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4x3 and 16x9

Discussion in 'HDTV Equipment (Closed Forum)' started by -, Jun 22, 2001.

  1. Guest

    Our esteemed host stated on his web site:
    First I hope you enjoy your new 16x9 set - it's an excellent choice.

    However, I myself recently bought a 4x3 set.


    Because it has "16x9 enhanced mode". This means that when you play a 16x9 enhanced DVD, the set converts to a "16x9" set, ie all 500 lines of resolution are concentrated within the 16x9 area.

    And, because 4x3 sets are still cheaper than 16x9, the size of the 16x9 image is equivalent to that of a more expensive 16x9 set.

    But, when I watch a 4x3 program, or a great old movie like "Casablanca", the size of the 4x3 image is bigger than the 4x3 image area on the more expensive 16x9 set.

    (For those who are wondering, the set is a Sony Wega.)

    If a 16x9 set looks right for you, great. But I don't agree that it is automatically better than a good 4x3 set. And, I wouldn't buy a 4x3 set that did not have "16x9 enhanced mode".
  2. Guest

    I understand your reasoning. I almost purchased a 4X3 HD set myself. The prices are very attractive and for the most part, you get the same things you get with a widescreen TV.

    There were a couple of reasons though that I think a widescreen set is a better choice that I did not state in my original comment. First, while watching widescreen movies on a 16X9 set, you effectively get a larger picture. I haven't done the exact math but in order to have the same sized 16X9 image on a 4X3 screen, you would have to purchase a much larger 4X3 screen which would cost the same as just purchasing a 16X9 set. It's kind of hard to explain but if the majority of your TV viewing will be in the widescreen format, a 16X9 set is the way to go since you picture area will be larger.

    Also, since a much larger area of the screen is utilized on a 16X9 set, the pixel count is higher giving a sharper picture. When watching a 1080i image on a 4X3 monitor, the black bars waste precious picture element real estate.

    I don't condemn you for buying a 4X3 set. Actually it's a good idea if much of your viewing is in 4X3. You may run into some aspect ratio problems while using any future HDTV products though. I have heard that the Dish 6000 receiver will not allow a 1080i image to properly display on some 4X3 model HDTV's.

    I guess the moral of the story is to buy what you can afford. I was lucky and picked up my 16X9 HDTV for $2300 which was only about $300 more than the 50" 4X3 model. It is possible to shop around and find a good deal but my advice would still be the same to anyone. Look at the 16X9 TV's first before anything else.
  3. Guest

    There is no right or wrong on this of course as the previous posters have said. But I too believe 16X9 is the way to go if you are buying an HD ready tv. The Mits has a great stretched mode that makes 4:3 images look very natural in the 16X9 mode. (must be a 2001 model or newer) It just seems more natural to me to see things in this size. Also of course all HD material will be in the 16X9 format. And as previously stated watching DVD's is fantastic in this size, many (by no means all) with no black bars.
  4. Guest

    On 4x3 sets that have both the "16x9 enhanced mode" and also 1080i capability, all 1080 lines are displayed within the 16x9 image area.
  5. Guest

    That's great. I did not research enough into 4X3 to find out if that was for sure true or not. I was told at one time that when a 4X3 set converts to a 1080i letterbox image, some of the lines are missing because they are being unused in the black bars. I guess my information was innacurate.

    Just from my own way of thinking though it seems like that as soon as you letterbox an image on a 4X3 screen, aren't you immediately taking away some of the resolution capability of the TV? Or does the TV scan rate actually change and push all of the resolution down to within the letterbox image?
  6. Guest

    I'll throw my 2 cents in too...

    At this point, I would NOT buy a 16X9 HDTV. Why?

    1. The 4:3 models are cheaper.

    2. The Sony's have an enhanced mode that put all the lines of resolution into the 16:9 image. The "black bars" or letterbox are black because there is no image being sent to that area of the screen. (very nice)

    3. Viewing 4:3 on a 16:9 set or vice versa is only ok for about 15% of your viewing time. More than that and you can damage your set. (with the notable exception of the sony since it doesn't scan the letterbox area.) Since this would be my main TV, at least 85% of my viewing will be standard 4:3 tv.

    4. There isn't much programming being sent in hdtv or widescreen at the moment. (at least not in my market) I assume 3-5 years before it really picks up and until then, I'll just enjoy the 4:3 programming that much larger. I'll take the money I saved and put it away. In 5 years, if I want a new 16:9 set, then I can upgrade.

    Well, that is my reasoning for why I wouldn't buy a 16:9 HDTV. But it is just that, why *I* won't buy one.

  7. Guest

    A 36" Sony XBR (4:3) displays a 16x9 image that measure 33" diagonally. From the Sony specs:
    In contrast, the Samsung 30" 16x9 TV that costs $1999 displays 1080i inputs as 480p.

