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Wide Screen HDTV's and standard broadcasts

Old 11-10-02, 04:28 PM
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Wide Screen HDTV's and standard broadcasts

When watching standard broadcasts on a wide screen HDTV is any screen size lost on the sides like there is on the top and bottom when watching a letterbox on a 4:3 TV?

The Best Buy geek says no but that doesn't make any sense.

EDITED TO ADD EXPLAINATION

Size is an issue for me so I really want to stay on the small size meaning 42" wide screen or 36" 4:3. Since the vast majority of the TV I watch is standard Cable/Digital TV if I can't enjoy the benifit of the wide screen the majority of the time I will go for the lower priced 36" 4:3 TV.

Last edited by Creek Rat; 11-10-02 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 11-10-02, 05:28 PM
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16:9 TVs have stretch modes that fill the screen. How acceptable that is to you depends on the TV brand, what you watch, and whether you like it at all. I have no problem with mine although there are some types of material it's not suited so well for. You can always turn off the stretch.

But if you primarily watch TV as opposed to DVD I would recommend a 4:3 set if the brand you like makes one. In your case you would get more size for the money.
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Old 11-10-02, 05:49 PM
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Thanks X, that's exactly the kind of information I was looking for I just wish I could see a wide screen showing a "real world" signal rather than the picture perfect showroom signal.

All year I've been worked up about getting big screen as the holiday deals come out but it sounds like that's not for me.
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Old 11-10-02, 05:58 PM
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I just wanted to add that you don't have to stretch 4:3 content to fill the 16:9 screen. You can also watch it in the proper dimensions with gray bars on the sides.

A 42" widescreen display has a center 4:3 area equivalent to a 34" 4:3 TV. You might find this link useful for these types of comparisons:

http://www.cavecreations.com/tv2.cgi

By that reasoning, if your decision is between a 42" widescreen model or a 36" standard model, the widescreen gives you a lot more picture on the sides for significantly larger letterboxed content and only shrinks 4:3 content by 2 diagonal inches.
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Old 11-10-02, 07:36 PM
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Thanks for that website Z.
Are there any shows in Widescreen or will there be in teh future? I know Enterprise has black bars but is it Widescreen?
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Old 11-10-02, 07:55 PM
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I just wanted to add that you don't have to stretch 4:3 content to fill the 16:9 screen. You can also watch it in the proper dimensions with gray bars on the sides.
No, that could cause burn in on an RP or plasma TV.
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Old 11-10-02, 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by William Wallace
No, that could cause burn in on an RP or plasma TV.
How big an issue is screen burn on a rear projection HDTV? Any idea how long it would take to be evident?
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Old 11-10-02, 08:27 PM
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Originally posted by William Wallace
No, that could cause burn in on an RP or plasma TV.
On an RPTV, that might be true if the side bars were black, you only watched 4:3 content and nothing else ever, and you had your brightness and contrast set obscenely high.

In other words, it's not a valid concern for real-world applications. You might as well tell him never to watch a 2.35:1 letterboxed movie either.

The side bars on 4:3 material are gray specifically to reduce the chances of burn-in. Most people with any technical knowledge feel that this is a ridiculous precaution, that the gray bars are unnecessarily distracting and that black bars would be more appropriate.

Originally posted by Creek Rat
How big an issue is screen burn on a rear projection HDTV? Any idea how long it would take to be evident?
Burn-in is not a problem if you calibrate your TV with a disc like Video Essentials or Avia and watch a healthy variety of different programming material. If you watch primarily 4:3 TV content with side bars, pop in a widescreen DVD every once in a while to make sure that the sides of the screen get illuminated too.

Last edited by Josh Z; 11-10-02 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-10-02, 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Skull
Are there any shows in Widescreen or will there be in teh future? I know Enterprise has black bars but is it Widescreen?
"Widescreen" basically means anything that is not 4:3 in ratio. There are several shows that currently run in a letterboxed 1.78:1 aspect ratio including Enterprise, Firefly, and the current seasons of The West Wing and E.R. You can set the widescreen TV to zoom in on these so that the picture fills the screen.

If you mean to ask if there are any shows that air in anamorphically-enhanced widescreen, only on the HD channels.
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Old 11-11-02, 12:45 AM
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On an RPTV, that might be true if the side bars were black, you only watched 4:3 content and nothing else ever, and you had your brightness and contrast set obscenely high.

In other words, it's not a valid concern for real-world applications. You might as well tell him never to watch a 2.35:1 letterboxed movie either.

The side bars on 4:3 material are gray specifically to reduce the chances of burn-in. Most people with any technical knowledge feel that this is a ridiculous precaution, that the gray bars are unnecessarily distracting and that black bars would be more appropriate.
Interesting. I always thought that gray bars had a higher chance of burning into your screen since they are brighter than black bars.

In my panasonic 53WX42 manual, it says that watching the tv in 4:3 mode is not recommended because it can cause burn in.
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Old 11-11-02, 02:01 AM
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Originally posted by Josh Z
"Widescreen" basically means anything that is not 4:3 in ratio. There are several shows that currently run in a letterboxed 1.78:1 aspect ratio including Enterprise, Firefly, and the current seasons of The West Wing and E.R. You can set the widescreen TV to zoom in on these so that the picture fills the screen.

