Did I make a mistake buying a 4:3 HDTV set?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian DL, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Brian DL

    Brian DL Auditioning

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    After reading the threads, I am wondering now if I made a mistake buying my 50" 4:3 Mitsu HDTV. I do notice improved picture quality over my friend's regular 50" Mitsu, but with respect to HDTV programming it seems there are no advantages; in fact it seems I made the incorrect choice.

    So as such, would it be worth investing in OTA STB for HDTV for my current TV?

    Thanks.
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Assuming your friend's TV is not HD (as implied by "regular" and PQ difference), what makes you think your new TV isn't better at HD viewing???

    _Man_
     
  3. Brian DL

    Brian DL Auditioning

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    I guess I should clarify...

    4:3 vs. 16:9

    His set is not HDTV compatible. My point was that overall picture quality is better on my set vs. a regular mitsu set. I'm just trying to make myself feel better at the extra dough I spent... =D
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Well, you'll feel even better if you can get some HD programming on your new TV. [​IMG]
     
  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Brian,

    I don't want to make you feel bad, however I must be honest and say that I would let anyone know who is buying an HD monitor to stick with the 16x9 format. For one thing, HD's native ratio is 1.78:1, second thing, i've seen some HD 4x3's that do not feature the anamorphic squeez option which makes no sense at all to me, and third, watching films that are 1.78:1 on a screen that is 16x9 is so much more satisfying, as is watching 2.35:1 material because of the reduced black areas.

    Bottom line as I see it, 4x3 is the past, 16x9 is the future.
     
  6. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Well, I'd had both:
    1. 4x3 HDTV (Sony Wega 36" XBR400)
    2. 57" 16x9 HDTV (Hitachi 57TWX20B)

    I can honestly say that I made a mistake buying the 4x3 HDTV. My rationale was that I'd be able watch the majority of the TV I normally got from DirecTV (majority 4x3) and then migrate to HDTV and have the anamorphic squeeze option.

    The problem is that with the proper TV or STB, "stretched" 4x3 looks fine on a 16x9 set.

    Also, the 4x3 TV I had suffered from "windowboxing". If a local HD channel locked their 4x3 material with bars on the sides, then my 4x3 TV would in some cases have the squeeze kick in, and the end result was black bars on every side! Not good...

    I simply sold my 4x3 HDTV, got a 16x9 and couldn't be happier. These results are just my opinion, and there are benefits to both, but I went with 16x9, and would encourage new buyers to do the same.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Again, it comes down to viewing priorities and what comprises of the dominant aspect ratio of the stuff you watch.

    I'm used to the window boxed 4:3 on HDTV broadcasts for certain shows that have hard-coded sidebars to maintain the correct 4:3 aspect ratio. I tend to watch the show, not the black border around the show.

    I'm also used to the native 4:3 material played in a non-stretched format on my 4:3 display. To me, artificially short and fat actors (i.e. stretched 4:3 on a 16x9) isn't pleasant to watch.

    I don't mind the black bars on letterbox content (1.85 to 2.xx aspect ratios) because I'm used to them as well.

    It's all about what you're willing to compromise on in your choice of aspect ratio for your display. While 16x9 is the future, it's still not here in abundance, and there's over 50 years of 4:3 material out there.

    I'm confident that my next TV will be 16x9 because 4:3 TVs won't be a readily available choice in 5 years, so for now, I'll live in the 4:3 world for a while longer.
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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    It's funny, I have a 4:3 HD set and am extremely happy with it.

    To me, OAR is the future. No screen ratio fits everything.

    I watch TV. I play video games. I have tons of letterboxed laserdiscs that look great on my set and look terrible on every widescreen set except for the Pioneers.

    I'm always careful to state that if movies, especially post-1960 movies, are the only priority, that a 16:9 set is the best choice. And I've stated that I imagine that 80% of HTF members would probably be best off with a 16:9 set.

    So my boss comes in all bummed out yesterday. He bought a 16:9 set (direct view Samsung flat screen) 2 months ago. He has HD over cable, and watches DVD fairly regularly. But he watches tons of TV.

