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HDMI cables and 4:3 (Academy) Ratio movies


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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   jimdc58

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Posted February 19 2013 - 03:18 AM

I hope this is in the right category. I currently have a Sony Trinitron KV-30HS510 Widescreen CRT television and an Onkyo DV-SP406 upscaling DVD player (using component cabling, as the TV is not HDMI compatible). I am thinking about updating my system to a larger LCD or LED television, and perhaps later, to a Blu-Ray player. I currently have over 500 movies on DVD, the majority of which are movies made prior to 1953. In other words, they are mostly movies in 4:3 aspect ratio. If I hook up either an upscaling DVD player set to the same resolution as a newer television (probably 1080p) or a Blu-Ray player, using HDMI cables (not component cables), will I be able to watch my old movies in the correct 4:3 aspect ratio? I have heard from some sources that the picture will end up stretched to fill the screen (16:9) and I will be locked into that ratio, as the player will override the TV. I absolutely HATE when someone watches 4:3 television in 16:9, making everything stretched out of shape, and I certainly don't want to watch my beloved old movies like this. I understand that 4:3 movies on Blu-Ray discs are formatted differently (with pillarboxing "in place"). Is this also correct? Regardless, I am looking for some feedback as to whether my DVD's will all be worthless if I get a new home theater setup. I can't afford to rebuy everything in Blu-Ray....and as a matter of fact, most of my movies are not available in that format anyway. Any help and clarification would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping what I've heard is wrong.

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted February 19 2013 - 03:52 AM

I cannot speak to your specific equipment, but there are plenty of us who watch 1.33:1 AR DVDs and Blu-Rays on Blu-Ray players connected to our displays via HDMI. You may have to make an adjustment to the video output settings on your player to get the desired result, but there is no reason why your DVDs will not play in the correct AR via HDMI. (Harvey on Blu-Ray is a thing of beauty. :) ) Windowboxing is the term to describe when all four sides of an image are bounded by black borders. Pillarboxing describes the display of a 4:3 image with full vertical resolution and horizontal bars on the L/R sides of the image. Good luck and Welcome to the HTF. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   jimdc58

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Posted February 19 2013 - 04:19 AM

Windowboxing is the term to describe when all four sides of an image are bounded by black borders. Pillarboxing describes the display of a 4:3 image with full vertical resolution and horizontal bars on the L/R sides of the image.

Thanks. I did know that, and accidentally used the wrong term.(I corrected my OP.) Am I correct about there being a difference in the output from a 4:3 DVD and a 4:3 Blu-Ray? Thanks for your feedback. I am relieved to hear that my DVD collection won't become worthless. A couple other questions: Do Blu-Ray players automatically upscale DVDs? I also understand that the televisions themselves can upscale. Is there any conflict? Also, have you ever played DVD's created on burner (as I have home movies transferred from 8mm in that format)? Will they play correctly, too? By the way....I have "Harvey" on DVD.....great movie.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted February 19 2013 - 05:24 AM

Am I correct about there being a difference in the output from a 4:3 DVD and a 4:3 Blu-Ray?

I believe that there is, with 4:3 Blu-Ray set to display a 16:9 output signal with the image centered vs DVD which was built for NTSC/PAL.

Do Blu-Ray players automatically upscale DVDs? I also understand that the televisions themselves can upscale. Is there any conflict?

I believe it will depend upon the specific equipment being used, but on my system, the player auto-detects the capabilities of the display and performs the scaling on the player with output set to the display's resolution. In any event, I don't think there will be conflict with the player and display "negotiating" via the HDMI cable.

Also, have you ever played DVD's created on burner (as I have home movies transferred from 8mm in that format)? Will they play correctly, too?

I've played a few burned DVDs on a PS3 with no problem, but I suspect it will depend upon how the disc is authored and the DVD/Blu-Ray player software capabilities. But I have little experience in this area. Hopefully someone who is a little more proficient in the format capabilities of DVD vs. Blu-Ray can chime in. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted February 19 2013 - 05:49 AM

My experience has been with PS3 and current model Sony and Panasonic Blu Ray players. All have had no problem properly framing 4/3 aspect ratio dvds. All have automatically converted 480i dvds to 1080p via HDMI with no conflict with the tv's upconversion. HDMI is a two-way connection in that during the "handshake" the source and display devices exchange informaion about their characteristics--the tv tells the player what it's aspect ratio and scanrate capabilities and the player automatically puts out the proper signal. Never having tried burned dvds I'll defer to Walter's excellent answer. I'd strongly recommend getting a Blu Ray player rather than an upconverting dvd player. The latter have become cheap commodity items whose upconversion is not likely to be as good as that of a BD player, plus you'll have the option to play true HD Blu Ray discs and take advantage of streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   jimdc58

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Posted February 19 2013 - 08:02 AM

Thanks for your patience in answering all my questions. I feel more comfortable that my movie library will stay intact!




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