RPTV decision nearing -- final few ???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by STLMIKE, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I'm looking at either Sony or Panasonic RPTVs for my Main/HT TV, but still am on the fence with regard to 4:3 or 16:9.

    This particular TV will be used primarily for DVD material as opposed to b'cast/cable TV (I will have smaller TVs in the bedroom or office for that). I estimate the ratio as follows:

    70% DVD
    29% B'cast/Cable
    1% or less VHS

    HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

    1.) Given this ratio, should I get a widescreen TV? (I really have no problem w/letterbox movies, so widescreen TV has never really been that important to me.)

    2.) With a widescreen TV, if I use the windowbox mode for my TV viewing, will this damage the screen? (I really hate that stretched look.)

    3.) If I view a 4:3 full frame DVD (i.e. ST-TNG, etc.), I will have to use windowbox or stretchmode on a widescreen, correct?

    4.) If I view a non-anamorphic widescreen DVD on a widescreen TV, how does this work? Can you zoom in and reduce the black bar area, or will the viewable area appear smaller than normal?

    5.) How are subtitles handled with a widescreen TV, if the subtitles appear in the lower black bar area? Are they handled differently w/anamorphic vs. non-anamorphic discs?

    6.) When using stretchmode for a 4:3 image, is any of the image lost?

    These should get me what I need to know. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    1. I would give strong consideration to 16x9 TV. However, some of your other questions might still lead you toward 4x3. FWIW, I have somewhat similar ratios and originally wanted 4x3, but went wide instead after deciding I could relegate nearly all 4x3 viewing to the old 32" TV. Bought the new Panny a month ago and love it. Regarding broadcast/cable, you should also factor in that more and more programming will be available in 16x9 format. For example, ESPN had announced an HD channel for this year starting April.
    2. Yes, it can cause burn-in if you use the 4x3 mode a lot. Personally, I'm no longer all that convinced that the bright grey side bars are much better, if at all, than black bars when it comes to burn-in. Even the Panny manual warns against using 4x3 mode "for extended period"--whatever that means. If you calibrate the set properly and maybe turn down the contrast some more for 4x3 viewing, that would go a long way to reduce the risks. BTW, you get the usual black letterbox bars w/ 2.35:1 movies, so it's not like stretching 4x3 content will eliminate all risks.
    One nice thing about a 4x3 set is that most of the burn-in risks are outside the 16x9 viewing window. Ok, not exactly since most widescreen movies are actually wider than 16x9, but you can always just create physical mattes to yield the same degree of overscan as typical 16x9 TVs and thus hide the burn-in from 1.85:1 movies.
    3. Yes.
    4. It's your choice for most 16x9 TVs although some do lock into FULL mode w/ 480p signals, which will distort such output from non-16x9 DVDs. With TVs that don't lock into FULL, you can zoom to fill the width, maintaing OAR, OR leave it as a smaller image w/ bars on all 4 sides. The new Panny's are fine for this as are the Sony's AFAIK. Even if they lock into FULL, you can still buy a DVD player that gets around the problem w/ scaling/aspect ratio control although the very popular Panny's, except RP91, cannot do this. You could also just feed 480i to such TVs as some people do.
    5. Subtitles are a problem w/ non-16x9 DVDs that get zoomed by the TV--they get cut off. So actually, if you need the use of subs and want to zoom such titles, you really should get a player that does scaling/aspect ratio control. Also, the quality will be better done in the player, and such players typically provide black side bars for 4x3 viewing, if you prefer. And then, you can just keep the TV in FULL mode for all DVDs unless you prefer grey side bars for 4x3 viewing. FYI, I plan to get a player that does scaling/aspect ratio control for all these reasons, so no Panny CP72/RP82 for me.
    6. Generally, you shouldn't lose anything, except the usual overscan portions. IOW, you shouldn't be missing anything that you wouldn't normally miss w/ a 4x3 TV anyway. And if you watch in 4x3 mode, you'll actually get to see the normally overscanned side portions of the image--unless you normally get rid of overscan completely.
    So... Did I make this any easier for you? [​IMG]
    _Man_
     
  3. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Man,

    Thanks for responding. A couple followups:

    Is there any difference in watching 2.35:1 movies that have been enhanced for 16:9 DVDs, vs. those that have not been? Both are still going to have the letterbox bars, correct? Is the difference that if the disc has been enhanced the black bars are smaller?

