given that RCA doesn't have anamorphic squeeze and I'll be using PowerDVD 4.0 to playback the DVD?


I am a bit concerned about the 800x600 resolution since that is for a 4:3 picture. Will I get lower picture quality if I'm watching DVD at 720x480p? I mean, when I'm watching a widescreen DVD, am I actually seeing 345,600 pixels (720x480) or something lower? Is Hitachi better in that respect?


Thanks for helping me make a decision on the TV.
 

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Couldn't we talk you into a modern RCA F-38310 wide screen, I am using it to type this message. I am sitting 6 feet away, my view is 19 inches high by 33.25 inches wide. Line doubler is built in and I have over 14,000 hours on my odometer, with this HDTV I am able to have 3 Progressive Scan DVD players, a 4th is a interlaced player using a IN3504 switcher for my one only component jack




Your 4:3 36 is going to be 18 inches high by 29.5 inches wide. You will have to watch squeezed wide screen DVDs. If for no other reason read the URL at bottom that says FCC, see what *size* Digital is. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hob,


No you will not be able to interest me in the F38310 for the simple reason that there is no VGA input on that TV.


Anyway, I will be getting a 60" widescreen UXGA Plasma TV for about $1500 in a couple of years. Thanks.
 

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You apparently already know the differences between the Hitachi 36SDX01S (older model) and the 36UDX01S (current model). The U model lacks the RGB inputs and the finer dpi screen.


I have owned my Hitachi 36SDX01S for two years. I am completely satisfied with this set for all types of viewing.


I would not be concerned about the 800x600 resolution because I think the phyiscal limits of the screen are a reasonable match.


I use the RGB input with an RCA DTC-100 HD STB for DirecTV HD/SD and OTA HD/SD. I have two choices for setting these 2 devices up to work with each other:


1. Set the DTC-100 (in HD mode) for 16:9 TV and set the 36SDX01S for 16:9 format (on RGB input). This combination provides the highest possible vertical resolution when watching widescreen HD programming because the TV accepts the full vertical resolution and squeezes the vertical scan lines down to achieve a 16:9 viewing window.


2. Set both units for 4:3. This causes the STB to letterbox the output, assuming that the TV cannot do vertical compression. This results in less vertical resolution than the 16:9 mode.


The downside of option 1 above: 4:3 SD programs end up with black/gray bars all around them. The horizontal black bars (top/bottom) are the result of the TV physically compressing the raster vertically, so the black area is really the lack of scan lines. The vertical black or gray bars (left/right) are generated by the DTC-100 to fit a 4:3 program into a 16:9 TV in original aspect ratio.


To overcome this downside, I use 2 outputs from my DTC-100: RGB and S-video. The DTC-100 allows the non-HD screen format settings (for S-video) to be different from the HD mode settings (for RGB). So I set the non-HD for 4:3 in the DTC-100 since my TV allows no aspect ratio options for S-video/composite video/RF inputs. BTW, for these input types the TV has an internal line doubler (which they do NOT claim to be 3-2 pulldown).


Now I can watch 4:3 material either way - full screen using S-video or reduced size using RGB.


I also tried setting the STB and TV both for 4:3 in their HD/RGB modes (option 2 above). To a critical eye, the lesser vertical resolution is noticable. To an average viewer (e.g., the rest of my family) the difference may not be noticed nor understood.


I have my progressive scan DVD player connected to the component inputs of my TV. The TV component input mode offers settings for 16:9 (vertical compression) or 4:3. These settings are independent of the settings for the RGB inputs. The TV component inputs support and sense progressive scan, which automatically disables the internal TV line doubler.


My DVD player (a Toshiba SD-5109) has a variety of settings that offer 16:9 or 4:3 outputs on component and S-video/composite outputs. So this area is similar to, but not identical to, the HD/RGB combo.


The TV does NOT automatically switch between 16:9 and 4:3 modes like some other TVs do. This is true in both the RGB and component input modes.


So I have also used 2 outputs from my DVD player to deal separately with anamorphic "enhanced for widescreen" DVDs and "full screen" formatted DVDs. My DVD player has an option to ouptut ONLY 16:9 anamorphic signals to the component (progressive scan) outputs. In that mode, non-anamorphic signals are available on the S-video/composite outputs only.


