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Aspect ratio questions

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November 30, 2004 5:15:24 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

I have an aspect ratio question that no salesperson has been able to answer
to my satisfaction.

How much control does a typical widescreen HDTV unit provide when watching
non-widescreen programming? Is the display aspect ratio adjustable so that
the image doesn't look squeezed down and elongated? Is there an option to
display content in 4x3, perhaps with black vertical bars on the sides? The
ability to automatically sense the content (say, 4x3 vs. 16x9) and adjust
the aspect ratio accordingly would be a nice bonus.

I'm leaning towards the Samsung HL-P5063W DLP, FWIW.

More about : aspect ratio questions

Anonymous
November 30, 2004 5:15:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote in message news:<0JQqd.3980$%R1.39@trndny03>...

> I have an aspect ratio question that no salesperson has been able to answer
> to my satisfaction.

That's odd, salesmen ought to be able to answer this easily enough.

> How much control does a typical widescreen HDTV unit provide when watching
> non-widescreen programming? Is the display aspect ratio adjustable so that
> the image doesn't look squeezed down and elongated? Is there an option to
> display content in 4x3, perhaps with black vertical bars on the sides? The
> ability to automatically sense the content (say, 4x3 vs. 16x9) and adjust
> the aspect ratio accordingly would be a nice bonus.

As far as I know, most any wide TV should provide a choice between 4:3
and 16:9, and you'll probably also get at least one mode to magnify
content, so if you have a letterboxed picture within 4:3 (what someone
here called "litterboxed"), you can stretch it both ways. My Samsung
CRT does this, though the vertical magnification comes out slightly
too short...

> I'm leaning towards the Samsung HL-P5063W DLP, FWIW.
Anonymous
November 30, 2004 3:23:13 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 02:15:24 GMT, Steve <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote:
> I have an aspect ratio question that no salesperson has been able to answer
> to my satisfaction.
>
> How much control does a typical widescreen HDTV unit provide when watching
> non-widescreen programming? Is the display aspect ratio adjustable so that
> the image doesn't look squeezed down and elongated? Is there an option to
> display content in 4x3, perhaps with black vertical bars on the sides? The
> ability to automatically sense the content (say, 4x3 vs. 16x9) and adjust
> the aspect ratio accordingly would be a nice bonus.

It also depends upon your source which may have its own adjustments.

My widescreen LCD only has 4:3 (pillarboxed) or full screen (16:9)

My OTA set top box has 4:3 (pillarbox), full (16:9), or Zoom (only for SD
content). It seems to remember one setting for HD channels and another
setting for SD channels.

My up converting DVD player has "normal wide" (16:9 or horizontally
stretched 4:3), "screen fit" (fit width, but extra wide are letterboxed),
"zoom fit" (full height extra wide movies with sides cut off), and "fit
height" for 4:3 content only (pillarbox). It reverts to normal wide for
menus.
Related resources
Anonymous
November 30, 2004 3:37:50 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote in message
news:0JQqd.3980$%R1.39@trndny03...

> How much control does a typical widescreen HDTV unit provide when watching
> non-widescreen programming?

At least two choices: regular (undistorted 4:3 with "pillars" on the side)
and stretched horizontally. Other alternatives include: Zoom (undistorted,
but tops and bottoms are removed), Panorama ( stretched more towards the
edge and less in the middle so faces appear more normal), and other
combinations of zoom and stretch.


> Is the display aspect ratio adjustable so that
> the image doesn't look squeezed down and elongated?

Yes. This option should be universal. You may not like the fact that part of
the screen isn't used, and there can be burn-in effects, depending on the
display technology.

> Is there an option to
> display content in 4x3, perhaps with black vertical bars on the sides?

Yes. The bars may also be grey.

> The
> ability to automatically sense the content (say, 4x3 vs. 16x9) and adjust
> the aspect ratio accordingly would be a nice bonus.

Agreed. This is not universal.

>
> I'm leaning towards the Samsung HL-P5063W DLP, FWIW.
>
>

A good choice.

Brad Houser
December 1, 2004 3:18:48 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Thanks, everyone! Is it a safe assumption that the letterbox DVDs I watch
now on my 4x3 set will display 16x9 and take up the full widescreen display?
And that the horizontal bars above and below the image will disappear
altogether?

"Brad Houser" <bradDOThouser@intel.com> wrote in message
news:coillf$tni$1@news01.intel.com...
>
> "Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote in message
> news:0JQqd.3980$%R1.39@trndny03...
>
>> How much control does a typical widescreen HDTV unit provide when
>> watching
>> non-widescreen programming?
>
> At least two choices: regular (undistorted 4:3 with "pillars" on the side)
> and stretched horizontally. Other alternatives include: Zoom (undistorted,
> but tops and bottoms are removed), Panorama ( stretched more towards the
> edge and less in the middle so faces appear more normal), and other
> combinations of zoom and stretch.
>
>
>> Is the display aspect ratio adjustable so that
>> the image doesn't look squeezed down and elongated?
>
> Yes. This option should be universal. You may not like the fact that part
> of
> the screen isn't used, and there can be burn-in effects, depending on the
> display technology.
>
>> Is there an option to
>> display content in 4x3, perhaps with black vertical bars on the sides?
>
> Yes. The bars may also be grey.
>
>> The
>> ability to automatically sense the content (say, 4x3 vs. 16x9) and adjust
>> the aspect ratio accordingly would be a nice bonus.
>
> Agreed. This is not universal.
>
>>
>> I'm leaning towards the Samsung HL-P5063W DLP, FWIW.
>>
>>
>
> A good choice.
>
> Brad Houser
>
>
>
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 3:18:49 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 00:18:48 GMT, "Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote:

>Thanks, everyone! Is it a safe assumption that the letterbox DVDs I watch
>now on my 4x3 set will display 16x9 and take up the full widescreen display?
>And that the horizontal bars above and below the image will disappear
>altogether?

