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The BEST Tweak I've Made So Far

Old 05-09-01, 08:30 AM
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been reading posts about these for months now and it seemed like the silliest and cheesiest idea, but i had some time to kill this morning and a cardboard box laying around so i decided to cut some strips and mask off the letterboxed areas just for the hell of it
...and i'll be damned!
i can't get over how much this enhances the picture! just using plain light brown cardboard with scotch tape holding it on, but in the dark it seamlessly blends in w/ the cabinet on the sides and makes a pure black frame. i can't believe how much impact this creates. especially since i've got a 4:3 display, and on 2:35 movies , i've always been conscious of just how much screen real estate was being wasted. but you slap those mattes on and it's perfect. the effects of halos especially are significantly reduced. and the pure black just makes all the color and contrasts that much more vivid.
i have to sit down today and design a better system for doing this. i was thinking about velcro, but really don't want to gunk up the plastic cabinet. might get some wood strips, attach them to 2x4's at the base and use the velcro on those.
this looks really half-assed in the daylight, but in the dark....WOW!
so the question is- for people that use these, how do you attach yours?
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Old 05-09-01, 08:46 AM
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velcro
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Old 05-09-01, 11:08 AM
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static cling vinyl?
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Old 05-09-01, 05:56 PM
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the problem with attaching the velcro directly to the plastic cabinet is, i'm not sure how the adhesive will react over time. getting it off cleanly may be impossible, and i don't know any solvents that will work on plastic without ruining them.
the thing is, i thought i may sell this set by the end of the year, so i wanted to keep it as pristine as possible.

but now, i'm so impressed w/ the change in picture using these things, i may not bother.

the main reason for the post was: reading about other people doing this, they seemed soooo hopelessly anal. not too mention the fact that the mattes themselves usually look really tacky in the daylight.
but, good grief, in the dark, these ROCK!
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Old 05-10-01, 05:50 PM
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I used black foam board instead of cardboard so it doesnt look cheesy during the day!
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Old 05-10-01, 06:07 PM
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Yeah, I just did this myself...it's awesome baby! My mattes are from black foam core that I got from an art store. I used an exacto knife to cut them easily. Since my direct view is curved, I made little legs for each end of the backs of the mattes by glue sticking leftover pieces of foam core. About 7 of these 1 x 2.5 inch pieces together and then to the each side where they line up with the ends of the tv. This is just enough so the matte clears the surface of the tv and stays straight across the tv. I then use "paper tak" that I got from a hardware store. This is reusable putty that you would use if you wanted put a poster/photos up on a cement wall. It's great because it sticks great, comes off easily, reusable, does not harm the tv. I use the edge already precut to line up with the image. Even with my exacto/ruler I couldn't get it as straight. Total price - ten bucks. Cheapest and best tweak I ever made. Of course I put them up when watching the movie only. TAKES LESS THAN A MINUTE. It doesn't change the image, but it changes the way you percieve the image. The black level of the tv can never be low enough to disappear in the darkness like mattes can. Even after getting the best picture possible with Video Essential/Avia, just lowering the brightness would reduce picture detail and pretty much ruins the point of why you calibrated in the first place. At night with a small ambient/bias light behind the tv, the picture literally jumps out at you. You don't see the tv cabinet at all, just the image.

[Edited by Hannibal on 05-11-01 at 05:49 PM]
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Old 05-10-01, 06:21 PM
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er...I'm confused. Basically you guys just take poster board and tape it over where the black bars are durning movie? What exactly does that do? please enlighten me...
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Old 05-10-01, 07:30 PM
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I tried this "tweak" a couple of weeks ago with my 35" Toshiba TV (calibrated w/ Video Essentials)after a bunch of folks said it was the best thing since sliced bread for all TV's.

After cutting black matte board and taping it to the TV, I sat back and watched a DVD (dark room of course). I didn't see any amazing changes in my DVD movie as many claimed, so I took the top matte off and left just the bottom one on to compare...still nothing dramatic happened. I sat in my sofa and tried and tried to see what all the fuss was about, but no matter what, I still felt the black bars on the DVD were plenty black, and the black matte didn't do anything to enhance the movie.

I finally decided it really wasn't worth attaching Velcro all over the TV cabinet, and strapping it on every time I want to watch a movie. Not to mention having to line the mattes up for each aspect ratio DVD's a shown in.

Overall a tweak not worth adding to my home theater.
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Old 05-10-01, 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by Alfer
Overall a tweak not worth adding to my home theater.
I agree, it's kind of silly. If you are doing it so you don't see the black bars in a dark room then you really need to adjust your brightness and contrast levels properly.

When I play a DVD the black level is at the point that there's not much difference between the black bars and when the TV is off. I've got a pretty crappy off-brand TV, so I'm sure anyone in the world would be able to adjust their levels accordingly.
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Old 05-10-01, 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by Thunderball
er...I'm confused. Basically you guys just take poster board and tape it over where the black bars are durning movie? What exactly does that do? please enlighten me...
ok, i can't explain this worth a sh%t so here's another pic:





1) the basic dimensions of my screen
2) this shows a typical lbx'd picture. i have an RPTV and this really is about as deep as the black will get w/out covering up detail in the image. it LOOKS black, compared to the image of the movie, but NOT compared to the edges of the cabinet. the cabinet on mine is a dark grey, but in the dark w/ just the light from the screen, it comes across as pure black. everything in the picture compared to it is just various shades of grey (very dark grey, but still not a pure black).
3) putting mattes up creates a consistent black level outside the actual picture image. does the colored area look any different to you in the last pic? in #2 and #3 it's the exact same pic, only the border is different.