    He told me that he regrets getting the 16:9 set, because he just can't stand how any 4:3 material looks on his set.

    Both 4:3 (including non-anamorphic letterboxed material like my laserdiscs) and 16:9 look absolutely stellar on my 4:3 HD set (which has been ISF calibrated in both 16:9 and 4:3 modes btw).

    It all depends on the viewer. Don't trust anybody who tells you there is only one correct set ratio for everybody on the planet.
     
  9. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    Michael is totally correct.

    And just to add my 2 cents before Jan Beats me to this thread [​IMG] i will say that i personally do not like the idea of paying a preimum for WS i can easily ignore the black bars when they are present, which they usually are on both 4:3 and 16x9 tv's so i do not see any reason to pay the same amount of money for a 16x9 tv that gives at best an equal size picture to a 4:3 and usually a smaller picture.

    but you also ahve to look at what you watch, if its all dvd and hdtv then yeah go WS.

    I will also add that when i bought my tv the choices for me were 36" 4:3 32" 4:3 or 34" WS the 36" and 34" were the same price the 32" was cheaper. however the 36"= 33" WS while the 34"=30" 4:3 so the 36" wasa no brainer, but if the 34" had cost the same as the 32" i likely would ahve saved some money and bought that. but if i was going to go smaller than a 36" i was not goign to pay the same or more for it.
     
  10. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    If you watch mostly DVD then 16x9 would be the right choice. If you watch mostly cable 4x3 then the choice is a little harder. You kind of have to be able to tell the future as to is the 16x9 would be better. You have to look at how long this will be your primary set. If you are willing to buy a new 16x9 set when HD really takes off (could be 2 years, could be 10 years), then I would not hesitate to recommend a 4x3 set now.

    This was my plan. I just got a new 4x3 sony 32" and it's great for me as I don't have HD yet but I do watch a lot of movies and regular tv. But I wasn't afraid of future proofing as my plan was to get a 16x9 RPTV within several years so the 4x3 was definitelly the better choice for me at this point in time.
     
  11. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I'm a bit confused about your problem, Brian. Are you dissatisfied with the picture on your new TV? Or is it just a matter of aspect ratio?

    If HDTV is your passion, you'll have bars on the top and bottom of the screen, maybe even all the way around the picture. If that's going to bother you, you might not want to rush into a HDTV set-top box.

    I'm a widescreen advocate for most people, but since you already have the set, I'd try to look at the glass as half-full and appreciate the 4:3 material that's out there.

    Jan
     
  12. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    The people don't look short and fat to me any more (at first they did a little) and I have a 36" 4:3, so I go back and forth to 4:3 tv's all over the house and my 65".

    My widescreen is primarily for DVDs so it was a no brainer. But if it was my only tv, I would still have gotten the widescreen because cable tv is not important to me but DVDs and home theater is. When I see a HT person with a big 4:3 tv it just looks so strange to me. I'm not a big tv show watcher, but when I do watch tv it's usually something broadcast in HD (boxing, football, Sopranos).

    So it really always boils down to want most important to you. Tv's shows or movies and HD content.
     
  13. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    I went from a 4:3 CRT to a widescreen 16:9 Panasonic plasma.
    My main priority was watching DVDs, which look fantastic on the 16:9 screen. I was also concerned about how 4:3 would look on the display, since my wife watches more NTSC and I didn't want her to kill me for buying an expensive TV that looked "worse" on her programming.

    Luckily, NTSC looks superb on our new display! It looks pretty much as sharp using the "stretch" mode as it does in it's OAR, with the black bars. At first I chose the stretch mode only to allay my fears of burn in. However, I quickly found the stretch mode was so good (only evident on the far sides of the picture, and easy to forget about), that we prefer to use it. It makes even NTSC have an immerssive, cinematic feel - the nature programs my kid loves is like taking a trip!

    So, I guess it boils down to the specific display, how it handles NTSC, how good the stretch modes are, and your own tolerance for black bars/vs. stretch modes.

    We couldn't be happier, and feel the viewing experience on all material is superior to the 4:3 CRT we had.

    Rich H.
     

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