One feature my TV does have is auto-switching between component and S-video inputs (both within Input 2), with component taking precedence over S-video. So, when watching an anamorphic DVD, the DVD player automatically outputs progressive scan component video and the TV senses this and automatically uses the component input (16:9). When watching non-anamorphic DVD content, the DVD player automatically disables the component output and the TV automatically reverts to S-video input (4:3).


The advantage of this arrangement for DVD playing is the lack of need for viewer intervention to change complicated DVD player menu-based settings or TV inputs. Anamorphic DVD content gets passed to the TV with full vertical resolution and component video/progressive scan picture quality with all de-interlacing occuring in the digital domain within the DVD player.


The disadvantage of this DVD arrangement is the S-video handling of non-anamorphic DVD content and using the TV internal line doubler. But, most of the DVDs I watch that are not anamorphic were not originally 24 fps movies anyway, so the impact is lessened. In my scenario, ease of use by all family members proved more important than better picture quality for non-anamorphic DVD content.


It is interesting to note that many DVDs have a mixture of anamorphic and non-anamorphic content. The main movie may be anamorphic, but the menus, previews and "extras" may or may not be. Most extras that I have seen are not.


My DVD player/TV configuration maintains correct aspect ratios by switching between component and S-video automatically anytime the content within a DVD varies. Most newer HD-capable TVs (and even some analog TVs) handle this automatically for their component inputs, simplifying the solution considerably and without resorting to S-video at all.


The RCA set you mention, IIRC, did not have an internal line doubler (I looked at M-series 36" RCAs before I bought my Hitachi, but I don't recall the specific model numbers). The lack of a line doubler matters not to the RGB inputs but does affect viewing from its internal tuner and component/S-video/composite video inputs. IMHO, a screen this size without line doubling/progressive scan is not pleasant to watch because the visible scan lines are big and very noticable.


One other problem with the Hitachi 36SDX01S is with the vertical compression in the component video mode. Even using the service menu adjustments, I could not compress it vertically enough, so I had to deliiberately add some horizontal overscan to offset this. None of this affects the RGB mode as it has completely separate user adjustments and service menu controls. In the RGB mode, all picture setup controls have plenty of range to set the 16:9 mode to be accurate with no overscan at all.


If your use is primarily (or all) RGB input, I think you would be completely satisified with the Hitachi 36SDX01S, if you really want a 4:3 HD-ready TV. At this point I wish I had gone to a 16:9 screen, but like you, I was looking for RGB inputs to allow computer and DTC-100 hookups. Both the RCA and Hitachi offer 2 RGB inputs (one on the front of the cabinet for the Hitachi). But the Hitachi does not directly support 2 corresponding audio inputs for the 2 RGB inputs. In my case, all audio is handled by my Dolby Digital A/V receiver so this was not a problem for me.


I hope I have presented information that will help you decide.


Good luck!


[edited to clarify and correct typo's]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dave,


Thanks for the very detailed and informative response. I understand the difference between the current 36UDX10 and the 36SDX10. Based on your response, I am leaning towards the 36SDX10.


However, I am facing a bit of a tricky choice in terms of pricing and warranty when it comes to choosing between the Hitachi and the RCA. I found a reconditioned Hitachi for $1000 shipped to me with only a 30-day non-manufacturer warranty and a factory reconditioned MM36110 also for $1000 shipped but with a 1-year RCA in-house warranty.


To help me finalize my decision, can you help answer the following questions:


1) Can the RCA support the automatic 16:9 vertical squeeze like the Hitachi?


2) I will be watching 4:3 TV picture via my HTPC which will be connected to the VGA. Therefore, line doubling will not be a consideration. In that case, there is no difference between the RCA and the Hitachi, right?


3) I will be watching DVDs using PowerDVD 4.0 on my HTPC. Can the Hitachi or the RCA detect the 16:9 picture via the RGB input and automatically do the 16:9 vertical squeeze? IF not, how exactly would I achieve the 16:9 vertical squeeze when a computer is hooked up to the monitor? That is one of my biggest concerns. I would rather not use powerstrip if I can help it.


