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DVD 1.85-2.35 display on 4:3 tv's?

Old 09-04-02, 06:51 PM
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DVD 1.85-2.35 display on 4:3 tv's?

Hello there all, I am new on this board, just registered about 10 minutes ago. I am an owner of a dvd player for about 5 months now and although I love the convenience, quality, added features of dvd movies I can't get over one thing, those darn letterbox black bars.

I have a Sony 27" Wega and I was misinformed that the vertical compression ( Enhanced 16:9 ) option on this model would compensate for these black bars, I should have known better, I mean it is called "VERTICAL COMPRESSION". So VC enhances the picture quality but makes the black bars more pronounced. I in fact would like the opposite, however I have stretched out the picture by chossing 16:9 output on my dvd, but that looks too stretched on a 4:3 tv.

I have heard of new technology, that allows 16:9 quality and picture coming from a dvd output to be somehow projected FULLY on a 4:3 tv. Is this true? I think its fairly new technology ( if it exists at all ). The reason why I ask, is because I am going to buy one new tv for my rec. room. I would prefer to buy a larger ( 32") 4:3 tv, instead of spending more money on the 16:9's. However one of my main requirements is to be able to utilize my dvd player, i.e. get the best picture I can on a 4:3, any suggestions out there?

Any help would be greatly appreciated?

Thanks.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:19 PM
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You are already there. You have set your DVD player to output 16:9 giving you the stretched out image. Now, with that image, do your "vertical compression" and you have the enhanced 16:9 quality on a 4:3 tv set. In a nut shell, tv has 480 lines of resolution. Letterboxing (the black bars) takes up some of those lines of resolution. A 16:9 enhanced DVD stretches the picture to fill all 480 lines and the TV compresses those to the correct aspect, that is, all 480 lines of resolution are now displayed in the center of your screen, giving you 33% more resolution and the best picture you can get on a 4:3 tv. As for the black bars, you aren't going to get rid of them, nor do you want to. Next time you go to a theater, look at the shape of the screen. It's rectangular. Your TV is square. The only way to get that full rectangular picture on a square screen is to fit the entire width of the picture and then fill in the top and bottom with black bars. Here's some quick comparisons from dvdbeaver.com


See how the square picture is larger, but blurrier and how it cuts out more than 50% of the image. Not all films are as letterboxed as Seven Year Itch, but it's still the same point.
Some films actually are cutting away image from the top and bottom. This preserves the intended composition that you would have seen in a theater. The area overhead and beneath would not have been seen in the theater so the Director of Photography usually doesn't account for it in the image he is trying to compose. This is why you occasionally see boom microphones in shots.

You will get used to the black bars and eventually will prefer them. I know I get "car sick" when I see widescreen films chopped up and scanned on TV.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:21 PM
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Re: DVD 1.85-2.35 display on 4:3 tv's?

Originally posted by rklacar


I have heard of new technology, that allows 16:9 quality and picture coming from a dvd output to be somehow projected FULLY on a 4:3 tv. Is this true?
Welcome to the Forum, rklacar!

I'm not sure what new technology you are describing, but the majority of DVDTalkers prefer films displayed in their OAR (Original Ascept Ratio). It isn't physically possible to display 1.85 or 2.35 material FULLY on a 4:3 TV without zooming, stretching, or omitting something. And that isn't acceptable to me.

So until 16x9 TV's become commonplace (or even better front projection systems), I'll watch 2.35 on a 13" TV if I need to, in order to watch a film the way it was meant to be seen.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:29 PM
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If I wasn't clear. You already have that new technology, as I described in my first paragraph. It will not get rid of the black bars but will enhance the resolution on your 4:3 tv.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:32 PM
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thanks to you both.

Thanks to you both for your quick responses. The 16:9 output on my dvd coupled with 16:9 enhanced feature turned "on" my tv is my best option I guess, I did already try this, but my main objective was to get rid of the black bars.

caligulathegod: thanks for the pictures, the comparision clearly shows what is the true difference ( sometimes hard to tell if you don't have two images side by side ).

In terms of this supposed "new technology" I'm not sure where I may have heard this, if I do find out I will post here in the future.

Another quick question:

If i were to go and buy a 16:9 tv, how would that video output of a vcr look on this tv?, I'm assuming the same as would the tv channels I guess, right?

Thanks.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:49 PM
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Re: thanks to you both.

Originally posted by rklacar
Thanks to you both for your quick responses. The 16:9 output on my dvd coupled with 16:9 enhanced feature turned "on" my tv is my best option I guess, I did already try this, but my main objective was to get rid of the black bars.

caligulathegod: thanks for the pictures, the comparision clearly shows what is the true difference ( sometimes hard to tell if you don't have two images side by side ).

In terms of this supposed "new technology" I'm not sure where I may have heard this, if I do find out I will post here in the future.

Another quick question:

If i were to go and buy a 16:9 tv, how would that video output of a vcr look on this tv?, I'm assuming the same as would the tv channels I guess, right?

Thanks.
You heard it correctly. The "new technology" (which you possess! yay! Gotta love the Wega. I have a 32" one) does display it fully. The misunderstanding is what was meant by fully. On a normal 4:3 Tv, the dvd player, through some fancy schmancy logorythms, basically discards every 4th line of resolution to draw the black bars . The vertical compression allows you to display all the resolution and then compresses it correctly for viewing.
As to your second question. VCR would look just like normal tv channels.
It will have the gray bars on the side or will have that stretch feature that distorts the picture to fill the screen. Letterboxed movies on DVD will either have no black bars (1.85:1) or minimized ones (2.35:1). Exception will be non-enhanced DVDs. they will look like a letterboxed image in the center of the screen.
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