Question re DVD viewing on 16:9 HDTV-ready set

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeHarley, Jan 27, 2002.

  1. MikeHarley

    MikeHarley Extra

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    I just purchased a 46" Mitsubishi WT-46809 HDTV-ready 16:9 television. I also picked up a new Panasonic DVD-RP56 Progressive Scan DVD player.

    My question:

    When I watch movies, I was under the assumption (incorrectly?) that the 16:9 format would allow me to watch "letterbox" movies without any black bars on the screen. Now, I am finding movies shot at 1.78:1 and 1.85:1... not 16:9. Is 16:9 just a HDTV format?

    What is the best way (standard, stretched, zoom, etc...) to watch a DVD on a 16:9 set? Should I just leave the black bars, or is this bad for the rear-projection TV (the manual says it is)?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,

    First of all, 1.78:1 IS 16x9. Now, with that said, if you're watching anamorphic 1.85 films on DVD ("enhanced for widescreen sets") and you've got black bars you've either not set your DVD player for a 16x9 set, or you're using the wrong picture size setting on your TV. (On the Toshiba's it's called "full." I'm not sure what other manufacturers might call it.)

    If you're watching non-anamorphic 1.85:1 and you've got black bars, there is a screen setting that will eliminate them and still maintain the proper width to height ratio ("widescreen 2" on Toshiba sets).

    Scope films (2.35:1) will still have black bars on your widescreen set, but they'll be half the thickness of the ones on a 4:3 set.
     
  3. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    16:9 was the standard choosen for HDTV...Really nothing to do with the aspect ratio of movies ...
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Setting things up for a 16:9 TV: Put your DVD player in 16:9 mode and leave it there. Then select using the TV remote whatever shape looks best to you. THis will generally be the "4:3" (normal still refers to this) for most TV shows, "zoom" for non-anamorphic letterbox movies, and "full" for anamorphic movies. Unfortunately the names of the modes may vary from one brand of TV to another.
    Also I suggest turning down the contrast (sometimes labeled picture or white level) to one third or less and then making all other tint and calibration adjustments around this constraint. This way you don't have to worry about how many hours you watch TV and leave the black bars at the sides or on top of the picture. (For video games you should turn down the contrast even more, say one fifth, or better yet, play the games on a smaller older TV.) This I believe to be the best compromise between a reasonably bright picture and not too rapid uneven wear on the picture tubes (burn in). You will have to darken the room although not completely as in a movie theater. It may be noted that even in the early days of TV 50 years ago, before they invented tinted direct view picture tubes, viewing in a darkened room was suggested.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  5. MikeHarley

    MikeHarley Extra

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    Thanks for the replies.

    About the "burn-in" issues with the screens...

    Is this only something that happens with rear-projection TV's, or is this something I had to worry about (and didn't) on my previous 35" Sony Trinitron TV (tube)?

    I have "contrast", "brightness", and "tint" controls among others. I assume you are talking about the "brightness" control.
     
  6. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, NO! He's talking about the contrast control. "Contrast" is actually the white level, and when you have it too high several bad things happen: First of all, the phosphors start to "bloom" causing their light output to fall outside of their normal boundries. This, in turn, reduces sharpness and resolution considerably.

    Secondly, you shorten the life of the CRT(s) and can actually damage it/them if contrast is left cranked all the way up for too long.

    And third, images that are left on the screen can burn into the phosphors, leaving their "ghosts" with you for the remaining life of the set -- NOT something you want, believe me!

    The "brightness" control is actually the black level, and has little to do with how bright or dim your picture is; but, it has a great deal to do with how the picture looks, and it needs to be set properly.

    I would strongly suggest that you get yourself a copy of Avia or Video Essentials. One of these discs will really help you setup your set properly (For example you can't imagine how important setting the sharpness is. Believe it or not, it's usually at its best setting all the way down!) Plus, you'll learn a lot!

    Good luck.
     
  7. MikeHarley

    MikeHarley Extra

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    Wow! Scary.

    When the "experts" came to deliver and do their complimentary "in-home set-up" of my HDTV, they set the CONTRAST to full! They also had the SATURATION cranked to nearly full. I quickly turned both down that evening when the screen was hurting my eyes.

    Which is better for me, a brand-new HT guy: Avia or Video Essentials? Where is the best place to buy it?
     
  8. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I have AVIA and I think it is pretty easy to use.
    You can look here DVD PRICESEARCH. $35.96 including shipping from Deep Discount DVD HERE is a good deal.
    -Chris
     
  9. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    Both Avia and Video Essentials are excellent. However, for someone brand new to video technology do's and dont's, I think I'd go with Avia.

    I bought my copy at Tower Video, and I'm sure it's available from many online sources.

    BTW, good job on turning down contrast. You did the right thing, there, my friend.
     

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