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DVD to TV aspect ratio question

Discussion in 'HDTV Equipment (Closed Forum)' started by rdopso, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. rdopso

    rdopso Legend

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    Jan 26, 2004
    I have a new Panasonic PT-50LC13 wide-screen LCD HDTV monitor and Denon DVM-2815 DVD player. Picture quality with the Panasonic for DishNetwork SD from my PVR-721 (routed through a JVC A/V receiver via s-video and optical audio) is excellent and I am able to use the TV aspect ratio settings to get an acceptable though slightly distorted wide-screen display of the SAT SD video. Likewise, the Denon progressive-scan DVD outputs a 480p signal directly to the TV via component video connections and produces truely stunning video and sound quality. However, with nearly all DVDs (wide-screen or not) I end up with a letterbox display format rather than a true 16:9 picture that fills the wonderful Panasonic wide-screen. There seems to be substantial variation in the degree of letterboxing among the many new and old DVDs I have played (only a couple have completely filled the 16:9 screen), and I am unable to use the TV or DVD player aspect ratio settings to achieve an acceptable non-distorted full-screen format. Is this a common issue with DVD videos and players (progressive-scan or not), and is there any way I can get a true full-screen display from DVDs?
     
  2. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    85% of movies produced since 1953 have been at a ratio that would fill your screen. The majority of the remaining 15% were shot in 2.33 or 2.35/1 aspect, which would leave small bars on your screen. Look for 1.78 or 1.85 aspect movies if you don't like the bars orsome distortion
     
  3. Jim Parker

    Jim Parker Icon

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    Aug 12, 2003
    When you say "letter box" do you mean that there are bars on the top and bottom of the screen? If so, this is common. Many movies are in 2.35 ratio, so your 1.78 (16:9) is not wide enough for those. The end result is the bars.

    If you mean bars on the sides, that is not normal. I don't have a clue.
     
  4. Rogueone

    Rogueone Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 29, 2004
    rdopso,

    as Jim stated, it's based on the anamorphic ratio the DVD is recorded in.

    16:9 TV's work full screen with 1.78:1 and 1.85:1 movies normally. In my experience, 2 years with a widescreen Mitsu, movies under 2:1 seem to fill the screen, while movies over 2:1 always will have letterboxing. These ratios are based on the original film/cameras used for the theatrical releases. While I hate the bars, I'm much happier with 2" lost top and bottom than 6" or more (whatever a 4x3 65" TV would have)

    Like you, the first time i popped in a movie, I freaked out when I saw bars, and it wasn't until a friend and I had tried enough movies to notice the ratio differences that we stopped being concerned :)

    He's even gone so far as to build a real home theatre, with a sony projector, that will be 6'x11'1" for 1.85:1 ratio movies and 5'9"x13' for 2.35:1 movies :) This should also give you a good idea why there are bars, as even adding 2 feet of width for the 2.35 movies isn't enough to get the height to 6'.
     
  5. Art

    Art AllStar

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    Sep 10, 2003
    i recently bought a 34" widescreen Sony XBR. Excellent picture (with Super fine pitch). However... There are 4 modes for the screen size: Normal, Full, Zoom and WideZoom. What I don't understand is why any aspect ratio DVD or a TV program that I watch must be viewed in a Zoom or WideZoom mode to have the entire screen filled with picture (but then you are losing parts of the picture)? I understand that you'll have black bars with 2.35:1 no matter what. But, even if I'm watching a 16:9 ratioed movie - in Normal mode I'll only have a tiny picture in the middle of the screen with black frame around it. 'Full' mode would always give me weird distortions, so I'm forced to watch everything in WideZoom. Is this common with all widescreen TVs?
     
