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16:9 vs. 4:3. Best Decision For Me?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brent_N, Oct 25, 2001.

  1. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    I have just about narrowed my RPTV purchase down to either a Toshiba 53HX71 or a 50HX81. I am trying to weigh the pros and cons of these two sets.
    Any opinons base on MY situation?
    - I currently watch a lot of 4:3 material (news, sports, some network shows).
    - Anticipate that I will watch 16:9 material maybe 20% of the time.
    - To avoid burn in on the 16:9 set, I am not thrilled with the idea of watching in stretch mode.
    - If I purchase the 4:3 set, I doubt I would have to worry about burn-in with limited widescreen viewing in squeeze mode (actually, I would be more concerned about 4:3 burn in if I got a 16:9 set).
    - I am concerned about the small widesceen picture on a 4:3 set. What is the equivalent 16:9 size on a 53 inch 4:3 set?
    - I hate to purchase a 4:3 set when the future is 16:9 programming (even though I know I will be watching significantly more 4:3 programming in the foreseeable future).
    - Widescreen TVs are cool :)
    - Price is about the same.
    Help!!!!!!!
    Thanks,
    Brent
     
  2. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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  3. Page

    Page Stunt Coordinator

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    I went through the same decision last week. I was coming from a 61 inch 4:3 Tosh and was looking at the new 57 inch 16:9 sets. (All of my viewing is DVD-based; however, most of my DVDs are older movies and imported TV shows which are full frame.)
    The 4:3 size on the 57 inch sets just couldn't compare with my 61 inch TV so I went with a 61 inch that does the 16:9 squeeze (the Toshiba 61H71.) For the week I've had it, it has been working out fine. (I'm not overly concerned about uneven burn out/in in the 16:9 squeeze mode because the contrast and brightness are not hiked up to the "torch" settings. And if it does burn out/in, I'll just replace the set in a couple of years because the price is about the same I would pay when I use to upgrade my computer every other year--the prices on RPTVs have come down so much.)
    I also looked at the 65 inch 16:9 sets and that would have been a great solution except the size is just too big for the room. (And also the price to a certain degree.)
    I know that there are a lot of members that advocate 16:9 only sets, but the stretch modes just don't do it for me and the smaller 4:3 picture just doesn't cut it. I'm an advocate of 16:9 sets myself, but at this point in time, I'm not ready for one.
    Of course, most of your viewing is TV-based, so you're in a different dilema. Let us know what you decide in the end.
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    If I were you, I'd get the 4:3. Then again, I despise all stretch modes, including progressive ones. It causes people to get fatter as they get closer to the edge of the screen, but some viewers don't notice it. It is also particularly noticeable when architecture spreads across the screen, at least to me.
    Oh, and you can downconvert some of your HD broadcasts to 810i with top/bottom grey bars if you really want to reduce burn. I mean, I like CSI and all, but 810i 16:9 is around DVD quality, which is good enough for most made-for-tv dramas or comedies, at least IMO.
    Then again, I too watch tons of old (academy ratio) movies, IMAX, classic animation, TV show box sets, etc. About 70% of my discs are correctly 4:3, plus I watch a lot of SDTV sports on Fox and ESPN, neither of which are going 16:9 anytime soon.
    The ratio of the set should fit what you watch, not some contrived compromised ratio. For some people, 16:9 makes the most sense. For others, 4:3.
    If it don't fit your source, you chose wrong, of course!
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 25, 2001 at 03:20 PM]
     
  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    Brent,
    Just in case you haven't guessed, I prefer widescreen. [​IMG] Why? Well, some excellent shows are being filmed or taped in widescreen format, like ER, CSI, The West Wing, Law & Order, etc., and this is increasing. In a couple of years I suspect that virtially all programs will be taped or filmed in widescreen format. I also live in an area where HD-OTA is available, so once I get a tuner and antenna I'll be set. Another reason is that DVDs, especially anamorphic DVDs, look so much better on a 16:9 display.
    Until this year I still planned to go with a 4:3 set. The only RPTV that I thought did a decent job stretching 4:3 to fill a 16:9 display were the Pioneer Elite sets, which were well beyond my budget. But this year there are several very reasonably priced sets that do an excellent job stretching 4:3. The Toshiba you are considering is one and the new Pioneer Home sets (SD-533/643) are even better, IMO. And I can afford them! [​IMG]
    This is why I prefer a 16:9 instead of a 4:3 set. But what is important to me may not be improtant to you.
    ------------------
    Dan
     
