Who does the best stretch mode for watching 4:3?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brent Joye, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. Brent Joye

    Brent Joye Agent

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    Some sets I've looked at make the 4:3 material look pretty bad. Who does the best stretch mode? I've heard Toshiba, any particular models?
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    As far as I know, all widescreen sets of any given brand use the same stretch modes, so any model in a given brand line should do this the same as any other model of the same brand.

    Best stretch modes:
    Toshiba, Sony, Pioneer

    Worst:
    Mits, Hitachi. Haven't checked out Panasonic.
     
  3. Brent Joye

    Brent Joye Agent

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    Steve, thanks for the info. I haven't been able to do a real side by side comparison because nobody carries all the major brands around here. NOW! carries Mits, Sony, and Pioneer while Best Buy carries Tosh, Panasonic, Samsung. I saw one 55" Mits that was in stretch with analog and it looked pretty good. The guy at BB said all those sets were showing a 4:3 image, and I know it was coming through the composite inputs and not the component inputs, but it sure looked fabulous, so I'm not sure if I believe that it was truly a 4:3 signal.
     
  4. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    Pioneer is widely regarded as having an excellent stretch mode. I'm biased, of course! I've had many people over the house to see my Pioneer Elite 610 & they can't believe that the picture in "Natural Wide" is stretched at all. In fact, when I switch to the 4x3 mode w/ grey side bars they think the picture looks stretched vertically! I got a great deal on this set since they've come out with the 620 series.

    You definately want to check out the various brands on the showroom floor. Make sure you have them play some 4x3 satellite tv material...not just dvds.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Ross Waite

    Ross Waite Stunt Coordinator

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    It is my opinion that Toshiba and Pioneer have/use the best stretch algorithms. This is not to say that other manufacturers display 4:3 poorly. This difference (to me) was subtle but significant.

    I did a lot of reading on this forum and others, and a lot of people seemed to share my observations...for what its worth.

    In the end, the best advice anyone can give is: please go look for yourself in addition to the information you get here. There is a tremendous amount of usefull info here, but in the end, it is your purchase.

    Hope this helps...and happy hunting!

    -Ross
     
  6. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

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    I have to disagree with some of you on this one. When I was recently looking at sets, I really didn't care for Toshiba's "Natural wide" stretch mode. The Pioneeers, although quite lovely, were just waaay outta my league price wise. Honestly, I found the Mits and Hitachis stretch modes (Smooth wide) to be more appealing, even though newscasts can have added unintended "funhouse" humour.
    My two cents [​IMG]
    Michael.
    Hitachi 53UWX10BA
    JVC XV-S 500BAK player
    Kenwood HTB-503 HTiB
     
  7. GarryW

    GarryW Stunt Coordinator

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    Although it doesn't get a lot of press, the Sharpvision sets have the Smart Stretch mode that is quite comparable to the Pioneer sets. I've read where some of the chipsets inside the set are labled Pioneer too.It keeps the center of the image intact, and stretchs the top-to-bottom, side-to-side very effectively. It also lets you configure and save all user parameters for each of the 5 inputs,i.e. video settings, view modes, etc; which is a very nice feature.[​IMG]
    I have the 55RPW5H (Best Buy was selling the 4H model) set and it is VERY good on analog material. So good, that it steered me away from a 55" Mits, as I still watch a lot of regular and Direct TV. I don't understand why Mits couldn't get it right, as most people seem to agree that their stetch modes leave a lot to be desired. Like a lot of HD ready sets, they all do HD very well, but a lot fall short of the mark on making analog signals look good and fill the screen well.[​IMG]
    You can go the Sharp web site, select digital TV's and put in your zip code to find a dealer at:
    http://www.sharp-usa.com/products/Mo...58,637,00.html
    Also, the picture of the set on their website is a little misleading. The cabinet appears to be very thin, like the Samsung sets, and it's actually quite large and deep, more than enough to support a good size center channel speaker, like my Paradigm CC-350. It's shaped like an unequal parallelogram, if you were looking at it from above.
    Sharp opened up a new factory in Tennesee recently to make these sets, and rumour has it that they are making them for Marantz too. I would defintely check them out before you buy! [​IMG]
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I think it's safe to assume that we're primarily discussing the variable stretch modes here.

    From what I've seen in stores and experienced at home with Hitachi and Sony current model widescreen sets, the variable stretch can be done in several different ways.

    The Hitachi I had, and from what I've seen in stores the Mits, leaves stuff in the middle of the screen alone and do a horizontal only stretch at the sides which gets more pronounced as you get closer to the right and left edges of the screen.

    On the Hitachi this resulted in pretty severe stretch at the edges. Talking heads side by side, as on news shows, were especially bad. Shoulders towards the outside edged of the screen were twice as wide as those toward the middle. Scenes in normal shows looked a lot like they were shot with a horizontal-only fisheye lens, if there were such a thing.

    The Sony is a lot more complex. It does a partial zoom with some minor vertical overscan as a result, has a little bit of horizontal stretch even in the middle, some vertical compression at the very top and bottom, and much less pronounced stretch at the sides than on the Hitachi, which is allowed by the partial zoom and small amount of horizontal stretch in the center. From what I've seen in stores, Toshiba's and Pioneer's version is quite similar.

    Since there is vertical overscan, which may obscure stuff like news crawls at the bottom of the picture, there's a scroll feature that lets you move the entire picture vertically to expose the crawls.

    This all sounds pretty complicated but the result is a picture that almost looks like it was meant to be 16/9 rather than a modification of a 4/3 picture, with much less fisheye or funhouse mirror effect than the simpler method used by Hitachi and Mits.

    I much prefer the Tosh/Sony/Pioneer method. Those who really hate overscan will maybe prefer the other scheme.

    Of course, for serious veiwing of dvd movies that had a 4/3 OAR, I don't use stretch, but use the "normal" mode which puts gray bars on the sides. Since this is a true minority of my use, I don't worry about burn in.
     

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