Am I missing something - 16:9 vs. 4:3?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianKM, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. BrianKM

    BrianKM Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been looking into getting a 16:9 TV for the same reason why a lot of people like pan & scan, so that the movie will fill up my screen. After reading some other threads though, I get the feeling that this too is J6P logic.

    So why would you get a 16:9 TV if not to fill up the screen with pretty DVD pictures?

    Is it a better idea to go with a slightly larger 4:3 TV that will give you the same widescreen real estate and much more 4:3 real estate for the same price as the 16:9 sets (i.e. a 50" standard set gives you the same amount of widescreen area and 43% more 4:3 area than a 46" widescreen set for the same price)?
     
  2. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    It may be worth it if the larger 4:3 set does the 'squeeze'. If not, then you will have a widescreen image that is just as large, but with less resolution.
     
  3. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    16.9, or 1.79 ratio is the HDTV standard as opposed to the majority of movies that are 1.85 or 2.35..
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If you are watching a 2.35:1 a/r film on your 16x9 TV, the vertical resolution will be practically double that on the equivalent sized (image) 4x3 TV. If you will be using a chunck of your viewing time to watch DVD's then I would say go for a nice 16x9 set (HDTV if that is in the budget for future HD-DVD material).
     
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    What Neil said. Except if you get a big RPTV that can emulate a 16:9 display and show anamorphic widescreen with full resolution, like Ron said.

    Personally I think a 16:9 TV looks a lot better too than that huge square of the 4:3, but that's just incidental; I prefer a 16:9 set because widescreen DVD's look great and the vast majority of 4:3 material is far less important to me.

    The ability to "squeeze" the image to 16:9 to preserve resolution is vitally important if you get a 4:3 set though.
     
  6. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    What people don't realize is that we like filling our screens as much as everyone else, but not at the expense of the original composition and aspect ratio
     
  7. John_Robinson

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    Here's a cool URL to help you make your decision.
    I ended up going with an XBR that would *just fit* into an existing entertainment center. Since it does the anamorphic squeeze, I got the biggest "16:9" picture that would fit in my cabinet, plus even bigger 4:3 images for when I was watching standard TV (or older movies).
    http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi
     
  8. BrianKM

    BrianKM Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks John, that's actually where I got the numbers quoted in my original post - good stuff.

    Now, I understand "the anamorphic squeeze" (that's why I bought a Wega), but am I wrong in assuming that an HDTV, regardless of aspect ration, will be capable of giving me full DVD resolution (since it's capable of 1080i), or does it need to do a squeeze like conventional sets?

    In other words, I have my DVD player set to widescreen, an anamorphic disc in the player, and a 4:3 HDTV (no squeeze turned on) - what kind of picture am I going to get?

    I really like 16:9 sets for aesthetic value and the fact that I care about DVDs a lot more than OTA programming, but I wonder if the 4:3 sets are really the better value. Thanks for indulging me.
     
  9. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    The thing is, either your TV or your DVD player has to convert the picture into 16:9 if you insert an anamorphic DVD.
    On a 16:9 TV you just let the DVD player output a straight signal and the 16:9 TV then displays it in the proper 16:9 format with full vertical resolution.
    This will be incorrect when it comes to terminology etc no doubt but I'm trying to explain it as well as I can without having to write a novel! [​IMG]
    When looking at an anamorphic image it is basically a 4:3 image, compressed horizontally. If viewed on a 4:3 set, everything appears stretched vertically if you let the DVD player output the anamorphic signal directly.
    You can tell the DVD player you have a 4:3 TV, and then it takes the anamorphic signal and processes it; essentially reduces it in height and then outputs a signal that shows on the TV with black bars.
    Some DVD players are better at this than others, but I've heard of some that just remove every N:th line of the image in order to get it to look right. Obviously, picture quality suffers, but the aspect ratio gets corrected.
    So, on a 4:3 TV you either have the squeeze capability in the TV and it does that optimally, preserving resolution, or you let the DVD player convert the image with a direct loss of resolution as a result, and an inferior image.
    If you don't have either of the two change the image, it will look bad. The DVD player will output an image designed to look right on a 16:9 screen onto a 4:3 format screen... basically, picture taking a 16:9 TV with a widescreen image on it and squeezing the entire TV into a 4:3 shape - everyone would look tall and skinny. [​IMG]
    Yes, I know this is not exactly the most scientific explanation of anamorphic widescreen ever created. [​IMG]
     
