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  1. #1

    widescreen TV question

    i like the concept of widescreen TV's so when i watch a letterboxed film, the entire screen is filled up. but as i've been looking at different kinds of widescreen TV's i notice on a lot of them the picture is distorted. usually everything on screen looks either stretched or compressed. this bothers me, and is the major reason i have not bought one.

    is there some button or something that can be switched to format the screen correctly? and what happens when one is watching regular TV. are there black bars on the sides to frame the screen, or does the widescreen TV automatically crop the picture?

  2. #2
    The store that your looking at them in, may not have them calibrated properly. By the way, there will be black bars for some widescreen movies. Widescreen TV's have a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. So movies that are more widescreen then others, will still require black bars at the top and bottem. They will be thinner then on a normal TV though, since the set is rectangular.

    When you watch regular TV, you'll have black bars on the sides of the picture. There is a "smart mode" button that will squash the picture so that it will fill the screen. That could be the distortion you are seeing. It sounds like someone is showing the TV's with a squashed 4:3 image to fit the screen. Sounds like they don't know how to show the merits of a Widescreen TV.

    MTFBWY and HH!!

    Jar Jar Binks
    THE SPY. THE SPACEMAN. THE GODDESS. THE ROBOT. THE GORILLA.

    AGENTS OF ATLAS - Returns in Early 2009.

  3. #3
    Sounds like they don't know how to show the merits of a Widescreen TV.
    this is what i was hoping. it's too bad they don't know what they are doing. how many sales must they have lost because they don't know what they are doing and un-informed folks like me only see a distorted picture? i would be really upset if i dropped a load of cash on a widescreen set only to have a goofed up image.

    do you know of any sites that explain this in depth? i have not been able to find any.

    thanks, jar jar.

  4. #4
    Derek, give this page a whirl. It may have what your looking for. I happen to have a knack for turning up pages online. So hopefully this is helpful. Please let me know if it works out for ya. If not, I'll start digging around again. If that doesn't work, you could always consult the experts at Home Theater Forum.

    http://hometheater.about.com/library.../aa042801a.htm
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum/

    MTFBWY and HH!!

    Jar Jar Binks
    THE SPY. THE SPACEMAN. THE GODDESS. THE ROBOT. THE GORILLA.

    AGENTS OF ATLAS - Returns in Early 2009.

  5. #5
    however when watching regular, broadcast tv we are troubled by the 4x3 picture since in order to avoid burn-in, we have to stretch the 4x3 picture to fit the wide screen causing distortion of the picture. If we watch it in expand or zoom mode, tops of heads are cut off and the image is slightly blurry.
    i found this on a forum that was linked to the site you linked to. i had never heard of the "burn in" effect from watching standard broadcast shows on a widescreen TV. maybe that is why stores like best buy use the "expand or zoom" feature to keep from damaging the screens since they are on 16 hours a day.

    so can a regular TV be damaged by watching a lot of films that are letterboxed, or is this just a problem for projection TV's?

  6. #6
    My friends dad purchased a HD TV that has the widescreen. The instructions for the TV say to limit your viewing of a images with the black bars to less than 20% of total viewing time to avoid "burn in." This is a projection screen TV so I don't have an answer for the other types but my guess would be, yes, they can be burned as well.

    I have to say that this ability to be burned has squashed my interest in a TV like this. Why would I purchase a product for $5000 only to be limited in how I use it and how often so I don't damage it? Perhaps the Plasma or LCD TV's don't have the warnings.
    "No one helped me so why should I help you?" - College professor circa 1999

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  7. #7

    Re: widescreen TV question

    Originally posted by derek
    i like the concept of widescreen TV's so when i watch a letterboxed film, the entire screen is filled up. but as i've been looking at different kinds of widescreen TV's i notice on a lot of them the picture is distorted. usually everything on screen looks either stretched or compressed. this bothers me, and is the major reason i have not bought one.

    is there some button or something that can be switched to format the screen correctly? and what happens when one is watching regular TV. are there black bars on the sides to frame the screen, or does the widescreen TV automatically crop the picture?
    If you haven't already read about this elsewhere...

    You can choose to watch "normal" programs on your widescreen television, but there will be black bars on the right and left sides to fill the space. As JJB mentioned, not all "widescreen" films are created equally, so some will have "letterbox" bars and others won't.

    Some (or all?) of the models of widescreen televisions can show a standard picture that fills the space by stretching only the sides. The middle third or so is shown normally, and the outer thirds will appear distorted as the picture is stretched. Just tune in any basketball game or something of the sort that uses lots of pans (left to right, right to left) to really see what's going on.

    Ultimately, stores like Best Buy do a disservice to the large format screens by demo-ing them with normal television programs. They really shine when you watch a DVD on them. Until everything is shot in 16:9, then we'll have to contend with the compromise or just stick with our old fashioned tubes.

  8. #8
    Stilla, I was in Good Guys last weekend looking at HDTVs and noticed that the picture being transmitted on all the screens - a few promos for the Discovery Channel's HD channel - was not being translated the same on each set. Almost every set had black bars above and below the image except a handful, the only one I remember was this weird one called the Aconda by some brand I hadn't heard of before - it was the only one in the main display area actually using 100% of the screen for the image displayed and it wasn't being stretched out to compensate. It was odd enough to keep my attention, though the Aconda also had a great picture compared to the others in that area, (but good luck prying that much dough from my empty purse ).


    I wonder why HDTV manufacturers don't simply create a black-bar "subchannel" that produces constantly-changing variations in the black bars too sublte for the human eye to noticed but active enough to avoid burn-in.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #9
    The bars would have to be of an intensity similar to the program to avoid burn-in (ie light gray). Its a problem that can only be fixed by a change in technology, not by altering the current ones sadly.
    "No one helped me so why should I help you?" - College professor circa 1999

    By choosing not to decide you still have made a choice.

    I'm in love with the women of Univision.

  10. #10
    Originally posted by JediTricks
    Stilla, I was in Good Guys last weekend looking at HDTVs and noticed that the picture being transmitted on all the screens - a few promos for the Discovery Channel's HD channel - was not being translated the same on each set. Almost every set had black bars above and below the image except a handful, the only one I remember was this weird one called the Aconda by some brand I hadn't heard of before - it was the only one in the main display area actually using 100% of the screen for the image displayed and it wasn't being stretched out to compensate. It was odd enough to keep my attention, though the Aconda also had a great picture compared to the others in that area, (but good luck prying that much dough from my empty purse ).

    Without having seen it myself, I can only speculate, but was it perhaps overcompensating? It's sometimes difficult to tell without a framing chart, but some televisions will overscan which results in your not seeing the edges as they were shot. Whenever we shoot something (on tape) or put CG titles or something, there is something called "tv safe" which is the area in which the information is most unlikely to be cut off. It's unfortunate because we can't use the full potential of the entire frame. All due to there being no standards on actual exhibition on television or theaters for that matter.

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