To 16:9 OR NOT to 16:9. What is the answer?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steven Spargo, Jul 15, 2001.

  1. Steven Spargo

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    I have been reading many posts from several sites, and from what I have gathered it seems that 16:9 is great for watching DVDs, but if you watch regular cable TV, or old movies, then this is not the way to go. It sounds as if cable viewed on 16:9 will afford me black bars on my screen, or the picture will not be as sharp as it is on the displays in the store. Does someone need TWO TVs, one for cable and another for DVD home theater.
    It also sounds like one should not buy a TV until 2006 unless you are desparate, because an HDTV purchased now will not give a sharp picture when watching cable, and a 4:3 aspect TV will need an extra device to allow it to show 16:9 aspect TV when it becomes the standard.
    If I am somewhat mistaken, please educate me. I waS GETTING READY TO PURCHASE THE 36xbr450 when I came upon this. If I do watch a great deal of time warner cable tv, then I will not get the sharp images that are displayed in the stores. Therefore it seems stupid for me to spend $2000 dollars.
    I already have a 6 yr old 36 in Mitsubishi, and I am looking to by a SonyDVP 670D to start paying movies. Will these DVD movies be clear and sharp?
    Please set me straight!!
     
  2. Rob Scott

    Rob Scott Extra

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    If most of your viewing is cable or videotape, it's probably not worth upgrading from a 36" TV.
    In addition, many of the 16:9 set manufacturers do not recommend watching in 4:3 mode more than 15% of the time because of tube burn-in issues.
    Having said that, I have spoken with some people who have one of the 4:3 HDTV-ready sets and they say that digital cable or digital satellite looks quite good on them.
    If you do decide to get a new 4;3 RPTV, I would highly recommend looking for one that has "anamorphic squeeze" mode so that you can get the most out of your DVD viewing. Otherwise you lose 25% of the resolution of the DVD and get some nasty artifacts.
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    Rob Scott
     
  3. Mike A

    Mike A Agent

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    If the majority of your viewing will be cable and/or 4X3 material then definately go for a 4X3 set.
    If you want to maximize your DVD viewing pleasure and want what little HD is available then get a 16X9 set.
    I watch a lot of DVD's and that's why I bought a 16X9 set. I wanted a "big screen" experience at home so I went 16X9 and couldn't be happier. I still watch cable and 4X3 material but it's not as good as on a smaller direct view set but it's good enough for me. I like the tradeoff, great DVD picture for mediocre to good cable picture.
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  4. Henry Colonna

    Henry Colonna Stunt Coordinator

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    Unless you're rich enough for two rooms and two receivers and speakers and DVD players I personally think that a good 4:3 TV that does anamorphic squeeze is the way to go right now. IF you plug in "inches" to the web sites that compute "viewable area" for both 16:9 TVs and 4:3 TVs you will find that you get the most "inches" for the money on a 4:3 set that does the squeeze like a SOny 53HS10 (to be replaced by the 53HS20 and 30 as we speak.)
    If you picture a 4:3 image on a 16:9 set, the image in normal aspect ratio is quite small. Compare that to a 53HS10 at the same price and you have a far larger picture. Then take the inches for a 16:9 picture on the 4:3 set and you still get a decent viewable area.
    I wish I could find the web site that computes these areas for you...
    This advantage fades with a 36 XBR 450, because you are paying about $2500 for 36 inches instead of 53, unless you compare the viewable areas to comparable 16:9 direct view TVs.
     
  5. Paul Walther

    Paul Walther Agent

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    Here's the screen size comparison web site:http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi
    Very interesting comparisons. I ended up going 4:3- (See my "Toshiba 4x3 anamorphic adventures" post). The new Tosh 4:3's will have auto anamorphic squeeze mode. My 55" Tosh is equal to a 50" widescreen, which is the biggest widescreen we could afford. It's been a good decision for my family, but I'm VERY understanding for going the other way. Either way, you're gonna have fun!
    P.W.
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    DocW
     
  6. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't understand the assertion that a 16:9 set is best if you watch mostly DVD's and a 4:3 set is best if you watch mostly regular TV. On a properly set up 16:9 TV, all DVD's will be letterboxed. If you don't like letterboxing, a 16:9 set won't do away with it.
    In most cases, a 16:9 set won't give you a bigger 16:9 picture than a comparably priced and comparable quality 4:3 set with a 16:9 squeeze.
    However, I do see some merit in the constant height theory. 4:3 content is usually lower resolution, so you usually would like that to be shrunk, not blown up.
    Then again, HBO-HD and especially Showtime-HD show a ton of 4x3 content stuffed into a 1080i 16:9 wrapper. I get to watch that as a glorious 60" 4:3 picture, and it really does look great. Those who spent $800 more and got the widescreen version of my set get the same 55" 16:9 picture as I do, but a tiny 44" 4:3 picture.
    If I was designing a set from scratch, or setting up my own projector, I'd probably use a 16:9 screen. When shopping for a TV, and I see that I have to pay more for the same 16:9 picture if I get a widescreen set, then I start getting pragmatic. If the situation were reversed, where you could get a larger 4:3 picture per dollar if you bought a 16:9 set, then I'd recommend them unequivocally.
    My suggestion is to get the biggest, highest quality 16:9 480p/1080i picture you can within your price range. That doesn't necessarily mean getting a 16:9 set.
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  7. Ryan Pream

    Ryan Pream Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree that on a properly set up RPTV all movies will be letterboxed. With about 3% overscan you can't see the bars on 1.85 movies. If you are setting your set for less overscan then that, you are probably having a very hard time with edge convergence.
    Ryan
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  8. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Steven..
    You live in an area which offers alot of HD programming ..Going 16.9 ..16.9 is the standard for HD...You will not regret it..Between HD and DVD there is very little 4.3 content I even watch anymore...
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  9. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

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    >>Will these DVD movies be clear and sharp?
     
