Best 4:3 Stretch?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brent Harritt, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. Brent Harritt

    Brent Harritt Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    The other day, I wasted a couple of hours at "The Good Guys" looking for a widescreen with satisfactory 4:3 stretch. As experinced before at the dealers, they immediately were pushing me into the top of the line Mitsubishi (with the IMHO cheezy looking polished black finish). Do all the dealers push Mitsubishi because they have the highest markup? At any rate, after 2 hours of their sales pitch (including the statement that their service plan included ISF calibrations, yeah right!) I finally got them to put a video tape I had brought with me of the last Winston Cup race (one of my passions). Well, in the full stretch mode the cars looked like cartoon go-karts going around the track. In the other stretch modes, the cars look a little better, but the race position banner across the top of the screen was hidden. Thus, I concluded the Mitsubishi stretch modes were unacceptable and wanted to check out some other brands. At this point the salesman got a little huffy and said they would all look the same! I can't accept this, particularly in light of the fact that I have seen many posts claiming Mitsubishi has some of the worst stretch modes out there. So I have two questions. One, which brands of widescreen RPTVs have a decent stretch mode that I might be able to live with? Two, does any one have a good suggestion for a dealer in the San Diego area that would be willing to work with me and let me preview a varity of TVs using my video tape?
     
  2. Johnny wilson

    Johnny wilson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2002
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0
    Toshiba my man. Check them out.
     
  3. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 1998
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    0
    Any graduated stretch mode will be noticeable as subjects move all the way across the screen.
    All models' 16:9 mode gives a uniform stretch to 4:3 material that does not look funny as things move. Just stick to 4:3 "normal" mode for 4:3 and 16:9 "full" mode for anamorphic 16:9. The 16:9 mode is OK for 4:3 programs if there are people sitting way off to the side.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  4. Kishu

    Kishu Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    I spent quite sometime comparing all of the strech modes in the AV store and for me only Pioneer's (natural & wide) stood out. The rest (Tosh/Hitachi/Sony)were quite close with Tosh's TW1 slightly better.

    Cheers,
    Kishore
     
  5. WilliamG

    WilliamG Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brent,
    I have to agree with Johnny. I've had my Toshiba 50H81(50" 16:9) set for only two weeks now, and it's the most phenominal thing that I've seen! And it just keeps gettin' better[​IMG] As we speak, my wife is watching a James Bond flick on ABC and has it in Theaterwide I mode. Those snow-skiing scenes are incredible. We're used to the across-the-board even stretch and my wife won'teven consider watching in normal mode with the gray bars!
    There are a lot more people who will differ on this because of which set they have, but I'm satisfied w/my purchase after doing 6-8 months of research on it... but keep asking and comparing; it's what looks good to YOU that matters!
    Good Luck!
     
  6. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2001
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Kishu who said that Pioneer has the best strech modes, and by that I mean the modes which allow you to see the largest portion of a 4:3 image with the least noticeable distortion. Toshiba also has nice stretch modes, as does Sony, but then again so does Mitsu. Mitsu has one particular stretch mode that is unique, and people either seem to love it or hate it, but I don't think that particular mode was the reason behind the problem you found with the Mitsu's picture.

    The biggest part of your problem is that you're using a videotape as reference material. The only thing that looks worse than VHS videotape is VHS videotape combined with a stretch mode. Your salesman got "huffy" because you wasted two hours of his time before producing the worst possible video source upon which to base your buying decision, and suprise surprise, you didn't buy. If you can find another dealer patient enough to actually hook up a VCR to a TV for you instead of laughing you off and going to look for a serious customer, you'll find that any 16:9 big screen HDTV will look pretty awful with videotape, not just Mitsubishis.

    For the most part, Mitsubishi's stretch modes are similar to everyone else's, except for the "graduated stretch" mode Allan mentioned. This mode distorts the left and right sides of the image but leaves the center more-or-less the same. Looks OK for many things but not so good for things where the camera is moving side-to-side rapidy, like hockey, football, or auto racing. In these cases, the graduated stretch can create a fish-eye look to the onscreen image. Most Mitsu owners probably use the full-stretch mode for sports, or for other programs where the camera goes through a lot of rapid L-R or R-L movements.

