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60 inch plasma. Do I want widescreen or fullscreen DVD's?

Old 10-26-05, 01:11 PM
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60 inch plasma. Do I want widescreen or fullscreen DVD's?

We have a 60 inch plasma hd tv and my dvd collection consists almost entirely of widescreens.
But I was thinking the other day while watching star wars and I noticed the usual black bars on top/bottom of the movie.
I was under the impression these are there for people watching on normal tv's not the 16:9 tv's.
If that is the case, wouldnt a full screen dvd shown on a 16:9 tv show the same as a widescreen dvd without the bars on the top or bottom?

Or maybe Im thinking about this all wrong and need to figure out of I can get rid of those bars on the top and bottom using my tv settings?
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Old 10-26-05, 01:17 PM
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No no no no no ... the black bars are because the screen ratio of your widescreen tv is about 1.85:1, and the aspect ratio of the Star Wars films is 2.35:1. Any movie in the 2.35:1 ratio will show up with a little bit of black bars at the top and bottom on a wide screen set. But fullscreen DVDs will be pillarboxed, meaning that there will be black columns to the left and right of the image. You have a widescreen tv, thus you should always be buying widescreen discs

There's probably some FAQ about all this, but I'm sure someone else will point you to it
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Old 10-26-05, 01:18 PM
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You will see black bars for films shot in aspect ratios greater than 16:9 (approx 1.77:1) -- Star Wars was shot in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, so you will still get black bars. If you buy a full screen version, or an older film like Citizen Kane shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, you would get black bars on the side.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:42 PM
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There's no TV that will be perfect for all films, since there are so many different aspect ratios (1.37:1, 1.66:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, etc.)

Your TV is in the 1.78:1 ratio. That's a great size, but some material will still require small black bars (such as 2.35:1 films -- Star Wars, etc.) on the top. And things that are in the standard TV ratio (1.33:1) will require them on the sides.

No TV will get rid of these bars, without zooming or stretching/distorting the image.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
We have a 60 inch plasma hd tv and my dvd collection consists almost entirely of widescreens.
But I was thinking the other day while watching star wars and I noticed the usual black bars on top/bottom of the movie.
I was under the impression these are there for people watching on normal tv's not the 16:9 tv's.
If that is the case, wouldnt a full screen dvd shown on a 16:9 tv show the same as a widescreen dvd without the bars on the top or bottom?

Or maybe Im thinking about this all wrong and need to figure out of I can get rid of those bars on the top and bottom using my tv settings?
First, make sure the DVD player is set to 16:9 TV.

Definitely _anamorphic_ widescreen versions. You should be using a progressive scan DVD player connected to the HD display. And make sure you're getting progressive input into the display (probably through component video cables). This setup will effectively line-double the input into the display which will create a huge difference in image quality.

This is another reason to NOT buy fullscreen DVDs-- because they are not anamorphically enhanced.

As far as the black bars go, the 16:9 translates to approximately 1.78 aspect ratio. So, if you have a 1.78 anamorphic widescreen movie you should see no black bars; 1.85 anamorphic widescreen would be very small black bars; etc..
I believe Star Wars is 2.35 so that would be the 'biggest' black bars you'll see since that is the 'widest' of the widescreen formats used.

Why anamorphic widescreen? Well, if you have non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs (a lot of earlier ones were-- corrected on later editions) then you get 'letterboxed' widescreen. This means those black bars on your HD display are actually encoded on the DVD which means you lose that resolution. Anamorphic widescreen transfers use that space that had 'black bars' on it to encode extra lines of picture which stretches the image vertically.... By setting the DVD player to progressive scan and 16:9 TV, the DVD player will "unstretch" the image... any black bars shown are NOT encoded on the DVD itself. This setup results in the best possible image quality short of actual HD encoded software. It is actually EDTV (extended definition)... I believe it is 480p. Titanic is an example-- the first version was non-anamorphic and the collector edition released this week is anamorphic, but BOTH were widescreen. You should always make sure to get anamorphic widescreen versions. Usually an anamorphic DVD will say so on the back. Also if it says "Enhanced for widescreen TVs" it is supposed to be anamorphic. You can check widescreenreview.com to see if a DVD is anamorphic.

Here's the entry for Titanic:

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Genre/Catagory: Drama
MPAA Rating: PG13
Aspect Ratio: 2.25:1
Anamorphic Widescreen: No
DVD Soundtrack: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
DVD Release Date: 08/31/99

I use this on my LCD projector which accepts 480p and the result is truly impressive. So impressive that I wonder if a HD image could look very much better.... that remains to be seen.

