Aspect ratios on Sony Bravia

So my store put up a new flat screen TV. There’s a button on the remote labeled “WIDE.” It toggles between Full, Normal, Zoom, and Wide Zoom. As far as I can tell, Normal means “default,” no change. Full and Wide Zoom both seem to expand the picture along the horizontal axis–as far as I can tell, they’re the same. Zoom expands it along both axes.

Another guy who works here likes to put things on Wide Zoom. When this happens, it appears to me that the picture is distorted; stretched from side to side. He doesn’t notice this, and sees no distortion. When I put it on Zoom-- +X and +Y --he’s convinced the picture’s being unnecessarily truncated.

No, I know from adjusting the picture on a normal TV that part of the picture usually bleeds off the edge of the display screen, so this minimal truncation is not a big deal to me. It’s certainly preferable to the distortion caused by the one-axis expansion. But since he doesn’t see the distortion, it’s a point of constant contention.

My question: why are two of the Zoom options single-axis expansion? When would this ever be necessary when watching normal TV or videos? And can anyone point me to a cite where I can prove that the Full and Wide Zoom options do, in fact, distort the picture?


I don’t know anything about that TV model, but I’ve seen a mode on some TVs where the edges are stretched more than the center, lessening distortion of anything that’s centered, but increasing it on the periphery. Could “Wide Zoom” be doing that?

For some reason certain people are able to ignore aspect ratios. I work with a bunch of TV professionals who are regularly putting tall skinny people on the air, because they haven’t felt the need to correct the aspect ratio to fit our SD format. I always notice it instantly; same with wide 4:3 on a 16:9 display.

Wide (or Full on the Bravia), where only the x-axis is stretched is primarily for anamorphic DVDs and for people who must have their widescreen TV completely filled with content regardless of spatial distortion. Zoom, which expand both x & y will fill the screen without distortion, but will truncate a substantial portion of the top and bottom of the picture (but not the sides). It primarily useful for widescreen SD presentations that, without zoom, appear to be “windowboxed” and will fill the screen appropriately without distortion. This all assumes SD presentations. HD presentations will not have those functions available and should always fill the screen.

I have a 37" Toshiba Regzla (sp?) LCD TV and it has those features. Count me among those that stretch the screen out in a non-HD broadcast to fill the screen, resolution bedamned. I hate those borders.

In addition to the accurate descriptions of these two modes, the Wide Zoom mode is a compromise between the two, with some zoom, and the expansion along the x-axis to fill any remaining space along the sides. It does not have as much distortion as Wide, and not as much truncation as Zoom.

I have a Bravia KDL-46W3000. Here is the page from the Bravia user’s manual which illustrates this quite clearly, but does not describe it in words or give technical specs.

The guy at work is wrong about the distortion, it’s easy to see if you know what to look for. But the brain does an amazing job of masking the distortion.

Flex727 (above) states that the “Zoom” function adjusts both x and y and zooms in (as a zoom function should). I am struggling with my new Sony Ultra HD TV. The zoom function had been working but now it is not and Sony support has offered no help. When scrolling down from “Normal” you must first go to “Full” which distorts my SD 16x9 DVDs. Scrolling down from “Full” to “Zoom” now results in zooming in on the distorted “Full” image. It HAD been working correctly but now it is not. Extremely frustrating and making me regret I purchased a Sony. Especially when they tell me this is how the “Zoom”: function is supposed to work. Ridiculous. I’m grateful to this forum for confirming that I should be able to zoom in on SD images without horizontal distortion. Any ideas?

What model is it?

We have a 40" Sony Bravia purchased six years ago. I believe it’s the X model. We like to keep it on Full. Normal looks too goofy, the two Zooms definitely cut some of the picture off. Full does not seem to distort the picture that we can tell – it does touch the left and right sides with borders on the bottom, but it looks okay.

That link’s not working.

It’s from eight years ago, so…

I meant “with borders on the top and bottom.”

Note that with standard definition content it’s expected that a few percent of the image is lost on all sides. That’s because CRTs aren’t super precise about the placement of the picture on the screen and the analog electronics need some space to get up to speed. This is called overscan.

Of course for HD overscan is unnecessary but many / most / nearly all TVs still apply it, so you get a 1920x1080 pixel image, then something like 32 pixels are cut off at the top and bottom and 56 on the sides and the remaining 1808x1016 pixel image is then stretched back to 1920x1080.