  6. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    I got a 16:9 (Pioneer Elite) TV and we watch 4:3 TV on it all the time in 'natural wide' stretch mode, and have no complaints. This mode stretches it a 'bit' vertically, and just enough horizontally to fill the screen. If you compare it with 4:3 mode you'll realize that in natural wide the people are a bit wider than normal, but if you just walked in the room in natural wide mode, you'd probably never even realize it.
    The HUGE reason to get a 16:9 set though is for 16:9 material (anamorphic DVDs and HDTV). I plan to get an HDTV tuner shortly to get off the air stuff, but we watch movies on DVD quite a lot and the picture on a 16:9 screen is MUCH MUCH better than any 4:3 screen can offer because information is basically lost when showing on that screen.
    Our 4:3 input is cable, which stinks anyway, so we don't mind it being a tiny bit stretched in order to also get a FABULOUS, movie theater like experience for the wide screen material.
    Good luck.
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    The 16/9 image on a 53" 4/3 set will be approximately 48" diagonally, a bit bigger than the 47" Panny or 46" Mits widescreen sets.
    I just bough a Sony KP57HW40 widescreen rptv, and love it. I use the variable zoom for 4/3 stuff, and hardly notice the geometric distortion. The new Sonys have much improved DRC-smoother and sharper than the Toshiba, mits, and Hitachi, and their stretch and zoom modes are less artifacty with less loss of resolution. The HW40 sets are available in 51 and 57 inch sizes, and well worth a look.
    Post Edited 10/27/01:
    After many hours of shopping, playing with stretch modes in stores, 2 weeks with the Sony following 2 weeks of having a widescreen Hitachi in my home it is my opinion (Thanks for the reminder Juan) that the Sony is fully competitive with any Mits, Tosh, Hitachi, or sub-Elite Pioneer.
    ------------------
    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
    [Edited last by Steve Schaffer on October 27, 2001 at 10:31 PM]
     
  8. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    Thats your opinion Steve.
     
  9. Grady Hollums

    Grady Hollums Second Unit

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    I would always go for the 16x9 sets. I currently don't own one, but after going to HT stores in my area and comparing them, I really do think that I can get used to the stretch modes on the 16x9 sets.
    On the Toshiba that I was playing with I noticed several modes. One I noticed hardly any stretch at all, but it cut off a little of the screen at the top and bottom. The other had a little bit stretched people, and another one I really had a hard time seeing any stretch at all, but this mode might be the one mentioned above that the stretch happens around the edges of the screen.
    My advise to you (coming from some one who has only spent 6-10 hours in a store looking at stretch modes) would be go to the stores and play with all of the stretch modes and compare it to the screen right next to it.
    In sears they had a 4:3 and 16:9 right next to each other and I could compare the 16x9 on the 4:3 to the real 16x9 set and then the stretch modes of the 16x9 to the real 4:3 set. I personally liked the 16x9 better and knew that I could live with the stretch modes for the next few years until TV stations broadcast in a HD signal and in the mean time I can have GREAT looking DVDs and Xbox games on my 16x9 set!
    Have fun shopping!
    ------------------
    In Him,
    GH
    My Home
    Theater
     
  10. Brent_N

    Brent_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul writes...
    __________________________________________________ ____
    ...the picture on a 16:9 screen is MUCH MUCH better than any 4:3 screen can offer because information is basically lost when showing on that screen.
    __________________________________________________ ____
    Of course, a digitally compressed "letter box mode" on a 4:3 set would be lower quality, but wouldn't a 16:9 picture on a 4:3 set in true "squeeze" mode be exactly the same quality as on an actual 16:9 set?
    If this is true, then the argument that the 16:9 screen is "MUCH MUCH" better is not valid. Really, it comes down to what format I will be watching the most during the life of the TV and what size is acceptable to me (i.e., smaller 16:9 picture on an equivalently priced 4:3 or smaller 4:3 picture on an equivalently priced 16:9).
    Am I correct?
     
