HDTV Aspect Ratio...Newbie

Discussion in 'Displays' started by John Doh, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    I am contemplating my HDTV purchase. I had pretty much made my mind up on the Sony 40XBR800. Oh yea, I want a direct view for my relatively small 12x13 HT room. The 40"er looks great on paper and pretty darn good on the showroom floor. I plan on watching alot of movies, playing Xbox, and of course watching HDTV programming on it. This brings me to my question about HDTV broadcast aspect ratio's. The Sony set has the standard 4:3 ratio. Which aspect ration does HDTV broadcast in most of the time, or all of the time?? The 16:9 conversion on this set is greater than a 34" standard set so nothing is really lost. What is lost is on a 16:9 set is when regular TV programming comes in at 4:3 and converts that 34" 16:9 set to roughly a 30" picture. I'm not crazy about that. So would you recommend the 40 and live with the 35" or so 16:9 conversion or go buy a 34" or 36" 16:9 set and deal with the even smaller 4:3 conversion? If so, any solid recommendations on sets? Thanks!

    ~ One more thing, which HD aspect ratio is more used for sports broadcasting?
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    HDTV broadcasts only in a 16:9 (1.78:1) window, though the programming within that window can vary in terms of aspect ratio.

    Are you really buying an XBR800 (which is discontinued) or are you getting the current XBR910?

    The only real drawback to this set is its enormous weight (more than 300 pounds). Make sure you have plenty of help getting the big Sony into your house and at its proper location. Also make sure that you have a sturdy-enough stand upon which to place it. Moving this set is not a one-person job.
     
  3. Al Shing

    Al Shing Stunt Coordinator

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    You should expect to be happy with your TV for the next 10 years. Ask yourself - would you be happier with a 4:3 screen or a 16:9 screen for the next 10 years? Consider that all letterboxed material will look horrible on a 4:3 screen, as opposed to a 16:9 screen, and that anamorphic widescreen DVD and HD broadcasts will always be letterboxed on a 4:3, but will fill most or all of the 16:9 screen.

    Yes, there is a lot of 4:3 non-anamorphic stuff that looks bad on a 16:9 screen no matter what you do with it, but you are going to regret having a 4:3 screen just as soon as you start to watch HDTV broadcasts, which are starting to become more and more common.

    How likely is it that you will still be happy with your 4:3 in 5 or 10 years, versus the enjoyment you will get out of watching anamorphic widescreen DVDs and HDTV broadcasts over the next 10 years on a 16:9 screen?

    Most people who buy 4:3's regret it within the first year. I'm amazed they even still manufacture those things for a large screen HDTV purchase.
     
  4. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    Good input guys, thanks.

    Jack... I saw on Sony's site where the new XBR910 line is coming out but was not aware that the 40XBR700, 40XBR800 series was not receiving a sequel. Where did you hear this?

    However, what you guy are saying makes sense to me and I think I may look the way of a 16:9. So that brings me to me next question! Which set to buy!!?? I don't want to spend more than $2000 on a 16:9 direct view set. I need the biggest available (36" is the biggest I've seen around) and the best quality for that amount of money. Please offer your suggestions, thanks again!
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    But remember that in its 16:9 mode, the Sony produces a larger full-resolution image in widescreen than all but one native 16:9 direct-view widescreen set on the market (the Loewe Aconda — and the discontinued RCA, for that matter).
     
  6. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

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    John,
    Whichever aspect ratio you decide on, why not consider front projection? You can get a 4:3 X1 for $999 or a 16:9 L200 with a screen for $1199.

    You'll have almost a grand left over in your $2000 budget for movies, games, and a Hi-Def decoder.

    Oh yeah, and you'll also have a big ass picture too.
     