    To be fair, a 32" Sony XBR (4:3) has the same list price as the Samsung and the same 16x9 size.

    But, it has two advantages:

    - Real 1080i Display

    - 32" diagonal 4:3 image on the 32" Sony vs. 25" diagonal 4:3 image on the 16x9 Samsung TV

    There may be better units to use for the comparison than the Samsung Tantalus, but in general, due to the price premium for 16x9 sets, the Sony Wega 4:3 gives about the same size and resolution 16x9 image as an equivalently priced 16x9 set, but it gives you a much bigger 4:3 image.

    I hear other manufacturers are coming out with "16x9 enhanced mode" on their new 4:3 superflat sets, so I think that in the US, anyone who watches both regular TV and DVDs on the same set should consider this - especially in areas with little or no over the air HD broadcasts.

    However, for a Media Room that is used mainly for movies, the Toshiba 16x9 projection sets.are certainly at least equivalent to anything else.
  8. Guest

  9. Guest

    That is an excellent link! It shows that if you have a 56" 16X9 TV and you want to watch widescreen movies, you need a 61" 4X3 to see the same size picture.

    Like what was said before, it all depends on how much widescreen material you plan on watching.
  10. Guest

    And conversly, you'd need a 61" 16:9 to see the same size picture on a 50" 4:3. That of course with the 16:9 in true 4:3 mode.

  11. Guest

    To each his own. HDTV's are called HD because the sets display images that are 1080i or 720p in the 16x9 mode. Sony's HiScan will display 1080i in full screen, not in 16x9. Samsungs HDTV sets display 1080i. Whether 16x9 or 4x3 or what brand is a choice. 16x9 does cost more. Movies since 1953 and HD television are 16x9 (or wider). Movies prior to 1953 and analog television is 4x3. Where do you want your bars or stretch to be?That's your choice. Would you rather watch a HD football game on 39" diagonal on a 43" set or 43" on an HD set. One thing you do need to check is picture quality on analog signal on a digital TV.
  12. Guest

    If all you watch is DVD or HDTV, then absolutely go with 19x9. If you are like most people, then 4x3 is the way to go. My Sony 53HS10 ($2000 now that XBR coming out) does a credible job of making "regular" TV look good (even the cartoon network stuff my kids watch). My cheapo Pioneer 434 progressive scan player ($189 at Costco) looks awsome in 16x9 compressed mode (Sony DRC does NOT turn non-progressive into progressive quality imagery). In this mode, there are no wasted lines. The TV compresses the scan lines to achieve the proper aspect ratio. . For my 53 inch 4x3, the 16x9 mode is about 48 inches or so. I saved the money to buy better audio components (Denon 3801 and Polk Rm6600 speakers).

    Bottom line: Look at the type of material you will watch (think in terms of percentages). Determine which you find less offensive, 16x9 with letterbox on a 4x3 display or the various stretched/cropped/gray or black-barred 4x3 images on a 16x9 display. I'll choose the former.

    PS: If you actually think that HDTV will be on line by 2006 you are dreaming. There is incredible resistance to some of the standards and the FCC will likely cave on the mandates. Don't let this date sway you (there are plenty of other reasons to buy 16x9, but forget about the 2006 mandate).
  13. Guest

    You need to look at what you currently AND IN THE FUTURE intend to watch when deciding what aspect ratio to go with. Since there will be A LOT of HD programming in the next couple of years you may be disappointed when you have to see blacks bars when watching all HD events and even bigger black bars when viewing WS DVD's! Yes 16x9 HDTV's display small black bars on 2.35 WS DVD's but they are very small and the 1.85:1 DVD's show none at all (the ever so slight BB's are gidden by overscan). I look at it that if you are going to spend good money on a HDTV you should want the best viewing for the highest quality picture not the other way around. I will take a Black Barless picture for HD and have a smaller 4x3 SD picture instead of HD picture with black bars but none on 4x3 SD viewing!
  14. Guest


    I am hoping that one of you kind people can clear up an issue for me.

    I am wondering what specifically the 16x9 mode on a WEGA Television does, exactly.

    In other words, what is the difference between a widescreen dvd played on a 4x3 television in normal mode VS. a 16x9 enhanced DVD played on a 4x3 television in 16x9 enhanced mode.

    I understand that the 16x9 mode on 4x3 TVs will vertically compress the picture, but does that mean some of the sides get chopped off as well?

    Or, is it the case that a 16x9 enhanced DVD played on a 16x9 enhanced television give a picture with exactly the same ratio, just more resolution?

    Thanks for all your help.

