TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

aspect ratio

by JFB322 / November 7, 2009 10:44 PM PST

Hi all. I'm relatively new to HDTV. I own a Panasonic TCP-42S1 plasma and DMR-EZ475V DVD recorder connected with HDMI to a Scientific Atlanta 4250HD set top box. OTA HD broadcasts look great. However widescreen DVD's have black lines top bottom. The DVD is set to 16:9 TV size. Please advise if there's anything I can adjust.


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There's widescreen and widescreen.
by Kees Bakker / November 7, 2009 10:52 PM PST
In reply to: aspect ratio

For movies there's 1.37:1 (more or less the 3:4 of SD TV), the 1.85:1 (more or less the 16:9 of your widescreen TV) and 2.35:1 (widescreen movie, even wider, so gives black bands below and above when shown on 16:9 screen of widescreen TV).


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16:9 TV's still have black bars
by minimalist / November 8, 2009 3:05 AM PST
In reply to: aspect ratio

Because not all content uses the same aspect ratio. All TV prior to the late 90's and all movies prior to 1952 or 53 were 4:3 so they will have "pillarboxing" (bars on the left and right) when displayed on a 16:9 TV. Most larger blockbuster movies are wider (2.35:1) than the 16:9 aspect ratio of the new digital TV standard so you wind up with "letterboxing" (black bars across the top and bottom of the image. 1.78:1 movies (usually smaller releases) fill most of the screen but still have very slight black bars at the top and bottom if you look closely. This is all normal as the black bars are put in place so that you may see the entire picture as the creators intended.

There are people who absolutely must have their screen "filled" (actually you are cutting off parts of the image and decreasing resolution to do this) so they use the zoom function on their TV remote control. Zoom usually magnifies the image until the smaller picture dimension fills the screen (either top to bottom or left to right). I do not agree with this approach but at least it can be handled on the TV now as opposed to cutting the image off on the disc or broadcast itself (like those all "full screen" versions of DVD's). Choice is always better than no choice I guess. With a few older DVD's (late 90's releases) the letterboxing was encoded into a 4:3 image. When these are played back on modern 16:9 TV's you wind up with "windowboxing" (black bars on all four sides. This is the one case where I use the zoom function.

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16:9 was born out of HD Video
by Dan Filice / November 8, 2009 6:39 AM PST
In reply to: aspect ratio

One thing to keep in mind: 16:9 aspect ratio was created when HD Video came about. This ratio is truly a "Video" aspect ratio for HD Video and the HDTV sets we have were created with "video" in mind. Theatrical film aspect ratio (movies shot on film) is all over the place. As the other posters mentioned, you have several aspect ratios for films, and none apply directly to video. On the other side of the coin, instead of having an HDTV that was 16:9, we could have all had TVs that were made mostly for films and in and aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but then when we watched HD channels with HD content shot on video (Like Discover HD, HD NET, ESPN, FOX, etc.), our sets would need to squeeze this aspect ratio into a shorter and wider TV screen.

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Think of it this way.
by minimalist / November 8, 2009 9:37 AM PST
In reply to: aspect ratio

16:9 is sort of a happy medium, proportion-wise. There's some movie content that is narrower and some movie content that is wider and some movie content that is so close to 16:9 that most people don;t notice that its not occupying the whole screen. Old TV is narrower and modern TV is exactly 16:9. So its really the best proportion to handle all sorts of video and film sources.

Whether you choose to zoom, crop or stretch those sources via your TV settings to "fill" your screen is a personal decision. But when you do so you always lose something... whether it be proper proportion (horizontal stretching produces "fat" looking images), resolution (zooming makes pixels bigger on the screen so they become slightly fuzzy) or content (cropping can eliminate items on the edges of the film frame).

A really good introduction to aspect ratios can be found here if you are interested:

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Now that you've read the above . . .
by Coryphaeus / November 9, 2009 12:54 AM PST
In reply to: aspect ratio

Welcome to the "non-standard" HD TV. Live with it.

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