If you mean to ask if there are any shows that air in anamorphically-enhanced widescreen, only on the HD channels.
Does the zoom in feature come standard on all WS TVs?
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Old 11-11-02, 02:35 AM
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I believe so. I find it hard to believe that any widescreen set woulnd't have some kind of zoom mode.
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Old 11-11-02, 09:27 AM
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Originally posted by William Wallace
Interesting. I always thought that gray bars had a higher chance of burning into your screen since they are brighter than black bars.

Actually, the reason the bars are gray is so that they approximate an "average" picture level. This is to prevent the side bars from being "underburned" (black) with respect to the center image.
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Old 11-11-02, 11:47 AM
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I watch 4X3 programming in 4X3 mode, except for CNN and the like. I can't stand stretch/crop modes, that is just as bad as watching a panned and scanned movie.

I've never had burn in because I set my contrast correctly and of course I don't leave it on in the 4X3 mode and then walk away for hours at a time.

I can't imagine why there is so much fear over this issue. Where you all afraid to watch letterboxed movies on your old 4X3 sets?
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Old 11-11-02, 12:54 PM
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I just wish I could see a wide screen showing a "real world" signal rather than the picture perfect showroom signal.
Creek Rat,
I'm in almost the same boat as you. My wife and I finally compromised on the Toshiba 42H82 which I will be purchasing from Best Buy tonight. They don't have a display model at BB, but Sears did and their salesmen were a lot more helpful than BB's.

Anyway, they did have a few RPTV's hooked up to a "real world" cable signal. You might want to try them out if you are still comparing.

By the way, the stretch mode on the Toshiba is far superior to most other makes. I had a hard time noticing any discrepancies between their stretched versions and the real 4:3 versions.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old 11-11-02, 12:55 PM
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Given this situation:
Watch TV half the time and DVDs half the time.
Which type of TV is the better way to go? 4:3 or WS
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Old 11-11-02, 01:01 PM
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Skull,
I'm no TV expert, but I'd say we watch DVD's 25% of the time and TV the other 75%. We're still going with the WS because the movies will look a ton better than they do on our current 27" Plain Jane TV.
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Old 11-11-02, 01:05 PM
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But then TV shows will look pretty bad and if you watch TV shows 75% of the time, isn't it a smarter choice to pick up a non WS TV?
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Old 11-11-02, 03:15 PM
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I'm only getting a 42" WS, so the cable picture isn't all that bad (smaller pixels, etc.). If it really gets on my nerves, I'll switch to a dish because AT&T is moving at their usual snail's pace with the HDTV conversion around here.

I'm finally going to exchange my old digital cable box for one of the new Dolby 5.1 models that they just made available. At least TV should sound good now!
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Old 11-12-02, 06:20 PM
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Go WS I have a 55 Mitz and I love it I can't stand watching tv on the 27 in our bedroom anymore. The stretch mode took about an hour to get use to now I never notice it picture quality is pretty good to. My wife and I watch normal tv about 75% of the time some of the lower are kinda grainy but everything past channel 12 in my area looks great.

Plus when ever they finally decide to fully go WS and High-Def you'll be ready. If you have the money do it.
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Old 11-12-02, 08:13 PM
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When watching standard broadcasts on a wide screen HDTV is any screen size lost on the sides like there is on the top and bottom when watching a letterbox on a 4:3 TV?
I wanted to answer that first question, since most of the answers are geared to the zoom modes..

Here is how i responsed to another person asking about the same issue..


...
You really got me thinking on your question. I kept thinking to myself...

"in HD you would see more because it is cropped in Standard Definition (SD)"

But here it goes..


I have noticed that in the primetime shows that are advertised as being in High Definition, they tend to be letterboxed on Standard definition (with the bars on top and bottom). Assuming that, if one was to watch the program in HD, you wouldn't really be seing anything "more" per se because people with regular sets would see it only smaller and less detailed.

Shows that come to mind are boomtown and the practice

This applies to DVD's as well, as a majority of dvd will letterbox the movie if it is not displayed on a 16:9 widescreen Tv. You aren't missing out... except that the displayed image is smaller.


But i do have to say that i've seen some shows that are in high definition, when switching to the SD feed, there was stuff missing.. (Friends, dawson's creek, i think most WB shows)

now as to judge if that is important....eh... i dunno..

But I do know that i don't miss the detail and size =)

Hope this sort of helps. I would definitely advise seeing a dealer during prime time hours.. to kind of get a feel of what it looks like.
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Old 11-13-02, 09:40 PM
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How can i get hdtv if my cable company does not broadcast available shows in hdtv? I called they said they dont have the equipment
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Old 11-13-02, 11:29 PM
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Mantecore you need either a Sat HDTV tuner/decoder box for Sat HDTV and/or OTA antenna if you're close enough to get a signal for your locals as well as a HDTV set. If you have a HDTV with a tuner built in you might be happy with an OTA antenna for the locals.
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