Are there really any major differences between the RCA and the Hitachi when almost all of the viewing (DVD, TV, video game, etc.) goes through the HTPC? I am planning to get the DTC-100 for HDTV signals and does Hitachi have any advantage over RCA on this point?


If the Hitachi came with the 1-year in-house warranty, I probably would have bought it already. Your input is appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I don't know enough about the RCA MM36110 to try and answer your questions.


Here is a url to take you to the info and owner's manual for the RCA MM36110:

http://www.rca.com/Search/RCASearchR...x=7&submit.y=6


To answer your questions #1 and #2, I would have to peruse that manual.


I think when I was looking at RCA's the model I saw was the MM36100, which was one generation older than the MM36110. Here is the info and manual for the MM36100:

http://www.rca.com/Search/RCASearchR...o.x=23&go.y=10


Regarding question #3, I am not personally familiar with the in's and out's of using a PC as a source for DVD playing. For instance, I don't know how the PC output signals (to monitor) vary for anamorphic versus non-anamorphic.


DVD playing on my iMac is taken care of for me with no user settings or configuration required. All DVD content appears in the correct aspect ratio. I can mirror the monitor output to VGA. I have a Mac utility that sounds similar to Powerstrip in terms of varying display size and refresh rates. But I have not done either for DVD playing. My iMac and Hitachi TV are at opposite ends of the house. I do know that the iMac does not display 60 Hz. 800x600 or 640x480 for normal (non-DVD) display on its internal monitor (I've tried those) but I don't know if it will still pass it out to the VGA port. Of course this Mac stuff does you no good.


I'll look at the RCA info for the MM36110 when I get time and let you know my thoughts.
 

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More thoughts:


I don't think the DTC-100 output is 800x600 or 640x480. Its RGB (HD) output is either 1080i (1080x1920) or 540p. Both the RCA and Hitachi TVs accept these HD and SD RGB signals from the DTC-100. I think the mention of 800x600 and 640x480 relates to computer video output. I don't know what your output choices are for DVD playing on your PC.


I ran through the RCA MM36110 manual and saw no mention of line doubling (for non-RGB inputs). I also found no reference to progressive scan component input compatibility. I would have to guess that if it is not mentioned, it is probably not supported. Once more, if you plan to use RGB inputs only, these limitations would not matter much to you.


I also could not find any mention of anamorphic squeeze, manual or automatic. Again, not mentioned probably means not supported.


There must be some MM36110 owners out there that could help fill in the blanks here.
 

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Real quickly -


The RCA 110 series (I have the 32110) do support progressive scan on the component inputs. This is not mentioned anywhere in the manual, and is an "undocumented feature" that I became aware of only thru the forum.


I am unaware of any squeeze available on the 110, aside from thru the service menu.


The 110 has no internal line doubler.


- Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The lack of the vertical squeeze in the RCA may be a potential showstopper.


If the RCA can support up to 800x600 @60 hz progressive, does it mean that it can also support 720x480 @60 hz progressive or even 720x480 @ 72 hz progressive?


Is it even possible to squeeze the [email protected] hz progressive picture into a 16x9 format? I think I will ask these specific questions in the HTPC forum and see if the lack of vertical squeeze is a big problem when using a HTPC.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kharvel
Dave,


...


1) Can the RCA support the automatic 16:9 vertical squeeze like the Hitachi?


2) I will be watching 4:3 TV picture via my HTPC which will be connected to the VGA. Therefore, line doubling will not be a consideration. In that case, there is no difference between the RCA and the Hitachi, right?


3) I will be watching DVDs using PowerDVD 4.0 on my HTPC. Can the Hitachi or the RCA detect the 16:9 picture via the RGB input and automatically do the 16:9 vertical squeeze? IF not, how exactly would I achieve the 16:9 vertical squeeze when a computer is hooked up to the monitor? That is one of my biggest concerns. I would rather not use powerstrip if I can help it.


