How to prevent HD screenburn on commercials

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert P. Jones, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. Robert P. Jones

    Robert P. Jones Second Unit

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    As those of us who are now hopelessly hooked on HD can attest, the commercials on the OTA HD broadcasting channels are ALL in NTSC 4x3, allbeit broadcast in 1080i/720p. I have yet to see one that is not. Nor have I seen one that is a true HD-shot commercial, tho I am sure that is coming.

    That leaves us with a conundrum: black bars on the sides and no means to get rid of them, since aspect ratio switchability is generally automatically shut out of any HD scanrate. AND the fact that the commercial's video - along with its audio - is almost always brighter/louder than the program material we actually tuned in for and are watching.

    In other words, BLAZING commercials.

    On my brand new 65" Panny, over and over again, time and time again, commercial after commercial after commercial on every HD program I would watch, I was diving for my Contrast control at each commercial, and sometimes my Brightness control also, till I discovered a quick, simple way of avoiding the whole screenburn issue on commercials.

    On my Panny, I noticed that any time I hit 2 numbers on the remote, the designated NTSC channel I had selected from its built-in tuner would automatically take the place of the HD within 5 seconds. It would have switched inputs and thus scanrates, winding up with a 480i NTSC channel, perfectly suited for aspect ratio control. I would put it on Zoom or Justify - anything that would completely fill the screen.

    With separate inputs, each having separately and individually set up sets of User controls, I can also turn down my Contrast and Brightness to minimum and leave them there, on that particular input. Every time I would go there, the C and B would be already set at minimum, just a dark glow on the screen. This would apply only to that NTSC input, leaving the HD input alone. The HD input would remain at the optimum levels it had already been set at, for when I would go back to watching the show in its HD format, on the HD input.


    So now what I do whenever I am watching something in OTA HD whose NTSC counterpart is also appearing on regular channels: at the commercial I hit the appropriate matching pair of numbers and within 5 seconds the HD commercial has bit the dust, and a darkened NTSC version of that commercial has taken its place, on the same network that is broadcasting the HD show I am watching. The audio has already been coming from my AV sound system - from my STB, not from my TV - so I can leave that going or just turn it down a bit, and I will know when the commercial set is over.

    The audio from analog is always earlier than the audio from digital - we've all heard of "digital delay", and there are copious amounts of it in HD vs. analog NTSC - so if I am actually having the sound from the TV going and have silenced the AV sound system's HD audio, I will hear the commercial end several seconds before the HD version ends and the HD show begins again. This is very convenient, and more often than not allows me the extra time it takes to beat cleats and make it back in to the living room, from the kitchen - (scree-ee-eech!...)

    That is, if there IS anything happening in the last half of the HD commercials slot in the first place. Many times it is blank, signifying that advertisers on HD have not been beating the door down to get their wares in front of HD viewers. The more HD viewers we have out there - the more viewers who climb on the HD bandwagon - the more the advertisers will take heed and pay the piper to have their wares in front of us also. Frankly, I think it's kinda nice not to have wall to wall advertising at every commercial slot...

    At this point I snap the TV's input back to HD input - on mine it is one click of the Input button - and turn the audio back on - or not, if I never turned it off - and I'm back where I started.


    If you have a D-VHS recorder which records HD but does not show scanning in forward or reverse search - like my older Panny D-VHS - on playback of recorded HD you can capture the fade-to-black that happens between the program material and the upcoming commercial, and keep that going for as long as you are searching for the end of the commercials.

    My D-VHS remote has a one-minute button, which automatically scans for one minute at a time. If I capture the fade-to-black, that black screen will stay there for the entire minute. Then if I hit the button again before the HD picture loads and is visible again - which takes several seconds once it is thru scanning - it will stay there, in blackscreen, protecting my phosphors completely. I can do this any number of times/minutes, tho unfortunately I cannot stack them. I have to hit it again for each minute of scanning desired, at some time between the end of the first scanned minute and the beginning of the next one. But my phosphors are completely protected by blackscreen, for the duration.

    I usually find that more often than not, the commercial set is 3.5 minutes.


    Mr Bob
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Thing is, commercials only run for two or three minutes before switching back to regular programming. That's not really enough time to cause concern. Burn-in can happen fast, but in this case it doesn't seem like much to be concerned with.
     
  3. Michael Mathius

    Michael Mathius Screenwriter

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    I don't think that two to four 30 second commericals can cause burn in.
     
  4. Robert P. Jones

    Robert P. Jones Second Unit

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    You may be right. Quite frankly I don't exactly know how long something has to be up there before it causes screenburn. I just don't want to find out the hard way.

    All I know is that once it has happened on your set, there is no turning back.

    I have seen my share of permanent screenburn out there in the field, and it tears my heart out every time I see it, because short of carefully designed patterns to reverse the effects - which if they are a hair off will still reveal lines of demarcation, no matter how carefully they have been laid out and how thorugh the restoration is - short of that, which is not in any sort of readily available supply that I have seen - CRT replacement is the only remedy.

