What is the purpose of the 16:9 feature on my 4:3 RPTV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Luc, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I own a 4:3 RPTV. The TV has the 16:9 feature. When I turn on this feature, it vertically squeeze the image. When playing a widescreen movie, it squeeze it adding white bars above and belove the black bars. I couldn't figure out what the heck this feature is for.
     
  2. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Set your DVD player to anamorphic or 16x9 letterbox (it could be listed as either) and you will soon see.
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  3. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I'm going to assume that my player has this feature and will try it. Now, it's that a better way to watch? So if I turn on this feature on the player and kept the TV at 4:3, will it be horizontally stretched then?
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Luc,
    In your dvd player's setup menu, you have the option of telling the player you have a 4/3 or 16/9 tv--in 4/3 mode the player will downconvert anamorphic widescreen dvds so they will not be vertically stretched on a 4/3 tv. The player does this by discarding 1 out of 4 scan lines, compromising picture resolution. In 16/9 mode, the player uses all 480 lines to display the picture, but this will make the picture look too tall and skinny on a normal 4/3 tv.
    A 4/3 tv with a true 16/9 mode squeezes the 480 lines so that they only occupy a 16/9 area in the middle of the screen, so that a 16/9 anamorphic image can be presented using all 480 lines, yet not be too tall and skinny.
    You say you have gray bars above and below black bars.
    What this means is that you have a Hitachi, RCA, or other 4/3 set whose 16/9 mode is NOT a true squeeze, as you still have the 480 lines running all the way from the top to the bottom of the screen--the gray bars are "painted" by scanlines.
    So in effect, the 16/9 mode on your set is doing the exact same thing as the downconverter in your dvd player would be doing if your player were in 4/3 mode. It is probably doing it a lot better than the player does, however, so it's not a total loss.
    The movies have black bars inside the gray bars because the 16/9 area in your screen has an aspect ratio of about 1:77 to 1, that means it's 1.77 times as wide as it is high.
    Most movies are either 1.85 or 2.35 times as wide as they are high, so you will still get black bars within the gray bars. On a 16/9 set with no overscan, you would still get these black bars, very narrow for 1.85 movies and wider for 2.35. Most sets have enough overscan so that there are no visible black lines on a 16/9 set showing a 1.85 film.
    Leave your dvd player set in 16/9 mode. If a movie looks like it's squashed (people are too short and fat) with the tv in 16/9 mode, that particular disc is not anamorphic (Titanic and Abyss are not anamorphic, among others). When this happens, turn off the 16/9 mode on your tv, and things should go back to normal.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  5. Scott O'Keeffe

    Scott O'Keeffe Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone have a 51" Panasonic out there? My brother in law purchased one and it has an aspect button that supposedly enacts the squeeze mode, but I can't get it to work. The manual doesn't mention anything about this, except in a chart it mentions that it controls the "DTV". I assume that might mean an HD tuner?
    Any thoughts?
     
  6. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,
    Thanks for a thorough answer. You are right, I have a Hitachi HD-ready RPTV. Is it only HD set that performs a true squeeze?
    I tried on Saving Private Ryan last night (anamorphic transfer) using 16:9 setting on both the player and the TV. The image is correct and contain grey bars. No black bars. Even though it's not a true squeeze, is it suppose to be better than setting the player and TV at 4:3? I honestly am not sure I can tell the difference. I tend to think the 16:9 setting is better but because it contains grey bars instead of black and the fact that I think it suppose to be better is affecting my objective judgement.
    Also, two scenerios: 1)The player and TV are set at 16:9, there are grey bars 2) The player and TV are set at 4:3, there are black bars. The bars on the former(grey bars) are thicker than the latter (black bars). Both image seem correct but how could it be? One ratio must be wrong.
    One last question. If it's not an anamorphic transfer, would you think it still help to have the player and the set at 16:9?
     
  7. DarrylWHarrisJr

    DarrylWHarrisJr Stunt Coordinator

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    it is possible that your set is not properly calibrated. I used Video Essentials recently and the gray bars that appeared below and above the black bars disappeared. It could be that your brightness is set too high, also try lowering your sharpness (this will reduced hard edges on screen and other artifacts). Since I calibrated my system. my once grey bars or now very close to the regular black so that one can't tell. It's a very neat trick
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  8. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Darryl,
    This is what Steve said above:
    "What this means is that you have a Hitachi, RCA, or other 4/3 set whose 16/9 mode is NOT a true squeeze, as you still have the 480 lines running all the way from the top to the bottom of the screen--the gray bars are "painted" by scanlines."
    They are truly grey bars when you set 16:9 on a DVD player and on a 4:3 RPTV set when playing an anamorphic transferred disc. If I set the player and the TV 4:3, the bars are black. Has nothing to do with the contrast/brightness (I have calibrated the set with Video Essential). Steve or others can probably clarify why this is so. One of my question was that the thickness of the grey bars are greater than the thickness of the black bars when moving from 16:9 setting to 4:3 setting on the TV and player. Why?
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Luc,
    I really don't know why the gray bars with the player and tv in 16/9 mode are thicker than the black bars with both in 4/3 mode. Do you see things in the top and bottom of the picture on 4/3 mode that you do not see in 16/9 mode?
    In other words, does it appear that the gray bars are covering a bit of the top and bottom that are visible when you are using black bars? Have you actually measured to see how much thicker the gray bars are than the black bars?
    There are some test patterns in VE for checking 16/9 mode that have a circle in the middle--is this circle squashed a bit in 16/9 mode vs 4/3, or elongated vertically in 4/3 vs 16/9?
    If circles are the same, not stretched or squashed, then the gray bars must be covering up something at the top and bottom, though I don't know why or how to correct it. If it's not a significant amount, I'd just live with it. It could be that the aspect ratio of SPR isn't exactly 1:85, so with the set and player in 16/9 mode, a bit of overscan is happening causing some picture to be lost in the gray bars?
    The only 4/3 rptvs I know of that are currently available and will do a true squeeze on dvd are the Sony HS series. They also seem to have a softer, almost blurry picture compared to the Hitachis, even though they are doing a true squeeze. I've seen Hitachi 4/3 hd ready sets next to HS sonys in the stores, and liked the Hitachi better even though on paper the true squeeze of the Sony should look better.
    For watching non-anamorphic movies, leave the player in 16/9 mode, but switch the TV to 4/3 mode. This should result in black bars above and below the image on the screen rather than gray.
    The purpose of the gray bars when you put the tv in 16/9 mode is to make the wear on the crt's phosphors more even. I don't know if this is really a concern if you've set the tv's contrast and brightness with VE. I have a non-hd ready Hitachi 4/3 Ultravision that has no 16/9 mode. I've been watching lots of widescreen dvds with black bars for almost 2 years and don't see any uneven brightness due to phosphor wear.
    So put the player and tv in 16/9 mode (except use 4/3 on the tv for nonanamorphic discs), or both in 4/3, whichever looks better to you.
    Generally the Hitachi squeeze is better than the dvd player's downconversion, but some find the gray bars more distracting than black ones.
    Sorry I couldn't be more help, hope you enjoy your new set.
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    Steve S.
    I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.
     
  10. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,
    Just want to update you on the situation. Well, when the grey bars are used, they do cover up some images (top and bottom) that are there when using the black bars. The actually measurement of the grey bars are 7cm versus 5.7cm for the black bars.
    There you go, I guess I would stick with the 4:3 mode on the player and the TV. Besides, I think I would have a difficult time getting used to the grey bars. I can't tell the difference in the image quality anyway.
    Thanks for inputs!
     

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