Convince me to go Widescreen

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Richard_T, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. Richard_T

    Richard_T Second Unit

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    I have owned my Sony 53S75 for about 5 years now and I love it still. When I go to my local HI FI stores, I'm bombarded with these new and improved "widescreen" televisions which are supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. Here's my problem. The pictures are wonderful, but during my normal life, I use my TV for things that, from what I'm told, would be difficult if not harmful to my new screen.

    1) I'm a gamer. Always have been, probably always will be.I own a PS2. Now, though there are more widescreen games being produced now days, all the games I own and 90% of the good ones available to be purchased recently are 4x3. Since I do play games alot, would this not be harmful to the TV? As far as I'm told, burn in is not something that is covered by warranty so if it did happen, I'm S.O.L. Not good[​IMG]

    2) High Definition: Beautiful picture for sure, but I live in Canada and there doesn't seem to be allot of High Def programing available. I own I Star Choice non High Def receiver now. Though I was under the assumption that all High Def programing was broadcast in widescreen format this seems to be untrue. allot of programs in High Def still use the 4X3 format so would burn in not still be a concern for me?

    3) 4X3 Programing: I know more and more television show are using widescreen broadcasting now days (ER for example) 90% or more of regular show are still shown in 4X3 format. Two problems here. One, Here comes the burn in problem again, and it rears it ugly head because of the second problem, stretching of 4X3 programs to fit on a widescreen TV. On most of the widescreen TVs I've seen. Any picture that's stretched looks odd. I've checked a few brands (Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba) and none of them do it good enough to seem normal. Maybe they've come out with some new technology recently but from what I've seen, 4X3 programing stretched on to a 16X9 TV looks weird.



    So here's my question. Do I get involved with a widescreen TV at this point? Can a widescreen TV really take the place of our trusted old 4X3 TV without causing me allot of problems and worries? My fiancee has actually given me the OK to go out and buy one if I want to and I'm holding off right now. Maybe I'm nuts or something? I can do it whenever I want! Usually I'd jump at a chance like this but I just don't want this purchase to cause me more grief than it's worth. Convince me. I need your help
     
  2. Mike Capulli

    Mike Capulli Stunt Coordinator

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    Richard,

    It seems like you bring up some good points about this topic... Although the widescreen format does have some drawbacks, the benefits definately exceed the drawbacks.

    ---

    First off, an HDTV 4x3 set seems out of place to begin with considering that the HD format is always 16x9 widescreen aspect ratio. When there is a program broadcasted in the HD format that was not shot in HD, (such as TV commercials during an HD football game) they letterbox the 4x3 image (black bars on left and right).

    Also, most widescreen HD sets do not have a display format option for 4x3 stretched to 16x9 when displaying an HD signal. When the tv is displaying an HD signal, the image is locked to the full format of the TV. You cannot zoom or format it for 4x3 images because HD 4x3 images dont exist.
    Im not positive but im pretty sure the same will go for 4x3 HDTV's. When watching HD on a 4x3 monitor, it will always be squeezed because letterboxing or resizing the image for proper aspect ratio will decrease the resolution.

    Im not sure about ps2 but more and more xbox games are being released in HD widescreen. But as far as 4x3 games on a 16x9 tv, the zoom and stretch formatting modes on the TV work fine with no threat of burn in and no strange fat images.

    As far as the stretching of 4x3 images for standard Tv goes, it does stretch the image, and it does slightly crop the image, but your eyes actually adjust to the change relatively quickly.

    All in all... Widescreen is definately better for movies. You get a larger image because with a 4x3 set watching lots of movies, there is more wasted screen space than on a widescreen set. You can also get a larger size monitor and have less of a viewing distance problem than with a 4x3 monitor.. In my opinion, there are more benefits to widescreen than drawbacks... and to be honest, when the old television format stops being broadcasted... everything will be 16x9 from what I understand.

    Like I said, there are more benefits than drawbacks of widescreen.
     
