Question about 16:9 LCD TV's...

Quick question about widescreen LCD TV’s.

Stainz and I are looking at buying a new LCD TV for our bedroom. Now we bought a Viewsonic 27 (2750W IIRC) Inch widescreen LCD and we weren’t too happy about it so we took it back (colour, lame Sleep Timer, and below problem).

I’m looking at at 27 inch Norcent LCD TV (LT2720). Now something we noticed with the Viewsonic, when we watched a Widescreen DVD, there were still black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Is this normal?

:smack: Wait! I just realized while typing this out, do I have to change the screen type (output) on my DVD player to 16:9 instead of 4:3?

Or will there always be black bars on the top and bottom of the screen?



It depends on the DVD.

First, yes, you want to make sure your DVD player is set to 16:9.

However, there are two kinds of widescreen DVDs.

There are non-anamorphic DVDs, which have a 4:3 image and the black bars (letterboxing) are part of the actual 4:3 signal. These DVDs suck and should be avoided at all costs. You can watch them using the “zoom” feature of your TV (if it has one) but it will look like ass. Fortunately these DVDs are in the minority.

Anamorphic DVDs have an actual 16:9 signal. Most Hollywood movies these days have an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is about the same. These movies will take up your whole 16:9 screen. However, some movies use the much wider 2.35:1 ratio. In this case, you’ll get a 16:9 signal with letterboxing in it, since the move is wider than even your widescreen.

The aspect ratio is usually printed on the back of the DVD box towards the bottom, so that will help you figure out if everything is behaving correctly.

It’s normal, simply because theater movie screen sizes are a bit longer relative to their height than is a widescreen TV. Usually, there is an adjustment that can be made (look for “aspect” on the remote) to minimize it, but that does sacrifice some of the picture or picture quality (by distorting the sizes a bit).

Actually there are a lot more than just those two aspect ratios. You can notice this in movies as the black bar changes in thickness.

The link below will show you most of the aspect ratios films are made in. Hard to keep it all straight but something more than 10 ratios are out there. If the movie is filmed in 1.85:1 (Panavision) you will fill the screen naturally on a widescreen TV. Anything else will get you black bars. That said the black bars have less of an impact on a widescreen TV to overall image size than the black bars do on a standard TV.

As mentioned most widescreen TVs have several zoom options to choose from if you want the picture to fill the screen. I have noticed the ability of the TV to expand the image well varies dramatically from TV to TV…mine does it really well compared to a friend of mine whose widescreen positively trashes the image when resized (his is LCD and mine a plasma…that may have something to do with it…not sure). Still, no matter how good the resizing is the image quality will suffer or it will chop off parts of the screen or smush stuff up so it looks funny. I just stick with the black bars and watch it as it was meant to be watched.

Erm…my math tells me a 16:9 television prefers a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and not 1.85:1 ratio as mentioned in my link above. None of the formats listed in the link are 1.78:1 natively…not sure what the gig is with this. I do know many movies fill a widescreen television naturally. Don’t know if they need to fiddle with the transfer from original to DVD however to get that (which presumably would lose you some quality).