    Any other mode on any other brand of 16:9 TV will either distort the entire image, crop a certain amount of the top and bottom, or both. There is no other way to fit a 4:3 image into a 16:9 frame than one of those four methods, period. It's up to you to decide which method you prefer, and that's why all brands include 4 or 5 different modes from which to choose. Definitely look into Pioneer, Toshiba, or Sony, but don't discount Mitsubishi because it looked lousy on a VHS tape. They're one of the very best RPTVs on the market... perhaps that's why so many recommend them?!?
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Brent,

    I did the same research last fall.
    All 16/9 sets will do:
    1-Normal=regular 4/3 picture with gray bars on side.

    2-Full=Uniform horizontal stretch for 4/3, native mode for HD or anamorphic dvd. This stretches 4/3 sideways to the same degree all across the screen, but nothing is lost top to bottom so your scores or crawls will be visible.

    3-Zoom=Uniform horizontal and vertical zoom, fills screen side to side with no geometric distortion, but some picture is lost at top and bottom, so you do lose the crawls at the bottom or score at the top,
    BUT, the picture can be scrolled up and down to make the scores or whatever visible, this scroll feature isn't easy to find but it is there and can be done via the user menu.

    All widescreen sets do the above the same.

    There is another mode all sets do have, but different mfgs do it differently and Mits is not one of the best, its a variable stretch, which in it's simplest (and worst) implementation stretches horizontally more at the sides than at the middle so faces in the center look normal but things stretch out a lot as you get closer to the sides of the screen, and there is no vertical overscan so logos and such are visible. Hitachi uses this, looks terrible.

    Other mfgs add a bit of vertical stretch to this and/or allow a little horizontal stretch even in the center, along with some compression at top and bottom. Toshiba, Pioneer, and Sony, of the sets I've looked at had the best variable stretch modes. The ones that use some vertical stretch along with the horizontal, in order to make the side stretch less extreme, also allow the scrolling feature as described in the Zoom mode so anything hidden at the top or bottom by the overscan resulting from the vertical stretch can be made visible.

    I have a Sony widescreen and have had the Hitachi. The Sony is so good that even for sports or car racing the variable stretch soon looks quite normal. Toshiba and Pioneer also do this mode very well.

    I do agree that regular vhs is about the absolute worst demo material for widescreen or any other line-doubled tv, but that doesn't affect the geometric characteristics of the stretch modes. It's just that the picture's overall yuckiness is so noticeable that the picture will leave a nasty impression regardless of how good the stretch mode is.

    I'd strongly suggest you try a 4/3 dvd for demo material if you want to evaluate stretch modes without the distraction of a relatively poor picture source.
     
  8. Brent Harritt

    Brent Harritt Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks to all for the comments.

    I fully understand the limitations of VHS tapes, which is one reason I recorded the test in S-VHS at high speed. And, when I indicated the cars looked bad in full stretch mode I was referring to the shape of the cars and NOT the noise and distortion caused by VHS. And, since I don't have a DVD recorder, where would one obtain a 4/3 DVD of a Winston cup race for demo purposes?

    Finally, since I have concluded the stretch modes are NOT acceptable for my purposes, how much of a burn-in risk is there in watching 5 hours straight of 4/3 material if the RPTV has been taken out of torch mode? If this actually represents a true burn-in risk, then, as much as I would like a widescreen, at this time my only option would be to stick with my 27" analog set or get a good, big 4/3 set to hold me over until 2006, or whenever 16:9 becomes widespread.
     
  9. Jeff Peake

    Jeff Peake Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 1998
    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  10. Timon Russo

    Timon Russo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2000
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0
    FWIW, I am more than happy with my Mits stretch modes. We never watch anything with gray bars. But more importantly, if perfect geometry and good-looking VHS tapes are what you want, don't buy a widescreen RPTV.

    100 posts! Where does the time go!
     
  11. Damon B

    Damon B Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just wanted to post another vote for Toshiba's Theatrewide 1 setting. It is very good and makes watching 4:3 in stretch mode very pleasurable.
     
  12. BradZ

    BradZ Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brent,

    Just to give you another option, why not a 4:3 HD-ready set that has a true squeeze for DVD and HD?

    Sony and others make very nice 4:3 sets that will display 4:3 material with no distortion or stretch and also colapse the Raster when viewing anamorphic DVD or 1080iHD signals giving you the best of both worlds.

    Yes you'll still have black bars for widescreen viewing and burn-in is a concern, but it sounds like your viewing habits lend themselves to one of these hybrid models.

    If you can't stand the stretch this is the next best option in my opinion.
     

Share This Page