  3. Donald_S

    Donald_S Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a big believer in planning in 2 year increments. If you're going to really miss having widescreen during the next 2 years, then I'd say go for it. But if you think your real need is 2 years out, wait.

    Here is a cheap experiment. See if you can rent a widescreen TV for 30 days. Or buy one from a major electronics retailer who has a return policy. Try it. See if it's really going to be nice. But don't spend the money just because you can. Especially since there is cool new technology on the way in the next few years.

    Donald
     
  4. Rick James

    Rick James Auditioning

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    OK..I'll give you some non-techo reasons for why you should go widescreen. Widescreen is the way of the future and its popularity is going to increase exponentially in the more advanced western countries. Here in Australia more and more programs are being made for widescreen TV and it is taking over from conventional 4:3 television now. Sport and movies are much, much better in widescreen because you can see more of the action. The rugby world cup is on in Australia at the moment and to see it on glorious widescreen even through a standard definition set top box is great. Couldn't really go back to a 4:3 now 'cos it seems a bit less natural. My advice...go for it and do yourself a favour.

    Cheers
    Rick
     
  5. Bill-T

    Bill-T Extra

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    Buy the best widescreen set you can afford and DON'T LOOK BACK! I've had mine for over a year, and wouldn't be without it. HD programming is 16:9, NOT 4:3, so if you're not seeing it that way, you're not seeing HD.

    Burn-in is not even remotely a concern of mine, but gaming could be another issue (seek advice elsewhere). Don't let anything fixed remain on the screen for extended periods of time and TURN DOWN THAT CONTRAST, and you won't have a problem.

    As for stretch modes with 4:3 standard programming, I didn't think I'd like them either, but my Sony does such a great job in 'wide zoom' that it's the only way I'll watch SD now.

    Also, if you watch DVD's at all, you have no idea what you're missing.

    Widescreen isn't just the future, it's the present. DO IT!!!
     
  6. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I have to agree with everyone else. I promise you I can not tell the difference when I watch a 4x3 program on my 16x9 tv. They don't seem fat or anything like that, maybe when I first bought it, it looked a little strange, but after a week you won't notice.

    All I do is play video games on my set, and I won't lie to you, I got burned. I played halo online for 6 or 7 hours a night, every night for about a month or two straight! But it took that much for me to get burned.

    Along with that because of competitor in me, I wanted to screen really bright so that no one could hide from me on screen. So I had the tv on the factory pre-set torch mode, so it got torched. Just keep that contrast down and you should be fine. Once I turned down the contrast, I haven't gotten any more burns.
     
  7. Manny

    Manny Auditioning

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    Who said..PS2 Games are 4 X 3. Almost all the games I play are 16 X 9.

    Gran Turismo, Ace Combat, Grand Theft Auto, Medal of Honor

    You need to tell the game ..that you have a 16 X 9 and then its fits it for you... Maybe.. you have been missing out on the PS2 games as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. david stark

    david stark Second Unit

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    I'm now on my second 16:9 set and I definitely wouldn't go back to 4:3. This is because my main viewing is widescreen DVD's, if it was anything else I wouldn't touch a widescreen set with a barge pole.

    Most TV (I now live in Canada) is 4:3 and this includes all the movie channels so there is no advantage to widescreen there at all. Widescreen Tv's also cost more than a similar sized 4:3 tv. I've also just got HD tv in toronto (from rogers) and I'm not that impresses with the quality and on the hd movie channel you get a very poor selection of films compared to the other movie channels.

    For various modes of a widescreen set, I always watch 4:3 programs with bars at the sides so I see the picture in full and original ratio, I can't stand seeing pictures stretched. I tend to only watch widescreen presentations in HD because if it is 4:3 you can't change the pic size on the tv and they tens to stretch it a bit and have smaller black bars at the side, but I prefer to have no stretch and bigger bars at the sides.

    In summary if you watch mainly widescreen stuff (usually from a DVD source) then widescreen is definitely the way forward, otherwise stick with a 4:3 set and save your money.
     
