A basic widescreen tv question (I hope)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Brian_H, May 21, 2004.

  1. Brian_H

    Brian_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone. I was hoping someone could help me out on what I hope is a basic question.

    I have a Panasonic 53in widescreen set. I have a Sony DVD player (progressive scan) running to the set through component connection. I also have Comcast's HD cable box connected through component. Both of these actually run to my receiver which switches the video so I can run my X-box to the tv (tv only has 2 component inputs). However, the problem (if there is one) occurs with direct connection to the tv or through the receiver.

    Now, I know about aspect ratios and whatnot. I know on this set that, when viewing 4:3 material I should have gray bars on the sides. Therein lies the problem.

    My tv has several modes, Full, Just, Zoom, and 4:3. When the tv is receiving a progressive input the Just, and I believe, Zoom options are not available. So, it locks into Full, with the choice of 4:3 still available. The DVD player is set correctly for progressive output to a 16:9 set.

    Now, when I play a 4:3 DVD (like my wife's copy of Sabrina) and the tv locks into Full mode, the image fills the screen, and I have to manually switch the tv to 4:3 to view it in that AR. It's difficult to tell, but I'm pretty certain that, when in Full mode, the image is slightly stretched. It's not a big deal to switch on the tv, but what has me confused is that, when the cable box is set in the menu to do so (I believe it's a 480p setting for SD material) it will automatically add the bars to the side of 4:3 material. I don't have it set this way as some tv programs we watch in stretch mode (news and some other stuff) to limit burn-in.

    So, my question is (finally) shouldn't there be some type of side bars on my screen when outputting 4:3 material in 480p from the DVD player, with the tv in Full mode? I'm not sure if the bars should be the player generated (black) or tv generated (gray) bars, but I'm pretty sure they should be there automatically, without the need to switch to 4:3 on the tv. That makes sense to me as the DVD player should be outputting a set AR, and has no way of knowing how the tv is set.

    BTW, I have tried 4 different DVD players on this tv over the last year, and all produce the same result. I would expect this if the output was interlaced, because the tv doesn't 'lock' out specific modes, but not when receiving a progressive signal. Just in case anyone wonders I am certain the DVD player is outputting a progressive signal, as there is an indicator on the player that comes on when it is.

    I'm sorry for the length of the post, I just wanted to give as much info as possible. I'd greatly appreciate any information anyone might have as to why this is happening, or if my line of thinking is way off.

    If this post is in the wrong forum, I apologize, and mods can feel free to move it to the appropriate place.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Looks like the set locks in full mode whenever receiving a prog-scan signal. Unless your player has some sort of aspect-ratio control (which I doubt), you'll have to feed the 4:3-encoded DVD signals to the Panasonic in interlaced mode and let the set's line double render a prog-scan picture.
     
  3. Brian_H

    Brian_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the response. However, I don't think the fact that it locks in full mode is the problem (although I could be completely wrong).

    I say this for two reasons...

    1. When I switch the mode on the tv (while receiving a progressive signal) I can still switch to the tv's 4:3 mode. Only the Just and Zoom (I think. But definitely at least Just) are locked out. When I do this I don't believe the 4:3 image is distorted, but I do believe that it is slightly stretched when it's in Full mode.

    2. This is the one that is what brought all my confusion on in the first place. When I tell my cable box (Motorola DCT5100) to output 4:3 material at 480p (4:3 override setting) it does contain bars on the sides, even in the tv's Full mode.

    So the main source of my confusion is that 4:3 480p material from one source (cable box) is displaying with the bars on the sides, while another 480p source (DVD player) does not display the 4:3 material with the bars.

    Now, I'm not certain whether the bars seen when using the cable box are generated by the box or the tv (I need to check). But assuming that they are from the box, does this just mean that, even though on the DVD player the source is 480p and the material on the disk is 4:3, that it is just outputting the material in a full 16:9 frame? I assume that's what you mean by aspect-ratio control on the player, and if that's the case it's fine as I can still switch to 4:3 on the tv with a 480p source. I just want to make sure that I don't have something set up incorrectly, which would be the case if the bars that are seen when outputting through the cable box are tv generated (gray).

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If you have to specificallly tell the cable box to do 4:3 that probably means the cable box is adding the sidebars, probably for the benefit of TV sets that lock in full (16:9). When you tell the widescreen TV to do 4:3 then the TV is adding the sidebars. It is possible that the picture quality may differ depending on who is adding the sidebars.

    You never want to tell a DVD player to do 4:3 letterbox or 4:3 pan and scan with a 16:9 TV. To add to the confusion, DVD players that add sidebars (not all do) for the benefit of TV sets that lock in full may also have that mode labeled 4:3.

    Most likely you want to leave the DVD player in 16:9 mode and leave the cable box in normal mode, adjusting the TV as desired.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     

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