Sony 36XBR450 Automatic Letterbox in HDTV mode

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Lee G, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Lee G

    Lee G Auditioning

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    Everyone said the best tube HDTV to get at the time was the Sony 36XBR450 (my main theater is the Pioneer 64" HD). The Sony is great except for one huge problem.

    I've read chat comments on vertical squeeze with Sony TV's, but I'm not sure if the fix is the same issue on my 4:3 36XBR450 HDTV set. The problem is all High Def. material is automatically converted into a compromised widescreen on the set, so black letterbox bars always exist on the top and bottom. This happens even when the 1080i content is 4:3, and changing the output on my HD set top box only zooms around within that smaller letterbox.

    Any idea if I can shut this auto widescreen feature off so I can enjoy all 36" of my HDTV instead of a 25" widescreen? Some sites hint at the service menu?

    Thanks
    Lee G
     
  2. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I don't know for sure, as I have never used a hi-def source on my 36XBR450, but isn't all hi-def material displayed in 16:9 mode? If it is upconverted 4:3 material, I think you will be stuck with bars on the sides as well. If you could somehow expand the picture to fill the 4:3 screen, I believe you would be sacrificing some resolution.

    I'm sure someone more qualified will step in shortly to help you more.
     
  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Lee,
    The tv stations upconvert 480i stuff to an HD scanrate when not broadcasting true High Definition (16/9) programming. This is sent out by the station as a 16/9 image consisting of the 4/3 picture in the center with black bars on the sides. Since your set is seeing an HD scanrate (1080i or 720p) it locks into 16/9 mode.

    The workaround is to also connect your stb via S-video, switch the stb to 480i output and use it's zoom feature when watching 4/3 stuff on an HD-scanrate channel, switching the tv to the S-video input, of course.

    If you have the manual for your HD receiver it should explain how to switch from HD to 480i output for HD channels and how to zoom them for 4/3 tv sets. Most all boxes are capable of this.
     
  4. Erik_C

    Erik_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the 32XBR450. What you're seeing is how HD is supposed to look. You cannot change it through the tv's menus. Nor should you. If you zoom in, you'll be cutting off some of the side info when it's in widescreen. And if what you're watching is in 4:3 through you HD box, it's not really HD. Just watch it through normal cable or your dish.
    -Erik
     
  5. Chris Tedesco

    Chris Tedesco Second Unit

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    I second Erik[​IMG]
     
  6. Lee G

    Lee G Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for the comments back!

    All this makes sense, but I'm just saying Sony should give you the option to view the HD material in a 4:3 zoom mode, vs. assuming you want the letterbox. In other words, give me the choice to only get the center part of the image vs. the entire widescreen. Again, for some of the content it would be full screen HD.

    Sounds like I'm out of luck. Does anyone want a nice XBR set for cheap??????
     
  7. Chris Tedesco

    Chris Tedesco Second Unit

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    Hey Lee,

    Just curious, why would you only want to see the center of the film? What sense is that?

    You will be losing 33% of the film if you do that.

    Like I said, just curious...[​IMG]
     
  8. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    PLEASE DO NOT SELL THE SET BECAUSE YOU WANT "FULL SCREEN" HD!

    Spend some time reading this forum and learn about HDTV. True Hi-def material will always be in 16:9 widescreen ratio. You could zoom a 4:3 image to fill a 16:9 TV, but like others have said, you are chopping off parts of the picture and losing resolution.
     
  9. Lee G

    Lee G Auditioning

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    I'm with you guys, the true HD material on my Pioneer 64" is stunning. This Sony Auto widescreen is not really 16:9, it goes letterbox but it still cuts off both sides a little. I'm just kicking myself for not buying another widescreen in the first place.

    At the time, the wide tube selection was poor to say the least and my room is 75% big windows. Now with the new DLP rear pros. and more wide tubes, it would have been an easier choice.

    Overall, it's just interesting that Sony claims the TV is 1080i HDTV when it really can't do it. Maybe they should have called it a 36" EDTV, that can do about 600i of HDTV????

    - Lee G.
     

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