  9. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Almost all widescreen DVDs are "enhanced" for Widescreen TVs. If you don't have a widescreen TV, you won't be able to make use of the extra resolution that these DVDs provide [​IMG]
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Keep your 4:3 TV and your money for now. Get a Front Projector and put it in a dedicated home theatre room. A Front Projector is cheaper than a widescreen TV and you get a bigger picture. Right now you can get an HD ready projector for $2500.00 or less. $2500.00 barely buys you a 57" TV. Front projectors, even the entry level ones for less than $2000.00 CDN, although not full HD, have a projected picture size of 100" easily. Looks spectacular.
     
  11. AlexanderS

    AlexanderS Second Unit

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    Break on through to the other side brother. WS is the only way to fly.
     
  12. Mike Capulli

    Mike Capulli Stunt Coordinator

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    I was just looking at 65in RPTV's at Sears today ranging from 2000 - 3500.
     
  13. Richard_T

    Richard_T Second Unit

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    Thanks very much for your input so far gang. You're helping this old 4X3 timer out allot. Keep it coming!

    So what about Chris' idea of a front projector? Would there be any benefit to using a front projector compared to a widescreen? Would I still have the same concerns with a front projector as I would with a widescreen?. I admit, playing Grand Turismo or Wipeout Fusion would be wild on a projector. Do they still require a pretty much pitch black room for proper viewing? What about a screen for the projector? IS this a needed item or would a painted wall do? Lastly, what kind of price range am I looking at then? Would Chris' projector at $2500.00 (or less) do? What brands can I check out? I'm still undecided.
     
  14. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

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    Take a look at the Infocus X1, a 4:3 native PJ that also has a widescreen mode.

    The PJs also have a similar problem...do you go with a 4:3 native or a 16:9 native (the shape of the panel(s))

    Here is why the Infocus X1 might just be exactly what you want:

    Under 1000 dollars US (I've seen 899 prices)

    Excellent DVD and TV presentation

    Play all the games you want...no burn-in problems with DLP

    Want 16:9? No problem project a 16:9 picture.... The game is on TV? No problem...project a 4:3 picture..

    Best of both worlds there with few compromises!

    Oh yeah and I have heard that many people are happy projecting onto a wall.

    How's that to get you thinking?

    I'm not just talking turkey...I'm in the middle of upgrading my HT and have been debating the 16:9/4:3 issue as well, but in the context of the panel size I mentioned.

    It should be important to note that the PJ will be replacing a 7 year old widescreen Toshiba and that I will NEVER go back to 4:3 ONLY again.
     
  15. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    run Run RUN to the store before the future misses changes her mind! We all know she will. It's just a matter of time. By the way, I agree with everyone else. Gene
     
  16. Andrew s wells

    Andrew s wells Second Unit

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    Just wanted to mention about the projector. Yeah there are benefits (projecting huge images on the wall, but the disadvantage is the bulbs are expensive to replace. (Usually around 300 dollars.) Just wanted to let you know.
     
  17. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

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    Andrew, I had this conversation on am earlier thread, because I too was worried about the 300 dollar bulbs. The average life I have seen (heard about on here and from friends) is 3000 hours (some more some less)... even figuring lots and lots of watching I that means replacing every 12 to 18 months.

    I figure that with my family of four, that's about 6 trips to the movies....but I'll have a movie theater AT HOME...so I won't miss those six trips ha ha ha ha ha[​IMG]
     
  18. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    "Just wanted to mention about the projector. Yeah there are benefits (projecting huge images on the wall, but the disadvantage is the bulbs are expensive to replace. (Usually around 300 dollars.) Just wanted to let you know. "

    CRTs dont need bulb replacement. A CRT projector could do the ticket, it's native 4:3, and plenty big for widescreen within that area.

    The other option, I can't believe nobody has mentioned it, is a DLP RPTV (or perhaps an LCD). While not as good PQ, it won't suffer burn-in, and you'll have the best of both worlds.
     

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