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HDTV Decoder delivered....What's going on????

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Craig_TX, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Craig_TX

    Craig_TX Auditioning

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    Hey all,

    My local cable provider was by and delivered and installed a Motorola High Definition Decoder for my Sony 40XBR800. Now, when I put the TV on Video6 (where the HD is hooked up), the screen shrinks down to about 34" diagnol (sp?). I'm not talking letterbox, there's a 3-4" border around the whole thing.

    I called Crutchfield and was told it was the TV doing the conversion and "Sony made us aware of the problem". It's no secret what I paid for this thing but something doesn't seem right. Any suggestions????

    Thanks in advance,
    Craig
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Does your TV do auto aspect control? What are you watching on it? It sounds like your TV does auto aspect control and you're watching an HD channel that's showing 4x3 content. If you can, try to change the aspect ratio to 4x3 or turn off 16x9 squeeze.

    _Man_
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    For content (like sitcoms, etc) with 4:3 aspect ratio that's broadcast over the HDTV feed, you'll see black side bars on the picture because the picture has been reprocessed to include the sidebars to get the right aspect ratio to be displayed on a native 16x9 HDTV set.

    Now if you also are using a 4:3 HDTV set, then you'll see the window-box effect as the picture has the sidebars, and the TV does the vertical compression squeeze to place black bars on top and bottom to achieve the normal 16x9 aspect ratio for true HDTV content. If you unsqueeze the vertical portion to get rid of the black bars on the top and bottom, you'll still have the sidebars, but the picture will now look stretched in the vertical dimension like a fun-house mirror.

    Now, if you get a window-box picture on a 16x9 TV (I'm not familiar with the Sony 40XBR800's screen form factor, though I'm guessing it's a 4:3 HDTV set), then you might have a problem.

    I have a 4:3 HDTV set, and I've gotten used to the windowbox effect for 4:3 content broadcast on the HDTV feed for some of the shows. But if you still get a windowbox picture for actual HDTV shows (like CSI/CSI:Miami on CBS, etc), you might have a problem.
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm... Forgot about the fact that unsqueezing will leave the image stretched vertically. I guess you need a zoom mode if you want the windowbox image to fill the screen in correct OAR.

    _Man_
     
  5. Craig_TX

    Craig_TX Auditioning

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    Well, I spoke to another guy with Crutchfield who told me that when the TV is not receiving a HD signal, it'll go to that mode. Turns out, I didn't realize the cable company had separate channels for HD (which aren't broadcasting now I guess). Thanks for your help!
     
  6. Chris_HD

    Chris_HD Agent

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    You will get a windowboxed picture when viewing some HDTV broadcasts on a 16:9 set. For example, when HBO-HD broadcasts a commercial for something on another HBO SD channel, and upconverts it for HBO-HD. These are sometimes in straight 4:3, which will show up on your 16:9 set as vertical black bars on either side of the picture. Other times they are in 4:3 letterbox, which will appear as a windowbox on an HDTV channel. HDTV has 16:9 as the native mode, so anything that wasn't originally formatted for 16:9 will be at the whim of the converter box to scale. The inability to scale 4:3 material is a significant flaw of the first generation cable HDTV converters.

    Chris
     
  7. Craig_TX

    Craig_TX Auditioning

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    For what it's worth, the set is 4:3.

    In any event, something can't be right. If I was at Circuit City, Best Buy, or whatever and saw the windowbox during HD.....I doubt I would've bought it.
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Circuit City has the ability to send a 480i/480p signal to all of the TVs in the room to "mask" the window-box effect that you are experiencing when you watch SDTV 4:3 material broadcast on a HDTV channel. CC can also pipe in true 1080i to the TVs as well, and their demo loop doesn't show you the 4:3 SDTV material upconverted to 1080i and sent to the component video inputs of the TVs in the showroom.

    If possible, and if you're truly unhappy, return the TV, and look for a 16x9 HDTV and be prepared for only sidebars (unless you choose a stretch mode) for 4:3 material. Otherwise, I suppose you're SOL.
     

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