4:3 vs 16:9, PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian King, May 18, 2001.

  1. Brian King

    Brian King Auditioning

    May 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    OK, I went to all the local retailers and decided on the Sony 53 or 61HS10. Here's why:
    Most of my viewing is on regular cable
    I don't want the "squeeze/stretch" effects when watching in 16:9 mode.
    I'm used to the upper and lower bars already when watching movies (usually with the lights down these bars fade off into the background. I'm afraid with regular TV watching the bars will be EXTREMELY noticeable in brighter conditions)
    I don't want screen burns for the right and left bars. (again, most of our viewing is regular cable; about 65/35%)
    So a friend says I'm foolish for spending that much money on a 4:3 when everything is going to 16:9 eventually. (He saw E.R. was broadcast in widescreen last night) Now he's cast some (very little) doubt into my mind.
    What are your suggestions?
    What does the future hold as the "standard" for broadcasts?
    Will my 4:3 set be obsolete and useless next year?
  2. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

    May 29, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Personally, I think it will take several years for TV producers to switch to a 16:9 broadcast format, so it shouldn't be a problem in the near future.
    Just my 2 cents.
  3. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

    Jan 20, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Actually just about all primetime programs produce in the last few years have been produced in 16.9 and framed for 4.3...
  4. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 24, 1999
    Likes Received:
    let me first of all welcome you to the HTF.
    You have a list of very legitimate concerns. I faced the same dilemma myself recently. At this point in time we are in a transitory stage in the evolution of TV, putting us in a difficult position. Consumers at one time probably struggled with the choice between buying a color TV, which I'm sure cost more than a B&W set, knowing that color programmimg to justify that extra expense was not abundant at the time. The broadcasters aren't making things any easier for us either with their apathetic roll-out and disagreement on a standard format.
    Now(finally) to your questions.
    Most 16:9 sets have a zoom mode in addition to the stretch/expand that you(and others) find objectionable.
    The zoom does cut off some of the top and bottom of the image but everything stays in proportion. IMO, TV broadcasts are just not that critical when it comes to OAR.
    For older films that were shot in the Academy ratio(4:3) I will only use the 4:3 mode on my 16:9 set. This is the mode with the bars on the sides. In my DVD collection, these account for only about 15% of all titles and if contrast is properly calibrated, burn-in of the side bars shouldn't be a problem.
    The specs for HDTV allow for various formats. All the content providers, with the exception of ABC, have agreed on 1080i as the standard resolution. ABC broadcasts in 720p. Regardless of this though, the aspect ratio is 16:9 for all HDTV broadcasts so this shouldn't have any bearing on your decision between a 4:3 or a 16:9 set. Be aware though, some sets will display native 720p while others will not(like my Mitsubishi) and must have the signal downconverted to 1080i by the HDTV decoder.
    It will be several years at least before all programming will be HD and even then set top boxes will conceivably be able to downconvert signals for analog displays. Those with 4:3 HD monitors will have programming letterboxed, but they will have true HDTV. 16:9 displays will always windowbox 4:3 material.
    There isn't really one definitive answer at this time. Just take the time to evaluate what is most important to you and your veiwing habits.
    BTW, if I have given any erroneous information above, experts please jump in and correct me.
    I hope this helps,
    My Home Theater
  5. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 27, 2000
    Likes Received:
    A 4:3 set that does the 16:9 squeeze for 480i/480p/1080i is perfectly reasonable, IMO, if you have the willpower to ignore the 16:9 screen fanatics. If your top and bottom letterbox bars bother you, slap some mattes on there or don't go 4:3 in the first place.
  6. Tony Pic

    Tony Pic Auditioning

    Jan 2, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I purchased a 4:3 with the squeeze. Most of my viewing was 4:3 material, with 10% DVD. Of course, 16:9 had the stretch and zoom modes. Stretch is really bad. Zoom cuts off the top and botton of the screen.
    Before making my final decision, I created my own black bars made from paper, and attached them to my old tube set to simulate what 16:9 would do if it cropped (Zoom mode) a 4:3 signal. Try this for a few days on your current set, and you'll suddenly realize that the zoom mode really cuts out a lot of information from the screen.
    For me, considering what my viewing habits were, a 4:3 made sense. For others, a 16:9 might have made more sense.
    First try the black bar trick described above before commiting to a 16:9 set. If you find zoom mode adequate, then go for the 16:9.
    My $.02...

Share This Page