the really good benefit for me is the absence of halo's now, sine these mostly tended to noticeable in the lbx bars. i had resigned to live with them, but this is soooo much better.

i guess some people won't appreciate the difference as much, but for me, this is the kind of dramatic change that i expect when i get a progressive player later this summer, and actually that will be a much subtler improvement than these mattes are.
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Old 05-10-01, 08:39 PM
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Now that you say you have an RPTV, it makes more sense as to why'd you want to do that, and why it would be a good idea.
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Old 05-10-01, 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by renaldow
Now that you say you have an RPTV, it makes more sense as to why'd you want to do that, and why it would be a good idea.
Maybe that's the thing. I have a 32" Wega,and my blacks are pretty black. In the dark, the only thing I can see is the cabinet(who the hell thinks SILVER is a good idea for a TV! ) I'm pretty good to go
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Old 05-10-01, 10:56 PM
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I don't enjoy sticking ugly cardboard, velcro, or whatever to my TV. Maybe it's just me.

[Edited by Tommy Two Times on 05-17-01 at 03:11 PM]
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Old 05-10-01, 11:00 PM
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Hey Thunderball,
I thought the samething about the silver, but getting use to it. I keep my DVP-360 Player on the 16:9/4:3 setting and use the 16:9 enhancement setting in menu on my 32" Wega. Picture quality is awesome, blacks are truly black.

SAINTSFAN
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Old 05-10-01, 11:14 PM
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I have a 61" RPTV, calibrated with Avia...and have tried mattes. They do make a difference. But not enough to merit adding and removing them all the time. YMMV.
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Old 05-12-01, 02:11 AM
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I think this is another example of how someone can convince themselves that something is superior. For the life of me I can't understand how doing this would ever have a DRAMATIC effect on movie viewing...

-Gonnosuke
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Old 05-12-01, 02:40 AM
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Originally posted by Gonnosuke
I think this is another example of how someone can convince themselves that something is superior. For the life of me I can't understand how doing this would ever have a DRAMATIC effect on movie viewing...

-Gonnosuke
i was just surprised to see any effect, and i certainly wasn't expecting to like it as much as i have. to me, it definately enhances the viewing experience more. it's much more 'theater-like'.

as Hannibal said, you cease to percieve the tv set at all, all that's there is the movie...magically floating in the air. not a just small image in the middle of a larger set.
just for reference, i don't use any ambient light at all. the room is a black as i can get it. before, in the center of this pitch black room you'd see two dark grey bars and a movie sandwiched between them.
now all you see is the movie.
if you usually watch tv with one or two small lights on, you most likely won't appreciate the effect anywhere near as much , since you will see the mattes stuck there. the whole point is to not see anything...no mattes, no letterbox bars, etc.
hey, if you don't see any difference, then you don't. not everybodys gonna be knocked out of their socks. but for people with 4:3 RPTVs, that have some spare cardboard lying around.. go ahead and give it a shot. what have you got to lose?

[Edited by ckolchak on 05-12-01 at 04:58 AM]
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Old 05-12-01, 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by Gonnosuke
I think this is another example of how someone can convince themselves that something is superior. For the life of me I can't understand how doing this would ever have a DRAMATIC effect on movie viewing...

-Gonnosuke
For the life of me, I can't understand why someone would piss on another's idea/suggestion without even bothering to try it themselves.
For those with direct-view small sets, it isn't that dramatic. For those of us with RPTV's and who like to enjoy movies in a darkened environment, it does indeed make a difference. If you have a basic understanding about RP and FP set-ups, and the role that amibient light plays in viewing, you'd proabaly have a better grasp of the concept.
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Old 05-12-01, 07:05 PM
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The black bars are black enough for me.
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Old 05-13-01, 08:26 AM
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Originally posted by Thunderball
er...I'm confused. Basically you guys just take poster board and tape it over where the black bars are durning movie? What exactly does that do? please enlighten me...
I kind of wondered the exact same thing?
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Old 05-13-01, 08:39 AM
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Originally posted by svisscher
Originally posted by Thunderball
er...I'm confused. Basically you guys just take poster board and tape it over where the black bars are durning movie? What exactly does that do? please enlighten me...
I kind of wondered the exact same thing?
(sinking to the floor on his knees, face contorted in pain)
"two long follow-up posts...visual aides...what MORE do you people want??!!"
(sobbing uncontrollably)
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Old 05-13-01, 10:30 AM
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i tried it a few weeks ago. bought black foam board and velcro from the local craft shop. the wife thought that i was crazy, until she watched it in the dark. i pulled one of the " black bar covers" off, after she had been watching 007 a few minutes, and quote " you're correct, put it back on".
i also made 2 horizontal "covers", just enough to black out the glare from the picture on the insides of the tv's housing, next the actual screen.
these offer a great effect. my 26" b-stock jvc that is almost 16 years old, in the dark watching a w.s. dvd with the covers on, look like watching a actual live event through a window.
i too thought that this "tweak" sounded crazy until i tried it. carefull someone does'nt patent this idea...........
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Old 05-13-01, 10:32 AM
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i'm sorry, the 2 extra "covers" were verticle not horizontal..............
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Old 05-13-01, 10:53 PM
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For those of you that hate the velcro attach method, check this stuff out

http://www.staples.com/Catalog/Brows...esive+Products

if that link does not work
search http://www.staples.com for this sku number ROS98620 product name Tac-N-Stick.

If you use posterboard, you can use this to stick it to the TV without making any marks or leaving anything behind. just peel it off and leave it on the posterboard when done viewing.
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Old 05-13-01, 11:23 PM
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Great idea ckolchak. Even those with front projection displays have their screens matted, just like in the theatres. Who would want to see the spaces above and below the pic?
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