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hd cable box gives me black bars...help

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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 Dan_asdf



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Posted May 18 2003 - 01:28 PM

I just hooked up my Time Warner digital cable HD box to my widescreen hdtv and I'm having trouble getting rid of the black bars on the side. Since I'm using one of the HD inputs on my TV, the TV manual says I have to use the input device to change the picture format (ie. Widescreen, zoom, stretch, etc.), Well, the box doesn't have that capability, according to the tech support at TW. Should I just connect the box to one of the normal inputs so I can lose the black bars or what. Is the one HD channel, HBOHD, worth risking burn in on my brand new HDTV?
thanks for your input.

#2 of 6 Steve Schaffer

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Posted May 18 2003 - 04:52 PM

When not broadcasting true HD, most stations put black bars on the side of 4/3 material. It gets sent out as an HD-scanrate 16/9 image, which is why your set can't stretch it.

Run a separate S-video cable to the set and use that when you need to stretch the HBO-HD pic with black bars on the side.

If you've calibrated the set properly (lowered contrast to 40% or less) the black bars won't hurt it anyway.
Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.

#3 of 6 Dan_asdf



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Posted May 19 2003 - 04:16 AM

Maybe I wasn't exactly clear on the problem. The HBOHD is the only channel I dont need to stretch as it is almost always 16:9. Its the other 200 chanels that I would like to utilize the widescreen aspect of my TV on. I'm considering exchanging the HD box for a regular Digital box, so that I can then use one of the non HD inputs and switch around the picture format. I realize that is kind of defeating the purpose of the HD part of my set, but is it really worth it to have one HD channel playing in widescreen with a clearer picture, but then every other channel has the bars and a normal resolution?

#4 of 6 Michael Reuben

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Posted May 19 2003 - 04:23 AM

Its the other 200 chanels that I would like to utilize the widescreen aspect of my TV on.

And that's why you should run a separate S-video connection between the box and the TV. Then:

1. Watch the HDO-HD channel through the component connection; you'll still get black bars at the sides on some shows, because not every HBO broadcast is HD.

2. Watch all other channels through the S-video connection. Your TV's stretch modes will then be available, and you'll suffer no loss of quality watching these channels through S-video.

Since you have Time Warner cable, you probably have the Scientific Atlanta 3100HD box. I've been using it in the manner described above for almost a year now, and it works just fine.

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#5 of 6 Jed M

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Posted May 19 2003 - 06:48 AM

Dan, my parents have TW and I hooked up their HD box as Steve and Michael have both suggested. Don't exchange the box, it works fine, it just won't stretch non HD images, but that is what your tv is for (when using the s-video). TW has some issues IMO, another thing about TW to keep in mind is if you want digital sound you need to hook both the analog and digital connections to your receiver and switch back accordingly, unless your receiver auto detects.
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#6 of 6 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 19 2003 - 08:45 AM


What type of widescreen tv do you have? The Toshiba widescreens allow you to switch between the 3 Theater Wide modes while in 1080i output for just the reason you describe. It even explains what mode to use in the manual. Your TV may allow similar. Personally, all HD channels available on Comcast have an analog counterpart, so I just switch to that.