Does anybody prefer zoomed in viewing to bars?

So, my parents have got a widescreen TV. They are a bit backward when it comes to configuring technology, so when I was waiting around and put on an old episode of Cheers and it was viewing it by zooming in, (so that it takes up the entire screen but loses picture round the edges), I figured that they just hadn’t realised they could change it, so I changed the display to auto, so I could get the full picture, with some vertical bars. Later my stepmother put the TV on, was watching something and complained about the bars. I explained that was the only way to get the full picture, pointing out the way she had it before she was losing the image around the edge as the aspect ratios were different. However, (and I’m not sure she fully understood what I was getting at though) she said she wanted the picture to take up the full space of her TV, so I changed it back. Just curious, does anyone here when given a choice to watch something in an aspect ratio different to the TV they are watching it on prefer to lose some of the picture as long as it fits the entire screen?

I usually prefer letterboxing (the “bars”) – see the full picture, not take up the whole screen.

Whatever you do, don’t try to do both – some TVs have this option, which obviously distorts the image horrendously.

I imagine it comes down to individual taste. I have a 46 inch plasma and it set on “fit to screen”. The result is the whole screen is filled with picture but the edges are out of shot. However I only know this when partly excised text appears on one or other side. Otherwise everything looks great.

Having said that, if viewing a movie I may change to the letterbox 16:9 to get the full effect. But the picture shrinks and that bugs me…

I normally leave it at it’s correct aspect and if that means bars then it does. Tend to watch only HD however.

What I think I would like to try is a minor zoom, this would make the picture somewhat bigger, still have bars (but smaller ones), but cut off less. I don’t know if that’s what i would use, but would like the option.

As for the distort to full screen,nah, not into that.

Distorting it to “fit” the screen bothers me to no end. It turns the picture quality to crap, stretches the edges, and is a worse overall picture than if I pulled out the old CRT downstairs.

I use the stretch-to-fit option when watching animation. It stretches the sides more than the middle, so it is not too noticeable. (called “Just” for justified on Panasonic)

I find it less annoying than the large vertical bars. Animated characters are distorted already, so it doesn’t really matter if they’re slightly fatter than they’re supposed to be.

For everything else though? Original aspect ratio all the way.

It depends on how important the cinematography was in the creation of whatever I’m watching. Most films I watch in their original state. Most TV shows I fill the screen (ours zooms and crops, but doesn’t distort).

The problem with zooming in to 4:3 is that it centres the zoom, which chops off the top of heads. If there was a way on my TV to slide them down a bit so that feet are more likely to be what gets chopped off I’d do that.

Having said that, I do zoom in occasionally, as an experiment to see if it will still work. I watched the DVDs of Cadfael and zoomed in, and apart from resolution artefacts, it was indistinguishable from 16:9 footage. If I didn’t know better I would have suspected they deliberately composed in anticipation for it.

There was a 14:9 standard used for a while for that very reason, but Cadfael didn’t do that.

My dad does zoom and stretch.

When he first got the tv he kept complaining to me about the bars and stuff. I spent hours explaining to him how image and screen sizes work (you have to be careful about what hours you choose to explain stuff to my dad.)

Now it’s a few years in and he’s figured out the remote and he prefers to zoom and/or stretch because he can do it with a click of a button. This drives me crazy but this is how they like it over there.

I don’t watch tv there much anymore.

I prefer the full picture. Our TV stretches the picture to fill the screen, which makes everything look weird. Since the correct aspect ratio is still far bigger than my old TV, I see no reason to do it any other way.

If the aspect ratio isn’t correct it drives me crazy. So no stretching!

Crop or bars, whatever you do, don’t stretch! I noticed stretching is much more obvious with human heads than text. I suspect our visual systems are finely tuned to the human likeness.

Is there a video system that includes data on how to crop? So you can play a 16:9 video at 4:3, but it’s the way the director wants it? I thought it was anamorphic, but doesn’t look like it.

I think that only people (like your parents, most likely) who don’t really understand what’s going on prefer zoom. And stretch is the worst option of them all.

Please show me the whole picture, thank you, so what if I’m not using the entire screen?

I would prefer to watch in an aspect ratio actually designed for the eyes of human beings, and can only hope this nonsensical 16:9 fad gets dropped when those responsible realize that the bulk of the market does not in fact consist of the David Icke lizard-people.

But as that’s likely still a while off, I’ll just use whatever the default settings are.

I don’t like stretching of the image, but I do like the options that just zoom in and chop off the edges.

You rarely miss anything at the edges, especially if we’re talking about something like Cheers. There are some movies where I might want to see everything, but usually I’d rather see a larger image than a complete image.

Not always or with all TVs. My Toshibe essentially splits the screen into thirds and stretches the outer two panels and leaves the center section alone. For a lot if TV shows, it’s hardly noticeable. But obviously, the more stuff there is on screen, the more obvious the stretching is.

Yes, my old TV did this. I think it actually stretched the image more the closer it got to the edge of the screen, which was fine most of the time but if things were scrolling then they’d suddenly speed up as they got to the edge of the screen, and panning shots looked very odd. Also people’s heads would suddenly bulge out if they got too close to the edge of shot…

I would often zoom in. I would have done it more if it zoomed into the top of the picture instead of into the middle. Chopping off the bottom mattered much less than chopping off the top.

What I liked best was when I had an option for a 14 x 9 zoom, which left small black bars on the side, and only clipped a small part of the picture. That’s a rare feature, though.

I want to see it how it was originally shot. I don’t care about black bars, anything else is either distorting or cutting off the image.

Since it’s on topic, allow me to complain about DVDs that present the movie in the original aspect ratio, with bars on top and bottom to get there, but use full-screen for the menu screen, with the play and scene select buttons at the bottom. I keep my TV setting on zoom to use as much screen space as I can, but then the menu buttons get cut off. This is also an issue for many subtitles.
Oh, and disc players should also come with an on-box pushbutton that means select/enter, the menu screen doesn’t recognise the “play” button.

:dubious: The normal field of vision for humans is about 1:1.8. 16:9, non-surprisingly, comes out to 1:1.78.

So this *other *aspect ratio designed for the human eye would be…?