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Strange HKL problem!

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Strange HKL problem!

Old 10-21-01, 04:53 AM
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Strange HKL problem!

I've recently stumbled into the glory that is Hong Kong Legends - and I must say that I'm in love. However, I've noticed something strange with a couple of discs.

The letterboxing is all scrunched up and full screen, stretched to the top and bottom of the tv. It's kind of like how studios used to deal with credits on widescreen movies in the day back when people were scared of letterboxing. The end result is a long, skinny John Wayne (or Jet Li, in this case).

Not everything I've gotten from them has this problem. Only Armor of God and Iron Monkey have the stretched "Long Torso-Vision". City Hunter, Once Upon a Time in China 1 and 2, and Police Story all looked fine. I know that it's probably the aspect ratio somehow getting funky - I've compared scenes between both my LD version of Armor of God and my HK DVD of Iron Monkey, and all the information is being shown for both movies.

I've never had this problem with any other discs. I threw in a smattering of wide screen discs just to double check my setup - Jaws, Ghostbusters, ID4 and so on - and all of them looked fine. I played around with my DVD player settings in the BIOS setup, setting the player to output in all three aspect ratios - with no apparent change.

A bit about my set-up. I've got a Sampo 620 DVD player and a stock Sony TV from about 6 years ago - a fairly straightforward arrangement. I'm fairly sure it's not my setup, however. Even weirder - when I compare notes with friends at work with all region players, they've had the same problem too. Sadly, I have no idea what they sport for equipment.

In the end, I suppose it doesn't REALLY matter - I'm about a week away from getting a cool HDTV. After that, I'm hoping that everything works out - but I'd like some insight from you guys on what you think. Has anyone else seen this? Am I going insane?
Old 10-21-01, 10:28 AM
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It's your Player

The Sampo and the Apex players have problems in downconverting the PAL image. For one, it removes every 4th line instead of every 6th line, so the image is shrunk by 10%. Secondly, the Sampo does not downconvert an animorphic PAL image, so that appears 20% taller on a non-widescreen TV.

All your HKL discs are experiencing this problem. Iron Monkey looks full screen because it's a 1.85:1 animorphic image, while Police Story and such are still somewhat letterboxed because they are 2.35:1 animorphic image. They are all stretched though.
Old 10-21-01, 06:01 PM
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D'oh! How annoying.

So do all PAL to NTSC DVD players suffer from this problem, or it just the Sampo and Apex machines? Can you reccomend a player that doesnt do that?

Hmmm, I wonder if the problem will be less noticable when I get my HDTV. . . .
Old 10-22-01, 10:28 AM
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The Malata N996 does perfect PAL to NTSC conversion.
It also has scaling funtions so you can manually stretch or compress the image.

www.avdeals.com sells this unit, but the sale is on hold while they await the firmware update to resolve some lockup problems affecting only a few DVDs.

I have this player, and it is excellent. It also has progressive scan output. Highly recommended....


J.T.

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