How do 4x3 DVDs play on the HD players?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jesse Skeen, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'm still holding on to my 4x3 TV, which I've had for almost 10 years. I haven't upgraded to a 16x9 yet because I haven't seen too many that I'd be satisfied with, but one of my requirements is that it be able to properly display 4x3 material with black bars on the sides, and on discs with both 4x3 and 16x9 content I want it to automatically switch to the correct format. Some TVs can read a flag from the DVD player to do this, and I've heard some DVD players will squeeze 4x3 material with black bars on the side so you can leave the TV in 16x9 mode and everything will display properly. I haven't gotten to play with any of the new-format players, but do any of these have that feature? Also, how do they react to PAL discs?
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    The Toshiba HD-A1/XA1 and the RCA HD-DVD players will pillarbox 4:3 video properly when using the HDMI output. They do NOT pillarbox when using component. I don't know how they handle PAL video.
     
  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    So with component a person would have to select pillarboxing from the TVs menu, right?
     
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Correct.
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    The Oppo 971 squeezes, and then scales, losing 25% of the resolution. Do the Toshibas handle this more elegantly?
     
  6. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    On 4:3 material the Toshiba merely squeezes, and as far as I can tell there is no scaling. There's certainly no loss of resolution that I can discern.
     
  7. Johannes S

    Johannes S Stunt Coordinator

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    The Toshiba refuses to play PAL encoded material on SD DVD. Regardless of region coding. "This disc is PAL formatted and cannot be played."
     
  8. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I would imagine that watching 4:3 ratio DVD video from the HD-A1 would be just like watching 4:3 ratio programing off digital cable on a 16:9 HDTV. When I watch 4:3 ratio formated programing or dvd titles on my 16:9 Sony HDTV I use the stretch feature that scales the picture to fill the entire screen so there are no bars on the left and right. In some cases when letter box is being used on a 16:9 HDTV you will still end up with bars on the top and bottom of the screen. You could correct this using the scaler on the tv but I think you end up croping a small amount of picture on letterbox formated titles. I will test this once my HD-A1 player has arrived and I pick it up. As I plan to hook it up via HDMI so I can upconvert my current SD-DVD library.
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Many units do have the Auto Aspect Ratio Features. Just review their respective options.

    Now, with my 56HM195 1080p 56" DLP HDTV, I set my HDMI Aspect Ratio = AUTO.

    So when a 1080i, 480i 480p or 720p signal is present on my HDMI input, I'll see ...

    Aspect Ratio Source / ...Auto Aspect Size
    1) 4x3 normal / ............Natural (with sidebars)
    2) 4:3 letter box / .........TheaterWide 2
    3) 16:9 full / .................Full

    On my Toshiba HD-A1
    1) Setup / Picture / TV Shape Screen = 16:9
    2) Picture Mode = AUTO (choices Film / Video)

    So, when I view "Sledge Hammer", Star Trek - The Next Generation Season 7, Briscoe County Jr.", etc. SD DVDs, ... I see the OAR w/sidebars.

    I next view "Threshold, NCIS", Numb3rs", etc., I see the full 16:9 images Automatically. [​IMG]

    Same holds true with my HD DVDs, I see the correct Aspect Ratio when viewing the main presentation, but either 4x3 or 16:9 screens depending on the Special Featurettes picture mode! All changed Automatically. [​IMG]

    Phil
     
  10. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've played with a few TVs in the stores to see if they have auto-switching, but most of them either don't have it or make it hard to tell. My friend has a Mitsubishi and it definitely doesn't auto-switch so he has to figure out what format some things are in and set it to the proper mode. What brands normally DO autoswitch?
     
  11. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Typically it's the DVD player, not the display, that handles automatic aspect ratio control.
     
  12. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Adding to Doug's comment, as I wrote above ...


    Look for an "AUTO Aspect Ratio" option in the HDTV's menu for the HDMI INPUTS.

    Phil
     

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