Are there really any major differences between the RCA and the Hitachi when almost all of the viewing (DVD, TV, video game, etc.) goes through the HTPC? I am planning to get the DTC-100 for HDTV signals and does Hitachi have any advantage over RCA on this point?


...
I am trying to provide facts and observations without intentionally swaying you in one direction or the other. I can answer detailed questions about the Hitachi, but on the RCA I am reading the manual just like you.


You get to have the fun of comparing all of these capabilities and limitations to your requirements to decide which TV is the better overall fit.


Now that I have had some sleep, let me try to respond again to your latest questions.


1) Based on reading the manual and the response from Tubesguy, vertical squeeze on the RCA is apparently accomplished through the service menu only. This is not very user friendly and definitely not automatic.


2) and 3) If you want to view 4:3 TV full screen on the Hitachi using the RGB input, you would have to set RGB to the 4:3 mode (without vertical squeeze) or use a display size that is not compliant with the 16:9 aspect ratio feature (See below for a possibility of "automatically" controlling Hitachi RGB aspect ratio by use of different display size inputs). As I said before, another option would be to also use a composite or S-video feed in parallel which is always full screen on the Hitachi.


Within the RGB mode on the Hitachi, deliberate switching back and forth between 4:3 and 16:9 requires the user to go into the RGB video settings menu and make the selection. AFAIK, these settings affect both RGB inputs, so you could not set one for 16:9 and the other for 4:3. Because of the method of navigation to get to the point of selection, this would be very difficult to handle with a macro on a universal remote.


If you were to leave the Hitachi in the 4:3 RGB mode, I see no apparent video difference between using the Hitachi or RCA for RGB inputs.


There is no automatic detection or switching capability in either TV for anamorphic and non-anamorphic sources on the RGB or other video inputs. But, the Hitachi may offer some indirect help here based on which video input signals are supported by its vertical compression in the RGB/PC Mode.


Quote from the Hitachi owner's manual regarding 16:9 for RGB inputs:

"Aspect Ratio at PC Mode can be changed from 4:3 to 16:9 on the following signals ONLY: VGA 640 x 480, SDTV 480 p, HDTV 1080 i." (This is actually the only reference in the manual that I have found suggesting that the RGB inputs accept 1080i HDTV inputs, e.g., from a DTC-100 as I am using it).


So, it sounds like the aspect ratio could not be changed to 16:9 on an 800x600 signal input (I have not tried). So now I wonder, when the RGB/PC Mode aspect ratio is set to 16:9, if you could connect a compliant signal to one RGB input and have 16:9 invoked, and connect a non-compliant signal to the second RGB input and have the display revert to 4:3 "automatically." (This would be similar to the approach I used for my DVD player connections and operation where the component inputs can be vertically compressed to 16:9 but the S-video cannot.)


The RCA has separate audio inputs for each RGB input (i.e., one for your computer and one for your DTC-100). The Hitachi only has 1 audio input directly associated with RGB.


The RCA RGB video inputs are both on the back panel. The Hitachi has 1 RGB input on the back panel and the other on the front of the TV.


The RCA supports USB connection the PC. The Hitachi supports mouse emulation (crudely from the remote control) and PS2 mouse connection to the PC (NOT keyboard PS2). The Hitachi IR codes for mouse control could be programmed into a more friendly device or key layout on a universal remote control.


I found the manual for the Hitachi online:

https://merchant.satisfusion.com/sf/...rchResults.jsp


Here are a few more considerations for the Hitachi ...


Input selection between RGB 1 & 2 must be done from an on-screen menu; not very user or macro friendly.


The RGB output for SDTV from the DTC-100 is 540p, not 480p. There is no reference to 540p anywhere in the Hitachi manual. I am actually using both 1080i and 540p and they both work fine. Since the timing of 1080i and 540p are the same, this makes sense.


All RGB (PC Mode) info in the owner's manual starts on page 60.


There are some capabilities of the set that are not well documented. For example, for input connections the manual states for input 2 only one type of connection (composite/S-video/component) should be used at a time. In reality, all 3 can be connected at once. The TV will select which to display based on the presence of a signal in the following precedence order: 1) component, 2) S-video, 3) composite. (I have not tested the combination of composite and S-video, but the owners manual states the S-video to composite precedence.)


