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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just getting use to the new plasma. Upgraded to the H20 (temporarily) and the HR20 has arrived. As a long time satisfied directv customer (all 4:3, analog tvs previously), I am trying to iron out a few HD issues.Very disatisfied with everything that is non-HD, but I assume everyone goes through it. Golf Channel, HGTV, FOOD are horrendous! Is this what I have to live with? My old 35" sony looked so good Do most people watch non HD programming in the 16:9 , mode or contiune watching in 4:3 with side bars? Black or gray sidebars? Have to admit the HD programming is pretty remarkable. Thanks
 

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I stretch it...

During your first 300hrs or so with that new plasma, you want to avoid bars and pillars as much as possible.

After that... go with what ever looks best to you
 

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magellanmtb said:
I am just getting use to the new plasma. Upgraded to the H20 (temporarily) and the HR20 has arrived. As a long time satisfied directv customer (all 4:3, analog tvs previously), I am trying to iron out a few HD issues.Very disatisfied with everything that is non-HD, but I assume everyone goes through it. Golf Channel, HGTV, FOOD are horrendous! Is this what I have to live with? My old 35" sony looked so good Do most people watch non HD programming in the 16:9 , mode or contiune watching in 4:3 with side bars? Black or gray sidebars? Have to admit the HD programming is pretty remarkable. Thanks
SD picture quality on D* is pretty grim on large sets (42" or above), and the closer you sit, the worse it will look. Some SD is borderline unwatchable, some is "tolerable", and it varies both between and within channels. By that I mean sometime a given channel will be poor, but will get better when the allocate more bandwidth to it. Other channels are ALWAYS terrible in SD and there isn't anything you can do about it.

I only watch news programs in SD (MSNBC/CNN and when I can tolerate it FOX News). I'm so used to HD quality that I don't enjoy watching SD unless the programming is compelling (and there isn't much of that)

Some of the HD programming can be impressive at times, but most of the time it is HD-Lite (bit starved) . If you have access to OTA, you can see what HD is supposed to look like. That said, HD via D* is FAR SUPERIOR to SD, to be sure, so enjoy it. (I do).

I don't watch in pillar box (side bars). I've gotten used to the "stretch" mode and unless it looks just awful, I don't switch to pillar box mode. It's all a matter of personal preference, nothing more. (unless you are worried about burn in with your plasma...I don't have that problem with DLP).

Your 35" looked good because it was smaller....take a poor quality source and "magnify" it ...and it is going to look poor...there is literally nothing you can do except back up further. The further you get away from SD, the better it looks. As someone over at avs forum pointed out to me a long time ago, "You didn't buy a nice, large HD TV to watch SD...so get over it." As harsh as that sounds....he was right. There is plenty of HD material out there now...I find very little need to watch SD, and when I do, I just grin and bear it.
 

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Legend
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hasan said:
SD picture quality on D* is pretty grim on large sets (42" or above), and the closer you sit, the worse it will look. Some SD is borderline unwatchable, some is "tolerable", and it varies both between and within channels. By that I mean sometime a given channel will be poor, but will get better when the allocate more bandwidth to it. Other channels are ALWAYS terrible in SD and there isn't anything you can do about it.

I only watch news programs in SD (MSNBC/CNN and when I can tolerate it FOX News). I'm so used to HD quality that I don't enjoy watching SD unless the programming is compelling (and there isn't much of that)

Some of the HD programming can be impressive at times, but most of the time it is HD-Lite (bit starved) . If you have access to OTA, you can see what HD is supposed to look like. That said, HD via D* is FAR SUPERIOR to SD, to be sure, so enjoy it. (I do).

I don't watch in pillar box (side bars). I've gotten used to the "stretch" mode and unless it looks just awful, I don't switch to pillar box mode. It's all a matter of personal preference, nothing more. (unless you are worried about burn in with your plasma...I don't have that problem with DLP).

Your 35" looked good because it was smaller....take a poor quality source and "magnify" it ...and it is going to look poor...there is literally nothing you can do except back up further. The further you get away from SD, the better it looks. As someone over at avs forum pointed out to me a long time ago, "You didn't buy a nice, large HD TV to watch SD...so get over it." As harsh as that sounds....he was right. There is plenty of HD material out there now...I find very little need to watch SD, and when I do, I just grin and bear it.
I have yet to watch SD or HD on a large Plazma or DLP, but everytime I hear something like this it makes me not want to get rid of my RPTV.