  10. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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  11. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Allan,
    That is a super page. [​IMG]
    But I have to comment on the comparison page. In all honesty, I looked hard at the 2 images on my 19" Samsung 900nf monitor and could not tell any difference between the images. Given the action pace of a movie, if that difference is normal, I don't think anyone would ever know the difference between a LB pic and an anamorphically squeezed pic.
    Is it me, my monitor, or is there really a difference?
     
  12. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the feedback, Rick.

    It's probably your monitor. I can easily see the difference on my 19" Sony Trinitron CRT, but it is very subtle. I tried to simulate the loss of resolution without exaggerating the results too much.

    Try viewing it again on a higher quality monitor, and if you still can't see any difference, I will consider exaggerating the results so that it is more obvious.
     
  13. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    >It's probably your monitor. I can easily see the difference on my 19" Sony Trinitron CRT, but it is very subtle<
    Iirc, Samsung uses the Mitsubishi Diamondtron tube. I'm running 1024x768. What are you running on your Sony?
    The differences being so subtle was my point. [​IMG]
     
  14. NickT

    NickT Stunt Coordinator

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    If you look at the block with the letter 'E' in it, you can see a difference. Not a major diference, but enough to see that the squeeze one has better resolution.

    I'm using an HP 17" monitor at 1074x 768.
     
  15. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    NickT,
    Looking again, I can see the subtle difference in the dinosaur's skin and the letter "E".
    But again, it's so subtle that I really question whether you'd notice the difference if you were watching the DVD vs looking intently at 2 still pics.
    Not trying to take away from Allan's site and explanation at all. It's just that the difference I see is underwhelming. [​IMG]
     
  16. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    In real life, the differences are very subtle. However, I shall endeavor to make the difference more pronounced (ie., exaggerated) in the next couple of days...
     
  17. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    From my experiences though it IS subtle, its actually quite noticeable...

    I dont have a 16:9 TV, or have a TV that does Vertical Compression, but one time i was tinkering with my DVD player, and i set it to 16:9 just for fun, to see how much better it was...

    Even on my 12+ year old 37" Mitsubishi TV, the improvement was quite noticeable... The video was much cleaner and clearer than before... Though the video improvement by my eyes was quite darastic, i just could not watch the long skinny people...

    Not letting your DVD player downconvert the picture actually gives you exactly 33% more resoution...
     
  18. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    For the record, I run my 32" HDTV (Hitachi 32udx10s) with 3:2 pulldown disabled and my DVD player (Panny RP91) in 16:9 mode.

    I *think* those are optimal settings for my setup. Maybe not.

    I imagine the diffs between an anamorphic DVD and LB would be much more pronounced on a larger screen.
     
  19. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

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    The differences range from subtle to dramatic, depending on what TV size you have, and what DVD player you are using. Some DVD players downconvert better than others, making the differences more subtle. And the differences are probably more noticeable on a larger screen than mine (my screen is only 36 inches).

    Also, the differences are more dramatic when viewing 2.35:1 DVDs. I was experimenting with Ben-Hur last night, for example. I switched back and forth between letterbox mode and 16:9 mode on my DVD player (Panasonic RV-31). The differences were significant.

    Unfortunately, I cannot figure out a way to accurately simulate this on the computer screen. The results I came up with will have to suffice for now. My goal was to get the point across with as little technical jargon as possible, in order to help explain the "squeeze" process to newbies, my intended audience...

    Anyway, thanks to everyone for the feedback!
     
  20. NickT

    NickT Stunt Coordinator

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    Allan, I think your website does an excellent job of explaining the difference between letterbox and anamorphic without being technical. While the diference may be subtle, there is a diference that can be seen showing that anamorphic does have more detail, which I believe is the point.
     

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