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Good DVD internal letterboxing (1 Viewer)

Greg Bright

Second Unit
Feb 24, 2000
Real Name
Gregory Bright
I know that many of us are stuck with our 4:3 video displays for the forseeable future. But all the reviews of current DVD players that I have recently read describe their internal letterboxing of anamorphic wide-screen movies as poor at best. Are there any players now available that might rate good to excellent in this important (to many of us) measurement? It's really sad that so many of us must put up with an inferior DVD picture when the rest of our systems are so good.

Greg Bright

Matt DeVillier

Supporting Actor
Sep 3, 1999

just about all the currently model players from the major manufactures (pioneer, panasonic, sony, toshiba, jvc, etc) have top notch anamorphic downconversion. where did you read that the current crop of players were "poor at best"?

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Jan 7, 1999
I agree that the current players are, for the most part, very very good. Certainly some of the first generation players are a bit suspect (my 1st gen RCA certainly is just "OK").

I haven't see all players, but when researcing which player to buy recently, I read that Sony tends to do fairly soft downconversion, Toshiba and Panasonic are on the sharp side, and Pioneer is somewhere in between. YMMV. I went with a Pioneer and I'm VERY happy with the downconversion. I've read that they're all very good and that which brand you go with really depends on your preference. They're pretty close I think though...

Besides, there are MANY 4x3 TVs out there now (and more all the time) that do anamorphic squeeze, so doing downconversion in the player becomes a non-issue.


Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Nov 1, 1998
Bring along your Video Essentials or AVIA disk and play a test pattern with several white horizontal lines two pixels thick on a black background. On VE (at least the laserdisk edition) frames 46613 (1.66:1 convergence grid), 46614, 46615, 46616 have such a pattern. On AVIA use the (letterbox geometry category) crosshatch 1.78, crosshatch 2.0 and crosshatch 1.78 patterns. Try them all in the test below.
Switch the player back and forth between 16:9 and 4:3 mode, leaving the TV in 4:3 mode. If with the player in 16:9 mode all the lines are not consistently exactly 2 pixels high and crisp, then try a different TV, the TV doubler is interfering with the test. If all the lines are present with the player in 4:3 letterbox mode and are one or two pixels thick (and other stuff you view looks good), then the downconversion is quite good. If some lines vanish completely or are four or more pixels thick including nearby dim lines then the downconversion could be a lot better.
Video hints:

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