    And rather than do such a momentous endeavor, the typical consumer usually simply considers a set totalled when that becomes the case, and simply faces up to buying a new one.

    Mr Bob
     
  5. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    I find that I have to pay close attention to the program guide and watch only the shows in HD. Last night the only HD show was the Grammies. . . Not Xmen. . . .
    If I watch at any other time its black bars all the time.
    I have a Zenith HDV420, looking forward to the 430 which is an OTA HD tuner with an 80g HDD for recording in HD, should be out at any time, bust out retail is 699 I think.
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    X-Men was in 480p, but it was in its native 2.35 aspect ratio, but for any film with a 2.35 aspect ratio you'll have to worry a little about black bars on the top and bottom of a 16x9 set as well.
     
  7. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    If your set has been properly calibrated I don't think I'd worry too much. I'm a stickler for OAR and I like a lot of old movies, so whenever I watch one I use my rp91 and scale it to 1.33:1 with black bars on the side of the picture. I have literally watched hundreds of movies on dvd this way and I have no sign of burn-in. I suspect you'd have to watch a LOT of commercials to match the number of hours I've watched 1.33:1 OAR movies on my tv.
     
  8. Doug_L

    Doug_L Stunt Coordinator

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    Is this really true? I know about the audio (and can confirm from empirical data, though with my ears, not an SPL), but are you sure that the contrast and/or brightness are specifically higher in the commercials than the program material?

    Is the idea that the commericial has somehow pushed the contrast beyond the maximum in the HDTV standard, and thus created the a larger chance of burn-in? And if so, is this any worse than some station that has boosted the contrast beyond the max for the entire program? Would you feel the need to put the TV into zoom/full screen if the commercials weren't blazing?

    Just not sure how the commericials attain their blazing status, and would like to understand it more.

    Thanks.
     
  9. Tim Jin

    Tim Jin Supporting Actor

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    I just think that we are going a bit too extreme with the burn in issue. I understand that we want to protect our investment and I've spent a great deal of time and funds at setting up my system and I have still a long ways to go, but what you have described is too much work in my book. From my prospective, this is not going to be my last tv and if I'm constantly looking out for burn ins, then I can't enjoy the set.

    Just my 2 cents [​IMG]
     
  10. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    I've been using Mr Bob's trick for a while now. On my Panny 53", I can hide unused inputs (so only ANT, component 1 & component 2 show up). Like Mr Bob said, I can hit two #'s & get to the NTSC counterpart of the HD channel I was watching, then hit input once to get back to "component 1" where my HD signal resides.

    I actually worry more about burn-in from watching DVDs with aspect ratios greater than 1.85:1 for 2-3 hours at a time.
     
  11. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've been watching commercials on HD stations and 2:35 AR movies on my Sony Widescreen rptv since September of 01 with no sign of burn-in.

    I have contrast set at about 35-45% depending on pic mode (I have it set at 45% on Standard for daytime and 35% on Movie and Pro for night time), Brightness at 50-60%.

    I previously used an Hitachi analog set for over 2 years with about the same settings and had no burn in with it either.

    I do avoid watching news channels with "crawls" at the bottom of the screen, especially MSNBC's white crawl, for more than 15 minutes at a time, and only pause a dvd during a dark scene.

    Just out of curiosity, Robert, have you seen much burn in on your customer's sets that you know for a fact have always been run at reasonable contrast and brightness settings, and with a variety of programming rather than just being left on one channel with a particularly bright "bug"? Also, are HD capable sets more prone to burn in than analog?
     
  12. Joe6pack99

    Joe6pack99 Second Unit

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    I have really come to hate 2:35 movies now that i got my 65 Hitachi widescreen. As far as burn in goes i do not worry about the black bars at all but do worry a little when it comes to channel bugs and when playing video games.
     
  13. Robert P. Jones

    Robert P. Jones Second Unit

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    This thread has become very gratifying. I value all the input, believe me. Some of it is even getting me to breathe a bit easier, on my stated concerns.

    Commercials don't raise the level of contrast available to the TV, no, they just pump the available contrast level like crazy, on most of the commercials I see. Program material does not. It uses dark scenes, light scenes, everything in between scenes...

    It's like how all these manufacturers don't care about D6500K OOB, because having whites with lots of blue in them makes a set look brighter, like these new blue headlights you see on the road. They are no brighter than anybody else's. But the blue in them makes them look brighter, in both instances. This sells more TVs in the marketplace.

    No, digital TV is no different on these things than regular analog TV. These concerns apply to anything that utilizes CRT technology - actually anything that uses phosphor technology, including plasma - and that also includes simple things like security monitors, and color monitors used in convenience stores for fixed image card games, and arcades, where you can see the adverse effects of fixed images all over the place on their RPTV displays AND on their DV displays.

    No, I have not seen flagrant displays of screenburn out there among my CRT-display clients. They are watchful of these things, and most of my calbration clients are well aware of the adverse effects of things like Torch Mode long before I ever get there for their calibration.

