Any dvd players that automatically pillarbox/zoom for 16:9 displays?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Lane F., Jul 1, 2006.

  1. Lane F.

    Lane F. Stunt Coordinator

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    I realize that many of the newer dvd players (Sony and Oppo for example) have an option in the setup that automatically pillarbox 4:3 material when being viewed on a 16:9 set. However, when watching a non-anamorphic disc on these players they still be pillarboxed, so it will have black bars on top, bottom, and the sides. Are there any players that not only automatically pillarbox 4:3 material, but will automatically zoom in on non-anamorphic material so it fills the 16:9 screen. I would use the aspect ratio control of my tv to maintain proper aspect ratio in these situations, but my set doesn't allow me to adjust this when it is being fed thru the componenet or dvi input.
     
  2. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Most Panasonic players (as opposed to their recorders) have this feature. They call it "4:3 Zoom and Shrink". In the "AUTO" setting it will automatically pillarbox a "full screen" 4:3 transfer and zoom a 4:3 letterboxed transfer.

    The "4:3 Zoom and Shrink" function also has a "zoom-only" mode (in case the AUTO function fails for some reason to detect the letterboxed transfer).
    And in addition to that, the 4:3 "shrink" mode also includes a variable zoom which will push the side bars off the screen in variable rates. The so-called "European Vista" setting provides a 1.66:1 aspect ratio for the pillarboxed 4:3 material which is fine for most older TV series shot on film.

    The function is not documented too well. You can typically find it by pressing the "DISPLAY" button on the remote while a disc is playing, and then selecting the 4:3 option. This will lead to a sub-menu for "NORMAL", "ZOOM", "SHRINK", and "AUTO". Once it's set it will remain in the selected mode between discs. And 16:9 transfers are not affected by the function.

    EDIT: The "4:3 Aspect Ratio" function will not appear on the "DISPLAY" menu unless the player had been previously set for "16:9 Widescreen" in the SETUP menu. Almost all Panasonic players manufactured since 2002 have this function. For some reason the Panasonic recorders omit the function.
     
  3. Lane F.

    Lane F. Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. I've also heard that some Toshiba players have this feature. If anyone knows of any other players that can do this, feel free to comment as well. Thanks Again.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Samsung upconverting players will pillarbox or zoom with a feature called "EZ-View" works for both 4/3 and non-anamorphic widescreen, but it's not automatic though it can be activated with a dedicated button on the remote rather than having to go into a menu.
     
  5. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Hmmm ... This is interesting since the Samsung Blu-ray player doesn't provide this feature when upconverting SD-DVDs!!
     
  6. Lane F.

    Lane F. Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I just got a Toshiba player and set it to auto mode, and it does absoutly nothing [​IMG]. I will have to try one of the Panny players next to see if their mode works any better.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    My Panasonic RP-91 has this feature, but it is a rather old model. I am not sure if all the newer Panny's have the feature, though -- my Panny DMR-E80 DVD player/recorder does not, for example.
     
  8. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    The Oppo 971H not only does the automatic pillarboxing, but has a manual zoom that enables you to bring non-anamorphic letterboxed material up to size.
     

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