Posted April 05 2003 - 08:50 AM
First off, many thanks for all your replies. As you've all figured out, this phenomenon was frustrating the hell out of me, and I thought there wasn't anything I could do to correct it. But thanks to your help, I actually DID come up with a solution — one that completely eliminated the cropping!!! It turned out to be a minor issue with the VVEGA, and not my DVD player or the encoding on the disc. Plus on the side, I learned a few new things about the anamorphic world thanks to your folks! (I may have been an LD/DVD reviewer and consultant for ~20 years and an editor, but there is always room for us "experts" to learn new things — and anyone who knows "everything" and claims otherwise is full of it...
With regard to the "pillarboxing," guys, I do understand that it's generally hidden by overscan on most sets. However, the Sony VVEGA's have an outstanding Service Mode (not accessible to normal users, and not in the manual) that lets you configure 520 different settings/options. Through that, I am able to change the screen geometry in far too many ways: scaling, overscan, etc. I only did this with few random 1.66:1 titles, but I was unable to find ANY evidence of "pillarboxing" in those titles I checked. Of course, it is very possible that the "pillarboxing" is so slight that it can't even be detected when going through the Service Mode and changing the overscan/scaling options, but unlikely. It's more plausible that either a) the few titles I checked just weren't 1.66 pillarbox, but actually cropped to 1.78:1, or b) that the VVEGA just crops them off internally. But as Peter confirmed, "Horror of Dracula" definitely had no "pillarboxing." (I am not able to check out "Lilo & Stitch" since I haven't picked up the title yet... I am still waiting in the hopes that the SE will actually get released...)
As Bill suggested, I compared a 1.78:1 transfer (between anamorphic and 4:3 WS modes), and as he surmised, I saw the exact same effect — on anamorphic mode, the top and bottom of the frame was again cropped. Hmmm... now that's an interesting revelation...
| If you can reduce the vertical overscan without distorting the image, then hopefully this phenomenon will go away. |
Bill, I can't offer you enough thanks for telling me that, as it planted the seed in my mind that helped me to permanently SOLVE my problem.
That lightbulb went off, gave me an idea, and within 5 minutes I eradicated my problem.
I had already tried manipulating the image in various ways to reveal the additional picture information, but with little success. How does one reduce the vertical overscan without distorting the image? Well, I knew that shrinking the image via the vertical horizontal sizing or position settings wouldn't work. Instead, what suddenly popped into my mind thanks to Bill's comment was "blanking shutters" — and I couldn't believe that I didn't think of them earlier. "Blanking Shutters" work like rectangular black masks that are positioned over your screen to 'contain' the image (a very simplified explanation, but it gets the point across). Theoretically, moving the Top and Bottom Blanking Shutters should "open up the image," allowing me to view the entire anamorphic signal being sent to the set without any cropping. So I went back into the VVEGA's Service Mode, found the Blanking Shutter options, and gave it a shot — and it worked perfectly! My 1.66:1 and 1.78:1 titles are no longer cropped when viewed in anamorphic mode. Heads are no longer missing at the top of the frame when watching "Horror of Dracula" (or other titles), and Christopher Lee's chin is back as well (see my earlier picture). Woohoo! (Just as an FYI, I did this in 960I mode, which is how the VVEGA does its 16:9 anamorphic compression. The shutter values are different depending upon the mode — 480I, 960I, etc. — but thankfully the VVEGA allows you to set these values independently of one another based on the mode.)
Bill — thanks again for the idea! It's very much appreciated!
As I stated in my previous message, I've heard this complaint from other VVEGA owners, and Adam also mentioned this in his message. But at least it can be easily corrected, just like we correct the Red Push and other items. To be honest, the VVEGA is about a perfect a set (for a 40" tube) as I ever could imagine, and the default factory settings were remarkably good out of the box. (And it looked even better once I tweaked it). But I'm not even going to try and guess why Sony set up the Top & Bottom Blanking Shutter defaults (under 960I) the way they did, since it obviously crops the 1.66/1.78 anamorphic framing a slight amount. Whatever their reasons — or even if it's just some weird oversight — thankfully the VVEGA's allow you to adjust every option so you can configure your set to your exacting specifications.
