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side bars in 4:3 are grey, not black - Deal Breaker?

by live_it_out / August 9, 2009 2:51 AM PDT

I have a 50" Samsung 450 series plasma TV. When I watch a 4:3 picture, I get light gray side bars. I can go into Screen Burn In Protection and change them to dark gray side bars, but I seem to have no option to change them to black.

In another post Samsung wrote:
"The options for the television, and something we recommend, is to choose either the light or dark option in the Screen Burn Protection Menu under Setup.

If you had black before, it may have been a setting on the cable box which would send a full 16x9 picture with black on the sides. But if the television detects a 4x3 source signal coming in, it will put up either the dark or light bars depending on your setting.

I hope that helps.

It's not a cable box issue, it's a DVD player and the DVD player doesn't create the gray bars. I assume you recommend gray side bars due to burn in issues, but I watch TV 1 or 2 hours a day. I am not going to get burn in. I just want my TV to have black bars in 4:3 like Sony, LG, and every other brand, which I now am wondering if I should have purchased, because I enjoy watching TV shows made in 4:3.

I did a lot of research on forums before I bought this TV. Please advise me on whether or not I can get black bars while watching TV in 4:3. Distorting my picture is not an option.

I appreciate your response and will post it on all the forums that I used to choose a TV. I do want to say that if there is no option for black side bars in 4:3, that is a Deal Breaker as far as I am concerned, and I will advise people as such.

Thank you.

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side bars in 4:3 are grey, not black - Deal Breaker?
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / August 11, 2009 11:27 AM PDT


The television itself shouldn't necessarily force you to have gray bars on the side, although the settings may be set so that it's that way be default.

In the Screen Protection Menu, there is an option to adjust the grey bars (togge on and off, really) for when a 4x3 picture is being broadcast and go to a black background setting.

So when a 4x3 picture comes in, the television will detect it as a 4x3 picture and do nothing.

The confusion enters the picture when a 16x9 picture comes in. Now if the signal coming into the television is 16x9, and comes WITH grey bars, then the setting in the Screen Burn protection is over-ridden and becomes redundant. A good example would be ESPN broadcasting a 4:3 picture and adding the grey logo bars on the side. While ESPN may use a fancy logo, some networks will use a solid grey bar, and there's nothing we can do about that. The television is accepting a 16x9 picture, and properly displaying it, whereas the Screen Burn Protection menu is bypassed. But that's an example of the 4:3 aspect ratio being broadcast *within* a 16x9 broadcast, and transmitted in 16x9. In that example, since the 16x9 broadcast is being broadcast, any sidebar options become redundant.

So... now that I've gone off the complete deep end on broadcasts... Wink I just wanted you and others to know how that feature works, since I do get some questions on it.

Some DVD players may have this option also built into the menu system of the DVD player. First things first, I would recommend making sure Screen Burn Protection menu is set to "side bars black" so that the television will show as as you intend it to. If that doesn't fix it, send me the model number of your DVD player and I'll be happy to look to see how I can assist you in fixing this issue.

For the TV's part in this, however, the Screen Burn Protection Menu should allow you to adjust this out.


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Only Gray Sidebars, XBox 360 & Toshiba DVD, on 720p and 480i
by live_it_out / August 11, 2009 3:48 PM PDT

When my Philips DVP2962 DVD player, which is set on 720p, plays 4x3 DVDs to my 720p set (50" Samsung Plasma 450 Series 4), I can only get gray sidebars, which are so distracting I turn of the program and consider taking the TV back for a Sony. I tried 3 different DVDs, each by different companies. Same result.

I read your reply and adjusted my DVD player to send a 480 signal to the TV, and I got the same result, gray sidebars.

So I tried using my XBox360 as a DVD player, now using component cables instead of an HDMI cable, and got the same result when sending 720p. I changed it to send 480 and got the same result.

When I go into my "Picture Options" in the TV menu, I have a "Screen Burn Protection" menu. When I press it, I am taken to a screen where I have 3 options:

1. Pixel Shift
2. Scrolling
3. Side Gray

When I click on "Side Gray" I have two options:

1. Light Gray
2. Dark Gray

I feel like I have been thorough. If I am missing something please let me know. I need to get the word out on this once and for all.

Thank you.

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Only Gray Sidebars, XBox 360 & Toshiba DVD, on 720p and 480i
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / August 13, 2009 11:15 AM PDT


You are correct that there are only two options. That changed this year, and I apologize. A 4x3 for most consumers will likely save the life of the panel. I can appreciate that this isn't a solution for you, and noting your comments, I'd encourage you to do what makes you happiest.

If "getting the word out" is your intention, I respect that. But the feature is there to protect people more than it is to create an option that bothers them. Long term viewing of a 4:3 picture on a 16x9 panel can cause image retention and burn-in over long periods of time. It's not to scare people, it's to help them enjoy their product longer.


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Samsung admits no black bars in 4x3! Gray Only. Read it here
by live_it_out / September 18, 2009 1:32 PM PDT

Even during a very dark movie, the gray bars throw off so much light I can read the TV guide. That means my eyes never really adjust to the dark so I can't even get used to the actual film! But I bought a plasma so I could watch *dark* movies! I just wanted a rich black, but now I have a rich black next to a pair of shimmery columns of flaring light. What's were they thinking?

The product I paid good money for prohibits me from watching 4x3 TV with black bars. Unbelievable. I realize it wasn't your decision, you're just here to answer questions, but even you have to admit that's just absurd.

Why can't I choose for myself? If the product is faulty and has burn issues, admit it and put a warning in the manual. Don't force me to watch with bright gray bars so you can claim that this years models have less burn issues. Instead, fix the burn in problem.

You said that it lengthens the life of my TV to have gray bars so Samsung forces that choice upon me. What next? Will there be a timer that turns the TV off after excessive lengths of viewing? That would lengthen the life too.

I will not buy Samsung again. I recommend the LG plasma and Sony LCD.

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Fix for grey bars
by Evan Dark / December 9, 2015 1:54 PM PST

I just thought I will leave this here. If you have NVidia graphics card, and you don't like your sidebars as grey, you can fix it, by using the GPU and not the monitor to resize the image.

Simply go into the NVidia control panel, click on "adjust desktop size and position" and set "preform scaling on" from monitor to GPU. And there you have it! Nice black bars. While you're at it you should probably also tick in to override this in other programs and games.

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