I do not get the quality issues on either and its 46", not huge by any standards but does qualify as a large screen tv. Both my HD and my SD channels are very good. I do get the occasional SD channel that isnt great but most of the time that is the actual program more then the channel.

Some of my SD channels are so clear people come over (who dont know as much about HD) and say wow that is a nice HD picture.

The one thing I hate though is that there are side bars on 720 and 1080 no matter what I do even when I stretch it, if the format isnt widescreen I have sidebars :(
 

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Legend
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the info. HDlite? Would love to see what REAL HD looks like, but I might be too far from NYC (approx 37 miles) to pull it OTA channels. Don't want to install a huge antenna on the roof, any recommendations on a good ATTIC HD antenna?
 

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Wow. There's quite a lot of "stretchers" here. I never would have guessed it. It just looks soooooo wrong to me. I don't mind the bars on the side because when I had a 4:3 tv and I was watching something letterboxed, I didn't care about the bars because I knew I was seeing the whole screen and not with the sides chopped off. So, with 4:3 programming on a 16:9 tv, I just think it's fine to see the bars on the sides. Maybe I'm in the minority.

Oh and I have a Sony 46" LCD RPTV and I also think SD looks pretty bad compared to my 10+ year old 27" CRT. For me, as long as the material is good, I'll still watch it, because I don't watch tv for a crystal clear picture, I watch it for the program.
 

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magellanmtb said:
thanks for the info. HDlite? Would love to see what REAL HD looks like, but I might be too far from NYC (approx 37 miles) to pull it OTA channels. Don't want to install a huge antenna on the roof, any recommendations on a good ATTIC HD antenna?
Radio Shack makes a U-71 for only 25 bucks...it is a multi-element yagi/corner reflector that lots of people have good luck with. It's cheap enough so if it doesn't work, you're not out much. It's also fairly small (40" boom length), so you might be able to put it outside without being a problem.

How well it works in the attic will be a function of what your roof/shingles are made of. If you're lucky, the attenuation won't be severe and you can get a good signal. We get every good signals here with standard shingle roofs at 28 miles.
 

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mtnagel said:
Wow. There's quite a lot of "stretchers" here. I never would have guessed it. It just looks soooooo wrong to me.
My TV has a "Wide Zoom" mode. It stretches fully to the 16:9 width, then stretches vertically a little bit. I'm guessing, but it's like 4->16 and 3->7.5 or so.

"Wide" setting would just stretch the width. "Zoom" setting zooms everything equally, and I lose quite a bit off the top and bottom.

"Wide Zoom" is really nice, though, as I am still able to see the scrolling scores at the bottoms of football games and ESPN and people don't look too squished. It's barely noticeable.
 

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Legend
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mtnagel said:
Wow. There's quite a lot of "stretchers" here. I never would have guessed it. It just looks soooooo wrong to me. I don't mind the bars on the side because when I had a 4:3 tv and I was watching something letterboxed, I didn't care about the bars because I knew I was seeing the whole screen and not with the sides chopped off. So, with 4:3 programming on a 16:9 tv, I just think it's fine to see the bars on the sides. Maybe I'm in the minority.

Oh and I have a Sony 46" LCD RPTV and I also think SD looks pretty bad compared to my 10+ year old 27" CRT. For me, as long as the material is good, I'll still watch it, because I don't watch tv for a crystal clear picture, I watch it for the program.
I'm in the side-bar camp too. Stretching bad SD programming just makes it look even worse to me. Luckily SWMBO agrees.:D
 

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iacas said:
My TV has a "Wide Zoom" mode. It stretches fully to the 16:9 width, then stretches vertically a little bit. I'm guessing, but it's like 4->16 and 3->7.5 or so.

"Wide" setting would just stretch the width. "Zoom" setting zooms everything equally, and I lose quite a bit off the top and bottom.