For those of you with VVEGA's, here's the exact steps to fixing the cropping issue (it's easier than it looks, but maybe that's just me). Be warned that this requires going in to the VVEGA's Service Mode menu and changing the options there. Don't do this unless you really know what you are doing — changing the wrong values and/or settings can really screw up your set. Also, these changes apply specifically to the current XBR800 models, but will also likely work for all earlier models that have the auto 16:9 mode:
1) The VVEGA's use the 960I mode for 16:9 anamorphic compression, and you need to be in this mode while making the correction. The easiest way to do this is to play a 1.66:1 (or 1.78:1) anamorphic title. Just put in the disc, find a scene you like, and pause the image (you'll want a static image later on when making the actual change, so you can see what it does).
2) Enter the VVEGA's service mode by pressing: "PowerOff, DISPLAY, 5, VOL+, PowerOn"
Don't push them all at once — just push them consecutively. This must be done within 5 sec., or you'll have to start over. If done correctly, your set will have a heads-up display featuring a bunch of text and number entries. The important ones to know are as follows...
- The first three items on the top line: "Category - # - Value"
- The first item on the second line: "Item"
3) Remote Control Functions:
- Press "1" to move to the Next Menu item.
- Press "4" to move to the Previous Menu item.
- Press "3" to adjust the Value Up.
- Press "6" to adjust the Value Down.
4) Press "1" to move through the Category and Item listing until you find...
- Category: "2170D-3" #: "4" Value: "8"
(This is the Top Blanking Shutter)
- followed by -
Category: "2170D-3" #: "5" Value: "13"
(This is the Bottom Blanking Shutter)
Please note that your "Value" settings might be different than mine. (It'll take a short bit to find them... these are settings #209 & #210 out of a total of 520. And no, they are not numbered).
5) Before making any changes, write down the "Value" settings as listed for your set. It's a good thing to have just in case you with to return it back to the factory default. (Always write down the original values/settings for any option you change via the Service Menu! For some settings, it would be close to impossible to figure out what the origiinal value was just by eyeballing the screen...)
6) Use the "3" and "6" keys to adjust the "Value" setting for both TBLK and BBLK. In my case, I set TBLK to "0", and BBLK to "1".
If you have a 1.66:1 or 1.78:1 anamorphic disc paused in the background, you'll instantly see the effects of any changes you make to the Top and Bottom Blanking Shutters. By reducing the values of these two settings, you'll should see the image area "opening up" to reduce the cropping. Please note that this does not stretch, resize or distort your image in any way - it just eliminates the cropping on the top and bottom of the frame.
7) If you are satisfied with your new settings, press "MUTE - ENTER" to save them, then press "POWER OFF" to exit the Service Mode. (Press "POWER ON" to resume regular TV viewing and functions.)
If you wish to exit Service Mode WITHOUT saving your changes — or if you think you screwed something up and want to start over — just press "POWER OFF" to cancel out of Service Mode (i.e., DO NOT PRESS "MUTE - ENTER" to save your new settings).
8) And there you have it... all 1.66-1.78 anamorphic DVDs can be viewed without any cropping, and the framing exactly matches their 4:3 LBX counterparts.
9) Attention VVEGA owners: You should only attempt these changes if you are familiar with tweaking your set, know what you are doing, and/or are comfortable entering the Service Mode to go exploring. Please note that you could potentially damage your set or seriously mess up your screen image if you start randomly changing values. If you have trouble setting your VCR's timer or properly adjusting your color/brightness/contrast settings, then please do not attempt this!!! (And just as a precaution, I take no responsibility whatsoever for people attempting to make these or any other changes to their VVEGA — anything you do is done at your own risk. You have been duly warned — if you mess something up, it's your own fault, so don't blame me.)
In any event, thanks again for everybody's quick participation — you all played a part in helping me figure out exactly how to fix my little problem. Hopefully my finding will help out other VVEGA owners with the same dilemma. (Hmmm... does anyone know how I can get this added to the HTF's FAQ section so it CAN help out other VVEGA owners?)
Regards to all!