For the most part, the letterboxing (those horizontal bars) will be
going by the wayside for you but not completely. Some "arteest" type
movie makers choose other wide angle lenses for certain scenes and
sometimes even for entire movies and when this happens, you'll still
have letterboxing. The good news is, the letterboxing will be much
thinner than you're used to seeing when you view 16:9 (unzoomed /
unpanned) on a 4:3 TV... you'll probably not even really notice it at
all very often.
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 3:30:49 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"HDTV-slingr" <NOSPAMMERS@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:cknqq0957jcr58h9mfjkmcrbsbcou4omjn@4ax.com...
> On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 00:18:48 GMT, "Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote:
>
>>Thanks, everyone! Is it a safe assumption that the letterbox DVDs I watch
>>now on my 4x3 set will display 16x9 and take up the full widescreen
>>display?
>>And that the horizontal bars above and below the image will disappear
>>altogether?
>
> For the most part, the letterboxing (those horizontal bars) will be
> going by the wayside for you but not completely. Some "arteest" type
> movie makers choose other wide angle lenses for certain scenes and
> sometimes even for entire movies and when this happens, you'll still
> have letterboxing.

There are very few (you can probably count them on one hand) movies that
have ever been made with multiple aspect ratios. So you would never see
"certain scenes" wider than other scenes save for in a documentary where
they are mixing archival footage that could be in a variety of aspect ratios
but most likely 1.37:1 with 16:9
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 8:17:08 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote in message news:<I58rd.2438$_C2.539@trndny01>...

> Thanks, everyone! Is it a safe assumption that the letterbox DVDs I watch
> now on my 4x3 set will display 16x9 and take up the full widescreen display?
> And that the horizontal bars above and below the image will disappear
> altogether?

Unfortunately, not in some cases! A properly mastered DVD will (after
pushing the right buttons) inflate up to fill the screen for a 1.85
aspect ratio movie, or to have only minor remaining letterboxing for a
2.35 (or wider) movie, but there are some DVDs, mainly older ones I
think, which fail to do this: they are recorded strictly for 4:3
display, with no "anamorphic" squashing, and as a result when viewed
on widescreen TVs you get borders around all four sides. Some movies
in my pile that have this defect include The First Wives' Club, Thelma
and Louise, and (sob) The Last Emperor. Some sets allow you to
magnify the picture to get rid of the four borders, but the quality of
course suffers... with my gear, it suffers quite badly.

So I have now learned to eyeball the DVD package rather carefully when
buying used movies, in an attempt to scry out whether a given purchase
is anamorphically encoded or not... but sometimes it doesn't say and
sometimes it even has incorrect information, like a package that says
it's encoded in 1.85 proportions when it's actually a 2.35 movie (The
Cooler is such a case). And if it just has the word "widescreen" and
nothing more specific, you don't know whether it's anamorphic or
not... sometimes it is, sometimes it ain't. Again, if it's a recent
DVD it's probably fine.

(Pet peeve: I wish DVDs would quit claiming that they're showing
movies in 1.85 aspect ratio when they're actually showing 1.78 and
trimming the edges.)

(Bigger pet peeve: I think most people who shoot 2.35 are doing
viewers a disservice. Often all you get is closeups with the tops of
the actors' heads cut off. The Matrix movies were pretty bad this
way: I kept seeing compositions that would have been IMPROVED by
restoring the top and bottom of the frame.)

Finally, old movies shot in 1.37 aspect ratio are always encoded "full
screen", so you have to set your screen to 4:3 mode. Likewise for
some very old movies in 1.25, e.g. the original Nosferatu, which are
likely to get trimmed at the top and bottom.

The most difficult movie aspect ratios to handle are in-between ones
like 1.55, but those seem to be pretty rare.
Anonymous
December 1, 2004 3:59:46 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Steve" <stevem@spamfree.net> wrote in message
news:I58rd.2438$_C2.539@trndny01...
> Thanks, everyone! Is it a safe assumption that the letterbox DVDs I watch
> now on my 4x3 set will display 16x9 and take up the full widescreen
display?
> And that the horizontal bars above and below the image will disappear
> altogether?

Most of the time, yes. Older DVDs did letterboxing on 4:3. These would have
have to be
"zoomed" (whatever setting chops off the top and bottom). If you are using
progressive scan and your TV won't zoom with progressive, you need to go
back to composite or s-video with these. Otherwise, if it is within the last
couple years, if it says "widescreen" or "enhanced for widescreen", then you
are OK.

Brad Houser
!