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4:3 vs 16:9 HELP!!! Please!!

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Jimmathie, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. Jimmathie

    Jimmathie
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    Hi,

    PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!!
    I am looking around for a Rear Projection television at the moment. The trouble is I know nothing about normal 4:3 and widescreen 16:9. I have recently moved to France from England and have around £1500 - 1600 to spend.

    Just looking around in the shops I have found 2 I like. One is 4:3 format and the other is 16:9. I don’t think they are available in England under their French model numbers. The 4:3 is a Sony set and the model number is KP41PX1 (£1500 with stand). The 16:9 set is a Thomson Scenium model number 44RW67ES (£1600).

    My head is totally pickled looking at the 2 of them. My girlfriend watches a lot of episodes of Friends and films we have taped off Sky digital (not the widescreen channel). We have looked at the Friends video in the shops and when the Friends video is watched on the Thomson it seems to stretch the picture to fit. On the Sony this should be no problem as it is 4:3. The Thomson does play a variety of formats (4:3, 16:9, Zoom 16:9, Cinerama and 14:9) but when I looked at the 4:3 format on the screen it reduces the size of the screen used.

    The Sony set is a 41 inch and has a 50Hz refresh rate on the screen where as the Thomson is a 44 inch and has a 100Hz refresh rate, I was lead to believe this was important?

    The sales guy in the shop was steering us more towards the Thomson saying it is a better machine and that in a year or two programs worldwide will be in 16:9 format. Is this true? I would hate to make the wrong decision as this is a lot of money to spend and I expect to make one purchase and not change it later on. If you would like I could send you full specs but for now I have just attached an image of each television.

    PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME!!

    Thanks,
    Paul.
     

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  2. Doubledoom

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    Most widescreen sets have a 4:3 mode which displays 4:3 material with vertical black bars to maintain the correct aspect ratio. You don't need to stretch and crop if you don't want to.

    If you detect 50hz flicker, then 100hz will be important. You are more likely to see it on larger sets or if you sit further back.

    In the UK, virtually all of the BBC, ITV and Ch4 programming is made to be seen using anamorphic widescreen. The USA is beginning to catch up now with many of their shows being made to be seen in widescreen (either now or in the future). ie Buffy, Angel, Stargate, ER, Sopranos, Enterprise, West Wing, X Files.

    Virtually all films are widescreen so you will have smaller black bars on a widescreen set than a 4:3 set when viewing 2.35:1 aspect ratio and no bars when viewing 1.85:1 on a widescreen set.
     
  3. DaveP

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    Just my 2p worth (or should that be centimes!) but I really cannot understand why anybody would consider a 4:3 set these days.

    All I will say is that if you were thinking of say a 41" 4:3 set then you should buy a larger 16:9 one to get the same size 4:3 picture on the 16:9 screen. The maths for this were posted on another thread somewhere but I can't recall it at the moment, sorry.

    DaveP
     
  4. Jimmathie

    Jimmathie
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    Thanks for the reply. Very helpful! I am still a little confused about this widescreen thing though. Does this mean that the UK television channels are broadcast in widescreen? Or does this mean that if I viewed them in widescreen the people will look stretched? I am confused really, I am moving from a 14inch 4:3 set to possible a 44inch widescreen machine or a 41inch 4:3 machine. So will I notice any real difference in the people on the screen if the signal is a widescreen one played on a 4:3 TV, will any of the image be chopped off? Or if the signal is anamorphic widescreen (not sure what this is!) played on a widescreen TV will the people look normal? Do you know what SKY Digital use for their signals or will everywhere be using widescreen in a few years? Sorry for all the NEW!! questions but I am new to this widescreen lark and would hate to make the wrong decision. Basically which set should I get (4:3 or widescreen) to last me for the future!
     
  5. DaveP

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    Only digital television, be it ITV Digital, Sky, other Digital Satellite TV or Cable, can provide widescreen transmissions.

    If you watch these on a 4:3 set you will get a much smaller picture with large black lines at the top and bottom of the screen. Over time these will burn in, especially on a RPTV.

    Conversely if you buy a 16:9 screen and watch a lot of 4:3 transmissions you will get burn in from the black lines at the sides of the picture. I got this on my old philips w/s tellie. They were visible even when the TV was switched off.

    I now have Sky Digital and a lot of my viewing is widescreen. In the future more and more will be broadcast this way. There will be no going back!

    4:3 pictures on a 16:9 set give the correct aspect ratio so circles are circles not elipses. You can stretch the picture to fill the screen but the you get fat people and eliptical footballs!

    Buy 16:9.

    DaveP
     
  6. Doubledoom

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    UK analogue terrestial television is designed to be watched on a 4:3 television or a widescreen set in 4:3 mode.

    UK digital sources, such as skydigital carry the anamorphic widescreen versions which are designed to be shown on widescreen sets (or 4:3 sets with a 16:9 mode but dont worry about that for the moment). Currently the channels on skydigital that broadcast in anamorphic widescreen are: BBC1, 2, ITV, Ch4, Ch5, BBC Choice, E4, ITV2, Sky Prem WS, Sky Sports, BBCNews24, BBC Knowledge and a couple of the shopping channels.

    These are full widescreen 16:9 channels. No stretching involved. If you were to view them on a 4:3 television, you would have the choice of letterbox or 4:3. With letterbox, you would get black bars above or below. With 4:3, the sides would be cropped giving you the centre image. This is quite a poor option as there hasn't been a 4:3 protected area for filming for quite some time so the picture would not look right on a 4:3 set.
     
  7. Jimmathie

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    Thanks for the info! Its really made my mind up when you said that everything on the main channels on Sky digital are widescreen. Do you know when this changed from 4:3? I tape Friends on E4 every week for my girlfriend and she just wanted to see if we played the tapes from last year on the new 16:9 TV, at what point would their faces become ‘normal’ (not stretched) Is it right to tell her that the new series which started this month will play normal (not stretched) on a widescreen TV? Also I have a video recorder that is about 2 years old (Sony SLV-SF99), it was top of the range at the time. Will this play 16:9 or does it not know the difference in the signals it gets and just plays/records all formats?? Sounds daft I know but I am on a learning curve!!!
    Thanks. depending on the reply I may order it this afternoon!! Woo Hoo. Glad to hear the end of this one.
     
  8. swarrans

    swarrans
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    Jim, I don't want to confuse you further, and I won't add to the things already said about widescreen vs 4:3
    My main point to you would be - are you ever coming back to the UK and bringing the TV with you? I'm fairly sure that French sets are set up to receive SECAM transmissions not PAL like the rest of Europe and so unless your set is a multi system one it would be useless back here.
    I may be wrong, but check very carefully about the set you buy in France before you make an expensive mistake!

    Simon
     
  9. Doubledoom

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    BBC and Ch4 went over to anamorphic widescreen about three and half years ago. ITV has only just joined SkyD but has been available in widescreen on ITVdigital since launch. Ch5 went over to widescreen last year.

    Sky and UKTV are the main ones who are dragging their feet. Especially when you consider that most of the material on Sky One and the UKTV channels is available in anamorphic widescreen.
     

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