  7. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess the reason I am so stuck on the direct views is picture quality, sharpness,etc. IMO projection TV's don't offer as sharp/distinct of a picture as direct view tubes do. As for plasma, the screen blurr is keeping me from even considering them (not to mention the price tag!!). So that is why I have been stuck on a direct view. Which provides the sharper image, a front projection or a rear projection?
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Unless some of the BARCO CRT front projection units will fully resolve 1080 lines, then if your measure of sharpness is number of lines of resolution, RPTV is the sharper.

    At least the few that will display all 1080 lines (not that many and none of the less expensive models.).
     
  9. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

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    You're not going to get true HDTV resolution from anything for two grand. Have you seen a properly setup/calibrated FPTV? I sold my 65" widescreen Mitsubishi RPTV and bought a 16:9 1/4 HD resolution FPTV. The wife was against it all the way because she said projectors didn't look good but as soon as I got it mounted and calibrated and the screen up, she changed her tune. Now she wants to have Girl's Night movie nights and have her friends over to watch chick flicks which I have to make myself scarce for. She never even thought of that the whole year and a half we owned the Mits so I think I've converted her.

    That said, the Mits did have an awesome picture, maybe a hair better than the PJ. The trade off for a much larger image is worth it to me but maybe not for everyone.
     
  10. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    Rin,

    While I respect your opinion, I do not believe what you said is all that true. I'm talking about the part not being able to obtain 'true' HD from a set for $2K or less. I have seen many sets out there that look fantastic for that price range. Unless your definition of HD is different from everything I have experienced to date. I had considered the FP option, but the size of the room and the bulkiness of that setup is not for me. Thanks.
     
  11. Al Shing

    Al Shing Stunt Coordinator

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  12. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, I am still waiting for confirmation on the production of the KV-40XBR910 TV from Jack. If he gives me that, I may have my set. On the other hand, I have been looking around at a few RP's and found one that I really, really like as well. It is the Samsung HLN4365W. It is 43" 16:9 DLP and seems to have all the features the XBR does in addition to true 720p support. It is a ton lighter and not near as deep (footprint depth). I have read where they are also very good for gaming (no screen burn). My only concern is the viewing angle and if the screen is really dark in some places you sit. Also do you have to position yourself directly in front of it to see the "sweet spot" or the bright spot of the TV (where the picture is the brightest). Does anyone know anything about this Samsung? Thanks!
     
  13. Chris Rock

    Chris Rock Supporting Actor

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    John,
    try to go to a store that sells Samsung sets (like Circuit City, Best Buy, or Tweeter) so you can test out the viewable "sweet spot" for the Samsung DLP.

    I doubt you'll find that there's a problem. There's much more in terms of viewable angle than a CRT-based RPTV will offer. I've purchased a 61" and I'm patiently (OK, not so patiently) awaiting delivery.

    One thing to consider, though - the DLP sets cost quite a bit more than the CRT based RPTV's. But, if you're looking at a 40" direct-view...you're probably already prepared to spend the cash.
     
  14. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

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    OK John, FPTV isn't for everyone, I said as much in my last post. I'm not trying to suggest FPTV anymore, but....

     
  15. John Doh

    John Doh Stunt Coordinator

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    Rin,

    Thanks again for your input. My eyes are not as trained to notice certain things/nuances as much as some other professional types. I have to be honest and say that I haven't seen one set with HDTV programming playing on it that looked bad. I haven't seen one set with a DVD playing in progressive-scan mode, that looked bad. Not to say that there's not a dud or two out there, which I'm sure there are. There are so many options available to consumers to pick from that it is rather mind boggling to try and distinguish 'oh so subtle' differences from one to the next. I love HD and have recently found a Samsung 43" DLP screen in my price range. These sets are getting rave reviews in all areas so all these people can't be wrong, IMO of course. Take care!
     
  16. rin

    rin Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey, no problem John. Just trying to help out.

    BTW, I was in Tweeter a few weeks ago and got to see the Sammy DLP RPTV. I have seen rainbows on DLP front projectors on cheap ones and even(to a much lesser degree) on a Runco but I didn't see a one on that Sammy you're looking at. The picture was very, very nice.
     

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