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People look short and fat in 16:9, but not always

by BlueMoonLogic / February 15, 2009 12:44 PM PST

I am wondering why, when my new 46/750 Samsung is showing a program in 16:9, that people sometimes look shorter and fatter than they should? They look distorted or compressed and unrealistic. But this does not happen on all programs. On other programs people look completely normal. Is their an explanation for this? And, even better, is there a way to prevent it? Thanks.

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Wide and fat...
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / February 15, 2009 2:37 PM PST


The reason rests with the aspect ratio of the program's transmission.

When people aren't short and fat, the 16x9 broadcast aspect ratio is being show in it's 16x9 format.

When people ARE short and fat, that's usually an indication that it's a 4:3 picture being stretched to 16x9.

The most common ways to fix this is to take the Wide View setting off either the source (cable box, DVD, sat, etc.) or the television's picture settings.

It's likely that your aspect ratio is off, which can be adjusted. The source of this, again, could either be the TV or cable box.

Keep me posted.


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Aspect ratio explored
by BlueMoonLogic / February 16, 2009 2:39 AM PST
In reply to: Wide and fat...

Thanks for your reply. A light bulb has gone off in my brain and it is getting brighter! Thank you so much for putting me on the right path.

I'm new to all of this new digital xmission/aspect ratio/big screen tv stuff, but I'm learning quickly. This forum is such a valuable resource for learning, another great reason to have bought a Samsung.

I first looked into my cable company's signal source. I am bypassing their box and going directly into the tv. What I just realized, after taking the time to explore this, is that the major networks now have signals coming into my tv in multiple forms. For example, NBC now appears in my channel programming as channel 5 and as channel 5-1. Channel 5 is an analog signal (the one that features the short fat people). But channel 5-1 is their new digital signal (which I was unaware of since our cable company does not choose to inform us of these facts), and, wow, what a difference! The digital signal is amazing and the people look normal. Problem solved there.

However, with my cable company, at least for now, the major networks are the only channels providing the digital benefit. I am assuming the rest will follow by the appointed date. I can't talk to them today, as they apparently took the day off for the holiday.

So, on those other channels, to eliminate the short fat look, are you suggesting that I select the 4:3 aspect ratio? My problem with that is the unfortunate addition of the black bars, which my Samsung manual says is to be avoided as much as possible because of the pixels being affected by burn-in I believe? They make quite a big deal about this and say it is not covered under warranty. Would the best solution be to just go with the short fat look on those channels until digital transmission becomes mandatory on all channels?

Thanks once again,

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Plasma or LCD?
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / February 16, 2009 6:33 AM PST
In reply to: Aspect ratio explored


Thanks for your kind words.

I should probably ask - do you have a plasma or LCD?

If you have a plasma unit, there is a built-in Burn-In protection you can take that will make all of the black side bars grey, which reduces the chances of receiving that kind of wear.

If you have an LCD, it's much more difficult to actually get burn-in or image retention, though that's not to suggest it's impossible or improbable, and the above mentioned screen burn-in reduction technology is not built into our LCD lines.

Let's find out which panel you have (full model number would be great, or if you know what you have, that'd be great too), and then I can make some recommendations based on that.


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by BlueMoonLogic / February 16, 2009 12:28 PM PST
In reply to: Plasma or LCD?

Well, I have an LCD, the 46/750 to be exact.

The manual states that the viewer should not allow the dark sidebars to be seen for more than 15% of the total viewing time per week. It says pixel damage could otherwise result, which would not be covered by warranty.

It appears to me that certain programs simply cannot be expanded to cover the entire screen. Is this something that will be corrected in the future, once digital is the norm?


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by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / February 18, 2009 5:41 AM PST
In reply to: Burn-in


What you want to try to do is avoid an uneven aging of the pixels, and can do this buy either stretching the picture (short and fat) or just limit those viewing habits.

What happens is that the pixels that remain black are dormant, while the pixels displaying color are being used. Over time, this can cause uneven aging of the panel.

Let's say that ALL you watch is 4:3, and then years later, you watch 16x9. The bars on the side will appear brand new (as they've been dormant) while the ones in the middle will have aged with normal use. The sides may appear more bright because those pixels haven't aged along with the ones in the middle. Because that is inherent with LCDs, that's why we don't warranty that specific issue.

Now, while this is an extreme comparison, I would recommend trying to balance between that 15% in the manual as much as possible. I have not personally seen many instances of this being an issue with LCD panels, but since it's possible and avoidable, we state recommendations and limitations.

You can also help your panel by reducing the brightness and contrast when watching those 4:3 shows to your tolerance - that will reduce the possibility of unevening your panel over the long run.

The transition of 4:3 to 16:9 is a relatively slow one; thankfully, newer and more shows will be available that way - some of the classic shows filmed in 4:3 will likely always be in 4:3.

I hope that helps. Happy


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Black bars
by BlueMoonLogic / February 18, 2009 10:08 AM PST
In reply to: Uneven..

Thank you, that was an excellent explanation!

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