Sorry for the long and somewhat unorganized post but I am capturing things as I think of them here.


Let me suggest that, regardless of which alternative might provide the best technical solution, if there are family members or other folks that will be using your equipment, you must carefully consider ease of user/viewer operation. If the technical capability is there but cannot be reached by anyone but you, your success may be perceived otherwise by folks who cannot make it work for themselves. In my implementation, I created a PANIC macro on my universal remotes so that anytime a viewer couldn't seem to get everything working, the panic macro would reset everything (TV, STB, DVD player, A/V receiver) to a known and understood starting point of watching TV tuned in from satellite on the DTC-100.


YMMV. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dave,


Wow, thanks a lot for all that detailed information. You are truly helpful. I understand the capabilities of the RCA and the Hitachi much better now.


FYI, I learned that PowerDVD 4.0 has a feature that allows it to automatically change the aspect ratio of the picture from 4:3 to 16:9. So for example, if I am running at 800x600 @60 hz progressive, and I want to play a DVD, PowerDVD will automatically change the resolution to 720x480p @ 72hz progressive. This is the signal that the TV will see from the PC.


I know that the RCA requires the user to change the aspect ratio manually using the service menu. But since the RCA and the Hitachi tubes are the same, then we can safely assume that if the RCA sees a 16:9 VGA signal (720x480p), it will do the vertical squeeze automatically.


This assumption is based on the fact that when the DTC-100 is hooked up to the RCA and it sends a 1080i signal to the RCA, the RCA will do the 1080i vertical squeeze automatically. Correct me if I'm wrong in that regard.


It looks like the RCA is the TV for me since I will be using the VGA inputs exclusively and there doesn't appear to be much difference between the RCA and the Hitachi when using only the VGA inputs.


Let me confirm this information in the HTPC forum and I will let you know what I learned. Thanks again for your help.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kharvel
The lack of the vertical squeeze in the RCA may be a potential showstopper.


If the RCA can support up to 800x600 @60 hz progressive, does it mean that it can also support 720x480 @60 hz progressive or even 720x480 @ 72 hz progressive?


Is it even possible to squeeze the [email protected] hz progressive picture into a 16x9 format? I think I will ask these specific questions in the HTPC forum and see if the lack of vertical squeeze is a big problem when using a HTPC.
I did not see this post before I completed my last post. I did address the Hitachi references to which display sizes are supported by its RGB aspect ratio control.


What if your PC video output was set for 800x600 and you played an anamorphic DVD? Does the actual video content get displayed as a 720x480 image within the 800x600 window? Does the PC letterbox the image and pad it with additional black bars? Am I way off base here?


I have no experience in this area but I would like to understand it. I guess I need to read more in the HTPC forum. I would like to know what you learn there. I will look for your post there and subscribe to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The HTPC forum thread that I posted is found here


That thread is focused on the capabilities of the RCA MM36110 when a HTPC is hooked up to the RCA and sends different resolutions to the RCA (800x600, 720x480, 640x480).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kharvel
Dave,


...


I know that the RCA requires the user to change the aspect ratio manually using the service menu. But since the RCA and the Hitachi tubes are the same, then we can safely assume that if the RCA sees a 16:9 VGA signal (720x480p), it will do the vertical squeeze automatically.


This assumption is based on the fact that when the DTC-100 is hooked up to the RCA and it sends a 1080i signal to the RCA, the RCA will do the 1080i vertical squeeze automatically. Correct me if I'm wrong in that regard.


It looks like the RCA is the TV for me since I will be using the VGA inputs exclusively and there doesn't appear to be much difference between the RCA and the Hitachi when using only the VGA inputs.
I think this assumption is dangerous.


I suspect that the proper method of connecting a DTC-100 to an RCA MM36110 would call for the DTC-100 RGB output to set for 4:3, not 16:9. If so, the DTC-100 would control whether the received signal would fill the entire 4:3 screen (for non-HD signals from OTA or DirecTV) or be letterboxed by the DTC-100 for HD signals. The video output from the DTC-100 is still either 1080i or 540p (both 4:3) but the video content would be vertically altered by the DTC-100 (NOT the TV) to present a letterboxed widescreen image within the full 4:3 signal. In short, the DTC-100 is managing the "vertical squeeze," NOT the TV.