  15. Guest

    I don't think the Wega shows all of the lines of resolution while viewing an anamorphic DVD in 16X9 enhanced mode. If that's the case, I don't see what the difference would be between 4X3 normal and 16X9 enhanced on a Wega. In any case, here is a web page that explaines how to make the adjustment.

    <a href="http://www.members.accessus.net/~090/awh/wega16x9.html" target=none>http://www.members.accessus.net/~090/awh/wega16x9.html</a>

    "I understand that the 16x9 mode on 4x3 TVs will vertically compress the picture, but does that mean some of the sides get chopped off as well?"


    "Or, is it the case that a 16x9 enhanced DVD played on a 16x9 enhanced television give a picture with exactly the same ratio, just more resolution?"

  16. Guest

    Thanks for the info. That link you provided gives a lot of complex technical information, and looks very confusing. Why exactly is it necessary to implement those steps? Do you get some extra resolution when you're in 16x9 mode but full resolution when you go through those complicated steps? I just wonder why those exra steps are necesary, since you can activate a 16x9 enhanced mode right from one of the onscreen menus.
  17. Guest

    I guess I should have mentioned that entering the service mode is risky. If it looks complicated to you, don't do it.

    Which model Wega do you have? If it's the XBR250, you are already getting the full resolution of 16X9.
  18. Guest

    I don't have it yet, but I plan to buy the 32-inch standard (non XBR) Wega within the month. I really don't plan to mess with the service mode at all. I started looking online for answers about it because no one in any store could tell me what the 16x9 enhanced mode was capable of. In fact, they often made up things I knew to be false. But what exactly will I be getting if I don't use this service mode trick? Sony lists the 16x9 ehnaced mode as one of its features, but the obviously don't expect the average user to be knowledgeable about the service mode.
  19. Guest

    Most (85-90%) of current programming is still NTSC and I believe will be for the next 4-5 years. I will opt for a 4:3 ratio HD RPTV of sufficient width to provide me with a 16:9 HD image of equivalent size. The advantage? I will be viewing NTSC programming displayed full-screen at roughly 200-300% that of a 16:9 set.

    Responding to Todd's observation that "no one in any store could tell me what the 16x9 enhanced mode was capable of..."

    Consider this: If the sales person in a store can't (correctly) answer your technical questions, or at least find out for you, then you are probably in the wrong store. I would suggest that, for the purchase of something as complex as an RPTV or HD set, you stay away from the big box mass-retailers such as BB, CC and the ilk. And if you should later need technical assistance or service, you can pretty much forget about getting any from these guys.

    From research to purchase, you will gain much more if you deal with some of the smaller (specialty) home theater dealers in your area. One of the local dealers in my area has been in business for 30 years. The first person to approach me on their showroom floor was the owner. When he realized I was a neophyte who was in the "research phase", he took considerable time to give me a pretty darn thorough overview of RPTV and HD as he demonstrated the features and capabilities of the models on display and readily answered my many questions. He also said they would match the lowest price I could find at any other retailer.

    When I saw my first HD image (on a ~60" Pioneer Elite), it was a Kodak moment for me. I knew I had to have one of these things! But like a mountain lion waiting for the ideal moment to pounce upon its prey, I can be a patient guy. I shall defer my purchase of an HD RPTV until I - a) have acquired sufficient knowledge to make the best choice for my particular wants; b) find, or negotiate my target price; 3) move into my new home.

    For most of us who have made or want to make an informed purchase decision, HD is a challenging and complex technology. This is my wish for each us -- to be delighted to the point of awe with our individual choice of an HD display device.

    But above all, remember "it's only TV". To quote Samuel L Jackson as he admonished Bruce Willis in 'Unbreakable', "Go to where people are; you won't have to look very long ...real life doesn't fit into little boxes...".


    Nick :cool:
  20. Guest


    I agree with you on most of your points. A smaller specialty store is definitely the way to go. We have one here like the one you mention. The only problem, they carry only really high end stuff that I can't afford and they don't need to price match because nobody else in town has their inventory.

    I am happy with my purchase mainly because I watch mostly DVD's. I don't really use my HD satellite receiver very often because there isn't much on the HD movie channels. For true HD programming, I'm waiting for my local broadcasters to "flip the switch" which will come through my Dish Model 6000 receiver.

    Right now I can't really recommend to anyone that an HDTV would be a smart purchase if there plan is to view 1080i images. There just isn't enough programming out there and you still have to purchase a separate "box" to receive HDTV. Let's face it, most HD sets on the market today are just monitors and not really HD receivers. There is also the question about the copy protection issue and the new interface that is supposed to be built into to the newer model sets.

    It's a volatile time for HDTV programming but a great time for DVD! If you watch DVD's, an HDTV along with a progressive scan DVD player is a must have.

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