Last edited by awmurray; 10-26-05 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:45 PM
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Buy fullscreen and use the scretch mode to fill the entire screen

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Old 10-26-05, 01:58 PM
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I agree Foolscreen is the way to go
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Old 10-26-05, 02:50 PM
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WOW! how could anyone even consider purchasing FS DVDs to watch on a 60" Plasma HDTV, if a WS format is available for that title? in exceptions if a particular DVD is available in FS only. WS is one of the major features to have, and benefit from on an HDTV.
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Old 10-26-05, 02:57 PM
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Full screen movies would show black bars on the left and right. Please don't taint your TV with full screen. Yes, the black bars are normal even for widescreen as others have noted.
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Old 10-26-05, 02:58 PM
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Nice replies,
I will check my DVD player to see if it has a 16:9 mode.
Unfortunately, sony ES hasnt come out with a hdmi equipped 5 disc player yet, so Im saving my money for when that happens.
Until then I am connected via s-video
But, it does have progressive scan so Im cool there.
I was just wondering because I love watching my dvd's on that screen and happened to think, wait a minute, if I have all widescreens on a 16:9 why am I still seeing those bars?
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Old 10-26-05, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
Buy fullscreen and use the scretch mode to fill the entire screen

Genius!

*trades in Widescreen Star Wars Trilogy for Fullscreen*
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Old 10-26-05, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
If that is the case, wouldnt a full screen dvd shown on a 16:9 tv show the same as a widescreen dvd without the bars on the top or bottom?
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Old 10-26-05, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
wait a minute, if I have all widescreens on a 16:9 why am I still seeing those bars?
Please watch a movie with 1.85:1 aspect ratio, like The Terminator, and you won't see black bars (right?). This has been explained pretty well above.
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Old 10-26-05, 03:21 PM
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Why is it that people like THIS are the people with plasma's???

*sigh*

such a cruel cruel world...
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Old 10-26-05, 03:23 PM
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Hensley300, I think by posting this question you have lost any and all credibility in this forum
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Old 10-26-05, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
Until then I am connected via s-video
But, it does have progressive scan so Im cool there.
IIRC,Progressive scan doesn't work with s-video.You have to use component video (or dvi,hdmi) to use progressive scan.
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Old 10-26-05, 03:33 PM
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Regardless of what TV you have, never buy FS........
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Old 10-26-05, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Fok
Regardless of what TV you have, never buy MAR........
Fixed. Was bound to pop up sooner or later
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Old 10-26-05, 04:12 PM
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Just buy the movie in it's OAR, and you'll be fine.
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Old 10-26-05, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
Unfortunately, sony ES hasnt come out with a hdmi equipped 5 disc player yet, so Im saving my money for when that happens.
Until then I am connected via s-video
But, it does have progressive scan so Im cool there.
Ouch. First, as mentioned, you aren't "cool" with the progressive scan if you're using S-Video. That just won't work.

Can I suggest that you look into buying an inexpensive (less than $200) player that connects via HDMI and upconverts? It seems a damn shame to have a 60" Plasma HDTV and be playing back mediocre DVD quality. Why not look at a Oppo OPDV971H or a Momitsu DVD-V880? You're going to see a difference that is pretty much night and day, given that you're currently watching in 480i via S-Video.
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Old 10-26-05, 05:10 PM
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^ Word.
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Old 10-26-05, 05:32 PM
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I was going to respond back with something like "OMG teh black bars are evil!11!!!", but this thread has become so much more than that!
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Old 10-26-05, 06:21 PM
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I would skip buying dvds altogether and go with vhs. you'll be much happier.

Last edited by ChrisHicks; 10-26-05 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 10-26-05, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Why is it that people like THIS are the people with plasma's?
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Old 10-26-05, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Hensley300
I will check my DVD player to see if it has a 16:9 mode.
All DVD players have a 16:9 mode. It's a requirement of the DVD spec. Depending on your player, it may be called either "16:9" or "Widescreen" and will probably be in a menu called "TV Type" or similar.

Note that to change this setting you need to access the DVD player's menus, not the TV's or the disc's. You should hit the SETUP button on your remote when there is no disc in the player.

Unfortunately, sony ES hasnt come out with a hdmi equipped 5 disc player yet, so Im saving my money for when that happens.
Until then I am connected via s-video
But, it does have progressive scan so Im cool there.
As mentioned by others, you can't use progressive scan with S-video. You should be using your player's Component Video outputs instead (the ones that have three cables: red, green, & blue).

I was just wondering because I love watching my dvd's on that screen and happened to think, wait a minute, if I have all widescreens on a 16:9 why am I still seeing those bars?
On your old TV, didn't you ever notice that some movies had larger black bars than others?
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