I can operate the Hitachi/DTC-100 combination in the same manner. In fact I did for some time until I discovered how to control the RGB "PC Mode" aspect ratio in the Hitachi.


I see no evidence that the RCA would ever apply a vertical squeeze short of someone going into the service menu and forcing it. I see no evidence of the RCA automatically switching aspect ratios.


Even though the two TVs use the same picture tube, their electronics driving the picture tubes are different. The combination provides the equivalent of a limited multiscan monitor. The Hitachi provides a user configurable means of compressing the raster vertically for component and RGB inputs. The closest equivalent capability in the RCA is the manipulation of the service menu.


That said, I don't necessarily see this as disqualifiying the RCA. But, the user-controllable (without service menu) vertical resolution opportunity with the RCA is less than the Hitachi. In comparing both modes on my DTC-100/Hitachi, the 4:3 mode (equivalent to the RCA) is definitely very good viewing. But the 16:9 mode is even better.


Another question for the RCA: If the vertical size is compressed using the service menu to achieve "vertical squeeze" does it affect everything displayed from any input on the RCA, e.g., the internal tuner and S-video/composite video signals? This may not matter to you anyway.


If I am starting to sound biased here, it is because the anamorphic squeeze issue for DVD component inputs played heavily in my decision to go with the Hitachi. At that time I did not even realize that the same capability was available for RGB inputs, partly because that control feature is buried deeply in the manual and the on-screen-display menus for RGB setup.


I think the possible issue for you is this: If the RCA were set permanently for vertical squeeze, then you would not be able to get full screen display for a 4:3 non-HD TV signal, because the vertical size would ALWAYS be constrained by your service menu setting. I have tested the equivalent of this with my Hitachi. When I set the RGB aspect ratio to 16:9, 4:3 TV content is displayed as a reduced-size image with black or gray bars surrounding the image on both sides and on top and bottom. This is equivalent to how a true 16:9 HD monitor would handle 4:3 content.


I just don't want you to think that the RCA can automatically switch itself between full screen 4:3 display (no black/gray bars) and 16:9 vertically compressed display. The closest equivalent is a letterboxed 4:3 image coming from the input device.
 

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I own neither set, but have been shopping for the same type of TV. Be careful when buying these as reconditioned sets. Panasonic sets have a better track record with RCA and Zenith having bad repair histories (according to Consumer Reports). If set on one, try to get an extended warranty or use a credit card that offers double the manufacturer's ( many offer this- read your credit card's fine print).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dave,


That is very interesting information. If it is true that the DTC-100 is doing the vertical squeeze and not the RCA, then it would be up to the HTPC to do the vertical squeeze itself.


And also, it appears that neither the RCA nor the Hitachi can do the change in aspect ratio automatically. The user has to do that manually, whether through the service menu (RCA) or the TV menu (Hitachi). Therefore, if it has to be done manually anyway, it doesn't matter if I'm using a RCA or a Hitachi, right?


So the question then becomes whether the HTPC can do the vertical squeeze itself, like the DTC-100. That is a very interesting question for the HTPC forum.
 

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The game I have played with my Hitachi is to manipulate vertical squeeze by switching inputs on the TV. I have manually set (and left alone) the 16:9 "squeeze" options for both component inputs (for my DVD) and RGB inputs (for the HD RGB output of my DTC-100). Those settings have not changed for months, except for some experimenting and testing I have done.


My "automatic" switching between 16:9 and 4:3 is accomplished by the normal activity of switching inputs to watch.


On the DVD side, it becomes fully automatic because the DVD player automatically switches component outputs off if the signal is not anamorphic, causing the TV to automatically switch from component to S-video input.