  11. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Brent,
    I haven't bought a set yet, but like you I'm leaning to a 4:3 with a true squeeze. I don't like the stretch modes and, in reality, it will be a long time before 16:9 is the standard aspect ratio. yes, many shows are doing it, but of the 100 plus channels on my sattelite less than ten are doing anything in HD.
    In the end, choose what's best for you. I like the Sony's, but that's my opinion. Try this link for calculating 16:9 to 4:3 comparison sizes.
    http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi
    good luck and enjoy your set
    ------------------
    zaphod
    end of transmission...
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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    As long as the set has been designed well, the 4:3 set won't be any worse than the shorter 16:9 set.
    Go ahead, open up the 16:9 set, CRT based and from Pioneer, Toshiba, Sony, Philips, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi.
    You'll see that it has 4:3 CRTs and non-anamorphic lenses and has been permanently locked into squeeze mode. This allows them to shorten the screen into a passive 16:9 aspect ratio.
    [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 26, 2001 at 08:29 PM]
     
  13. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  14. Michael St. Clair

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    Ryan,
    I think you are generalizing. Some people are greatly disturbed by stretching, even progressive stretching at the edges. But yes, this depends on the individual, and to each his own!
     
  15. Luke_L

    Luke_L Auditioning

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    Michael,
    I'm sorry that I don't understand what is a squeeze mode. It sounds like it might be the answer to my question.
    I'm trying to decide between Toshiba 42H81 (16:9) and 43H70 or 43H71? (4:3). I'm leaning toward the 4:3 because of regular TV programs. However, I'm wondering if I would be losing resolution to the black strips at the top and bottom of the screen when viewing DVD.
    Another way to ask the question is: Does the 16:9 have more horizontal lines than the 4:3 in the active letterbox picture area? If so, then the 16:9 would have better resolution. If not, then the 16:9 will simply have a slightly bigger picture (42" vs 39") in letterbox mode.
    Thanks for any help.
    Luke_L
     
  16. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    If you can swing a 65" 4:3 that does the squeeze, your diag size for 16:9 viewing should be larger than a 56" 16:9 only set, and you wouldn't lose any resolution [​IMG]
    Food for thought if you could go that big.
    ------------------
    Luke
    [Edited last by Luke_Y on November 05, 2001 at 06:50 PM]
     
  17. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Luke_L
    the squeeze mode is the answer you seek. basically a 4:3 tv with a good squeeze mode compresses the raster so that you get the full resolution within the letterbox. Of the tv's you mention the 43h70 does the squeeze with an HD signal only- whereas the newer 43h71 does the squeeze with an HD signal as well as an anamorphic signal from a dvd player. Obviously the 43h71 is the one to get to maximize your dvd's. Sony also has a 43" set with the anamorphic squeeze- 43ht20.
    do a search for "anamorphic squeeze" for more information on this feature that any 4:3 HD-ready set needs.
    hope this helps.
    ------------------
    zaphod
    end of transmission...
     
  18. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    A 65" 4x3 may give a slightly bigger 16:9 squeezed image than a 56" 16x9 screen, but unless you have a BIG room, who wants to watch 4:3 material on a 65" screen? I'm sure many people, but if you're into picture quality, displaying a 4:3 image THAT BIG can't look that great (just not enough pixels/lines).
    On my 53" diagonal 16x9 set I easily notice deficiencies in *DVD* material from 10' back or so. HDTV material I now get for free over the air looks WAY better than DVD though, and that's, yes, 16:9.
    While most people watch more 4:3 material than 16:9 still - I can't understand why anyone would buy a huge 4x3 screen today when ALL future development is toward 16:9 content and delivery.
    [Edited last by Paul Higginbottom on November 06, 2001 at 09:37 PM]
     
  19. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul-
    I think that ideally all future development will be 16:9, but the reality of the situation is that more stations than not are doing nothing in this direction. Of all the channels I watch only a handful are doing anything HD or 16:9. How long do you think the changeover will take? I'm betting that for the next 5 years, at least, we will still have 4:3 SD programming as the majority for cable stations with no FCC mandates to do anything about HD. The question that must be weighed is when you think the pendulum will swing enough to bring the majority of stations over to widescreen. For me, I think my next tv will be a reasonably priced 4:3 Hd-ready set, then in six years or so I'll go with a widescreen set with the latest bells and whistles.
    If I could stand the stretching modes of a widescreen set I'd be inclined to go that direction. Since I can't- I won't. Of course, this is a personal issue- if you don't mind the stretch modes then a widescreen makes sense.
    ------------------
    zaphod
    end of transmission...
     

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