Widescreen DVD's and widescreen TV

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AlexT, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. AlexT

    AlexT Auditioning

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    I have a 42" Panasonic HD plasma TV, and I have noticed that when playing widescreen DVD's (well, all DVD's) I still get the "letterbox" effect. Shouldn't a widescreen tv such as mine be optimised for such a condition and do away with the black bars? I have a Bose Lifestyle 28 system and have changed its settings to output in 16:9, yet I still get the same size black bars as I do when playing it on my normal 4:3 old television. Is there anyway I can change this? There seems to be no way of changing such a setting on the TV itself

    Finally, does anyone reading this have a Bose lifestyle 28 system? I have noticed that even when chaging its settings to output in 16:9, it seems to get confused from time to time and change from smaller black bars to larger black bars on the same DVD. For example, I watched the DVD "Blow", and I was getting the same letterbox effect on the HD plasma screen as I was on my old 4:3 TV, i.e. the black bars were the same in size. When opening the DVD setup menu WHILE the disc is playing, and accessing the menu that defined whether or not it would output in 4:3 or 16:9, it seemed to realise its own mistake and instantly change to 16:9, which meant the bars became DRAMATICALLY smaller. Now when I play the same disc it keeps this 16:9 effect, but occassionally switches back to what I believe to be 4:3. What is going on?

    It says in the DVD menu "If you have a normal TV, you should set your output to 4:3. If you have a widescreen TV, you should set video output to 16:9".

    Is anyone having this problem?
     
  2. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    If you do a search you will find a lot of talk on this.
    Simply put, movies are shot in different aspect ratios. Since the widescreen TVs can't change their screen size then some movies will still have the bars. There is nothing wrong with your system. This is how it should be. Welcome to the forum [​IMG]
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    essentially, 16x9 is a "compromise" between different aspect ratios.
    the two main ones you'll see are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1.
    the first one is pretty close to 16x9 - you'll see a little bit of the bars. the second one is more extreme - so you'll see "more" of the bars.
    if it really really bugs you...you can try zooming the picture, but be aware that that will cut off the edges of the pic - not something we endorse here.
    oh yeah...read the FAQ for more info.
    oh yeah...read
    this article too.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Imagine all the possible rectangle dimensions for a moment. Movies happen to come in several different proportions of these rectangles. TV screens, however, are available in only two types of rectangles, one wider and the other almost a square (while some widescreen movies are almost three times as wide as they are tall). Therefore, neither TV width/height ratio can accommodate all the movie shapes commonly seen today in commercial theaters.

    Set your DVD player to output at 16:9 and leave it at that.

    All is normal.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Alex,

    Beside the fact that 2.35:1 movies should still be letterboxed even on a 16x9 TV...

    Do images ever appear mis-shapen or distored on your screen? Have you experiemented with the various "zoom" or aspect ratio modes on the TV?

    If a DVD is "anamorphic" or "enhanced for 16x9 TVs" (same thing) then some mode labels "Full" or "native" should be correct. If you've got a non-anamorphic widescreen movie then you should be using a zoom mode that blows the image up but crops off the top/bottom. Having your DVD player set to 16x9 is the key to all of this working at all...but it sounds like you did that.

    -dave
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Alex:

    Curious here. Were these answers not to your liking? Is that why you tried starting this same thread over again twice, a month later?

    You'll continue getting the same answer. Movies are shaped differently, and there are but two types of television screen.

    JB
     
  8. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Dave, question here about projectors. Does the same hold true? Example - I tried watching Vertigo (a non-anamorphic DVD) the other night on my projector which is 4:3 but has a 16:9 mode (which is what it is set at). My dvd player is also set at 16:9 but the picture came up with the black bars and the images were severely distorted. Do I have to do something to my projector?
     
