New Widescreen TV help

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jason Goodmanso, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. Jason Goodmanso

    Jason Goodmanso Stunt Coordinator

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    Not exactly sure if this belongs in Hardware or Software - since it kind of relates to both. (I've tried searching but didn't find anything that helped me too much, and the FAQ didn't really address in too much detail either.)

    I just purchased a Toshiba 57-inch Widescreen (Model #57HX83) along with a new Toshiba Progressive Scan DVD Player (Model #SD-3950) (link is for SD3900 however).

    I used to think I was pretty knowledgeable about most Home Theater topics, until you start using a widescreen television set.

    Relating to an anamorphic DVD title - I understand that just fine. That part makes sense.

    What I don't understand is: is there a definite rule regarding watching a non-anamorphic DVD title? More specifically, the particular player I have has a specialized button that switches between progressive and interlaced video signals. So far, it doesn't seem to matter what type of DVD I use, the player will output a progressive signal. Do I (or should I?) have to change the video output signal depending on what type of disc I watch?

    Similar questions come up with the use of a letterboxed LaserDisc - since there is no anamorphic encoded LD, I'm assuming I should use one of the video "squeezes" that the TV is programmed with (Normal, Theater 1, Theater 2, Theater 3 and Wide)? I don't remember the exact numbers for the exact stretch modes - one leaves the center untouched, and stretches the sides out, one just zooms (assuming this is the mode I'll use for LD and letterboxed television shows, i.e., ER) while one zooms and stretchs in some horrible manner. Do I experience any loss in video clarity with the zooming?

    I do realize that with broadcast TV (using a digital cable box - no HD decoder) it all comes down to how much unnatural stretching and shrinking I can deal with, in terms of specific picture size modes. After some messing around, to me the cable signal looks best using the normal mode (4:3 with gray bars on the side.) I almost feel sick when watching any of the other modes because of the stretching - it looks unnatural.

    And one last question (I hope) - what's the best way to decide if a DVD is anamorphic or not if I don't have the packagig (Netflix rental)? Should my player tell me if the DVD is anamorphic or not? I've tried using a disc I knew wasn't anamorphic (Brazil - Criterion as well as 4:3 anime disc - the player let me switch from mode to mode just fine.

    Thanks in advance for any information.

    Jason
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    A wide range of topics Jason.

    Regarding progressive v interlaced—progressive sends out the full 480 vertical lines of resolution every scan, regardless of the size of the horizontal picture. So it should be in progressive regardless of whether the DVD is 16:9 enhanced, letterboxed, or a 1.33:1, classic film. Keep it in progressive mode.

    You don’t exactly lose clarity when you zoom a letterboxed TV show, LD or DVD. You just don’t get any additional detail. The detail you have is spread out over a larger picture when you use the zoom feature, so it may well appear to have less clarity. If it is noticeable, you have to choose between a smaller, sharper picture and a larger one that appears less sharp.

    Your feelings are mine on stretching a picture. I will do this when going to sleep to Letterman, for example or I sometimes zoom for a talking head show. But for anything else, it’s 4:3 all the way. Luckily there is less and less of this as more and more is in HD.

    I don’t know your particular DVD player. But you can always tell when everybody is too skinny. Or too fat when you switch to full mode.
     
  3. Jason Goodmanso

    Jason Goodmanso Stunt Coordinator

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    Lew -

    That actually does help - I wasn't too sure about the progressive versus interlaced portion. Always thought progressive scan was just used for anamorphic DVDs. That's good to know then.

    Your other comments do help as well - it's all just so new at the moment. Soon I'll be good again.

    Thanks again.
     

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