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Old September 26th 06, 16:15   #1
PillowRock
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HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

I haven't yet gotten around to investing in an HDTV. So I have a question that was raised by reading the back of the box of the new Star Wars DVD's last night.

Can the TV's easily be switched in and out of a mode where they display 4:3 pictures over the full width of the screen and cropped at the top and bottom?


The Star Wars DVD's say that the orginal theatric versions are:

4:3 (letterboxed to 2.35:1)


That sounds like if you showed that on a typical HDTV you would end up seeing a picture that was only in the middle part of the screen (with side "black bars") and then was letterboxed within that smaller area. So that on a hypothetical 32 x 18 inch screen you would end up with an image that was something line 24 x 10.2 inches.

Needless to say, I would not consider that to be optimal.

How big of an idiot is Lucas?
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Old September 26th 06, 17:24   #2
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

Yes, all widescreen TVs (not just HD ones) have modes that allow them to zoom a letterboxed image like this to the full width of the screen (which is how I watched the films on my HDTV and laserdiscs these were derived from on my old standard def widescreen set.) Most widescreen sets also have other modes for expanding non-letterboxed 4:3 material to fill the screen including various zoom and stretch modes.

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How big of an idiot is Lucas?
The board software does not allow posts long enough to answer this question.

Basically he included the Original Original Trilogy as a "bonus" feature on the new SE discs, and simply took the existing laserdisc transfer and ported it to DVD. To do more would have required that new digital masters be created from the original film elements, which he claims no longer exist (but a British film preservation group says they have pristine prints of all three original films in storage), and he refused to spend the money on what he considers "inferior" and "incomplete" versions of the films. I think he only released them on these editions to shut his critics up while at the same time pickup a little extra cash.

Regards,

Joe
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Old September 26th 06, 18:18   #3
PillowRock
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

Thanks, Joe.

I was pretty sure that I had seen those kinds of display modes. I just hadn't looked closely enough at any recent interfaces to be absolutely certain that they were still there. And, unlike back when widescreens were first coming out (pre-hd-content) you never see widescreen TV's running in that mode on show room floors any more. (How many others remember seeing widescreen TV's being demo-ed by showing pictures where all of the principals heads were chopped off like a bad family vacation photo?)
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Old September 27th 06, 03:47   #4
Jade Jaguar
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

I think my Samsung DLP HDTV is fairly typical. It has five picture modes, 4x3, wide, panorama, Zoom 1, and Zoom 2.

Wide makes HD, and anamorphic DVD (480p), fill the screen side to side, without distortion. It will also make a 4x3 480i picture fill the screen, by stretching. This produces considerable distortion, but some people prefer that to black bars on the sides.

Zoom 1 makes a letterboxed 1.85:1 4x3 image fill the screen, w/o distortion.

Zoom 2 will vertically stretch a 2.35:1 4x3 letterboxed image to fill the screen, producing distortion, but eliminating the black bars on top and bottom.

In both zooms, you can move the picture up and down a bit, to compensate for misalignment, overscan, subtitles below the image, etc.

I haven't figured out what the heck Panorama is supposed to be for, as it distorts everything.

The one problem is that most sets, when receiving HDMI, DVI, or 480p via component inputs, only make available the 4x3, and the wide. This can be a problem, when you encounter one that needs zoom. Then you have to deselect progressive scan from your DVD player output, or select a line video input, depending on your equipment. With the Sony mega changers Joe and I have, both component and S-Vid are output at once, so I just change inputs. But Joe has a Sony TV, so he might not need to do that.
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Old October 1st 06, 15:45   #5
Sinclair
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

I did pick up the new DVD's only for the original versions. I haven't watched the SE ones, but I was wondering if there were even more changes done on them or if they're the exact same as the DVD's that were released initially.
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Old October 1st 06, 17:58   #6
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

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I haven't figured out what the heck Panorama is supposed to be for, as it distorts everything.
Panorama mode was really designed as a burn-in preventer near the end of the days of standard-def, CRT-based widescreen TVs. It actually distorts the center of the screen very little or not at all, while progressively distorting the image more as you approach the two sides. It actually isn't a horrible compromise, as it enables a 4:3 image to fill the entire 16:9 screen without cropping the top and bottom. For shows with relativley static camera work and few pans or zooms, it actually works pretty well. Since even within a 4:3 frame the action tends to take place mostly in the middle, the distorted part of the image is in the part of the screen you're paying the least attention to. TV news and public affairs programs and sitcoms are actually pretty watchable this way. Sports and movies where the focus of attention, the camera, or both are constantly moving will give you a headache, because it is like watching the action through a fishbowl.