  9. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Tommy...
    Yes...the same holds true. Your projector was displaying the feed from your DVD player in "native" or 16x9 mode...which works great for "anamorphic" DVDs and HDTV which are native 16x9 images.
    The best way to think of all this stuff is that there are 16x9-encoded image and there are 4x3 encoded images. Whether the actual picture information takes up all the space of that frame or doesn't fit exactly and is letterboxed in some way is a separate issue.
    Ok...so 16x9 image.
    This includes all HD signals and some DVD signals. DVD uses some common names like 'anamorphic' or 'enhanced for 16x9 TVs' but that's just jargon for saying "16x9 encoded" which is really no different than any "real" 16x9 image like HD. If the picture that's being recorded doesn't exactly fit the 16x9 shape you get letterboxing of some kind. You have horizontal letterboxing for 2.35:1 films which are *wider* than the 16x9 area...and you have vertical letterboxing for images that are *narrower* than the 16x9 area like 1.66:1 movies. One could even encode 1.33:1 pictures in 16x9 but it would needlessly waste horiztonal resolution as you'd have significant veritcal letterboxing.
    The "16x9" mode or full-mode is the only mode to use for all incoming native 16x9 images to present them properly on both 4x3 and 16x9 projectors.
    You also have 4x3 images.
    These can be 1.33:1 pictures which exactly fit, or can be anything wider which would require letterboxing. Since you have a 4x3 projector...all 4x3 material...wheather it's letterboxed or not...should be displayed by setting your PJ to "4x3" mode. if you have a 16x9 projector you'd need to zoom it to fill the screen width...but since 4x3 images already fill your native 4x3 screen width...this is the way to go.
    I assume you have a 4x3 screen?
    dave [​IMG]
     
  10. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Dave, I actually have a 106" widescreen screen and I set the dvd player to 16x9 as well as the projector to 16x9 mode. It all works well with anamorphic (or as you say 16x9 encoded) dvds but the non-anamorphic squeezes the picture down. I guess I should explain my setup since I enjoy so many of the older movies whose OAR is 1.33:1. I have a 35" Sony Flatscreen for these and I set the dvd player to 4x3 letterbox. I use the projector for all of my "widescreen" (2.35:1, 1.85:1, 1.77:1, etc.) and it works fine for all except those non-anamorphic. I don't know if there is anything I can do except watching them letterboxed on my 35" TV.
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Tommy,
    Lots of people do use 16x9 screens with 4x3 projectors for HT.
    Now...displaying of native 4x3 *letterboxed* material (non-anamorphic widescreen) is a snap on your set-up. No need to break out that TV!
    Just set your PJ to 4x3 mode and wha-la...you're projector should project the image filling it's entire 4x3 panel. This should work for you in that the black bars above and below the active image area should "fall off" the screen above and below. The only downside is is called "light spill" which some may find distracting...but since it's black bars really now it can't be *that* distracting if they shine onto the wall etc.
    native 1.33:1 full-frame 4x3 material is a different matter.
    Now...*some* 4x3 projectors have a widescreen mode that centers the 4x3 image in the 16x9 area with side-boxing on the left and right so users of a 16x9 screen can watch movies like Wizard of Oz and regular TV. The only downside is that technically you're not getting as much resolution as you would if you used the entire 4x3 panel of your projector since it's basically shrinking the image...and also the image won't have the total brightness of a larger image for the same reason. However, depending on the resolutio of your PJ...it might *still* look better than watching it on a TV. Does your PJ offer an apsect ratio mode like this? Check it out.
    But as mentioned earlier...all you have to do to watch 4x3 *letterboxed* material is (leaving your DVD player set to 16x9...that never changes as it passes-through 4x3 material) switch your PJ to 4x3 for these movies and you're set. Only problem would be if you used any digital "shift" to move the 16x9 area up or down when you set up your projector and screen...naturally the 4x3 lbxed movie will be centered on the 4x3 chip the same way it is centered in the native signal.
    Any questions? Give it a try and tell me what happens!
    -dave [​IMG]
     
  12. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Thanks Dave. I'll try it out tonight. I'm not worried about the 1.33:1 stuff I have because it is definitely big enough and enjoyable enough on my 35". I think I'm all set now. Thanks again.
     
  13. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Dave, thanks for your advice. It worked! [​IMG] to you!
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Great news! Your other option down the road would be to get a DVD player that can scale everything to fit a "16x9" window. My progressive-scan Panny rp91 can "blow up" my 4x3 lbxed dvds so my display can just stay set to 16x9 all the time. The overall result should be about the same and the good thing about the method of switching modes on the PJ is that you can also do this with othter stuff like lbxed laserdisc, DSS etc.
    Enjoy! [​IMG]
    p.s. what PJ do you have? I'd love to see some screen-pics if you have a digital camera and feel like taking some pictures of the end result on the screen...
     
  15. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    Dave,

    I just gave my wife a digital camera for Christmas and I'll try and figure out how to use it to put up some pictures. I ended up purchasing an NEC VT-540 from Scott Falker on this forum. It is an XGA and puts out an incredible picture for such a large screen. I'll let you know if I can get the camera to work and save them as jpegs on my computer.

    Tom
     

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