    Also, if I get the player with the scaling/aspect ratio, and I want to watch ST-TNG DVDs, I can have the DVD player play it at the full height of the screen, and it will replace the grey bars w/black bars? (Personally, I hate the grey bars.) But there is still a chance that the black bars will cause burn-in.

    Oh, and I'm not sure what "overscan area" is...

    Thanks again! Mike
     
  4. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    Man, one more thing, what are some DVD players that have the scaling/aspect ratio?

    Mike
     
  5. STLMIKE

    STLMIKE Stunt Coordinator

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    BTW -- I saw the Panasonic RP91 on the deals page for like $375 w/shipping.

    But, I was wondering if either of the current HK DVD players had the aspect ratio??

    Mike
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Mike,
    RE: 2.35:1 movies, if you display them correctly (ie. w/out cropping or ratio distortion) on a widescreen TV, they will show small black bars regardless of whether they are 16x9-enhanced or not. However, doing it correctly would be trickier w/ non-16x9 DVDs on a TV that locks into FULL mode as I mentioned earlier.
    Of the players I know that do scaling/aspect ratio control, they will put black side bars around 4x3 images for you so you don't need the TV's grey side bars. This is often called 4:3 shrink. If you're concerned about burn-in, you might want to do a mix of grey and black side bars for your 4x3 viewing. Probably the black side bars are fine for DVDs since you're stuck w/ grey ones for regular TV viewing, if you don't use a stretch mode. Just be cautious of it although black side bars should be no worse than black letterbox bars that you get w/ 2.35:1 movies.
    The most common players that do scaling/aspect ratio control are the Panny RP91, Toshiba 3800 and 4800 (not sure about the changers), JVC's from last year and this although I'd stick w/ the 600 and 900, the Malata's and a few others including maybe the Pioneer Elite 45a. Hmmm... looks like the Harmon Kardon DVD50 also uses the Mediamatics chip like JVC and Malata, so it too might do scaling/aspect control. You should check over on A/V Devices forum.
    FYI, there might also be a new generation of players coming this year that might use the Sage/Faroudja FLI2300 chip that can do scaling/aspect ratio control in addition to superb progressive scan quality. Some of us are actually waiting for such players like the Philips 963sa, which was already released in Europe. Some are hoping the next line of affordable Panny's will use this chip, but such new Panny's might be another 1/2 year away, if they even use the chip.
    Since it sounds like you might watch a fair amount of video-sourced 4x3 content, you might want to wait for such players before making a big investment in one. AFAIK, none of the current players w/ scaling/aspect control are great at handling video-sourced content, and that probably includes the HK DVD50.
    I'm waiting for the Philips 963sa and hoping it'll come out w/in these next couple months. Meanwhile, I'm sticking mostly to my 16x9 DVDs w/ the old Toshiba player running to the Panny 53". I just let the TV do the deinterlacing, and it works very well for film-sourced content. Video-sourced like ST TNG combs a lot. And zooming non-16x9 DVDs using the TV's linedoubler doesn't look good at all. I get what looks like visible scan lines, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's not the chroma bug showing up.
    _Man_
     
  7. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    Ge the 16:9. Down the road you'll be kicking yourself if you go 4:3. Since your 70%DVD's why not watch them the way they were intended to be watched. In my personal experience with my new Panny 47" the stretch mode isn't that bad.

    Kevin
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Mike,

    Just realize I forgot to answer about overscan.

    Basically, just about all TVs come w/ settings that cause some amount of each side of the picture to scan beyond the visible area of the TV frame. That's overscan. Most TVs have ~5% overscan on each side, so you lose ~10%(!) horizontally and vertically. Some TVs can have overscan that's as bad as 10% on all sides, but that's probably rare. Usually, TV programs are designed w/ overscan in mind.

    If you get one of the setup DVDs like Avia or S&V, they come w/ a pattern that tells you how much overscan you have.

    Overscan can be reduced and sometimes even eliminated. But usually, reducing overscan by significant amount can cause (more) geometry and convergence problems. I reduced the overscan to almost zero on my old 32", but it introduced significant geometry problems that were hard to fix. I think I might just leave my new Panny w/ 5% overscan so I don't have to see any likely burn-in effect from watching lots of widescreen movies, ie. burn-in in the overscan portion above and below 1.85:1 image. For most widescreen movies, you'd only really lose the 5% on each side. If you reduce overscan, you'll also get a proportionally smaller, but denser looking, picture.

    _Man_
     

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