  10. John-D

    John-D Stunt Coordinator

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    4:3 material 'stretched' on 16:9 sets looks horrible.
    16:9 anamorphic material 'squeezed' on 4:3 sets looks ok (only smaller depending on the screen size) with black/grey bars.. use matting and that problem goes away.
    Everyone is right.. for DVD and HDTV viewing 16:9 is easier to use since content will be designed for it. However most good movies I watch are invariably 2.35:1 anamorphic and the black bars are still there.. Use a stretch mode and u're back to square one.. playing with the OAR of the picture and spoiling what the director wanted you to see.
    Best bet.. get a 4:3 tv AND a 16:9 [​IMG]
    better bet.. FP with a masking screen.
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    The things we own end up owning us
     
  11. Brett G

    Brett G Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh, the never ending 4:3 vs. 16:9 debate. Here's my two cents:
    Firstly, as a home theater enthusiast, I don't think you can even consider a 4:3 set that doesn't do anamorphic squeeze. That being said, the decision after depends on several factors:
    1. What ratio do you watch TV vs. DVD/HD?
    2. Can you handle the stretching that 16:9 sets do to regular TV?
    3. How important is image quality on regular TV?
    4. How important is image size on regular TV?
    5. How important is image size on DVD/HD?
    If you watch mostly TV and can't handle the stretching for 16:9 sets, then you should probably go with a 4:3.
    If you watch more TV than DVD/HD, but CAN handle the stretching, then 16:9 is a viable option.
    Is it more important for your DVD picture to be larger, or TV picture?
    For me, I went a 16:9 for the following reasons:
    - Even though I probably watch more TV than DVD, I don't mind the stretching.
    - I wanted DVD's to have the best picture size/quality.
    - Since I have a 65" 16:9, the only comparable (i.e. same 16:9 window) 4:3 set would have to be 71" (the size of which would have overwhelmed my living room even more than the 16:9).
    - Some would argue that in 16:9 sets, the optics are optimized for this ratio, resulting in a better image than 4:3 sets in 16:9 mode. This point is debatable.
    The arguments in favor of 16:9 sets diminish as screen sizes decrease. For me, I put top priority on DVD/HD. My 65" 16:9 is like a 53" 4:3 set, which is plenty big for normal viewing. Any bigger, and my DirecTV picture would probably be unwatchable.
    I probably would not have gone 16:9 for any size smaller than the 65". Had I opted for a 56" 16:9, I probably would have ended going for something similar to the 61HS10 (4:3) which has the same 16:9 window (but only one HD input!).
    In the end, I wanted the biggest DVD picture I could afford, and was willing to compromise my regular TV picture to attain it. In my case, a 65" 16:9 was the only option. For you it all depends on your priorities.
    -Brett
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    My Home Theater
    My DVD's
     
  12. Michael Hofferica

    Michael Hofferica Auditioning

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    I have the Panasonic 34" Tau direct-view set for about 6 months now...and what is said above is true that you still get black bars for 2.35:1 material but they are much smaller...kinda like what you would get watching 1.85:1 on a regular 4 x 3 TV
    But it is funny that i kinda miss the black bars when watching 1.85:1 on this new Panny set...so i kinda like the smaller black bars on 2.35:1 material...i never thought i would miss the black bars till they were gone!!...having the black bars really demonstrate that you are watching a widescreen movie
    I know this all sounds crazy so ignore me if you think i am nuts!!
    mike
     
  13. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    I've got a 16:9 57" XBR which I use primarily for DVD viewing. The 4:3 area is the equivalent of a 44" or so which is still plenty big. (Movies should be bigger than TV, dammit!)
    I don't watch much broadcast TV, when my daughter is watching, I usually zoom it since she don't mind and I figure it's better for the tubes.
    When I watch academy format (1.33:1) movies, I have black foamcore mattes that I put on the sides to window-box the picture. The gray bars pump way too much light into the room.
    Anamorphic 1.66:1, 1.78:1 and 1.85:1 all display with no visible letter or window boxing. I have about 2% overscan top and bottom and around 4% on the sides. I think the only way you would see any boxing would be with HTPC and a projector. Just about any consumer TV is not really going to be able to be adjusted to 1% overscan without convergence problems or picture loss.
    2:1, 2.20:1 and 2.35:1 movies have minimal black bars visible on top and bottom which are not noticable with the room lights dimmed.
    Ben Hur at 2.76:1 is the only movie I have that has significant size bars on my TV and I can only guess how small the visible picture would be on a 4:3 display.
    The XBR is also strong enough for me to place my center speaker on without it bending which is not the case with the HS10s.
    My anamorphic DVDs look fantastic on this screen and I can hardly wait to get a progressive scan because I know they will look even better. My friend brought his NS700p over and we tried it out last weekend.
    I certainly would no longer consider buying an antique format display.
     
  14. elMalloc

    elMalloc Supporting Actor

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    Sigh....and his set does not DVI.
     
  15. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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  16. elMalloc

    elMalloc Supporting Actor

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    I'm going 4x3, if you view the site they gave, the difference is remarkable for a 47" 16x9 compared to a 51" 4x3. The 16x9 pic on 51" is about 46" while the 4x3 pic on the 47" is 38".

    -ELmO
     
  17. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Elmo,
    You are incorrect. The only format the 51" 4x3 is larger in is 4x3 material.
    Think about it, how can your numbers be right?
     

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