  6. Jim Parker

    Jim Parker Icon

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    Aug 12, 2003
    Art
    I feel your pain! I'm not familar with the Sony, so I can't address your aspect ratio problem, but my 57" Hitachi XWX does not do a good job on the 16:9 format either. For the 16:9 Widescreen TV shows (ER for example), the only aspect setting that perfectly fits the screen is a semi stretch mode where the center of the image is normal and the edges are stretched. This produces a fisheye lens effect when something moves across the screen. I HATE that! The 16:9 Zoom1 is the next closest fit, but it chops off about 2" of the image on the top and bottom.

    There is purposely some overscan of the image to allow the Magic Focus on the Hitachi to see the image, but it is more than it should be. I just got the service manual for the Hitachi yesterday, so I am going to open up the TV and adjust the overscan down. This is not recommended for the typical TV owner however.

    What the TV manufacturers should do is to make one or 2 aspect ratios user setable so we can adjust them. We can change all sorts of other settings, why not the aspect?

    That's my rant for the day. :)
     
  7. Art

    Art AllStar

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    Sep 10, 2003
    Thanks for sharing my pain, Jim! :)

    Is anybody here can enlighten me, please - what's the point of having black bars all around instead of having them on TWO sides only while watching in Normal mode? It seems illogical to me, as well as waste of space.
    if it's a 4:3 then bars are on sides only, but if it's any other format bars are all around, i.e. you'll end up having a thick black frame around the picture...
    Is there are a fix for that?
     
  8. tlove

    tlove Guest

    Check out the Sony group over on Yahoo. Lot of good guys over there that know the Sony inside and out.
     
  9. Art

    Art AllStar

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    Sep 10, 2003
    i will. thanks, tlove!
     
  10. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    Have you set your DVD player to a 16:9 aspect TV, oe is it set at 4:3?
     
  11. Art

    Art AllStar

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    Sep 10, 2003
    i set it up for 16:9.
     
  12. Art

    Art AllStar

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    Sep 10, 2003
  13. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    A lot of standard TV material and TV ads are matted 4:3. Preparing us for the future by giving us something that only works if we're living in the past.
     
  14. milt

    milt New Member

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    Jun 16, 2004
    i'm coming in late on this aspect ratio issue, as i have just purchased a sony 60" hdtv. so i want to rant also. as some one else mentioned,,,,it seems so plausable to me that a simple solution would be for all tv's to have something like a "maintain aspect ratio/fill vertically or fill horizonally". that way, one would be assured of seeing THE FULL screen image. but maybe this is just too simple for technology to figure out. my sony has one very good tweak. in two screen formats(i forget which two) i can raise or lower the screen image, or i can stretch the image vertically.

    i personally don't mind the black bars. i prefer that and viewing the whole image rather than viewing a distorted or truncated image.

    art,,,,about that dvd you saw with black borders all around the screen image,,,,,,i get that same thing from "darling", the 1965 movie with julie christie. the only way i can view that movie FULLY with no distortion is as you describe. that movie was shot in 1:66,,,and there are only two ways to see the movie without distortion. in "full", the screen fills horizontally,,,but because it is 1:66, and thus has more height than 16:9, parts of the top and bottom are truncated. the other way to view this movie is in "normal", which displays the movie in 4:3 format, but fills that 4:3 screen horizontally.....and that is why you get the border all around the screen. the side borders are from the 4:3, and the top borders are because the movie is wide and does not fill top to bottom.

    i ended up viewing the movie with the borders all around, but i could have watched it filling the 16:9, and used sony's tweak to move the screen lower so that the top wouldn't be chopped off.

    interestingly,,,sony's tweak ability to stretch the movie vertically only goes to "+7". which makes me wonder why they couldn't allow for the tv to stretch vertically AND horizontally as much as needed to get the damned image right.
     