"Wide Zoom" is really nice, though, as I am still able to see the scrolling scores at the bottoms of football games and ESPN and people don't look too squished. It's barely noticeable.
Sony tv? That's what I have and the "Wide Zoom" is still too stretched horizontally to me.
 

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mtnagel said:
Sony tv? That's what I have and the "Wide Zoom" is still too stretched horizontally to me.
Yeah, a Sony. It was a tad odd at first, but now when I switch back to the "skinny people" mode it's bizarre how people look. :)
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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The ability to display a tolerable SD image is often what separates the good TVs from the cheap TVs. Plasmas, due to their relatively high manufacturing expense, often scrimp on image processing hardware.
 

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The Shadow Knows!
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magellanmtb said:
Very disatisfied with everything that is non-HD, but I assume everyone goes through it. Golf Channel, HGTV, FOOD are horrendous!
I didn't see anywhere the actual model number or size of your set. Many new HDTVs have a feature properly called "reverse 3:2 pulldown" but might be called something more marketable like "Pixel Plus" or "CineMagic". It increases the quality of an SD picture through digital mumbo jumbo. You'll never get true HD but it does help, especially with fast motion.

Also decide for yourself if you like Native mode better or prefer to let the HR20 upconvert for you. Everyone's different, so use your own judgment. For me, I use 1080i Pillar Box. I never got used to the stretched people.
 

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Legend
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Some TVs have Wide modes that stretch the sides of the picture more than the center, which is fine except when panning across a crowd, you see fat people get thin then fat again. Looks like a speeded-up version of me going on a diet!
 

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iacas said:
Yeah, a Sony. It was a tad odd at first, but now when I switch back to the "skinny people" mode it's bizarre how people look. :)
I agree. I use the straight stretch mode - not sure if my sony has a wide zoom or not. Everyone looks anorexic if I use 4:3! It took us quite a while to get used to it, but now it just looks normal to me.
 

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lamontcranston said:
Many new HDTVs have a feature properly called "reverse 3:2 pulldown".
3:2 pulldown applies only to 24fps content; hence the "cine" reference.
 

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AllStar
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Chalk up another one here for pillar box (I have a 52" DLP, so I don't worry about burn in). Stretch modes drive me nuts.

When I'm watching something letterboxed on a non-HD channel (i.e. Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi) I use what my TV calls Expand mode (and what I think the HR20 calls Crop), which enlarges the picture to the sides and causes a little to be taken off the top and bottom. Typically, nothing too valuable is lost this way, it fills the screen, and there's no distortion.
 

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tbone526 said:
Chalk up another one here for pillar box (I have a 52" DLP, so I don't worry about burn in). Stretch modes drive me nuts.

When I'm watching something letterboxed on a non-HD channel (i.e. Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi) I use what my TV calls Expand mode (and what I think the HR20 calls Crop), which enlarges the picture to the sides and causes a little to be taken off the top and bottom. Typically, nothing too valuable is lost this way, it fills the screen, and there's no distortion.
Geometrically that's a nice option, but I don't use it because I watch news a lot and that method chops off the crawl at the bottom of the screen. For the same reason, I don't use panorama...it causes the text to change speed as it scrolls across the screen, which I find disconcerting as well.
 

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hasan said:
Geometrically that's a nice option, but I don't use it because I watch news a lot and that method chops off the crawl at the bottom of the screen. For the same reason, I don't use panorama...it causes the text to change speed as it scrolls across the screen, which I find disconcerting as well.
So do those news shows have the black bars on the top/bottom and sides? That's the only time I use the crop mode on the HR20 or the zoom mode on my Sony tv. I'm pretty sure it doesn't cut off the program in that case. Of course, if it only has the black bars on the sides, then the crop (or zoom) mode will cut off the top and bottom.
 

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Godfather
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I'm also am in the sidebar camp. I don't want to see the distortion/stretching. I think people feel compelled to stretch it because they think they are "cheating" themselves by seeing sidebars on the screen. The thought process of I paid for 50 or 60 inch screen and I'm going to use it. I have two samsung DLPs 42/1080i and 56/1080p and if I see sidebars I'm fine with that. The viewing size is plenty large and I'm not "missing" anything. Have fun and enjoy the incredible HD world.
 
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