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Calling all Sony VTX-D800U users with 4:3 TVs

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by KMO, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. KMO

    Active Member

    Nov 4, 2004
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    I've got a Sony VTX-D800U Freeview receiver, and I'm very happy with it, on my 16:9 TV. It's a fantastic box. But I want to get another one to use with a 4:3 TV, but its AFD handling is broken, and I can't quite bring myself to choose it for a 4:3 TV.

    To help persuade Sony to fix the problem, I'm looking for people who've noticed the problem to hassle them. If they get enough contacts, we've got a better chance of getting it sorted.

    Presumably the problem doesn't affect their IDTVs, as they're all 16:9.

    The problem is this: when in "4:3 Letterbox" mode, the box switches to 16:9 to show BBC Sport, often resulting in "postage-stamped" 4:3 events.

    The correct behaviour with these broadcasts is to switch to 4:3 full-frame, because the BBC are using AFD 7 to signal "4:3 safe". The mistake may have arisen due to an apparent cut-and-paste error in this DTG document.

    Now, some will decry this, saying they want the option to see it as 16:9 letterbox. And I agree that they should have the option, but this isn't the way to do it. The "4:3 Letterbox" mode is supposed to be a "compromise" mode that uses minimal letterboxing to ensure all the safe area is visible. Thus it shows most 16:9 BBC content as 14:9, because the BBC signal it as 14:9 safe. It should likewise show 4:3-safe material as 4:3, like the analogue broadcasts.

    To cater for whole frame lovers, I also propose adding a third mode which always shows the whole active picture, even for 14:9-safe and 4:3-safe material. The three modes should then be renamed to "Letterbox", "Normal" and "Centre cut-out" to better reflect their function. This is exactly what SetPal boxes do, apparently (although they call their third mode "Wide").

    One final proposal: if you have a 16:9 capable, auto-switching 4:3 TV, you can get the box to output anamorphic 16:9, but only by going all the way through the menus to lie that you have a 16:9 TV. But this then negates all the AFD handling, and you lose 14:9 compromises. I propose they add a 3rd TV type "4:3 with 16:9 support", that works exactly like 4:3 at present, with all three AFD handling modes, but uses 16:9 anamorphic instead of 16:9 letterbox.

    If you support fixing the problem, or recommending these extra modes, please contact Sony. We need to get this sorted as soon as possible, before they drop support for the box - it's getting a little long in the tooth.

    Their online form is at http://www2.sony.co.uk/feedback/feedbackform.asp. You can phone them at 0870 241 3624. But I suspect that given the complexity of the issue, you might not get far on a phone call; I've not tried it myself.

    A spreadsheet summarising the current and fixed AFD behaviour can be found at http://www.bracey-griffith.freeserve.co.uk/.

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