  15. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    Black bars on 4 sides of the screen are "letterboxed" images. Those are designed for an analog 4:3 set and would show with bars on top and bottom, kind of a poor man's cinema look. This is used extensively in HBO advertising. If you have a digital moniter (either 4:3 or 16:9) there will be bars on all sides in normal mode. I've sent many emails to Dishnetwork, complaining about this practice on the pay-per-view letterboxed movies, pleading for OAR. Even though i've sent emails to both retailer and consumer chats, hoping that someone would have a clue, i've had no positive response. I even had a 6 or 7 email exchange with Dish's director of pay-per-view to no avail. Ask for OAR on all DVD's, Satellite and Cable. Demand that the use of "letterboxing" be stopped!
     
  16. Slordak

    Slordak Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 17, 2003
    But... Letterboxing does maintain the original aspect ratio. That's actually the point of it, to avoid having to go to the "pan and scan" 4x3 version of a film. When watching a letterboxed movie on a 4x3, the image will fill the screen horizontally, although there will be black bars at the top and the bottom. The image will only have black bars on all four sides if watched on a 16x9 set.

    So when you're telling Dish "I must have original aspect ratio (OAR)!", they're probably telling you "That's what we're doing on the letterboxed PPV channels already!". Unless it's anamorphic, letterboxing is the best that can be done on widescreen movies where the full film area is desired.
     
  17. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    Any movie that is "letterboxed" is a 4:3 image. The original aspect of the movie was NOT 4:3. Letterboxing refers to the practice of adjusting images to fit on a 4:3 analog set. It is not letterboxed in the original movie format. ONLY those aforementioned ads were created as letterboxed. When is the last time you went to a movie theater that showed an image with bars on 4 sides. The original aspect of movies are any of over 50 aspect ratios, but i challenge you to find one movie that is on pay-per-view that was shot in letterboxed format. Normally, movies are shot in 1.85/1 or 2.35/1 either in Academy flat or anamorphic. I understand what you are saying about letterboxing as it shows the original aspect within a 4:3 setting, but it does not work in a digital world
     
  18. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
  19. Slordak

    Slordak Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 17, 2003
    Yes, this discussion does have to do with semantics, but I still have the feeling that you don't understand what has been done with the film.

    No one shoots movies in a pre-letterboxed format, as you say; we agree on this point; movies are typically shot in one of a number of "widescreen" formats. Letterboxing is a technique for putting a movie which is wider than 4x3 (say 1.85x1 or 2.35x1) into a 4x3 frame while maintaining the original aspect ratio. This has nothing to do with whether the source is "analog" or "digital", it has to do with the getting the film area into the frame.

    When we talk about the Dish Network standard definition PPV channels, Dish has to broadcast a signal for everyone to watch. Here's what they can do:

    1) Broadcast the pan and scan version. The movie is not the same as the film version; some material has been lost. However, the movie does fill a 4x3 screen, which is what most folks desire. Those using a 16x9 screen will have black bars on the right and left sides when watching this in original aspect ratio.

    2) Broadcast the letterbox version. The film version of the movie has extra black bars added to the top and bottom so that the original aspect ratio is maintained, but the movie still fits within a 4x3 frame. Some resolution is lost because of this, but none of the movie "content" is lost. Folks watching on a 4x3 TV will see black bars at the top and bottom. Folks watching on a 16x9 TV will see black bars on all four sides, unless they use "Zoom".

    3) Broadcast an anamorphic 16x9 version of the film, possibly still with some letterboxing if the movie is wider than 16x9. The film will be anamorphically squeezed, with the receiving/viewing device being required to figure out how to format the movie for the TV being used. Either the movie gets simply unsqueezed for a 16x9 TV, or it gets re-formatted (as a letterbox film) for a 4x3 TV.

    Dish does #1 and #2, depending on which channel you're watching. As far as I know, standard definition Dish receivers have no concept of receiving an anamorphic signal and figuring out how to format it for the viewing device connected. Hence, #3 is not possible based on my understanding of this (since otherwise 4x3 sets would be left with a "too skinny" 4x3 version). You'd be better off watching the HDPPV, which is setup specifically for this.
     
  20. milt

    milt New Member

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    Jun 16, 2004
    the darling dvd is anamorphic
     

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