4:3/SD viewing on 16:9

Discussion in 'Displays' started by DonnyD, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    There's still a few of us around here who still have an ancient 4:3 rptv and still watch a predominately 4:3 signal. I am now looking into upgrqading to a dlp,HD-ila or something...... and of course, everything is now 16:9...... but I am concerned how a 4:3 tv signal is going to look on a 16:9..... as I really don't want most of my tv viewing to have bars at the sides and I really don't want to see "fat" images. Please, someone, confirm to me that my concerns are unfounded, or at least inconsequential.
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    When you watch 4:3 material on a 16:9 set, you will have bars on both sides. You can stretch the 4:3 image horizontally to fill the 16:9 screen, but the image will not look right(people too fat, etc).
     
  3. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Typically your choices for 4:3 viewing on a 16:9 monitor are as follows:

    1. "Pillarboxed" - This is the "Bars at the sides" as you stated it. The 4:3 aspect ratio is perfectly preserved in the middle of the 16:9 frame ... but you will have your choice of grey or black bars on the side.

    2. "Stretched" - This will give you the "Fat" image as you describe it. Happily, the newer 16:9 monitors are doing a better job with stretching and the images are not as obviously "fat" as they once were. Some 16:9 displays will even provide for a mode that leaves the center of the 4:3 image alone, and just stretches the sides.

    3. Zoomed - Activating the "Letterbox" mode on a 16:9 monitor zooms in on the 4:3 image, filling the 16:9 area without "stretching" the image. The caveat here is that the top and bottom of the 4:3 image is cropped. This mode is really intended for the display of non-anamorphic DVDs (Hi to Star Wars!); but many people utilize the mode for viewing 4:3 material.

    Since I own a DLP display, and therefore do not have to worry about "burn-in", I usually just choose the "Pillarboxing" 4:3 mode.
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    To me, the key to your situation is making sure you get a large enough screen on your new TV so that when you do watch a pillarboxed image it is at least as large as what you have now. When I got my Toshiba 65H84 CRT RPTV, I didn't like the pillar boxes and used the best stretch mode to my eye. After a while, I just started to watch with the pillar boxes and that is what I do almost all the time now. But, and it is a big but, with a 65 inch screen, the 4:3 image is 53 inches. So, I would humbly suggest that you seriously consider at least a 65 inch 16:9 set as a replacement.
     
  5. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    "Panorama" mode on the Samsung TV's looks pretty good to my eye for stretching 4:3 matieral, it only stretches the edge of the screen, so most stuff doesnt get stretched.
     
  6. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Since it turns out I might be able to afford a new TV sooner than I thought, I'll ask this here: I know there are at least SOME 16x9 TVs out there that will switch picture modes (4x3 and 16x9) automatically from a flag on the DVD player; in fact I've heard if you record a DVD player in 16x9 mode to a VCR, the flag will still be on the tape. Anyways, this is an absolute MUST for any TV I get, because so many DVDs have mixed content and I simply refuse to manually switch every time. I don't want to have to 'study' a picture and figure out which mode it's supposed to be shown in; you should only have to do that with 35mm film.

    The way TVs are set up in stores it's hard to figure out which ones have this feature and which don't. It's of course completely useless to ask a salesdroid as they won't know what the hell you're talking about. I have the impression a lot of people who've bought widescreen TVs just leave them in one mode and watch a lot of stuff stretched or cropped.

    I've also heard some of the higher-end DVD players can actually squeeze 4x3 pictures with black bars on the sides, so you can leave the TV in 16x9 mode and it will display everything properly. Do the HD-format players that are out so far do this?
     
  7. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    The simple solution is stop the hand wringing and watch everything in OAR. [​IMG]
     

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