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Zoom 2 will vertically stretch a 2.35:1 4x3 letterboxed image to fill the screen, producing distortion, but eliminating the black bars on top and bottom.
That isn't actually what Zoom 2 was designed for. 2.35:1 movies are supposed to have black bars on a 1.78:1 screen because they're wider than the screen. The kind of people who bought widescreen sets when these zoom modes were designed knew that and would never use anything but Zoom 1 for a movie, regarless of aspect ratio. Zoom 2 is actually meant as an alternative to Panorama for watching 4:3 material "full screen" with less cropping than Zoom 1 and less distortion than Panorama. I used to use the equivalent on my old Toshiba sometimes. The up/down adjustment was mostly to make sure you could keep the score of a game or the news/stock ticker or captions visible.

I don't have a Sony TV, I have a JVC TV. I use my A/V receiver as a video switcher, so my only input to the TV for the DVR and the DVD players is component. Even so, my JVC can detect the difference between the original video sources. For my DVR I have the AR set to "Full" on the TV. It automatically adjusts between 4:3 (4:3 matted letterbox with widescreen material on the SD channels) and 16:9 for the HD channels. I can manually select "Cinema Zoom" to zoom letterboxed matrial (of whatever aspect ratio) to the full width of the screen. This is the same as your "Zoom 1" and is the only correct way to zoom widescreen, non-anamorphic or non-16:9 material on a 16:9 set.

On the DVD input from the Sonys I get the additional option of "Regular" to manually switch to pure 4:3. (Often used when watching TV shows on DVD.)

The nice thing is that the set retains the proper settings for each, even though they are technically coming into the TV on the same input. (Currently the DVR is on "full" and the DVD is on "regular" because I've been working my way throgh the first season of Highlander.)

Regards,

Joe
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Old October 2nd 06, 05:34   #7
Jade Jaguar
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Re: HDTV question re: new Star Wars DVD\'s

Quote:

Panorama mode was really designed as a burn-in preventer near the end of the days of standard-def, CRT-based widescreen TVs. It actually distorts the center of the screen very little or not at all, while progressively distorting the image more as you approach the two sides. It actually isn't a horrible compromise, as it enables a 4:3 image to fill the entire 16:9 screen without cropping the top and bottom.
I haven't tried Panorama on a full 4x3 screen, so I will have to try that. I have noticed that when I cycle a 4x3 image letterboxed to 1.85:1 from "Wide" to "Panorama," the image makes an even narrower stripe in Panorama.

Quote:

Quote:
Zoom 2 will vertically stretch a 2.35:1 4x3 letterboxed image to fill the screen, producing distortion, but eliminating the black bars on top and bottom.
That isn't actually what Zoom 2 was designed for. 2.35:1 movies are supposed to have black bars on a 1.78:1 screen because they're wider than the screen....
...Zoom 2 is actually meant as an alternative to Panorama for watching 4:3 material "full screen" with less cropping than Zoom 1 and less distortion than Panorama. I used to use the equivalent on my old Toshiba sometimes.
Of course I know a 2.35:1 image should have letter boxing, top and bottom, on a 16x9 TV. But as I said, on my set Zoom 2 makes a 2.35:1 image fill the screen vertically. So, if you use Zoom 2 on a full 4x3 image, you will lose a lot of image on the top and bottom.

Perhaps these things have been tweaked a bit from their original purposes, given that now plenty of people who would rather have a distorted picture, than black bars, are buying HD sets. I notice that Wide mode, which makes HD pictures fill the screen, and also 4x3 pictures fill the screen, produces no distortion with HD, or anamorphic progressive scan signals over the component inputs. But, a SD 4x3 signal, over the same inputs, will produce a picture with its stretching progressively greater, toward the sides. So, Wide is the prefered mode to make a 4x3 fill the screen, on my set.
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