On the HDTV side, I have a macro on my universal remotes that synchronizes switching of the DTC-100 to HD output mode and the TV to RGB input (giving me vertically compressed 16:9 for HDTV viewing). I have a companion macro that switches back to DTC-100 non-HD output and TV S-video input. A HD program will still display widescreen using S-video, but at reduced vertical and horizontal resolution. This means my family members don't have to "bother with" using the macro's to get the best resolution unless they want to.


Keep in mind that the "vertical squeeze" done within the DTC-100 is similar to a DVD player letterboxing output of an anamorphic DVD for display on a 4:3 TV. Some of the scan lines are wasted on the horizontal black bars being generated by the source device and transmitted to the TV.


The whole benefit of the anamorphic process is to avoid that waste by using all of the scan lines for a 16:9 widescreen picture, which, if viewed in the raw on a 4:3 monitor, would look vertically stretched. The 4:3 viewing device is expected to compress its scan lines together vertically to regenerate the original aspect ratio. If viewed correctly on a 4:3 TV, the resulting horizontal black bars at top and bottom result from the lack of scan lines in that area, rather than the display of black scan lines sent from the source.


If the source material was not exactly 16:9 (or 1.78:1), there will still be some black bars generated and transmitted to achieve the desired aspect ratio, e.g., many widescreen movies are 2.35:1, so their true picture area is smaller vertically than 1.78:1. The anamorphic improvement in vertical resolution helps these movies a lot.


If you choose to let the DTC-100 or the HTPC manage the vertical squeeze, you are opting to waste scan lines on transmitted black bars. The vertical resolution is reduced accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dave,


This is indeed a vexing problem. I don't want to lose the vertical resolution if there is no true anamorphic squeeze. That is really not acceptable.


Everything will be going through the HTPC so I will be using only ONE VGA input for everything. If the true 16x9 squeeze is not possible without the service menu, then I might just as well forget about getting either the RCA or the Hitachi.


Are you sure there is no way for the VGA input to somehow trigger the 16x9 vertical squeeze on the RCA or Hitachi? My ATI Radeon 8500 All-in-Wonder video card is capable of sending 720x480p @ 72hz signals to the TV and I want to know if such signal will trigger the true vertical squeeze on the TV or not. That is the question of the hour.
 

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I am not absolutely sure, but I see no signs of any means of triggering vertical squeeze via the VGA input on my Hitachi.


Again, my exposure is quite limited in this area. Is there an industry standard that covers the source device communicating the need for vertical squeeze to the target device over VGA?


I don't know exactly how the equivalent happens in the component video world. But I am told that some TVs are capable of detecting and automatically reacting to an anamorphic source program. In a 4:3 monitor that means vertical squeeze. In a 16:9 monitor that means horizontal stretch.


Stand alone and PC-based DVD players are able to detect anamorphic content and react to it, so the intelligence is clearly available at the source. They know when to create a letterbox modification for an anamorphic signal when the output format of the DVD player is set for a 4:3 TV. But I don't know how an "anamorphic flag" is sent downstream.


I would be interested in witnessing this on an "automatic" TV with a mixed format DVD, to see how well the TV tracks the aspect ratio changes between different content sections of the DVD. Having made my kludge work, I know what to look for.


I just helped a friend set up a brand new Hitachi 51" RPTV and I could not find such a feature there (in a very small time frame; I'll go back). That TV does offer full flexibility user control (manual via remote) of aspect ratios on all inputs, but it would be even better if they were handled automatically with the user option to override if needed.


The 4:3 sets that I have heard somehow handle this automatically are Sony WEGA models. I don't know any specifics and I have not observed their behavior. But, I don't think they have RGB/VGA inputs.


The Panasonic 36" that was mentioned earlier may be a candidate. When I was looking 2 years ago, the Panasonic available then was consistently priced $500 to $1000 higher than the Hitachi or RCA and I could not afford that difference. I never fully evaluated its capabilities for that reason.


I'll keep nosing around to see what I might bump into.
 

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I hope we're not misusing terms here: The DTC100 controls the "aspect ratio" when outputting to the 32110. But that 16:9 image is not "vertically squeezed" in the process. It' just a letterboxed image that is not squeezed. To regain those lost scanning lines, you have to go to the service menu in the 32110 and do the squeeze there. - Pat
 
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