    But I have heard of bad things happening later to sets I have calibrated far away, which I have never seen again, like one of my customers in Texas, from a few years ago.

    Again, thanks for your input. This is becoming a very highly viewed thread. Let's keep it going.

    Mr Bob
     
  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I agree that commercials tend to be brighter/more intense than regular TV programming, especially if you watch more TV dramas than sitcoms. I also find movies to be generally less so than all of the above save a handful of fairly cinematic TV dramas. So I'd think any black bars w/ these various types of programming would vary in burn-in risk accordingly ASSUMING of course they are actually displayed w/ equal cumulative duration.

    Given that last necessary assumption, I'd think commercials shouldn't be much of a concern. We are only talking about 10-15min out of every hour of regular TV, not like the 45-50min for station bugs or the 100% of movie time for 2.35:1 movies on a 16x9 set. Even if the commercials are 4-5x as intense as the 2.35:1 movie, it'd still only be on-par w/ the movie for burn-in risk per hour of viewing.

    Me? I don't usually watch commercials anyway. I tend to do a little channel surfing during commercial breaks. [​IMG] Actually, it would be nice to have an HD PVR for skipping the commercials...

    _Man_
     
  15. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    To me, if you worry that much about burn-in, the gratification derived from your set is much reduced. It's just not worth it!

    As long as you don't abuse your set, noticeable burn-in shouldn't begin to appear until your set is at or near the end of it's life, anyway. By the time burn-in is a problem, you'll also have focus issues, trouble holdling black, bleeding reds...

    Commecials are a small enough percentage of overall viewing that they won't be a problem.

    Mix up your ARs, don't play video games, and don't worry.

    Even if it is a problem, I'd much rather shorten the life of a TV by a year or two and ENJOY it than constantly worry about burn-in...

    ... but that's my opinion. I also drive my car hard and drag my kayak over rocks. Do I shorten the useable life of my car and kayak? Maybe... but I enjoy the heck out of 'em while I'm doing it...

    Just my opinion...

    -Scott
     
  16. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    On a projection set calibrated to 16 foot lamberts or so of light output with a 100 IRE window pattern, it would most likely take several hours at maximum brightness for a static image to cause visible burn in.

    I had a 43" Toshiba 4:3 HD set and watched lots of HD material in the sets vertical compression mode (as well as plenty of widescreen DVDs) over a period of a year. The set never showed the slightest sign of burn in.
     
  17. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Johnny has hit this one on the head. I've been setting up displays for years and the thought that 2 minutes of commercials out of every 15 minutes or so of programming promoting phosphor burn (on a properly setup RPTV no less) looks like the beginning of an urban legend. Sorry, but in my professional opinion this is nonsense.
     
  18. Robert P. Jones

    Robert P. Jones Second Unit

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    I certainly hope those who have stated that there is no screenburn have done the ultimate test: an allwhite screen.

    I know we don't actually sit there and watch allwhite screens, but allwhite scenes do appear on fade out to white, fade in from white, and many in many ultra bright scenes. On such scenes, screenburn is totally - and painfully - evident. Those types of highly lighted scene may only be there for a few seconds, but seconds worth of scene are very expensive in movies, and can seem interminable.

    If screenburn is there on your CRT faces during such scenes, IT SHOWS. And if it shows AT ALL, both I and the people who are interested in reading this thread and staying on top of this issue, are affected. A calibrator is not the only one who is distracted by - and instantly made totally and inescapably miserable by - ultimately discovering these things on their screens after assuming that everything is fine, simply because the screenburn is not usually there/visible, on most scenes. I have had clients who point out more anomalies on their screens than I am interested in remedying on mine.

    The ultimate test for screenburn is an allwhite screen pattern, such as one from a test disc or a test generator. Many videophiles today own their own test discs, like AVIA, VE and SVGHT, and the patterns from them are perfectly suited for answering this type of question. Panasonic actually has an allwhite screen built into its service menu, with a certain very simple and tiny regimen of commands.

    Doesn't matter whether you are on HD or NTSC 480i or p - a white screen is a white screen, and a highly lit scene is a highly lit scene. It's strictly a hardware issue, and testing for it in NTSC 100% covers whether you have it in HD also.

    Mr Bob
     
  19. Robert P. Jones

    Robert P. Jones Second Unit

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    I have added a little bit to the post above, you might want to reread it real quick, if you're interested, it's real short -


    So Jack -

    and
    Michael,
    Guy,
    george,
    Tim,
    Steve,
    Man-Fai,
    JohnnyG,
    Bill -

    Have you tried the allwhite screen test? No sign of screenburn on this test, for sure?

    The more reports I see of this test passing with flying colors on any viewer's particular screen, the easier I will breathe about this whole thing, on mine.


    Mr Bob
     
  20. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Bob,

    I pull the lenses off and look at the face of the CRTs when I check for phosphor burn (there is no such animal as "screen burn"). [​IMG]

    This method is as accurate as you can get when you look for phosphor burn. Regards.
     

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