How does a standard TV signal fare on 16x9 HDTV-ready sets?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ricardo C, Feb 16, 2002.

  1. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I've finally put enough money away that I can start building a good quality HT. I'm interested in purchasing a 16x9 TV to enjoy anamorphic DVDs on, but I've been told that if I watch a lot of SDTV, I'd be better off with a regular TV. Any thoughts?
    Also, I saw a 16x9 set at a local store (didn't think of remembering the model, sorry [​IMG])that was running Adam Sandler's "Big Daddy," but it looked... I don't know what word to use. It wasn't pixelated, but it looked "lumpy" (excuse my newbie lingo [​IMG]) Is this normal for 16x9 TVs or was this a problem inherent to this specific model, or does the Big Daddy DVD simply suffer from a poor transfer? Another demo video I saw running (not sure if it was on the same TV or a different model) also featured lumpy video. It looked as if Photoshop's "watercolor" filter had been appplied to the image.
    Anyway, I'd really appreciate any and all tips you guys have before I take the plunge [​IMG]
     
  2. Wes C

    Wes C Supporting Actor

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    I dont know much about 16:9 set or HD, but I do know that stores rarely calibrate their televisions. They almost never bother to fix the picture when they set it up. You would think they would realize that people are more likely to buy a television with good picture.
     
  3. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Thanks for the tip, Wes [​IMG] I'll ask the sales person if their sets are calibrated, and if I can be shown different videos in action, as well as regular network broadcast material.
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Probably the TV.
    Some HDTV grade sets upscale the DVD video to occupy 540 scan lines instead of 480, this upscaling process can vary widely in quality, producing more jaggies or less sharpness in some cases.
    (THe most common HDTV in use in the U.S. is 1080i consisting of 540 scan line interlaced fields, 60 per second. Meanwhile the DVD picture is interlaced originally but doubled to 480 scan line full frames, 60 per second. Rather than space out the scan lines on the picture tube(s) to be either 480 or 540 depending on the source material, some sets upscale the 480 scan line frames so the picture tube can be scanned the same way all the time. Upscaling the number of scan lines means inserting additional scan lines here and there. Some form of blending should be used, otherwise certain scan lines are simply repeated and the fact some scan lines are repeated and others are not can be noticed in the finished picture. Also the upscaling process is usually done digitally, which means every scan line has to be chopped up into pixels. If these pixels, not necessarily 720 per scamn line to match the pixel structure of the incoming DVD video, are not small enough, the entire picture becomes coarser.)
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  5. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Since you saw this on a showfloor, don't be suprised that besides not being calibrated, that the player (I assume it was hooked up to a DVD player?) was hooked up to the television using composite inputs. I was in a Circuit City and they had a widescreen HDTV set up and playing Twister. The picture was simply awful. I checked the connections and sure enough...they had hooked up a progressive-scan player via the composite inputs. *sigh* It's no wonder so many people aren't buying HD sets.
    Bruce
     
  6. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Thank you so much for the input, guys [​IMG] I'm so glad I found this forum BEFORE I spent the cash. I'll let you know how my next visit to the store goes.
     
  7. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Progressive scan DVD players also deliver regular (interlaced) video for the benefit of owners who haven't bought their progressive scan TV yet. The composite and S-video outputs are interlaced only.
     
  8. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Is there any way around that? i.e., can I get my prog scan player to deliver a non-interlaced signal to the TV?
     
  9. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    Two points to consider if you're going to use a 16:9 for broadcast 4:3 images:

    1. HDTVs vary widely in how well they handle standard images, and the quality of the image has a big effect as well. Often, a marginal TV image looks much worse on an HDTV than it does on a standard TV. However, in other cases, it looks much better. (I'm one of the lucky ones... my digital cable is very clean, and my TVs line doubler does a great job with it.)

    2. If you're going to watch a mix of widescreen DVDs and standard 4:3 TV broadcasts, and assuming that you don't have problem #1, you are better off with a widescreen TV, because you want to sit close to the TV when it's showing DVD or HD material, and farther away when it's showing standard TV material. Since the 4:3 image area on a 16:9 TV of a given diagonal is smaller than it would be on a 4:3 TV with the same diagonal, you are effectively in the right sitting position for both formats.

    If you watch widescreen images on a 4:3 TV, the situation is usually backwards. Your seating is pretty far from the TV because of the coarse standard TV image, and then way too far away for the widescreen image. This is especially unfortunate if your 4:3 has a vertical squeeze mode.
     
  10. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    To get the non-interlaced video, your TV must accept 480p and you use the component video jacks with three video cables. On some players you need to manually select progressive scan as well.
     
  11. Brian Tuttle

    Brian Tuttle Auditioning

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    I had this same problem when researching for our new set in our movie room. Originally I had wanted a widescreen HD-compatible set but when I went to demo them at numerous retail chain stores (Best Buy, Magnolia, Circuit City) I got mixed results depending on how the sets were set up. I also had a problem with these stores not helping me look at different feeds to any particular set (i.e. analog, digital, HD, composite, S-Video, component DVD, etc.). Bascially it was what you see is what you get. We were almost ready to simply get a HD-compatible 4:3 set when I came across an local owned shop and the guy there spent a couple of hours showing me every possible combination(input feeds, cable hook ups and DVD aspect ratios) on any set I wanted. Not only did he answer ANY question I had (unlike the other stores) but told me more than I would of known to ask ... bottom line, went with the 16:9 set and have loved every minute of it.

    As for quality, regular analog cable looks ~ok, nothing to brag about. Going from a 27" set to a 42" magnifies everything (junk and all). If you were to watch mainly TV on it, you might not be impressed with reg. analog cable.

    DVDs ... personally I don't want to EVER watch DVDs again on a 4:3 set. With anamorphic 1.85:1 or 1.78:1 , no more black bars and the 2.35:1 only have the slightest bars that I was used to already. And running progressive through the set is simply breath taking.

    I would suggest going to a store and ask them to run every possible feed through whatever set you are looking at so you have a better idea on how it is going to work with whatever situation you have at home instead of relying on a stores "default" setup.
     
  12. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Allan, Brian, thanks a lot for the info [​IMG] I'm going back this weekend. I'm much better prepared to deal with them now.
    DVD playing is what I'm most interested in, so I think I WILL end up buying a 16x9 set. As for analog cable, our local company is (supposedly) making a switch to digital (though not HD) sometime soon. At any rate, I can always keep the 4x3 set for watching standard TV on.
    Once again, thank you all [​IMG]
     
  13. Ray Melnik

    Ray Melnik Agent

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    Ricardo,

    Some HDTV ready units do a good job of displaying 4:3 programming on 16:9. I use a Sanyo PLV-60 projector and it does a really good job. You don't really notice the stretching.
     
  14. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    That's another thing that worried me. I'll look into the model [​IMG] Thanks!
     
  15. Rob Dawn

    Rob Dawn Stunt Coordinator

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    Ricardo,

    Be sure and compare the "stretch" modes on each of the 16x9 TVs you're looking at. If you're going to watch alot of 4x3 material on a 16x9 TV, you'll want one that does a good job of stretching the picture sideways.

    Rob
     
  16. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Absolutely [​IMG] Being as big a TV junkie as I am, that's gonna weigh heavily on my final decision. I just hope the salespeople are willing to put up with the pains I'm about to put them through, now that you guys have advised me so well in terms of what to look for [​IMG]
     

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