Newbie Question - Widescreen DVD Problem

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt_Pal, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Matt_Pal

    Matt_Pal Auditioning

    Dec 18, 2002
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    I'm having some problems (I think?) with my new TV and DVD player. Essentially, my question is this: when watching widescreen DVD's outputted to a widescreen TV, which device is "in charge" of removing the letterboxing?
    The long version:
    I recently purchased a new RP TV (Philips 55PP9502) and Progressive Scan DVD player (Philips DVDQ50AT).
    The DVD player is connected to the TV using its progressive outputs, and on of the TV's HD inputs (AV4). I have set the DVD player's format to 16:9.
    My understanding was that with this setup, the signal coming from the DVD player would be w/o the letterboxing. However, this is not the case. Since the TV's built-in format adjustments do not function on the HD input (as it expects the external unit to do this) I'm stuck with the letterboxing. My major concern is burn in.
    I can use the non-progressive outputs on the DVD player to connect to the non-HD inputs on the TV, and let the TV do the adjustment, but this sort of defeats the purpose of having a progressive scan player! [​IMG]
    I tried to call Philips support, but it was not helpful to say the least. They kept telling me that DVD's I'm using did not support 16:9, but from what I can see they do. I've looked at the Lord of the Rings set, the Star Trek: First Contact (which says that it's enhanced for 16:9), and another DVD that said it was "anamorphic widescreen". I had the same result on each, so I don't think it's the DVD's that are causing the problem.
    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm really at a loss here to figure out what my problem is. Should the DVD player be sending a non-letterboxed signal, or should the TV be adjusting the bars on the HD input?
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Aug 19, 2002
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    Those films are 2.25:1 films. Since a widscreen tv is 1.78:1, you can't display a 2.35:1 film without black bars. Although the bars are smaller or insignificant on a widescreen tv compared to 4:3, you cannot eliminate them totally because all films are not the same ratio. Search on 2.35:1 or black bars and you will learn more.
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    This question comes up a bit. Note that movies come in all sorts of rectangular shapes, including one that's almost a square (Academy Ratio 1.37:1). Some of these rectangles are almost three times as wide as they are tall (Ben-Hur, for example, is 2.76:1). Most American theatrical-release films are either in 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. Most European films are in 1.66:1.

    Now, televisions come in only two rectangular shapes: 1.33:1 (the conventional sort, which corresponds closely to the Academy Ratio) and 1.78:1.

    Obviously, neither of the two television shapes can perfectly accommodate all the film aspect ratios.

    The 16:9 (1.78:1) aspect ratio was chosen as a compromise.

    All of which means that you're still going to see a letterboxing effect on some films. This is good. It is normal.

    Set your DVD player to progressive scan and to 16:9 and be done with it (unless, of course, your Philips automatically locks onto a prog-scan signal in 1.78:1).

    Welcome to HTF, by the way.
  4. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Oct 14, 2001
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  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    With a wide screen TV (or any TV) with both 4;3 and 16:9 modes, it is almost(1) always better to adjust the picture shape using the TV controls if possible(2).
    All DVD players will reformat the picture for 4:3 only TV sets at a loss in quality compared with being able to squeeze the picture at the TV.
    Video hints:
    (1) A new and still uncommon feature on DVD players will zoom non-anamorphic letterbox programs on wide screen TV sets better than the optical zoom the TV provides.
    (2) IMHO widescreen TV sets with only 16:9 mode for certain inputs are just as severely handicapped as are 4:3 TV sets without the 16:9 squeeze.

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